Authors: Jennifer James,Michelle Fox
ed up with men on the run from warrants, fated mates, angry alphas, and inter-pack wars, BBW burlesque dancer Rhiannon Delamatre has sworn off bad boy shifters. She’s decided to settle down in a condo far from the Vegas strip and teach pole dancing classes for vacationing soccer moms and dryads.
One loan from a mob boss later, her life gets all kinds of hairy when her repayment disappears. If she can’t come up with the cash in the next week, the mobster has a warm, cozy bed for her in his brothel.
And then the ex-boyfriend she's never been able to forget shows up. Like she has time for more alpha bullshit.
Cougar shifter Kit hasn’t seen Rhiannon in fifteen years. His cougar tried to claim her and he ran away. Naked. He never thought he'd see her again or ever have the chance to correct the biggest mistake of his life.
In Vegas to find his distant cousin, Jase—who also seems to be Rhiannon’s ex—Kit fights the urge to claim Rhiannon as his mate and kill his cousin in the process.
But a cougar’s claim can only be denied for so long. Even with a demon bounty hunter on their trail and ogre mob goons tailing Rhiannon, Kit's not about to waste his one chance to make things right with his soul mate.
Gamble with magic, bet on love. Welcome to the next installment in the Charmed in Vegas Series!
his is a work of fiction intended for adults age 18 and over. Minors should stop here and close the book. All events depicted are fictional. Characters are consenting adults. Any resemblance to places and persons, living or dead, is unintentional coincidence.
Every effort has been made to provide a quality reading experience, but editors and technology are fallible. Please report typos or formatting issues to [email protected]
And don't forget to check out the other books in the
Charmed in Vegas series
. Some amazing authors have joined forces to take you to a Vegas you've never read before!
wisting his fist around the stained, tattered fabric of the shirt he’d found discarded on the floor, Kit Barrientos forced his fist down, until his claws pricked the flesh of his outer thigh. A deep, lung stretching breath did little to control the rage and betrayal churning in his gut and sending his cougar into a frenzy.
Fate had just grabbed him by the balls and given his
a nasty twist. What was his mate’s scent doing on another man’s shirt?
Not a random guy. His cousin.
His mate’s scent. The mate he hadn’t seen in years and had lost hope of ever finding again.
scent emanated from his irresponsible, unreliable, buried-in-pussy, younger cousin Jase’s shirt. Fury and a sense of betrayal shredded his gut with razor tipped claws.
His uncle Colton, alpha of the clan he belonged to, had sent him to Las Vegas to hunt down Jase. This was a shit detail that should have been passed off on a shifter lower in the clan hierarchy. And now, he’d not only spent a few days chasing his tail trying to find Jase, but he had evidence his cousin had been in contact with his mate. The son of a bitch hadn’t said one fucking word to him. They talked a minimum of a couple times a month and that mangy mother fucker hadn’t even
Kit took a deep breath and focused on not grinding his molars into dust in his mouth.
Getting bitchy about taking on a task wasn’t his style but he figured he had justification for tearing Jase apart when he found him. He wasn’t angry about being sent out to Vegas to track Jase down and find out why the alpha’s son had dropped off the grid this time. His rage stemmed from something too damn close to the heart, to the center of him, to be dismissed as typical irresponsible bullshit.
about Rhiannon. He knew about the secret summer love affair that’d burned hot enough to scar and ended with the quickness of a shorted out light bulb.
Kit did what needed to be done for the good of the people around him without complaint. He sacrificed things he wanted so that others could flourish. Always.
wasn’t something he could set aside. This was Rhiannon. His soul mate.
He wasn’t looking for martyr status or a pat on the head. Doing what he thought was the right thing for the people he loved came naturally. That characteristic was part of what defined him as an alpha. Not
alpha, but an alpha in his clan. When Colton wasn’t around to help solve a problem, Kit stepped in. The position was one Jase should have taken on as Colton’s son.
But Jase didn’t have a responsible bone in his fucking body. When they were younger it’d been fun. But right now, standing in a Vegas hotel room and staring at rumpled sheets that reeked of sweat and sex, a tray crowded with dirty, food encrusted place settings on the floor, and the distinct notes of Kit’s mate’s scent on his cousin’s clothes, all Kit could imagine was disemboweling his cousin and setting this room on fire.
He raised the shirt to his nose again and inhaled, seeking out the definitive notes Rhiannon had left behind in the cloth. There it was.
scent. Evergreen trees and drizzling rain. Lingering notes, almost ghost-like tendrils any other shifter would miss. But he couldn’t. No matter how old the trail, he’d find it.
The mate he’d failed to claim. The mate he’d left behind out of misguided motivations and no small amount of fear. Fuck, he’d been so young. Her too.
His grip tightened.
A low, fierce growl rumbled over his lips. His cougar roared, pacing, nostrils flared and mouth open to taste the air. Nothing mattered to the cat but finding her and completing the mating ritual.
Once, years ago, he’d gone to her family home in a bid to find her again. Her father had made it damn clear what he thought of shifters and Kit in particular. Shifters were good enough to do some business with, but nothing else. Anything else was an affront, an abomination, a stain on the righteous bastard’s pride. The old man’s hatred ran so deep the emotion had settled into his soul and taken root.
