Taming Her Mate


By Kathy Lyons

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Some men aren’t meant to be tamed in the next book in USA Today bestselling author Kathy Lyons’s Grizzlies Gone Wild series!

Detective Ryan Kennedy doesn’t have time for distractions. As the only bear shifter on the police force, he’s responsible for investigating the cause of the mysterious flu-like illness that’s ravaging the citizens of Detroit. But when the beautiful daughter of a rival clan’s alpha asks for his help, Ryan realizes that she may hold the key to stopping the virus. If only he can focus on the case and not on how much he wants to kiss the enemy.

Francesca Wolf knows who’s poisoning the city, and she has a plan to take him down, but it will only work if Ryan follows her lead. Frankie’s strong, passionate spirit makes her slow to ask for help, but time is running out and the sexy-as-sin cop won’t submit to her demands. Instead, he’s giving her orders and firing up her passions just when she needs to stay calm. They’ll have to work together-as equals-to save the city, to keep each other alive, and to contain a hunger that might just burn the whole city to the ground.


Chapter 1

How did he get himself into these situations?

As the only shifter cop on the Detroit police force, Detective Ryan Kennedy knew there were some things he had to investigate without backup from his fellow officers. But he shouldn’t be here in the sewer, about to face a paranormal threat, without his fellow shifters by his side.

Except he was because the alpha of the Detroit grizzly bear clan was an asshole. Or rather, he had been. Nanook was dead, Simon was the new leader, and Ryan was getting really tired of being betrayed by everyone in his life.

So he hadn’t trusted the new alpha and now here he was, alone in the sewer, and considering his meager options.

He was soaking wet and stank as he followed a pair of werewolves through the Detroit sewer system. He had a hunch that the asshole wolves who were poisoning the city water were down here somewhere. All the cops who weren’t at home puking were scouring the water supply for where the crap was being poured in. Ryan was the only idiot looking at sewage because he guessed the damned dogs were using this system to get around.

He was right.

Two werewolves trudged ahead of him. They were men dressed in hip waders and tees; their scruffy jaws worked as they groused about carrying boxes of something through the sewer system. Ryan would bet his grizzly hump that the boxes contained jugs of the poison. More than half the city was at home sick, many hallucinating. A bunch more were outside rioting thanks to the aggression the poison caused, but that was nothing compared to what it did to shifters.

Regular shifters became like the Hulk, with aggression and strength to match. Then there were the unlucky few who became hybrids, neither animal nor man but some hideous combination of both. Most went insane within a couple days. And these two bastards were the perpetrators who had brought Detroit to the edge of destruction.

He had to stop them. The only problem was that he was alone down here, his phone couldn’t get a signal through all the concrete, and the passageway narrowed ahead. No way could he follow the werewolves without being spotted.

It was only luck and good hearing that he’d found them in the first place, and now regulations said he should head back to safety and a cell signal to report what he’d found. He’d rather arrest them and get them to confess everything. Problem was that he was alone because he didn’t trust his fellow shifters and he’d taken sick days because he couldn’t tell his captain about shifters. Worse, there was no guarantee he’d win against the wolves. It was two to one and being able to shift into a grizzly bear wasn’t helpful in the narrow spaces of the sewer system.

How did he get himself in these situations? Answer: He didn’t trust anyone but himself, and that meant he had to take these guys down by himself.

He pulled out his gun and tried to judge angles. A miss in these tunnels could mean death by a ricocheting bullet, but he’d have to risk it. Or maybe the wolves would be smart and just surrender.

Yeah, right.

“Police. You’re under arrest. Stop right there!”

His voice boomed over the sound of the water and echoed impressively. The wolves didn’t care. One took off, box in hand. The other pulled out a gun.

Shit. Ryan ducked back. Wolves didn’t tend to carry guns. They preferred to use their animal bodies to attack, but it was just his luck that this guy would be the exception.

But instead of shooting at him, the werewolf shot through the cardboard box. Pale green liquid gushed from the hole in the box. The poison. And the guy held up the box to guzzle some of it.

Oh hell. Ryan had never seen what the undiluted stuff did to shifters. The werewolf had no sooner swallowed twice than suddenly he was busting out of his waders in full animal mode. The thing let out a roar and launched into an attack. Ryan got off a few shots—only way to handle a hopped-up werewolf—but then he was out of time.

His human skin couldn’t take the attack, so he shifted straight into bear. He was in grizzly form by the time the werewolf hit him square in the chest. Or what would have been his chest if he’d remained human.

