Dantego Salone scowled out at the sunrise. It was barely eight o’clock and already seventy fucking degrees. He could feel sweat gathering on his brow. His shirt stuck to his back. He fought down a shudder of disgust. God, why had his ex moved their children here? This wasn’t home. Hell, it wasn’t even her home.
Dante bit back a growl, slamming his bus pass against the card reader and storming through the gate. He needed to work on his temper. If he hadn’t lost it during the court case he’d still have his kids. He sighed, checked his phone for the buss schedule, and hurried to catch the one headed towards his new apartment complex.
The alpha women working at the desk across the room turned a glare on him as his phone vibrated against the wood table for the third time. Dante shot her an apologetic look and answered with a huff. He’d been trying to get all the paperwork done before he had to engage in a screaming match, but clearly it was inevitable.
“You where supposed to be here an hour ago!”
The omega man helping him startled, wincing at Dante’s raised alpha pheromones. He bit the inside of his cheek and tried to reel it in.
“Yes, Lindsey, the plane got delayed. What the hell do you expect me to do?”
“I don’t know. You couldn’t have come get the kids first!”
Dante rolled his eyes.
“In what car? The weather that delayed my plane also delayed the arrival time of the freighter shipping my Pegasus.” He heard her muttering about the frivolousness of his ‘stupid’ car and had to fight down another pheromone spike. Like his car was even a fraction of the price of just one of the numerous vehicles in her new husband’s name.
“How about a rental Dantego it’s not that hard.” Like he had the money. Not after packing up his whole life and moving to this goddamn hell hole.
“I am almost finished here.” He barely kept the growl out of his voice. “The shipment yard isn’t that far. I should be there in about thirty minuets to an hour.”
“Thirty minuets to an hour? Are you fucking ki-”
He swiped the end call button uncaring of the fact it’d cost him. And pressed the fingers of his free hand into his temple feeling a migraine building. God, what the hell had he seen in that women?
“If… If you sign here, and here. And initial here.” He drew an x next to two of the lines and a box at the end of the document they’d been going over. “I’ll get your keys and you can get going. Hopefully you want be too late.”
“Thanks,” Dante grimaced, “but I’m fairly certain ‘too late’ was sixty minutes ago.”
Dante pushed down feelings of inadequacy as he pulled through the front gate of the three story mansion. Lindsey was waiting for him on the front steps, in a little black dress, her hair twisted into a fancy bun.
“What the hell is your problem!” Lindsay marched down the steps to back him into the open door of his car and jabbed a finger into his chest. Her four inch heels giving her height advantage. Dante bit back a growl.
“You say that like I inconvenienced you oh so much. But you know, at least I didn’t make you move halfway across the world.”
“I didn’t make you, you chose to-”
Lindsay stepped away as Charlotte came flying down the steps to throw herself into his arms.
“Hey Angel…” Dante picked her up, hugging her tight. “I missed you guys. So, so much!” It’d been way too long. Close to six months since he’d last seen his little girl. Over a year since he’d seen Gavin.
Lindsey huffed, rolling her eyes. Dante glared at her, his alpha pheromones spiking. Charlotte leaned back, looking startled and Lindsey narrowed her eyes at him in reproach. Dante bit the inside of his cheek, forcing his body to relax and kissed the side of Charlotte’s head in apology. She cuddled close to him to whisper in his ear.
“Brother doesn’t like it when alphas do that.”
Dante frowned, a prickling of anxiety crawling up his neck. Gavin was too young to be experiencing any kind of alpha aggression.
“He’s turning fifteen in a few months, Charlie, his senses are just increasing and it agitates him,” he whispered back. Lindsey frowned at them, unable to pick up their low voices with her lesser beta senses.
“No Daddy,” she lead back, shaking her head. “It scares him.”
“Shut up!” Gavin glared at his sister form the top of the front steps. Lindsey frowned at him and he cowered. Dante fought down a scowl.
“Gavin, come here.”
His head shout up as he tensed, eyes widening. Dante was concerned to see a flash of that fear Charlie was talking about. Gavin scurried down the steps to stand in front of him with his head ducked. Dante bit at the inside of his cheek, shooting Lindsey a look. She sneered at him and he got the distinct impression she thought Gavin’s behavior was entirely his fault.
He rolled his eyes and stepped forward to pull his son into a tight hug, nuzzling into his floppy curls. If it was anyone’s fault it was Lindsey’s! With her posh upbringing and authoritative parenting approach. Gavin went lax, let out a low whine, and buried his face in Dante’s chest, gripping him back just as hard.
“Well as I have missed the entire business conference hopefully I can make it to the lunch-in.” Lindsey shot him a pointed look. “There are their things. Have them back Monday morning like we agreed. Behave for your father.”
“Yes, mom,” Gavin and Charlie answered together. Dante watched her stride across the yard to a waiting limo with an air of sadness. He certainly didn’t miss Lindsey. But the security of a family unit. With the disconnect from his own family here half way around the world. He felt that loss down to his bones.
