ALIEN SHIFTER ROMANCE: Alien Tigers - The Complete Series (Alien Invasion Abduction Shapeshifter Romance) (Paranormal Science Fiction Fantasy Anthologies & Short reads) (4 page)

BOOK: ALIEN SHIFTER ROMANCE: Alien Tigers - The Complete Series (Alien Invasion Abduction Shapeshifter Romance) (Paranormal Science Fiction Fantasy Anthologies & Short reads)
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The Bruce Situation

 

 

Alien Tigers

Book 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

By: Tanya Jolie

Book 2: The Bruce Situation

Prologue

Bruce tipped his head back, his nose pointed at the crimson rising sun. After a night of roaming the large forest behind his new home, mud, leaves, and upturned sod dampened his fur. The blood of his conquests dripped down from his thick lips and into the fur surrounding his face. The morning wind rustled his dampened body. A growl rumbled deep in his throat as he reveled in this sensation. There was nothing better to relieve his stress than the sensation of this, the morning after a change. Yet, as he began to walk the path from whence he had come, he could feel a disturbing tension in the back of his mind. He struggled to keep walking, the weighted feeling traveling from his head down to the farthest corners of his limbs. The dampened ground, which he had previously found to be soothing and encouraging, now inhibited his movements. Simple sod turned to quicksand, and every step was a tiny battle in the war that was walking.

He gazed straight ahead, his face screwed in concentration. His mind told him where to go, inclined him to turn this way and that, but he could not articulate where he was going, or why he was even moving.

As he rounded the last bend, the sun’s red rays flashed into his eyes.

He grunted in pain at the burn he felt deep inside of him. It was as if someone had turned him inside out and proceeded to press a hot iron on his insides. He huffed a deep breath of the morning air and took another step, but that was cut short as his hind legs gave way. His shins cracked in half, the sound of it pressing through the atmosphere. His feline jaw swung open, a roar slipping out and bouncing against the bark of the trees that closed him in. Before he could recover, the muscles of his front legs went entirely limp, and he collapsed onto the ground. The ringing in his ears matched the pounding of his heart as bone after bone began to break. He was consumed in his pain, lost in the moment and in himself.

In those minutes that seemed to last for days, his skin glowed red hot and steam lifted from him, surrounding him, as his fur slid off, the bloody pile of hair surrounded him. His screams turned into gulps and yelps of pain as his jaw began to morph, reforming itself to its prior human shape. The gums in his mouth ached as his fangs withdrew back, his entire head ringing with pain as his skull modified itself to accommodate the extra bone matter.

Bruce panted, the pounding of his heart reduced to mere flutters as he started to shiver. He felt raw and exposed in his human skin. The sun provided no warmth, and the chilling breeze bit at his blood-covered body. With one final umph of strength, he pushed himself up and made his way down the path.

As soon as he got to his back door, he stopped. He glanced around him. He didn’t know why, but he expected someone to be there—a woman. The blur of an image from the night before flashed into his mind. He saw dirty blonde hair and green eyes. They were wide, frightened… and staring right at him.

He furrowed his brow but he couldn’t, for the life of him, figure out who, or what, it was he was remembering. As he pushed open his back door and stepped into his kitchen, he realized he couldn’t disregard this. If that image was what he thought it was, that meant that someone had seen him in his true form, and that was profoundly upsetting.

His stomach turned with nerves as he heard a movement coming from his living room. He gingerly crossed his kitchen, disappointed with himself for the amount of blood he was tracking everywhere, and followed the sound to the black leather couch that sat in front of his fireplace. He looked down to find none other than Lexus, sleeping there in human clothes. He sighed, shoving her. “What the hell are you doing here?” he demanded.

She mumbled a bunch of incoherent things before she turned over. She stretched her thin arms over her head. A shudder and a sigh escaped from her lips before she muttered, “The Emperor sent me.”

Bruce’s heart dropped. The last thing he wanted was to have to deal with Lexus on top of everything else. “Look, I am perfectly fine by myself,” he said. But then, thinking of something else, he shoved her again.

With a grunt, she sat up and rubbed her eyes, her lips folded into an annoyed frown. “What the fuck, Bruce? The sun has just barely risen.”

