Authors: Renee George
Text copyright ©2016 by the Author.
This work was made possible by a special license through the Kindle Worlds publishing program and has not necessarily been reviewed by Three Cats, LLC. All characters, scenes, events, plots and related elements appearing in the original Grayslake: More than Mated remain the exclusive copyrighted and/or trademarked property of Three Cats, LLC, or their affiliates or licensors.
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Dirty Lion Bastard
A Grayslake World Novella
By Renee George
For my darling Steve.
You are my fated mate.
A special THANK YOU to the very sexy Celia Kyle. You, chick, are a ROCK STAR! Thank you so much for inviting me into your world and allowing me to muck around the sandbox.
And a thank you to the dear fans of this world, I really tried my best to stick to the rules of the Grayslake More Than Mated World and incorporate some of the beloved characters Celia has created into my story. I take full responsibility for any errors, but my intention was to stay true to Celia’s vision. You guys are the reason this Kindle World exists, and for that I am super grateful!
Also, I must thank my BFF sister and most fabulous beta reader Robbin. You always drop everything to help me, and I know you always have my back! Thank you for helping me brainstorm this story. It would not be as good without you. Also, my BFF and critique partner Michele Bardsley. You turned it OUT! And you helped me even as your own world was going through giant changes. You are bad ass, woman! A real hero.
To my Rebels, LOVE YOU GUYS! I don’t know where I’d be without you guys in my corner.
To my fans, You all, hardcore, have my undying devotion and affection. If you keep reading, I’ll keep cranking them out. You make me want to write until I die! (Or the writing kills me, LOL).
And lastly, as usual, I cannot forget a key tool in my writing shed. Thank you strong, black coffee. Without you, my stories would all be about a homicidal writer who is killing everyone until caffeine saves the day. <3 you more than chocolate!
Dirty Lion Shifter
Lushly curved tiger shifter Scottie Monroe and her family own the Pitch & Paw Bar and Motel—a safe haven for shifters passing through the territories. As a guardian of neutral ground for paranormal beings, Scottie has one hard fast rule: no hooking up with the customers.
Until sexy lion shifter, Shane Largos walks through the door.
Shane has traveled to Georgia to find his father, the cold-hearted bastard who’d walked out on the human female carrying his child. With no Pride to protect them, life for Shane and his mother was rough, but now Shane is old enough to challenge his father for Pride leadership.
From the moment Shane meets Scottie, his animal and human sides want her more than he wants air to breathe. A lie of omission leads to a night of scorching passion, and to the realization that Shane has found his true mate. However, he has a promise to keep, and a life-long score to settle—and he’s determined to finish what he started.
When Scottie learns Shane’s true purpose, she’s determined to save him from his own stupidity, even if it means putting herself in harm’s way. Shane’s rage toward his father consumes him—leaving room for little else. Only a true mate would risk everything for the heart of a wounded shifter. But will Scottie’s love be strong enough to conquer Shane’s need for vengeance?
Shane Largos paced
back and forth in the Southeast Itan’s study. The older man, Terrence Jensen, sat in his chair, watching, as Shane’s jaw worked back and forth. “Is that a thing? Shifters knocking up human women and leaving them to pick up the pieces alone?”
“Sometimes.” Terrence shrugged. “It’s bad, but not unheard of. But usually not when it’s a fated mating.”
“I don’t know what that is.”
“When two shifters mate, the offspring is always a shifter, but when a shifter mates with a human, unless it’s a fated mating, the offspring is a non-shifter. My Itana, my
Itana, gave me three children. All shifters. We are fated. You understand?”
Actually, Shane was more confused than ever. He hadn’t realized there was a difference. The news pissed him off even more. How could his father have left his fucking fate? The lion inside him roared with anger and contempt. His human side raged alongside the beast, both parts of him in equal agreement. His father, no, his sperm donor, needed to be punished.
“I have to do this, Itan.” He shook the stack of letters at Terrence, his beast crawling to the surface as golden fur sprouted along his forearms. The burgeoning black claws cut into a parcel of envelopes. “This proves he knew. Proves he mated with my mother and abandoned her.”
He shook his head to clear it, his beast receding as the Itan’s power flooded the room. Wow. He’d never felt anything or anyone like Terrence before. The guy was a force. No wonder he held the Southeast on his own.
Shane’s animal pushed him to show dominance, but he’d lived in the human world his entire life and had learned how to curb his beast.
Terrence raised his brow. “You have excellent control for someone untaught.”
Shane shrugged. “Keeps me out of prison.”
There’d been many a night he could have killed someone easily just for looking at him the wrong way. His mother had been his steadying hand, his moral guidance, and Shane had lived the entirety of his thirty-two years trying hard to make her life more comfortable.
