The office is a mess. It usually is, but this is worse than I’ve ever seen it. No matter how frustrated I get with my writing I normally don’t drag a keg over by the computer. But it’s there and it’s tapped and on my way over to investigate it further, I trip over a body.

It’s not Jake. In fact, it’s a guy I don’t even recognize, and he’s holding handcuffs and a finished bottle of Jack Daniels.

“Who are you?” I ask him, but he turns over and puts a hand over his head.

“Can you keep it down? I’m sleeping,” he mumbles. “And tell Cait I miss her.”

There’s only one person who’s responsible for all this.


He appears at the door of the office and it’s apparent that he’s just rolled out of bed himself. At least he’s wearing shorts. The rest of his gear is still down by the front door where he dropped it when he slammed into the house yesterday and announced he was back from his mission.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned by now, it’s that a bored Navy SEAL is a dangerous one. I just didn’t think he’d get bored that quickly.

“What’s the problem?” he asks.

“Who are these people?” I ask him. I’ve discovered another alpha asleep under my desk, and he’s clutching a bag of cheetos. “I thought you went to Linda’s?”

“I did.” He smiles, that lazy half smile that tells me he’s done something very, very bad, and that he’s very, very pleased with himself. “That’s Tick and this is Stanton. And they’re probably going to need some breakfast soon.”

“Why did you bring them here? Linda needs her characters.”

“They said something about their author being in a mood and I know what that’s like,” he says. He notices the look of death I shoot his way and shakes his head. :Hey, they were bored. They asked for my help so I broke them out.”

“Yeah, the same way Charlene’s heroes asked you to break them out of her trunk?”

He smiles at the memory. “She was pretty pissed.”

“You’re got to return Linda’s heroes to her basement. She’s going to need them.” But my lecture is interrupted by a loud crash from downstairs. “Who else is here?”

Jake shrugs. “Some guy named Odil. He’s cool, although he’s got some definite anger management issues. Last I looked, Chris was showing him how to wire up a homemade grenade.”

It’s official. I’ve lost control of the house.

“Jake, I’ve got a lot of work to do today, so you’ve got to move everyone out of here.”

“I left you alone. And when I left, I had scenes in Nick’s book. Entire chapters were devoted to me. I get back and all my speaking parts are cut. I’m a goddamned mute. So no, I’m not leaving you alone again. You can’t be trusted.”

From downstairs, I hear the sound of glass shattering and Chris is yelling, Laisse les bons temps rouler! Tick lets out a muffled curse or two and tells me to keep it down again. And I realize I don’t know where Nick is either, which is always dangerous.

“Hey, did you know Linda’s got a muse?” Jake asks.

“Yes. I knew that.”

“And her muse is pretty cute. She wears all these long, flowing robes, but underneath them she’s got a really hot body.”

“Jake, what have you done?”

She’s half hidden by Jake and the robes have been replaced by a sheet, but it’s definitely Linda’s muse. She tugs on Jake’s arm and he shrugs and smiles and lets her lead him back to the guest bedroom. “Later, I’m going back in to grab everyone’s heroines. So you’d better get to work,” he says, right before the door slams behind him.

Steph T.