November 2021
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Snippet from Lucas's Prey, Riley's Pride,  Book 6, Coming November 2021

Unedited, subject to change, copyrighted to Sandra R Neeley 2021.


~Riley looked up from the gravel he was spreading in the parking lot of the new veterinary building, and watched as Lucas and a red-head he assumed was Lucas’s mate, walked toward his house across the highway.

“Hey, dump the next load here,” Roman said.

Riley turned his attention back to Roman. “You see that?” he asked.

Roman looked over toward Riley’s house. “Looks like they’re going to meet Maia,” he said.

“Wonder why they didn’t come over here first,” Riley said.

“Richie said they stopped by last night when they saw his lights on. Said Lucas was trying to introduce her to us a few at at a time instead of all at once. He said she was nice, real nice, but seemed a bit nervous,” Roman said.

“He like her?” Riley asked.

“Yeah. Yvette took a real liking to her, too,” Roman said.

“I’d still like to get the whole story from her,” Riley commented, watching as Maia opened the door, and shortly thereafter Lucas and his mate walked into the house. Can’t help but be suspicious about all the sneaking around, and I’m interested to find out what her animal is, too.”

“I’m sure she’ll tell you everything, and I bet you won’t even have to ask for it,” Roman said.

Riley dumped the load of gravel from the small front loader he was on where Roman had indicated. While Roman used a shovel to move it where they wanted it, Riley used the front loader to spread it more quickly.

He glanced toward his house once more and thought of their prospective new member, which made him think of Sheryl. “Sheryl out at Alex’s place?” Riley asked, between scoops of white gravel.

“Yeah, she’s helping Trey with the animals boarded there.”

“How’s she liking being here?” Riley asked. “She tells me she loves it here, but I’m Alpha. She’s not exactly going to tell me it sucks, not to my face anyway.”

“No, she really does like it here. She said she can’t remember being this relaxed ever. I’m sure Trey has something to do with it,” Roman said with a chuckle.

“Good.I’m glad she’s feeling at home,” Riley answered. “I wasn’t sure with us all being predators if she’d be able to find a place here or not. Not that we’d hunt her, but, it can’t be easy surrounded by all of us all the time,” Riley said.

“She doesn’t seem to have a problem with it. I think the fact that there are humans in the Pride helps with that. Even her animal is above a human in the predator/prey makeup of things,” Roman said.

“I suppose so,” Riley said.

“You heard any more from Sam?” Roman asked.

“Yeah, I did actually. He called this morning, said he’s hired some new guys, and the last two were coming in this morning to sign the new hire paperwork. If all goes as planned, they’ll be here tomorrow,” Riley answered.

“That’s good news!” Roman said. “We should almost be done with the exterior at least by the time Laz and Alex get back. She can get right to work outfitting the inside.”

“It’ll be nice having this option for our people. It’s Alex’s of course, but she’ll need employees to help her with the larger facility. The animals will need care once the boarding facility is operational, and if she goes with the doggy day care, she’ll be even busier,” Riley said.

Roman looked at a point behind Riley, and when Roman lifted his hand in a wave, Riley turned to see who it was.

“Thought ya’ll might want a break. Brought you some empanadas, and some coffee,” Richie said.

“Empanadas and coffee?” Roman asked.

“They’re breakfast empanadas. Besides, I brought them to you, and you didn’t have to ask. Just say thank you,” Richie teased.

“Thank you, Rich,” Roman said with a grin.

“You’re welcome,” Richie said as he handed a cup of coffee and a paper bag with two empanadas each to each male. “I’m about to take the last platter of empanadas over to the store and thought I’d feed you two first.”

“This is freaking awesome,” Riley said around a mouthful of food. “What is it?”

“Chorizo with scrambled eggs, potatoes and onions, and cheese. Got some salsa in there, too, but just enough so it’s not dry,” Richie answered.

“Damn, it’s good!” Riley said again, popping the rest of his first empanada into his mouth.

“Thanks,” Richie said proudly. “How’s it coming out here? Ya’ll need me to show you how it’s done yet?”

“I think we got it. You just stick to the food, chef boy,” Roman teased.

“Oh, chef boy, is it?” Richie asked with a snorted laugh.

Roman grinned. “Hey, it’s what you do best.”

“Alright, alright I’ll take that,” Richie answered, shaking his head.

“Sam’s sending his new crew tomorrow,” Riley explained. “We ought to be finished spreading this gravel by then. We can jump on the framing and all the rest of the exterior work. If they come, even without Lazarus and Lucas, we should still make good time.”

“I’m sure Lucas plans to be here,” Richie said.

“I know he’s just mated, and trying to make his female feel at ease here. I don’t expect him to leave her alone if she’s not ready yet,” Riley said.

“She’s skittish, I’ll say that,” Richie admitted. “But I like her. I think she’s just had a rough go of it, you know?” he asked. “I got the impression she expects everybody to run her off, no matter who they are, or how she meets them.”

“That’s all changed now,” Roman said, finishing off his empanada.

“Oh, yeah. I like her, and Yvette really took a liking to her, too. She doesn’t have anything at all, so Yvette gave her some clothes. She just reminds me of an animal that’s been so mistreated, so lost, that she doesn’t know how to respond to kindness or acceptance.”

“I wonder what kind of animal, though,” Riley said.

“I’ll tell you this… it’s not a defenseless one. I sensed a lot of power inside her. She’s demure, and quiet and looks to Lucas for questions she’s not sure how to answer, but there’s not anything helpless about her,” Richie said.

“Hmpf,” Riley said, casting another look toward his house across the street.

“I do believe she’ll be fine, though. She’ll fit right in as soon as she realizes her place is here and we all have her back just like Lucas does,” Richie said. Richie looked at the balled up paper bags Riley and Roman were both holding in their hands. “Ya’ll want some more?” he asked.

“No, I’m good. But I might have some for lunch,” Roman said.

“I made the real thing for lunch. Spiced beef and pork, with peppers and onions stuffed inside. Even got some with just potatoes and onions in case somebody doesn’t want meat,” Riley said.

“Think I’m going to go say hello,” Riley said, his attention still focused on his house.

“You’ll like her, Riley. I really think she just needs some encouragement,” Richie said.

“I’m sure you’re right. I just worry about my people, and she’s kept Lucas stringing along for a while now. Hate to see her take off on him again,” Riley said.

“She looked pretty at ease by his side,” Richie said.

“Thanks for the snack,” Riley said, beginning to walk away. Then he directed his comments to Roman. “You got this for a little bit?”

“Yeah, go ahead. We only have two more scoops to spread. Wont take any time at all.”

“Good, I’ll see you in a little bit,” Riley said, walking backward as he spoke to Roman.

“You know where to find me,” Roman said, grinning. ~

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