Predator's Refuge

By: Rosanna Leo

“My condition? I’m not sick, I’m just…” She lowered her voice. “In heat. And I’m managing it. I may be a shape-shifter, but I’m not a complete animal.”

Charlotte’s shoulders lifted as she scoffed in a silent laugh. “Right. You just keep telling yourself that. You may think you have it under control, but girlfriend, if you don’t spread those legs again soon, we’ll end up with another Pompeii on our hands.” She waved her hands in front of her. “Ka-boom!”

“The issue is not up for discussion. I’m at work. When Ryland put me in ch—”

“Oh, Ryland, Ryland.” Charlotte elbowed her. “Your beloved boss isn’t here, in case you hadn’t noticed. He’s fucking his mate on a Fiji beach right now. Oh, and don’t think for a moment I haven’t imagined that sight in lurid detail, because I have. The man is off the charts hot.” She shook her head, no doubt picturing the lodge owner in his skivvies. “Anyway, boss man wouldn’t expect you to remain celibate. You need to relinquish your precious control a little bit.” She gave Anton another slow once-over and let out a long breath. “I would let that man control me any day. He looks like the sort of dude to get all Alpha in the bedroom. My favorite type.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Marci admonished. “I have way too much to do around here to think about sleeping around.”

Charlotte’s lips spread in a wolfish grin. Hell, the wolf in her was always ready for action. “So you won’t mind if I take a crack at Anton then?”

What? She forced a smile onto her face, as calm as a placid sea. One about to begin roiling under the threat of an impending hurricane. “Go crazy. Help yourself,” she managed to squeak.

Horrible pain in her belly made her lurch as her lynx raged forward, aiming its claws at Charlotte’s wolf. The animal let out a fearful wail. Marci squeezed her eyes shut and forced the frenzied animal back into a corner.

“Hey, you okay?” Charlotte asked, a hand on her shoulder. “I’m just kidding. I won’t make him my fuck buddy.”

Footsteps sounded behind them and a couple of male laughs. “Did we hear you ladies need fuck buddies? Because we’re at your service.”

Marci put a hand to her moist forehead and grinned at the newcomers. Bart Cairo from security, one of Ryland’s right-hand men, ambled over with her friend, Killian Moon. They were a handsome pair, but couldn’t quite distract her from Anton as he signed more documents in payroll. How many things were those harpies making him sign? She suspected the payroll clerks were now handing him blank sheets to initial, just to keep him in their lair. She dragged her gaze away from him and smiled at the other men. “Hey, Bart. Hey, Killian.”

Killian stood next to her, his golden-green eyes shining. The jaguar shifter tucked a stray hair behind her ear and leaned into her, allowing his body to brush against her from hip to shoulder. “You okay?”

“Yeah,” she whispered, offering him what she hoped was a proper smile and not a grimace. God bless Killian. He’d always had a protective streak where she was concerned. Kind of like a best friend’s brother … the type to whom you lost your virginity.

“Of course, she’s okay,” Bart yapped, winking. “I’m here.”

Marci rolled her eyes. Bart talked a big talk but secretly idolized Charlotte. Not that he’d ever confessed it to her. Like most shape-shifter males, he remained a frustratingly closed book. Still, there was no mistaking his feelings. Even as he stood there, his wolf-like gaze landed on Charlotte’s face and roved over her uniform-clad body. He had it bad.

He came to within inches of Charlotte, winked at her, and lowered his already deep voice. “Charles, how’s it hanging?”

Charlotte didn’t even look at him, but her breathing became shallower. “Um, nothing on me is hanging. And if I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a hundred times, Bartholomew, it’s Charlotte, not Charles. Do I look like a boy?” She ran a hand over her very feminine hip.

Bart’s gaze plummeted to her friend’s lower half, and Marci watched him swallow. “Whatever you say, Charles.”

Marci shook her head. Charlotte might lecture her on getting her rocks off, but the sexual tension between her and Bart was so palpable, it was practically opaque. Their vibe was so intense, it had a personality.

She sneaked another peek at Anton through the payroll door, just to see if he was done, of course, and found him staring at her. His gaze turned contemplative, narrowed eyes over a slightly wrinkled broken nose. He looked at Bart and Killian, and his eyes narrowed farther.

Killian, who boasted the heightened senses of a jaguar, must have felt the weirdly hostile gaze from inside payroll. He looked at Anton and grunted. “That the new guy?”

“Yeah,” Charlotte answered, sighing, once again in her own lust-filled world. “Isn’t he fuck-a-licious? I would so hit that.”

Bart whipped his head around to frown at her, and the expression on his face was as close to dark-eyed thunder as Marci had ever seen. She knew for a fact Bart hated how Charlotte flaunted her sexuality, but this new comment put him into a lip-quivering rage. He glared at her some more and then turned his dagger eyes upon the new employee.