The edginess was back.
For a week, Isaac had felt watched and had caught wisps of a sweet alluring scent on the unseasonably warm winter breeze. A scent he’d given up hope of tracking down years ago. Morgan.
The first time, he’d been in the city, his treasured Savannah, a place he protected like a zealot from other shifters. Coastal Georgia belonged to the werelions, and they weren’t about to give it up. No one entered his city without his knowing. He was positive she was there, but she eluded him.
Every time he caught her scent he tried to backtrack. Tried to hunt her down. His cat to her human. She shouldn’t have been able to hide. Shouldn’t have been able to conceal herself so well. If his best friend and trusted lieutenant, Davis, hadn’t also been convinced she was close, he might believe he was losing his mind.
The frustration had become a pounding beat through his body that demanded to be satisfied, and that was impossible to do until he found her. Morgan. He remembered a sweet eighteen year old girl on the cusp of womanhood. A girl he didn’t dare get too close to but even then, twenty-two years old and feeling overwhelmed by the needs of the Pride, he’d known what she was to him. His mate. The one woman who’d ever make him whole. The only woman who could assuage the terrible ache throbbing through him now.
He’d met her on a business trip to Charleston, just up his own coast and considered neutral territory to the other werelion prides in America. It was his first day in the city, when he checked into a pretty little B&B, chosen because it backed up to a large forest. She claimed to be visiting elderly relatives in the house next door.
He felt an old twist of bitter frustration, now knowing that for a lie. He was certain she’d sought him out, orchestrated their meeting, and being charmed by her as he was, knowing what she was to him, he’d been unable to resist when she joined him for dinner every night. She regaled him with tales of a gruff but affectionate older brother, of a mischievous and carefree younger sister. She couldn’t have been faking the wistfulness in her eyes when she spoke of her childhood home on the beach or the sadness when once, just once, she said her parents were dead.
Then after one too short week, she disappeared. The neighbors didn’t know her. The name she’d given was faked. He didn’t even know where that childhood beach home had been. Not that he’d once in the ten years since stopped looking for her. She was his, whatever her real name was. He would have her. It was as simple as that.
Of course, now it seemed she was coming to him.
She had no idea what he was. He hadn’t dared to mention shapeshifters. That was something you eased a mate into when you were ready to claim her. When she was ready to be claimed, and she’d been much too young then. Hell, he’d been too young.
She may not know what he was, but she had to realize he’d be angry about her disappearance, about her continued absence. Young or not, he had not imagined that connection. Had not imagined the interest returned in her gaze.
He heard vehicles approaching, and then Davis was at his side, standing and waiting and watching on his front porch. Davis had been with him in Charleston, had had the same reaction to her as Isaac had. Sometimes it happened that way for werelion males. Sometimes they shared a woman out of love and respect. Pride Law. No woman was left to one man. They were sensual men. They loved with a fierceness unmatched by human males, and two protectors were always better than one.
“If the reports are right, it’s her,” Davis said.
“If the reports are right, I’m going to tan her hide,” he answered with an accompanying growl. If the reports were right, everything he’d assumed about her was a lie.
Davis chuckled, but it was forced, and there was no mistaking his anger. He radiated with it. “Me first.”
The edginess, the alertness riding him hard for a week wasn’t just about finding his recalcitrant mate. He’d been approached about forming an alliance with a weaker pride from central Florida. Reluctantly, he’d agreed to a meeting, but insisted they come to him. His territory, his men, his strength. The Florida group had agreed. What choice had they had? And Isaac and Davis had begun gathering information on them with slow, methodical precision.
The other pride’s king was a couple of years younger than Isaac, but unlike him, Nathaniel was younger when he became king and hadn’t been surrounded by older, experienced, loyal soldiers. He had sisters, one a year younger and one ten years younger. And he had an aggressive pride moving into his territory.
That was all about what Isaac had expected. More personal information had been harder to ferret out, and with his distraction over Morgan, his head hadn’t been in the game. Then he’d received an email late the previous night with full names of the sisters and an old photo attached. Morgana and Bethany. She was just a child in the photo, holding her infant sister, but seeing it had filled him with a mixture of tenderness and rage.
She’d sought him out, given him a false surname and shortened first name, run and hid, and now at last, she was returning. Car doors opened and slammed shut, and he waited as she climbed out. She stopped next to the car, and he thought his heart would explode from his chest. Her hair was pulled back so it fell in a long straight sable tale. It looked shiny and soft, and he wondered what it would feel like on his skin, but he didn’t dwell on that as his gaze took her in.
She hadn’t changed much in ten years. She still had the soft features that made her more pretty than beautiful, still had the same sad whiskey colored eyes. But the years had been kind to the teenaged promise. Average height for a woman, but small enough next to him to be petite, she was thin and curvy in all the right places. She had full high breasts and a luscious, round ass. He had to force himself not to salivate.
This was definitely Morgan, the girl-child he recalled, and she had no idea what was in store for her. No idea what the price would be for the alliance her brother sought. He didn’t give in to the urge to stalk forward and brand her as his. He waited her out. Calm. Patient. Ready for the hunt.
© Loribelle Hunt
Pride Law 3
Author: Loribelle Hunt
Publisher: Cobblestone Press
Morgan is one of the remaining members of a dwindling pride. With their territory slipping away, they seek an alliance with the Savannah, Georgia pride. If only things were that simple.
She isn’t a stranger to the Georgia pride. She met two as a teenager and knew they were her mates. Instead of accepting them, she fled and hid.
Isaac and Davis have spent ten years looking for their mate. When she falls into their laps there is no question of keeping her. But will she switch her loyalty to their pride? And can they win her heart in the process?