Blurb: Niah Pryde is no shrinking violet. Not only is she one of the best hunters for S.W.A.T.—the Shifter and Were Armed Tactics agency—but Niah can also network a microwave tower to a satellite surveillance system with her eyes closed, and one well-manicured hand tied behind her back. So…why would she rather hide in the network hub closet than face her mate?
Ryland Lee Lewis is as down-home as they come, from his country drawl to his love of sweet tea. It only took one assignment with Niah Pryde to know she was the one for him. He’s sure she feels it too, but the woman is running faster than a bull out of the chute at a rodeo. What’s a guy to do when his mate won’t see reason? And what kinds of sparks will fly if she dares give him a chance?
But how the hell had they done it? She’d returned last night from her temporary escape to the prairie just in time to have dinner with her sisters. After dessert and a drink, she’d gone up to bed early. Niah was a light sleeper, lived on a property with the most sophisticated security systems money could buy, and had gone to sleep in a house surrounded by five, count ‘em, five African lion shifters.
How the hell had anyone gotten the jump on her, damn it?
And why a sack? There was nothing more stupid than putting a cat in a bag. Cats had claws. Very sharp ones.
She didn’t hear anyone moving around but she knew there was no way she was alone. With a quiet but deep breath, she weeded out the various scents carried through the recycled air of the circulation system. Ah, there it was, or rather there he was.
Ryland Lee Lewis. She was going to kill him good and dead. Maybe twice for good measure.
Oh, you just wait until I get out of this bag, you son of a bitch.
She threw herself into the change, uncaring whether the force and speed of the shift alerted her captor to the fact she was now fully awake and spitting mad.
The material was shifter resistant!
She should have known, given she was playing with a bounty hunter as skilled as herself. The smooth material expanded with her body, accommodating her larger lioness shape with ease. And the stuff didn’t shred under her super-sharp claws either. All she got for her escape efforts was tired.
This material might not shred, but the skin on Lou’s ass will.
“I think I actually felt that thought, Niah. I should check to see if I have claw marks down my left butt cheek.”
Back in her human skin she growled low in her throat. “Laugh now, country boy, but you just wait. And if you’ve made my family worry, I will absolutely kick your ass, up one cheek and down the other.”
“Niah, don’t you even want to know what’s going on here and why?”
“Hell no! I can figure that part out later. You know, after you’re bleeding.”
She couldn’t see his smile given she still had a bag over her body, but she felt it down to her bones. And, God, it felt like so much sunshine spilling over the eastern plains as the sun rose in the morning. Then he laughed as if he was truly delighted.
“But I am delighted, love.”
Oh, hell no!
“Get out of my head, Lou.”
“Not a chance, darlin’.”
They were already picking each other’s thoughts out of the air? Damn, but it shouldn’t have been possible yet. That kind of closeness was only possible with family and a mate. The end.
Lou definitely wasn’t family, and Niah had decided long ago that she wasn’t going to have a mate. It didn’t matter how much this man made her skin prickle with awareness, or how much she swore she could feel what he was feeling. Or how much she craved him, skin-to-skin, pelt-to-pelt, or however she could have him.
Nope. Not happening.
But Lou’s strong presence continued to storm into her head even as he started to speak aloud once more.
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