Walk on the Striped Side by Jessie Lane
Much to her horror, Elena felt tiny pinpricks in the corners of
her eyes as they started to water up. “Why are you doing this, Gage?
What do you want from me?”
He studied her a moment, watching her so intently that she felt
naked from the inside out. “You.”
“Me?” she squeaked back.
“You,” he answered again with an unwavering gaze.
Trying to bolster her courage back up, Elena snapped, “I’ m not an
item you pick up at the store or a whore to be bought off the street.
You can’ t just go dragging me around where you want me, snarling ‘ mine’
whenever you feel like! I’ m a human being, Gage; you can’t own me!”
She expected the ornery tiger to get mad and snarl at her,
instead he did something much worse. One side of
his lips curled up in smug satisfaction, and the bastard smirked at her.
“I may no longer live in a time period where one person
can actually own another person, but make no mistake, love,
I do own you. Every little inch. Every breathy moan you give
me when I’ m playing with your pretty pussy. Every hungry kiss you give
me when I’ m buried deep inside you. Every beat of that stubborn heart that you
swear doesn’t still love me, and every inch of that fierce soul of yours…
They all belong to one person. Me.”
Alpha Wolf Rising by Eliza Gayle
The distant drumbeat vibrated through Sierra’s body until
her core pulsed with need. Anticipation for tonight’s events had been building
all day. Standing naked at the window and staring up at the moonless night sky,
she couldn’t believe she was actually going through with the ceremony. Her
attempt to leave the pack for a normal life at college not long ago had ended
miserably and landed her back home and under the protection of her father.
It had been the ultimate turning point for her. What had
once seemed stifling and restrictive had been the very thing that freed her
from the inner turmoil that had plagued her since her mother’s death. The inner
wolf would not be denied and pack rituals were the very thing that kept the
animal happy so that their human halves could function cohesively.
“You look stunning.”
The deep baritone voice jerked Sierra from her thoughts.
“Marek, you aren’t supposed to be here.” She grabbed her heavy cloak from the
bed and slid her arms into the sleeves.
“I can’t help myself, and you know it.” He crossed the room
and gathered her in his arms. “I’ve missed you,” he whispered into her ear.
“It hasn’t even been twenty-four hours since we last fucked.
How can you miss me already?” She laughed, looking up at him. Damn, he should
not look this good right now. Nor feel this comforting wrapped around her. It
had been almost a year since she’d taken him as an official lover, and she didn’t
think she’d ever tire of seeing him. Dark broody eyes tempted her with a
constant look of barely restrained heat and aggressiveness. He called to her
alpha wolf—challenged her.
“Have I ever told you how much I love your dirty mouth?” His
lips pressed against hers, and heat flared to life between her legs, tightening
“Yeah, I know what you like about my mouth, all right.” She
bit at his lip, drawing a drop of blood.
A low growl sounded in Marek’s throat, which made her grin
against his mouth. If they kept this up, they’d definitely be on the floor
going at it before the ceremony. She pushed him away, forcing herself to stop
despite the moisture between her legs and the longing in her chest. Her wolf
“We can’t do this now, and you know it. So pull yourself
He growled and glared at her. She loved taunting him with
the nickname he hated. That was the thing about male wolves. The more annoyed
they got, the more aroused they became, and she’d end up shoved against the
wall with him pounding inside her. Just how she liked it with Marek.
Now Nolan, he was different. Her other lover had the
patience of a saint, and no matter how hard she pushed, he always stayed in
control. It drove her wild, and he knew it. Damn, how she loved him. A twinge
of guilt settled in her stomach, and she turned back to the window.
“What is it, Sierra?” Marek stepped close, but he didn’t
touch. Even he knew they had to settle down.
“I know Nolan understands things have to go this way, yet it
hurts my heart to keep him a secret.”
“So then speak up. You’re an alpha. You have the ability to
rewrite the rules.”
She turned on Marek. “Damn it, don’t feed me that line of
bullshit. You know if my father found out the truth, he’d not make me the pack
leader tonight. He’d probably give the pack to one of his idiot male
lieutenants just because they have a dick between their legs.”
