Authors: Erika Masten
Text copyright ©2016 by the Author.
This work was made possible by a special license through the Kindle Worlds publishing program and has not necessarily been reviewed by LATIN GODDESS PRESS INC.. All characters, scenes, events, plots and related elements appearing in the original Sassy Ever After remain the exclusive copyrighted and/or trademarked property of LATIN GODDESS PRESS INC., or their affiliates or licensors.
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lying blind again
, are we?” Angie said, a smirk on her full lips and with one dark brow perked as she stepped into the chilled glass elevator. Hotel AC. You can’t beat it, especially in a place like Vegas. And in a pantsuit in the middle of summer.
It wasn’t just any suit, either, no polyester lime sorbet-colored crap. Angie might have been a big girl, short but on the “thick and hearty side” as her male friends liked to say appreciatively, but this shit was Michael Kors, midnight blue and tailored to perfection. And not from the Primm outlets, either. Any professional who worked on the Strip got to know all the right salespeople at the upscale shops.
, partner in crime, and tag team relief in this VIP host gig was amber-eyed beauty Letty Acosta. Letty rolled with the flow with a lot more grace and a lot less lip than Angie did when hotel management threw complications at them like a big ape throwing barrels. The woman shrugged as she turned to stand shoulder to shoulder with Angie for the ride up to the high roller suites. Letty handed Angie one of the two guest dossiers they’d only just been given.
“Like these are going to do us any good. Maybe if we’d had them before the guests arrived….” Angie rolled her eyes and absently scanned the glistening lights sinking farther and farther below them as Vegas came alive in the hazy desert dusk.
Working on the Strip, it was easy to become jaded to the flash and glam. The clicking of the chips and the chiming slot machines. The lights and the music and the fog of alcohol. Sometimes it took something like this, standing in the silent luxury of a glass elevator above it all, to really appreciate what it was about this city that got everyone so excited. A big bright oasis spread out over a vast canyon floor. That called to something basic in a human. And a shifter, apparently, or the Shifter Access Unlimited Hotel that employed her wouldn’t have been doing so well.
“Is it just me,” Angie asked, “or is almost every suite stuffed to overflowing with high rollers and brooding alphas this week?”
“Brooding is good,” Letty replied and winked at Angie. “Brooding works for me. Although it’s really just the wolves and bears who brood. The cats
.” The girl gave an affected shiver that shook her breasts and rustled her long hair.
“Oh, someone’s still got her panties all in a bunch over that Greek werelion from the penthouse suite last week.”
Letty’s cheeks lit a deep pink under her tan. “Hey, I wasn’t the only one. Gavin said that man was enough to turn him gay.”
Angie choked out a hard, sudden laugh. “Gavin started out bi, so it wasn’t all that far to go. We wouldn’t be in this situation improvising our way through a VIP welcome if Gavin could control that weakness for tall dark billionaire shifters.”
Letty nodded. “I’d have quit, too, if I had the chance to move to New York City as the personal assistant of one of the richest,
men in the world. Screw two weeks notice. Screw notice on my apartment. Screw packing. Take me now! Right to the airport!”
Angie felt her back and her bottom lip stiffen. “Not me,” she insisted. “I’m not picking up and following any man anywhere. Give me a few more years working the VIPs and learning the ropes and I’ll be ready to open my own boutique hotel somewhere chic, somewhere exotic—.”
,” Letty chimed in unison with Angie, like she might have heard this speech a time or two before. “I get it; I really do. One of these days you’ll tell me why you insist it’s got to be some overpriced villa on Fiji or some hidden Hawaiian utopia instead of the Scottish manor that hunky horse shifter staying in the suites last month had for sale. ‘Fess up; you have something against Scotland? The UK in general? That rules out London, too.”
“Brat,” Angie said, holding back her smile while hiding that it was part grimace. “I’m just saying, I have my plan and I’m sticking to it. I don’t need to let myself get distracted by sugar daddy money or shifter sex.”
“Or love?” Letty added with an innocent lilt.
“Don’t curse me with that fairy tale voice of yours, woman, or I’ll quit and leave you to baby all these VIPs by yourself.”
She’d leave the way Gavin had, despite all the fun the three of them had running the Strip.
. Angie clenched her fists and her jaw. He’d really left them in the lurch, and she hoped he got to New York and found out his new job and his new billionaire boyfriend were….
