Midnight Howl (Midnight Mates Book 1) - Milly Taiden

ONE

CASSIE

Stepping out of her car and looking up at the entrance to the restaurant, Cassie could help but feel slightly underdressed. She wasn’t exactly wearing anything that made her look frumpy, but her work clothes were definitely more on the business-casual side versus what the outside of this restaurant screamed.

The building had a beautiful glass-paneled front doorway that, once Cassie got up to it, had strung lights that hung down from the high ceilings that looked almost like icicles. There was a large chandelier that hung over the hostess stand, and a few of the hostesses looked up as she stepped inside.

The youngest one approached her first. “Hi, can I get your reservation name?”

Cassie smiled at her. “Sure, it should be under Lawson.”

The hostess clicked around on the e-tablet in her hand and tapped the screen with her long nail. “Yup. Let me take you back to them.”

The girl strode to the hostess stand and grabbed a menu, giving Cassie a quick smile before disappearing into the dining area. Cassie tucked her handbag under her arm and followed her.

The entire restaurant was full of well-dressed, high-class people that spoke quietly to one another as a live quartet played somber-sounding music at the front of the room. Candles were lit at each table, giving the entire space a romantic feel.

It reminded her a lot of the places her ex always bragged about taking her for an anniversary or birthday one day, but he never fulfilled.

Toward the back of the room, Cassie spotted her friends and hurried her pace to them.

They all looked over when the hostess placed her menu down at her spot and snagged the place card off of her plate.

“Cassie!”

She smiled and slipped into her chair. “Hey, guys.”

The hostess brought her hands together, turning to Cassie. “Do you want any wine while you review our menu?”

“I think we’ve got her covered,” Rylee said, holding up a half-empty bottle from the ice bucket next to her.

The hostess nodded. “Very well. Enjoy your meals, ladies.”

They all chimed “thanks” before turning back to each other. Cassie smiled when Rylee set the bottle onto the table and wrapped her arms around her shoulders, pulling her in for a tight squeeze.

“We missed you! What took you so long?”

She laughed a little, patting her friend on the arm. “Sorry, it was crazy today in the office.”

Sydney snagged the bottle off of the table and popped the cork to fill up Cassie’s glass.

“Girl, I don’t know how you do it. That superintendent is a prick making us give you all the paperwork like that.”

Cassie couldn’t help but snort. True to Sydney’s words, she’d been inundated with mounds of paperwork their school’s superintendent, Baylor, had insisted needed to be done by the end of the week. This normally wouldn’t be an impossible task, except for the fact that the paperwork he wanted to be done was all end-of-the-quarter stuff that had barely anything attached in order to get it scanned into their system and filed correctly.

“It’s not you guys’ fault.” Cassie grabbed her glass, swirling the dark liquid inside. “He just didn’t want to listen to us when we told him that we needed an entire quarter to get all of that in.”

“Did you and Principal Hoban approach him about it?”

Cassie shook her head. “You know how much of a coward that woman is.

she’s scared of her own shadow!”

All of the girls giggled.

Rylee stole a piece of bread from the basket in the center of the table. “You know what my favorite thing about Principal Hoban is?”

Maeve poured herself more wine. “What, that she’s got a weird mole on her butt or something?”

Rylee laughed. “Ew, I don’t know that.”

“She’s a hypochondriac! You can’t tell me she hasn’t come down to your office and asked about any weird moles on her.”

“Okay, she has. But not about any weird butt moles!”

The girls snickered again.

“What I was going to say … was that my favorite thing is that Cassie can talk her into anything.”

Cassie paused, mid-drink, and blinked at her over the rim of her glass. She set her glass down, swallowing.

“Me?”

Maeve nudged her with her foot. “Rylee’s right. You can. If you talk her into approaching Superintendent Baylor together, maybe you can get him to change his mind about the deadline.”

Cassie wasn’t so sure about that, but if they really had that much confidence in her as their vice-principal, she’d at least have to give it a shot.

“Plus,” Sydney gave Cassie a devious look. “Maybe Baylor needs a good lay,