Claiming His Lioness
Former enemies align, but is it too late to protect everyone they’ve come to love?
Lara has always relished being a thorn in Mason’s paw. When she was chosen as pride Enforcer, it was easier than ever to get under the passionate shifter’s skin. But with the scent of humans in the air comes a threat she’s powerless to battle alone.
It’s time Lara unites with the one man she needs, the one man she’s secretly drawn to…as if by fate.
If there’s one thing Mason hates more than relinquishing control to a female, it’s the attraction he feels for the fiery lioness. Joining forces with Lara against an insidious enemy only makes their primal bond hotter—and the two of them stronger.
Now it’s up to them, side by side, to bring together three warring shifter clans, win the final fight and save Deep Creek.
Within seconds, he heard her footsteps behind him. Lara followed, her footsteps double-timing to keep up.
The air left his lungs in a whoosh as he was hit square between the shoulders from behind. Lara hopped onto his back, tackling him to the ground. He grunted as his face hit the dirt path and the taste of mud filled his mouth. He spit out a bit of leaf and lifted his head, straining to roll her off.
She didn’t speak, but snaked her arms around his shoulders, tightening her grip. He couldn’t wriggle free. She shoved him in the thighs with her knees, taking away his traction and pinning him on his stomach. Her weight, plus the surprise of the attack, held him to the ground.
He paused, unsure what to do. Still, the fact she would dare attack the pride leader shocked him.
No matter. He was stronger. She’d jumped on him, knowing he would beat her unless she got a lucky break. He grinned. Lara was different from the other lionesses. They might talk about being tough in every situation, but Lara was the one who’d actually be out front doing it. That was why she was the leader of the lionesses, the one who trained them in all types of battle skills. And why she was the best person to be Enforcer. She’d proven it time and again that her loyalty lay with the lions.
Good thing she was on the lions’ side. He held back a laugh then nearly bit his tongue as she grabbed his hair and yanked. His eyes watered from the sharp pain.
“Tell me.” No mistaking it, her voice held a growl.
“No.” He wrestled his arms free from under his abdomen and attempted to roll to his side and dislodge her or knock her off his back somehow. Didn’t work. She held on like a rodeo cowboy on an eight-second bull ride.
He tried to grab her to tug her loose, but she was out of reach, sitting right in the middle of his back, her legs clamped onto his flanks.
“Oof.” He tried to buck her off, but she yanked his hair again. Dammit!
She straddled him, her knees squeezing and her weight holding him down. “I want to know what’s going on.” Her voice held a growl.
Didn’t she realize that she wasn’t in control? He blinked back the tears from her jerking his hair. He’d show her.
He pushed up from the ground and tried to flip her off his back, but she held on. She gripped his shirt and looped one arm around his chest like a vise.
That was a mistake.
He feinted to the left, then rolled right, knocking her loose with the quick shift. She hit the ground with a grunt. Before she could get away, he scrambled to climb over her, lying partially over her torso and pinning her so she couldn’t move. She tried, but he held her in place.
He had her.
She looked up at him, eyes wide, almost frightened.
He paused, confused. “Are you hurt?” A heavy weight dropped in his stomach. He hadn’t meant to hurt her.
She tried to hit him, but he grabbed her wrists and held himself off her, still pinning her with his lower body. She pushed against him, grunting as she shoved.
Giving it everything she had.
“Get this straight.” He blinked back the growing annoyance. “I do what I think’s best for the lions. So get off my back.”
She stopped moving and stared at him, her eyes softening for a moment. She blurted, “I’m not on your back anymore.” She giggled and turned her head away, exposing the long line of her bare neck. Her chest heaved with repressed laughter though she tried to hide it. Her whole body tensed under his.
He couldn’t help it. He laughed. They were being ridiculous. Two grown lions tussling like cubs on the forest floor. What would someone think if they saw the display?
He was suddenly aware of how soft she was underneath him and how easy it would be to bend nearer and kiss her slightly parted lips. Aware that he wanted to kiss her. Her body, much smaller than his own, seemed to fit into the contours of his own so perfectly. Bits of dirt and leaves filled her hair, and her face was smudged. He could brush away the dirt with a wipe of his thumb…but…she’d probably kill him if he tried.
He cleared his throat and pulled away, his mouth dry. What the hell was he thinking? From thinking of her as a cub to imagining her as a woman—he didn’t have time for thoughts like those. He sat back on his heels.
She rolled out of the way, then got up on her knees. Her hair hung in long waves, messy and wild. The sunlight filtering through the tree tops and onto the forest floor made splotches of gold around her and backlit her curvy form. He felt like he was in a fairytale movie—waiting on the birds’ cue to sing.
And everyone to get naked. A very dirty fairy tale.
Awkward. He caught himself staring again. That was at least twice in one day, maybe three times.
Oddly, Lara didn’t have her signature smirk plastered on her like a mask. For a moment, he really did want to touch her cheek—see if it was as soft and smooth as it looked. As quickly as her mask had disappeared, it reappeared, and the harsh and tough Lara stared back at him.
“Tell me.” Her chest rose and fell from the exertion, and the pink blush on her face had deepened.
For gods’ sake, she wasn’t going to let the conversation go. If he had a desk in front of him, he’d beat his head on it. He’d always thought he was the most persistent lion in the pride, but he was wrong.
Copyright © KERRY ADRIENNE, September 3, 2018 | All Rights Reserved, Carina Press
Reviews and Praise
“Kerry Adrienne gives us a fully-realized world of codes and ritual and mating that make Lara and Mason’s contentious path to desire, then love, then forever completely believable amidst all the spectacular crazy that surrounds them. A worthy entry into a very enjoyable, slightly off-kilter, paranormal romance series.” – Romantic Intentions Quarterly #2