Authors: Marissa Dobson
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Martinsburg, West Virginia
Trusting a Tiger
Copyright ©2014, Marissa Dobson
Edited by Lisa at the Editing Cove
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters,
places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination and are used
fictitiously and are not to be constructed as real. Any resemblance to actual
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Trusting a Tiger
Alaskan Tigers: Book Five
Thomas—my wonderful husband who’s been supportive through everything. He’s put
up with my late night writing sessions, cooked dinner, over all he’s been
wonderful. Thank you Thomas.
readers who love the Alaskan Tigers as much as I enjoy writing them. Enjoy this
newest adventure to Alaska.
you Jim and Ryan, for the in depth weapons training, for taking the time to go
over the differences of each gun, and how to operate them safely. Any mistakes
in this book are mine and mine alone.
Grady’s world came crashing down around him when he received confirmation his
twin brother was torturing women. One of the victims was none other than his
destined mate. Torn between his twin and protecting his mate and clan, Felix
must make the ultimate choice between the two.
Kirk suffered for years under her former Alpha and Henry. Now in Alaska under
the protection of the Alaskan Tigers, she’s expected to forget everything that
happened and commit herself to the clan. Destined to be the mate of one of the
top members of the clan doesn’t make things any easier. It doesn’t help that
the destined mate is the identical twin to the man who spent years abusing her.
eliminating Henry make things easier or harder for Harmony? Can she move past
Felix’s face and see him as a different man than the one who abused her for
years? Will it free her from the past she’s locked herself into, allowing her
to be with the man who is her destiny?
sun glared down from high above when Felix Grady finally stepped out of his
cabin. The day off was just what he needed. The long hours he put in while his
partner Adam was off mating had worn him out. He slept late and had a leisurely
lunch, but now he was tired of doing nothing. He was a tiger that enjoyed being
on the move, not lounging around like a bag of lazy bones.
a stroll around the compound would clear his mind before checking in with Ty
and Tabitha. He knew Tabitha was in good hands with Adam, but his duties were
so engrained in him that he couldn’t stop, even for a few hours. It just wasn’t
the person he was.
a circle around the grounds, he checked to be sure all the guards were at their
posts, nothing out of the norm. As a last-second change of plan, he turned,
deciding to take a detour around the creek. Everyone seemed to love the little
area by the creek. There was a little bank where shifters could relax, especially
Kallie’s mates Taber and Thorben who were able to fish in their bear form
without anyone spotting them.
loved the compound, and the cold weather of Alaska didn’t bother him, although he
didn’t have nearly enough time to enjoy it. Being the Captain of Tabitha’s
guards takes priority, and with the constant threats to the clans, he rarely
had any downtime to enjoy the compound as the other shifters did.
stepped out from around a cabin. “I thought you were taking a day to relax?
Checking the grounds at your normal time doesn’t break from your routine. You
should catch up on much deserved sleep.”
Raja found his mate, Bethany, he had been more jubilant and full of life. The meaning
of life had come back to him in full force. It was a remarkable change from the
strict man that he’d been before. Now he lived for more than just his job, he
had a mate that he loved. Even his sister Tora had remarked on the change.
keep me out of the action for long.” He chuckled. “My tiger was restless and
demanded I get back to some resemblance of my routine. Any updates?”
yet. Connor and Lukas are working on finding Henry and Randolph, but no solid
leads. Recently they found out Randolph spent years being Pierce’s second, but
he’s awfully quiet so far for the death of his leader. Speaking of it, have you
seen Harmony on your walk? I stopped by her studio, and she wasn’t there.” Raja
came to stand next to Felix looking out over the creek bubbling its way down
heard the guards have been taken off her door after she complained. Is that the
wisest move?” There was something about Harmony that drove him to her. She was
so scared and frightened, yet he could sense something hiding under the surface,
drawing him to her. Maybe it was the person she used to be before his twin
brother ruined the shine she had.
heard the stink she put up—did you want to listen to that long-term?” Raja
shook his head. “Plus, we don’t know when Henry might actually make his move, and
we can’t keep her under lock and key indefinitely. Robin will feel if she’s in
any danger, and we’re counting on warning from you before he arrives.”
do what I can.” Being Henry’s twin should have made it easier for him to
determine Henry’s next move, but he was almost as blind to it as everyone else.
