Authors: Lacey Thorn
Tags: #Paranormal Erotic Romance, #Shapeshifter
Freeing the Feline
By Lacey Thorn
Gems of Romantic Fiction
Freeing the Feline
Copyright © 2014, Lacey Thorn
Edited by Delaney Sullivan and Kimberly Huther
Cover Art by Les Byerley
Published by Resplendence Publishing, LLC
1093 A1A Beach Blvd, #146
St. Augustine, FL 32080
Electronic format ISBN: 978-1-60735-805-3
Warning: All rights reserved. The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.
Electronic Release: September 2014
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and occurrences are a product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, places or occurrences, is purely coincidental.
The Awakening Pride Series
Book One: Waking the Beast
Book Two: Tempting the Tiger
Book Three: Freeing the Feline
He’s only human…
The only thing Logan despises more than a weak man is one who preys on others. He finds himself in a battle between a group of people he never dreamed existed, and those who want them dead.
A captured lioness
Clara has always known she carried the spirit of a lioness within her. An impulsive quest finds her at the mercy of a man she’s spent her entire life hearing about. She wants to claim her place as part of his pride, but to do so means turning her back on the one who reared her.
One look at Clara has Logan chomping at the bit to protect her. Every moment spent together assures him she feels the same. She’s the one with a beast inside, but he’s the one feeling territorial. Every glance has his chest swelling with primal need. Every touch sends one word echoing through his mind. Soon he’ll show her exactly what it means to belong.
To all the wonderful fans of the Awakening Pride series! Thank you for the outpouring of love! This series would not be possible without your support!
Special thanks to Tia Thomas Blakey and Christy Zito Hebert for all the love and for helping brainstorm titles with me!
To Les, who makes the best covers I’ve ever seen! Thanks for sharing your brilliance with the rest of us!
And to all the staff at Resplendence Publishing, thank you for all your love and support! You guys are amazing! I’m so lucky to work with you!
Clara was going stir crazy. Her skin itched with the need to shift and go for a run. Hell, just to be out in the fresh air. A week of being locked up in this room with only Logan as a visitor was starting to take a toll on her. She’d been away too long, with no contact with her Uncle Thomas or Lydia. She should have thought to call and check in weeks ago. They must be worried to death over her extended absence. She had to find a way to contact them—a secure way.
Logan had done his best to make her think she was locked up for her safety as well as theirs. Honestly, she couldn’t blame them. She’d do the same in their place. She was the outsider, the unknown. Plus, she hadn’t gained any brownie points by admitting she’d been basically stalking Amia and had followed her and Reno to Colorado. Then she’d topped it all off by yelling things at the alpha’s mate that no woman wanted to hear, much less a very pregnant one.
She tilted her head to look at the ceiling, closed her eyes and heaved a weary sigh. Yeah, she’d lock herself up if she were in their shoes. Her emotions were all over the place, and she’d lost her temper downstairs. She felt overwhelmed and inadequate to deal with anything. It didn’t help that everything was so damn confusing. How was she supposed to deal with the fact she knew more than Tah when he was the leader they’d been waiting for? She didn’t feel prepared or knowledgeable enough to make decisions that could affect the future of the entire pride. They needed someone far better suited to teach them than she was—someone older and wiser.
She paced to the door and back to the window, the one that was sealed so well she couldn’t break out. Of course, Logan had shown her the alarm linked to it just in case she decided to try her hand at it anyway. He’d grinned, all proud of himself, as he’d pointed it out. She was here until they decided otherwise. Yet, that wasn’t the problem. No, the problem was she didn’t want to leave.
It wasn’t even because she’d found Tah. Seeing him stepping toward her for the first time had sent her immediately to her knees. She’d tried to cover it up, to play it off. But God! She’d been told of him since she was born. Part of her had begun to believe he was nothing more than myth and legend. Then there he was, bigger than life, radiating some serious alpha pheromones that had her eager to submit to whatever he wanted her to do. It was bizarre. Especially since he wasn’t that much older than she was.
She wondered what her uncle would think of the alpha. Tah wasn’t just young; he was untrained, inexperienced and still learning about himself and what it meant to have a pride. This group of his seemed to know so little. Still, he’d already assembled people he trusted— a mixture of human and shifter. And from what she’d overheard, he even had a friendship with the wolf pack, through their alphas no less. That was something even Uncle Thomas had never managed.
There was so much she could teach Tah and the shifters with him. So many things she could educate them about—if she were a little more confident. She’d honestly feel better if she could contact her uncle and have him be the one to come and help them. Uncle Thomas was one of the wisest shifters she knew. He would know where to start and how to go about all of it. Clara was too uncertain, and the current battle she was fighting—the unrelenting urge to mate—left her weak and exposed at a time when she could ill afford it. As much as her focus should be on the alpha she’d spent her entire life waiting for, it was another that claimed her attention and had her desiring to stay, to belong.