Angie’s shoulders slumped a little with her thoughts. As tough and cold as she wanted to be, she hoped New York was everything Gavin dreamed.
. Angie knew people never stayed long in Vegas, but did everybody have to leave?
The elevator doors slid open smoothly, and Angie stepped out into the tiled foyer leading to the suite. This one took up a quarter of the floor and was accessible only by one of the private, keyed elevators.
Letty tugged the elbow of Angie’s sleeve. “You’re not going to check the dossiers before you go in?”
Angie shook her head, then glared at the blond highlight that wiggled out of the loose but professional bun she’d tied her brown hair into near the nape of her neck. Gavin always said it made her look like a librarian but the naughty kind.
“No, I’m already almost five minutes late. I’ll give them the standard greeting and run-down of services and see where they want their dinner reservations. I should get a chance to check the file after that, provided they don’t already have a laundry list of special requests and errands to run.”
Letty put on a gruff guy voice. “I want ten pounds of raw Kobe beef, a box of the best cigars you stock, and a case—.”
“Of Coors Light,” Angie chimed in. “Man, he was a piece of work. A bear in more ways than one.”
The sound of a throat clearing cut their laughter short and made the women turn to look down the hallway toward the only other suite door on this side of the building. Their supervisor, who insisted on going by Monsieur Black despite no French accent, stood watching them from over the room service cart he was inspecting prior to delivery to that suite. Spot inspection, that was his signature move. The man lived to work, investing every ounce of his self-esteem in the hotel’s reputation for sterling personal service.
“Monsieur,” Letty called out and smiled and waved. “No joking about guest idiosyncrasies,” she reminded Angie under her breath.
“Even crimes against taste,” Angie muttered back, then called out more loudly, “Evening, Monsieur.” Then lower again, she said, “Monsieur Penguin.”
Letty shushed her and tried to swallow a snort of laughter at the same time. “It’s not his fault, Angie.”
“No, but damn it is fitting. I mean, he looks like a penguin and, well, there he is, the only werepenguin in Vegas. My boss. Busting my ass with last minute schedule changes and a total failure to understand that not everyone wants to spend every waking moment on the job.”
Black tapped his watch to remind the women to get moving. Little black penguin eyes, even in human form, regarded them shrewdly.
Angie started toward the suite door, asking Letty over her shoulder, “You have the other suite? You heading over there now?”
“I’ve actually at least cracked the file open on mine,” Letty teased. “The two suites are adjoining, one large party, so both of us are assigned to the guests.”
“We’re a package deal?”
“As always, Ms. Maddox, as always.”
The women were still looking at one another, Angie’s hand raised to knock, when the suite door opened to reveal a tall blond daydream wearing an expensive suit and an expectant look. It took the two women an extra second to sweep their eyes down his lean swimmer’s frame and then pick both their gazes and their jaws back up from the floor. No matter how long a girl, particularly a human girl, had worked at the hotel, there was no getting used to the good looks and pronounced sexual magnetism of a male shifter. It kind of ruined most women for the average human guy.
“Good evening. My name is Angie Maddox, and this is Letty Acosta. We’re here from VIP services to welcome the suite guests.”
How had she known the man who answered the door wasn’t their high roller client? People in high-end service, people like Angie herself, had a different stance and demeanor than the rich and powerful people they served. And she was proud of that. The exercise in self-control helped her rein in her tendency toward a sassy mouth. Usually. With hotel guests, at least.
She should have known, from the young man’s accent; she should’ve known. In a rich Scottish brogue tempered by youth, the twenty-something blond man greeted them, saying, “Aye, then you must come in.”
Once he’d taken a second drawing his own lustful gaze away from Letty’s curves, gifted as she was with family genes that produced plus-size models, the young man stepped aside to let them enter.
But it was Angie hesitating now, at the sound of that accent, not unfamiliar to her. Not unfamiliar at all. A flash of heat scorched Angie’s skin from her cleavage up her neck to her full cheeks. That wasn’t a reaction she’d had to a man in years, and she wasn’t even really having it to
man. It was more like a ghost whispering in her ear.
For once, it was Angie coming into the room on Letty’s heels. A few steps later and a quick glance through the palatial suite of crystal and stainless steel, of suede and imported leather and fur, heavy with the rich scent of polished wood, and Angie’s ghost flared to life.
