“Kane. Sherra. No fighting today.” Callan saved her from having to drag a scathing retort from her suddenly vacant mind when he walked into the kitchen, followed by his wife and the rest of the main Pride. “Let’s get down to business and see if we can get something accomplished this time.”
The last several meetings had been so unproductive as to make a mockery of his determination to ensure the Breeds a place in society. Not as a separate species, but as human beings deserving of life. That seemed to be the current debate waging among the inner circles of more than one government body.
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“Everything.” She pushed one of the files to her Pride brother. “Farside does excellent construction work, Callan. I’ve researched every angle and they look like our best bet.”
“I disagree.” Kane did no more than she expected as he took his seat as well. He disagreed with everything she said lately. “It would require too many unknowns on the property at once and create a risk we don’t need. That makes them more than untrustworthy, it makes them a hazard.”
Sherra gritted her teeth for long seconds before she turned to him with a snarl.
“Farside Construction is one of the most respected construction firms in the nation. Their buildings have very high ratings for workmanship, they don’t hire subcontractors and they make certain the work is of excellent quality from start to finish. Saying they are untrustworthy could be considered libelous, Kane,”
He was once again being difficult. For some reason he thought it his job in life to make living an even greater hell for her than it already was.
Adrenaline pumped through her veins, making her insides tremble, her womb flex in need. Anger always made it worse. Made the heat spread through her body like a conflagration she had no hope of controlling.
“Settle down, Sherra. He said he didn’t trust them,” Callan reminded her as her gaze locked with Kane’s.
“We have to be certain who we’re dealing with before we let them in on the property. Especially with Cassie here.”
As though she didn’t know that. She felt like hissing in sheer frustration.
“It’s a meeting,” she argued, turning to Callan. “I’ve busted my ass to get these files together and come up with the best choices for the work that needs to be completed. If he keeps shooting them down, we’ll be building the damned houses ourselves.”
“Which makes more sense, purr-baby,” Kane sniped, his ever-present knowing smirk tilting his lips.
“We have enough hands here and it’s not like they weren’t trained at damned near everything. What’s the point in wasting money as well as manpower when we would be out no more than materials to do it ourselves?”
Irritation was beginning to thicken Kane’s voice, as though he was growing tired of the ever-present battle between them. Which was too bad. He started it, his sniping and mocking comments continually battered away at her and she was growing sick of it.
“Because it takes away from the defense of the compound itself,” she snapped back.
“Bullshit.” He was frowning now, his dark blue eyes blazing. “You forget who head of security is here, kitten. Me. I know exactly what it takes to defend this compound and it doesn’t nearly take two hundred
Breeds at any given time to do so. Let your people do the work. It will build a sense of responsibility as well as pride in the home they’ve taken.”
“You seem to forget the fact that most of those men and women you’re talking about need a chance to rest and recuperate, not work their asses off all day.” She planted her hands on the table, snarling back at him as she thought of the dull-eyed men and women who had been rescued from various labs over the past months.
“You can’t coddle them like this, Sherra.” He was nearly in her face now as the others watched in interest. “You’re not going to help them by babying them as though everything was going to be just hunky-dory from now on. It’s not. What they face isn’t going to be a hell of a lot safer than those damned labs they were in if they’re not careful. You can’t let them think it will be.”
Sherra could feel the blood suddenly pumping through her veins, her loins heating, her br**sts tingling in response to the confrontation between them now. A sharp kick of arousal tightened her womb, nearly taking her breath as adrenaline surged through her bloodstream. There was nothing so arousing as a fight with this man. She normally avoided it at all costs, but today…
Frustration was like a rabid animal eating at her self-control. She was sick of his sniping. Sick of biting her tongue and keeping her mouth shut rather than pushing them both into something she feared she would regret.
“I’ll be damned if I’ll use them like slave labor, as you suggest,” Sherra sneered back at him. “This isn’t the Middle Ages and you aren’t some petty dictator being allowed to take over.”
Kane sat back in his chair, his eyes narrowing in anger as he watched her. She could feel his intent gaze, like a caress over her face, assessing her response. Seeing too much. He did that a lot, watching her like a damned bug under a microscope whenever they were in the same room together.
“So pay them a wage,” he finally drawled mockingly. “No one suggested they do it for free. You’re still going to come out ahead without the added danger that allowing others into the compound will bring.”
“Enough, Sherra.” Callan overrode the furious words getting ready to spew from her lips. She wanted to tear into Kane with a desperation that had her fingers curling into claws against the table. “You both have a good argument, but we have to come to a decision tonight.”
“Good luck,” Kane grunted sarcastically as he watched her. “Kitten here seems more determined to see us all dead at the moment then to have houses built.”
Sherra felt a bead of sweat forming on her brow as he smirked at her. His eyes were dark, intent, watching her closely. She could feel him pushing her, knew he was and was helpless against the urge to fight back. She had to fight back. Had to show him she wasn’t weak, she wasn’t timid. On the heels of that thought came the knowledge that her heat was what was actually pushing her. Instinct. To prove to him she was strong enough to take him, strong enough to fight by his side and challenge his strength, and the need to do so was becoming stronger. Daily, she could feel her own aggression surging in her body and it terrified her.