Marek softened his expression with a small smile. “Maybe you
underestimate him. He may be set in his ways, but do you honestly think he
doesn’t understand the heat you withstand? The constant sensual hunger that
must be satisfied?”
She pushed past him and settled on the chair in the corner.
She didn’t want to have this conversation again. It always ended the same.
Tonight was special, and she would not walk away again. The pack needed this as
much as she did.
“I’ve made my decision,” Sierra began on a sigh. “We will be
mated, and Nolan will finally be able to live with us full-time. The time isn’t
right for confrontation.”
Marek didn’t respond, and she refused to look up in
question. He would have to get used to his place at her side in public and the
fact that her decisions were final. Eventually, she’d find a way to change the
rules against wolves and their human protectors from mating, but not tonight.
Tension grew in the room until her skin itched with it, and
the wolf whined inside her head. Now it was her turn to deal with the
increasing aggression and her need to prove her dominance over Marek. Yeah
right. That would be an interesting fight. He gave as good as he got and always
kept her on her toes.
A soft knock sounded at the door.
“Yeah?” The pit in her stomach grew heavier.
“It’s time to go, Sierra. Everyone is gathered outside and
your father is waiting.” Her father. He’d reluctantly agreed to the change in
leadership of their pack on the shaky agreement that Marek and she mate first.
In fact, she suspected he knew the truth and was using tonight as a way to
force her hand.
This was the first black moon since she’d returned to the
pack, and she’d known when she came home her father would expect this. Her
thoughts drifted to the past and the heartache that lay behind her. She firmly
closed that door and stood. The past was the past and needed to stay there.
“I’ll be right out.” She offered her hand to Marek. “I guess
it’s time for us to go.”
Instead of taking her hand, he grabbed her shoulders and
pulled her against his chest, his mouth descending upon hers.
Those were her only clear thoughts as he took possession of
her, infusing her with emotions and passion that tasted sweet and sensual.
When he broke the kiss, she stumbled back a step but quickly
regained her balance. His gaze captured hers, and she stared into deep blue
eyes dark with need. She wanted to get lost in them. But she and Marek had a
London Howl by Hildie McQueen
“Genise.” A husky, deep voice permeated through the clouds
of sleep and Genise snuggled closer to the warm body next to hers.
His hand slid down her arm and back up leaving a trail of heat.
She was instantlyawake. In her sleep, she’d plastered herself against David.
Now she was fully aware of what little he wore. Boxers or something of the
sort, nothing else.
Too mortified to move, she pretended to be half-asleep and let out
a long breath.
“This is dangerous.” David didn’t move away, either.
Instead, his hand continued its descent to her hip. “Tempting me,
She opened her eyes to find he studied her face.
“Sorry.” Genise moved away and turned her face
Into the pillow.
“I didn’t realize I’d moved over,” she mumbled into the fabric.
“You were fast asleep.” He turned to face her. “It
was nice to wake up with your head on my shoulder.”
If only she’d woken up first. She’d fully remember the feel of his
body on top of her. Now her plan to feel him up while he slept would
have to wait another day. Damn.
“Come here. Why did you move away?” With rumpled hair
and half-closed eyes, he reminded her of the ultimate Prince Charming.
Impossible to resist.
She slid closer and he pulled her against him. “That’s better now, isn’t it?”
“Yes.” No need to lie. “Much better.”
“Are you ready for the day?” he asked as his hand, once
again, skimmed over her skin. Every single molecule in her
body went on high alert and Genise inhaled sharply.
“I’m not sure. A bit nervous.” Seriously, did the man
plan to hold a conversation right now? Of course, their agreement did not
include sex. As a matter of fact, it was very specifically indicated in the
contract that she was not to engage in any intimate manner with him. How they
were expected to sleep in the same bed and not was puzzling.
“Although I am used to it, there are times it all still
affects me. So I understand.” He spoke in the lazy language of someone at
ease with the other in bed. How often, she wondered, did he have women hired to
do what she did right now? Did he have an erection? Most men woke up with one.
Would he rebuff any advances by her? Why were they having some sort of
business meeting while half-naked in bed? He’d asked something and she’d been too
absorbed indirty thoughts to hear. “Oh goodness.” She’d not meant to speak out loud.