The werewolf had enough size and speed that Ryan slammed against the curved tunnel wall. His head was forced down, right onto the bastard’s neck and he bit with all his grizzly strength.

The wolf howled and scrabbled with his feet against Ryan’s belly, claws raking through the fur. Pain sliced across his thoughts and he threw the wolf off him rather than get disemboweled. He tried to slam it as hard as he could against the wall. If Ryan was lucky, the creature’s neck would break.

He wasn’t lucky, but Ryan was free. The wolf spun around, teeth bared as blood dripped from his neck. Ryan’s belly burned, but he wasn’t ripped open, so he faced off as best he could in the narrow space. He tried to think of a better way to do this. He was excruciatingly aware that the first wolf was long gone, and the dropped jug of poison was pouring into the water. But his biggest problem was the super-crazed wolf who wasted no time in attacking again.

The creature was strong for a wolf, thanks to the poison, and Ryan struggled to grapple with him. The thing had launched straight at his face, mouth open, claws extended. Ryan kept himself steady, never breaking eye contact. He needed to see if the wolf was rational. The snarls suggested no, but the relentless attack said yes. He could handle a rational werewolf, fight and not kill it so he could question the guy later. But if the creature was all animal, then there would be no end except in death.

On and on, the wolf kept coming while Ryan grew tired slamming the thing aside and hoping for a lucky blow. The creature was expending ten times more energy than Ryan, and yet still seemed as ferocious as at the beginning.

Ryan was gasping for breath as he kept batting the wolf aside. Eventually, the creature would be too beaten up to rise again. But so far, the wolf wasn’t slowing down. And it was lightning fast. Ryan’s arms ached from the steady impact. His bear claws had scored a half-dozen hits, there was blood splatter all over the walls, but the werewolf would not stop.

Damn it, why wouldn’t the thing tire?

Ryan caught the wolf hard under the jaw, slamming him to the side. The impact reverberated in the space as the creature slid to the floor, legs twitching. Was he down? The creature’s eyes opened slightly, and Ryan saw madness there. Damn it, there was no man left inside. Only an insane determination to keep fighting. That meant—

Two shots exploded nearby, the echo deafening. Ryan flinched when the wolf’s head exploded in a gory mess.

Thank God.

Ryan’s arms dropped to his sides while his lungs worked like bellows. The fight had taken a lot out of him, and he needed a moment to recover. Eventually, his breath eased enough for him to face his rescuer. He turned and saw a man aiming his gun straight at Ryan.


He started to shift back to human. He needed to show that he was sane and not a shifter hopped up on the poison, but he didn’t get the chance.

Two impacts like sledgehammers, straight to the torso, and he collapsed against the tunnel wall.


He had to get up and move or he was dead for sure. He knew that, and yet every part of him was swamped in agony. Blackness surged forward, offering him the escape of unconsciousness. He couldn’t. So he fought it, using every ounce of discipline he had to stay conscious.

The greatest mastery is a mind that lets go.

The mantra filtered through his thoughts. He’d barely started the meditation regimen that his pack mate Hank had given him, and yet it came to him now when his mind was pounded by waves of misery.

Let go.

He fought the words. He needed to hold on, to stay awake, to…

Let go.

A wave of agony rolled through his mind, obliterating everything. He couldn’t do it. He couldn’t fight something that huge, so he gave up. His grip on consciousness floundered, his thinking mind went silent, and pain became everything.

Or nearly everything.

Agony battered him, but a part remained separate, no longer fighting. It was as if he stood on a cliff above the surging pain and watched what was happening without participating in it. And it was that part of him that heard the woman.

Chapter 2

No! No! No!

Francesca Wolf felt like she was screaming those words a lot lately, but she’d long since given up voicing the sentiment aloud. She’d been in the sewer tunnels trying to reason with two of her father’s most loyal people when she’d heard a gunshot. They’d turned away from the sound, heading for safety, but she’d run toward it. She might disagree vehemently with her father’s men, but she was there to back them up in a fight. It was what the daughter of an alpha did.

She got there in time to see Jayce Davis in hopped-up wolf form grapple with a grizzly bear–shifter. It was a vicious fight that looked like it had been going on for a while, but as she skidded to a stop just out of range, the bear managed a heavy blow to Jayce’s head. The wolf went down, and she exhaled a slow breath while she tried to think of what to do.

