One Heart, One Destiny

an excerpt

Chapter One

Completely preoccupied with the data and images on his computer as he tried to make sense of the latest screwup, Dillon didn't immediately answer his phone. Blindly, he finally reached out and scooped up the receiver.

"Dillon here."

"It's Brendan. I want you in my office. Now!"

"On my way." With a roll of his eyes Dillon replaced the receiver. Saving what he'd worked on, Dillon logged off the computer before heading down the corridor.

The double doors at the end were blazoned with the words Brendan O'Dey, CEO. Wrinkling his nose, Dillon tapped on the door before walking it. The secretary facing him looked every bit as flustered as Dillon expected.

"He's in a foul mood." She jerked her thumb at the door to her left.

"Guess that's why he called me, Amanda." Dillon shrugged and gave an apologetic smile.

"I feel really sorry for you. I'd hate your job." Amanda pursed her lips. "It's bad enough when he starts to lose it, but at least I'm out here. Why do you put up with it?"

"He's my brother, and it's my job." Dillon headed over to the inner door and knocked loudly. At the roar from the other side, Dillon took a deep breath and went inside.

His brother was at his desk, and Brendan glanced up as Dillon shut the door behind him.

"What the fuck is going on? You said you'd monitor costs and keep Shelley and Porter within budget. It's blown by ten grand." Brendan ranted for a good five minutes or more, at the end of which he leaned forward, hands on desk and glared at Dillon. "Well?"

Used to weathering the initial onslaught, Dillon bore Brendan's fury as usual, reminding himself that Brendan needed the release and that underneath it all, none of the attacks were truly personal.

Instead of answering straightaway, Dillon drew in a deep breath to compose himself. There were times when it was difficult to act as if he was completely unaffected by the onslaught, but Brendan would only get angrier if Dillon got tongue-tied or emotional.

"If I hadn't intervened it would have blown by five times the amount. The ten thousand is still within the ten percent excess we agreed to in the contract. I haven't finished the reviews yet, but, so long as I have your blessing, I can go in and still adjust a couple of things that aren't already in place or purchased. That'll keep us well within the contract."

"You're certain?" Brendan leaned forward. "We're not about to be screwed over?"

"Yes, I'm sure. But I need your authority to block and reorder." Dillon relaxed a fraction. Brendan's anger was receding and the tense atmosphere easing away.

"Do it. I'll send you an e-mail to confirm you're acting on my instruction." Brendan flashed a smile. "If I don't, you'll only get a rough ride from Porter and Shelley."

Dillon returned the smile. I'll get a rough ride from them anyway. Sometimes it's as though they do things deliberately just to give me a hard time. "Yes, well, you know what they're like. I'd appreciate it if you sent it straightaway. Thanks."

"Hey, what are brothers for. See you at the weekend for the party. Most of the pack will be there." Brendan leaned back. Now things were going the way he wanted, he was relaxed and easygoing.

"Oh, yes. Sure." Inwardly Dillon groaned. He'd pushed it from his mind. A big pack gathering was the last thing he wanted or needed. But you didn't decline an invite from the alpha, especially when he was your brother.

Lycans might not jostle as ferociously as vampires did for standing within their clans, but there was still a distinct hierarchy, and Dillon was very much at his pack's bottom. In fact, he was pack omega. The social hierarchy of a pack maintained order, dictating who made decisions, who mated with whom, even who ate first and who ate last at dinner parties.

That order was constantly reinforced by displays of dominance and submission. Unfortunately for Dillon, the omega bore the brunt of this behavior. One or many of the pack asserted themselves over him, and as omega, Dillon had no choice but to endure it.

"Cheer up, Dillon. It'll be a good night. See you later."

"Yeah. Sure." He'd been dismissed, and Dillon was relieved that things had gone so well, as well as being able to make his escape quickly. Dillon gave Amanda a thumbs-up as he left the office.

The party, however, was a different ball game altogether. You expected a degree of jostling in work as members of staff tried to elbow others aside to try and climb the corporate ladder.

Unfortunately, the same thing happened at Brendan's parties. Between his building-and-design business, and the garage franchise he owned, Brendan always had a lot of employees attending his parties, and the jostling from work carried over into what should be an enjoyable time for all.

Needless to say, Dillon bore the brunt of that behavior, just as he did at work. With any luck, I'll be able to sneak away with Tel and spend some time relaxing. He's never tried to advance himself or prove his so-called dominance at my expense. Keeping that thought in mind, Dillon returned to his office.