David placed his fingers under her chin and lifted her face.
“Nothing. Just wondering what I’m supposed to wear today,” she lied.
He was gay. That had to be it.
The part of her heart that had loved him from afar for so long broke. Yet, it
would certainly explain why he did not try anything.
She left her musings to focus on his words.
He’d continued the conversation…”so it’s refreshing to
Be with someone that doesn’t give a fig about designers and such.”
The soft, English accent combined with the huskiness of just
waking, was oh so sexy.
“Are you gay?”
“There was a moment of silence, then a chuckle. “No. I suppose
you ask because I’m not trying to have sex with you.”
Dragon’s Honor by Mina Carter
Being called into the boss’s office was nothing new for
Duke and Baron. Being called in for something other than a bollocking was. “You sure she said we weren’t in trouble?” Baron rumbled, the deep note of his
dragon evident in his voice as he slouched in the chair next to Duke and
glowered at his reflection in the window opposite. Given
the nature of the agency’s work the PPA offices were open twenty-four-seven,
so the window looked out into darkness of night.
Duke cast a glance the same way. Twins whose adoptive parents had decided
that noble names would give their kids something to aspire to, they weren’t identical, not in human form anyway. As humans they looked alike, obviously brothers, but that’s where
it ended. It was only in their shifted forms that they were truly identical.
Whether or not that was the way with shadow-dragons, he had
no idea. Dumped on the steps of a hospital when
they were days old, they’d never met their parents, nor indeed any
others of their kind. It had only been their adoptive father’s research that
had given them a name for what they were. Seemed that shadow-dragons were as
rare as rocking horse shit, so getting more info was a no-go. Story of their
Apparently not. ” Duke shrugged. “She just said she wanted to talk to us about
a job.” He reached up, caught his hair at the nape of his
neck and snapped the band from his wrist around it
in a low pony-tail. Unsnapping a second he held
it out to his brother. Baron glared at it as if
it were a venomous snake. Curling his lip, he took it and caught his own hair
back. Duke nodded in approval as he studied their reflections in
the window. At least they looked presentable now. Kind of.
“Why?” He slid a sideways glance at Duke. His brother was way too quiet.
Which meant he was thinking, which never led anywhere good,
or he had done something, which also never led anywhere
good. Especially since their last job had been at
a house with stables. Stables with horses.
Horses which, as far as Duke was concerned, were
just steaks on legs and Duke sure as hell liked
steak. He also hadn’t bugged the shit out of
Baron to stop for pizza on the way to the offices, a fact that hadn’t
occurred to Baron until just now. “
Please tell me you didn’t snack at the Jenkins.”
Duke turned to look at him and…yes,
there it was. The wide-eyed, oh-so-innocent look that was
completely believable to everyone but Baron. His breath punched out of his lungs
in a hiss just as Iliona’s door opened.“Keep shut and
let me do the talking,” he ordered as the slender
form of their boss was outlined in the door.
Iliona was human, which meant small and delicate.
Where the agency was concerned though, she had
balls of steel and would face down even the scariest of
the paras. No one argued, not if they wanted a job.
Work could be hard to come by if you were a paranormal, especially without the
backing of an established pack like the wolves, and old money like the vamps. Hell, even
the elves were organized, but dragons? Nada. Those that had to work were
relegated to niche jobs or, Duke shuddered, construction. He fucking
hated construction work. The agency had changed all that for them. Within five minutes of walking into the front office in desperation, they’ d been hired and hadn’t
looked back. Just sideways and up, normally while Iliona was shouting at
them because Duke had eaten yet another family pet.
This time though, the little human’s face was wreathed in
a smile. It looked good on her. Quickly Baron shut down that train of thought.
He might be a dragon, and rather hard to kill, but that didn’t mean
he was suicidal.
All the guys working for the agency, whatever their species, knew the boss was in a triad
with the two gargoyles, Cal and Gran, neither of whom would hesitate to prove exactly why gargoyles referred to other species as ‘squishable’ .
“Just in time.”
Iliona stood to one side of the door and waved them forward.“ Come on in, sit down. I’ve got something I want to run by you.”
