In honor of the trade paperback release of BENEATH THE SKIN (in 3 days!) how about the first time Mia and Gibson meet?
So she was a little caught up in the decision between meatball and salami for her sandwich when she scented not just other shifters, but gun oil. Instantly alert, she scanned the area so when the shots went off and a car sped off, her training kicked in and she sprinted to where a man lay on the pavement, keeping low, her phone in her hand.
The scent of his blood hit her hard. A shifter. She put the phone away. No calling the cops for that unless there was no other choice. She crouched, taking him in.
“They fucking shot me,” the large male on the ground in a pool of his blood managed to say as he tried to sit up.
“Stay still,” she barked as she ripped the front of his shirt open. He’d been shot at least twice that she could tell. First the bleeding needed to be stanched and then she needed to get him off the street. She pulled her extra shirt from around her waist to press against the wound, and the blood stung her hands when it soaked through the material. Silver. “Shit.”
“Ouch! Why are you shoving me down? I’ll be fine in a…” His words trailed off and his eyes rolled back a moment. A flash of memory hit her, disorienting her a moment until she ruthlessly shoved it aside.
“They used silver. Obviously I can’t call the cops, but we need to get you off the street so I can dig the slugs out before they finish the job and kill you.” She knew all too well just how badly that hurt. “My apartment is just a block up the street. Let’s get you inside so we can call your Alpha.” Though since she was also a jaguar in Boston, his Alpha would be hers as well.
He started to argue but she ignored him, hoisting him up on her left side, letting her cat surface enough to power her to that door. Damn he was solid and heavy, like a freaking truck.
She took a chance that the elevator would work as she punched the button for the fourth floor. It shuddered a moment and squealed, but they did arrive safely and she hustled him to her apartment.
“Don’t get blood on anything. My brother is pissy about that stuff.” She managed to get the door unlocked and him inside.
He focused narrowed eyes on her. “You’re a cat. Did you come in with the others?”
“I know it hurts but don’t snarl at me.” She laid a blanket over her bed with her free arm before she put him on it. She rustled through her things in the closet until she found her kit. She didn’t bother with gloves, they were both jaguars and he was going downhill very fast.
“Did you come with Bertram’s cats?”
“Who the fuck is Bertram?” She pulled her belt off and put it between his teeth before she got to work digging out the first bullet. “This is going to hurt.”
He growled, his cat glowing in his eyes, watching her warily.
“What’s your name?” Keep him conscious.
She ignored the complaining muscles in her right hand as she had to work to keep the wound open to dig out the second bullet. His body continued to try to heal around the wound, fighting her.
“Gibson de La Vega.”
She dug out the second bullet and realized there was one more just below the waistline of his pants. “Three times? You must have really made someone mad. I need to turn you over. This last one is too deep.” She did it as she said it, not wanting to waste time.
She cut his jeans off quickly when she couldn’t pull them off fast enough. The last bullet came out, the wound already ugly.
The poison would already be rampant in his system. The bullets she’d removed would have also exploded silver through him on impact. At this stage, what he really needed was to let his cat take over. The shift would cleanse his system.
It’d be far easier if he did it nude. His boxers were easy to pull off and set aside before she leaned down close to his ear. One of the ropes of his dreadlocks brushed against her cheek. Her cat responded immediately, rising at the scent of another cat. A male cat. A hot male cat. Enough of that. Still, he came out of his stupor a little as she’d hoped. “You need to shift. It’ll help with the healing.”
Shirtless, his tats showed against the dark chocolate of his skin. She’d seen the pierced nipples when he’d been on his back. Dreads. She’d been halfway across the world and this was the most badass thing she’d ever had in her bed. She tried to pretend not to look at his ass, which was quite honestly a thing of beauty. Hard and muscled like the rest of him. He was nearly unconscious after all, it wasn’t like he was going to know she was objectifying him or anything.
She only knew of one other way to bring his cat besides having his Alpha right there to do it. And since she didn’t have Max de La Vega’s phone number on speed dial, there was one option left open to her.
Those cats of Bertram’s shot him. Motherfucker. Getting shot really pissed him off. Getting shot with silver? Oh, he was going to beat some ass when he recovered.
Rage roiled through him and he let it for a few moments, feeding off the energy. But it wasn’t sustainable. Especially when he heard her voice. A little sultry. Unafraid of him though a little concerned for him. He winced as he tried to open his eyes, but it was hard. It hurt to breathe. The silver in his system burned, clawing through him.
The voice sharpened and he strained to hear. Change. Yes. She told him to change.
He should do that.
He got his eyes open and then couldn’t look away as he caught sight of her. She was getting naked. Her shirt came off, exposing a no-nonsense sports bra and a seriously in shape torso. Then her jeans were off, socks and the barely there panties. Until she was utterly bare. But before he could focus on her further, she shifted.
Her cat’s energy filled the room with the magic of the change. His own rose in response, and the tug in his gut was enough to grasp and get his cat to come.
The world changed all around him. Scents, powerful but still muted in human form, burst through his senses. He was strong and cunning. He would be safe now because he was feared and respected.
The pain slowly wisped away and his blood sped the exorcism of the poison. His system burned it up. Destroying it.
Within a few minutes he’d healed enough to notice other things in the room. The female, most especially.
His cat liked the way she looked. Small. Golden with delicate rosettes all over her fur. She head-butted him and he sent her a lazy growl. Here in her place, he had no desire to do anything but lie and watch her. Breathe in her scent.
He head-butted her back, letting his teeth catch her a little. She responded with a growl of her own before swatting at him, her claws still sheathed. He knew this female would draw blood if she were truly unhappy. His cat liked that too.
She stared at him and blew a frustrated huff.
The human within wanted to change back. Needed to check in with the Alpha and find the people who harmed him. The cat did not care. It just wanted to be here in this place with this female.
She changed back slowly, easing to stand as she grabbed her pants. He scented the pain, just a brief twinge, but it concerned his cat enough to let go so the human could surface.
“Are you all right?” he managed to say as he rolled to get to his feet. The wounds had healed over but still hurt. The cost of using silver.
She stepped into her jeans and zipped up before sending him a look over her shoulder. That’s when he saw the freshly healed wounds on her chest.
“Me? You got shot three times with silver. I’m fine.” She pulled a T-shirt on, not bothering with a bra.
She tossed him his shorts. “I had to cut your pants and shirt. I’ll get you something of my brother’s. Your phone is right on the nightstand if you need to call someone.” She sashayed from the room.
He grabbed it and called Dario. “Hey. Turns out Bertram’s cats wanted to shoot me. Three times. With silver ammo. I’m all right, but I want some men out there now, looking for these cats. I want them brought in to answer for this.”
“Are you all right? Do you need a healer?”
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