Harmony might be their only early warning when it came to Henry’s final move.
patted Felix on the back. “I better get back to Bethany. It’s our night for the
family dinner. Enjoy the rest of your night off.”
nodded, with a slight envy eating at him. His Lieutenant had a family that most
of the clan was envious of. Most tiger shifter off-springs ended up leaving their
home clan when they grew up to search for another one to make their name in, separating
families across the country. Most shifters don’t have a loyalty to a family like
humans do. The loyalty was only to their mate and clan. Parents and siblings
were a different category altogether for shifters. Siblings normally remained
close though the distances, but parents seemed to have more distances. It’s
believed to come from their beast since that was how they were in the wild.
and Tora had been close all their lives, and Tora mating did little to separate
the siblings. What separation might have happened was closed with the birth of
Tora and Marcus’ daughter Scarlet. Since mating with Bethany, the family
dinners have been rotated between Tora’s cabin and Raja’s, giving each woman a
chance to host.
family and mating on his mind, he decided to extend his walk down the creek bed
before going back to check on Tabitha. The lush trees lined the creek, keeping
it hidden even from the cabins. It was a safe and secure spot deep within the
compound, one you were never sure who you would find there.
familiar scent of honeysuckle and toasted vanilla teased him further along the
path to one of the hiding spaces that Kallie favored when she first came to the
clan. There, hidden amongst the trees, Harmony sat with her back pressed against
the base of one of the trees, tossing rocks at the creek.
He called to her before stepping closer because he didn’t want to scare her. He
knew that just the sight of him made her tense, serving as a reminder of the
man that forced himself on her. It was still hard for him to believe that his twin
had done such an unimaginable thing. They were raised better than that, and
having the tiger inside him but being unable to shift was not enough of an
excuse for Felix to forgive Henry’s behavior.
slid her legs up tight against her chest and met his gaze, but she didn’t
speak. She watched him like a tiger stalking its prey, but she wasn’t strong
enough to take him down. In tiger form, he outweighed her by more than a
hundred pounds, but even as a human, she was no match for him. His years of
training and hours in the gym meant he could take her down without hurting her
and without much effort at all.
okay?” He stepped closer, keeping in her line of sight and his hand way from
the gun in his shoulder holster.
can’t take it any longer.” She leaned her head against the tree and looked at
him. “I can’t stand the fear, the panic. Damn it, to be a prisoner, it’s like
being with him all over again. I keep waiting for him to find me, to make me
pay for running.”
safe here. He’s not going to get to you. I won’t let him. Do you understand
that?” He knelt in front of her, just far enough away that they didn’t touch,
still respecting her space.
can’t be sure of that. There are so many threats against your clan now, with
the Texas clan and the rogues.” Her jaw was set as she stared at him. He could
read it in her body language that she didn’t believe him.
you I’ll protect you, and I will. There are always threats to clans, but that
doesn’t change my vow to protect you.” He paused, listening to the quietness,
when an idea struck him. “I know you’re feeling boxed in, so how about if we
take a drive? There’s no need to go into town or anything, but a drive through
the area might help you recharge and get outside of the compound for a bit.
What do you say?”
could feel her hesitation. “If we’re going to live together in the same clan,
you’ll need to move past your apprehension of me. I understand why you have it,
but I can’t change my looks or what Henry did to you. I also know words don’t
mean much, but I’m nothing like he is. Let me prove it. There’s somewhere I
want to show you.” He stood. “What do you say?”
nodded. “Okay. To get out of here, even just for a short time, would be
smiled at her. “I need to swing by to see Tabitha and get the keys for one of
the guards’ SUVs then we can go. Ten minutes.”
stood and brushed off the butt of her jeans. “Should I meet you somewhere then
along—it’s fine. I’m off-duty today, but I want to check in with Adam.” He led
the way up the creek a bit further until they came to a small footbridge to
cross back over. There were so many things he wanted to ask her, but he didn’t.
