The alarm had a death wish. J.R. was certain of it. It must have if it kept rattling and wailing after the many mornings J.R. had throttled it. This morning, its wish must have been stronger than ever—it kept blaring even after J.R. had pounded on button after button.
J.R. opened his eyes a slit. His sharp ears fell back until they lay flat on his head. With something close to a bark, he caught its cord and yanked it out of the outlet. The alarm clattered to the floor and fell in silent defeat.
But it had left one last revenge: J.R. was awake. He snorted and rolled into a seated position on the king-sized bed. The pristine white walls and rug stood in sharp contrast with the dirty clothes and shoes all over the floor. If his parents had been alive to see this, they would have had a fit. J.R. smirked. So maybe he did win after all.
He yawned and took a deep breath of tropical air. The smell of sand, ocean, and tropical fruit . . . mangoes, maybe ? . . . flowed deep into his nostrils, settling the fur that had risen on the back of his neck. This was the last morning he’d have to wake up early; the last morning he’d have to battle the alarm.
He stretched and rubbed his hand in his armpit. He sniffed it. Though he detected a twinge of body odor, he felt that a heavy dose of deodorant would take care of it. Who needed a shower, anyway? The water always took too long to heat up, and the soap here smelled like a perfumer’s overzealous interpretation of flowers. He slipped on some pants and a shirt he found on the floor and stumbled into the family room, rubbing his eyes.
Every window in the house had been opened, letting in the roar of the ocean’s tide. Just a few miles down the road, the beach stretched in both directions. A constant breeze blew through the house. That, along with the ceiling fans constantly twirling, kept the house cool in otherwise sweltering conditions. No air conditioning required.
J.R. glanced around the house he had grown up in—white walls, open concept area, lots of windows, and white wicker furniture—everything had its place and everything was clean and polished. He raised the corner of his lip to expose a fang. It was all too open and bright and clean for him. He preferred the closeness and dark wood of his cabin-style house in Justin’s Ridge.
“Good morning, J.R.” Karalaina, a vixen with salmon colored fur, stood in the kitchen in front of the stove. All four burners glowed red and each pot let out a different smell that mingled together in a delightful fog. She had ears that must have been the size of her head, wavy blonde hair that turned red at the ends, and a curvaceous body. But no matter how beautiful she was or how hard he tried, J.R. could never picture them together in any capacity. It always made him balk.
Karalaina hailed from a country called Expermia and wore a traditional Expermian outfit—a dress with high splits on either side of it and form-fitting pants underneath. Two pieces of cloth hung around her waist, held in place by large, silver pins.
“You’re up early again today.” Karalaina smiled at him over her shoulder. “Hungry?”
“I’ll eat later. Chloe’s coming over. After she leaves, I’m going back to bed.” J.R. dumped himself in a chair around the breakfast table separating the kitchen from the family room. The place had been set for four people.
He groaned and rested his head on the table. The thought of seeing Chloe left him feeling drained.
“That’s right!” Karalaina stirred the contents of a pot. “Xenatha and Katheraine are finally going to meet the woman you’ve been sneaking off to meet every morning. This will be interesting.”
“You make it sound like I’m having some illicit affair.” J.R. rested his chin on the table. Not that J.R. minded an illicit affair. But he didn’t feel like bantering today. And he didn’t feel like explaining why there couldn’t be anything at all between him and Chloe. Karalaina would find that out soon enough.
© 2016 M.R. Anglin. Don’t copy or redistribute without author’s permission. Purchase the book on amazon to see the rest of this story.
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© 2016 M.R. Anglin. Don't Steal; the book's available now anyway.