Read The Selkie Online

Authors: Rosanna Leo

The Selkie

The Selkie

Rosanna Leo

Published 2012

ISBN: 978-1-59578-972-3

Published by Liquid Silver Books, imprint of Atlantic Bridge Publishing, 10509 Sedgegrass Dr, Indianapolis, Indiana 46235. Copyright © 2012, Rosanna Leo. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the author.

Manufactured in the United States of America

Liquid Silver Books

This is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents and dialogues in this book are of the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is completely coincidental.


This was supposed to be her year. However, after losing her job and discovering her fiancé cheating, Maggie Collins has her doubts. When her grandmother dies, she hits rock bottom. Maggie travels to her grandmother’s home in Orkney, Scotland to sort through her gran’s things, only to discover the old woman has left her a seal pelt as her inheritance. She also learns that others are after the pelt.

To add to her frustration, Maggie’s dreams are filled with luscious images of a long-haired man, images that draw her to the magical beaches in Orkney. Although she’s lost her trust in men, this dream man inspires her with a lust she’s never known before.

Calan Kirk has also been dreaming. Dreaming of Maggie, the mortal woman who arouses him as no other woman ever has. Meeting her in the flesh when she arrives in Orkney is nothing short of spontaneous sexual combustion. But she is a human, and not to be trusted. He needs the seal pelt, not a red-haired temptress.

As a thief ransacks Maggie’s grandmother’s house, Maggie and Calan are thrust together. They must search for the animal skin, a mythical relic which once found, will either bring them together or rip them apart forever.


To my mother Louisa, always my biggest fan.


This was going to be her year. It had to be.

Maggie Collins washed her hands in the ladies’ room sink and looked at herself in the mirror. There was a buzzing in her purse. Quickly, she dried her hands and fumbled inside her handbag for her phone. She stared at the text from her boss, the city manager. The one that said
My office. 5 mins.

Oh, shoot. I should have guessed I’d get the summons while in the john.

This was it. Darryl was finally going to announce that he’d been able to get her the promotion they’d been discussing. After all, he’d proposed it to city council weeks ago, but with the new mayor coming in, everything had been at a standstill. Every employee at city hall was talking about the hiring freeze, waiting for the day when it would be lifted.

Maggie had been patient.

She bolted out of the restroom, swinging her purse over her shoulder. There was such a spring in her step that her auburn spiral curls were bouncing along with her. As one of the errant curls danced in front of her eye, she tucked it behind her ear. She had to stop herself from smiling too widely or doing a fist pump. After all, a couple of admins had recently been let go in her division. It would be insensitive to beam unnecessarily over her impending good news.

But she was so ready for this.

Darryl had been grooming her for years. He’d seen potential in her when she’d taken her first admin role there as an intern and had backed her ever since, helping her reach the exalted heights of the city manager’s office, arguably the most important one aside from the mayor’s. And when he’d heard the mayor’s assistant was going on leave, he’d been quick to put Maggie’s name forward.

Yes. He’s going to tell me I got the job.

What else could he have to say to her on a Friday at four p.m.?

Maggie blinked, tucked another of her ever-straying curls behind her other ear, and smoothed down her best A-line skirt. And smiled. She was finally going to get some good news. And it was about time. With the way things had been the past couple of years, she needed it.

She turned a corner in the hallway, listening to the echoing clack of her pumps. Another few steps, and she was walking on the plush carpet leading to the city manager’s office. She made a quick pit stop at her desk and bent down to check herself again in her cubicle mirror, the one bearing the printed message Smile! She ran her tongue over her teeth.

No poppy seeds. No spinach. Check.

With a wink at her signed fan pic of Ewan McGregor, she launched herself out of the cubicle and toward Darryl’s office.

She couldn’t wait to tell Matthew. Thank God for him. Her fiancé was her rock. He’d lifted her out of the doldrums and had given her something to hope for.

If only they’d been able to spend more quality time together lately. He’d been busy with his job, and she with hers. But that was to be expected. He was a busy professional, and her work kept her hopping. Once Darryl confirmed her new role, she’d head right over to Matthew’s office to tell him. They could celebrate.

