Ellis: Emerson Wolves ― Paranormal Wolf Shifter Romance (7 page)

BOOK: Ellis: Emerson Wolves ― Paranormal Wolf Shifter Romance
6.97Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

“Yes, it’s in the woods. Deep on the property of about five hundred acres. A garden? I don’t have one yet, but there’s room for one. And no, there aren’t any neighbors for a few miles. I like it quiet too.” He rolled to his back, taking her with him. “All I have up right now is the walls. And while I’ve been up here, the roof was put on. I wanted to be there for that part, but it’s better that I wasn’t.”

“Why?” He was stroking his fingers down her back, and she yawned before continuing to pepper him with questions. “I would have thought you’d want to be there for the entire thing.”

“I had to be here. I needed to meet you.” He yawned too. “Then there is the fact that Dan, my foreman, said he worked better when I was gone. I’ve been in a shitty mood of late.”

“You need to go back and see to your house, Ellis. I feel bad that you’re not there for it.” She yawned again and closed her eyes. “I need just a few minutes of a nap, and then I have to get back to the house. Andy and Billy are going to fill my freezer, they said, with fresh fish, and I want to make sure they realize that they have to be cleaned and gutted first before they stick them in there still flopping around.”

Ellis laughed a little, and Dawn smiled. This was nice, just being here and relaxed. When she yawned again, she let sleep take her under, feeling safe and protected for the first time in her entire life.


Ellis woke when someone touched his mind. He lay still, not wanting to wake Dawn just yet and not sure if there wasn’t someone close to him. When he opened his eyes, Hunter spoke to him with humor in his voice.

Andy thinks that you’re dead. He and Billy have been back at the house for over an hour waiting for you, and think that someone has killed you. I assured them that you were well and that I’d send you home.
Hunter laughed again.
They’re actually more concerned with Dawn than you, but I didn’t want you to be pissy.

She’s here with me.
Ellis took a deep breath and let it out slowly, marveling at how wonderfully clean it smelled here.
We’re going to stay here for a while. I like it here and she’s happy here. It’s not that far if someone wanted to come and see us.

I’ll talk to Sloan. She said something about the charity thing today, and I really wanted to see if you were going to bring Dawn with you.
He’d forgotten about it and told Hunter.
Yeah, I thought so. It’s this Saturday. You have less than a week to convince her to come here and get a dress for this thing. Your tux is already here. I put it in the room you’re staying in.

How’s the house…my house? The roof on?
Hunter laughed.
Oh no, please tell me that it’s not fallen down around my ears before I get to live in it?

No. It’s fine. And so you know, should you want to sell, Graham is interested. He said that it’s perfectly situated on the waterways that he works in.
Ellis didn’t tell him no. He really liked it here better than anyplace he’d been. And he’d thought of the perfect place to build a house should they stay. He’d have to talk to Addie about the property
. Anyway, the roof is on and some of the interior walls are up too. The second floor is laid, and good job on the slate there. Sloan wants to do that in the dining room this summer.

It was cheap and sturdy for that area. Tell her I know where she can get a great deal on it.
Hunter said he’d tell her.
What if I stayed here? With Dawn I mean. Would you be pissed?

No. So long as you’re happy and settled, I don’t care. And it’s not like it’s that far. Seven hours by car, and only an hour or so by plane.
Just far enough, as far as Ellis was concerned.
What about the company? Would you sell out?

No. I can run it from here too. Keep it in my name. It’s not like I have to watch over the crew I have anyway. Dan does a good job. And maybe if I make him partner, he’ll not be my competition too.
Hunter told him that was a good idea.
So you’re okay with this then? If I stay up here and belong to another pack?

I think you should consider running your own pack.
Ellis started to tell him that wasn’t in the cards for him, but Hunter cut him off.
Listen to me. Mike wants out. He told me as much the last time I was up there. His little boy misses him now that he’s the sheriff, and he’d love being able to go home at night after the day job and spend it with him and his wife. They’re expecting their next child in a few weeks.

I know nothing about running a pack. I don’t even know if I’m the right kind of wolf to be taking over either.
Hunter laughed.
What the fuck is so funny?

You are. You’re running the men you have up there now. And so is Dawn. Did you know that she made Andy promise that he’ll finish college? Also that Billy gets his own place, that he’s too old to be living at home? She was gentle about it, I guess, but they’re already thinking she’s their alpha-bitch.

