By Celia Kyle
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This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around November 27, 2018. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.
Jaguar shifter Stella Moore has one thing on her mind – to take down the anti-shifter organization that destroyed her family. Her plans are going perfectly until a sexy-as-sin stranger throws off her game and decides the only way they can both avoid getting caught is to claim her as his girlfriend. Wait! What? Now she has to fly to a tropical island and play along because the alternative is…deadly.
Most people know Cole Turner as an uber-wealthy playboy – not as a tiger shifter who’s part of a special ops team to protect his kind. Now his undercover mission has been compromised by a redheaded bombshell, and every animal instinct he has is screaming mate. To survive among so many enemies, they’ll have to keep up their romantic act, find their intel… and absolutely not fall in love along the way.
“Celia Kyle’s my go-to for sexy alpha shifters and fast-paced, delicious storylines.” — Jessica Clare, USA Today bestselling author
Cole lifted the glass of champagne to his lips and pretended to take a sip. The sparkling Armand de Brignac Brut Gold was a cliché cake topper to the torturous night. He’d been served more of that champagne at more parties than he could count. The elite rich assholes needed to find a new “classic” drink.
Cole voted for Heineken, but his oldest brother said he was an “uncouth asshole who wouldn’t know the difference between hundred-year-old wine and shit wine out of a box if his life depended on it.”
Cole’s big bro wasn’t wrong.
Big bro also wouldn’t consider an evening surrounded by beautiful women in gowns that cost more than a Porsche cruel and unusual punishment. He’d enjoy being in a room lit by glittering chandeliers while background music provided by a string quartet filled the air. He’d revel in schmoozing with the other rich dicks and dancing with ladies who asked about his bank account first and his hobbies second.
Then there was the penguin suit Cole had been forced to wear.
Mmm…penguins. His inner tiger purred in the back of his mind, the feline licking its chops. The little shit. They were not going to think about hunting penguins. Especially since it wasn’t like he could sate his craving anytime soon. They were in South Carolina at a Southern plantation, not Antarctica.
The cat padded forward and nudged his mind, wanting to know if they could borrow his brother’s jet for a quick trip south.
Damn but it was tempting. Both halves of him—human and tiger—wanted out of this mansion. He hated being surrounded by people who’d rather turn his kind—shape-shifters—into fur rugs than friends.
Well, he’d rather blow up the mansion—and its inhabitants—than spend another moment in their company. His inner tiger purred at the idea of destroying every bit of wood, drywall, and marble flooring. Then they’d go to Antarctica.
The damn beast had a one-track mind. Too bad his boss wouldn’t appreciate him screwing up the operation. His employer—Shifter Operations Command—frowned on unauthorized bombings.
Not that he normally cared, but he was the only one uniquely qualified to infiltrate this millionaire crowd. Blending in to get intel took priority over watching things burn. He mentally sighed. It’d been too damned long since he’d watched anything be destroyed in a wave of fire and concrete. He missed seeing the air clouded with smoke and powdered drywall.
Cole lowered his glass as two women wrapped in sequins and glittering jewels strolled near. Their gazes stroked him from head to toe, and his lips tilted up in a practiced panty-wetting smirk. He knew how to play the high-society ballroom games even if he hated every minute of his time among the rich.
The brunette licked her red-painted lips and gave him a look that said she’d give him a good time, while the blonde hung back. Not quite standoffish, but not inviting, either.
No bother. Cole was on the hunt—for information—and the brunette would be easy prey. He focused on the woman, giving her the full heat of his stare, and the warm scent of her arousal teased the air.
He tipped his head to the women. “Ladies, good evening.”
The brunette wetted her lips in an age-old attempt to tease him. The blonde’s mouth tipped up in a small smile, though it almost resembled a grimace. He could sympathize with her hatred of these affairs. He returned the heat in the brunette’s stare, forcing himself to appear interested when all he wanted to do was toss them both through the nearest window. He wasn’t normally a guy to abuse women, but…they wouldn’t hesitate to kill him if they knew he was a shifter.
Hell, everyone in the mansion would want to kill him. It was a Unified Humanity party, and that was the thing about the world’s largest anti-shifter organization—they wanted his kind dead.
