Fated Souls (A Zodiac Shifters Paranormal Romance: Aquarius )

By: Bethany Shaw

Chapter One

Grace grumbled as she dug through her purse for her cell while jogging to make it to the bus stop in time. Her purse vibrated with each ring, yet her fingers couldn’t find the blasted device to get it out. She grasped the phone and glanced at the caller ID, cursing under her breath before sliding her finger over the screen.

“Hello?” she asked, trying not to sound out of breath even though her lungs were on fire from her frantic pace.

“Hey, Grace. It’s Dave.” His voice came out velvety smooth like it used to when he wanted her to do something for him. Bastard!

She ground her teeth and clutched the phone a little tighter as she increased her pace. She didn’t have time for this. The bus was almost to the stop. If she didn’t hurry, she was going to miss it. Then she’d never pick her car up before the shop closed.

“What do you want?” she asked, unable to keep the growl from her voice.

“I need you to get Caden tonight. I’m, uh, working late.”

Grace hoisted her purse up her arm and looked at her watch. No way could she get her car and get their son from daycare before six. “I have to pick up my car, Dave. It’s your night with him. You can’t spring this on me last minute.”

She shouldn’t be surprised. Several times a month, Dave called to cancel his parenting time with Caden. He always had some excuse—not that she believed him for a minute.

“I just found out I have to work late. Look, I’ve got to go. Tell Caden I’ll see him tomorrow night and remind him I got those tickets to see wrestling live.”

“No. Dave, wait!”

The phone clicked, cutting her off.

“Bastard,” she said, shoving the phone back in her purse. It was just like him too, to cancel on their son and then ‘make it up to him’ with some expensive outing.

Brakes squealed, and a bus hissed as it came to a stop. Shit! The bus.

Grace sprinted down the sidewalk, her heels clicking against the concrete. Her gaze flicked between the stop and the ground, watching for any icy patches. It would be just her luck to slip and fall. The bus whooshed, creaking forward before easing back into traffic.

She lifted her hands, waving them wildly. It drove past her. She let her arms flop to her sides, and her purse fell to the sidewalk, spilling its contents on the ground.

“Crap.” She stooped over and gathered her things. Her eyes drifted to her watch again. Thirty minutes. It was never going to happen. There was only one thing she could do, and she hated having to do it.

After inhaling a breath and letting it back out, she found her phone again. She shoved her glasses back to their spot on the bridge of her nose and closed her eyes. It wasn’t that her mom wouldn’t help; it was that she shouldn’t be asking. What other choice did she have? Her fingers jabbed at the familiar numbers before she put the phone to her ear. It rang several times before her mother’s voice answered.

“Hi, Mom,” she said as she made her way down the sidewalk again. “Can you get Caden from daycare for me?” She held her breath and waited. If her mom couldn’t help, she was beyond screwed.

“It’s Dave’s night with Caden.”

Grace rolled her eyes and ground her teeth to keep from cursing, which would only offend her mother. “He has to work late.”

Her mom sighed heavily into the phone. “What time do I need to get him?”

“By six. Can you make it?” She bit her lip, waiting for her mom’s answer. It was last minute, and she knew her mom already had her hands full.

“I’ll do my best, sweetheart. Let me make sure your dad has everything he needs, and I’ll be on my way.”

“Thanks, Mom.” She closed her eyes.

“You can’t let him keep doing this to you, sweetie. It’s his night to be with Caden. He should want to be a father to his son. I don’t like leaving your father alone.”

“I know, and I wouldn’t ask if I had another choice. The prick called and practically hung up on me before I could argue with him. If you can’t do it, I understand,” Grace said. She’d call ahead and then pony up the late pickup fee. She shouldn’t have called her mom to begin with. Her father needed around-the-clock care. Thanks to the wonderful healthcare system, her parents’ insurance would only cover some of the cost, leaving her mom as his primary caretaker. The stroke he’d suffered four months ago had left him completely paralyzed on his left side. It didn’t help that he’d already been fighting a losing battle with lung cancer.