Wolf law said she had to help her pack mate no matter what, but Jayce had been an asshole before he started guzzling the green goo. In its purest form, the serum turned shifters into amped-up super beings, while burning out their neurons; in its diluted form, it was poisoning all of Detroit. Jayce was addicted to the stuff, and she wasn’t going to help a guy who had probably gone psycho on some equally hopped-up grizzly. Not when it looked like the fight was over. The bear was standing there, his breath heaving as he recovered, and Jayce lay—

Another gunshot boomed through the tunnels. The sound pounded at her eardrums, but it was the sight of Jayce’s head exploding that would haunt her forever.


She didn’t scream the word out loud, but in her head it echoed over and over. Jayce had been down. There was no need to kill him. Damned grizzlies were killers, pure and simple, and they didn’t stop to assess the situation before they went lethal.

She forced herself to crouch low. The need to be seen, to tell the bastard bears exactly what she thought of them, burned in her blood but she held back. Since becoming a hybrid she’d had the compulsion to let everyone see her and damn them if they hated her just because she was different. But that was the serum talking and not her thinking mind. Until she took control of the werewolf pack, she had to keep hidden no matter how much it chafed.

Meanwhile, the bear’s arms dropped to his sides in relief. She didn’t know grizzly expressions well, but if ever a bear looked exhausted, this guy did. Must have been one hell of a fight. And now that she had a different angle, she could see his gun-happy companion.

And did a double take.

That wasn’t a bear with a gun. It was Brady Joe Bailey brandishing a Glock. Damn it! The one wolf she was trying to find was gunning down one of their own. What the hell?

Two more shots rang out, and Frankie watched in slow motion horror as the grizzly slammed back against the wall. Blood burst out of his chest, and this time her words wouldn’t be denied.

“No!” she bellowed as she jumped forward. “Brady, no!”

The man jerked in reaction, his gun aimed at her chest. She threw her hands out wide, her head cocked slightly to the side in surrender. It was a trick she’d learned young to keep the larger wolves off her. She surrendered immediately so their instincts stopped pushing them to kill her. And once their wolves were satisfied, she engaged their reason. Or she surprise-attacked right when the animals were at their weakest.

It worked like a charm.

Brady’s shoulders eased down, and his lips released his animal snarl, but he didn’t say a word. Which meant it was up to her to get him talking so the rational man could take precedence over the wolf.

“Hey Brady,” she said. “It’s me, Frankie. Don’t know if you can see me. It’s dark in here.” It wasn’t that dark, but it gave him an excuse for aiming a gun at the alpha’s daughter. “So this is a bit of a shit show.” She glanced down at Jayce. “I saw the end of that fight. Jayce looked hopped up for sure.”

Brady’s chin jerked down in a nod and his eyes darted sideways for a second before coming back to her. She followed his look and saw a cardboard box on its side. Even in the half-light, she could see the plastic jug inside it dripping green goo into the sewer. Shame swamped her at the sight of that poison, but she couldn’t succumb to it now. She was not responsible for her family’s sins, and yet every part of her felt guilty. Her brother claimed that the goo made the pack stronger and it would help partial shifters kick over into their full potential. That was his reason for putting it into the water supply. He thought there’d be dozens of wolves out there who didn’t know they were shifters who could finally discover the truth.

No one expected the weird hybrids or that it would make most of the city hallucinate. And he sure as hell hadn’t told anyone that most of the pack would end up addicted to the stuff.

“Jayce was an addict, pure and simple,” she said, her hands slowly lowering to her side.

“Feels damned good as it kills you,” Brady said, his voice heavy with yearning.

Shit. He was an addict, too. No one else ached for the poison like a shifter who had tasted the pure stuff, but he didn’t go for it. Instead, he stood there with his gun still up while his gaze kept darting to the dripping jug.

“That’s what happens when you drink that shit. You end up dead like Jayce,” she said.

Brady nodded. “He should have run when the cop showed up. He should have taken off like I did. But instead, he shoots the jug and starts drinking. I came back as soon as I could, but it was too late. He’d already drunk it. They were already fighting.”

It took a few moments for her to understand Brady’s words. “You and he were transporting the goo?”


“And then a cop showed up?” Her gaze went to the grizzly. Sure enough, she could see the chain around his neck that held his police badge. It was the only part of his clothing that wasn’t in tatters on the floor. But she still couldn’t quite believe what Brady had done. “You shot a cop?”

Brady nodded, his expression miserable. “I didn’t know what to do. Jayce was crazy. I had to stop him.”

Holy shit! There was only one grizzly-shifter on the force, and that was Detective Ryan Kennedy. Goddamn it! He was one of the good guys, and now Brady had shot him? She headed for the downed bear, barely remembering to move slow. She didn’t want to spook her pack mate.

“Keep back!” Brady ordered. “He’s drugged, too!”