“I don’t think we’ve met before, Mr.…?” The brunette’s voice trailed off in obvious question.
“Turner.” He pulled his lips into a welcoming smile. “Cole Turner.” Neither caught his James Bond impression. “And you lovely ladies are?”
He already knew the answer to his question. His SHOC team had done their homework, and Cole had memorized every file the team had prepared. He knew all about this deliciously deadly human woman.
The brunette held out her hand first. “Olivia Walters.”
He gently grasped her fingertips and brought her hand to his mouth, brushing a soft kiss to her knuckles. “It’s a pleasure.”
In more ways than one. She was beautiful to look at—even if her father was an evil monster. More importantly, she was the first step in getting close to said evil monster. It’d taken him four months of coming to blasted hoity-toity parties—rejoining the old-money class he hated—to finally get invited to a Walters gathering.
Cole released Olivia’s hand and turned to the blonde. She was pretty in an understated way, and her hand trembled as she held it out for his.
The daughter of the notorious Richard King—rich genius, shifter hater. And she was a nervous murderer. Interesting.
Olivia nudged Charlotte away, the woman’s hand dropping from Cole’s before his lips had a chance to brush her skin. “Cole…” She purred his name. “Can I call you Cole?” Olivia didn’t wait for a response. “Are you associated with the Turner Group?”
Cole parted his lips and drew in the surrounding scents. His tiger padded forward even further, anxious to help so they could get the hell out of there. He tasted each flavor and easily identified them. Excitement. Anticipation. Arousal.
“I am.” Unfortunately. He flashed her his most disarming grin and fought to suppress the churning in his gut. He hated his connections to the Turner Group, but they were undeniable and—right now—useful. “I’m the youngest of the Turners. My older brother is the president. The rest fall in line after him.”
Olivia giggled as if he’d said the most amusing thing in the world, and he fought the urge to roll his eyes. “And what do you do for the company?”
Cole winked at her. “I’m the independently wealthy black sheep of the family.”
Even if he had black and orange fur instead of wool.
“I’ve always enjoyed spending time with the naughty ones.” Olivia eased even closer, her large breasts brushing his arm.
“Olivia,” Charlotte broke in, and Olivia shot a glare at her friend. “Your father is looking for you.”
Olivia gave him a strained smile—Daddy’s little girl didn’t like being summoned by Papa. “I’d love to finish this conversation later. If you’re not here with anyone, perhaps we can find each other again. Somewhere a little more private.”
“The night is, happily, my own.” He winked, using the charm he’d perfected during his own family’s shindigs over the years. Parties Cole had attended before he’d decided a life of violence was better than one spent in the boardroom.
Olivia stepped closer, fingers skating down his lapel. Her touch left a trail of her scent on the fabric, and he decided he’d burn the damn thing rather than have it cleaned. Dry cleaning could only do so much, and removing the stench of evil mixed with a bit of Chanel No. 5 was beyond most cleaners.
“Excellent.” She ran her tongue along her lips. “I’ll see you later this evening, then.” With that, Olivia slowly turned away, giving him a nice view of the long line of her bare back and her heart-shaped ass. “Come along, Charlotte.”
He kept his gaze on the two women, watching Olivia slice through the crowd with practiced ease while Charlotte King scurried in her wake. A waiter drifted past, and Cole reached out, snagging another glass of champagne while leaving his empty one in its place.
He slowly made his way along the outer edge of the crowd and turned to face the wall, gaze on some overly expensive—probably priceless—piece of shitty artwork. His beast lent its help to amplify his hearing, making him even more sensitive to the world around him. He listened to the murmured conversations in his immediate vicinity before moving on. He drifted past one group after another—each little clique whispering gossip while plotting another’s downfall.
He hated the entire scene—trophy wives, pompous executives, and bratty daughters hunting for a rich husband. More than one sugar baby wannabe looked at Cole like he was rich-husband material.
Husband? A mate, maybe. Someday. A day far from right now and only after he found someone exactly like…exactly like a woman who was already mated to one of Cole’s SHOC teammates, which made her off-limits.
Cole was an asshole, not a homewrecker. Even if he did feel a pull toward a certain cougar shifter.
