The Gargoyle Gets His Girl

Page 5

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Julian hooked one arm over the back of the loveseat. “You come highly recommended by Sheriff Merrow.”

Nick nodded, his hand almost straying to the dog tags he still wore, but they were hidden beneath his shirt. “He was the master sergeant in my battalion.”

“You spent time in Afghanistan. Special forces.”

It wasn’t a question, but Nick answered anyway. “Army Rangers. Two tours. I met Sheriff Merrow during the first one. He retired after that. I did four more years.”

Something dark sparked in Julian’s eyes. “That much time in the desert sounds like a nightmare to me, which means I probably appreciate your service more than the average citizen.”

Nick shrugged. “As you know, I’m a gargoyle. Not much affects us. Not heat, not cold, not daylight—I mean…” Crap.

Julian laughed. “And as you know, daylight isn’t something the Ellinghams have trouble with either. Doesn’t necessarily mean I want to spend time at the beach, though.”

Nick grinned, glad to be let off the hook. “Understood.”

“You moved around a lot in the military, so I’ll ask you the same thing I asked Sheriff Merrow when we first interviewed him. Where do you see yourself in five years?”

“Here. In Nocturne Falls.” Maybe married. Maybe with kids. He almost smiled again at the thought. He straightened and pulled himself back to reality. Julian was looking for someone stable, that much Nick knew. They liked to hire long term if they could help it. That’s what Merrow had told him. “So long as I can find something to do that’s a little more interesting than standing around Insomnia all night waiting for the fights that never happen.”

“You’re committed to being here then?”

“I am. I bought a house. I want to make it work.”

“Good. We can help with that. As you know, I’m in charge of the town’s characters.”

Inwardly, Nick grimaced. “I’m not exactly the right sort of supernatural for photo ops with the kiddies. Unless you want me to scare them. I know what I look like.” The close-cropped hair, his size, the scar that bisected his right eyebrow.

Julian’s lips twitched with humor. “I never ask anyone to be anything they’re not. You’ll never see a witch doing a werewolf’s job. And I’m not looking to fill that kind of position anyway. Not exactly. Sort of. But not.” He sighed. “We’ve had a few incidents lately—the one with my new sister-in-law, Delaney, for example.”

Nick nodded. He liked Delaney. She was good people. “I was happy to help with that search and rescue.”

“And it was appreciated. Also how I found out about you. Fortunately, she was unharmed. Since you’re friends with Hank Merrow, I assume you know about his wife being poisoned as well?”

“I do.” Another nice woman. He’d gone to Hank and Ivy’s wedding reception, where more craziness had broken out, but all that had been resolved now, too, and Hank and his bride were as happy as could be. “A couple of rogue members of her pack who didn’t want the marriage to happen.”

“Exactly.”

Lots of happy couples in Nocturne Falls. That gave him hope.

Julian shifted to lean forward. “Because of this, we’ve decided to add a nightshift at the town center fountain. Right now we have three gargoyles who rotate work at the fountain from eight A.M. to ten P.M. What we need is someone who can take the night shift, not so much as a character but as a set of watchful eyes. Anything that looks suspicious, we want to know about it.”

“Sounds like a good idea, but don’t you have security cameras in place?”

“We do, but they’re no substitute for having someone on the scene. Someone who can react, if necessary.”

“Agreed.”

“Obviously, we need a gargoyle, which means you fit the job requirements without even trying. Add to that your military background, and you’ve got the kind of training that makes you ideal for this new position. We’d like to offer you the job. It’s not glamorous, and I realize the hours will probably cut into your social life—”

“I already work nights at Insomnia.”

“So you do.” Julian nodded as if he’d forgotten that, but Nick doubted it. “Regardless, the night shift is typically considered less desirable. Because of that, we’re willing to compensate with a very good package. About four times what I understand most Rangers make. And of course, full benefits, medical, paid vacations, annual cost of living raise. The usual town employee package.”

Damn. Nick hadn’t expected that much. He sat for a moment, letting Julian’s offer sink in. Part of him wondered if this was some kind of reward for helping out with Julian’s sister-in-law, but Nick hadn’t done more than be part of the search team. Whatever the reason, it was a great offer. He sat there silently, taking it all in.

Julian apparently read that as reluctance. “You won’t have to work all seven nights, either. We’re going to shift some of the other schedules around. You’ll have two nights off a week. We’re not trying to work you into the ground.”

“It sounds…great.”

“And you sound hesitant.”

“It’s still technically a character position, right?”

Julian nodded. “You’re worried about having to talk to tourists?”

“A little. I tend to say what I think.”

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