That didn’t track. First off, the bear hadn’t acted crazy. A shifter on the green goo would have kept beating on Jayce, even after the wolf was a corpse. Second, the grizzlies were the first ones to figure out that the Detroit flu was caused by a contaminant in the water. The No Drink order had gone out immediately, and word was the new guy Simon kept a tight rein on his people. The bears were the most sober shifters in the city right now, and that included her own pack.

“He’s a cop. We have to help him.”

She made it to Kennedy’s side and was close enough to see that he was breathing. Still alive, so that was good, but he was also bleeding sluggishly from the two holes in his chest.

“He’s a bear,” Brady said, his tone stubborn. “Wolf said to kill any of them that we can corner in secret.”

Frankie’s head snapped up. Emory Wolf was her father and the alpha in the pack. He couldn’t possibly have given so stupid an order. “He did not.”

Brady’s expression didn’t waver. “He did.”

Damn it. Her father had gone off the deep end then. She didn’t want to believe it, but it had happened. A kill order on all bears was insane. Why go to war with The Griz? This had her brother Raoul’s fingers all over it, but what the hell had happened to her father that he’d gone along with it?

She sat back on her haunches, pretending to obey her father’s orders. In truth, she was trying to buy time to reason with Brady. She had to get him on her side so he would tell her where the serum stash was and she could end this nightmare forever. But she couldn’t do that while appearing to help the bear.

“He’s a cop,” she said as she looked at Brady. “We don’t hurt cops, remember?”

Brady winced. “Your father won’t see it that way, and you know it.”

A loyalist. She knew as much. Wolves were pack creatures and they remained loyal to a fault. Fact is, once a werewolf heard a direct order from his alpha, he or she was genetically conditioned to carry it out. Brady wasn’t a killer, but once her father had ordered him to kill bears, his instinct drove him to do exactly that. It was a measure of his humanity that he kept himself from finishing the job.

“Okay,” she said. “We need to talk, but we can’t do it here. Let me take care of this, and we’ll meet—”

“I can’t talk to you. Raoul’s orders. If he even smells you on me, he’ll kill me.”

Shit, shit, shit. Brady was her only chance to find out where her brother kept the serum supply. “I can call you.”

“He’s got bugs on our phones. He said so.”

And her brother probably did. Then she hit on an idea. “Noelle. You can talk to Noelle, right?”

“’Course. She’s my wife’s sister.”

“Then I’ll send her. Tonight.” She looked to the dark tunnel behind her. “I got people coming,” she lied. “You don’t want to be here when they show up.”

His eyes widened. “What people?”

“Cleanup crew.” She looked down at the cop. “We’ll take care of this.”

Brady shook his head. “I did it.” His gaze cut to Jayce. “I need to face the consequences.”

Well, that was decent of him especially since her father was going to skewer him—literally—for killing a pack mate.

“Don’t be an idiot,” she said. “Jayce was killed by the grizzly. You weren’t anywhere near.” Then she pretended to hear a noise behind her. “They’re coming,” she lied. “Go! I’ll finish him off.”

He wavered for a moment, then gave in. With a quick nod, he hurried over to the downed jug of goo, grabbed it, and then ran off into the dark tunnel. Which left her alone with the bear.

Finally! Now it was time to save the cop.

“Okay, Detective Kennedy—”

He attacked.

Chapter 3

Ryan surged forward, and the woman cried out in surprise as he tried to press his arm against her throat. His plan was to choke her until she was unconscious, then escape.

But he didn’t have the dexterity and pain ate at his control. Plus, she wasn’t just lying still. She fought him, her body slippery as she wriggled. Her knee came up hard between his thighs, but he barely noticed amid his other problems. His vision was going, which meant significant blood loss. Every breath was agony and his arms wouldn’t work right.

“Trying. To help!” Her words were sharp explosions of sound right by his ear.

He didn’t believe her, but it didn’t matter. He couldn’t incapacitate her, which meant his only hope was in running before her friends arrived.

“Shift!” she gasped, clearly struggling beneath his weight. “Human!”

It was the right move. If he shifted human, then his wounds would heal. That would stop the blood loss, but he’d be running around with two bullets in his chest. That was a recipe for disaster, but a later kind of problem. He’d also lose his fighting advantage, which was why she wanted him to do it. Much easier to kill a man than a grizzly.

“Hold. In between,” she gasped. “Bullets. Will fall.”

He didn’t want to hear her. His attention was on forcing his body to do what he wanted despite the pain. But her voice triggered a softness inside him. He didn’t have the time to understand the reason; he only knew that the notes of her voice became a kind of touchstone to safety. Some part of him knew this woman and admired her. So her words filtered in, and he chose to listen.