Cole listened to the discussions with half an ear, gaze traveling over the people he neared. He knew everything there was to know about rich shifter families, but these guys were all human. He’d had to study up before the op began. He mentally went through the research, identifying the humans he came across.
The balding man in the corner had a net worth of forty million. The guy who’d had a little too much to drink and slurred every other word only had twenty-eight million in cash and assets. There was a woman in a skintight, midnight-blue dress with a net worth of fifty million. Her husband had died early in their marriage under suspicious circumstances. At the moment, Olivia’s father—James Walters—was closing in on her.
Walters needed money—a lot—and it was only a matter of time before the human realized Cole was the one to give it to him.
Olivia wandered up to her father, Charlotte on her tail, just before he reached the widow, and the two exchanged a few whispered words. When James Walters cut Cole a quick glance, Cole knew he was their topic of conversation.
Time to play hard to get. There was no sense in making this game easy on Walters. Rich men were used to having to pander to richer men. Cole’s net worth was at least triple of anyone else’s in the building.
He changed direction and carefully cut through the crowd, passing off easy smiles whenever someone looked his way. He lost himself among the suits and glittering dresses, allowing the humans to swallow him with their presence. He kept a sedate pace while he wove between people. He didn’t want attention for any reason other than the size of his bank account. His assets alone should draw the right kind of attention.
He definitely didn’t want stares because he made a fool of himself, but that was exactly what he did. He froze midstep in the center of the room—at least on the outside. In his mind, the tiger snatched control and forced his gaze to remain on the woman who’d captured his attention. The woman with hair the color of wildfire. The woman with curves he ached to trace with his palms. The woman whose pale skin reminded him of moonlight.
She turned her head, giving him a glimpse at her profile. He traced her face with his eyes—the delicate slope of her nose and the soft line of her jaw. He spied the fullness of her lips and wondered what it’d be like to taste her—explore her.
Cole remained her captive, unable to overpower the cat so they could continue the operation. It urged him to go to her, pull her into his arms and never release her. Beauty like that should be worshipped.
“Another glass, sir?” The intrusion tore him from fantasizing about the flame-haired beauty. The spell she’d woven around him shattered, and he looked to the waiter.
“No.” He shook his head. “Thank you.”
He stepped around the server and returned to his wanderings, ignoring the occasional confused glance from guests who’d obviously seen him staring. They’d get over it. He had enough money that others were willing to overlook eccentricities.
He finally reached the other side of the room and turned and leaned against the cream-colored wall. He took another sip of champagne and forced himself to swallow. The shit was nasty. What he wouldn’t give for a beer.
Cole watched and waited. He’d stay put for a little while. Just long enough for James and Olivia to catch sight of him before he changed location once more. A game of cat and mouse. Or rather big cat and crunchy humans.
The tiger didn’t want to stay put. Instead, it wanted to hunt a specific female. He tried to remind the cat that they were at a Unified Humanity party and had a job to do. Besides, only UH members were at the party, which meant their redheaded vixen wasn’t a fan of shifters. Did the beast want to seduce a woman who would love to see their kind eliminated?
The beast hesitated, and Cole sensed the feline weighing its options when its choice should have been obvious.
He spied Olivia and James in his periphery, the father’s and daughter’s attention on him. He should push away from the wall, find a new location to wait for the duo. Except she demanded his attention once more.
The tempting woman cut through the crowd, a flash of deep red as she wove her way past guest after guest. With every step, more of her was revealed—sparkling green eyes, those lush lips, the soft glow of her cheeks. Then there were her curves. The curves taunted him, the bodice of her dress snug over her large breasts to her nipped-in waist before flowing over the plump line of her ass.
And now she was close—so close he could almost reach out and touch her. The hem of her gown ghosted over his shoes, and her delicate scent teased his nose.
She was gorgeous.
She was tempting.
She was…Cole drew in a deep breath, savoring her natural flavors…a shifter?
Stella’s attention drifted across the ballroom, and she handed out polite smiles anytime one of the guests happened to glance her way. The humans didn’t meet her gaze that often. One sweeping glance was all it took for them to decide she wasn’t worth their time. Which was all the better for her since she had a bomb in her boobs and a destination in mind.
