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Authors: He Ain't Lion

Celia Kyle (5 page)

BOOK: Celia Kyle
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Chapter Four

Owie, owie, owie…

God, Maya must’ve burned like, a gazillion calories, while doing the horizontal mambo with Alex. Seriously. She’d never been so sore or hungry in her life—like the hunger inside her was a living, breathing thing, furiously trying to gnaw its way out of her empty stomach in search of food.

Couple that with an uncharacteristic royal bitch attitude, and she was batting a thousand. It felt like she’d suddenly become schizophrenic, and had another personality to deal with inside her head. One that was very, very cranky.

At the grocery store, she snagged a cart and went directly to the meat department. No other aisle for now.
Do not pass go.
Go right past the delicious bakery, and head straight to the meat section. Cranky or not, hungry or not, there would be no eating of the people who got in her way. Because, really, that seemed like a pretty good idea, her empty stomach thought.

Reaching the back section of the store, she stared at the plethora of beef before her. And it had to be beef. Because chicken, fish, and pork, just weren’t gonna cut it. Part of her balked at her sudden, insatiable craving for meat, but the other part, the stronger part that seemed to be prowling, dragging its nails inside her brain, told her to grab it all and eat it raw, bathe in the blood to feed her hunger.

Okay, ew, just yuck.

Maya had no problem purchasing pounds upon pounds of meat. Besides, Atkins involved the whole low carb thing, and it’d been a minute since she’d gone on a diet. So yeah, she was game, but she sure as hell wasn’t eating it raw, though.

Nu-uh.

The weird “prowly thing” in her head snarled a little, but finally gave in. She really should’ve had Alex let her sleep a little. And while she was at it, he should’ve told her that sex with him came with a second personality.

Her resolve to quell her hunger firmly in place, she snatched up a few steaks. Then a few more. And a dozen pounds or so of ground beef for good measure. Fatty good stuff. Atkins was about low carbs, not low fat content.

Maya growled at anyone that got too close. Her food. All hers!

A familiar sound reached her ears—the padding of quick feet, the loud squeaking of shoes on shiny floors, gave her friend’s approach away. Maya swiveled her head and narrowed her eyes. Carly was her friend, but…would she try to take her food…?

“Maya?” The woman’s face was easy to read, happy, not predatory in the least bit.

Okay then. She took a deep breath, scented the air, and something teased her nostrils. Something wild and sweet, and it made her slightly…hungrier, believe it or not. The prowling presence within stretched and scratched inside her head, snarled yet again. Maya decided she had to be going crazy. Certifiable. Because she suddenly had the urge to eat her friend. And not in a good way. No, she wanted her friend for lunch.

Maya licked her lips, nose flaring with each step closer that the slim woman took. Yum. “Grrr.”

“M-Maya?” Carly stopped, and with four feet separating them, Maya could hear the rapid thumping of the woman’s heart, her forced breathing.

Her friend was scared. Of her?

Hm…scared made hunting the prey all the better, she thought. Yummy.

Wait! That thought, the idea of her friend as some sort of prey, snapped Maya’s attention back to reality, and away from that freaky, homicidal part of her brain.

“Oh, shit.” Maya slapped a hand over her mouth and ran straight for the bathroom, bile rising in her throat.

God, she ran faster than she’d ever run before. As if she had wings Maya flew by the other customers, weaving and dodging little old ladies in panic until she burst through the bathroom, and then through a stall door, bending over a toilet as she tried to calm the sickly feeling in her stomach. Wave after wave of retching crashed her insides, over and over as she fought for breath, fought to keep her composure.

A soft hand stroked her back, announcing to Maya that her friend was there to comfort her. Carly’s scent discerned Maya blindly reached for the paper towel her friend offered. She then wiped her face before standing to face the other woman.

“Carly… I’m…”

How in the world was she supposed to explain her actions? To tell her friend that she was ready to hurl because…? Because she looked good enough to eat? Like, literally.

