This fiery lioness doesn’t take no for an answer.
A trip to paradise. A mystery to solve. And a seriously uptight dude who doesn’t know how to smile.
Stacey’s been intrigued by Jean Francois since the moment she first saw his granite countenance. Then when she found out he could fly… She never was one to leave her four feet on the ground. While she might act like a princess, adventure is her middle name.
Under orders from her king, she drags poor JF along with her to an exotic location in search of answers. On the way, they find danger—fun—clues to unravel—stupendous—and a fiery lust that even he can’t resist.
But when it comes to getting the man to make a commitment, this fiery-haired lioness is ready to growl. What will it take to make him admit he cares? Handcuffs come to mind.
This mission sucked balls already. Surely he could be doing something better with his time. Anything. Even watching paint dry sounded more fun. But no, Jean Francois was being a good soldier for his boss.
“I need you to deliver something safely.” That was the only instruction the boss gave JF, other than telling him to wait on the airstrip outside town. An airstrip owned by the local lion’s pride. Don’t tell me we’re doing another favor for those mangy felines.
Ever since they’d come to town, the local pride had been a source of annoyance. Who decided it was a good idea to give household pets such a commanding role? And why did his boss, Gaston, feel such a need to cater to this supposed lion king?
Ever since Gaston had hooked up with that feline Reba, the boss had been doing all kinds of things that were out of character, including smiling. A necromancer smiling, and sometimes even laughing. With joy.READ MORE
Ugh. What was it about love and happiness that took a great man like Gaston and made him weak? Soft. So soft that his boss thought he should send his right-hand man on a stupid mission that involved waiting.
And more waiting, as the appointed time of eight a.m. came and went. If JF were a less patient man, he would have left, but the boss paid for his smartphone data, so he contented himself watching an episode of Breaking Bad on Netflix.
At about half past ten, a sports car, painted a bright cherry red, which, surprisingly enough, didn’t come with a trail of screaming cop cars, screeched to a halt outside the plane. A curvy redhead in an outfit that should never see the light of day—the dress more suited as a shirt, given how much leg it exposed—popped out of the front seat, holding aloft a box.
At last. The package for delivery. About time.
Exiting his car, he took long strides towards her. “I’ll take that.” He held out a hand for the box and couldn’t help but note just how big he was in comparison to the woman, something that didn’t daunt her at all.
The darkness inside him took note of her scent—feline, no surprise, but with a hint of cinnamon spice. The aroma of her wrapped around him and made his mouth water for a bite.
No eating the messenger. Given her red hair, she’d probably be the type to get angry while he ate.
“Aren’t you just a dollface. Thank you.” She beamed as she handed the package to him. His arms dropped at the weight.
“What the hell is in this thing? Rocks? A dead body?” One never knew with his boss, and given the woman belonged to the lion pride, a crazy fucking bunch, for all he knew it contained a bomb.
“I can’t tell you. It’s a secret. All I can say is I need it.”
“Need it for what?” he asked as she skipped toward the outside set of stairs leading up to the open door of the plane.
“We’ll need it for our trip to the tropics.”
We? Surely he misunderstood. “Our?”
“Didn’t Gaston tell you? You’re coming with me.”
She was the package? “There must be a mistake.”
“No mistake, sweetcheeks. Once you store that box on board, don’t forget to grab my luggage in the trunk.”
“I think there’s been a mistake.” He repeated the words. “No one said anything about a trip.” Surely Gaston didn’t hate him that much. He’d bet this was the work of his boss’s new girlfriend. Trying to get him out of the picture by sending him away with one of her cat friends. Do I look like a pet sitter?
The feline in question didn’t seem to notice his reluctance. She paused in the doorway of the plane, one foot, encased in a ridiculously high heel, sitting on the top step, a vibrant sight in a bright yellow dress that drew his eye—and a red pinprick of light from a laser sight.
The shot missed, and not because JF moved lightning quick. The redhead saved herself. One moment a woman stood on the ramp, and the next second, clothes hit the ground and she was soaring, and snarling, hands extended and shifting into paws. When she hit the pavement, she bounded in the direction of the gunshot.
