Read Let Us Prey: BBW Military Paranormal Romance (Wild Operatives, #2) Online

Authors: Vivienne Savage

Tags: #bbw, #paranormal romance, #military romance, #curvy, #shapeshifters, #shifter, #eagle shifter, #interracial

Let Us Prey: BBW Military Paranormal Romance (Wild Operatives, #2)

BOOK: Let Us Prey: BBW Military Paranormal Romance (Wild Operatives, #2)
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Table of Contents

Let Us Prey: BBW Military Paranormal Romance (Wild Operatives, #2)

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Let Us Prey

By Vivienne Savage

All material contained herein is Copyright © Vivienne Savage 2015.  All rights reserved.

ISBN PENDING

***

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L
eigh Denton has made her share of mistakes, but the judgmental residents of Quickdraw, Texas will never allow her to forget. Drugs and a history of criminal activity checker her past.

Now she’s cleaned up her act and fighting to regain custody of her child. Having a relationship isn’t part of her plan.

Ian MacArthur is an eagle shifter and Air Force veteran with a big heart. His work takes him around the world, but R&R brings him back home to a town where rising drug problems are taking over the community. Falling in love with a lost soul named Leigh wasn’t part of his plan.

Leigh needs to prove she can provide a steady home, driving financially secure Ian to lend his money and his
name
to help. There’s just one problem: Eagles mate for life and soaring to her rescue will cost more than he’s willing to give.

Chapter One

~Ian~

N
ormally, I was a morning person, but the drone of a church sermon had me bleary-eyed and half asleep with my head dipping down little by little as the hour wore on. My grandmother had sweet-talked me into escorting her to Sunday worship for nefarious reasons.

She claimed the visit was to socialize, but I knew the truth. She wanted to introduce me to the divorced daughters of her friends. Once the preacher had his say, I was doomed to a fate of awkward conversation with middle-aged singles who would pretend to hang on every word I said while feigning interest in something besides my looks and income.

I sat beside Gram with my phone on vibrate in my pocket, expecting an important call from the Secretary of Defense to come at any moment. Or at least hoping for one. The government didn’t stop for Sunday prayer sessions, and neither did war. As a retired Air Force Colonel and acting leader of a special squad of operatives, I retained certain privileges.

I was also a shapeshifter, an ability I inherited from my late grandfather. My fondest memories were of him sharing old tales about how our kind came to be. At my age, I should have had a son of my own, or even a daughter with whom I could share the story of Brother Eagle’s gift to the people of the Ojibwe Nation.

“Please open your hymn books,” a man announced to us from the pulpit.

My groan earned me a sharp elbow in the ribs from Gram, prompting me to hush and focus my attention elsewhere.
Ring, phone, ring,
I pleaded internally.

Once the singing began, led by the small choir up front, I scanned the church pews. I saw George Banks making eyes at his mistress, his wife unaware the entire time. A few teens texted with their phones in their laps while their disapproving parents stared at them. Chuckling, I nearly gave in and did the same... then I saw her.

A young woman sat alone in the rear of the church, isolated from the rest of the worshippers. She wore a plain white blouse and a dull, dove-grey skirt in a modest length. Its style wouldn’t have flattered most women’s curves, but her assets were so generous Houdini couldn’t have hidden them. The perfect amount of hip and thick thighs. I knew without a doubt she’d have a bottom to match.

“Who’s she?” I asked in a low murmur while the rest of the congregation sang the words to some hymn I didn’t know.

Gram swatted me. “Ian,” she hissed under her breath.

“Well?” I insisted.

“Her name is Leigh,” she whispered.

“You’re telling me nothing, Gram.”

“She’s a young woman who made poor choices, from what I hear.”

From a woman who loved her share of gossip, I was disappointed by the ambiguity.

I spent the rest of the services stealing glances at Leigh, lost in her melancholy beauty and serene features. Church couldn’t end fast enough, and when it did, I was the first from my seat. Following morning worship, the congregation gathered in the reception hall where they all enjoyed a spread of baked goods and casserole dishes. Gram had me carry in a peach cobbler as our donation prior to the service.

“Ian, where are you going?” I heard my grandmother calling.

“I’ll be right back, Gram.”

Two middle-aged women approached Leigh. One of them was Pastor Stevens’ wife, a woman known for causing trouble. I tuned in to eavesdrop and pick up what I could as I narrowed the distance.

“Leigh, where’s your contribution to our lunch? Don’t you plan to stick around for once?” Lettie asked.

The other woman, Myrtle, made a disgusted sound like she was coughing up something in her throat. “I don’t even know why you make the effort with her. She’s only gonna dive out again, as usual.”

Leigh blushed from the scooped neck of her blouse to the top of her ears. With her porcelain complexion and fair hair, there was no hiding the embarrassment. Whatever she said in reply was too low for my keen ears to pick up, but it was apparent she was excusing herself.

Our eyes met from across the foyer, and I caught my breath as if I’d been sucker-punched. Her grey irises were as pale as the rest of her, clear as a pre-dawn sky. She broke eye contact first and looked away.

The sorrow in Leigh’s features called to the eagle inside me, and before I knew it, I was sprinting to the door. When I descended the steps, I saw her scurrying down the sidewalk at a brisk power walk. Two teen boys, one blond and one dark-haired, were hooting and making catcalls at her, being general pricks.

“Don’t see why you’re leaving so quickly. You need all the Jesus you can get!” the blond called to her.

I frowned and brushed past them.

“Oh shit,” the dark-haired boy muttered.

“Why didn’t you say MacArthur was nearby?” the other asked.

“Didn’t see him,” the blond whispered.