Like naughty schoolboys, the two brothers filed into the office with Baron, as always, in the lead. Clocking a stranger in the room, he stopped, and Duke walked smack into the back of him. Absorbing the impact with a soft grunt, he cast a swift glance over the guy—suited, booted, and human by the smell of him—then rolled his gaze to Iliona.
“Ahh, yes.” She hurried forward, putting herself between the dragons and the human. Their dislike of strangers, particularly human strangers, was well known.
“This is Detective Hammond, he’s with the local police department. Detective Hammond, can I introduce you to Duke and Baron, two of our best operatives.”
Baron’s eyebrow rose at her praise. That certainly wasn’t what she’d called them the last time they’d wound up in here, shuffling their feet like kids summoned to the headmaster’s office. What she’d called them then would’ve made a marine blush.
He turned from glaring at his brother to find the detective on his feet, hand out to
shake. Duke ignored it, taking one of the seats behind them without a word. No
surprise there. Duke wasn’t a talker at the best of times. Baron shook the
guy’s hand, offering a small, polite smile he didn’t feel. Humans and their
“Pleasure to meet you, Mr…?” The detective let his words trail off in question.
“No mister. Just Baron.”
“Not all of our operatives are human, Detective.” Iliona chimed in. “And not all of them are comfortable giving their full names if, indeed, they have more than one.”
“They’d have to have a surname if they went through the
education system, or if you’re employing them.” Confusion
flowed over Hammond’s features as he did that little trouser hitch the
experienced suit-wearer adopted to stop their pants creasing and
sat down. Baron slumped into the chair next to Duke, not caring if his well-worn jeans
got creased or not.
Boss-lady smiled from the other side of the desk, her hands folded over the file in front
of her. The expression didn’t reach her eyes, and the scent rolling
from her betrayed her irritation with the male. Not that he’d be able to pick that up
with his dull senses.
“That would be true,” she replied. “If we paid them in money.”
Hammond blinked, looking between
her and the two brothers. “No money?
What do you pay them with then?”
“Cows.” Baron’svoice rang with relish as he picked up
on the cue. “Live ones for us to roast. They taste better that way.”
Bearly Hanging On by Marina Maddix
“M’ lady.” Chet opened the passenger side door to his uncle’s massive brown Caddy
and waved her in with a flourish, bending low as she climbed in. Her anxiety burst out
of her in a stream of giggles. He gave her a funny look before closing the door and walking
the mile and a half around the front of the car.
Climbing in next to her, he asked, “Where to?”
Of course he wouldn’t have any idea where to go, since he only
drove between Pearce Forestry and her grandparents’ house. She still didn’t understand why it was such a terrible thing for him to hang out with her. Some weird class thing,
“Well…the tide’s about to change. Go down Seymour Street and
take a left,” she instructed.
The destination wasn’t very far but it still took a good twenty
minutes of careful maneuvering to get the big boat of a car down the rutted
forest service road to the overlook spot. It would be light till nine, or even
later, so they should have a good show.
“What is this place?” Chet asked, clunking the gear shift into ‘
Crystal hopped out and waved for him to follow, leading him to a
rocky outcropping overlooking a narrow channel. Patting the mossy granite next
to her, she said, “Come sit by me. This is gonna blow your mind.”
Chet snuggled up close to her, his purely masculine scent wrapping
around her like a tendril of warm smoke. It went straight to her core and
wriggled its way to her most sensitive parts. He never failed to get her all
hot and bothered, but it became so much more intense since he stopped wearing
Polo. A carefully calculated comment about how his own musk was vastly more
sensual than the cologne did the trick, and it wasn’t a lie. If she could only
smell one thing for the rest of her life, it would be Chet.
Bacon would be a close second
Her Shifter Secret by Flora Dare
She stood on the beach, the ocean crashing into the
sand in front of her. At her feet, Danae created a complicated diagram, loops
and swirls, harsh stick lines filled with colored salt and bits of shell. She
paused in her work and looked up at the moon that flooded the beach with light.
She flicked a match and lit the sage bundle. She traced the sacred pattern with
smoke, filling her head with her intention.
Forgetfulness. Freedom from pain. Peace.