God willing, Stella’s boobs wouldn’t explode. She was attached to them—literally—and they were her best feature. In her opinion, anyway. As far as Stella’s inner jaguar was concerned, its existence was the cherry on the “Awesomeness of Stella Moore” cake.
She continued her slow glide through the crowded space, her first goal within sight. She planned to silently exit the ballroom and turn left, sticking to the shadows until she reached the servants’ stairs at the back of the house. A lovely little source had told her they were no longer in use, which meant she could reach her final destination without risking her perfectly spotted jaguar tail.
Her footsteps remained silent on the thick carpet, heels sinking into the plush flooring. Her ankles wobbled, and she reached for the wall to steady herself so she wouldn’t end up sprawled on the ground. Why had she thought four-inch heels were a good idea? Normally, she was a barefoot and jeans-cutoffs kind of shifter. Not eight-hundred-dollar Louboutin shoes paired with a vintage Dior ball gown.
Not that the shoes and the gown coordinated well, but she’d always wanted a pair of those red-soled stilettos. What better reason to buy them than for Operation: Kill the Asshole?
She pushed away from the wall and quietly made her way along the corridor until she reached the dead end. In truth, there was a door hidden by the wainscoting, making it invisible to the casual visitor. A soft press of her fingers against a particular spot on the wall had the door swinging open and granting her entrance. She carefully crept into the dusty passageway. The only light in the tight space came from the hallway itself, filling the area with impenetrable dark shadows.
Goose bumps rose along her bare arms, over her shoulders, and then darted down her spine. She shuddered and battled against the irrational fear of creepy crawlies that attacked her nerves.
The she-cat snarled inside her mind, spitting a long, drawn-out hiss. It reminded her she was a jaguar shifter, for goodness’ sake. What could bugs or mice do to her? Stella took a deep breath, then immediately fought the urge to sneeze. Focus. She had a goal, and panicking wasn’t going to help her accomplish it.
Stella turned left and climbed the aged wooden steps in the hidden passage. The barest snippets of light crept through the cracks in the wall. She kept her fingertips on the uneven surface, while her other hand rested beneath her breasts to hold the most important part of her plan in place.
Carrying a bomb tucked just beneath her boobs had sounded like a good idea at the time. Now? Not so much. Who knew explosives could be so heavy?
Soon she’d climbed high enough in the mansion’s hidden walls that no sound from the party reached her, and she knew she was close to her goal.
Stella stood before the door at the top and took a deep breath, breasts—and bomb—straining against her bodice. Could she do this? Plant an explosive that…
That would kill the person who’d ruined her life and the lives of so many others?
The jaguar snarled and curled its lips back to bare its fangs. Yes, it assured her. Yes, they could. It did, however, remind her claws could do the job as well and it’d happily step up to the plate and get the job done.
Not gonna happen.
Stella opened the creaky door and slipped into the hallway, thick carpet meeting her feet once again. She nudged the door to the hidden entrance closed with a soft click before she moved on.
The moon’s glow illuminated the hall, and she made her way toward her destination—second door on the right. One of James Walters’s most private areas.
Now or never, right?
Her hand trembled as she grasped the polished brass doorknob. She could do this—get in and get out with no one the wiser. She could also ignore her prodding conscience. Was this the kind of person—shifter—she’d become? One who could plant a bomb and hope for the best? Er, worst?
Her jaguar assured her she was that type of shifter and it was James Walters who’d made her that way. He had no one to blame but himself.
The past threatened to rear its ugly head, the dark brown of Walters’s evil stare overtaking her every thought. She’d never forget his face. She’d never forget the way he’d looked at her as he’d grabbed Madeline. It hadn’t taken him long to ruin Stella’s life.
Every day her mind was pummeled with loneliness and grief, which never seemed to leave her be. They ebbed and flowed, occasionally softer before growing in strength once more. But they never disappeared. They’d been her constant companion for so long…
Those memories had her straightening her spine, and a new determination pushed her onward. Walters had almost destroyed her life once. She wasn’t going to give him the chance to continue his “work” and hurt so many others. She twisted the knob and opened the door, quickly entering the dark study before she lost her nerve.
