Training Their Mate

By: Vella Day

Chapter One

Liz Wharton wanted Harvey Couch dead.

She’d put enough GHB in his coffee to make the average man drop to his knees in minutes, and yet each time she’d gone into her new boss’s office, the raping bastard hadn’t looked cross-eyed once. How was that even possible?

He’d holed up in his office for the last hour, and she prayed by now he was slumped over his desk. Her pits stunk from nervous perspiration waiting for the moment to pull the trigger. It was horrible enough that he’d raped her mom twenty years ago, but last week she’d found her dead mother’s diary that revealed Couch had returned week after week until her mom finally killed herself.

Christ. Just go check on him.

You have to look. Then you have to shoot him.

She clutched her purse with the gun inside and strode toward his office. If he came at her like he had her mom, she’d shoot the bastard in the balls—then in his heart.

After glancing behind her to make sure no customers had wandered in, she inhaled her courage.

The November skies had grown darker than usual, and the gunmetal gray clouds rumbled. A bolt of lightning lit up the office window. She clasped a hand to her chest and forced her heart to slow.

Stay calm.

She wanted to get the hell out of here, but she couldn’t just walk out without knowing for certain if he was ripe for killing. She tapped on his door and held her breath. If he answered, she would just say goodnight. It was a few minutes past five already.

“Come in.”

Fuck. How did I fail? The bastard should be drowsy and glassy-eyed, if not asleep.

She pushed the door open and stuck her head into the room. The asshole was upright and appeared completely in control of his body. Her brain searched for words to cover her disappointment. “I’ve sorted through all the manifests, filed them, and sent for a few more resumes. Is there anything else you need before I go home?” Besides kill your sorry ass?

For a brief moment, his muddy brown eyes appeared to glow amber, but she chalked it up to her nerves and the fading light coming through the window.

“No, Ms. Chambers. You did a fine job today, dear.”

Ms. Chambers. She liked the name she’d chosen. She’d spotted it stenciled on a building plaque she passed on her way here from the parking lot. No way could she have used her real name. After all, he might have recognized it. “Yes, sir.”

He looked down then glanced up. “It’s good to have you on board. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Dismissive prick. This wasn’t finished.

She’d played it smart though. Every time she’d come into his office today to ask for more instructions or to give him something, she’d glanced at his calendar and mentally noted where he needed to be later in the week. He hadn’t seen the last of her.

Her chest constricted, and before she passed out or acted more suspicious, she had to leave. One thing for damn sure, she couldn’t come back to the office after her failed attempt. Not to mention being near the vile man churned her stomach something fierce. She’d just have to figure out another way to kill the asshole.

She turned around and forced herself to take metered steps back to her desk. Running would signal something was wrong. As she inspected her office area to make sure she hadn’t left any scrap of evidence behind, she heard him on the phone.

As unobtrusively as possible, she slipped into the muggy Florida air where a light sprinkle had already begun to fall. Her stomach rolled from the exhaust fumes mixed with the smell of urine from the storefront next door. She hurried toward the remote parking lot and glanced around her. Despite this being a small city, it was still a city and there should have more people outside despite the inclement weather. Whatever.

The urge to run to her car almost won out, but she kept her gaze straight ahead and her stride even and strong.

Why hadn’t the bastard collapsed?

He’d drank almost the whole damn cup of peppered coffee. She’d pilfered the drug from her BFF, Chelsea, who took a very potent sleep aid that was laced with GHB, as close to a truth serum as she could find. Thirty minutes after her friend ingested the drug, she was out cold for at least four hours. Even though Mr. Couch was a much larger man, he should have been affected.

Yes, taking the drug from her friend had been wrong, and more than one twinge of guilt had consumed her, but she’d had no choice. The man had ruined her life. She just prayed Chelsea never found out. If she had, despite the circumstances, her levelheaded friend would have tried to talk her out of confronting him.

As Liz approached the remote parking lot, she increased her pace, in part out of fear someone would arrest her for what she’d done and partly because the rain was pounding harder. It would have been nice if she’d thought to bring an umbrella, but her mind had been focused on murder.

Several boarded up storefronts ratcheted her creep factor. She needed to reach the lot fast and drive home. Focused on her destination, she picked up her pace. Her foot bumped into a cup full of change, and only when her toe connected with the metal object, did she spot the sleeping transient under the awning. The cup rolled four more feet before stopping.

“Sorry.” She retrieved the container and replaced the coins.

The man didn’t stir. Why couldn’t Couch have fallen asleep like that?