Even the king of the beasts can find himself unexpectedly tamed by the right woman…
Weddings have the strangest effect on people. Exhibit 1: Sissy Mae waking up in Mitch Shaw’s bed the morning after her brother Bobby Ray’s nuptials. Exhibit 2: the gunmen trying to kill Mitch. Exhibit 3: Sissy Mae escorting a bleeding yet sexy lion shifter to her Tennessee Pack’s turf for safe keeping. It doesn’t help that Mitch’s appraising gaze makes her feel like the most desirable creature on earth…
Mitch is an undercover cop about to testify against some dangerous ex-associates. Even more worrisome, he’s harboring hot, X-rated fantasies about one fast-talking little canine—and he has to deal with every male in Sissy Mae’s Pack sniffing around her in a way that makes his hackles rise. Mitch has his pride, and he intends to show Sissy Mae that when a lion sets out to make you his mate, the only thing to do is purr, roll over, and enjoy one hell of a ride…
“Laurenston’s latest couple is unabashedly sexual, which makes their emotional battle of wills all the more enjoyable.” —Romantic Times
It was hard to think about death at a wedding.
Yet he was managing it pretty well.
And it wasn’t because he was bored or the bride didn’t look
beautiful or the venue wasn’t amazing. It was because of that
One call and his mind was filled with images of death. His
death. But it wasn’t every day a man got a call that informed him
there was a two-million-dollar bounty on his head. All that
money for his big lion head.
He should be wallowing in depression. He should be having
one of his panic attacks when he couldn’t breathe or see straight.
He should be doing what any normal human being—normal
being relative since he could shift from human to feline in about
thirty seconds or so—would be doing when finding out someone
wanted him or her dead so badly.
But he couldn’t be depressed, he couldn’t panic. Not now. Not
with that staring him in the face.
Okay. So it wasn’t right in his face, but if he dropped to his
knees and crawled over to it . . . his face could be right there.
Now that was something worthy of wallowing in.
“You’re staring at my ass again, aren’t you?”
Normally when cold busted this way by a woman, Mitchell Patrick Ryan O’Neill Shaw would begin some serious lying. He
knew females well enough to know there were times when a man
had to lie or risk losing important parts of himself. But every
once in a while, if a man was lucky enough, someone would
come along who went past the whole male–female flirting dynamic.
And that someone was Sissy Mae Smith.
They didn’t start off as friends. Not surprising since she stole
his damn jacket. He’d lent it to her underdressed friend—at least
she’d been underdressed at that moment—and Sissy had done
what scavenger wolves did . . . she took it for herself. But Mitch
was feline—king of the jungle and all that—so he took the damn
thing back. That led to Sissy wrapping herself around Mitch like
a monkey and demanding he, “Enjoy your taste of nirvana,
To be honest, he really hadn’t known what to make of her at
that point, but Sissy had a way of making people feel like they’d
known her for twenty years. She’d walk into the security office
where they both worked for her brother—a job that kept him
busy and out of trouble until he had to go back to Philly to testify—
and drop into Mitch’s lap like she belonged there. Then
she’d say something along the lines of, “I know my beauty is enthralling,
but do you think men realize I have substance, too?”
or “Would you take me more seriously if I weren’t so pretty?”
But it was when she would find him wandering his brother’s
hotel in the middle of the night that he realized how much he
liked her. She’d never ask him questions like, “Why are you
sweating and jumping at everything that remotely sounds like a
gunshot?” and instead, she would drag him off to some late
night diner for what she referred to as “breakfast and mocking.”
And it was over one of those breakfasts that Mitch realized
Sissy had become one of his best friends.
“Yes, I’m staring at your ass,” he told her as plainly as she’d
asked, “but I can’t help it. It keeps talking to me.”
He wasn’t kidding either. It was the way that stupid bridesmaid
dress hung off her that was making him crazy. It was a millimeter too tight around her ass, and he couldn’t do anything but
Like most shifter females from the Smith Pack, Sissy was a lot
of woman. Strong, powerful, built. She could take down perps
better than most linebackers could take down a quarterback.
He’d seen her take a punch to the face and then kick the living
shit out of the guy who’d done it. He’d also seen her whine over
her stubbed toe. Sissy would never be a supermodel but that’s
what Mitch liked about her. You took Sissy to bed, you never
had to worry about breaking her.
She was pretty, too. She looked a lot like her big brother, but
her features were softer, her fighting scars a little less dramatic.
She kept her dark hair in a shaggy layered cut that teasingly covered
and illuminated sharp, light brown eyes and well-defined
cheekbones. The hairstyle appeared casual and easily maintained,
but Mitch had grown up in a house with women, and his mother,
a former registered nurse, now owned her own salon chain. He
knew a three-hundred-dollar cut when he saw one. But the designer
shoes on her feet were her first and only pair. Same thing
with the designer gown. Sissy liked to be comfortable and look
comfortable, and she wasn’t afraid to put in a little work to get
Yeah, Mitch liked that she was a walking, talking contradiction.
A backwoods hillbilly who’d traveled the world and understood
more cultures than some PhDs. A woman who’d barely
finished high school but still managed to earn and keep the respect
of people with multiple degrees. A shitstarter who lived to
torture anyone stupid enough to get caught in her web but who
would die to protect her family and friends.
Sissy had turned out to be everything he expected and nothing
like he’d thought.
So it seemed inevitable they’d end up in bed together, at least
for one night, but then Sissy had suddenly looked at him one day
and said in her straightforward way, “You know, I like you too
much to ever fuck you.” Sissy wasn’t much for vague euphemisms.
In her world, if you were “sleeping together,” you weren’t doing
something right. “Sex” was for prostitutes. And “making love”
was for people who never got out of the missionary position.
And in some bizarre way, Sissy’s blunt pronouncement made
complete sense to Mitch, and he’d shockingly agreed. They’d
been best friends ever since.