Logan Dobson. A human, though no less alpha in his demeanor than the two shifters he called brothers. At first, she’d been confused, until she realized the term brothers didn’t refer to a sharing of blood, but of a bond formed in life that made them claim each other as family, as brothers. She could understand that. Shifters didn’t always share blood, but that was irrelevant. They were a family none-the-less.
A brief tap sounded at the door before it was shoved open, revealing the man who tormented her by awakening feelings she wasn’t prepared to deal with.
“I brought you some lunch,” he said as he hit the door with his hip to shut it once more.
She followed him with her gaze as he moved to her bed and sat, putting down the tray and grabbing one of the pillows to place on his lap.
Did he think she wouldn’t know his cock was long and thick, that she couldn’t smell the lust and desire on him? Did he know his scent coated the pillow when he left, that she hugged it to her and longed for him to be in the bed with her every night? He was killing her.
“I’m not hungry.”
He laughed and the deep timbre of his husky chuckle washed over her, setting her nipples on fire and leaving her pussy slick with need. She’d known from the first moment she saw him that he was her mate, the man destined to fill her every need. The one person who could make her whole. It was something she’d spent her whole life anticipating. But why here? Why now? Why him, the man keeping her prisoner?
“You have to eat,” he crooned, and she shivered.
He grabbed a slice of apple from the tray and brought it to his lips. She heard the crunch as his teeth bit off a piece, saw the damp spray of juice, and she licked her lips in hunger. For him and only him.
“I said I’m not hungry.” She turned her back to him and looked out the window. It didn’t help. It never helped. She still felt him with every inch of her being. She knew when he was close. It was the way it was with mates. And if she bit him, if she claimed him… Then she would always know where he was, if he was upset or in danger, and he’d know the same about her. It was a risk she couldn’t take, and it was tearing her up.
“All you have to do is talk to me,” Logan said as he rose to stand beside her bed. “No more room. You could go anywhere. We just need you to talk, tell us what you know.”
“I’ve told you.”
“You’ve told us only enough to make us aware of how much we don’t know. I get that you’re angry, but it won’t help you to continue alienating yourself from everyone here by throwing out barbs meant to upset people. Every conversation doesn’t need to be a battle. We’re not your enemy.”
“Well, I’m sure you can understand my confusion.” She turned and waved her hands around her. “Most friends don’t keep you locked up.”
She could tell Logan was gritting his teeth by the set of his jaw. She was pissing him off again. She seemed to do that so well.
“I didn’t say we were your friends. Maybe if you quit lying to us there would be a chance for that.”
“I haven’t lied to you.”
Logan snorted. “A lie of omission is still a lie.”
“I’d say that’s subjective.”
He shook his head. “It doesn’t have to be this difficult. You’ve been here a week, and we’re no closer to answers than we were before you got here. We’ve only come up with more questions.”
“I don’t have all the answers you want.”
“You have some of them. We know you do. How much longer do you want to play things out this way, because I’m getting damn tired of it.”
“Are you threatening me?” She couldn’t hold back the rumble of challenge that sounded in her chest, or the way her canines flashed as she snarled at him.
And he grinned. The prick didn’t even have the wisdom to be scared of her.
“I hang out with Tah and Reno. You’ll have to do better than a flash of teeth and a growl if you want to scare me. And for the record, I don’t intimidate easily.”
“I could tear you apart with my bare hands.” She wouldn’t, but he couldn’t really know that.
“You could try.” He spread his hands wide as if to say, here I am, come and get me. “It’s a risk I’m willing to take.”
She turned her back to him again. “Go away.”
“Not this time.”
She heard the grunt of anger in his voice and had just enough time to turn around before he was in front of her, pinning her to the wall. His scent wrapped around her, stroking her like invisible fingers and making her a weak mass of female flesh.
“Don’t equate human with being stupid or weak,” he gritted out between his teeth.
“I’ve never thought of you as weak or stupid,” she panted.
Her heart galloped as his forearms brushed against her shoulders. He had her caged in, effectively trapped, with no avenue of escape, and they both knew it. Not without her risking hurting him, and she wasn’t prepared to do that.
“But you think of me,” he whispered, dropping his head so his breath tickled her ear as he spoke. “I hear you call my name at night. I’ve walked in and seen you thrashing in that big bed, moaning my name. Do you know how hard it is to walk away? Knowing you want me as much as I want you?”
“It’s all those dreams of killing you I have. No Stockholm Syndrome here.”
He laughed. “We may have been getting rough in your dreams, but the only thing killing either of us was probably the pleasure we’re going to unleash when we finally give in.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Oh, but she did, and she wanted. God, how she wanted.
“Do you think I can’t pick up on the signals you’re throwing out just because I don’t have your super senses?” he challenged.
“What signals?” She bit her lip, realizing she’d played right into his hands by the way he leaned even closer, touching her with his body.