The spell complete, she left the still burning sage
in the center of the diagram and stepped back. She sat a few feet away,
watching the sea slowly rise. The incoming tide took the spell and her last
shred of hope slowly into the ocean. The creeping water finally reached the
smoldering sage bundle, and extinguished it.
Danae sighed. The sea had her pain now, and all she
could do was to wait and pray that Neya, the goddess of the ocean, listened and
would grant her what she so desperately needed.
Danae woke up, tossing, the same nightmare echoing
in her ears. Blood, flames, screams. There was an emptiness inside of her where
the pain of her loss echoed. She pushed the blankets off and got out of bed.
She wandered to the window and looked out over the ocean. A storm was rolling
in, and she watched the spikes of lightning strike the water, over and over. It
suited her mood. She felt wild, like she could smash at the world a thousand
The waves grew crazed as the storm got closer to the
shore, and the wind echoed her despair as it howled around her house. She could
not look away from the water-lashed shore. Transfixed, Danae felt the sizzling
power of the storm wrap itself around her. Exultation rose inside her. The sea
was answering her plea. She felt it. Something was coming. Flowing through her
was the knowledge that her petition would be answered.
The storm ended as abruptly as it began. Danae
sagged down into the seat. She was so sure that it was Neya was answering her
pleas, but the horrid etched-in-stone memories were still there, still present.
She wrapped herself in a soft blanket and wept until she fell asleep.
The sun’s rays spiked through her window and the
calling of the seagulls woke her. A sour taste of disappointment still lingered
in her throat as she staggered to look out the window. Danae still remembered
everything. Her grief and her pain were still utterly wrapped around her soul.
She stared out the window as a bitter tear rolled down her cheek. She was
staring, half blinded by tears when a large lump rolling in the surf caught her
eye. It was getting closer and closer to the shore and Danae realized that this
was the answer the sea was going to give her. She raced out the door. She had
to reach whatever it was before it was too late.
She approached the water and saw red streaks rushing
to meet the retreating waves. Danae stared at the sea’s offering for several
long heart beats, finally realizing it was a man caught in the ocean’s grasp.
He was tumbling in the waves and she dashed forward, soaking herself, but she
was able to drag him to safety. She collapsed next to him, praying she’d been
fast enough to save him. She couldn’t bear another dead face trapped in her
Danae reached over and touched his back. He was
still warm so she rolled him over. He coughed, spitting up water, and moaned
something she didn’t catch. He was too big for her to move any further and she
was paralyzed with indecision. Should I go for help? Would anyone help me even
if they could get here fast enough? She grasped his neck, feeling for his
pulse. She went weak with relief when it beat strong beneath her hand.
She looked the man up and down, and realized with a
sigh of relief that his wounds were all superficial. Danae shifted to stand,
planning on running to the cottage to grab a blanket, but he moved fast and
seized her hand. She froze as he opened his eyes and his shocking green eyes
locked with hers. His eyes were all the colors of the sea, shifting and
She leaned forward, transfixed, pulled in by the
waves in his eyes. Danae was shocked away from him when his other hand reached
out and grazed her check. An unexpected jolt of passion rolled through her. It
had been so long, she almost didn’t recognize the feelings flooding her body.
Danae jerked away and broke free from his grasp. I don’t want those feelings, I don’t deserve
them. She rolled back on her heels, further away from the man. He slowly sat
up, his eyes never leaving her face.
Maria & the Angel by Jordan K. Rose
It was slightly intimidating to stand beside a man so beautiful.
As a woman Maria couldn’t help but compare. Were her eyelashes as long and
thick as Dante’s? Was her skin as flawless? Was her hair as soft? Did she smell
The answer, of course, was no. She was a werewolf. By design she
had shorter eyelashes and tougher skin, thicker, more durable hair, and her
smell, well, she smelled like a werewolf. She was clean, of course, and smelled
fine to humans and wolves. But other Others commented on the “wolf smell.”
She was no fool. Dante could smell her just as much as any Other,
probably better than anyone. That sort of concern could make even the most
confident woman a little nutty.
Pluses and minuses existed in every being, thus they impacted
every relationship. Personality traits, as well as the specifics of each
species could certainly complicate matters.