“Come on, get your stuff,” he ruffled Gavin’s hair and set Charlie on her feet. “I figured we could stay at the hotel while the moves set up my apartment.”
Dante’s confident stride into the building was intercepted by Jacob Collins. Jacob and him had started out together back in high school. At the very bottom as bellhops. The man had practically gotten him the job here. Dante frowned at his look of panicked dread. The normal dark brown tone of his face an ash gray.
“I… I don’t know how it happened… What the hell happened!” He waved a hand in frustration before running it down his face.
“How what happened?”
“Your job! They gave your job away!”
Dante felt coldness bloom across his diaphragm. His mind went blank for a moment.
He needed this job. He couldn’t afford to live here if he had to start all over at another company.
“But… But I stayed here with my kids this weekend. I used my employee discount?”
“Yeah, I checked that when I saw they hired someone else. You’re still considered in the process of a transfer. I don’t understand. Maybe it’s a glitch in the system or the area manager got permission to hire two branch managers, it is kind of a big hotel. I don’t know. You need to talk to the him. I think he’s here actually, come on.” He turned, leading Danny into the hotel as he pulled out his phone.
A partnership? He bit back a sneer of disgust. He’d seen partnerships go bad faster than fish laid out in the sun on a hot day. It took a special kind of understanding to run a business together.
“Hi, this is Jacob Collins, I work with the human recourses department. I’m calling on behalf of Dantiago Salone who put in for the management position here and was approved for the move, yet I see that another person was offered the position.” He paused in his steps, pulling Dante away from the foot traffic as he listened. His face becoming pinched with confusion.
Dante sucked his bottom lip between his teeth. Ran a hand over his quivering admen.
“Okay, I understand your predicament, but what are we supposed to do about this?”
Well, that sounded like he didn’t have a job. He fought off images of himself dirty, in rags, living in a homeless shelter. Don’t be ridiculous. Like anyone in his family would ever let that happen. He’d just have to find another job. Dante cringed. Or move back home.
“Okay, thanks for trying, no I know. Not your fault.” Jacob hung up looking morose. “He says he doesn’t know what’s going on, but all of his management positions in this district have been filled recently. That you need to get in contact with your boss as soon as possible, hopefully they can cancel the transfer and give you back your job there.”
Dante pursed his lips. A tremble vibrating through his nerves. Realization struck with the force of an erupting volcano. Heat flooded his veins and he had to forcibly lock down the fast approaching explosion. His alpha pheromone seeping out all over the place. People started giving them a wide breath.
Jacob grimaced at him in sympathy. “You look like you have an idea about what happened.”
Dante nodded, still barely holding on to his temper. He pulled out his phone, signaling to Jacob to give him a minute as he dialed his uncle’s number.
“Hey Amy, I didn’t want to call his cell incase he’s in a meeting. Thanks, you’re a doll.” He almost chocked on the forced politeness. Not that his uncle’s secretary wasn’t a doll and he didn’t adore her. His vocal cords would just much rather be screaming profanities right now. He pulled the phone away and hit speaker. He doubted he’d be in any shape to repeat everything to Jacob in his current state of mind.
“Nicklaus Russo speaking.”
Jacob startled, eyes widening. Right, his uncle had just been in the news for his ruthless takeover of Bolton Enterprises. Too bad his company didn’t have any influence on this side of the content.
“Hey Uncle Klaus…”
“Oh, hey Dan!” His sharp business voice broke away to the playful affection he only ever showed his family. “What can I do for you?”
“I… They gave my job away.” He shivered at the silence, quite knowledgeable of Klaus Russo’s cold fury. “I have my suspicions, but I… I really hope I’m wrong.” He knew he wasn’t. This kind of thing didn’t just happen. “Could you possibly have access to the information of what company is in control of the South Koga Weston Hotel chain?”
“Give me a minute.”
“Sure.” Dante could here him typing at the computer.
“That’d be Sterling Inc.” His voice was dark with the promise of retribution. “Looks like they pulled an aggressive buyout in the past month or so.”
“Sterling…” Jacob frowned before his eyes widened. “Isn’t that your ex’s…”
“You know I could always put a hit out on him if you like?”
Dante startled, quickly jabbing at the speaker button. ‘He’s kidding,’ he mouthed to Jacob, who didn’t look at all convinced. “That’s not necessary. Thanks for the confirmation. Sorry to take up your time, I’m sure you have work to do.”
“Dante… If it’s money you need I can wire you some right now.”
Dante cringed. The last thing he wanted was to be taking hand outs from his rich uncle.
“No. Thank you, but no. I’m just…” he ran a hand through his hair. “I’m just going to have to find another job. It shouldn’t be that hard, I’ve got the credentials and the experience.”
“Okay Kid, but you call me if you need help. And don’t be stubborn about it.”
Dante rolled his eyes as he slipped his phone back into his pocket.
“I’m sorry this happened Dante.”
“Nah man, thanks for coming down her and trying to help me.” He slapped him on the shoulder. “You probably need to get back to work. I’m just… Ganna go drown myself at the bottom of a bottle.”