“Angharod, still always fashionably late, I see.”
That voice. That brogue. Like whiskey burning her throat, then warming her chest—among other parts of her body. Angie knew, even before she and Letty turned in unison to face the broad-shouldered, brown-haired man leaning on one shoulder by the window, that her night had just gotten a whole lot worse.
Speechless. For the first time in her life and for a whole three or four seconds, maybe more. Long enough that the six-foot-two man addressing her, the
, roguishly arched one brow in question at her. Those damn ice blue eyes of his, the kind people always thought were so beautiful in wilderness photographs of wolves, regarded her from under a fringe of honey brown hair he’d let get a little long at the top. It was curling just over his shirt collar at his nape. His gaze held a twinkle of amusement that made her want to slap that square-jawed, clean-shaven, perfect fucking face.
“What the devil are you doing here?” she asked in a huff, instantly forgetting her professional composure.
Monsieur Penguin would have been livid at her tone. But goddamn Calum Ferguson just crooked one of those sexy, smirky smiles he had always used to challenge her.
He smiled wider then, accentuating the broad curve of his full lips. Under the fine material of an expensive white button-front, with his blue suit jacket and tie folded over a nearby chair, Calum’s muscles flexed lightly under his skin with his chuckle. Lord, how many years had it been? Seven years. He’d matured from a glaringly handsome university student to one gorgeous fucking man.
“It’s a hotel, aye, lass? And I’m staying here for business. All very hush hush. I’m afraid I cannot say any more than that.”
Calum narrowed his light eyes as he swept Angie head to toe and back again with the look was at once good-humored but also hungry. And she recognized that appetite of his. Damn her pussy for responding by slicking itself for him. She could feel it already in the pit of her stomach—and her panties.
Then he just had to add, for good measure, “And it looks like you’re here to serve me.” The bastard took a good long pause before he finished, “As my personal concierge. Is that right, lass?”
It was Letty’s voice that piped up when Angie was too furious to choke out all the curses knotted up at the back of her throat. “The hotel calls us VIP hosts, Mister….” She took a second to flip open the dossier folder she had slipped from under Angie’s arm without Angie even realizing it.
“Not Mister,” Angie corrected her. “This is
Calum Ferguson. Where he comes from, at least, he’s a royal.” It wasn’t really for Letty’s benefit that Angie subvocalized, “A royal ass.” And that ass was still sizing her up with mirthful blue eyes like it was Christmas morning and she was wearing nothing but a great big bow. Angie glanced at Letty to explain, “We have to call him
“No, lass, that was only you and only when we were in bed.”
You could hear the silence there was so much of it then in that room, from Angie, from Letty, and from the pretty blond wolf shifter, probably a beta or something close in Calum’s Highlands wolf pack.
“That’s not true,” Angie told him, told them, practically chirping the denial in a distressingly high voice. “That’s not true,” she repeated plaintively to Letty.
Her friend pointedly glanced from Letty to Calum and back again, shaking her head just slightly and giving a little shrug. “Too bad,” she muttered so softly that Angie wasn’t sure if anyone else was meant to hear it.
“Oh, for heaven’s sake,” Angie said in a frustrated burst of breath as she turned on her four-inch heels and made for the door. “I’m not doing this. Let the penguin fire me.”
Letty caught up with Angie and stopped her in the foyer. “You’re not serious, are you? About letting Black fire you, right? You’re not going to quit, are you? Angie, what about all your plans?”
“No,” Angie huffed. “No, I don’t want to quit. If I’m ever going to get anywhere….”
If she was ever going to get anywhere but left behind in Vegas while all her friends drifted away one by one to bigger and better,
lives, she was going to need to get herself under control. But Calum? Why did it have to Calum?
Surely she’d been working too long and too hard at establishing herself in the hotel industry, at being self-reliant and tough and maybe even a little jaded, to let all those insecurities from what seemed like a lifetime ago contaminate the life she was trying to build now.
“I have an idea,” she told Letty, and she switched the two guest dossiers. Inside the folder that had belonged to Letty, Angie found a familiar name. “Kenzie Ferguson. That’s his younger sister. Gosh, I think she was only fourteen when I met her. That would make her…. Wow, twenty-one now and probably on her first trip to Las Vegas. I could regret this if she’s grown up half as wild as her brother, but we’re going to switch. I’ll handle her requests, and you take care of