“Shh… It’s okay. Everything’s going to be okay.” She rubbed Maya’s shoulders and pulled her close, then wrapped an arm around her waist and led her toward the bathroom door. “Let’s go back and get your meat, and then we can go to my house, okay? I’ll have my brother come over to talk you through this, honey.”

“Your brother? Why? What are you talking—?”

“Don’t worry. You’ll understand, soon enough. I promise.”

Maya and Carly hugged, a soft whimper sounding in her throat. God, she wasn’t sure what was happening to her, like why she suddenly had such a craving for meat, or why she even thought that her friend seemed to be a good choice for lunch. Maya wondered if she needed an antipsychotic, or something just as strong…

Once they reentered the store various scents assaulted her senses. As the smell of raw meat tempted her, called to her, she could hear the heartbeat of every passing shopper. And they all looked so delicious, reminded that growly-prowly sensation in her mind, seemingly interested in several of the individuals perusing the produce section. Maya licked her lips and swallowed the pooling saliva in her mouth. Yeah, she supposed that
interested
could be one way to describing the feelings she had.
Ravenous
was yet another.

“Carly, there’s something really, really wrong with me. Like, really.” She knew she hadn’t just woken up this morning, and decided, “Hey, let’s be a cannibal today. Yay!”

“I know.” Her friend kept a comforting arm around her shoulders, a tight grip on her other hand. “Let’s go and see Andrew, okay?”

With Carly leading the way, they approached a slim man with fluffy hair, wearing wire-rimmed glasses that graced his oval-shaped face. He was adorable in a twitchy, I’d-rather-not-be-your-next-dinner, kind of way.

“Hey, Andrew.” The guy jerked and took a step away from them, but Carly held out a hand to halt his backward progress. “We’ve got a situation.”

The guy then eyed Maya, and she had the sudden urge to growl and hiss at him. The guy was staring, damn it. She’d show him his place.

“W-What kind of a situation?”

Carly stroked her, released her long enough to run a hand down her hair, and Maya leaned in to her friend’s soothing touch.

“It looks like we’ve got a
Carni 3S.
Can you give me a day’s worth of meat at the local price? I’ll pull around back.”


3S?
” She practically purred, her friend’s touch still calming her.

“Um… That stands for Sudden Something Situation. Get it?”

She only half listened, because Andrew swallowed, and just like that, she was filled with the desire to snack on him. The guy wouldn’t miss a chunk or two, right? She licked her lips and took a step forward, only to be halted by her friend, and she snarled in response, jerked against Carly. Just a little nibble?

“Maya, no. Bad doggie.”

Dog? She wasn’t a dog! She snarled again, snapped her teeth and hissed. A split-second after the sound had left her mouth, she covered her lips and gasped. “Oh, god. Carly, what’s wrong with me?” She whimpered.

“What’d you do last night, M? Hm?” The other woman stroked her head and she leaned in to the caress. The mean, hungry
thing
in her head calmed a bit, still aching for meat, but satisfied for the moment by the gentle touch.

“I went out.” She nuzzled the small hand. “Genesis had this…this thing last night.” She seriously wasn’t telling her friend, especially in front of a complete stranger, that she’d gone to a shifter orgy. No fucking way. “Spent some time with the owner. No biggie.”

Carly froze, and Maya growled until the brushing motion picked up again. “Okay. Okay, we can deal with this. Andrew? Meat. Now.” Through heavy-lidded eyes she watched the man scamper away, and the bitch inside her wanted to pounce on him. She jerked, ready to chase, but Carly held her firm. “No. Let’s go get in the car, and we’ll go over to Ian’s. You remember Ian, right?”

She nodded. Okay, yeah…why not? Ian was a hottie, she could certainly go over there… As long as she had meat to eat.

“Good girl.” Carly kept petting her as they walked, as they shuffled toward the front of the building and into her friend’s car. “We’ll deal with your car later.”

