Authors: Tressie Lockwood
Copyright © February 2013,
Cover art designed by Mina
Carter © February 2013
is a work of fiction. All characters and events portrayed in this novel are
fictitious or used fictitiously. All rights reserved, including the right to
reproduce this book, or portions thereof, in any form.
Birk said, and Shiya took him in. Big, broad shoulders, and a powerful chest,
tall and sexy in his jeans and jacket with hiking boots. He stood beside her
table, leaning on it with both hands flat like he expected her to raise her
chin and kiss those very delicious-looking lips. She stared into his
eyes—dreamy blue eyes that did things to her insides and shortened her breath.
His rugged jaw had been shaved clean, which she appreciated, and he smelled
incredible. The entire package topped with overlong dirty-blond hair melted her
to her core. This was a veterinarian? Seriously?
what?” She cast him an expectant look. If he wanted a hello kiss, he better do
the initiating—this time. Her belly had done flip-flops the entire flight out
here from San Diego, and while it thrilled her to death to be in Juneau,
Alaska, the reason she’d come did not produce calm self-assurance. She licked
her lips, and he followed the movement of her tongue with such an expression of
lust in his gaze, he might as well have met it with his own tongue.
urge to flee came over Shiya, but she resisted. She had something to prove to
herself and to her family. Still, who the hell knew he would be this enigmatic
in real life? Skype had lied to her. She almost laughed at her mental joke, and
he moved to sit down.
are, the little playmate I’ve enjoyed for the last two months.”
to see you in real life, Birk.” She glanced around at the pub, taking in the
interesting atmosphere. Sawdust covered the floor, and deer heads hung on the
wall. The light fixtures that looked like a ring of lanterns from the Old West
illuminated the room just enough to see. The piano player on a raised platform
belted out lively tunes and called a greeting each time someone entered the
building. “This place is awesome. I’m glad you chose it.”
touched the tips of her fingers, and electricity rose through her hands, up her
arms, and down to her nether regions. She turned her attention back to him and
made the excuse of needing to push her glasses up to pull away from him. The
very fact that her stupid eyes had itched to no end before she came pissed her
off. She’d intended to wear contacts and look her best, but that was the first
fail. A sexy dress and some slinky high heels went down the drain right after
it. Early fall was supposed to still be warm in Juneau, but today had turned cold.
She had opted for a gray sweater dress with a deep, loose neckline to show off
the swell of her breasts, paired with thigh-high boots. Where she went wrong
with the clothing and the contacts, she determined she would make up in
unzipped her jacket and pulled it off her shoulders. Birk popped up from his
seat and came around to help her. The brush of his big hands over her arms sent
chills chasing each other down her spine. She uncrossed her legs and recrossed
them the other way while he arranged her jacket over the back of her chair.
like something to drink?” he offered when he sat.
you want.” He made it sound like he was the one organizing everything with the
sweep of his hand, as if the manager would rush out to fulfill her wish if she
requested something not on the menu. Were all shifters this way? Did they make
women sweat to be taken?
Okay, Shiya, chill out, girl. You’re here
to seduce, not to jump into bed. Remember that.
first volunteered to take this one, her dad and her brother had looked at her
like she’d lost her mind. After all, she was the researcher, the person
assigned to gather available information, chase down leads over the phone, or
get a name and pass on what she learned to those who were skilled for
fieldwork. Shiya spent her life behind a computer screen. This was not her, but
carried on a flirtation with Birk over Skype, well, she couldn’t let one of her
sisters take this, could she? After all, her simple job consisted of winning
Birk’s trust and getting him to confirm his shifter status. No more, no less.
hot apple cider?” she suggested. “That seems like it will hit the spot.”
and placed the order, along with what they called Alaskan Amber for himself.
Beer, she noted, when his drink arrived. Shiya sipped hers.
quiet,” Birk said. “We teased each other late into the night online.” He leaned
toward her, and her breath caught in her throat. “Not that I’m complaining. I
mean, my computer screen didn’t do you justice. I knew you were beautiful, but
I’m blown away by the real thing.”
her lashes and toyed with her mug. “Thank you.” When she looked up again, she
tilted her head to the side and met his gaze with a flirtatious one of her own.
“You’re pretty sexy yourself.”
“I do feel
a bit cheated.”
the stark black rim of her glasses. “What do you mean?”
brows lowered, and he rubbed his chin. “I believe you promised me a kiss, and I
haven’t gotten one.”
chuckled. That’s why he’d stood over her, saying well. “We can’t have you
disappointed, now can we?”
leaned forward. Even her sisters kissed their quarries. She could do no less
than that. A chaste kiss, enough to entice but keep the distance between them.