There were plenty of elements of Dante she could not ignore. For
instance, his eyes were Otherworldly. Heavenly, even. In all her lifetimes
she’d never seen any like them.
Maximilian, the owner of Seductions, had Caribbean blue eyes that
made everyone look twice. Lovely eyes. She enjoyed looking at him as much as
any woman, but she did not envy the vampire.
Dante’s eyes literally held the view of all the world, all of the
past and the future. He’d seen everything for eons. They were the color of
perfectly polished jade and held flecks of darker green, black, and gold,
giving more depth to his eyes than humanly possible.
Whenever she met his gaze, she felt the pull of centuries. The
hypnotic lure was nearly impossible to resist.
Unfathomable beauty and grace dwelled within those eyes. Years ago
she stopped trying to understand. Instead she learned to think past the angel
factor and think of him as a man.
It was what he wanted, how he advised her to consider him. And so
She sighed as Dante’s hand made the slow descent down the curves
of her body, lingering over the swell of her breast, and continuing down to her
thigh. He may have been an angel, but he was still a man.
He nestled his chin against her neck, and the gentle puff of his
breath breezed over her skin. “This pleases you.” His deep voice was magical.
Loud enough for only her to hear. A whisper into her soul.
Mate for a Month by Georgette St. Clair
“Thank you for saving my life,” she said to him. “My name is
Eileen Pennyroyal.” As soon as she mentioned her last name, she regretted it. A
lot of people found it intimidating or off-putting. But not this guy,
apparently. He didn’t even react. Was it possible he hadn’t heard of the
Pennyroyals? That would be a refreshing change.
“You’re a shifter,” he growled at her.
“Well, obviously.” The eyes and the scent gave it away, of course.
Her eyes were a startling shade of gold. He just stood there and stared, his
warm breath making puffs of vapor in the chilly morning air. She was
disconcerted. He didn’t seem embarrassed about his nudity; he wasn’t making any
attempt to hide it.
“Why didn’t you shift?”
“What?” she said, rattled. He was really making her nervous. “Do
you need some clothing? I’ve got a sheet in my car – you could wrap yourself in
it.” She hadn’t checked in to the hotel yet, so she still had her suitcases in
the car. She’d packed 1500 thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets in case the hotel
didn’t have any.
“Why would I wrap myself in a sheet?” He was staring at her as if
she was crazy, and he was starting to seriously tick her off. First of all, he
was the one standing there starkers with his enormous schlong hanging out, and
he was looking at her funny? And he wasn’t attempting to flirt with her or
charm her at all. Not that she would have gone for it, but still. A girl liked
to have the option.
Fast & the Furriest by Celia Kyle
Ares never thought he’d say the words in his lifetime, but he
opened his mouth and out they came. “You can’t eat a human just because he
looked at you funny.”
His sister Claire glared at him. “He was gonna pull my tail.”
God save him from paranoid tigers. He closed his eyes and pinched
the bridge of his nose as he asked the obvious question. “Were you wearing your
“No,” she grumbled.
“Then please tell me, by all that is striped and orange, how the
hell did you think he could tug your tail if you weren’t wearing it?” Claire
winced, and he realized he may have been shouting by the time he finished his
But who could blame him? His mother should have killed Claire at
birth. Not because anything was wrong with his sister, but mainly because
twenty-two years later, she was a real pain in Ares’s ass.
He took a deep breath and tried to find some sort of calm. It
hadn’t worked so far, but a man could hope. “Claire, you know how it works, we
Mating was a three-step process for tigers. Sex without a condom
to give their partner a few shifter characteristics and see how their
significant other handled those changes. Then a bite made the changes
Neither was the true tie that would complete a mate bond, though.
The most important, the action that once taken could never be reversed, was the
tail-tugging. It went soul deep and formed a bond that only death could break.
With or without bites, that one act couldn’t be revoked. For a tiger to have
their tail pulled, to have that binding forced on them…
Ares’s worst nightmare came to life. They’d been lucky so far, his
tigers keeping to their human forms, but the full moon was so close.
“The humans know it too and all because—”
He knew the end of her sentence and cut her off with a slice of
his hand through the air.
All because of that human bitch you got cozy with.
