Authors: Georgette St. Clair
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Romance, #Paranormal, #Fantasy, #Werewolves & Shifters
Shifters, Inc: His Purrfect Mate
Copyright 2013 by Georgette St. Clair
This book is intended for readers 18 and older only.
It is a work of fiction. All characters and locations in this book are products of the feverish imagination of the author, a tarnished Southern belle with a very dirty mind.
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each reader. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
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Other books set i
n the same world are: The Alpha Claims A Mate, also available on Amazon:
And: The Alpha Meets His Match available on Amazon
Each book is a standalone story.
Playa Linda, California
“Everyone settle down! The first monthly meeting of Shifters, Incorporated, is now in order.” Tyler Witlocke glared at the two dozen shifter and human employees who were assembled in the meeting room of their security firm’s new office building, an efficient-looking brick and glass structure “And thanks for scaring off yet another secretary, people. Kenneth will be delighted to hear that when he gets back.”
Tyler didn’t want to be i
n charge of the unruly, squabbling group; his specialty was computer security, not people. Computers were predictable; people were annoying. However, Kenneth Chamberlin, the founder of Shifters, Inc., had been called away on a personal emergency, so Tyler was stuck with the job for at least the next week or two. The first order of business when Kenneth returned was finding a second in command to take over the next time Kenneth left town.
“Dominick started it,” Pixie said, not looking up from her
iPad. Pixie, one of the firm’s human employees, held the title of security expert. She was a not particularly reformed thief and pickpocket who helped the firm identify security flaws for their clients.
“I started it?” The lion shifter let out a low
growl of fury and swung to face her.
“Don’t say there’s no way I can steal your wallet, unless you want
me to steal your wallet,” Pixie shrugged insolently. Pixie stood five foot four, weighed about a hundred and ten pounds, and could not seem to stop deliberately aggravating Dominick. One of Pixie’s great strengths, and weaknesses, was her tendency to stroll cheerfully into danger.
tle down, both of you.” Tyler’s felt his temper rising, and the bones in his face shifted. His snout lengthened, and hair sprouted on his face and hands. He was a wolf shifter, usually a very even-tempered one, except for today.
Dominick settled back in his seat with an angry growl.
Cruel-looking claws shot from his fingertips, and then retracted.
“Are we going to follow Robert’s Rules of Order?” a human bodyguard called out.
“Who’s Robert?” Pixie looked up from her iPad, puzzled. “We have somebody named Robert? Is he new?”
, just give me a room of my own, with a laptop and headphones
, Tyler thought. Out loud, he attempted to shape the gathering into something resembling an actual, productive meeting.
“I will now be announcing the list of new
assignments, and then assigning them to teams. Your team leader will be checking in to report on your progress. Either Darnell, Quinton or I will be available by phone in case of emergency, at all times, day or night.
Pixie shrugged and went back to doodling on her iPad. She was drawing a lion with horns and a devil’s tail. Everybody else nodded their assent.
Tyler turned his back
to write on the giant white board on the wall, but out of the corner of his eye, he saw Pixie stuck her tongue out at Dominick and cross her eyes. Dominick shifted, his clothes splitting and falling off his massive lion body, and then he leaped from his chair and launched himself at her, only to be intercepted by Heath, a bear shifter. Chairs flew, and broke to pieces. There were curses and screams and shouts. Within a minute, not a single shifter in the room was still in human form, and the human employee were huddled at the far end of the room waiting for the chaos to subside so the meeting could resume.
Pixie turned to Karen,
a human cryptographer.
“Seriously, though, who’s Robert?” she asked, as an oc
elot shifter landed at her feet with an “oof”.
University of Upstate New York
Russettville, an hour north of Syracuse
“Not if he was the last panther shifter on Earth,” Chloe Novak said firmly, pushing her glasses up the bridge of her nose and scribbling furiously in the margins of yet another barely literate final exam. Had the ability to spell simply died? If she saw one more instance of someone mistaking “their” for “there”, she might be stirred to violence.
She didn’t even bother to look up at Dean Leibovitz, who’d just come banging through her office door without knocking. Leibovitz was a tall, skinny human with a mop of curly hair and coke bottle glasses, and a tendency to act as if every minor crisis was an emergency. She wasn’t going to dignify the dean’s presence by acknowledging it; what he was asking her to do was outrageous.
Dean Leibovitz’s high pitched voice sounded even more agitated than usual.
“Not if he was the last man on Earth. Leave me be, Dean
Leibovitz, I’m drowning in a sea of bad spelling and worse grammar.”
“Not if he was the last vertebrate on Earth.” She was on a roll now, righteous indignation swelling inside her. She was an academic, a respected scholar, and the dean was literally trying to pimp her out to one of the world’s most notorious playboys – and not only that, a playboy who she was personally obligated to loathe.
The dean’s voice rose several notes and ended on a squeal, and she froze in her seat as comprehension dawned on her.
“He’s standing right next to you, isn’t he?”