Bruce raised an eyebrow. “Oh, so you can invade my house, but I can’t demand any answers?”

Lexus shrugged. “I told you why I’m here. What more do you want to know? How many stars I passed on the way?”

Bruce’s hands clenched into fists. “You didn’t tell me a thing. The emperor wouldn’t send you to keep tabs on me. He would send another shifter. So why… no…
how
did you manage to sneak away?”

Lexus rolled her eyes. “Look, it doesn’t matter, but if you need to know so badly, then fine. I stowed on Boris’s craft.”

Bruce gulped. He looked past Lexus, his eyes unseeing. “Boris? He doesn’t trust me?”

Lexus giggled as she stood up and stretched her hands over her head. “What? Did you expect to do this with no oversight?”

“But Boris….”

“Has been promoted.” She took a step towards him.

Bruce’s heart sank. “Why didn’t I—”

Lexus shrugged. “Who knows? Who cares?” Her lips stretched into a seductive smile. “Oh don’t look too sad,” she said, taking a step towards him. “At least you have me.”

Bruce frowned at her. “No one has you, Lexus. Get that out of your head.” With that, he stalked out of the living room and down the hallway. Lexus or no Lexus, he needed to take a shower and get to work. It was going to be a long day.

Chapter One

“Look, the Palestinians won’t budge, and the Israelis want nothing to do with us,” Anita slammed her body into the chair on the other side of Bruce’s desk. After days and days spent in that very office, discussing the very same thing, she was starting to get used to his sterile, cold environment. She slipped her feet out of her heels and placed them on the edge of his desk.

He eyed her feet, the red nail polish just barely visible through her black stockings, just like she knew he would. Not only had they spent countless hours arguing over this one thing, but they had spent an equal amount of time playing information tug of war. Anita’s mind was on fire with the inexplicable image of a tiger she had seen in the backyard of the place that was supposed to be his home. Yes, she had been extremely drunk, but she wasn’t high, nor was she sleep deprived. Well, at least, not any more than usual. So, what she saw couldn’t have been explained away by a simple hallucination. And yet, he refused to answer any of her questions. It was exhausting at best. But with the emergency UN meeting already scheduled for the week before Thanksgiving, they were rapidly running out of time to draft something for the president, so she needed to get back to work.

Just as she was reaching the end of her train of thought, Bruce straightened his posture in his chair and opened his MacBook pro. After taking one last look at her feet, he shifted his gaze back to his screen and countered with, “Well we’ll just have to incentivize the Israelis.”

Anita scoffed. “We’ve spent five years vying for their cooperation. They don’t buy it, and on the rare instances that they do, it kills us in the Middle East. I mean, you heard that conversation, didn’t you?”

With a sharp sigh, Bruce reached across his desk and threw her feet off of it. “Well, how do you suggest we slow Putin down? He’s got Ukraine and the Czech Republic eating out of his ass. Are you trying to start World War III?”

Anita could feel the frustration boiling up from deep in her gut. She couldn’t stand the fact that Bruce was right, nor could she stomach that she had nothing to say to him, no real answers to end this conversation. She slammed her fist on the desk, ignoring the subsequent ache in her fingers. “This resolution is World War III!”

Bruce shifted his MacBook aside and leaned towards her, standing his ground. “Well, don’t yell at me. I didn’t start it!”

Anita sucked in a deep breath and looked away from him. She couldn’t deny the fact that she wanted nothing more than to jump across that table and lay on a passionate kiss on the bastard, nor could she deny the vibes coming from him, or the distinct gut feeling that he felt the same way. Unfortunately, the sexual tension was more than a little distracting, and she was still reeling from the moment he completely rejected her after he’d already gotten her on her back in her living room without her panties off.

She swung around in his chair and stood, crossing the room to stare outside of the window. The protest had traveled south to the Nation’s capital, and a throng of people with signs, painted faces, and specially designed t-shirts gathered just across the street from the White House. As Anita stood there, gazing down at them, her mind turning with worry and her stomach churning in anxiety, she couldn’t help but to feel like they were talking right to her.

“Why haven’t you helped us?” they seemed to say.

