Predator's Refuge

By: Rosanna Leo

“What does that mean?”

He allowed one side of his mouth to curl up in a half grin, enjoying her flustered sputtering more than he’d enjoyed anything in a long time. Certainly more than he enjoyed matins or tranquil walks in the cloister. “Nothing special.” It wouldn’t do to tell the new boss he’d called her my kitten. Not that she was his. He wasn’t in the market for a lady lynx. He could hear his brother Gabi now. “A lynx, Anton? You are a tiger, a prince among shifters. Stop slumming it.”

God love Gabi. He might be his favorite brother, but he was an incurable snob. As for Istvan, well, Anton tried never to listen to anything his youngest brother said. Istvan wouldn’t have advice on courtship. He didn’t court his women; he beat them into submission.

Dismissing painful memories, Anton eyed Marci. “Very well then, boss. Show me where to begin.”

She walked around the reception desk, her disconcerting gaze trained on him the whole time, as if worried he might pounce. Or was she worried she might? Anton wasn’t sure, but had a feeling he was going to like toying with the nervous kitten too much for his own peace of mind.

Damn. Maybe he should never have left the monastery.

Chapter 2


As a terrible, intimidating heat scorched her core and wound its way through her bloodstream, Marci wiped at her moist upper lip.

She tried to ignore the tiger at her back as she led him to his new cabin, but it was like being a snake charmer trying to ignore a poised serpent. She just couldn’t let her guard down.

As the savage streak of fire tore through her body, her Canada lynx’s keening cry rang in her ears. It pounded on Marci’s stomach, clawing at her, even biting her sensitive insides. Him. Him. I want him!

Tucking a tendril of hair behind her ears with a shaking hand, she struggled to maintain the decorum of a businesswoman, and not of a flesh-hungry animal. What was wrong with her? She’d forced her lynx to behave, but the animal was crying as if in pain. And its plaintive howls were directed at him.

Anton Gaspar. The stranger with the brusque manners, ones that bordered on the misogynistic.

Him? I don’t think so, fur ball. Get back in your cage.

Why would the lynx assault her over this guy? Sure, he had nice looks. No. She mentally corrected herself. Nice looks did not describe Anton Gaspar. She couldn’t even describe him as handsome.

In her books, dangerous men did not earn the label “handsome.”

The tiger shifter towered over her, almost knocking his head on a couple of lower door frames. He had to stand 6’5”. Marci wasn’t tiny but felt small next to his girth. She had trouble dragging her gaze away from his black hair, cropped so close to his head, and found herself already dreaming of traipsing her fingers over the short hairs near his ears. Clear, green eyes penetrated hers every time she dared to dart a quick glance in his direction. Somehow, he seemed to see everything, making her want to writhe in discomfort. He looked like a bruiser with his enormous muscles and broken nose. His cargo pants and long-sleeved T wouldn’t restrict him in a fight, but still managed to cling to each plane of brawn on his body. And the black wardrobe only emphasized the aura of coiled danger around him. As he walked, he clenched his fists a lot and leaned forward a little, as if on the hunt.

A tiger prince. Well, no matter what they called him in Hungary, he was the furthest thing from Prince Charming she could ever imagine. She saw him for what he was: aloof and judgmental and condescending.

All those negative qualities aside, her mouth ran dry just walking with him.

Inhaling several cleansing breaths, she led the way to the cabins designated for employee housing near the far end of the resort. Many of Ryland’s staff members chose to live on the island rather than ferry back and forth to the mainland. As she unlocked the door to cabin 47, she surveyed the pristine interior. “So, I imagine this cabin is much more modest than what you’re used to.”

He arched a brow at her, looked her up and down, and grabbed the doorknob. Rather than let her go in first, as she’d expected, he pushed the way inside the cabin, scanning the area. It took her a second to realize he was looking for hidden threats in the cabin.

Where did he think he was? A New York back alley in 1975? “Um, it’s quite safe here,” she said under her breath.

He turned to her, unfazed by her tone. “I’ve learned from experience to assume nothing is safe. Please, enter,” he said as if he owned the place.

She walked into the cabin but his guttural accent was so enticing to her ear, she tripped on her heels. He steadied her by grabbing her elbow.

Her lynx jumped inside her, trying to claw its way out of her throat to get to him. Horrified, Marci yanked her arm away from him.

Lynx, go away!

Gaspar’s lips turned up in the closest she’d seen him come to a grin. Her gaze followed the almost imperceptible curve of his lips. They were interesting lips, the top one somewhat fuller than the bottom one, making him appear as if he’d been gnawing on it. Something in their seductive line made her want to beg for a taste of them.

“To respond to your earlier comment, Ms. Lennox, this cabin may be modest, but it suits me. And for the past two years, I have lived very modestly.”