Bang. Bang. The shooter hiding behind a car parked outside the fencing bordering the airstrip kept shooting, and missing. The lioness dodged each shot and kept going.
Great. Just fucking great. Want to bet this incident would create some paperwork? Not to mention cleanup. The only saving grace was the incident—and by incident he meant her shifting into lion form and not the shooting—was done in a rather remote location. Still, though, he’d probably have to take care of witnesses.
A slam of a car door and a squeal of tires made it clear they wouldn’t catch the shooter. While she sprinted after it, JF didn’t. He wasn’t about to chase after the vehicle like some common canine.
So once more, JF waited, but he didn’t wait silently. He put in a call to his boss. It rang four times and went to voicemail.
He dialed again.
The line was answered with a snapped, “What is so important it couldn’t wait?” Gaston sounded out of breath. Did he and his girlfriend ever get out of bed these days?
“You cannot seriously expect me to travel with one of those lunatic felines.” JF didn’t bother to hide his disdain. He had no patience for shifters, not after what they’d done to him.
“I take it you’ve met the package.” A hint of a smirk in the tone.
“Yes, I’ve met her. She’s off right now chasing a car.”
“And you let her?”
“I didn’t realize I was supposed to stop her. Perhaps some warning would have helped. Then I could have brought a can of tuna to keep her occupied.”
“I gave you an order to protect the package.”
“And I did. I’m holding it in my hand.”
“I meant Stacey.”
“Package implies non-living creature. Not a woman.” A very sexy woman who roared her annoyance as taillights winked out of sight.
“It doesn’t matter what she is. It is your duty to ensure Stacey remains intact while she investigates an issue.”
Stacey, a woman he’d seen a few times since his arrival in town. A woman he did his best to avoid.
“Does this issue she’s investigating have anything to do with why someone was at the airstrip waiting to shoot her?”
“Someone attacked?” Gaston sounded surprised.
“Why do you think she chased that car?” Which made him wonder for a moment if the boss’s girlfriend chased cars just for fun.
“A shooting on pride turf. How brazen and peculiar. And unacceptable. You were supposed to keep her safe.”
“She’s alive, and perhaps I would have known to expect violence if you’d told me something about the fucking job.”
“I expect better from you, JF. I promised the lion king you’d keep his serf safe during her travels.”
“The only way to keep a crazy lion safe is by putting them in a cage.” They had no common sense. They also attacked without provocation. The memory of his wounds no longer had the power to make him flinch.
“No caging the woman, JF. Or tying her up. Or restraining her in any way. You are to assist her in whatever way she needs.”
“I’d rather not.”
“But you will.” Gaston sounded quite firm on this point. “Be sure to report back daily. I want to know what you find once you arrive at your destination.”
“You seriously expect me to travel with her.”
“Now more than ever. I want answers to the mystery.”
“Ask Stacey.” With those cryptic words, his boss hung up. Redialing would have to wait because from the shadows sauntered a large feline, her fur tinged with auburn, her tail standing tall and snapping with pride.
The large cat stopped by the trunk, cocked her head, and roared at him.
“Did you just give me shit?”
“Stop your caterwauling and get on the plane. We’re late.”
At that rebuke, the cat stiffened then softened, the lines of her shape blurring until a woman stood there. A naked woman with full hips and strawberry-colored nipples. The fiery mane on her head matched the carpet below. As a man, it was his duty to notice such things. He also noticed she looked good enough to eat, and his fangs pressed into his lips, hunger wakening in him and tempting him for a bite.
She’s not food. A part of him knew that, and yet he still stared in a very ungentlemanly fashion. She did nothing to stop him. Her lips curved in a smile, and her hip tilted ever so slightly.
“Get a good peek?” She winked. “Be a good boy and maybe I’ll introduce you to the mile-high club.”
He knew she tried to shock him. Women like her seemed to make a game of it. But Jean Francois wasn’t new to this game. He turned his back on her and stated, quite distinctly, “Sex on a plane is nothing. Try doing it outside in the clouds without a safety net.”
Yeah, he dared her. And then walked away.COLLAPSE