Author Charlie Richards
Now Available at eXtasy Books!
With Cheetah Speed
A Loving Nip: Book Twenty-Eight
Just a little Love Bite: A cheetah shifter walks into a honky-tonk bar to do reconnaissance on members of a cougar shifter pride…and runs into the biggest distraction of his life—his mate.
As the head enforcer for the Shifter Council, Mycroft Portent doesn’t usually do field work. Except, with Fate blessing those under him with finding mates and taking unexpected leave, he finds himself shorthanded. When a report of a shifter alpha shirking his duties to his pride comes across his desk, he decides to head to Texas himself, taking fellow enforcer Dakota Drudeson with him.
Tailing several members of the pride’s inner circle leads Mycroft to a backwater honky-tonk bar. He and Dakota head inside, intending to watch their behavior. Mycroft firmly believes that the way a shifter treats a species weaker than himself is very telling of their home life.
Mycroft doesn’t even make it to the bar before the scent of his mate hits his senses, distracting him. Unable to help himself, he leaves the reconnaissance to Dakota in order to track down the other half of his soul. To his surprise, Mycroft realizes his special someone is a vampire—Boyd Johnson. While the timing is terrible, Mycroft trusts in Fate’s plan. Can he figure out how to complete his mission while giving Boyd the time and attention they need to forge their bond?
Excerpt - With Cheetah Speed
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An hour later, Mycroft geared up. He pulled his leathers on over his jeans. His plated leather jacket offered an extra layer of protection for his torso. He slipped his full helmet on top of his head.
Smiling behind his face shield, Mycroft swung his leg over his high-end motorcycle. The whine of the engine roaring to life caused a thrill to run through him. He rolled his motorcycle out of his garage, then pushed a button to close the door.
Turning his wheel to the right, Mycroft hit the throttle and started down his driveway. He barely resisted gunning the engine when he reached the road. His excitement mounted as he made his way through the streets to the gas station where he’d told Dakota to meet him.
Will be out of town soon enough. Then I’ll open her up.
Mycroft parked at a gas pump and swung off. As he was in the middle of filling his motorcycle, he spotted Dakota turning into the station on his metallic purple Kawasaki Ninja motorcycle. The enforcer must have noticed him, too, for he headed directly toward him, stopping close.
Straightening, Dakota flipped up his visor and grinned at him. “Damn, Mycroft. When did you have her painted?”
“She was in the shop for a month,” Mycroft admitted, easing the nozzle from his tank’s hole. “Just got her back about two weeks ago.” Holding up the handle, Mycroft offered, “Top off?”
“Don’t mind if I do.” Dakota took the offered pump handle in one hand before opening the gas tank with the other. “Well, it’s a sweet look.” After a furtive glance around, Dakota lowered his voice and asked, “They your cat’s spots?”
Mycroft grinned as he screwed his gas cap back on. “Good eye, Dakota. That they are.”
While Dakota topped off his tank, he murmured, “Observant. That’s me.”
After letting out a snort, Mycroft took the nozzle back and hung it back on the pump. He took the receipt and shoved it into his pocket. Mycroft swung onto his bike and brought it roaring back to life.
“I’ve sent you the route we’re taking for our best chance of staying off the cop’s radar.” Pinning Dakota with a competitive stare, Mycroft stated, “First one to the hotel gets to choose their room in the two-bedroom suite I booked.”
Barking a laugh, Dakota responded, “You’re on.”
Forty-five minutes later, when they were well out of town, Mycroft glanced Dakota’s way. He found the other man peering right back at him. When he spotted the way the Komodo dragon shifter twisted his throttle, Mycroft grinned and did the same.
As one, they shot forward, their engines revving as they barreled down the road, ignoring every traffic law known to man.
“Told you I’d win,” Mycroft cajoled as he removed his helmet from his head. He rested it on a handlebar as he added, “Now stop your bitching. I’ll buy you a beer.”
As Dakota heaved a deep sigh, he rolled his eyes. A second later, he grinned at Mycroft. “A beer would be good.” Then he sobered as he peered at what appeared to be a run-down honky-tonk bar, which was situated on the outskirts of a small town near Amarillo. “You sure this is where Beta Bradley and Enforcer Parakesh like to hang out?”
Mycroft nodded. “According to our tech guys, it is.” He’d had an investigator track the money trail of every member of the inner circle, allowing them to know where each cougar shifter in the inner circle spent their time and money while off pride lands. Resting his hands on his hips, he eyed the place. “There’ll probably be a few other members of the pride in there, too, so we’ll need to watch our step.”
Dakota grinned broadly as he ran his fingers through his short blond hair. “Will do, sir.”
“Mycroft,” he corrected softly as he headed toward the bar’s entrance. “We’re drinking buddies. Remember?”
“Yep.” To Mycroft’s surprise, Dakota slung his arm around his shoulders and bumped into him a little. Raising his voice, probably so the ladies entering the door heard him, he added, “Let’s get our groove on, man. I feel the need to dance.”
Going with it, Mycroft grinned as he replied, “You know it.” When Dakota opened the door for him, he entered. A quick scan of the room showed him the lay of the land. As Mycroft noticed the cougar shifters in the left corner occupying the pool tables, he started toward the bar. “Let me get you that drink, Dakota.”
Even as Mycroft registered Dakota’s nod in the peripheral of his vision, a scent tickled his senses, drawing not just his attention, but that of his cat’s. His cheetah perked up in his mind, and Mycroft couldn’t help taking a deeper breath. The scent of pine mixed with…cattle…tugged at his attention. It caused his blood to heat as arousal surged through him.
“Oh, fuck,” Mycroft muttered, missing a step as he realized what it meant.
“What’s wrong?” Dakota paused, his hand on his upper arm. He was scanning the room as he whispered, “What do you sense?”
“My mate is in the room,” Mycroft blurted out.
Dakota snapped his attention to Mycroft as his blond brows shot up his forehead. A grin curved his lips. Still, the other shifter remained professional, his voice coming out level.
“Well, fuck, man.” Dakota squeezed Mycroft’s arm as he offered, “Congrats.”
“Thanks,” Mycroft instantly responded. “Just bad timing.”
Tightening his grip, Dakota forced Mycroft to a stop, and he met the other shifter’s gaze.
With an encouraging smile, Dakota told him, “It’s never bad timing to find your mate.”
Mycroft scoffed softly as he nodded once. “You’re right.”
“Course I am.” Then Dakota winked and released him. “I’ll get my own beer and keep an eye on our friends. You go find your mate.”
After a nod and a murmured thanks, Mycroft did as his cheetah insisted. He began a slow prowl of the room, searching for that special person who gave off the euphoric scent.