Good girl? Hm… Maya was a good little freak of nature. Mostly. She only tried to eat, like five people, right? But she didn’t.

Maybe she’d turned into a zombie.

A very hungry, cranky, and tired zombie.

To top it off…she missed Alex.

Damn it. What in the world was happening to her?

 

* * *

 

 

Grayson and Gina hadn’t had to look very far to find Maya. One phone call to his second, from Carly’s brother Ian, was all it took for Gina to come off of his shit list. For now.

Alex needed to remember that he shouldn’t kill the man standing before him. Ian, the lead buck of Thompson Warren was a good man, a good rabbit, and had helped his mate in her time of need.

But he’d also put his hands on Maya.

For good reason, he reminded himself. Ian understood the necessity, of Maya being in the middle of her transition, of needing a strong, steel cage to hold her captive, until Alex arrived.

Still, his lion wanted to eat the rabbit for dinner. A loud, snarling roar echoed up the stairs, and he winced at the troubling sound. Damn it to hell, his mate was not a happy she-cat.

Then again, the rabbits facing him weren’t happy, either. Both Ian and his sister Carly, glared at him as he stood on the porch. As much as a rabbit could glare at a lion.

Carly pounced first. “You turned her, Alex.” She stepped forward and poked him in the chest and he took it, overcome with the knowledge that he probably deserved every culpable word she threw his way. “She has no idea about us, other than what we’ve revealed to the general populace. You let her into Genesis during your
fuck-like-bunnies
moon. How dare you?”

“Now, Miss Thomp—”

Carly growled, little pink nose twitching. If he wasn’t mated and devoted to Maya, he’d likely find it to be cute.

“Shut it.” She punched him in the chest and he flinched. “You knew what could happen to an unfamiliar human in your den during the moon, and you not only let her stay, but you bit her,
and
get mated. Argh!”

Alex frowned. “I understand your concerns.” He then sighed, ran a hand through his hair. “It wasn’t my intention to let her go this morning, but one of my pride—”

The small rabbit bristled, and he imagined that if she were shifted, her rabbit hair would be all puffed-up in anger.

He wasn’t going to smile at the image.

He just wasn’t.

“Let her go?
Let her go?
” She bared her little white teeth at him, which kinda reminded him of Chiclets, and then spun on her heel, curses trailing behind her as she stomped away from him. “You deal with the lion, Ian. I swear I’ll gnaw through his jugular if I have to talk to him another second! Rabbits can be carnivores, too!”

Alex watched as Carly plodded in anger, then turned his attention to the buck. “I’m sorry if I, or my mate, have caused your warren any undue stress. If you’ll just take me to where you’re keeping her…” He let the sentence trail off, to see what type of response he’d receive.

Ian huffed out a breath, not unlike a frustrated sigh, and dropped his shoulders. “You couldn’t have picked anyone other than my sister’s best friend? Really?”

Normally, the leaders of the various shifter clans got along well, and they tried not to cause any unnecessary trouble amongst themselves. It seemed that turning Maya, his little she-cat, had caused a fuck-ton of grief. For everyone involved.

Ian began, “Well, what’s done is done, I suppose. I’ll try to talk my sister’s anger down to a manageable level. I’m sure once she’s had time to think—” A loud, thundering crash, followed by a spine-shivering scraping of metal-on-metal, echoed from the basement. “Fuck!” Ian spun and ran toward the commotion, feet pounding on the solid wood floor, with Alex following closely on the buck’s heels.

The deeper into the house they traveled the louder the roars became, until Maya’s hisses and growls surrounded them…

His she-cat’s sounds of anger were echoed by another, but lower, softer one.

“Oh, shit.” Alex recognized it. He’d chased his share of natural rabbits through the forest to know that his mate was about to make her best friend—dinner.

Ian dove for the closed door, but Alex got there first. Pulling the man out of the way, he said, “I’ll get her, Buck. I’ll take care of this. The last thing you want to be is Maya’s next course.”

