About Cereus Training
Author: BA Tortuga, Julia Talbot, Sean Michael
Word Count: 51509
Page Count (pdf): 191
Date Published: 2nd edition Aug 2016, first ed 2013
Publisher: Turtlehat Creatives
File Types available: pdf, epub, mobi
Paranormal resort Cereus is running like clockwork, but in these three stories a whole new crop of employees and guests, like bears, vampires and fallen angels, might require some extra training.
In Ursa Minor, by Julia Talbot and BA Tortuga, little bear Dakota is losing his sight, and is causing some serious damage trying to wait tables. Resort owner Jonny thinks he knows just what Dakota needs. His name is Cord, and the big grizzly shifter is more than willing to take Dakota on. In Heaven and Hell by Sean Michael, fallen angel Uri has no idea how to be mortal. Luckily, demon Quake is happy to show Uri all about the pleasures of being flesh and blood. Finally, in Weed and Feed, by Julia Talbot and BA Tortuga, Terry and Boone are young werewolves who need a firm hand. Alpha wolf Jackson and vampire Cian are willing, and able, to provide just that.
Cereus: Training takes up where Building and Opening began, with all the fun chaos only Cereus can provide!
Note: This is a previously published work. The publisher has changed.
“Duke? Have you got a minute?” Jonny tried hard not to ask Duke for anything. The big werewolf was too damned busy running Cereus, Jonny’s wildly popular weekend getaway spot up in the mountains. Still, this was something of an emergency.
“For you, boss. Yeah.” The response was immediate and suited Jonny to the bone.
“I have a little situation. Nothing serious,” he added immediately, not wanting Duke to gear up for bad news. “I have a waiter-slash-attendant here who needs to move to Cereus from here at the Bloodrose. His name is Dakota.”
“Dakota? The wee bear?” Dakota was a charmer, pleasant and easy-going and had never met a stranger so it came as no surprise when Duke asked, “Why are you moving him, Boss?”
“He’s– not well, Duke. He’s losing his sight.” It was rare for a shifter to have a degenerative disease like Dakota, but it did happen. “You know how busy the ‘Rose is.”
“Yeah. Yeah, is he… I mean, can anyone help?”
“Luc is teaching him some things, but he’s still somewhat in denial.” Jonny sighed, a habit from his human days. “He’s destroying half our bar glasses, Duke.”
“Do I get a bigger bar budget?”
“Sure. I was thinking maybe you could put him on someone’s private service. If you have any long term guests right now.” Jonny knew perfectly well there were four candidates. One was even a bear.
“I’ll figure something out. I got a bear, but he’s a grizzly. He could hold little Dakota’s butt in one hand.”
Jonny chuckled. “That might work out nicely.”
“Maybe. I’ll put him on the floor for a few days until there’s a plan.”
“That way you can evaluate the best situation, of course. I trust you. He’ll be an asset in the needs of our ursine customers.”
“Ursine. Absolutely. Just what I need. More bears.”
Jonny laughed. “You don’t enjoy their company, wolf?” he asked.
Duke’s answer was a particularly rude growl, one that tickled him, bone deep. Jonny laughed out loud, thinking maybe he and Luc would take Dakota up personally. He hadn’t seen his old club manager in too long.
“We’ll be up in a few days,” he murmured.
“You’re coming? Excellent. I’ll have your room aired out.”
“Thank you, Duke. As always, you have my gratitude.”
“Anytime, boss.” Duke’s voice was fond, and Jonny knew it. The wolf was his family.
“We’ll see you soon.” Jonny hung up, then glanced up at the armoire behind his desk. “I found a home for your little bear, sweet.”
Luc purred for him, eyes warm, happy, and the pleasure in his kit pushed at his brain. He was going to get a reward. How lovely.
“You’ll break it to him, will you?” Dakota would feel sad at leaving.
That tail switched and Luc hopped down, moving comfortably, easily. If anyone could help Dakota ease from the Bloodrose to Cereus, it was his cat.
All Jonny had to do was pack a bag.
Dakota stood against the wall trying to focus past the smoke in his eyes. He only had three tables tonight and one of them was Luc and Jonny, so that wasn’t scary, right?
Because he could do this. He was strong. Brave.
Stalwart, damn it.
He was scared shitless. Cereus’ dining room was huge. Vast. Completely unfamiliar. How was he supposed to learn where shit was?
“You okay, kiddo?” Tariq, the kitchen manager, startled him, putting a hand on his shoulder.
“Yeah. Yeah, I…” He nodded. “It’s a big space.”
“It is.” He could hear more than see Tariq’s sympathy, but it didn’t feel like pity. “The middle aisle is clear.”
“And my tables are the first two and the one to the left is Luc and Jonny, right?”
“Yep. If you need help, just holler at Dalton.”
“Right. Thanks.” Which one was Dalton? He thought it was the blond blur who went by at a fast clip. Oh, God. He was going to die.
He gathered his courage in both paws and lumbered forward, focused on Luc’s scent, which was familiar in his nose. Dakota squeezed his eyes shut; it was actually easier with them closed.
Somebody hit him from the side, hard enough to spin him in a circle, make him growl deep in his chest. Luc was right there all of a sudden, holding his arm so he didn’t fall. Dakota knew that deep cat scent.
“Luc…” He couldn’t do this.
“Come with me.” Luc took his arm, held him. “Mate, a private room for us? Now?”
“Of course. Duke?” Jonny asked.
Dakota heard shuffling, saw a lot of bodies moving.
He squeezed his eyes shut again, then they were moving, Luc so confident, so sure. That was Jonny, he thought, acting as Luc’s sight.
“Here, now.” Jonny’s voice was low. Kind. “There’s all that noise gone.”
“I’m sorry.” They’d brought him all the way out here and he was already in trouble.
Luc snorted. “Well, if you’d just stop being blind.”