Ellis thought about it but didn’t agree with his brother. Hunter was just talking, that was all. He was no more alpha than he was a gardener. He’d leave that to the professionals. But when Hunter reminded him again about the charity thing, he told him he’d talk to Dawn. She woke a few minutes later, stretching over him like a large, warm cat.

“We have to go back to my home Wednesday. It’s Monday now, so that should be enough time, don’t you think?” She shook her head, and he could see her fear. “Let me start over. I have to go home by Friday. There’s this huge event that Addie is in charge of. A charity event that raises money for abused children and adults. She wants us all to be there.”

“I know. I donate to it every year. But I don’t have to go with you.” She stood up and reached for the clothing that she’d brought out with her. He’d never even noticed it until just then. “You have to go, but I don’t.”

“Then I won’t go.” She looked ready to argue. “I’m not going if you don’t go with me. I don’t really care if I go or not, but to have you on my arm would be great. Of course, I’m going to make you explain it to Sloan and Addie. They’re in charge of it this year. And so is Jack. She’s in charge of seating this time, so you’ll have to tell her how you messed up her seating arrangements. Then there’s—”

“I’m not going.” He nodded and stood up, reaching for his own clothing. “I’m serious, Ellis. I’m not going. I have things to do here, and I don’t do well with people. Plus, what would I wear? What would you wear?”

“I have a tux. Got fitted for it and everything. All of us Emerson men have them now.” He grinned at her. “Dad will be disappointed, too. I think he was supposed to sit to your right. He’ll not have anyone to dance with but Hunter.”

“I’m not going.” He nodded again. “I mean it. Don’t even try to talk me into it. I’m not ready to go out to that kind of event, if I ever will be.”

She kept telling him that all the way back to the house.

Chapter 7


“You have to get me out of here. Go to the bank and tell them they have to give you the money.” Basil was scared to be in jail. He’d been okay in the hospital, but when he was fit to move, instead of taking him home with a pretty nurse to care for him, they’d taken him to jail and had one of the men there take care of his wound. And Neva was being no help whatsoever.

“And what do you think I should tell them, Basil? My husband shot at a cop and a lawyer, and now he wants me to bail his butt out of jail so he can come home and help me clean up the yard before them yahoos throw us off our land? He’ll laugh at me.” She pouted her lips at him, and he felt his heart melt for her. He loved his Neva more than he did anything else. “And there ain’t no more money coming in either. That last check we got from that social services place is no good. The bank took it and told me that I was done receiving them, too.”

“Darn it all to heck. They told us as long as we was caring for her, we’d get the check. Did they tell you why?” She nodded and wiped at a tear. “Don’t be crying, honey. You know that just tears me up inside. What did they say to you that’s got you all dewy?”

“They know she’s not there no more.” He leaned back on his bunk and stared at her as she continued. “That man told them that she’s been gone from our house for over eight years. Is that right, Basie? Has she been gone that long?”

“I guess.” He asked her which man she was talking about, the sheriff or the lawyer. “That guy in the suit that you peed on his papers. That was funny, you know. You peeing on those things. I wish you’d have killed them though. We’d not be in this if you had.”

“I can’t no more kill someone than you could, not no more.” She nodded, and he leaned his head on the wall behind him. “We have to get her back. I know if we can prove she needs our help, we can get all that back, including her insurance money. That sure was helpful to us all that time.”

Neva was shaking her head. “They said we have to pay that all back, too. All of the social service money and the insurance money. That man I talked to said we was fraudulentmental on that.” He told her fraudulent, and she nodded. “So because she’s been gone all this time and they can prove it, we have to give it all back. We don’t have that money no more, Bassie. We used it all up.”

“We did. But it was ours in having to take her in with us.”

He’d never liked Dawn. Not even her mother for that matter. She’d been a bad person when they were kids, and then when she’d been caught with her pants down and a baby in her belly, she’d told him she’d found her a love of her life. And then she was in prison for something. Good riddance to her and her brat.

Her being in prison when she’d died only told him he’d been right about her all this time. It didn’t matter to him that she tried to tell him that she’d changed, gotten religion while she’d been in jail. And no matter how many times she’d begged him to bring her the brat of a daughter, he’d never done that either. It wasn’t safe for her to be away from the house.

Basil had gone to see her mother once or twice while she’d been in prison, just to see if she had any more money for them. When she’d told him all her money was going for a policy for her daughter, he’d sneered at her and told her that her kid was dead. He knew it was wrong of him, but at that point, he’d not been getting any checks from the government and he was still working. Someone at the jail had told him how to get some financial help. Who knew that the less you worked the more you could get for taking in someone else’s kid?

