Valentino's Cowboy [Brac Village 10]

By: Lynn Hagen

He sat up, glancing down at them when they came over to him and started pulling at the hem of his pants with their teeth. What was with animals and trying to best him today? “Where is your papa?”

One of the wolves yapped at him, wagging his tail in excitement. Valentino reached down and scratched behind the pup’s ear. The other one seemed to resent not getting any attention because he nipped at Valentino’s shoe.

“Sorry about that,” a man with short blond hair and grey eyes said as he hurried into the room. “I told them countless times not to come in here.”

Valentino could scent timber wolf. “They’re fine.”

The man stuck out his hand. “Murdock Miller.”

Valentino shook it. “Valentino Prayze.”

“The vet.”

He nodded as he continued to scratch behind the pup’s ear. The pup rolled to his back and captured Valentino’s hand with his paws and began to play with his fingers. The other pup was still wrestling with Valentino’s shoe.

Murdock scooped the pups into his arms. “How is Abe doing?”

Valentino blew out a breath as he ran his hand through his hair. “It’s too soon to tell.”

“I know Gavin Lakeland and it seems pretty damn strange that he would be so careless.” Murdock adjusted the pups under his arms. They were squirming to get loose. “It makes no sense.”

Gavin Lakeland was not a subject Valentino wanted to talk about right now. Just hearing the man’s name infuriated him. He didn’t care how well Murdock knew Gavin. The guy had put Abe’s safety last. That was all he needed to know.

“Nice to finally meet you, Dr. Prayze.”

Valentino gave Murdock a closed-mouth smile before turning back to his mate. The guy had left with his pups and Valentino was thankful for the reprieve. He laid his head back down and closed his eyes.

It was going to be a long night.

* * * *

Draco Fitzgerald Kenyon glanced at the ID card that was tucked into the wallet. He studied the name and address. How interesting that this Abraham Brego lived in Brac Village, the very village Kenyon was privately investigating.

But what was even more bizarre was that the wallet was found in Kenyon’s bedroom closet. He had been getting ready to change for dinner when he had seen it on the carpeted floor. It shouldn’t have been there.

Digging further into the wallet, he discovered a door pass for The Manacle, a condom, and a vintage photo that looked worn, the edges frayed. He studied the photo, his mouth curling into a smile as he gazed at the smiling couple.

They were a happy-looking couple with very pointy ears.

“Excuse me, Mr. Kenyon. Mr. Constantinople is here to see you.” Kenyon’s newly hired assistance stood in the doorway, waiting for further instruction.

Kenyon swiveled his chair until he was facing the large glass window, looking out over the darkened city streets. His appointments with Mr. Constantinople were always in the late evening when the sun was no longer a threat to the man.

The vampire had no clue that Kenyon was well aware of what he was. They had a business deal together and the man was here for his scheduled meeting. “Send him in.”

Mr. Constantinople strode through the office door, confident and arrogant as always. The vampire carried himself as if he was the most important man in the world. Kenyon liked that quality about the guy.

Too bad he was a bloodsucker. The man would have made a great ally. Kenyon needed more men with brass balls.

“Good evening, Mr. Kenyon.” The vampire took a seat, crossing his legs and settling his hands in his lap.

Kenyon might be the head Vampire Hunter, but he was a genius when it came to business and he knew a good business deal when he saw one. If the Hunters who worked for him knew about his side business with a few vampires, well…they would be pretty damned pissed.

But for Kenyon, money always came first. He had told his second-in-command that he wanted to expose the filthy paranormal creatures.

That was somewhat true.

He wanted to eradicate them all, but in due time. He still had to deal with the appearance of the mysterious wallet, though. Maybe he should send his second to Brac Village to pay this Abraham Brego a visit.

Because if elves truly existed, Kenyon needed to rethink his entire strategy. It seemed his knowledge of the type of nonhumans that existed had expanded once more.

He turned toward the vampire. “Shall we begin our meeting?”

* * * *

Abe slowly came awake, blinking his eyes rapidly at the bright lights in the room. His mind was a little foggy, but not enough that he didn’t remember what had happened to him.

“Look at those pretty cornflower-blue eyes.”

The scent of cougar filled Abe’s lungs.

“Hey, my little cowboy,” Valentino said as he gently brushed the hair back from Abe’s face. “I’m glad you’re finally awake.”

“My…” Abe swallowed, clearing his dry throat. He needed to ask the question but didn’t want to know the answer. “My hand?”

“The doctor doesn’t know yet, Abe. He repaired it the best that he could but until the swelling goes down, there’s no telling.”

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