Accounting for Love
by Kate Hill
From Changeling Press
Lucas has just returned from a most unsatisfying vacation to find his department at the Wit and Wizardry Brewery in a shambles. Of troll ancestry, Lucas is a man of appalling disposition and astounding accounting skills. Determined to set everything in order as soon as possible, he refuses to leave the office at closing time, even thought it means missing out on St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.
Lucas finds he’s not the only one working late. Cait, the newly hired head of marketing for the brewery, is there as well. Her overly-cheerful manner drives Lucas crazy. The last thing he needs is an optimistic, chatty, adorable pixie distracting him at work, but she can’t seem to understand that he wants to be left alone.
What neither realize is that earlier that evening, Lucas had washed down his dinner with a magical beer that will guide him toward his true love. The abominable accountant and the merry marketing manager are about to prove that opposites do attract and St. Patrick’s Day really is the best day to fall in love.
“Well, try to be nice to her,” Dillon said.
“Nice isn’t in my nature.”
“I hadn’t noticed. Believe me, Lucas, the only reason you’re working here is because you’re great at your job and because you don’t have to work directly with paying customers.”
“One thing I’ve always liked about you, Dillon. You’re honest.”
Dillon grinned and shook his head. “The second thing I wanted to say is you don’t have to stay late tonight. You have plenty of time to set things in order during working hours. What’s the point of taking a vacation if you’re stressed again by the end of your first day back? It’s St. Patrick’s Day. After work, my brothers and I are going to the pub to hang out with friends. Why don’t you come along?”
“Your brothers hate me and so do your friends.”
“They don’t hate you.”
“And I’m not too fond of them, either.”
“You’ll be doing me a favor if you come. Truth be told, I don’t feel like celebrating anything so soon after…”
Dillon paused and Lucas shook his head. Dillon’s girlfriend had left him recently and despite his grinning exterior, he still hadn’t gotten over it.
“You need to put that woman out of your mind entirely,” Lucas said. “Tell you what, instead of going to the pub, maybe you should work late, too. I find that if I immerse myself in –”
“Forget it. I’ve worked enough late nights and early mornings. I need to relax. If you change your mind about joining us –”
“No thank you, Dillon. I’m not leaving this office until it’s back in order. Pixie slurs aside, I ask again, who looked after this department and left such a mess?”
“That would be me. Your employer.” Dillon grinned and winked before he turned and left Lucas muttering over his paperwork.
* * *
Cait sat at her desk in one of the tallest towers of the magical headquarters of the Wit and Wizardry brewery. She loved working in a renovated castle and she adored her office in the sky. Whenever she needed inspiration, she merely turned to the window and gazed out at the gorgeous Irish countryside.
She’d been staring at her computer for too long and decided she needed some of that inspiration now. To her surprise, instead of sunlight over green fields, she saw moonlight on darkness.
Glancing at her watch, she realized that it was nearly time for the building to close — or at least the operational area. The workers had probably already started leaving, either to go home to their families or perhaps out with friends to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
Cait had several invitations, but had declined, not because she didn’t love her family and friends, but because at this time, her job needed extra attention.
Someone tapped on her office door.
“Come in,” she called.
One of her bosses, Daryl Dunn, stepped in carrying a long, slender package wrapped in green paper and decorated with a gold bow.
“Aren’t you going home, Cait?” he asked.
She shook her head. “I want to finish a few things first.”
“It’s already late and it’s St. Patrick’s Day. Don’t you have plans?”
Smiling brightly, she said, “Yes. To stay here and finish my latest project. By Monday I’ll have something amazing for you.”
He approached her desk. “How about an early look?”
“No, please,” she said, stepping in front of her computer. “I want to iron out some kinks and give a proper presentation at the meeting.”
“I’m sure it will be excellent, Cait. You’ve been working nonstop since we hired you. Go home now and enjoy the weekend. Work will still be here on Monday.”
“Thank you, sir, but I wouldn’t be able to relax. It should take just another hour or two. I want to make sure that Wit and Wizardry is still the most popular brewery in the magical world and I don’t want the recent incident to affect sales. It would be my fault if that happened, and believe me, this new campaign will keep the faith that we’re the best.”
“The incident and its effects on our business are the fault of one person — my brother, Dillon. I love the guy, but I don’t know what he was thinking, mixing a true love potion and adding it to random beers before shipping. I think he’s completely lost his mind.”
“No, sir, just his love,” Cait said with sincere sympathy.
She wondered what kind of woman would break up with one of the Dunn brothers. They were rich, attractive and generous. They were also, due to their Leprechaun ancestry, clever and good at business. Good men were hard to find — not that Cait was on the lookout. At the moment she was content with her life. She had a job she enjoyed, her friends and family. Maybe someday, if the right man came along, she’d think about romance…
Always a fan of romance and the paranormal, Kate Hill started writing over twenty years ago for pleasure. Her first story, a short erotic vampire tale, was accepted for publication in 1996. Since then she has sold over one hundred short stories, novellas and novels. When she’s not writing, Kate enjoys reading, watching horror and action movies, working out and spending time with her family and pets. Connect with Kate online at: