Authors: Tanya Moore
Tags: #romance, #werewolf, #magical, #shifter animals
By Leah Moore
Copyright 2013 Leah Moore
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of
characters to actual persons, living or dead, is purely
coincidental. The Author holds exclusive rights to this work.
Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.
Cover Design by Lan Gao
THANK YOU to my wonderful husband, Eric, who
supported me thru the entire writing process. He was a sounding
board for ideas, helping me decide on which to use and creating
others. Also, thank you to my mother Wanda and my sister Tara for
reading as I created, making sure I kept on point and telling me I
could finish it. In addition, a special thanks to my generous
friend, Lisa, for taking her precious time to edit my rough draft.
I could never have completed this without all of you!!!
her bangs out of her eyes as she looked up from the file she was
working on, disheartened with how the day turned out. Even after
having her veterinary practice for five years, it was hard to
believe how much administrative work was involved. Between
paperwork, after hours emergencies, client phone calls, and her
volunteer work there wasn't room for a social life, not that she'd
ever had one. Of course, that didn't hinder her friends and parents
from constantly harping on her to get out there and "find someone".
She knew her biological clock was ticking; she was a doctor after
all. Next week was her thirtieth birthday and she was darn proud of
what she had accomplished in her thirty years. Yet, if she were
honest with herself, she knew her heart was missing some vital
pieces: husband, kids, and the proverbial white picket fence.
Shaking her head at the direction of her thoughts, she bent back
over Bosco's paperwork and stamped a red "deceased" on the file.
Her eyes filled with tears again and she wiped them away in
A few minutes later Sam walked in while
pulling her white-blonde hair out of her ponytail and fluffing it.
Inwardly grimacing, Riley mentally compared Sam's beautiful locks
to her own boring, brown hair. Riley's hair never looked good after
being in a ponytail all day; it always sported a huge kink where
the hair tie held it in place. Sometimes she contemplated wearing a
wig, the good ones always had every hair in place and looked fairly
realistic. Then she could shave her head and not have to worry
about pulling her hair back while she worked. After her workday,
she would don her wig and it would look perfect, just like Sam's
Sam was Riley's roommate in college and
they'd been close friends ever since. When they met, Sam had
already received her business degree and was working towards
becoming a vet technician because she loved working with animals
but didn't have the desire to chase after a doctorate. They were
opposites socially, with Sam keeping a packed social calendar and
constantly juggling men while Riley did neither. When Riley moved
forward with opening the clinic, she couldn't have done it without
Sam's help as the office manager and lead vet technician. She
leaned on Sam quite a lot. Sam always supported her and helped her
through all the challenges of opening a practice; they were
probably closer to sisters with the way Sam harped on her to find a
Riley knew her eyes were red from fighting
tears over Bosco, but didn't have the energy for a heart to heart.
"What's up?” asked Riley.
"We're heading to Rowdy's for a drink. Will
you join us? Just one drink, we promise not to keep you out too
late, but you need to get out and enjoy life a bit."
"No, not tonight, I have shelter duty." She
volunteered at one of the local shelters to care for their new
intakes. Shelters were short on money, but there never seemed to be
a shortage of abandoned and abused pets. A consortium of local vets
volunteered their time to offset what the shelter's budget didn't
"Fine, but you better keep Friday night open.
You have to come out with us once this decade. Besides, you
promised you'd join us this month. Well, guess what? I'm calling in
the debt for Friday." Sam huffed and crossed her arms.
"Fine, fine. I promise to go out for one
drink on Friday." Riley bent her head back over her paperwork and
mentally chastised herself for making that stupid promise last
month. She wanted one night to call her own, to draw a bath and sit
in the suds with a glass of wine and a good book, maybe cry a
little and give herself some time to mourn over the patients she'd
lost in the last year. However, her schedule was so crazy she never
seemed to find the time.
Sam pulled her out of her reverie as she
started talking again. "You know you didn't give Bosco cancer,
right? You can't save every animal that walks through this door,
and I know for a fact you did everything in your power to heal
Riley nodded and ran her hand down her face,
attempting to rub the bad feelings away. She knew Sam was right,
but it was tough not being emotionally invested in animals she
fought to keep alive, especially ones with long drawn out
illnesses. She was fighting tears again, so she fisted her hands
until her nails bit through her palm, letting the pain distract her
from the feeling of being utterly powerless.
Sam continued, "Look Ri, you've had some
tough months, heck years, getting this practice up and running. You
need some free time to decompress. The only way that will happen is
if you start looking for another vet to come help with this
workload. We're profitable now and you should seriously consider
taking that step." She knew she was probably pushing a bit too
hard. She could tell Riley was on the verge of losing it and knew
she hated to show weakness by crying.
Sam had hit the nail on the head and Riley
knew it. She hadn't found the energy to make one more transition.
It seemed like the last ten years of completing college, then her
doctorate, and starting the practice was about transition; it was
nice to finally have a routine down. To bring a new vet in meant
learning their work style, being flexible on some of her own
quirks, and blending an entirely new person into their tight knit
group of office staff.