“Hold in between,” she repeated, and he tried.

Shifting to human was a skill learned on the first shift. Not every shifter managed it, and he’d had more than the usual difficulties given that he hadn’t had a clue what he was. But he had years of experience now, so this part was easy. He pictured in his mind exactly who he was. Well, more like an idealized version of who he wanted to be: strong, powerful, and a master of his fate. The physicality of that was clear. After all, he’d been studying bodybuilder magazines since he was ten.

He held that image now. Sculpted muscles, hard jaw, and power in every line of his body. Then he changed into exactly what he saw.

“Go slow!”

Her words caught him just at the moment of transition. Weird since he wasn’t even sure he had ears to hear, but he knew her meaning. He tried to reach for the in-between state, that place where his body was energy, neither bear nor man. Normally, the transition lasted a second at most, and he’d worked hard to shorten that time. But this time he stretched it out.

He held himself in the in-between as long as he could. A second? More? How long would it take gravity to pull the bullets out of him?

He solidified as a man. No longer buried in pain, his mind grabbed on to details. Sounds first. Her breath against his ear, his own heartbeat, then hers. A wave of weakness hit him, a sure sign that he’d been shifting too much lately. And then another nearly buried him, but he pushed it aside and focused on something else. A smell hit him, hard and nauseating. Blood. His blood on her body. She was covered in it.

His bear surged forward, dark and ugly. It was pure instinct and he didn’t have the energy to hold back the animal drive when it was set on survival. It believed she was a threat, and the most he could do was keep it from killing her. He had to subdue her so his bear would feel safe. And then he could figure out his next step.

He felt her move, shoving against him. His muscles contracted, breath flowed in, and then—finally—his vision solidified. He saw her clearly. Bright green eyes, light brown curls shorn short, and clear skin except for a mole high on her left cheek just to the outside of her eye. It looked like a brown teardrop on a face that otherwise would be deemed perfect. Damn it, he was sure he knew her!

The mole told him she wasn’t a shifter. She might be related to one since she was obviously in on the shifter secret. But those who could change into an animal rarely came back to human with moles. It didn’t help him place her identity, but it meant he could beat her man against woman.

He attacked. His rational mind said she was a friend, but instinct burned hot and his bear felt very vulnerable.

He caught her by surprise, and though his hand slid on her wet skin, he was able to grab hold. But he wasn’t able to keep it as she jerked her elbow forward, missing his nose, but nailing his forearm. He lost his grip, then rolled with the movement to brace himself on the ground. Then he shoved hard, pushing himself upright. A split second later, he had his feet under him, but she was standing as well. A quick scan of the sewer told him no one was near, though his nose told him there was a hybrid close. The things smelled worse than the sewer, which was saying something. But the best news came when he saw two bullets on the ground.

His bullets. The ones that had been shot into his grizzly body were now on the bloody floor. Which meant no lead inside his human body.


She hit him broadside with a kick faster than should be possible for a normal human. His breath gusted out of him, but he was already countering the move with one of his own. She blocked it—damn she was really fast—but he followed up with more. Blow after blow, she kept countering his punches. Part of him struggled to think. Why was she here? Did he know her? But he was at the end of his strength with nothing but animal instinct keeping him upright. Fortunately, this fight wouldn’t last long. She didn’t have the strength to keep up the fight. Not when every one of his blows had more weight behind it. She could block him, but his power was taking a toll on her.


  • "With intelligence and wit, Kathy Lyons revolutionizes shifter romance."—Fresh Fiction on Bound to the Bear
  • "Alpha Unleashed is a fast-paced, wild bear-shifter ride! I loved it!"—New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Ashley
  • "Superbly crafted, smart, action-packed, innovative, thrilling: a winner all the way!—Fresh Fiction on Alpha Unleashed

On Sale
Mar 19, 2019
Page Count
272 pages
Forever Yours

Kathy Lyons

About the Author

Kathy Lyons is the wild, adventurous half of USA Today bestselling author Jade Lee. A lover of all things fantastical, Kathy spent much of her childhood in Narnia, Middle Earth, Amber, and Earthsea, just to name a few. There is nothing she adores more than turning an ordinary day into something magical, which is what happens all the time in her books. Winner of several industry awards including the Prism-Best of the Best, Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice, and Fresh Fiction’s Steamiest Read, Kathy has published over 50 romance novels, and she’s just getting started. Check out her latest news at KathyLyons.com.

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