Spooking her would only send her back into her retreat, and it took too long to
get her out of her tigress form to risk anything that might send her back. He’d
wait until she was ready.
fell over them like a warm blanket. The only thing heard was the crunch of the
occasional stick under his boots. There were no birds that frequented the area—too
many tigers and bears in the area that scared them off. Felix always enjoyed
the quiet, but now in the quiet he found his thoughts full of the woman
standing next to him.
Felix,” Tabitha called to him as they stepped out of the trees.
and Adam, just the people I was on my way to see. What are you doing out here?”
Felix quickly scanned the grounds, checking for any threat.
down with a cold and asked me to check on Harmony,” Adam explained.
hope Robin is all right.” The common cold was not something Felix or the other
shifters had to deal with, only their human counterparts. Once a shifter went
through the change, they couldn’t catch a cold or the flu, which came in quite
handy. Even though Robin was human, she would gain a higher tolerance to
illness from her mating, making illness uncommon. The Alpha/clan bond between
Robin and Harmony was highly unusual, especially considering Robin was human,
but it was there. Robin had no idea how to handle the connection as a shifter
automatically did, so it was becoming a learning process for her. In the
meantime, the connection was draining her to the point of illness.
healed her, so she should be back to normal soon.” Tabitha nodded.
accompanied Robin on her daily visits with Harmony a few times a week, trying
to get her used to his presence. Robin was working closely with Harmony to get
her to open up and to work past what Henry put her through.
going to take Harmony out for a drive. She’s suffering with a little cabin
fever, and I thought a little time off the grounds would give us both a break.”
He almost asked if they would like to join, but instead he kept it to himself.
It wasn’t for Harmony’s sake but because he wanted to be with her without the others
gathered around. He felt the need to prove to her that he was nothing like Henry.
wasn’t the first woman to see him as a threat or to fear him, and in most cases,
that’s what he needed. With Tabitha’s security on the line, he had to seem like
a bastard that would do what he threatened. His threat should come from his
actions and body language not necessarily from words. However, when it came to
Harmony, he was going out of his way to see that she didn’t fear him.
* * *
whipped past the SUV window as Harmony and Felix headed further and further away
from the compound. Her heart beat frantically against her ribs, her mind racing
through her fears. She could taste her pulse in her throat. What if this was a
trap? He could be leading her to Henry. After all, they were twins—surely they
had some bond.
going to have Robin calling.” Felix never turned his gaze away from the road.
fear. If I can feel it this strongly, I wouldn’t be surprised if Robin calls
and orders me to return you to the compound at once.” He looked over at her.
“Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. Do you want me to take you back?”
of her wanted to scream ‘yes,’ but if he were taking her to Henry would he have
offered to take her back to the compound? She didn’t think so. More importantly,
Robin trusted Felix, therefore she was trying to. He might look like the man
who had raped and tortured her for months, leaving scars all over her body, but
from what she saw of him, he was different.
in Alaska close to Robin, the only person she had any loyalties to, she’d have
to trust Felix and the other clan members. This was the first step on the long
road to the life she once had. Not that she ever thought she’d be the person
she once was. “No, I want to go.”
know you’re scared. I should have asked someone else to come, but with Robin a
little under the weather, I was out of people you trusted. We could do this
another day when Robin can come with us.”
at her jeans, she tried to wipe the sweat that had coated her palms away. “It’s
fine. I wanted to get out. You know Adam wouldn’t have wanted Robin to leave
the security of the compound without him, and you both couldn’t have left
Adam could take you and Robin, and I will stay at the compound.”
She turned away from the window to look at him. “Felix, I want to trust you, and
understand. Every time you look at me, it’s hard for you to see me as someone
other than Henry. It’s going to be over soon.”
she heard that since she arrived at the compound? It had been weeks of sitting
around waiting for Henry to either attack or for someone to find him. In all
that time, her leg nearly healed from the nasty bear trap wound. She was tired
of waiting—if only she could do something about it. Even if Henry couldn’t
shift, he had proven more than once she was no match for him.