His Feisty Omega by Skyler Snow
Itied my apron in place and glanced at the inventory sheet in my hands. It was going to be a long day. Carter was already on my ass about getting the inventory done—and correctly this time. I couldn't just screw around today. His words. Not mine.
"Winston! If those numbers are wrong, I'm going to fire you!"
I rolled my eyes. Carter was the biggest softie known to man. A huge wall of a guy who couldn't hurt a fly. I also knew he couldn't fire me. I was one of the few people in Vale Valley that could sell anything. Bringing money into Screwed Rods was an art form, and I was the painter.
"I'm going. I'm going," I assured Carter, setting my coffee down on the counter. "I was just trying to unwind for the day."
Carter rolled his eyes. "Unwind before you come to work. Thank you."
"Cranky as usual. Here." I picked up the second coffee I had brought for him and held it out. "Drink up and smile already."
He took the coffee and mumbled but walked off drinking it all the same. What was it about me and grumpy alphas? They seemed to flock around me, driving me crazy while I ignored their grunts and mumbled bullshit and fluttered on through life free and uninhibited. Or maybe they all needed to get laid, my best friend Killian included.
I shook my head as he walked toward the back of the shop and I was left to go through the inventory. There weren't a ton of boxes today, thank the Goddess, but there was enough to keep me busy for a while. I picked up a box cutter, slicing through the tape and opening the flaps before I peered inside.
"Alright, let's do this."
My job at Screwed Rods wasn't the most glamourous, but I liked it. The customers were nice and sometimes flirty, the money was decent, and I was able to get out of my shoebox of an apartment long enough to stretch my legs and meet new people. It was a win-win for me.
I didn't have any aspirations of being or doing anything great. Some people wanted to be wealthy, popular, spoiled. Me? I was perfectly fulfilled by helping out my customers and having a peaceful life. It wasn't something I always had when I was in the outside world. In fact, peace had been so rare that I had been close to losing my mind.
Vale Valley had saved me.
"Excuse me. Hey!"
I glanced up and peered into the dark brown eyes of a very familiar face. Kieran stared back at me, his lips pressed into a straight line. As usual, the man towered over me by a whole damn lot, and I was left to stare up at him.
"Can I help you?"
"Yeah," he grumbled. "If you're not too busy daydreaming to get some work done."
I clicked my tongue. "How do you know I wasn't daydreaming about you?" I purred, giving him a wink. "A big, tall man walking into the shop, all intent on holding me down and—"
I grinned and waved a hand. "Right, right. I'll behave. Just for you." When he huffed, I chuckled. "What can I do for you? Besides suggesting a good drink or something that would make you loosen up?"
"I don't need to loosen up. Just need you to do your job."
"Only if you ask me nicely." I went back to checking the inventory against my clipboard before I glanced up at him. Kieran's eyes were narrowed. "It's only fair."
"Where's Carter?" he snapped.
"In the back, doing business stuff. I have no idea." I waved my pen around. "I'm only your friendly omega drone here to do the inventory and please the customers."
Kieran blinked at me. "I'm going to talk to Carter."
Hopping up, I ran around and blocked his body. "Okay, okay, I don't want to get yelled at today, so let's pretend we like each other long enough to conduct business. Seriously, what can I help you with, Kieran?"
The man looked me over as if he were waiting for me to screw with him again. Which was fair. I did it often. There was nothing better than poking at the big old bear man and watching his face scrunch in irritation at my antics. And the bad part was that I couldn't stop. There was nothing more rewarding than angering him.
Why must you torture the man? My wolf pushed and huffed as he paced around, trying to get me to behave, as always. You know he can't take a joke.
Well, maybe he should learn.Why did he always have to look so...upset? It was like he was sad and hiding it underneath the fierce scowl and thick, crossed arms against that huge, muscled chest...
I shook my head. Nope, I couldn't have those thoughts about Kieran. We had known each other for three years now, but we still weren't close. Even though every time he was around every bit of me was drawn to him and I had to fight the urge to climb his body and rub myself against him until he accepted me.
"Sorry." I cleared my throat when I came back to life. "I'm on another planet today. What do you need?"
Kieran looked me up and down and finally shoved a piece of lined paper toward me. "I need these things. All of them."
I glanced down at the paper. It was quite the list. Wood, brackets, nails, fixtures, and the list went on and on. He was about to be doing some pretty heavy work it seemed.
"What's all this for?"
Kieran sighed. "My aunt. She needs repairs done."
"Oh, Kieran. How sweet of you." I smiled up at him. "Helping out someone from the kindness of your heart? Who knew you were capable of it?"
Kieran raised a brow. "I regularly do repairs for businesses around town, some for free. So what are you talking about?"
I had no idea he did that. Okay, so maybe it was a little sweet. I looked over the list, crooked a finger, and walked down one of the aisles. On the way, I took a cart and passed it to Kieran to push.
"You navigate the cart, and I'll fill it. We don't have all of this, so I'm pretty sure you're going to have to come back. Carter is going to have to put an order in."
"Fine," he grumbled and started following me down the aisles. "Just let me know what you don't have."
"That's my job!" I bounced down one of the lanes and stopped to grab a few products before I sat them into the cart. "Should I be worried about a budget?"
"Are you rich then?"
"Do you know any words besides no?"
I stopped in my tracks, turned on my heels, and glared at him. "Really, Kieran?"
