A Reluctant Boy Toy (Men of St. Nacho's #3) - Z.A. Maxfield
The woman shrank back as I approached. “Get away from me, you freak!”
“You were warned to stay clear of the hybrids, Ms. Kelleher,” I said furiously. “You’re lucky you didn’t lose your hand.”
“Stone, I've got this.” Assistant Director Deacon Caine grabbed Gina Kelleher’s arm and pulled her away. “Who raised you to talk to people like that?”
Barking and shouts had shattered the peace of the fir-scented clearing where we’d placed a small pen for my wolf-canine hybrids to rest. The noise drew even more members of the cast and crew.
More humans. Exactly what my animals didn’t need.
“I’m sorry, Deacon.” The woman bowed her head under Deacon’s obvious displeasure, but she’d been far more scared of me than him. “He just came out of nowhere and startled me.”
“It’s nothing I haven’t heard a thousand times.” My scarred face got all kinds of reactions. “Let it go, Deacon.”
“Apologize to Mr. Wilder.” He loomed over the actress.
She looked at her feet and said grudgingly, “I’m sorry for what I said. You startled me.”
“You were told not to approach the animals.” Deacon didn’t want to let it go. “Then you act like a dick with their handler? We have a zero-tolerance policy in place in regard to bullying, young lady. I’m gonna have to take this up with Craig.”
Threatened with the director, her eyes narrowed. “You wouldn’t dare.”
“Go back to your coach, Ms. Kelleher. I’ll deal with you later.”
“You’re full of shit. He won’t do a thing. They need me.” She straightened her shoulders and left with her head held high.
“Actors,” Deacon spat. “The industry would be a much better place without them.”
“Don’t go to war over this, D.” I gave his shoulder a pat. “I can handle an insensitive remark or two.”
“You shouldn’t have to. Wait—” He keyed his mic. “Yeah, yeah. I know. I just read her the riot act. She was told not to approach the hybrids. Absolutely she did. I’ll talk to you about it later.”
Deacon gave his tired eyes a rub.
“Just remind everyone again. Keep them away from Hades and Persephone unless they’re in a scene. I don’t know if you’re picking up on their body language, but they’re really anxious right now.” My hybrids—part domestic dog, part wolf—paced inside their pen. “Good thing we got the shoot over before that woman took a notion to get a selfie with the pretty doggies. They’ll be hell to settle down after this.”
“She’s an idiot. I’ll remind everyone again to leave the animals alone. And I’m so sorry she—”
“Christ. You think I care what people say about me anymore?”
“I know, man. I just feel like…You lost enough for these fuckers. Bitch.”
I laughed. “You’re taking this way harder than I am.”
“Because what happened to you could have happened to any of us.” Deacon cleared his throat. “Sorry. I know you don’t like to talk about it.”
I shrugged. “Oorah.”
“Damn right. Oorah.” He offered a weak smile then stiffened when a car rolled into the clearing. “Aw, Jesus. Here comes more trouble.”
“Who’s that?” As we watched, the town car rolled to a stop.
“That,” Deacon said grimly, “is Sebastian Keye, and goddamnit, he’s early.”
“Isn’t that better than late?” I asked.
“Maybe, but honest to God, it’s always something with actors. My industry contacts warned me about Keye, but he’s the flavor of the month, so Craig had to have him. Guess he’s a Comic Con favorite because of his last series. I’ve gotta go deal with this.”
Deacon left to greet the newcomer while I went back to my animals. Their energy was flagging. They’d spent most of the night filming their actor-free scenes. We’d run from mark to mark through the forest, posed on boulders, and howled at the moon for the better part of six hours. It was time I got them into their crates so I could take them back to my motorhome where they could eat and rest.
A couple minutes later, Deacon returned. He had his tablet out and was talking into the mic on his headset before he motioned me over.
“I’m afraid there’s a slight problem. We’re going to have to move your RV.”
“Mine? How come?” I liked where they’d placed me. I had to have a buffer between my rig and the production, not just for my animals—who didn’t interact well with strangers, obviously—I needed the space too. I was certain my contract stipulated exactly where I was going to set up.
“Didn’t Ariel give you a heads up on what we’d need? We can’t be anywhere close to the production traffic.”