One page-turning story, two HEAT levels – SEXY or TAME.
A missing child case leads a Royal shifter to a human female living a secret life and a killer set to destroy her family.
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Read an excerpt:
A bar. He brought the kid to a bar.
Rafe Alexander gripped the steering wheel. The tips of his fingers burned from the press of his sharpened nails against his skin. His jaw ached from the pressure of his fangs sliding into place. He wanted to beat the human for exposing a preschooler to a world of drunks and illicit behaviors.
But if it saved her? Yeah. If the human kept their cub from falling into the wrong hands, Rafe would be thanking the guy, right after he explained with his fists that a bar in the backwoods of West Virginia wasn’t the right environment for a little girl.
Rafe slammed the SUV’s door and strode across the bar’s parking lot. A few males tucked their dates closer and turned in the opposite direction. Others dropped their gazes to the pavement underfoot. The familiar reaction to his presence annoyed him, but it wasn’t their fault. Humans might not know what he was by looking at him, but they sensed the danger—the predator in their midst—and reacted accordingly.
He tightened his control over his primal side. He didn’t need any attention directed his way, not with what had gone down here a few hours ago: a fire that resulted in a fatality.
Sure, tragedies happened all the time, and in the grand scheme of things, one human’s passing was a blip on the radar. For Rafe, though, Tony Conway’s death was personal. The male had unknowingly adopted a shifter, a rare white lion cub Rafe had been tasked with retrieving.
He cursed. The fire was too coincidental. Word of a shifter cub living among humans surfaced, and the next day her human father died. Yeah, it wasn’t related at all. Right.
Once the fire chief finished his investigation, he’d realize the fire hadn’t been an accident too. The authorities would begin to search for the arsonist. It wouldn’t do them any good. Even if they collected evidence from the scene, they wouldn’t understand why Tony had been targeted. Rafe couldn’t share the details surrounding Megan’s uniqueness with them either. Shifters were fictional beings in most humans’ eyes. That fact hampered Rafe’s efforts. He was left on the sidelines with limited options.
Rafe’s lion, one of the three feline spirits he housed, snarled, echoing his frustration. He used a mental hand to stroke the big cat’s side. It was the best he could do to calm the animal since it couldn’t speak or share its thoughts with him. His tiger and jaguar, the other two felines he’d been born with, nudged him, seeking his reassurance too.
We’ll get our cub back. Promise. The vow wrapped around him, strengthening him. He let the connection to his cats fade and took a deep, calming breath. A familiar scent invaded his lungs. Lion. Faint, yet distinctive. He was on the right path.
Long strides took him around the bar, an older structure that appeared as if it had seen several upgrades and expansions over its lifetime. An upper and lower deck graced one side. The raised level had tables, while the lower featured a live band and dance area. People moved on both, and the sharp twining from instruments as the musicians warmed up carried over the drone of laughter and conversation.
The place was packed, a good thing for those partying and an inconvenience for him. He had business to take care of that didn’t need an audience. He continued past the decks to the employee entrance. Several cars and trucks were parked near the door.
He followed the smell carrying on the breeze to a blue SUV. A child’s car seat was secured in the back. He tugged on the door handle. Locked. No matter. Going by the strength of the scent seeping from the cracked window, Megan had traveled in the vehicle recently.
He pulled out his cell and dialed his friend and fellow pride member, Devin.
“Yeah?” Devin answered.
“You were right. Megan is with her uncle. I found Josh’s car, and there are enough stuffed animals and toys in it to amuse any cub with a short attention span.”
“Have you spotted her?”
“Not yet, but if she’s here, I’ll get her.” Rafe glanced over his shoulder at the building. “And once I hand her over to you, Josh and I are having a little talk about how kids should be raised.”
“Just because the neighbor remembered seeing Megan with Josh doesn’t mean he took her to the bar. The woman said he owns the place. Maybe he’s working, and he dropped Megan off at a sitter or something.”
The idea didn’t comfort him. Actually, it’d almost be better if Josh had taken Megan to work with him. It’d be harder to carry a screaming five-year old through a packed bar than killing her sitter without bystanders nearby and walking away with their rare cub—the innocent child who had a price on her head.
“As soon as I find out, I’ll call.”
Devin’s sigh carried over the line. “Good. I want out of here as soon as possible.”
“You didn’t have to come. I could’ve brought one of my brothers.”
“You know I couldn’t stay behind, not when kids are threatened.”
Yeah, he knew that. It was an honorable trait, but Devin wasn’t exactly sane. Dropping him in a tense situation with humans close by was a disaster waiting to happen, but Rafe wasn’t their pride leader. He didn’t get to make the decisions. Kade did, and sometimes Rafe wondered if his twin thought through his dictates before issuing them.
“So, what did you find at Tony’s office?” Rafe asked.
“A whole box of documents from the lawyer who handled Megan’s adoption and…”
Rafe waited for him to finish and finally prompted, “And?”
Devin cleared his throat. “The female you smelled at Tony’s house has spent time here too.”
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For more information on the tame version, visit: https://danaarcher.com/shifter-world/royals-and-alphas/rafe/
For information on the sexy version of this title, visit: https://nancycorriganauthor.com/royal-kagan-shifter-world/treasured-find/