“We’re gonna have to find her anyway. She’s more than likely got some stash somewheres that she can give us. We did take her in when we didn’t have to.” Neva nodded. “You know that man and woman at the house down the road? I’m betting they know where she is. They had a look on them like they knew everything. Go on down there and have a talk with them.”

“They done made it so you can’t get in the drive, remember? And I don’t have no more money for gas anyway.” He wanted to scream out his frustrations, but didn’t want to upset his Neva. “I brought in some of our cans we’d been saving. I’m planning on going by the recycle place to get me some of that. I think I got me enough to get back home with.”

“You’re so smart, honey. I never would have thought of that. You might be able to bring them all in and get enough to pay my bail, too. Sweet talk that guy at the place so you can get him to put a little extra in the envelope like you did the last time.” She’d put her foot on the scale and had upped the weight by about fifteen pounds. “You’re such a wonderful wife. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

After she left telling him she’d take care of him, he was brought his meal. He didn’t want to eat it, but the last time he’d refused to do that, they’d just taken it away and told him to starve. He thought he might have if he’d not been begging for a drink and was brought a cola. Goodness gracious, these men were hard and mean to him.

As he picked up his plastic fork and knife, Basil began to cut into the hard crusty meat. He thought it was chicken, but wasn’t entirely sure. When cutting it proved to be too hard, he opened his stale bun and put it there. He was still chewing his first bite when a man pulled a chair up in front of his cell.

“Mr. Basil Combs?” Basil nodded but couldn’t speak around the lump of food in his mouth. “I’m here from the state department of taxation. I’m here to ask you about some unpaid taxes on the property you’re living on.”

“I don’t work, so I don’t have to pay any taxes.” The man only nodded. “No. I get me a nice refund every year, but I don’t ever have to pay any. It’s a nice big check, too. Head of household and all. You got me a refund? I sure could use it about now.”

“No. And if you own property, you shouldn’t be getting the refunds you’ve been receiving. But property tax, which this is, has nothing to do with your federal income.” Basil had taken another bite of his sandwich as the man continued. “You owe for the past twenty-seven years. Nothing has been paid on it since it was transferred to your name. You owe a great deal with penalties.”

“I ain’t got no money, and I’m not paying no property taxes either. I just told you, I don’t work.” The man pushed a file at him, and Basil took it without thinking. “I don’t care what this here thing says, I’m not paying ‘cause I don’t have a job.”

The man stood up. “Then perhaps you should think about finding one, because as of right now, you have thirty days to come up with the funds to pay the taxes on the land or we’re going to take it from you.” Basil opened the file and looked at the staggering amount. “Have a good day, sir.”

“A good day? How the heck do I have a good day when you’re taking my land? And that other person, that other woman says I have to clean it up or she’ll take it. You darned people are messing things up for me. I don’t have a job.” He was still shouting when the officer who had brought him his meal came into the long hall. “Did you see this? He wants me to come up with over two hundred thousand dollars in thirty days. I don’t even got me a job that’ll pay for my bail to get my person out of here.”

“Sucks to be you, I guess.” The officer reached for his tray, and Basil took off the apple and the cola that were still left on it. He had to give up the pie, which he supposed was good because he was still tasting that one from yesterday. Darn, but he’d not had a good meal since that brat had left them.

“And for what reason?” He finished his sandwich and started on the apple. It was hardly fit to be called that, but it would be hours before he was given anything else. “Sure, we tied her up, but that was to keep us safe. She might have gotten it into her head to tear into us or something.”

Basil had seen shifting people before. There were a couple of wolves that had been on his land once that he’d fired at. Not killing them or anything, but he’d made sure they knew that they weren’t welcome. But when Dawn had her one of them shifts, he’d been a little afraid of her. It was not like they were bad to her, but she might not see it the way he and his Neva had.

If things didn’t look up soon, he and his wife were gonna be living in the house without a means to get to their car. He was pretty sure they’d make it so he’d not be able to park his car on the land when they took it. What was he supposed to do with it then? Opening the cola, he took a long sip of it while he tried to work it out.

He really did wonder how he was going to manage living in the house if the land belonged to someone else. There had to be some provisions so that he could get out of the place to go to town when he needed to do some shopping. Surely, they didn’t think he was going to fly to it, did they? If anyone else came to see him, he’d ask. They’d be able to tell him how he was going to work that.