While Shane wasn’t familiar the ins and outs of shifter politics, he’d learned a lot from the WereWeb, a Shifter Social Network that Keen Abrams had created. From the chatter, he knew he needed Terrence Jensen on his side. He would be passing through several territories, including Grayslake and Redby. Terrence could open the way for him.
“My mom never married after he left her,” Shane said. “Hell, she didn’t even date. She was sure, as sure as the bite scar on her shoulder, he would return. She died of complications related to her Parkinson’s disease, but even worse, she died broken-hearted. That cold-hearted fucker never came back.” He held up the letters. “But I found these when I was cleaning out her closet. He’d sent her a love letter every year since the day he returned to Georgia. He kept her on a string!” he exclaimed, exasperation setting his nerves on fire.
“What would you have me do?”
“There is no excuse for abandoning a mate. Right?” He asked because he really didn’t know. “There has to be some kind of retribution for such an act. There has to be justice.” Being raised by a human mother in a human world had made Shane ignorant to shifter rules. But if there was a way to make his father pay for what he’d done to his mom, he had to try. It had taken him three months since her death to get an audience with the Southeast Itan, and he hoped the long wait and the longer drive would be worth it.
“The Leone Pride is…difficult, Shane. They keep to themselves. So much so, I don’t think I’ve even met the new Rex. He and his Regina took over twenty-three years ago.”
Shane had gone to university and studied Latin one semester, so he knew that Rex and Regina meant king and queen. Of course, a group of lions and big cats would have a monarchy. He rolled his eyes at the cliché. “I don’t care. I need to gain entrance. Even if I can’t do anything, I need to confront my father. He needs to know how his carelessness ruined my mother’s life.”
Terrence stood up and rubbed his hand over his head then nodded. “What’s your father’s name?”
“Matthew Shane Pierce.” He winced as he said the entire name. He hated that he shared a name with the lying deadbeat.
Shane narrowed his gaze. “What?”
“Pierce is the Rex. He’s the head of the Leone Pride.” Terrence went to a small bar and poured himself a drink. “There is something you can do.”
A small thrill of victory zinged through Shane. “Tell me.”
“As his son, you can challenge him for the Pride.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Twenty-three years ago, Matthew Pierce challenged his father Solomon to be alpha in the Pride. To be the Rex. You can do the same.”
“And what happens to him if I win?” Would the Pride kick his father out? Would he, as the new Rex, dictate the terms of Pierce’s exile?
“You bury him.”
“A challenge in the Leone tribe is to the death.” Terrence shook his head. “Your father is very strong. He keeps an iron hold on his people. Taking him won’t be easy.”
“What are you saying?”
“I’m saying,” Terrence said, taking a sip of his whiskey. “I suggest you take some time to learn different fighting styles. Regardless, get your affairs in order before you go. I will call the Itans in that area and ask for your safe passage, but chances are, this is going to be a one-way trip for you, right into a grave.”
Terrence’s words were a warning, one that Shane didn’t take lightly. Was courting his own death worth confronting his father? Maybe not. Was he foolish in seeking justice for his mother? Probably. But his anger wouldn’t allow him any other course. “Thank you, Itan.”
Terrence nodded. “I hope to see you again, Shane Largos.”
Shane could tell by the grim set of the Southeast Itan’s mouth, and the doubt in his eyes, Terrence believed this would be their only meeting.
“Until we meet again,” said Shane.
One year later…
Scottie Monroe watched her Aunt Tig, a big, buxom blonde, wiggle her hips at the customers and ply them with a charm unmatched. Blenders whirred, bottles spun, and drinks were set up expertly as the four men, three bear shifters, and one wolf gave Tig their undivided attention.
Scottie owned and operated Pitch & Paw Bar and Motel with her mom, Lin, and Aunt Tig. The shifter-only establishments were located just outside the Leone, Grayslake, and Redby territories.
Tig yelled, “Hey!”
Scottie looked up.
Her aunt slid a quarter from the bar and flick it with her thumb through the air. Scottie reached up and snagged it as it flew above her head.
Tig gave her niece a nod and a smile. “Play something nice, baby. Something easy.”
Scottie glanced around the bar at all the faces. Most of the customers were regulars, bears from the Grayslake and wolfs from Redby, and no hyenas. Not since they were purged from Boyne Falls two years earlier. The Grayslake’s Itan Ty Abrams and the Redby Pack’s Alpha Reid Bennet did the shifters and the humans in that territory a huge favor by taking over. Scottie’s family never played politics, but they’d all been relieved when the battle was all over. Tig had made a regular practice of banning the werehyenas over the years. That group never seemed to get the message about no violence in the Pitch & Paw.
Of course, there were always a few shifters who were simply passing through the territories and wanting a neutral place to stay for a day or two. They were the ones who fascinated Scottie the most. Because of the bar’s neutrality, the Pitch & Paw had a reputation as a safe haven for shifters who didn’t belong to the Leone Pride, the Grayslake clan, or the Redby Pack. And as long as the Monroes quelled violence and keep their noses clean, the Itan and Alpha left the three ladies alone.
