Frankie Ferone moves from the mob to an even more secretive group, the loup garou.
When attending a wedding, Frank Ferone is introduced to Rene DuBois, a violet eyed stranger. Rene has a secret to hide but can't overlook that he's met his mate. Rene starts to romance Frankie and soon Frankie falls in love. But how is he going to react when Rene tells Frankie he is loup garou. Werewolves? Really?
NOTE: This edition contains the unfinished beginning of the story The Betas: Roland, which A.C. Katt was working on when she suddenly passed away.
René had the day off and didn’t want to attend the reception at Alpha Giraud’s home to celebrate his and Alpha Bellaire’s weddings to their Alpha Mates. It wasn’t that he didn’t like Alphas Bellaire or Giraud. He liked them fine. He also approved of the Alpha Mates the gods had chosen. René just wanted to spend a day in his own house doing whatever. As the Beta charged with security for The Alpha and assigned to The Alpha Mate, most of the time his life was not his own. However, his brother Martin, The Alpha’s other Beta, had insisted he attend. Since Martin never asked him for something unimportant, René had acquiesced.
All the Alphas and their Mates had shown an unusual interest in him today. At first, he’d planned to make a perfunctory appearance, but upon his arrival, one person after another had engaged him in conversation. René felt as if he were the most popular person at the party. He’d spoken to every Alpha and all the Alpha Mates. Eying the door, he planned his escape, but Alpha Bellaire waylaid him with another question about security that René thought, sourly, he could have asked his own Beta.
The doorbell rang, and Bertrand answered. He announced ... René sniffed the air ... chocolate ... dark chocolate-covered caramel. He lifted his head, then choked ... his Mate. That was his Mate, and he smelled like chocolate candy. Alpha Bellaire smiled and gestured his Mate toward them. He scanned the room. Everybody was smiling. Martin wore a smug expression. They knew, they all knew. How could they have known? Vitas! Oh, my gods, Vitas told them.
Julien stepped up to greet him. “Hello, Frankie. Richard, Henri, Vitas, and I are happy you made it.” He cleared his throat. “Oh, I’m rude. You don’t know René. René DuBois, Frankie Ferone. Frankie, René DuBois. René heads up security for Mr. La Marche.” Julien faced René. “You may know Frankie’s father, Dante Ferone.”
His Mate’s smile grew tight. “Dante is my stepfather. He adopted me when I was twelve. My father’s name was Francis Xavier Fitzgerald. He was an Army Ranger who fell to a Serbian bullet in the Bosnian War. My mother married Dante when I was eleven.”
I need to smooth the waters here. Julien has annoyed my Mate. “I’m sorry for your loss. It’s devastating to lose a parent, especially as a young boy.” Curious, René couldn’t help but ask, “Do you work for your stepfather?”
Frankie frowned. “I have, albeit reluctantly, for the past ten years. I’m desperately searching for alternate employment. Unfortunately, that’s difficult when your last name is Ferone. Julien promised to give my résumé to Mr. La Marche. I’ve heard he needs a financial assistant. While I’ve worked for my stepfather, I took care of his personal finances, and I managed to triple his holdings without doing anything illegal -- something Dante fails to appreciate.”
“My brother and I work for Mr. La Marche,” René told him. “Martin is his Chief Deputy, and I head up his personal security.”
Frankie suddenly appeared hopeful, as if he thought René could help him. “I have an MBA from Harvard, carried a four-point-oh average, and graduated as the valedictorian of my class, but I couldn’t get work because of my last name.”
“The Al ... Mr. La Marche wouldn’t hold your name against you. When necessary, he deals with your stepfather. However, there may be other considerations. I promise I’ll speak to him tonight. Is your stepfather on board for you to poke around for something else?”
Frankie nodded. “When I first went to work for him, he demanded ten years in payment for my education. Since I couldn’t get a job anywhere else, I agreed.”
René was incensed for his Mate. “That’s slave labor.”
At that moment Julien quietly excused himself.
Frankie sighed. “I did it because of my mother. She doesn’t see Dante as he is. After all these years, she still sees him as a legitimate businessman, and I’ve given up trying to tell her differently. It will be ten years this month. You can say what you want about Dante, but I’ve never known him to go back on his word. I think he’s counting on me not being able to find employment elsewhere.”
“You said your father’s name was Fitzgerald? Irish, isn’t it?” Bertrand came up behind them, and René grabbed his drink from Bertrand’s tray.
“Can I get you anything, Mr. Ferone?”
Frankie seemed to glance over to see what René was drinking. “Yes, black Irish, if you will.” His Frankie changed the subject. “If you don’t mind me asking, what are you drinking?” He scrutinized the drink René held.
René felt his skin turn hot. Wolves weren’t supposed to blush. He tried to cover by appearing nonchalant. “I like sweet drinks. This one’s called Sex on the Beach. I know it’s not manly, but there it is.”
“Sex on the Beach.” Frankie chuckled. “What’s in it?”
René held his drink up, and Frankie sniffed, almost wolf-like. “Vodka, Peach Schnapps, pineapple juice, cranberry juice, and Chambord -- it’s a very sweet drink -- fruity.”
“I like sweet drinks.” Frankie’s lips turned up at the corners. “Bertrand, please, I’ll have one of these.”
“Something we have in common ... I’m hoping to find a lot more things we have in common.” René grinned. My Mate is handsome, those emerald eyes sparkle in a totally masculine face ... strong angles, high, cut cheekbones, ears close to the skull, intellect all housed in a killer body. The gods have blessed me.