She moved through the room from memory, not risking a light to guide her steps. She strode past the rows of crowded bookshelves and toward the far side of the space to the massive desk—ornately carved, highly polished, and bigger than a twin-sized bed. She wondered if what they said was true. Were men with big desks overcompensating because they had little…?
Her jaguar snarled at Stella. She needed to focus on the task at hand. She could ponder the meaning of life and micropenis sizes later.
Stella rounded the desk and went to the leather executive chair. She gathered layers of her dress and pulled the fabric aside as she lowered herself to her knees.
Now she focused on her task. She tugged on the neckline of her gown, jiggled her breasts, and reached past a boob in search of the package she’d tucked away. She grunted and pulled, her breast nearly popping out of her bodice. Her fingers brushed the outer wrapping of the bomb, nails scraping the taut fabric wrapped around the deadly bundle.
“C’mon, dammit,” she grumbled, and switched hands, trying a different angle. She wasn’t going to have her plans fall apart because of her chesticles. “Why are you being so difficult?”
“My mother often asks me the same thing.” The deep timbre of a male’s voice vibrated through her body.
Stella whipped her attention to the intruder, her gaze meeting a pair of intense blue eyes across the polished wood desk. Blue eyes, light-brown hair, wide shoulders…
He leaned forward, the rest of his body hidden by the furniture, but there was something he couldn’t hide. Not from her and not from one of her kind. He was one of her kind.
She inhaled, drawing in the scents around her…Fresh rain, damp earth, crisp sun, and a natural musk that sank through her pores. The scents consumed her, wrapped around her in a cloak of deliciousness that she could easily become addicted to. Her jaguar urged her to keep taking in more of his aroma until it told her to stop. Which would be never.
She ignored her cat and continued to stare at the stranger, gaze taking in every detail from the light scruff on his cheeks to the small bump on his nose. There was only one word to describe him, and it wasn’t “gorgeous” or “sexy” or “sensual.” It was…
Normally Cole was an ass man, but standing above this curvy little female and staring into the deep V of her cleavage, he decided he preferred tits. Or at least, her tits.
The way she cupped one of her breasts was even sexier, and the tiger purred inside his mind. It wanted him to get up close and personal with the…He carefully drew in a lungful of air, seeking out her scent to confirm the suspicions that’d driven him to follow her.
“And you’re…” he whispered, sorting through the sweet, sensual warmth that came from her. The flavors made his cock hard and his tiger purr, and his body reacted in an instant even while he sought her species. Unfortunately, another familiar smell—C4—crowded the air, making it difficult. Cole frowned and narrowed his eyes as he tipped his head to the side. “What are you?”
Other than perfect. She had those gorgeous curves, alluring green eyes, and long softly curling hair. The cherry on top was the fact that she carried explosives. A woman after his own, bomb-loving heart.
She licked her lips, pink tongue darting into sight for a split second. “Uh…”
Cole dropped his voice and added a rumbling purr from his tiger. “Cat got your tongue? Is there something I can do to you?”
“You mean for me?” The words came out in a sensual, breathy whisper.
Cole winked. “That too.”
Her face flushed pink in the moon’s glow. Cole gathered more of the scent in the room, his beast pushing aside the tar-like smell of the C4 to identify her. He captured evidence of Walters and sweet cigar smoke, but that was to be expected since they were in his house. Then more of the woman’s scent filled his lungs as well.
Staining that aroma were two other warring flavors—fear and arousal. He scared the shit out of the redhead, but he stirred her desire, too. Then there was the slightest brush of something feral and wild—her inner beast. Her inner feline.
- "Kyle's fast-paced storytelling is invigorating, and readers will look forward to the rest of the SHOC team finding their mates."—Publishers Weekly
- "Celia Kyle's my go-to for sexy alpha shifters and fast-paced, delicious storylines." —Jessica Clare, USA Today bestselling author
- "A classic tale of... fated mates, Wolf's Mate by Celia Kyle kicks off her new Shifters Rogues series with a bang."—thebookdisciple.com
- "A great paranormal romance....If you like sexy shifters and steamy sex scenes you will love Celia Kyle's He Ain't Lion."—The Book Maven on He Ain't Lion
- "This is one hot menage... I recommend this book."—Romancing the Book on Scarlet
- On Sale
- Nov 27, 2018
- Page Count
- 352 pages