She swiveled to face her boss, Dean Leibovitz, who appeared to be close to suffering a bout of apoplexy. Standing at his side was a tall, strikingly handsome man with thick wavy hair so black it was almost blue, and eyes of luminous green. He wore a gray raw silk suit that clearly had been hand-tailored, and an amused smile curled his lip. Even if she couldn’t have scented him as a fellow panther shifter, it would have been obvious, from the raw power that rolled off him.
Strange things immediately began happening to Chloe’s body. Her heart shot into her throat, her knees turned to tapioca pudding, and a strange pulsing sensation shivered up between her legs, leaving her alarmingly sensitive. She suddenly felt the urge to press her legs together and squirm in her chair like a cat in heat, but she firmly tamped down the urge and arranged her features in her best “disapproving schoolteacher” expression.
“Chloe, I would like to introduce you to Mr. Kenneth Chamberlin. Mr. Chamberlin has heard about the dire financial straits suffered by the Antiquities department, and has offered to help us out with a most generous endowment. I’m sure that you’d like to personally express your gratitude.” The Dean’s eyes were wild and pleading.
“Oh, don’t be so sure,” Chloe said, baring a crocodile smile which she sincerely hoped made it look as if she were about to pounce.
She didn’t like one single thing about the panther shifter who was standing ten feet away from her.
She didn’t like his ridiculous good looks. He looked like he should be in a Gentleman’s Quarterly ad. Who had cheekbones like that? Whose upper lip was shaped in such a perfect cupid’s bow? It was positively unnatural. His skin was
perfect, the Byronic wave of his silky black hair was roguish. It was like he came pre-airbrushed.
She didn’t like the amused gleam in his eye, or the way his gaze roved over her. She wasn’t exactly dressed to seduce – her long wavy brown hair was piled up in a messy bun which she’d stabbed with a pencil and a ballpoint pen to hold it in place – but she knew that some men put her in the “sexy, repressed librarian who needs help loosening up” category, and it appeared that he was one of those men.
“So, I’ll see you tonight at the ball, then?” His voice rolled out in a sensual purr.
Her indignation rose even higher. “This is utterly outrageous. Professor
Leibovitz, I will NOT be this man’s date at the ball tonight
I’m a professor, not an escort. I don’t care how much money he’s giving you
Kenneth pinned her in place with an amused smile. “Actually, I already have a date for the ball tonight. I was hoping to get to answer your objections to my offer. It would only take a week or two, and the benefit to your department would be substantial. I was told by your T.A. that you were far too busy to speak to me due to your demanding academic schedule…” He managed to lace that statement with a healthy dose of skepticism. “…but I imagine that you could find a few minutes to spare tonight in between waltzes?”
He had a date?
Chloe felt the blood rush to her cheeks. “We’ll see. My dance card’s pretty full,” she bit out, aware that she was now blushing so hard she must be glowing like a Christmas tree ornament.
“Around nine-ish, then. I look forward to it.” And the jerk actually did a polite half-bow kind of thing before he turned and left. Dean Leibovitz shot her a look of pure panic, and scampered after the handsome shifter.
Smug, annoying bastard
, she thought furiously, glaring down at the paper which now seemed to be covered by random letters and punctuation marks marching across the page. If ever a panther needed to be declawed, it was Kenneth Chamberlin.
Moments later, her teaching assistant, Henry
Bashford, rushed through the office door, aglow with excitement, brushing a shock of bleached blond hair from his pale blue eyes. Of all the times for him to have taken a restroom break. She could have used a little moral support a minute earlier.
“Did you see that paragon of handsomeness that just blessed these hallways?”
he asked, plopping himself into his chair. Henry shared her office, squeezing into a tiny desk in the corner on the days that he came in to help her grade papers and meet with students.
“Do you have any idea who that was?” Chloe asked irritably.
“No, but pleeease enlighten me. Unfortunately, he did not trip my gaydar, but I still want to know his name so I can doodle it in my notebook with a heart around it.”
“Make sure you stab that heart with an arrow until it bleeds,” Chloe muttered, scowling at the door as if Kenneth might pop back through it at any moment. “That was Kenneth Chamberlin.”
“No! Way!” Henry sat bolt upright. “That was the man whose calls you’ve been dodging for the past two weeks? What is wrong with you?”
He peered at her with concern. She was checking her pulse. “No, really, what’s wrong with you?” he asked.
“I’m just checking to see if I’m currently experiencing a myocardial infarction.” At his raised eyebrow, she added grudgingly, “Heart attack. I do seem to be suffering from excessive perspiration, shortness of breath and an elevated pulse rate, and other odd and unexpected symptoms, but since I’m not experiencing left-sided chest pain, I believe I’ll hold off on a trip to the emergency room for the moment. Do stand by, though.”
“I have no
choice, I’m scheduled for two more hours here. What odd symptoms?”
She didn’t like the way Henry was scrutinizing her, and she had no intention of sharing. There was something about meeting Kenneth Chamberlin in the flesh…she pressed her legs together very, very hard and tried to banish the lurid fantasies that were suddenly flashing through her mind. Pictures of Kenneth naked, limbs tangled carelessly around hers, feeding her chocolate as she sucked at his
This despite the fact that she’d loathed the Chamberlin family from afar for her entire life for their nefarious deeds.