He’d thrown Rhiannon, his only child, out to fend for herself. The bastard didn’t have a clue where she was or how to reach her.
Kit didn’t give a shit what the old man thought about shape shifters or even Kit in particular. Only Rhiannon mattered. He’d searched for her at the college she’d planned to attend, even tried asking around at the nearest town. Rhiannon had disappeared.
The only person in the clan who knew about Rhiannon was Jase.
Jase had seen her, touched her, and had been close enough for her essence to imprint itself into his clothing.
Snarling in frustration, rage, and pain born in betrayal, Kit tore the sheets from the bed and flung them into the wall. Only blood could settle this debt. Jase’s blood.
Breathing deep, the change in the taste of the air almost evaded his notice.
Another female’s scent trailed through the room. Unable to convince his cat to drop the shirt, Kit prowled to the crumpled heap of soiled bedding with the fabric wrapped in his fist. A second female.
Not Rhiannon. Someone else. Someone...canine.
A werewolf. The female wolf’s traces of scent were sharper, clearer than Rhiannon’s.
Mate was not here.
The cougar growled inside his head the sound spilled from Kit’s lips.
Find the cub. Ask him.
Right. Jase would know where to find Rhiannon. So he’d ask Jase for her location, and then he’d pummel the asshole into the ground right before he tossed him on a plane. And if Rhiannon ran from him...he could hole up somewhere with her until she realized they were meant to be together. Hotel room, cave, a fucking lean-to on the side of a mountain. He didn’t care as long as it was isolated, safe, and kept Rhiannon at his side until the mating bond solidified.
That wouldn’t be kidnapping. It’d be mate-napping and in his world—where true soul mates might as well have been dodos—a perfectly acceptable way to start a life together. Kit frowned, unsure if the mate-napping idea was his or the cougar’s.
Shifters weren’t a totally melded joining of man and beast, they existed more like conjoined twins. Two separate beings occupying the same body.
That was part of what made them as a species so dangerous. Kit had forced his cougar to accept his domination, his control, years ago. But that didn’t mean the cat didn’t have thoughts, ideas, opinions of its own.
And sometimes the crafty bastard flexed his metaphysical claws just subtly enough to jerk Kit’s chain or influence him without Kit realizing what had happened until later.
In this instance, he wanted to follow his beast’s lead and steal his mate away until she succumbed to him, until he’d seduced her so thoroughly she never wanted to leave his bed. This was
His soul mate.
He growled and gripped the bathroom counter with his left hand. Kicking a wad of dirty towels against the wall, his form rippled as he fought the change to his animal half.
“Fucking bastard.” Jase knew her. She’d touched him often enough for her scent to be embedded in the discarded clothes tossed all over a gaudy bathroom in one of the tourist trap hotels on the strip. Ugly rage broiled through his blood and bones. No matter how much of a fucking space cadet Jase was, this was the one thing he absolutely could not get away with not telling Kit about.
Claws sprouted from his fingertips, the pain fast and sharp like a heated blade. He shredded the discarded shirt, a pair of jeans, and a bra too small to belong to Rhiannon into tiny bits of fabric scraps.
The rage did not abate, and the cougar tried again to force its way to the surface, fine downy fur sliding over his human skin. Losing control was unacceptable. Kit shoved the beast back inside, aware the tight rope he minced along on right now could lead to a massacre if he didn’t control himself.
He had to think his way through this, use his human brain in conjunction with his animal instincts or he’d end up on one of the special government run prison farms for supernatural beings who went berserk.
Realizing that grappling with the cougar amounted to wasted effort, he focused instead on the hunt ahead. The cat loved the hunt, strategizing, stalking, and waiting for the right moment to move in for the kill.
The cougar stilled, a low level growl little more than a hum rumbling in his chest. They would hunt for Rhiannon, convince her to forgive him, and cover themselves in her scent. He grappled for control, all of his muscles bunched, tense, twitching, with the urge to track her, fuck her, make her his.
He could explain everything later. Once he had his fangs in her neck and his cock in her lush body, she’d have to listen.
hiannon Delamatre pursed her lips, fluffed her hair, and squared her shoulders. This was it. The last lead she had. The empty hotel hallway stretched from left to right, each door the same non-descript manila color as the next. Ugly patterned carpet, dark maroon wallpaper with an embossed swirly line design, the steel doors, and wall sconces as regular intervals. She’d been in three different hotels that morning with similar esthetics.
Jase had to be in there. Her friend Charity worked the front desk and had called her an hour and a half ago to let her know Jase was on the property.
Charity was an eagle shifter. No one had better eyesight than eagles.
All she had to do was take this in steps. Easy, tiny, baby steps.
Step one: Knock on the door.
Step two: Calmly ask Jase what he’d done with the money.
Step three: Take the duffle bag back and deliver it to one Vince Mancini, ogre mob boss and loan shark, with three days to spare before he could collect the collateral she’d agreed to forfeit if payment wasn’t made.
Disgust rolled over her.
should have known better. Best friend or not, Jase was a bad boy shifter....
Bad boys on motorcycles were her Achilles’ heel. Supernatural bad boys on motorcycles with sun-tanned skin, tattoos, the specter of an out of state warrant, and an empty wallet? Kryptonite.