Riley stiffened her back and girded herself
for one more transition. She looked up at Sam and plunged in,
knowing if she didn't create some accountability it would probably
never happen. "OK. You're right Sam and I'll start putting some
feelers out next week. I promise, and I know you'll work to keep me
to that promise. Now, let me get back to my paperwork so I can get
out of here and go help some of those animals at the shelter."
Riley gave Sam a half smile and widened her eyes when Sam started
clapping and jumping up and down. She couldn't help but chuckle at
her friend's enthusiastic response.
Sam ran around the desk and gave her a huge
bear hug. It always amazed her how one small action could bring
back a flood of memories. The hug Sam gave her took her back to
when she said goodbye to her best friend, Ryan, who moved away when
she was a young thirteen-year-old girl. She hadn't thought of Ryan
in months. He was the only friend she'd had that gave her a sense
of being home, like an older brother rather than a friendship. It
was almost seventeen years later and she still felt the hole in her
heart from his family moving away.
"I am so glad, Ri, seriously. You really
deserve to have some fun in life after all you've accomplished.
I'll leave you alone now and see you tomorrow. Have a good night."
Sam released her hold on Riley and skipped out of the office to go
tell Jennifer and Lyla the good news. They'd be thrilled Riley was
finally going to get some extra help.
Riley shook off the thoughts of Ryan and
stared around her somewhat empty office, envisioning sharing it
with another doctor. The clinic wasn't big enough for two private
offices, so she'd have to divvy up her space. It was a 14 x 12 foot
white rectangle with white walls, white linoleum floor, and a white
tile ceiling. Her large oak desk sat to the right of the door,
facing the middle of the room. Directly behind her desk chair was
the shorter wall, with a sliding window, which connected to the
reception area. To the left of her desk, along the long wall, were
some bookshelves full of well-used medical journals and old
textbooks. A corkboard covered with curly edged client's photo's
covered the wall opposite her desk.
The only personal effects in the office were
the two pictures on her desk and her diploma hanging on the wall.
One 8 x 10 picture showed her parents on a tropical vacation,
smiles on their tan faces. Her parent's relationship was amazing,
and she hoped she would someday find someone to share her life with
that matched her as well as her dad matched her mom. She wasn't
naive, she knew they'd had their difficulties throughout life, but
they made it through all of them, and their love grew every year.
Her parents were currently snow birding in Arizona for the winter
and Riley missed having them near. There was also a 5 x 7 of her
harlequin Great Dane, Wolf, and her cat, Oscar. They loved each
other dearly - when Oscar was a kitten, he tried to nurse on Wolf.
It was adorable to watch, and Wolf was always extremely patient
with him. Even when Oscar pricked his sharp kitten claws into
Wolf's sensitive belly, Wolf didn't growl or bite. He must have
sensed Oscar needed some extra love since the tiny kitten came into
their lives too young to care for itself. In the picture, Oscar lay
curled up in the crook of Wolf's belly as they both took a nap in
the sunshine of her large backyard.
The rest of the office was almost empty
except for a couple of chairs and a two-drawer filing cabinet for
her personal records. Yes, she figured this was big enough to give
two decent size workstations and still have room for the shelves of
medical books and journals. The clinic itself was definitely big
enough to have a couple of doctors. The reception area had a large
front desk, with enough couches and overstuffed chairs to seat six
clients and pets comfortably. There were five exam rooms, an x-ray
room, two operating rooms, and kennels for boarded and recovering
animals. If she found the right personality, she could make this
work and not feel as if someone intruded into her space. Finding
the right personality was the key, and she hoped it was possible to
couple personality with skill.
There were vet students graduating every
year, and with her close proximity to Oregon State University,
where she got her degree, she could keep an eye out for someone who
was competent, maybe even get someone in for an internship to try
them out before offering the job. It was February, so there would
be a class graduating in a couple of months. She'd have to contact
her old professors and put some feelers out for candidates.
Sam called through the window behind her,
"Goodnight Ri, everything is cleaned up and ready for tomorrow, and
everyone has been fed and medicated; we'll lock up as we head
"Thanks guys, I appreciate all your help.
Have fun at Rowdy's."
The door clicked shut and she heard the key
turn as Sam locked up. Riley walked down the hall to the break room
and grabbed her PB & J sandwich. On her way back, she looked in
on the animals that were staying the night at the clinic. She felt
horrible for them, knowing they'd rather be in their own homes. She
gave them a bit of extra love before she headed back to her office.
As she sat down at her desk, she opened her lunch bag and took a
bite of sandwich, then pulled out her next file. Just a few more
charts to fill out and she'd head over to the local shelter and see
what she could do to help their new arrivals.
Riley arrived at the shelter by 7:30 PM. It
was a no-kill shelter owned and operated by a non-profit group.
They worked with many local handlers, trainers, and vets to
evaluate, train, rehabilitate, and re-home the animals. Riley
entered the small reception area and Mike, the evening manager,
greeted her. He was sitting behind the desk that graced the right
hand wall. There was enough room for about six chairs and an end
table along the other walls. The hallway directly across from the
entrance led back to the holding pens and treatment rooms. It was a
small shelter, and only had enough room to house about 15 dogs and
20 cats comfortably. An exercise yard, surrounded by chain link
fence was in the back.