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A Lone Wolf (Rowan Oak Pack Novel Book 1) by Katie Eloise (1)

Day one - Tuesday.

 

Knock, knock “Breakfast service for Mr and Mrs Peterson.”

“come in”

I opened the door and pulled the trolley with the breakfasts on, into the room. Mr Peterson was on the opposite side of the room, putting on his shoes, and Mrs Peterson stepped forward to take their breakfasts “thank you dear” I turned to collect their drinks but when I turned back to Mrs Peterson, she had a look of abject horror on her face as she stared at me. This wasn’t the first time and probably wouldn’t be the last. There was something about people who owned pets – especially yummy pets – that meant they knew when there was a predator in their midst. I’m a were-wolf and the Petersons had a very strong smell of rabbit. I walked past her and placed their tea and then their orange juice on the table with glasses and cups.

“is there anything else I can get you?” they didn’t move, just stood looking at me like I may attack them “if there’s anything I can do for you please don’t hesitate to call reception.” there wouldn’t be “Enjoy your breakfast.” I grabbed the trolley and backed out of the door, halfway down the hall I heard the locks snapping shut on door nine. I went back down to the kitchen and parked the trolley up, Tony, one of the chefs, was tidying the various breakfast dishes away.

“all done for the morning delivery now DI. There’s some leftover sausage and bacon in the oven”

“awesome” I took the very hot plate out of the oven and started eating “have you had anything to eat today?” I turned to see a bemused look on his face, as I continued eating and he shook his head.

“I have. Where do you put all that? You should enter the county eat-off – you’d defiantly win.”

“generally, I put it in my mouth then–“

“smart-ass” I shrugged

“I like to run.” All six sausages and twelve rashers of bacon were gone, and I debated licking the plate clean, but I thought better of it. “well I best get on, I’ve got loads to do this morning.”

“don’t you want anymore? I don’t mind cooking extra if you’re still hungry.” He really was a very sweet man, he was like an uncle to me. He was nearly forty with dark brown hair and dark kind eyes that crinkled at the edges,

“No thank you, I’ll see you at lunch.” I wandered off to reception, where I checked with my mum if any of the six taken rooms were empty yet. Mum aka. Emma was taller than me. She was five feet nine inches tall, which meant I always looked up to her as I’m only five feet three and a bit inches – though I liked to say four as it made me feel taller. She wasn’t a thin woman, but she wasn’t huge either, I'd call her average – where others would say chubby. That was something we had in common. We were both curvy, but at least mum was in proportion. I had a big chest for my size but an average waist and hips. Mum was fifty-eight now and had started to get a few grey hairs showing through her golden locks in the past year or so.

“two rooms are free sweetheart” she glanced behind me “make that three.” I looked behind me, it was the Petersons. They scurried – almost ran – past, through the foyer and out of the door. They were probably off for a hike. Mum handed me the keys “thanks mum” and I went to get the cleaning supplies then headed to the rooms.

The rest of the day was the same as the past week. I cleaned the rooms, helped serve lunch and then went for a run through my forest. It was so peaceful; the hotel is surrounded on three sides by the huge forest. When you walk out through the front door you have the choice of going around the back of the hotel and heading along any of the numerous trails into the hills behind, if you turn right there’s a trail into town and mild hikes, perfect for the not so active, but if you turn left there’s nothing but forest, no one goes this way except me.

I walked in and when I couldn’t see the hotel, I took my shoes off, leaving them in the hollow of a tree, I let the magic change me from a short, curvy, black haired, golden-black eyed human into a black-haired wolf – then I hunted, catching a tasty rabbit, and running to my favourite spot for an afternoon nap in the sun.

The place I always came to was a beautiful meadow, with a few huge boulders to sit and play on and a small river that always that always changed into a broad river in spring, when the extra snow from winter melted on the far-off mountains. After a glorious nap in the afternoon sunshine I headed back to help serve dinner. Happily, as there were only eight guests, they could all fit into the bar’s tables – we’d had a leak over the dining room recently and it had flooded and ruined the floor, bottom of the walls and electrics. It was going to take a little time to fix it up again as we had to wait for the insurance company to pay out and wait for the items we’d already ordered to come. Mum had called all the guests due in the next couple of months and explained the situation, offered to change their bookings, give them a discount, a refund, or we could either bring food to bedrooms or use the limited spaces in the bar, lounge and lobby if needed. Most of our guests, due in three weeks or more, didn’t mind and took the offered discount but some of the guest’s had demanded a refund or changed their dates.

I cleaned my beautiful oak bar ready for the evening and then started cleaning shelves. The bar was used a lot when the hotel was full but now only the four single ladies stayed down, drinking till anytime between ten and midnight then heading to bed, ready to start another day. They spent their time lounging by the pool or having a spa or beauty treatments – and why not, they deserve it. From what I gathered two of the ladies were teachers, one worked in social services and the other was a police woman, how nice it must be to travel and enjoy yourself. If I didn’t change at the very least every couple of days, then I found myself irritable after one day and losing control after any more than that.

