Gideon - Book cover


Nicole Riddley

Date Night


Just as the man is about to open the door, his phone rings.

“Yes?” he answers sternly.

His hand drops from the door handle.

I feel his body inches away from mine. His breathing is heavy. I can tell the scent is coming right from him.

My heart is pounding so hard I wonder if he can hear it.

“I’ll be right there,” he replies.

As he turns to leave, he takes one last whiff of the air.

Could he smell me as strongly as I could smell him?

When we hear the door shut, Sarah and I burst through the closet door.

“That was a close one,” huffs Sarah.

“You think?” I say, still catching my breath.

The scent lingers in the air.

“Who do you think that was?” I ask.

“Probably just some billionaire and his snooty girlfriend.” Sarah rolls her eyes, fixing herself in the mirror.

When she notices I’m flustered, she makes a face.

“Your phone almost got us caught by the way,” she adds. “Who was it from anyway?”

When I look at the screen, I find a message from our boss.

BethI need you to cover a high-priority shift this week. Marnie got mono and can’t work.

“It’s Beth,” I answer.

“What does that cow want now?”

“She wants me to cover Marnie’s shift. Apparently she got mono.”

“Of course she would get the kissing disease. Who hasn’t she kissed?” Sarah says, and we both giggle.

Nobody at the company likes Marnie and for good reason. She's a real snarky bitch.

“Do you know who the client is?” asks Sarah.

I shake my head, texting Beth back.

LaylaWho is it?
BethSomeone important. That’s all you need to know.
BethI need you to clean his penthouse.

“Shall we go down to the party?” Sarah asks when she’s satisfied with the way she looks.

Putting my phone away, I take one last breath in before we make our way downstairs.


I stare into the restroom mirror, hating what I see.

I can see the sleeplessness in my eyes from the night before. I try to cover the dark circles with concealer, but they’re proving to be stubborn.

To no one’s surprise, Sarah and I did not find our husbands at last night’s party. We did, however, giggle at the seriousness of the whole affair.

When I spotted a lycan, I knew it was time to head home.

This morning, too hungover to protest, my mother dragged me into a blind date.

I take one last look in the mirror.

There’s a knock on the door, and I hear Carmen’s voice outside.

“Your date is here.”


I wash my hands and try to mentally prepare myself for the night I have to endure.

But as I walk to the door, I can feel the familiar knot in the pit of my stomach intensify. I plaster a smile onto my face and turn the handle.

Surprise! When I open the door, my sister-in-law is standing next to my mom’s latest attempt at matchmaking, her friend’s son Kofi. I have to fight to stop my face from falling.

“You look beautiful tonight, Layla,” Carmen says. “Don’t you think she looks beautiful, Kofi?”

Kofi grins and his eyes slide down to my chest. “She always looks beautiful.”

God help me. I suppress a groan.

He’s gross, but my mom and grandmother are convinced he’s my future mate. I’ve told them over and over to stop their incessant quest to set me up, but it only seems to make them more insistent.

I’m only half werewolf—my mom is a human—so when I was born, no one knew if I’d be able to find a mate like a normal werewolf. And after twenty-two years with no sign of him, I think it’s fair to say he’s not coming.

Mates are overrated. Really. If only I could convince my heart of that.

I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’ll be alone forever. No matter what my mom says.

When we get to the restaurant, Kofi slips a hand behind my back and steers me across the room.

I can feel his hand slide down toward my ass, but I was expecting it, so without breaking my smile, I grab his hand and pull it back up to my waist.

The waitress comes over to take our orders, and before I can ask for the steak I always get, Kofi orders me the leafy greens salad.

What an asshole! What does my mom see in him?”


After a mind numbing date, we finally leave the restaurant. Kofi drapes his arm across my shoulder and I want to shrug it off and punch him in the gut.

“I had a really great time tonight, Layla,” Kofi says after he stops the car in front of my house.

Oh, I’m sure he did.

He was talking nonstop in the car, mostly about himself. But I didn’t mind it, really—it gave me time to think about the things I have to do tomorrow and plan my day.

All I had to do was just supply an appropriate response while he was talking: stuff like “Uh-huh,” “Oh, really,” “Wow,” “OK,” and “Interesting.”

“You’re such a great listener, Layla,” he continues, his teeth glowing in the dark.

I wonder what tooth whitener he uses… “Uh-huh.”

“The other girls sure don’t measure up to you.”

“Oh, really?” I reply, still only half listening.

“I like someone who’s not easy. Someone classy but shy, who plays hard to get, ya know?” He’s looking at me meaningfully. “I can tell that beneath that ice queen act, you really like me.”

Wait. What?

“So you can quit the act now—you’ve got my attention, girl. I know you’re just as attracted to me as I am to you. You’re the one for me.”

Oh God, that sounds like a super bad, cheesy song.

I want to tell him off, but I can’t for fear of my mom’s wrath. So I end up staring up at him, worrying my bottom lip as I try to think what to say.

I have to handle this delicately, because if I do it wrong, I’ll be getting phone calls from my mom all night tonight. She’s relentless.

Delicately. Right. “Uh, Kofi… I’m not shy, and I’m not playing hard to get. I do like you…”

His smile widens.

“What I mean to say is, I don’t dislike you. But I don’t like you like…like, ~like~ you, you know. I—”

He suddenly swoops in, and I turn my face just in time so his lips smash on my cheek. His hand comes up to grip my chin and turn my face his way, but I smack his forehead, his chest, and everywhere else that my hands can reach.

“Ow—Layla. Ow! Ow!” he yelps.

“Behave yourself, Kofi!” I wipe my cheek and scramble out of the car like my ass is on fire.

“Oh, come on, Layla. Don’t be like that.”

“Don’t you ‘come on, Layla’ me!” I yell at the window before I stomp up the tiny driveway. “Sheesh! What has the world come to?”

I continue to grumble as I push the key forcefully into the lock.

I’ll definitely be getting calls from my mom tomorrow.

Good thing I have a whole penthouse to clean, the perfect excuse for ignoring her calls.

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