Primal Heat(Wild Lake Wolves Book 3)(5)By: Kimber White
“See you in the morning, Mr. Thorp,” I called after him. But, he didn’t even bother to turn his head to acknowledge me.
“Ignore him.” A feminine voice came from the cubicle beside me. Then, large, owlish blue eyes beneath a mop of curly brown hair appeared over the top of the wall.
“Oh. Uh. Good tip.”
The owner of the blue eyes came around the wall and extended a hand and a friendly smile. “I’m Grace.”
Grace had deep creases around her mouth and wore hoop earrings big enough to double as bracelets. But, she had a kind face and an earnest handshake. She was also the first genuinely friendly person I’d met since I got here.
“Abby,” I said, slinging my messenger bag over my shoulder. “Is it always that intense around here?”
Grace nodded as we made our way to the elevator then rode it down. “Pretty much. It’s gonna get worse the closer we get to the election. Just keep your head down and your work done. You’ll be fine.”
“What do you do for the congressman?”
Grace smiled. “I’m a legal secretary. I do a little bit of everything. If you have questions about anything, just come find me.”
I wanted to hug her. I settled for a sincere thank you and another handshake as we emerged from the underground parking lot. Grace pulled out her key fob and her car bleeped somewhere close by.
“You parked on this floor?”
I chewed my bottom lip, considering whether I should tell her I took the bus. I could have gotten off at the lobby level, but she’d been so nice, I hadn’t wanted to stop talking to her. I don’t know why I did it, but I told her a little white lie. “No. I’m one floor down yet.”
Grace smiled again and waved at me over her shoulder as she headed toward her car. I waited a few seconds until she was out of sight, then I stepped back in the elevator and went back up to the street level. I slipped off my heels and pulled my ballet flats out of my messenger bag and booked it for the bus stop four blocks over. I got there just as the crosstown number seven pulled into the stop.
“How was your first day?” Iris, the driver, gave me a twinkling smile as I climbed on board. Iris was seventy if she was a day and had the sweetest disposition of anyone I knew, even when some drunk asshole threw a wall of obscenities at her from behind the safety glass after a particularly long day.
“Good,” I said as she passed my fare card through the scanner. “They’ll keep me busy.”
“Busy’s good. You got class tonight honey?”
I slid into the seat behind Iris and raised my voice so she could hear me behind the glass. “Yeah. Property Law. Six to ten. Am I gonna make it?”
Iris’s shoulders shook with rich laughter. She reached over and pulled the lever to close the door with a great heave, and her long gray ponytail swung with the effort. “Baby, you know you’re gonna make it. With time to spare. But please tell me you brought something to eat besides a banana and a sad little yogurt like the last time.”
I shrugged and sank into my chair as Iris shook her head and tsked. She knew me too well. She took more interest in me than my own mother did most times. To the point I knew next week, Iris would probably have a heaping container of soup, stew, or whatever deliciousness she brewed in her own kitchen for me. My mother was either passed out on the couch or running through the house trying to get ready for her latest hot date with another of a long string of loser boyfriends. I tried not to think about it.
Twenty-five more months. Tops. I’d finish my law degree and get the hell out of that double wide. I could go earlier if I broke down and applied for student loans. But, I didn’t want to start my career under the yoke of all of that. I’d been under my mother’s roof this long. I could finish this out. One day at a time.
“Work on anything interesting today?” Iris practically sang the question. Her deep brown eyes brightened as she looked at me in the overhead mirror.
Interesting indeed. I pressed my forehead against the window glass and watched the street signs whizz by as Iris hit the highway.
My skin still prickled where he’d taken my hand to shake it. I played with the button on my shirt, just below where his breath touched my skin. Just the thought of it heated my blood and sent a shiver skittering across my shoulder blades. Who was he? The name meant something, but I couldn’t place it.