Love is the only thing she can’t escape…
Ecstatic that she's found a place to hide—and a job—at Refuge Resort, Cleo Nemean toasts her escape a few too many times and ends up having a one-night stand with a seriously hot leopard shifter. The catch? It's Adrian Leonidas, her new boss…and they accidentally mark each other as mates.
Nothing could be worse than losing her hard-won freedom. Until her werebear ex, Trevor, tracks her down. His obsession has already cost one life. Determined to never again be the cause of another death—especially Adrian's—she flees the safety of the refuge. And her new mate’s protection.
Only Cleo has ever caused Adrian to lose his formidable control. Accidental or not, the lovely lion shifter is now his woman. He’s not about to let anything harm her before they've explored the undeniable heat between them. There's only one way to eliminate the threat to her life: use her as bait to lure Trevor into a trap.
When the trap is sprung too soon, however, there's no time to wonder if whoever tipped Trevor off is tied to his father's disappearance. Not when there’s a gun pointed at Cleo's head…
Adrian's eyes creaked open in the harsh morning sunlight. A naked woman stood frozen at the end of his bed, her eyes held a hint of panic as her gaze darted between him, his ringing cell phone, and the door. She was obviously trying to sneak out, her clothes in her arms. He dragged in a breath, trying to catch her scent, trying to remember what she might be doing in his bedroom. His nostrils flooded with the smell of her and him and sex. Memories flooded his mind from the night before.
Jesus, he hadn't--
He wouldn't have--
His gaze dropped to her collarbone as his hand lifted to his shoulder. An electric shock passed straight from the mark on his skin to his cock.
Her amber eyes widened as she followed his movement. Her hands fumbled her clothes, and she stroked her fingers over her collarbone. He groaned low, possession gripping his gut at the sight of his mark on her creamy flesh. His mate mark.READ MORE
“Shit,” she breathed.
This woman, this stranger, was now his mate. The thought rocketed through him, hitting him with the subtle force of a sledgehammer. How had he let this happen? He was a man who controlled everyone and everything, especially himself and his women. His finger pinched the bridge of his nose as he tried to make what his instincts told him fit with what his mind knew.
“Who the hell are you?” His anger was more directed at himself than her, but her flinch told him she'd taken his tone as a direct hit. He bit back another curse.
He'd let a situation slip from his control. And he'd seen in his older brother Jason what that kind of weakness, what letting a woman get under his skin, could do to a man. How the hell had this happened? And with a stranger.
Her face looked familiar, but he couldn't place her. She wasn't a guest. Of that he was certain, so how did he know her?
She swallowed and straightened. Her clothes shifted as she did, and he got a peek at one rosy nipple before she covered herself once more. A damn shame. He wanted to see more. And his body clamored an immediate agreement, his cock rising.
He had the distinct memory of what her skin tasted like on his tongue, and he craved more. A bone deep addiction.
He knew that name. He wracked his fogging brain, waiting for the synapses to connect in coherent thought.
Damn, but he needed coffee. And about ten aspirin. It had been a long time since he'd had so much to drink. He'd already had one too many by the time he'd seen her across the bar and approached her. He'd offered to buy her a drink and one had turned into . . . a lot. The rest was an alcohol soaked blur.
He narrowed his eyes on her face. Wide amber eyes dominated a face framed in a smooth mane of golden waves. She wasn't stunning or even beautiful, but something about her drew him to her. Her look was quiet, coolly enchanting. But it was her eyes that caught him. Haunted, pained, secretive. The whole package made him want to explore what was hidden from first glance.
She wouldn't be here unless she was werekind or mated to werekind. He winced. Well, now she was mated to werekind, and the prick of her fangs in his shoulder made her a shifter of some kind. “You're a . . .”
Blinking, she tilted her head to the side. Confusion filtered through her gaze for a moment before she grinned. “Lion.”
The smile kicked him in the gut hard. God, she was lovely. And his.
He swallowed. What should a man say to his mate?
Hell if he knew.
He jerked a thumb at his chest. “Leopard.”
The grin bloomed into a charming smile. “I know, Mr. Leonidas.”
That was it. He knew her now. He groaned, and the sound made hammers pound in his head.
What the hell had he done? He'd gone and mated with an employee. As the CEO of all Leonidas business interests and ruler of the leopard species--among others--he kept strict non-fraternization standards for himself with the staff and guests. Dalliances with either type of woman was a bad idea. He blew out a long breath. “The new head of PR.”
“Yes, sir.” Her spine snapped straight.
He'd been away on business for the week she'd been here. Zander had called to let him know she arrived, but that's all he knew. Damn it. How had he let it go so far last night? It wasn't like him.
“I'll just . . .” Her voice trailed off, and she tilted her head toward the bedroom door. She turned as though to make good her escape, and rage flowed through his veins. Possession unlike he'd ever known fisted in his belly.
He wanted her back in bed with him, wanted to memorize every detail of her lush body, wanted it with a fierceness he'd never known before.
Everything in him screamed for her, this woman he knew nothing of. Lust, possession, and . . . something sweeter twisted tight in his chest. He tried to cut it off, to distance himself, to regain control. And failed.
“Wait,” he snapped. His anger was unreasonable. He knew it, but it didn't seem to make a bit of difference in how he reacted.
She wavered in front of him, flinching at his harsh tone. Some emotion he couldn't identify flowed through her amber gaze before a professional mask slipped over her features. “Yes, sir?”
Another wave of anger rolled over him that she could keep her calm when he could not. Damn it. “Adrian. You'll call me Adrian.”
Her chin bobbed down in a quick nod, and a small dart of fear flashed through her eyes. If he hadn't been staring at her so intently, he would have missed it. What was she afraid of? Him? He hadn't made a move toward her.
Was she afraid he'd have Zander fire her? He held back a snort. As if he'd let her go so easily. No matter how little he knew of her, she belonged to him now. His. She'd simply have to get used to it.
Dragging a hand down his face, he rubbed the back of his neck.
What a mess.COLLAPSE