Home > Another Motherfaker (The G.D. Taylors #3)

Another Motherfaker (The G.D. Taylors #3)
Author: Willow Aster

 


Chapter One

 

 

Caden

 

I check my reflection in the windows, making sure I’m presentable for my last appointment of the day. The offices of Dubois Designs fill me with a combination of dread and anticipation every time I enter the glass doors and hear the echo of voices bouncing off the marble floor.

But today, something is off.

Susan, the receptionist, runs past me, her silk blouse untucked from her perfectly tailored pants. I’ve often wondered if there’s a dress code to work here because everyone looks like they’ve stepped out of a movie set.

I hear a screech and see Vivienne Dubois running through, heels in her hand.

“Louie,” she yells. Mascara is running down her face.

The hell? Vivienne is the owner of the design company, and when I say I have never seen a hair out of place, I mean the woman’s hair wouldn’t blow if she was standing next to a helicopter. I look around for Cosette, Vivienne’s daughter and the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. Perfection in a petite yet curvy frame, white-blonde hair, violet eyes, and freckles … God, don’t get me started on her freckles—

“Louie François Dubois!”

The screech is real and makes every hair on my body stand on end.

Vivienne runs by again, weeping. I think I hear her say something about chocolate, but that can’t be right.

“What’s happening?” I ask Susan when she stops near her desk to catch her breath. “Who is Louie?”

I’m half expecting a fugitive to dart through the building. A distinguished French cowboy—oh, or maybe French mafia? With that kind of name … the Dubois family has some kind of history with France and they must have a distant cousin who doesn’t fit their pristine mold. We all have an unhinged one in the bunch. My brother Gus comes to mind.

I hear wailing and another screech and I’m getting really concerned. I hope Cosette is okay. Clearly, there is a maniac on the loose. I decide to take matters into my own hands since Susan isn’t giving me any answers and Vivienne is too distraught.

I walk past the reception desk and tentatively check the conference room. No one is in there. In fact, it seems the office has cleared out. If Vivienne and Cosette let their employees go so they’d be safe, that’s really admirable. I look in several of the offices and am to the end of the hall where only Cosette and Vivienne’s offices are left.

I’m about to open Cosette’s door wider, when out of the corner of my eye, I see something dart past me. I turn and rush through Vivienne’s door, and Cosette is inching toward a tiny brown fluff ball.

Too big for a rat. Too small for a dog.

No, wait. I think it is a dog.

“Where is Louie? Are you safe?” I move toward her, looking around the spacious office. I check the bathroom, but it’s empty, and Cosette is still focused on the dog.

Cosette whispers, “Stay back. He can be violent.” She takes a step closer and the dog growls as he digs into whatever he’s protecting at all costs. “Louie, it’s okay, I’ll give you another treat.” She makes a little sound with her mouth, trying to coax him away.

I laugh—I can’t help it. “This is Louie?” I walk up to the dog, ignoring the way he snarls. “Oh, shit, he’s eating chocolate. Hold up.” I dig in my messenger bag and open my snack for later—a package of beef jerky. I take out a large piece and break it into a few bite-sizes for this little pup, still chuckling. I hold it out toward Louie and he looks up from the chocolate.

When his mouth opens, I choke back my surprise.

Fuck me, he only has three or four teeth at the most. Not sure how violent the little guy can get when he’s this tooth-deprived, but I’ll take Cosette’s word for it. He gives me a snaggletoothed pant, two teeth hanging out of his mostly closed mouth. His tail starts to wag.

“Want this, little guy? It’s yours.” I carefully hold the jerky out, but far enough that he’ll have to move away from the chocolate. He snorts and his little pink tongue lodges between the few teeth he has. He’s so pitiful he’s cute. He gradually moves toward me and snatches the jerky out of my hand. Cosette moves in and gets the chocolate out of the way, while I give Louie the scoundrel a few more bites of jerky.

A sound at the door makes us all look up, and Vivienne rushes in. I can barely recognize her in there. It’s like her long-lost twin, who lived a completely different lifestyle, has arrived and gone H.A.M. on the proper twin. Her shoulders shake as she swoops up the dog. He looks eagerly at me for more treats and tries to squirm out of her arms.

“My poor darling,” Vivienne cries. “I don’t know if your stomach will take another pumping, but we’ll try.” She presses her lips together and her eyes close for a second as she gathers her strength.

I look at Cosette for guidance because I’m at a loss here. The most awful sound erupts and Cosette stares at her mother in horror. I turn to look and Louie François Dubois has vomited all over Vivienne’s cream linen suit. She’s stunned and before she can move him away from her, horrifying things come out the other end of the dog. For a little thing, a lot can certainly come out of him.

The smell is literally gagging.

The Vivienne I’ve seen—with a confusing accent, more than a little snobby, pretentious, and always, always in control—would hand the dog off to Cosette to deal with the mess. But this Vivienne clutches the dog to her, whimpering, “It will be all right, précieux. It will be all right.”

And God bless her, she bolts out of there—I guess to rush him to the vet.

It’s silent for a few moments after they leave. I’m processing, and Cosette is … looking as gorgeous as ever. She looks at me and smiles, and I ignore the way my heart acts like we’re sweating away at a swing dance festival. Not that I can even swing dance, but—

“Sorry for the madness,” Cosette interrupts my own madness. Seems to be a common occurrence when I’m around her. She finds a can of Lysol and sprays a few times, wincing. Perhaps the Louie madness is another common occurrence.

I shake my head and make a face. “Are you kidding me? This is the most excitement I’ve had all day.”

She laughs and it’s like music. I keep things professional and so does she. We’re friends. Tacos come up in our conversations quite often, because who doesn’t love tacos? And we’ve bonded over our love of design. But damn, she’s also so fucking pretty. And sweet.

“Do you need to reschedule the meeting? I should’ve asked that right away. You could’ve gone with your mom.”

She shudders. “No. This meeting is a gift. That car ride to the vet is not going to be pleasant.”

My face curls up along with hers, both revisiting all the disgusting brown spots on Vivienne’s cream suit. The smell starting to fade from the room.

Cosette motions for me to sit down and I do, while she turns her computer screen to face us and sits down next to me instead of behind her desk. I catch her faint floral scent and want to stick my nose in her neck and inhale it like I would a bouquet of flowers. I shift uncomfortably in my seat and fiddle with the top of my shirt, needing some air.

Cosette opens up the program she’s working on for her designs and I stare at the picture of the boutique hotel my brothers and I have been renovating in New York for months now. It’s been a huge undertaking—some would say we’ve bitten off more than we can chew—but so far, things are going as scheduled and the place is looking fantastic. Our projected unveiling is in three months and we’re going to nail that.

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