Maybe even get a little frisky tonight. If he wasn’t too tired.

Cut the man some slack, Maggie. He works hard. It’s not his fault he doesn’t have enough energy to jump your bones more than once a month.

Frowning, Maggie dismissed the nagging voice in her head. It wasn’t time to worry about her lack of a sex life with the man who would soon be her husband. So they hadn’t been connecting on a physical level for a while. He loved her, told her often. Once they got over this rocky patch, things would improve.

Yes. Today was a good day and the start of an even better weekend. Now she just had to talk to her boss, sign on the dotted line, and bask in the glory for a while.

Trying not to bubble over with excitement, she practically skipped into Darryl’s office.

The door was already half-open. She heard hushed voices as she approached. Knocking gently, she poked her head around the open door.

Darryl didn’t look like a man who was about to award his hard-working employee with a promotion. In fact, he looked like he hadn’t slept for weeks. There was a definite, defeated slump to his shoulders and a tightness around his mouth. And he wasn’t alone. The HR manager was with him.

A bit excessive. Maybe they have to do this formally.

Darryl looked up and blanched.

Maggie. Come in.

She did, and sat down, her gaze on Erica Ridley from HR. The older woman’s posture was so rigid she resembled more of an aging Russian ballet instructor than an HR executive. She’d always made Maggie nervous.

Erica blinked.

Thanks for coming, Maggie. I appreciate you meeting us.

She let out a nervous giggle.

Forgive me. I didn’t realize I was meeting an ‘us.’

For a moment, no one said anything. Maggie just waited for them to begin. She tried not to play with the hem on her skirt. Instead, she chewed the bronze Rimmel gloss off her lower lip.

Darryl looked as if he wanted the ground to swallow him whole. What was wrong with him? He was an authoritative, professional man. Maggie had never seen him so … in bits.

Luckily for him, Erica appeared more than willing to take charge.

Maggie. I regret to inform you that your position here has been made redundant.

She paused, letting that sink in.

She stared.

Redundant? You mean I’m not getting the promotion, right?

That’s not it, Maggie,

Erica clarified.

You’re being let go from your current position. And there is no promotion.

Darryl muttered something under his breath. Maggie could have sworn he grumbled something about

HR shitheads.

Erica glared at him, her lips pursed.

Still convinced she’d heard the wrong thing, Maggie was trying really hard not to upchuck the sun-dried tomato bagel from her very late lunch. Because that would make a mess on her best skirt.

You’re firing me?

With the reorganizational changes being made, your position is simply not viable. You’ll be compensated, of course,

Erica continued, as cool as anyone who did this for a living,

and, as part of your benefits package, you’ll have the opportunity to work with one of our career-management counselors.

Maggie stared down at the limp hands in her lap, not knowing what to do. She loved her job. Where was she supposed to go from here? It wasn’t as if a job such as hers could be found around every corner.

Suddenly, she really wanted to talk to Gran. Gran always had great words of wisdom.

She’d have to tell Matthew. God, he’d be crushed for her. As someone who spent so many hours at his own office, who was so devoted to his work, he’d understand the devastating sucker punch that was currently pummeling her gut.

She looked at Darryl. His face was white. She just knew from his expression that there wasn’t even any use fighting this. The deep crease between his brows and the bags under his eyes clearly said he had already been fighting this. He’d gone to bat for her, she could tell.

It was done. Over.

She wanted to wail. Wanted to say she was planning her yearly trip to visit her grandmother in Orkney and needed the money. Wanted to wipe the weird little grin off Erica Ridley’s face. But she didn’t do any of those things.

Instead, she decided to try and maintain her last shred of dignity, even though she had no idea how to go about it. Not once in her life had she ever been fired before. She was about to mumble something stupid about what a pleasure it had been to work there, when the door opened again. It was Mike from security, looking mighty awkward.

Maggie’s heart fell into her size seven patent pumps.

Oh no you’re not
. She was not getting escorted out of here. It was fighting time.

