Ziva kept her eyes focused on Penny’s dreamy, cream inducing boots and willed her stomach to return to its rightful place in her body. Swallowing past the ball of acid had become impossible the closer they got to the door at the end of the hall.
“Penny, I-I don’t think I can do this…”
“Don’t punk out on me now, Z.” Ziva cringed as Penny looked back and pinned her with what was affectionately called the Mistress eye. “Behind that door is a Texas Longhorn—naked and waiting to be dominated by me, I mean, you, er us.”
“It just doesn’t feel right, dominating someone other than the butt head.”
“How about you think of it as a punishment for Alpha butt head and a present for Ziva. You know, pecs of stone, flanks all thick and juicy plus as rumor has it he’s hung even more than a horse.”
“Oh Lupa, Penny.”
Penny pulled her to a stop and stepped into her space. “Think about that, Z. Back in High School, you and I used to check out the locker room after the polo players had finished a game. The colts were outstanding and don’t even get me started on the stallions.”
Ziva smiled as Penny fanned herself at the thought of the well hung horses. “I remember, but…”
“But nothing. You were flitting around Nick’s airspace even back then and it didn’t stop you from partaking of what was offered. Don’t get hung up on logistics now, girl. This guy’s supposed to eclipse even the stallions!”
Ziva glanced between Penny and the door, weighing her options. Eclipsing a stallion…that was tempting.
“Oooh, tongue to lip,” Penny purred. “Ziva’s in!”
Mooney scribbled another line diagonally across the other four and looked over at Ralph. Five times Nick had bellowed the bears name from his office and Ralph still looked well, like he always looked these days…sleepy, hungry and a little constipated. He was playing with fire. Mooney knew a cage match between the two would prove to be pretty even, but this close to hibernation time mixed with
Nicks mate troubles gave his brother a decided advantage. All that rage had to be let out somewhere and Mooney would gladly give someone else a chance to shoulder the pain.
“Frigging Lupa, Ralph, go up there before he comes ou…” Too late. An irate Nick stood looking down on them all from the catwalk around the bullpen.
“What?” The sleepy bears snorted.
Mooney slunk down in his seat, not wanting Nick to notice him.
“You’re on for Purple Fairy duty. I want to know who this dumbass is and what his plan is for this Halloween. Also…”
Mooney tried hard to shut his suddenly open mouth and take his eyes off the accident just waiting to happen, but it was impossible. He’d miss Ralph’s articles.
“What did you say?” Spittle flew from Nick’s mouth, his eye’s glowed red.
“No, I’m a movie reviewer, not a stupid news reporter. Have Ziva do it.”
Silence descended on the pen except from the nervous twittering from a chickadee intern who’d been unable to maintain her human form when Nick bellowed.
“Ziva’s not here!”
“Oh we know. You’d be in a better mood if she was.”
Goodbye Ralph, been nice knowing you…
Mooney agreed, but it was never good to poke at an enraged wolf. Nick might kick his ass, but he wouldn’t kill him. Ralph however wouldn’t be so lucky. “Ah, Nick.”
“Stay out of this, Moon.”
Mooney stood and willed himself not to run—at least not yet. “Here’s the thing, Nick, you do need to get Z back. Not just because she calms you, but because we all miss her around here. Hell, she ran the weekly how many rulers does boss man go through this week pool. Get her back, man. Especially before she, ah, never mind.” Mooney sat, kicking himself for tacking on the glitch at the end. Marissa had told him that in confidence after she’d talked to Penny and Z at the coffee shop.
“BEFORE WHAT, Moon.”
Decisions, decisions…would breaking his promise be a good thing or a bad in this situation. Maybe it would get Nick off his ass. “Penny took Z under her wing and is going to share her new sub.”
Nick shimmered like he was losing his human form. Unheard of for an alpha, unless someone was going to die. “WHO!”
“Ah, that Texas Longhorn who was in the other day looking for work.”
“WHEN!” Nick’s question was so garbled with canine growling Mooney barely understood.”
“Tonight, at Dante’s, er,” Mooney looked at the local clock, then back to his brother. “About now.”
The wolf won its bid for freedom and raced from the front door of the gazette. Shattered glass sounded through the building and everyone sat in silence.
“Bummer for Ziva.” Ralph yawned.
“Bummer for the Texas Longhorn.” Chickadee intern whispered, having finally come back to her human form.
“Nope, bummer for Nick.” Jamie spoke, still cleaning the F-stop on his camera. “One look at the Longhorn’s junk and Z will say ta-ta to wolf loving. You know what they say…everything’s…”
“Bigger in Texas!” Everyone in the bullpen spoke at once then erupted in laughter. There was nothing better than a job with good time feel and coworkers who were like family.