“Is anyone there?” Kaya’s voice cracks Freya’s all-consuming focus on the enormous canine under her palms and her measuring tape. She shouts back distractedly and carries on with her work. The big hell-hound huffs at Freya, his eyes exasperated as she measures him for a new harness.

“Oh hush, Muffler, your old one is rubbing the fur off the front of your shoulders. You can sit through this one set of measurements in exchange for a better, more comfortable harness.” She chastises the dog, hands on hips. Her tiny frame is stiff and stern, despite the hound being well over seven feet tall.

“Does she always talk to them?” The voice rolls from the silence behind Freya and she can already tell she won’t like the man to whom it belongs. Indeed, when she turns, she is greeted by the sight of four tall men trailing Kaya, her best friend. The speaker is blond, built, and rich; she can tell by his clothes.

“You don’t talk to your dogs?” She raises a single brow, leveling her sharp grey eyes to his.

“Why bother, when they respond to this?” He grins, teeth disgustingly straight, and draws a slim piece of metal from his pocket. A whistle. A laugh bubbles up before she can stop it, the giggles only increasing as the men look confused and enraged.

“Baby, this is a hell-hound, not a shepherd. He’ll eat you and that useless thing before you’ve got a moment to blow it.”

“If he does, he’ll meet the business end of my stunner.” The man snarls, stepping into her space, leaning over her. They’re almost nose to nose, but she grins.

“You think because I’m a tiny, little dog trainer I won’t kill the prince’s smarmy friend?”

“You can’t kill me.” He’s too confident, too close. Alas, they’re interrupted before she can have any fun.

“What do we have here? An awful lot of adolescent male posturing, I see.” Marta’s hair is pulled back in a braid, the curve of her jaw scarred and severe. She sets a hand on Freya’s shoulder, sending calm through the younger woman’s body. Freya nods and Marta steps forward again. As she speaks, Muffler’s enormous wet nose nuzzles Freya’s hand. “Go back home, little boys, or I’ll let her kill you.”

A snort ripples forward, the man on the left, the one with dangerous eyes. “What makes you so sure that she could kill any one of us.”

“She’s the Great Storm, baby doll, how the hell do you think we got the hell-hounds up here?”

Published by K. E. Diller

Young adult attempting to do a million things at once, including write books and follow my dreams.

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