What about all the work I did on the launch of the 311 project? It’s been implemented because of
overtime. The old mayor presented me with an award.

Mike here will walk you out,

Erica explained, her smile so unnatural it was practically a grimace. The woman stood and indicated the door just like damn Vanna White.

Mike touched Maggie’s elbow.

No! I’m not going.

Maggie grabbed onto the edge of Darryl’s desk as he averted his eyes.

I trained every admin in this place. When people have questions, they come to me!


Erica cooed.

Let’s not make this any more difficult than it already is.

Difficult for you? My ass! I’m not leaving.

From somewhere behind her, Maggie heard Mike call for backup. Within seconds, another security guard appeared. Sure, it was only white-haired Arnie, the guard closest to retirement, but it was still another guard. For a moment, she expected them to pepper spray her.

She looked at her boss.


I’m sorry, Maggie. There’s nothing I can do.

Somehow, seeing the dark circles under his eyes, those perverse symbols of defeat, brought it all home. She stood, stunned, while Mike quietly cancelled the order for younger reinforcements.

Mortified, Maggie walked out with security, stopping only to grab her handbag and her Ewan McGregor photo. She didn’t touch her computer, didn’t close any open documents, or even turn off her office phone. They weren’t hers to touch anymore.

As she exited city hall for the last time, she wondered if she’d be given a reference from Darryl, but then realized she didn’t want one.

After all, she had no idea where to go next.

* * * *

Matthew. Matthew will know what to do. He’s an HR manager. He’ll have advice.

Her eyes stinging, she walked the two blocks to his office, not even seeing the crush of humanity on Queen Street. Barely noticing as a homeless guy jostled her while shooing away a pigeon in his path. She just stared straight ahead, wondering how her professional world could crumble so quickly.

She resisted kicking the revolving door leading into Matthew’s office high-rise. Tried to retain a sense of decorum as she punched his floor number in the elevator. Attempted to smile politely at the suits crammed into the elevator with her.

Even though she really wanted to hit somebody.

Rein it in, Maggie. Rein it in.

Breathing a sigh of relief as she finally reached the forty-third floor, Maggie marched into Matthew’s waiting area. It struck her as odd that his receptionist, Caitlyn, wasn’t at her post. She didn’t usually leave for the day this early. She tended to work late whenever Matthew needed help. Oh, well. Maybe Matthew didn’t have any more meetings that afternoon and had sent her home.

He was considerate that way. Why, he spent just about as much time mentoring Caitlyn as Darryl had spent mentoring her.

The door to Matthew’s office was slightly ajar. Inside, someone was moaning.

It wasn’t like Maggie to walk in without knocking. Normally, she prided herself on being polite to a fault. But something about that low, satisfied groan set her on edge.

She quietly pushed on the door to her fiancé’s office, letting it swing open.

For a moment, she just stared in wonder at the sight before her. It seemed ridiculous that she should have to confront this today of all days.

Matthew was in. Leaning against his desk, his handsome head thrown back in concentration. His knuckles were white as they gripped the mahogany wood.

Caitlyn was there, too. On her knees in front of him.

For one absurd second, Maggie wondered if Matthew’s fly might be stuck. And whether or not the receptionist was merely helping him unstick it. With her teeth.

But then she realized that even if that implausible scenario were true, there would be no need for Caitlyn to have her boss’s quickly deflating penis in her mouth.

Matthew looked up, his blue eyes bugging out and his mouth hanging open. He couldn’t have looked more shocked if Darth Vader had entered the room wielding a light saber, claiming to be his long lost father.

Oh my God, Maggie,

he cried, brushing Caitlyn away from him as if she were a stubborn piece of lint clinging to his lap.

It’s not what it seems!

Maggie clapped her jaw shut and forced herself to look away from the appendage that Matthew had barely let her touch for the last six months. She resumed eye contact.

You’re busy,

she murmured, amazed at how mental she sounded.

I, uh, just came to tell you I was fired today.

And then she stared as Caitlyn wiped her mouth, slowly getting up off the floor. A bizarre frisson of vengeance rippled through her as she spied the run in the other woman’s pantyhose.

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