The leader of the rabbits narrowed his eyes at him as he took a step back. “Calm her, and get my sister out alive, Prime, or—”

Alex didn’t have the time to argue with the man, nor did he have the time to remind the rabbit about who was who on the food chain. With a quick nod Alex turned, yanked open the basement door, and delved into something he could only describe as a “furry” hell.

A dim light enveloped him as he stormed in, shedding his shirt and undoing his belt as fast as his hands allowed. Partially into his shift his arrival did nothing to distract his mate. Not when the scent of fresh meat clouded the air. No, Maya’ focus rested solely on the far corner of the room. Undoubtedly where her rabbit friend hid for her life.

Alex’s lion clawed at him, hungry for both its mate and the tempting scent of raw meat that filled the air.

Another high-pitched hiss sounded. Alex tried, “Maya!”

She glanced at him, but returned her attention to her unfortunate prey.

“Mate!” He allowed some of his beast to filter into his voice, into his command. When Maya swung her head around and glared at him for the second time, it was with bared teeth and a fierce snarl. “Come on, baby. It’s me.” He circled the room, watched as she trailed him, following his every movement with her fiery gaze. He toed off his boots and unsnapped his jeans, exposed more of his body.

She’d either attack and he’d have to go “furry” to pin her, or she’d shift back and pounce on him in human form. God, untimely as it might be, he was really hoping for the latter.

Focus now squarely on him Maya licked her chops, her gaze curiously intent on what he revealed. “Hey, sweetheart. I’m sorry about this morning, about what’s happening—” Alex didn’t finish the sentence, didn’t know how to explain himself at this very moment. He’d been a selfish prick, but for good reason. Maya and he belonged together. “I-I couldn’t help myself. Please…let me make it up to you. You, my mate, shouldn’t have had to deal with this alone.” He inched his pants down a little farther, let his dick pop free.

He was turned-on by his mate’s fierce display, and he wanted nothing more than to take her. Right here, right now. Fuck, his dick was rock-hard, long and thick before him, and more than ready to claim the beauty crouching merely a few feet away.

Alex stroked his dick, smiled when she snarled, her focus fixed on his cock. “Shift for me, mate, and let me feed your hunger.” She snarled again, but didn’t approach, her attention flicking between his groin and his face. “You are my mate, sweet Maya, and all you need to do is slip back into your human skin for me, and I’ll prove it to you.”

A blur of white to his right snagged both of their attention, but Alex reactively snapped his fingers to reclaim Maya’s concentration. “You don’t want that, baby. I’ve got what you need. Right here.”

Maya growled and stepped closer, closing the short distance between them. Alex reached out to her, ran his fingers through her golden fur as soon as she was within range. “That’s a sweet mate. She-cat, you need to let Maya back out to play. Let her claim her mate, and then we can find our fur together.”

The lioness huffed, but then sat back on her haunches and closed her eyes.
Thank god.

In moments the distinct sounds of popping bones, as her body reshaped and returned to her human state, filled the room. Alex winced at each and every noise that spoke of her transformation, knowing that her first few shifts would often be painful and tiring. He really was a selfish prick, wasn’t he?

Seconds ticked past as golden fur receded, her face reshaping to its previous form, her body becoming a study in curves that he would forever remember. Alex crouched down, careful not to touch her until the change was complete. The last thing he needed was for her to snap back into her animal state to claw the shit out of him.

Before long she lay naked on the carpet, breathing heavy as she found herself. Inhaling deep she raised her attention to him, and he smiled, preparing for the meeting of their gazes. Sure, he’d gone about things in an ass-backwards kind of a way, but he could only hope that once he had the chance to explain himself, that Maya and her she-cat would reciprocate the feelings that he and his lion had for them. And then, things should fall into place…and it should all go smoothly…

“You ass-sniffing, butt-crack licking, litter box-using fuckhole!”

Or not.

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