As for the Leone Pride, those cats rarely left their lands. They were a secretive tribe that took in big cat shifters from largest lions all the way down to the smallest lynxes. They had one rule: pure-bloods only. They hated other types of shifters almost as much as they hated humans. While Scottie saw a variety of cat shifters in the bar, other than her mom and Aunt Tig, she’d never seen anyone from the Leone Pride, at least none who claimed affiliation.
Many lone travelers chose to stay only a night or two at the little motel, which was a long ranch-style building with nine rooms. Tig shared a room with Tony Collins, a lone wolf and caretaker of the property, and the other eight were rentals. Originally the place had twelve rooms, but the other three had been converted into an apartment with a kitchen, two bedrooms and two bathrooms for Scottie and her mom.
The place wasn’t much, but Scottie loved her independent life. Some shifter males seem to think women were possessions. That attitude reminded her of the way Golem coveted the ring in
. She wouldn’t be surprised if the mated men didn’t stroke their wives on the head at night and whisper,
Uh-uh, no way
did Scottie want to give up her freedom in exchange for a warm bed. The only person she answered to was herself, and that’s the way she intended to keep it.
Scottie squeezed the coin her aunt had tossed to her and smiled. She put the quarter into the old Wurlitzer jukebox up against the south wall and punched in A34. The machine hummed and clicked as an old forty-five record was moved from its slot and onto the player.
When the needle touched down, she turned around to watch the customers as “Weeeeeeeeeeeelllllllll,” blared from the speakers. A rise of cheers went up as
Rock this Town
by the Stray Cats went into full swing.
Tig’s sweetheart Tony Collins took Scottie’s hand and twirled her around to the music. She was much shorter than the older man, and she giggled as he effortlessly turned her under his arm.
Another man, one Scottie wasn’t familiar, got up from his table and pressed his sweaty body against her back when Tony spun her out. The stranger took the opportunity to reach around and grab Scottie’s breasts with both hands and grind his groin against her lower back.
“You’re so sexy for a big girl,” the asshole yelled to the back of her head.
Tony’s eyes turned amber as Scottie watched his wolf surface, matching her own rage. She rotated in the drunk’s arms, grabbed his forearm with her right hand, dropped to the ground sliding her right leg in between his, and used her free arm to hook the back of the man’s right leg. In one quick yank of his arm, she brought him down face first onto the concrete floor.
She pressed her nose to his ear. She could smell beyond the whiskey to the musk of his animal. “I’m fast for a big girl, too, garbage mouth.”
“Bitch!” he shouted.
Before Tony could do more than gape at the smooth way Scottie had taken down a man twice her size, Tig had hopped over the bar and crossed the room. She grabbed the drunken jerk by the back of his neck and lifted him straight up.
“You’re out of here.” She pointed to the sign over the bar.
No shifter fights. No exceptions.
“Banned,” Tig said, reading the last line out loud. “For life.”
“What about her?” He pointed at Scottie. “She’s the one who got violent. I was just being friendly.” He bared his teeth, sharp and large. Big cat shifter, Scottie decided. The flash of spotted fur made him either jaguar or leopard. Because of his large size, he was probably the first.
Scottie put her hands on her hips and smirked. “Get friendly like that with me again, and you’ll crawl away on bloody stumps.”
His nose wrinkled with contempt. “I’d chew you up and spit you out, you fat whore.”
“Your pillow talk needs work, ass-face.” Scottie gestured behind her, knowing what the man would see. Two seven foot Amazons covered in deep golden fur laced with uneven black stripes, razor sharp claws, and the strength of two bears. In other words,
. Her mom, who had come out of the back office, roared, the sound vibrating the floor enough to make the Stray Cats record skip.
“If you think they’re scary now, just wait until you’ve got three four-hundred pound tigers ripping out your heart. And anything else they can claw off you.” Scottie’s gaze dropped to his crotch as she let her own beast, which in reality was half the size of her mom and aunt’s, bleed into her eyes. “Don’t let the door hit you where Mother Nature split you.”
The guy, drunk but not so stupid he had a death wish, mumbled some obscenities, and stumbled toward the door.
“Buh-by, twattle-waffle.” Scottie held up her hands and said, “Shots all around!” Another cheer went up as the majority of the patrons went back to what they were doing before she’d taken down the asshole.
Tony patted her on the back. “Nice moves, kid.” He gave her a wink, his eyes returning to their normal brown.
She smiled. “Thanks.” Her hands shook like crazy as her adrenaline waned.
Mom, now unfurred, put her arm around Scottie. “That man could have killed you, baby. You need to save those moves for times when talking is no longer an option.”
Scottie sighed. “Yeah, yeah.”
Tig laughed. “And maybe you should work on your insults. Twattle-waffle? Really?”