Elroy Greer has been having a really bad month. A co-worker blames him for mistakes he didn’t make. His car is broken into. He lost most of his friends to his ex in the break-up. Then his hiking buddy bails at the last second, leaving Elroy alone at a trailhead. He decides some time in nature to get away from it all is still an excellent idea and heads out on his own. True to his bad luck, Elroy gets caught in a spring flash storm, loses his way, and tumbles off a cliff. He expects to die out there, but he doesn’t. Elroy wakes up in a log cabin with a man who’s already supposed to be dead—Rueben Calhoun. Except, Rueben is calling himself Dermot Reever. As Dermot begins explaining about wolf shifters and mates and that they are destined to be together, Elroy can hardly believe it’s real. He’s sure he’ll wake up and find it’s all been a pain-medicine-induced dream. If it’s not a dream, can Elroy really take the chance that his bad luck won’t ruin everything and have enough faith to begin a relationship with a wolf shifter in hiding?
“Was anything stolen, sir?”
Elroy Greer barely managed to keep from rolling his eyes upon hearing the stupid question. Pointing at the gaping hole in the dash and dangling wires, he grumbled, “Do you mean other than the radio?”
The officer in blue lifted the hand holding his pen and made a placating gesture. “I didn’t want to presume.”
Feeling somewhat mollified, Elroy nodded. “Well, the radio was stolen as well as the change in my cup holder.” He narrowed his eyes in thought. “It was maybe six bucks.”
Sweeping his gaze over the interior of his Jeep Grand Cherokee, Elroy grimaced. His briefcase had been opened, and the contents were strewn over the back seat. Good thing he hadn’t had any confidential files in it.
I’ll remember never to leave my briefcase in my vehicle again.
Of course, how could Elroy have guessed that someone would break into his vehicle while he was eating lunch with Camilla? His best friend stood nearby, her arms crossed over her ample breasts. Her blonde brows were furrowed, and she nibbled her bottom lip.
Elroy had known Camilla Hudson since he was seven. They hadn’t really become friends until they were twelve, though. He’d stopped a bully from pulling her hair on the playground, and they’d been inseparable ever since.
He hadn’t even needed to tell her he was gay. Somehow, she’d just known. One day when they were both sixteen, she’d shocked the shit out of him by asking which boy he planned to ask to the prom.
His parents, however, when Elroy had come out in college, they had disowned him. His younger brother and sister had done the same. Only his grandmother had stood at his side until she’s passed away three years before.
When her will had been read, revealing everything had been put into a trust to be given to Elroy upon his thirtieth birthday, they’d tried to contest it. They were still trying, even after all this time. While Elroy didn’t really need the money, he looked forward to turning thirty in four years only because it would mean an end to the court battles.
“Anything else, sir?” the cop pressed.
Rubbing his hands over his shortly cropped black hair, Elroy returned his attention to his Cherokee. “Uh, I had a CD case in here,” he told the policeman. “I don’t see it.”
Elroy wasn’t certain why a thief would take old CDs—maybe to pawn? Did pawn shops take CDs anymore? He’d switched to using playlists on his phone several years before.
Something else snagged Elroy’s attention—or rather, the lack of something else. “Wait.” He leaned into the vehicle and swished his hand through the center console. “Ah, fuck,” he grumbled. Straightening, Elroy shoved his hands into his jacket pockets. “A three-eighty Bodyguard handgun. It was in the center console. I have a concealed carry permit.”
“Can I see it, please, Mister Greer?”
Nodding, Elroy pulled out his phone. He opened an app and pulled up the document. Then he handed his phone to the cop.
The officer stared at the screen for a moment, then returned it to Elroy. “Was the gun registered in your name?”
Elroy nodded. “Yes, it was.”
“Thank you, sir.” The cop jotted a few words on his paperwork. “I’ll get that reported as swiftly as possible. I’m sure your insurance will need a copy of my report, so if that’s everything, I’ll get started on it.” The officer held out a card, and Elroy took it, seeing his name and number on it.
Insurance. Right. Another nightmare.
Nodding once more, Elroy returned his phone and the card to his jacket pocket. “Thank you.”
“I’m sorry this happened, and I’ll keep you updated if we get any luck on the prints.”
After thanking the officer one more time, Elroy sighed and turned his attention back to his vehicle. At least it was Saturday, and he hadn’t had to call in to work. He was already on his boss’s shit list for something that wasn’t his fault.
Fellow paralegal, Lane Peradu, had lied to Richmond Dessau and claimed Elroy had been the one doing the research on the Marcello case. In actuality, that had been one of Lane’s cases, and no matter what the man said, he had not transferred it to Elroy. Lane had screwed up and missed information about their client’s bank transactions. When the defendant—who was representing the husband in a messy divorce proceeding—had pointed out how the wife—who Richmond had been representing—had been slowly transferring funds from their joint account to a personal account for the last year, essentially stealing from her husband, the judge had not been impressed. Their client had not received the settlement she’d wanted, and Richmond had been understandably embarrassed.
Richmond had taken it out on Elroy, since he believed Lane, the senior paralegal by six months.
Elroy figured he was lucky he hadn’t lost his job.
“I went inside and got some paper towels and a couple of cups of water from a waiter.”
Upon hearing Camilla’s voice, Elroy turned to face his friend. He smiled gratefully. “Thanks.” He took the roll of towels from under her arm and tore off a couple of sheets. “I hadn’t even thought about how to clean up the finger-printing powder.”
After Elroy had been finger-printed to rule out his own, he’d used a wet nap that he’d had in the glove box—fortunately it had still been there and hadn’t disappeared amidst the detritus littering his vehicle’s seats and floors.
As they started cleaning up the powder, Camilla mused, “Who would pick your Cherokee when there are so many nicer cars in the lot?”
Elroy barked a laugh, mirth filling him. “Are you saying my baby’s a POS?”