“Hold on a second!” I called to Leigh.

Leigh slowed ahead of me and peeked back over her shoulder, uncertainty on her face. “Me?”

“You shouldn’t let them run you off, ma’am.”

“Leigh,” she corrected. “Leigh Denton.”

“Ian MacArthur.”

Her eyes went as round as two buttons. “You’re a lot younger than I thought you were.”

“Thanks? Uh, you seem to know about me, but I don’t know the first thing about you.”

“You’re like a legend around here, Mr. MacArthur. They named the new food pantry after you, and the town library’s named after your father.”

A grin slipped onto my face. “Ian,” I corrected her this time. “And they named it after my grandfather.”

Leigh studied me then gazed at our surroundings with distrust, her big gray eyes darting to each side. “Did I do something wrong? Is that why they sent you after me?”

“Not at all. Actually, I was going to ask why you weren’t sticking around.”

Leigh fidgeted and avoided meeting my eyes. “They don’t really like me, but I like to go hear the singing.” She resumed her walk again, clutching a tattered grey, synthetic leather purse against her side. It probably cost her five dollars at the general store.

“And the luncheon?” I prodded, keeping pace with her.

“It’s rude to take when you don’t contribute. I’m not a mooch,” she snapped back, revealing more with her defensiveness.

“Can’t cook?” I asked. Maybe I was a legend in these parts, but she didn’t seem impressed or willing to slow for me.

“I cook fine, I guess.”

When I attempted to strike up conversation again, she picked up speed to leave me behind. She was a tall girl with a long stride, easily 5’10 or taller and just a couple inches below my own height. While her skirt was modest, it didn’t conceal the strength of her calves and legs.

Taking the hint, I suppressed the urge to give chase. My eagle fought against my willpower, suddenly a screaming and raging beast. In all of my years, it had never reacted with as much intensity over a woman. Many shifters spent our entire lives looking for the right person — our soulmate so to speak — and in Leigh, I’d found mine. She crossed the next street and disappeared into a dilapidated home barely larger than my garden tool shack. Most houses in the poorer side of Quickdraw were uninhabitable tinder boxes ready to collapse.

Leigh remained on my mind during the walk back to the church. Someone had hurt that girl, making her cold and unreceptive to even innocent friendship. I found Gram waiting for me on the steps with a frown on her face.

“Ian, where were you?”

“I walked home the young woman Lettie and Myrtle were harassing. Saw some boys bothering her outside, too.”

“Don’t be getting yourself mixed up in other folks’ problems, sweetheart. I had a word with Marjorie, and she says Leigh is all kinds of trouble. The criminal sort.”

“Marjorie is also known to bouts of wild exaggeration,” I pointed out.

“True enough, true enough,” she admitted. “But most all here say the same. I just want you to be careful. You get into enough trouble with that team of yours.”

“Gram, I love you, but I can make my own decisions. Are you ready to go home, or do you plan to hang around with the ladies?”

With frail and bony fingers, she pulled her shawl around her shoulders and gazed toward the car. “I’d like to go home, I think. It’s too cold to socialize outdoors.”

The girl with the pale eyes remained on my mind during the drive to my grandmother’s home and throughout the distraction Gram made to redirect me. The cooking and cleaning got done, but I performed every task with my mind in another place. My thoughts returned to Leigh’s curvy body. I’d always loved when girls were on the plump side.

“You’re still thinking about Leigh, aren’t you, Ian?”

I blinked away from my half-assed job at rinsing the plates for the dishwasher. “Sorry, Gram.”

“Well?” With the assistance of her cane, she moved closer and lowered to one of the chairs in the kitchen’s breakfast nook. Due to advanced arthritis, she couldn’t wash dishes in the sink or lift them from the machine’s basket without a struggle. When I returned to town, I made it a habit to pop in to do the small things for her until we could find a replacement aid. She fired the last one for stealing from the house, or rather, I did after Gram tipped me off to missing belongings and I logged into the nannycam for a look.

“Ian, I’m waiting.” Old age hadn’t made her patient.

“I think she’s the one,” I confessed.

“Ah.” No arguments. No denials. Gram knew better than to fight against shifter instincts or to question the recognition of fated mates. Seventy years ago, she’d been one, too. “Well then, what do you plan to do? She’s young and she’s got many problems, Ian. Perhaps too many even for you.”

I shook my head. “Everybody has problems, Gram, including you. I’m going to get to know her and find a way to help, and I don’t care what anybody here says or how they gossip about it.”

Gram gave me a reassuring smile. “Good. That’s the boy I raised.”

Leigh would be mine, and I’d do anything to convince her I was worthy of becoming hers.

***

I
didn’t have to ask around much to dig up the truth on Leigh. Two years ago, drama went down with the young woman renting my house when her stalker ex-husband keyed her car. After the cops got involved, I befriended the guys on the small, six-person police force and enlisted their help to watch out for her.

“What’s the deal with Leigh Denton?” I asked.

Sergeant Jacob Hunt sighed. “Did she steal from you?”

“No! Christ. Jumping to conclusions a little, aren’t you? No, she didn’t steal from me. I’m asking because I witnessed some odd behavior the other day during church service, and I want to know why it happened.”

“Leigh Denton is a mess of trouble, man. I know she’s pretty, but you don’t want to get caught up in her issues. Why don’t you tap a contact or two and look at her police record—”

I cut him off before he began the usual spiel. “You
are
my contact and you
are
the police. I want to hear what you have to say instead of pulling up her entire criminal background check, all right?”

“Point made. All right. You didn’t hear all of the gritty details from me, but she lost custody of her infant about three months ago.”

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