Just before their lips met, a cleared throat and the
of a jar landing on the table interrupted. Shiya drew away
from Birk and turned to look into the weathered face of woman whose age she
couldn’t determine with all the wrinkles, the scraggly black hair, and the
rumpled, worn clothing.
club juice,” the old woman announced, and she held up two fingers as if that
words she didn’t quite catch, but the woman focused on Shiya.
thanks, but I don’t need—”
tired. Brew it myself.” The woman tapped the bottle. She brought a pouch from
her pocket and held it up. “Caribou leaf salve.” She patted her chest, and
Shiya wondered if the salve was meant to grow the boobs, but her breasts were a
good size if she did say so herself. The old woman explained. “Heal wound from
flinched. “I don’t think I’ll be mauled by a bear anytime soon, but thanks.”
You bad woman!”
pointed in Shiya’s face pissed her off. “Because I won’t buy your products? I’m
sorry, Nana, but I don’t need it!”
No Nana,” the old woman almost shouted.
voice called something out in another language, and the old woman went silent,
although her eyes snapped with resentment as she stared at Shiya. Grateful for
whoever had gotten her to stop the harassment, Shiya peered past the woman and
had to tilt her head way back at the man who strode up to their table.
He stood at
least six foot five or six, and had Birk by a good three or four inches. His
midnight-black hair and dark eyes, paired with a chiseled jawline and massive
build, gave off an air of danger. All that would be more than enough to make a
woman either throw herself into his arms or run in the opposite direction,
knowing she was in over her head. What added to this sexy Native American man
was the tattoo of a knife on the right side of his muscular neck.
watched as he conversed with the old woman. While neither spoke in English, she
could tell he chastised her in a firm but respectful manner. After a few
minutes, the woman eyed Shiya and then spun on her booted feet and marched out
of the pub in an obvious funk.
apologize for my grandmother,” the big man said to her.
her hand. “It’s fine. No harm done.”
spoke, she realized he’d also spoken to the woman in the language the man used,
but he seemed to know but a few words, and the old woman had ignored him.
“Shiya, this is my friend Kotori Munro. I mentioned him a few times while we
is Kotori?” For some reason, she
had always pictured a small man. Birk had told her Kotori was attacked a few
years back by a wolf. He had a scar on his throat, an injury that almost took
his life, but instead took his voice, until his grandmother’s potions healed
him. Maybe she should have bought that salve and devil juice, or whatever she’d
called it. Shiya took him in, blown away by how attractive he was, especially
with the tattoo on Kotori’s neck, which covered the scar.
to meet you,” she murmured, still intimidated by this man’s size. “I’ve heard a
lot about you.”
and dragged up a chair from another table. She guessed the apology was the
extent of what she would get for now.
I were discussing when and where we would stop playing with each other and get
to what really interests us,” Birk told Kotori.
we?” Shiya shook her head at his boldness, and all her nervousness drifted
away. What if she did? No one had to know. She hadn’t told her dad or her
siblings about talking to Birk so much online, and it wouldn’t be like she were
veering off from her job. She’d fast-forward it.
look prim and proper, my friend, but under those cute glasses, our Shiya is a
tigress waiting to get loose.”
a finger at Birk. “Listen, you, you’re going to get me in trouble.”
Kotori cut in.
hesitated and then forced a smile. “With my morals.”
his head back laughing. “Your morals did not complain when I strip-danced for
you on camera.”
that dancing?” She wrinkled her nose at him and then stuck out her tongue.
“Besides, I wasn’t the one doing it.”
be.” His voice dropped low, and he reached for her fingers to hold in his warm
grasp. Her heart hammered in her chest. “For me . . . and for Kotori.”
widened. She retrieved her hand and held both up. “Hold on, what? Are you
kidding, Birk? We both knew we might, you know, see what happens, but we never
discussed a . . . a . . .”
she being a prude now. Her sisters had juggled boyfriends countless times and
dared any of the guys to complain about it. Of course, she didn’t know if all
were intimate relationships, but still, the girls took it in stride. Not only
was Shiya venturing into territory unheard of scoping out shifters, she was
being offered a ménage à trois with two of them?
monsters, nonhumans that would rip out a throat just as soon as look at a
person. They lived by their own code, their own rules, and damn anyone who got
in their way. At least, that’s how she’d been raised to view them. She’d begun
to question that view when she met and started talking to Birk.
for this craziness, are you?” she asked Kotori. “Sharing a woman?”
pinned her with his unreadable stare, and she couldn’t figure out what went
through his head. Then she shifted positions under his scrutiny, and the
neckline of her dress moved to reveal more of one breast than the other. A bit
of the aqua silk bra she wore peeked out, and Kotori’s gaze lighted on it. The
closed regard turned to desire in a heartbeat, but her reaction wasn’t the same
with him as with Birk. Kotori frightened her, more for his sheer size, and she
got off on the fear.
shared before,” Kotori said.
know how to feel about that.” She looked from one to the other and shook
herself. “Listen, I don’t know either of you well—Birk somewhat and Kotori not
at all. I didn’t come to Juneau to pick up men.”