Of course, he was handsome, but that was no reason for such an extreme physical reaction on her part. She’d been around handsome men before. She’d even had relationships with a couple of them – and her body had never, ever lit up like a Las Vegas slot machine which just hit the jackpot.
She could see Henry was still staring at her intently, waiting for an answer.
“Henry, my family has had one guiding belief, for the past three generations,” she said, changing the subject. “It has been passed down from my grandmother to my mother to me. It’s a motto that we live by.”
“And what motto is that?”
“Never trust a Chamberlin.” And she turned back to her towering stack of final exams.
* * *
“So, how did it go, old sport?” Kenneth’s father Maxwell asked.
Kenneth settled into the heated leather seat in his limousine and glared at the cell phone.
“Old sport? Is that what they called each other back in your prep school days, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth?”
Ahh, a childishly snappish response. So she kicked you to the curb.” His father’s voice was unbearably smug.
“She most certainly did not,” Kenneth said, indignantly. He was just glad that he hadn’t taken his father up on his offer to accompany him to the University of Upstate New York. Having his father gloat in person would have made the day even more aggravating. “In fact, I’ll have you know that she and I are going to the university’s annual fundraising ball tonight.”
“She agreed to be your date?” His father’s voice was incredulous.
Kenneth scowled. His father, unfortunately, could read him like a book. And there was no point in lying to the man; he could smell a lie through the phone, all the way from his home in the cool, foggy climes of Northern California. It was uncanny, really. “She will be at the ball. I will be at the ball.”
“So, she is going to the ball and you’ll be there, too. I imagine wedding bells can’t be far off.” Amusement laced his father’s slow drawl. “And by the way, is now a good time to say I told you so?”
“Not particularly,” Kenneth said through gritted teeth. “And why were you so sure that she’d want nothing to do with me?” Kenneth had refused to believe his father when he told him that. A woman who’d want nothing to do with Kenneth Chamberlin? That had never happened before. It was as incomprehensible as finding out the moon was made of green cheese. It defied the laws of nature.
“I tried to warn you, our family has had a bit of history with her family.”
Yes, his father had tried to warn him before he headed off to New York. He’d told him that there was no point in approaching Chloe Novak, or her mother Hilary, and most especially, definitely, positively
,, not her grandmother. Assuming that Kenneth could even find her grandmother, a notorious recluse. They would not answer his questions, they would not help him in any way, they would welcome him like the Ebola virus, only with less enthusiasm, and possibly gunfire.
Kenneth had completely brushed him off. Since when did a thirty- year-old man take advice from his own father?
Especially when his father was telling him something utterly ridiculous, like “That woman will have nothing to do with you.”
What exactly is the family history?”
“It’s rather murky and muddled, old sport. Perhaps you should ask your new girlfriend about it,” his father said, and hung up. Kenneth grumbled several four letter words, tucking his cell phone back into his jacket pocket. His father was miffed at Kenneth for ignoring his advice, and it would probably be another day or two, at least, before Kenneth could coax him into giving him the information.
Kenneth had been so sure this would be a pleasant, easy trip. He’d fly out to his grandfather Barrett’s old stomping grounds in the picturesque little town north of Syracuse, he’d get answers to his questions, Chloe Novak would swoon at his feet…
He’d done some research before he came out here, of course. There was nothing to indicate that Chloe Novak was completely crazy, or preferred members of her own sex, or had any other reason to rake him with that look of contempt when her eyes had met his.
In fact, it was his research which had led him to the impulsive decision to hop on a plane yesterday afternoon.
When he’d gone on the university website and seen the picture of Chloe Novak, Professor of Ancient Sumerian Culture, he’d felt an odd stirring inside. It wasn’t because she was a knockout, like the women that he usually dated – but when her faculty page popped up and he saw her wearing a slouchy brown
sweater and staring at the camera with a serious expression on her small, pretty face, a strange sensation had shot through him. He’d suddenly felt that it would be a good idea to pay a personal visit to Chloe, even though she’d refused to take a single phone call from him.
And now Kenneth had about six hours to find a date to attend the ball with him that evening, or he’d look like a fool in front of Chloe. Not that it would be a problem finding a woman willing to be his escort for the evening, but he suddenly found himself not at all enthusiastic about spending the evening in another woman’s company.
As the limousine wove through traffic back to his hotel room, he made one more call, to the headquarters of Shifters, Inc...
“Shifters, Incorporated – please hold!” his computer security expert Tyler
Witlocke answered, and in the background, Kenneth could swear he heard shouting, and crashing furniture, and then an angry roar of “Give me back my wallet – now!” followed by a taunting “Make me!”
He growled with impatience. The person behind the angry roar would be Dominick. And of course it would be Pixie taunting him. If only Dominick would figure out that the reason Pixie kept provoking him was because Dominick always reacted with such amusing predictability. If Dominick would just act indifferent, Pixie would get bored and stop aggravating him.