Nice Werewolves Don't Bite Vampires (Half-Moon Hollow #8)- Molly Harper


“Find a way to honor the trappings of your youth without clinging to them. This is especially true if you grew up in an era of the ruff collar or parachute pants.”

—A Gentleman in Any Era: An Ancient Vampire’s Guide to Modern Relationships

* * *

People who said libraries were a useless and outdated relic of the pre-Internet age had never spent time around the McClaine pack.

The Half-Moon Hollow Public Library might have been a dinosaur. But it was a silent dinosaur. A “keep-me-from-losing-from-my-freaking-mind-due-to-my-loud-ass-family-osaurus.”

Maybe calling it a “dinosaur” was unfair. The place certainly hadn’t seen new public funding in a few years. The most recent addition was the Jane Jameson-Nightengale Youth Reading Room, which was marked with a rather showy brass plaque very close to the head librarian’s office. But the computers in the lab were less than five years old. The gray industrial carpet was worn, but not shabby, the dust pilling ever so slightly around the edges of the floor-to-ceiling walnut shelving. And I did recognize some of the titles from the last few years’ bestseller lists, probably also donated by Jane Jameson-Nightengale. Her name seemed to be on a lot of plaques around the building, most of them within the direct eyeline of the head librarian’s office.

Something about that seemed to be a little vindictive. But having met Mrs. Stubblefield, the head librarian with the inexplicably aggressive eyebrows, that made sense.

Mrs. Stubblefield seemed to think the library was her kingdom to rule. She’d reminded me multiple times that the library didn’t allow “loitering” at the private study carrels—despite the fact that I had a laptop with me and was very clearly working. As a werewolf, I respected her need to protect her territory. As someone who depended on the library for a quiet workspace to earn their living, it was deeply annoying.

Living on the pack compound, surrounded by the constant noise and interruptions of my large extended family, going to the library was the only peace I got all day. I tried working from a café, using a secure wi-fi hotspot to protect my clients’ privacy while I designed their social media, email campaigns, and other digital promotional materials. But the constant motion from other customers, plus needing to pack up my stuff every time I left for the restroom, was a non-starter. It was just easier to work in the library, where there was less “traffic.” The locking study carrels—another contribution from Jane Jameson-Nightengale—were quiet and clean and comfortable. My productivity had skyrocketed when I started sneaking to the library in the afternoons several times a week.

My phone grumbled inside my precious backpack, a sturdy blue camouflage model I’d carried since high school. I’d set it up to sound like a growl when the text was from my family. I was sure it was a message from my mama, asking where I was. I glanced at the clock on my computer screen. It was after eight. Where had my time gone? It felt like I’d just gotten here! I rolled my shoulders. Nope, apparently, I’d been in this position for far too long.

The project I was working on—social media headers for a small bed-and-breakfast in upstate New York that themed itself around a Medieval Celtic romantic imagery—needed help. The owners kept insisting on using a specific stock photo of a sword, but it simply didn’t look right to me. The carvings on the hilt just didn’t have the sort of patterns I’d seen in Celtic weapons. It looked more like Viking swords I’d seen on TV shows, all pointy runes and triangles. But knowing these difficult-but-always-prompt-with-payments clients as I did, I was going to have to have evidence on my side if I was going to convince them that they were wrong.

I stood from the comfortable desk chair, cracking my spine back into place. I rarely ventured into the stacks unless it was for reference material. Sometimes clients wanted to center their promotional messages around some strange detail that was not accurate. I liked being able to check actual physical books written by experts—as opposed to online image searches—to prevent that embarrassment for them…and for me.

While they may not have liked being told when they were wrong (and sometimes “super-wrong”), it was my attention to that sort of thing that kept my clients coming back for repeat business. I’d developed a solid reputation for engaging, affordable, and correct work. Sure, there were plenty of platforms out there that helped not quite computer-literate people design their own graphics and