From Chapter 6 of Midlife Muse

***This is how Cale ends up being Atlanta’s champion.

Looking like some movie cop sneaking around doorways in a girlie outfit, I investigated the break room and peeked into all the offices with my blue dress swinging with every move. Eventually, I concluded all nine were missing, with not a single Muse left behind. 

My mind stretched looking for an answer. Had someone hit me with a time device for goddesses right before the Muses disappeared? Duff owned that magic hourglass at the bar that stopped time for ten minutes and froze all mortals within its range. Could she tweak it to affect me? Leprechauns used every sneaky trick in the book before they bloodied their knuckles. Stopping time was only one of them.

Or maybe I was being ridiculous. Not likely, but possible. 

The Muses were all adults and not children I needed to monitor any longer. Last week was not an aberration. If Daddy Zeus asked anything of them, they all ran off giggling to do whatever in any world he wanted.

Walking slowly back to the lobby, energy sword still in hand, I frowned when I heard the office door open. I gripped it tighter and inched forward on my toes so I wouldn’t be heard approaching before I learned who’d entered. 

“Hello. Anyone home?” a friendly and non-threatening male called out. 

Breathing through my stress after I recognized the voice, I quickly sent the energy sword away and swore under my breath as I walked into view.

“Mr. Drakon. Hello,” I said with a business smile, forcing my lips to curve even though they didn’t want to.

His answering business smile fell away as his shocked gaze ran down the front of me to my feet and back up to my face again. He pushed up his black-framed glasses and stared at me. 

Cale Drakon was a good-enough-looking man, but it was the masculine vibe he exuded that made you overlook his lack of fashion sense. Warrior types had gone out of fashion during the last century in the Mortal Realm. Now geeky nerd men were the most popular mates. Unfortunately, Cale’s wrinkled yellow shirt tucked into navy slacks cut too baggy for him practically screamed that he couldn’t take care of himself.

“You look really nice today. Hot date tonight?” he asked.

“Yes. Something like that,” I blurted, glad to explain my unusual appearance so easily to the client I’d forgotten was coming by. My hand came to my forehead and I slapped it as the truth hit me. “Good Gaia, where is my head? You’re here for your scheduled appointment. I’m so sorry, Mr. Drakon. There was a family emergency, and… um… could I possibly reschedule you for another time?”

“Of course, Atlanta,” he said with a smile as he pushed up his oversized glasses again. “Are you leaving soon?”

“Me?” I asked. My hand rested on my chest above my breasts as I fought to think clearly enough to interact with him. “No, I stayed back to answer the phones.” 

“You said it was a family emergency. I didn’t realize all the women who worked here were related to you. The Muses look very different from you.”

“Yes, well, I was adopted.”

“Oh. I see. Well, that explains the difference.”