The human bitch being Ares’s ex, Zoe. Zoe, the luscious bit of
human his tiger still missed. Zoe, with her smile and tinkling laugh. Zoe and…
her camera phone and newspaper connections.
Zoe Reynolds: photographer, reporter, and… Ares’s mate. At least,
he’d thought so. Now she was merely the weapon of his pride’s destruction.
At the moment, his public relations team was working on spinning
the story. They’d been debating revealing the truth versus denying it all, and
then… in came his human-craving sister.
“Claire,” he sighed and leaned forward in his chair, forearms
resting on the edge of his desk. He was tired, so damned tired, and all he
wanted was one moment of peace. “I need you to work with me—”
“And not against me,” his younger sister drawled.
Darcy, the head of his PR team, huffed, drawing his attention from his sister and reminding him he was
actually in the middle of a meeting and not free to argue. “Look, Claire, it’d
be a good idea to lay low for a while. Stay close to the house.”
“You’re gonna let them drive us from our land?”
“No,” he drew the word out and prayed for patience. “I’m asking
the pride to stay out of the outlying acres while we get a handle on things.
You can still go up the mountain, but avoid the forests closest to town. Stay
away from the hiking paths and areas open to the public.”
He stared Claire down, letting his strength as alpha flow through
the room. Darcy whimpered and looked at the ground, her inner tiger succumbing
to his dominance. Now he waited on his sister. She held his gaze, blue eyes
blazing with determination fueled by anger. Their father was an alpha, the
strongest of the strong, and he’d imbued all of his children with that power.
It was part of the reason she managed to hold his stare for as long as she did,
but she’d submit.
And… there it was. Claire snatched her attention from him and
glared at the wood flooring, tilting her head to the side. She clenched her
jaw, muscles standing out, and he knew she had plenty to say about his orders.
Well, he had too much shit to do to listen to her rant and rave.
His tiger nudged forward, its curiosity piqued by his show of
dominance. It wanted to know what all the fuss was about. Curious cat. “I’m
asking you to be smart and save our mother worry, Claire. I’m asking you to stay
She gritted out, “If she hadn’t—”
“That conversation is done, and the issue is no longer up for
discussion.” He wasn’t going to rehash things every damned day.
His tiger finally understood Ares’s frustration and source of
anger. It was familiar with his sister’s behavior, and as far as Zoe went… the
animal didn’t want to think about her or the mistake they’d nearly made. The
whole situation would have been worse had he allowed Zoe to tug his tail, had
he joined with her permanently.
The cat understood and accepted the situation, but that didn’t
mean it didn’t mourn. With a final flick of its tail, the feline turned its
back on Ares’s human consciousness and padded to the far reaches of his mind,
content to sleep the day away. It’d been like that from the moment he’d read
the article’s headline and byline.
Ladies, like a tiger’s stripes? Tug his tail and keep him forever!
by Zoe Reynolds
Then there’d been a picture, bright and bold, showing off Ares’s
naked body along with several snapshots of his transformation. Oh, there was
appropriate blurring here and there, but they’d gotten the point across.
Just like werewolves, bears, and lions, there were weretigers.
Even worse, tug a tiger’s tail and then the two were suddenly
mated whether the tiger liked it or not. And trying to part a tiger from their
mate could have deadly consequences.
“But, Ares,” Claire whined.
“Claire, if you were any other tiger…”
“You’d have me pinned to the ground already with my scruff between
He made the threat way too often and didn’t follow through often
enough. Or ever. Dammit. “So help me, I will send you to Arizona. Just see if I
That had her gasping, and her gaze clashed with his once more.
“You’d…” she stuttered. “You’d send me to the desert?”
“They don’t even have trees there!”
“I’m sure they have a few,” he assured her.
“And no marshes. Or swamps! Or caves!”
Ah, the places a tiger liked to play the most. He rose to his feet
and placed his palms on the desk, leaning over the smooth surface. He forced
the cat to come forward and help a guy out. It grumbled, but did as he asked,
shifting his human eyes to tiger yellow. “No. Savannahs.”
“You wouldn’t,” she gasped and clutched her chest.
“I. Would.” Okay, he wouldn’t.