Ruby was working on the front desk tonight, until Tom took over at midnight, so when the ladies headed up, I cleaned up, shut off the lights and went to see my best friend before bed.

“you lucky lady, you’ll have an extra person for breakfast in the morning and he eats like you,” she looked down and read from the book “full English, double portion with extra bacon, egg and sausage!” that was almost my breakfast except I loved black pudding too “and he wants coffee, OJ and milk.”

“lots of people like to eat like me but most resist the urge – we can’t all be blessed with a higher metabolism.”

“he’s gorgeous by the way and probably as fit as you… maybe you could be running friends?” she wiggled her perfect eyebrows suggestively and curved her painted lips. Ruby was drop dead gorgeous, as tall as my mum with hazel eyes, naturally blonde hair which was coloured bubble-gum pink at the minute, and hot pink talons - I refuse to call them nails as they were longer than any natural nails ever. She was the beautician here and was filling in for dad at the moment as he had had to go for a meeting in the city, he’d be back soon hopefully, which meant I just had to cover the staff who were on holiday and sick.

“stop trying to set me up. I’m not interested”

“you’ve not had a boyfriend in, like, five years. You need one girl.”

“how’s Tom?” Tom was our other best friend and adored Rubes, but she only saw our friend…

“he’s fine. Do you want me to do your make-up in the morning?”

“no,” Tom and Rubes were both staying in the hotel until dad came back “and if you’re just going to bug me, I’m off to bed!”

“oh, don’t be like that, you know I’m kidding… mostly. Have you read the latest book by Sonya Raven?”

The conversation drifted to her latest book that she’d written and then to the next movie we were planning on seeing and before we knew it Tom was appearing for the 12-6 shift.

Tom was scruffy looking, he’d been trying to grow a beard after Ruby mentioned she liked them, but he had very fine blonde facial hair that made him look like a young teenage boy. His hair was dirty blonde but had started getting darker recently, and his eyes were a light blue grey. He was one of the life guards here and had a swimmers build, and a long neck from craning it around to look at Rubes.

“hey ladies, long night?”

“Hi Tom, I finished at half ten. So not really”

“It’s been okay. I checked in a hot guy that would be perfect for DI.”

I said, “fuck off” at the same time Tom said

“oh really” They paid far too much attention to my lack of love life than they did their own in my opinion – I tuned them out and when I tuned back in all I heard was “… green eyes” as Ruby finished describing the poor man she’d decided to try and set me up with but this time she’d gone too far – he was a paying customer and I needed to remind her

“but he’s a customer” thank you Tom, maybe I wouldn’t be having a fight with her after all.

“so, it’ll be a fling.” She shrugged

“how long’s he staying?”

“he checked in for two nights but can always extend his stay after he meets Di.”

“and Di wants this?”

“why wouldn’t she?” Tom looked towards me

“do you?”

“No, defiantly not.” I'd not had a boyfriend since Toby in college. We’d gone out for a few months and one day we were up on lover’s lane fooling around we’d almost had sex, and I’d almost changed. We’d tried to stay together after, but I ended it a couple of weeks later, I knew I could have killed him and I couldn’t run that risk. The next person I chose would have to know my secret first and be able to accept I may have to jump off his cock half way through to change into a wolf – I couldn’t have a fling. “I’m off to bed, maybe you two can sort your love life frustrations out together, without me?” Both looked at me, each other, then me again and I thought I’d probably missed something but I didn’t care, I had to be up at five to have breakfast before I served breakfast to the rooms from 6:30. “night guys” I waved and wondered to bed, leaving my two best, dumb friends to figure out they were bickering about anything because they were interested in each other… well at least one was interested in the other – I was no good with romance. “Night Di” chorused from behind me.

Our apartment, my childhood home, was on the west side, off the top landing, the east side was slowly being fixed up and would be a beautiful suite when it was finished with a bathroom, living room, kitchen, study, cloakroom and four bedrooms with en-suites. It would be more like an apartment than a hotel suite and was almost a mirror image of our apartment, except for the dining room and den, as well as the access to the attic that we had.

My parent’s apartment was quite modern and had my mother’s art work all over the walls. My own room had hand drawn pictures and paintings my mother had created, and as the years had gone by, she’d painted the many pictures that now littered the whole hotel. They were natural, beautiful, flawless paintings that people often wanted to buy, of nature, especially a black wolf.

Though my parents’ home was modern, my room was filled with big heavy oak furniture. The walls were a mixture of assorted colours and although some paintings were hung on the walls or in frames on shelves, my favourites were the ones my mum had loving painted directly onto the walls, of forests, animals, and me in my wolf form, growing from year to year in my woods.

I walked straight through it all to my bathroom, got my pyjamas on, and curled up in the middle of my King sized, oak framed bed then slept.