Becoming a bounty hunter and taking on the call sign of Murder Mittens wasn’t Harri’s brightest move, but what’s a lynx to do with millions of debt while working a customer service gig? The scars deforming her face won’t remove themselves, and she’ll bag and tag every criminal in the United States to get rid of them if necessary.
Being assigned a handler could make or break her, but did the powers that be really have to toss Sebastian Sumners her way? The lion with a stubborn streak as wide as hers tests her patience on a good day, but nothing makes her purr more than goading him into roaring.
Add in a protective family, a serial killer on the loose, and more trouble than any one cat needs, and it’s going to take a miracle for Harri to get through the most important job of her life.
Warning: contains magic, humor, cranky shapeshifters, cats, murder, and mayhem. Proceed with caution.
Above all, I hated the rule that we were not supposed to hang up on clients. It wasted time. Had I been allowed to just hang up, I would have wished him a good day, disconnected the call, and began the tedious process of adding notes to his file so the next customer service representatives stuck with him knew they had trouble on their hands.
My phone rang, but instead of a customer, my phone reported my boss wanted to speak with me. With slumped shoulders, I accepted his call and answered, “Sir?”
“I listened in on your Code Red.”
I hated when my boss actively monitored my calls; thanks to how the system worked, he could listen in on me at any time. But, a job was a job, and with my scarred face, finding a job became troublesome at best—and nobody in the call center knew or cared what I looked like. Oh, well. Before I jumped to conclusions, I’d ask. “What’s my grade, sir?”
“You did fine. You stayed professional, you didn’t come across as too condescending, and frankly, there’s no sane tech on this planet stays totally cool a Code Red. It could have been much worse.”
I checked the clock, breathing a sigh of relief that I’d hit the end of my shift and wouldn’t have to take any more calls. “What do you need?”
“I had a question about your schedule. You’re off for the next week, correct?”
“Yes, sir.” I had plans, and they involved the International Most Wanted List along with every legal bounty list I had managed to get my hands on in the past month. If my boss tried to put an end to my hard-earned vacation, I’d finally do what I should have done months ago, snap, and quit.
I wanted him to cross my last line so badly.
“Ted wants an extra shift. How would you feel about an unpaid day added to your vacation? I’ve already gotten approval if you’d like to claim the unpaid day.”
Score. I’d bid for time off almost a year ago, but sick days were the bare minimum the state allowed, which accounted to five for the entire year. An extra day tacked onto my vacation might let me bag an extra bounty.
Any day I bagged an extra bounty was a good day in my opinion.
“I can take an unpaid day, sir. That’s fine. Can you send me an email confirming the unpaid day off?”
“It’ll be in your inbox within the next ten minutes, and I’ll CC human resources notifying them you’re excused for that day.”
“Okay. Will the rest of my schedule remain the same once I’m back from vacation?”
“Yes. Ted just asked for extra hours, and the others with seniority declined the day off.”
I bet; on our income, every hour mattered. Most who worked for the call center had seen better days. I lived like I’d seen better days and I looked like I’d seen better days, but appearances lied. I only worked at the call center to maintain appearances. Thanks to depression in my teens and therapy that hadn’t gone like my parents had wanted, my entire family demanded I check in at least three times a week to ensure I remained human.
They believed if they took their eyes off me, I might shift into a lynx and never come back.
Two years ago, they wouldn’t have been wrong, but I’d found a new purpose in life.
RJ Blain suffers from a Moleskine journal obsession, a pen fixation, and a terrible tendency to pun without warning.
In her spare time, she daydreams about being a spy. Her contingency plan involves tying her best of enemies to spinning wheels and quoting James Bond villains until satisfied.
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