The corner of his mouth twitched. "I also know shut up, but I thought that would be rude."
I turned back around, frowning now as I went in search of the rest of his list. Behind me, the squeaking wheels of the cart filled my ears, but there was something else, so quiet most would have missed it. Had Kieran just snickered?
He was such a jerk. Yet, whenever he was close, my heart tried to beat out of my chest and I was left to try to figure out why the hell my body was so hot. Kieran was clearly a cold, distant jerk. That hadn't changed in three years, and it wouldn't change now.
We both know it's because you're supposed to—
Nope. No, no, no! I was ignoring my wolf today, yesterday, and forever. All he did was try to tell me insane things I didn't want to deal with. Kieran and I had nothing in common!
I was twenty-two. He was thirty-five. I liked to go and hang out with my friends, he was content being in his house by himself. I had a great sense of humor, and he liked to scowl at everything. There was no way in hell that he was my—
Fated, my wolf cut in. Our mate. Stop fighting it already, you idiot!
If I could slap my wolf, then I would have at that very moment. No, I didn't want to settle down and become someone's claimed mate. My life was free like it had never been when I was young, and I didn't want to lose that.
Glancing over the full cart, I double-checked everything against the list. Some of the items would really have to wait, but that was alright. I could call him when they came in.
"I need your phone number," I said as I stood behind the register, and Kieran raised a brow at me. "Not for me, jerk. I need a number to call when the rest of the order comes in."
"Can't I just come back up here and pick it up?"
"You could, but I don't know when everything will be in." I scanned some of his items, the slow-moving belt taking them away. "Carter won't even know until he puts the order in. So, phone number."
Kieran scratched his head. "I don't own a phone."
I stared at him. "I'm sorry. Did you say you don't own a phone?" I pressed a hand against my chest. "I thought we suddenly were catapulted back into the dark ages."
"Hilarious." He rolled his eyes. "No, I don't own a phone. I don't need one. I show up on time for work, I go home. If anyone needs me, I talk to them in person. It's not that difficult."
I shivered. "Sorry, I was just disgusted by the way you live for a minute." I held up a hand. "Well, I need someone to call, or you really will be popping in every day." I grinned, leaning over toward him. "Then again, you would get to see my gorgeous face every single day."
Kieran snatched the piece of paper and pen from my hand and scribbled down a phone number. When he held it back, I was a little offended. Was he that eager not to see me again? No, it didn't matter.
"That's my aunt's number." He pointed to the paper with the pen. "So don't do anything ridiculous."
I scoffed. "What did you think I was going to do?"
"When it comes to you? I have no idea," he grumbled.
"I suppose I could have called and moaned into the phone thinking it was you. Would that have been embarrassing for you? 'Kieran, Kieran oh Goddess!'"
Kieran growled. "What is wrong with you?" I saw the way his tanned cheeks burned bright red. "Do you ever relax? How many times do I have to tell you to calm down?"
"At least once more, al-pha." I leaned forward, winking at him. "As always."
That was apparently Kieran's breaking point. He snatched out some cash and threw it on the belt before he packed up his things and fled the store like his heels were on fire. Kieran didn't even slow down until he was out of the double glass doors, standing at his black pickup truck, and loading it up with his purchases.
"What was all the ruckus about?" Carter asked, his face full of confusion when he walked to my register.
I waved a hand. "It's just Kieran. As usual, he's being dramatic."
Carter shook his head. "You know, instead of tormenting the man, you could just tell him that you like him." He sipped at the coffee. "Before he shifts out of anger and destroys my store."
Shaking my head at Carter, I pulled a face. "No, thank you! Besides," I said as I watched him load the last of the items into the bed of his truck. "Kieran's a giant softie. He likes to try to act hard, but I can see underneath all of that."
"Then tell him you like him," Carter mock-whispered toward me. "And you two can finally stop this little song and dance."
Song and dance? Yeah, I was pretty sure Kieran actually couldn't stand me. If I had a draw to him from that fated mate bond that forced us together, he felt it just the same. Yet he never made a move. Every time Kieran saw me, all he did was grunt a response before he was off again. The Goddess wouldn't torture me with a mate like that. Right?
"Here's his list of things we didn't have. Can you order them?"
Carter plucked it from my fingers and looked the page over. "Sure. We should have these things in stock in three days. Call and let him know."
"It's not his number. That's his aunt's number."
He shrugged. "Then call and tell her."
Sighing, I yanked the phone off of the hook and jabbed at the numbers. Could I kill Carter? Would it be worth it? The phone rang and rang before it was picked up, and I heard a soft voice on the side.
"This is Florence."
"Hi, this is Winston James. I'm calling from Screwed Rods Hardware Store. Your nephew just left, but I wanted to see if you could inform him that the supplies will be available in three days."
"Lovely! I'll let him know. Thank you, Winston."
I smiled softly. "You're welcome, ma'am."
I hung up the phone and stared at it. Florence was always really nice. I saw her around town on occasion and she always had a kind word. How the hell was she related to Kieran?
Stepping away from the register, I went back to inventory. I couldn't stay focusing on Kieran for the rest of the day. Every time he breezed through my shop, he disrupted my day and turned my peace into confusion.
You miss him already.
I shushed my wolf. How could I miss someone I had no connection to? Sure, we were fated, but that didn't mean we meant anything to each other. And yes, he was hot. Really, really hot. My wolf protested, but I ignored him.
Kieran was not the alpha for me.