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By: Chantel Seabrook
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Lion shapeshifter, Agent Chase Payne, doesn't have time for distractions — especially the kind that involve his best friend's younger sister. He has a job to do: leading his team of Therian agents to fight against those who would expose their kind to the world.
Lora Oliver wants to be a Therian agent, but secrets from her past have damaged the bond between her human and animal natures, and threaten to destroy everything she's worked so hard for, along with the people she loves.
Assigned to Chase's team, Lora struggles to retain control and keep her secrets buried, while Chase denies what he feels for Lora. And then, one kiss changes everything.
Chase paced the room for several moments before sitting on the edge of the desk with his arms crossed over his powerful chest. "You're ready to risk your life?"
He wasn't trying to hide his disapproval, and Lora felt her own irritation mounting. "I don't have a death wish if that's what you're asking."
His gaze locked on her, watching her with a silent intensity that was more than unnerving. It was downright intimidating.
"I'll be honest—I don't like this." He uncrossed his arms and gripped the edge of the desk, his knuckles whitening. "There are other jobs within the agency that don't pose any risk."
Was he freaking serious? So it was all right for him to risk his life, but not her? Bullshit! She wouldn't let Chase Payne bully her into leaving. She'd worked too hard over the past year to get where she was.
"If you don't want to be my supervisor, I can ask Jacob to reassign me."
"No." A snarl resonated from his chest. A dominant sound, meant to intimidate.
Damn him. The man reeked of scare tactics. He wouldn't win. She wouldn't let him. Did he really think she would back down that easily? She'd grown up in a houseful of alpha males, all fighting for control.
"I graduated top in my class. I'm more than qualified to—"
He moved so quickly that she barely had time to react. Placing his hands on the arms of her chair, he leaned over her, blue eyes blazing, his face inches from her own. "To what?"
She swallowed hard and bit her lip. His hot breath tickled her cheek, and his male scent surrounded her like a musky cocoon, turning her insides to mush.
To her horror, a small whimper escaped her lips.
A hard smile played across his mouth, his gaze cool and calculating. "Tell me, Lora, what are you qualified to do?"
Pure male confidence.
His eyes remained locked on hers, daring her to challenge him. Her animal stalked, paced, rumbling to get out, clouding her mind with dark, dangerous desire. He was so close, his mouth tempting her, drawing her—
Without thinking, she grabbed his collar, yanked him down to her level and drew his mouth towards her own. Her lips brushed against his, and he went still.
Oh god, what was she doing? She knew she should stop, but something primal pushed her forward. She dragged her tongue across his lips and felt the tiniest shudder rip through his body.
His tongue swept against hers and for a mouth-watering moment, he returned her kiss, setting fire to her senses. Years of dreaming about Chase Payne hadn't prepared her for the electrifying sensation that coursed through her body.
A groan reverberated in his throat, low and deep, a sexual sound that left her panting for more. Lust rippled through her body, invading her senses. He tasted sweet, with a mix of tanginess and just a hint of spice. She couldn't stop even if she wanted to. Her animal growled, wanting more, needing more.
He broke the connection with a sudden jerk backwards. His eyes wide, dark with desire and something akin to fear. "What the hell?"
A hint of satisfaction rolled through her. For the first time in her life, she felt like she had the upper hand. She looked up at him and smirked. "I'm qualified in more areas than you know."
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Chantel Seabrook currently resides in London, Ontario, with her husband and two daughters. She is passionate about writing and enjoys reading fantasy, paranormal romance, and science fi_ction. Chantel has a four-year Anthropology degree from Western
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