Dozing just a little, he was startled awake by that lawyer person, Shawnee or something like that. The man told him his name again, and Basil nodded, wondering what the heck else could go wrong today. Then he remembered his question and asked him.

Shawn’s blank stare made Basil think that he didn’t know either. Basil was quite proud of himself for coming up with something that would stump a suit. But before he could crow about it too much, rub it in his face, the man threw back his head and laughed. It was a good five minutes before he got some control over himself to answer him.

“The land and the property are one thing. Anything you have on the property is considered a part of it. The house, the cars, even any sheds or outbuildings you have on the land will belong to my client.”

Basil told him about the tax man. “I tried to tell him that I don’t have to pay them when they’re giving me money not to have a job. But he just kept telling me that I gotta pay them. Two hundred thousand dollars’ worth of that shit. I did never get that much in refunds.” Shawn told him he’d more than likely have to pay that back as well. “Why for?”

“Did you claim that you had property to get those refunds? Tell whoever did your taxes for you that you owned land?” He told him his wife did them for them. “Then she should have known better than to not claim the land as income too.”

“The land don’t pay me nothing. How the hell is that considered income?” Basil shook his head. “I think you all are making this crap up as you go.”

“It’s property and, as such, considered income.” Shawn shook his head again as he laughed. “You really do think that this is just going to go away, don’t you?”

“I just think I’m being hosed, and I’m a good guy.” Shawn handed him a file, and he was almost afraid to open this one. Instead, he put it on the bed next to him. “Just tell me what it says. I got enough surprises for one day.”

“That says that you’ll leave the premises post haste and never return.” Basil tried to wrap his mind around what he was saying, and Shawn sighed heavily before he could ask him what the heck he’d just said. “You’ll leave the house and the property as soon as you’re released from jail and never return.”

“I ain’t gonna do that. I got stuff there. That place has been in my family for a long time. What if my kids want it?” Shawn asked him if he had any. “Well, no, but that don’t mean we might not have some one day. Me and Neva just ain’t in a position to bring them into the world just yet.”

Basil thought he said thank God but wasn’t really sure. When he spoke again, Basil listened, but all he could think about was having a baby with his Neva. Basil interrupted Shawn, not really listening anyway.

“How old you gotta be to be too old to have a kid? I mean, I got me some juices left. What about Neva?” He asked how old she was. “We’re in our fifties. She’s a might older than me, but she’s still just as lovely as when I first met her.”

“I’m pretty sure you’re past the time to start a family, but you might want to check with your doctor.” Nodding, Basil thought about having to find one first, but that was down the road for now. They had to get this money thing taken care of first. “About the house and land. You leave now, for good, as soon as you’re released, and my client is willing to pay off the taxes and assume the responsibility of cleaning up the place.”

“Well, that’s right nice of them. Tell them I said thanks.” Basil leaned back on the little cot and thought of how nice it would be to live with the place all cleaned up. “Any chance of us getting something for our own selves out of this? I don’t mean to be greedy none, but it would be nice to have some pocket money and all.”

“I’m to cut you a check for five thousand dollars as soon as you agree to the terms.” Basil nodded again. “You’ll leave as soon as you’re released?”

“Sure. Sure. We just gotta get us a few of our things out first. When you think they’ll start on the yard? It’s been a long time since we’ve had us a mower. My niece should have been doing it, and when we get her back, we’ll make sure it’s all caught up. But for now, how long you thinking?”

Shawn told him to sign off on the pages where the little tabs were. He even handed him a really pretty pen to do it with. Basil thought of asking if he could keep it, but didn’t. He was nice enough to pay off the tax man and clean up his yard for him. He didn’t know where they’d have to stay until it was done, but he’d figure something out.

“As soon as you’re out of the house, give me a call at this number. Then they’ll begin working on the place. The taxes, all of them, will be paid, but you’re going to be responsible for any other fines and back taxes you might owe. As for the social services money, you’ll also have to take care of that.” Basil nodded. “You’ll be out within twenty-four hours, right?”

He told him he’d be out by then. Just as soon as he was released. Wait until Neva heard about this. She was going to be as happy as a clam. A nice clean house and a yard they could walk around in. Man, things were looking up.

BOOK: Ellis: Emerson Wolves ― Paranormal Wolf Shifter Romance
6.97Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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