This is an unedited draft of chapter 1 – it might change before publication after edits, but I wanted to share my work in progress with you. I hope you enjoy!
He snored like a werewolf, though I knew he was human. I scowled at the passed out man next to me. He wasn’t up to my usual standards. He was good looking, that was for sure. But he’d been so vanilla in the sack it almost didn’t make the night worth it.
Add in the fact that I broke my own rule – never stay the night – and this was making for a lot of possible regret. As long as I could sneak out of here without waking the snoring oaf, I’d be fine.
Carefully, I crept on my tiptoes, searching the floor for my panties. Fuck. Where had we thrown those last night?
The bed squeaked and I held my breath as I glanced over to see if he was awake. Blowing out a slow breath, I ignored my racing heart. He was still asleep.
Too bad his looks didn’t live up to their promises. He was six foot three with washboard abs and a square jaw that sent my legs wobbling. His cocky demeanor and casual attitude had drawn me in to him like catnip. I thought for sure he was a man who knew his way around a woman’s body. Turned out, I was way off base with that one.
I tugged my black slip dress over my shoulders and peeked around the room one more time for my underwear. Fuck it. Grabbing my shoes and my purse, I crept toward the door. He’d just have to explain the panties to some other girl when they eventually turned up.
Suddenly, my phone rang. I froze, fumbling with the zipper on my purse to get it open so I could turn it off. Who the fuck was calling me at seven in the morning on a Sunday?
Fishing around my purse, I found the phone and hit the button to silence to call.
“Hey, baby, where you going?” A sleepy voice asked.
“Oh, I didn’t want to wake you.” It had been a long time since I’d had to deal with the morning after conversation. My other rule – no commitments, no relationships – usually helped me avoid ever feeling obligated to stay the night.
I blamed his awful, boring sex. If he’d been more interesting or at least gave me even one orgasm, I wouldn’t have fallen asleep.
“Stay, we’ll have breakfast,” he said. “And maybe another round.”
Um. No thank you. I’d have better luck with my vibrator. The phone rang again and I rolled my eyes. Someone was persistent. Though, it did give me a reason not to respond to him. “Sorry. I have to take this.”
I answered the phone. “Hello?”
My step mom screamed at me, “You better not be late!”
Fuck. Today was my step-sister’s dress fitting and I totally forgot. “On my way now.”
I hung up the phone and turned to my one night stand, whose name I’d forgotten. On purpose. “I’m so sorry. My sister is getting married and I have to be at a dress fitting. Maybe another time?”
“I’ll call you,” he said.
No, you won’t. I never give them my real number. With that thought, I left the apartment before he could say anything else.
I was ten minutes late when I arrived at the bridal shop, 2 cups of coffee in hand and a bagel in my teeth. Just because my step sister, June was off of carbs didn’t mean I had to be. But I did get her a skinny late to make up for being late, so there was that.
“Cats, where the hell have you been?” My step-mother called the second the shop’s door jingled to announce my arrival.
I set the coffee cups down on the nearest table. It was covered in bridal magazines showing smiling, Stepford-like brides who had no idea what they were in for. I mean, just look at my stepmom. Technically, she was my ex-stepmom but her daughter, June and me were fast friends during the few tumultuous years of our parents’ marriage.
I tried to warn my dad. A warlock marrying a shifter was probably never a great idea. They were too hot headed. I give you exhibit A as proof, my red-faced wolf shifter ex-step mom who was currently staring at me with her hands on her hips.
“I’m here,” I said.
“You’re late,” she said.
“Mom, she’s ten minutes late. In Caitlin time, that’s early,” June said as she walked out from behind a rack of fluffy dresses. “Oooo, is that coffee for me?”
I grabbed the cup and walked past Susan, the she-wolf who still thought of me as her cub. I had to admit, there was a part of me that loved her for never giving up on me despite her and my dad’s terrible chemistry. She was tough as nails and nothing I ever did was good enough for her. But I also know if someone tried to hurt me, they’d have her to contend with. And she was probably very good at hiding bodies.
“None for me?” Susan said.
I grabbed the second cup and passed it to her. “Double espresso, heavy cream, one packet of sugar.”
She lifted an eyebrow, clearly impressed. “None for you?”
I tugged an energy drink out of my back pocket and lifted it to show her. I wasn’t a coffee person.
“You know, those things are going to kill you one of these days,” she said.
“Love you too, Susan,” I said with a smirk.
She spun on her heels. “Alright, we’re all here. Let’s get started. It’s a big day today.”
I popped the tab on the can and weaved my way through the racks of dresses, glancing at the tags on my way. Any one of these would cost more than I paid on rent in a month. Weddings were such a scam. Shaking my head, I found my way to the dressing rooms.
A huge circular shaped room was lined with mirrored doors. In the middle of the room were several pink velvet couches and some baby blue chairs. June’s other bridesmaids were already waiting on the chairs, dewy-eyed and full of hope.
Thank god June had the others to be excited for her. When she asked me to do this, I told her I would only because I wanted her to have a reliable getaway driver should she choose to bail.
“You all remember my sister, Caitlin,” June said.
“Hi Caitlin,” the others chimed in unison.
I repressed a shudder. It was like being in a horror movie.
A woman in a pantsuit came into the room. “Hello, everyone. My name is Maria and I’m here to guide you through this exciting day.”
The girls clapped and I finished chugging my energy drink.
“Shall we start with bridesmaid’s dresses first and work our way to the grand finale?” Maria asked.
More clapping. Kill me now.
Somehow, I was stuffed into a pink, floral dress. The only good thing about it was that it had pockets.
I turned from side to side, looking at myself in the mirror, wondering exactly how I got talked into this. Then I remembered, I might not believe in romantic love, but I loved June. Blood or not, she was my sister and I was going to give her the best wedding ever. Then, I’d be there to wipe her tears when the asshole eventually broke her heart.
Squeals and excited chatter sounded from outside the fitting room. With a heavy sigh, I opened the door to join the others.
One of the girls was literally clapping her hands and jumping up and down. Really. I can’t make this shit up. And of course, she knocked over June’s coffee.
“Oh no!” The girl jumped out of the way. “I’m so sorry.”
“I’ll grab some towels, don’t even worry,” Maria said.
“It’s okay, Megan,” June comforted her friend.
I saw my opportunity to leave the store. “I’ll go across the street and get you another one!”
“That’s not necessary,” June said.
I ignored her and rushed through the store. With any luck, I could draw this out till the whole thing was over.