“You are letting this nation fall apart…” she mumbled.

“What?”

It wasn’t until Bruce uttered his response that she even realized she had said that out loud. “Nothing,” she turned back to face him.

“Never mind then,” he returned his gaze to his laptop.

Anita took a deep breath, refraining from rolling her eyes just this once.

“We need to find a way to threaten the Palestinians without making the Israelis think we’re trying to put more military in their territory.”

“But a military presence is exactly what we need. Putin needs a check to his power. We need a wall,” she said.

Bruce folded his arms. “Israel is the wall. Look, no one in the Middle East is afraid of us anymore. An intimidation factor is what we need. If you ask me, running this resolution in the first place and getting it to pass will tell Isreal and the rest of the Middle East what side to get on.”

“But if we exploit them, we will never hear the end of it.”

“But that doesn’t matter yet.” Bruce shut his laptop. “Look, I have a meeting to get to, do you mind?”

Anita set her jaw. “What meeting?”

When Bruce didn’t respond, she added, “You’re just trying to cut this conversation short, because you know that if we get a chance to finish it, we will move on to other things. And if we move on to other things, I might be so inclined as to ask you why you have a tiger, or whatever that was.”

“Well, I could just as easily ask what you were doing in my backyard.”

Anita flexed her jaw, curling her toes. “I already told you. I was going through the notes and had an idea I wanted to tell you. When I saw your lights on out back, I thought I could just go around there.”

He nodded slowly with an infuriating expression on his face that indicated he didn’t believe a word she said. With his hand on the doorknob, he glanced pointedly at her shoes, then at her. “You should probably get out while you’re still ahead.”

With that, he opened his door and walked out.

Anita had no choice but to follow him.

Chapter Two

Anita yanked open the glass door and stepped over the threshold into the strikingly cold air that filled her favorite gym. After an infuriating walk home, all she could think about was the resolution. Every step she took was toward another self-argument. Every huff of breath only filled her with more frustration. And yet, if she managed to get her mind off of the Russia and Israel situation, equally annoying thoughts of Bruce rushed in to take its place. She had barely worked her way through a hastily prepared dinner of broccoli and chicken when she realized that if she was going to get any sleep that night, she needed to head to the gym and work some of that steam off.

So there she was, heading right for her trainer only thirty minutes after she called in a session. He stood in the center of the mat, waiting for her, his toned body clad in black and his arms crossed in anticipation.

A smile stretched across Anita’s face as she stepped onto the much softer surface of the mat and let her small backpack fall to the ground next to her.

“I’m surprised you called,” he watched her unlace her shoes.

“Yeah, let’s just get started,” she joined him on the center of the mat.

“Tough day at work?” he asked with a raised brow.

She nodded as she threw the first punch.

He dogged it, and in the same motion, came in with a fist to her side.

She grunted, doubling over.

“Too eager,” he patted her on her back.

She nodded, but shifted her feet ever so slightly to the right, grabbed his hand, twisted it backwards and heaved him over her shoulder. His back hit the mat with a thump. With a huff, he chuckled and said, “That’s exactly what I’m looking for.” He then jumped up, hitting his stance of defense.

Anita mirrored his pose, keeping her eyes trained on him. For the first time in days, she wasn’t thinking about Russia or Israel, or freaking Bruce. She was thinking about getting her trainer on his back again. However, as she continued to fight him, throwing punch after punch, squeezing out of holds and dodging his hits, her movements became more and more sluggish. She found herself on her back more often than not, and eventually the fight became nothing but defensive. As she survived mainly on dodging punches, she unwittingly began to ignore whatever it was he was saying, failing over and over again. Her heart pounded against her chest, her pulse thumping noisily in her ears. Her lungs felt like over-inflated balloons pressing against her ribcage, yet threatening to burst all at once.

She was failing.

She was losing.

And with that, her trainer flipped her over his shoulder. She yelped as she flew through the air, her stomach lurching with the surprise. Her back slammed against the mat, all of her bones ringing with the impact. She gasped for breath. “I think I’m done here.”

The trainer wasn't one to complain about her cutting things short, so he let her walk out.

Anita doubled over as soon as she had left the gym, her stomach still turning from that last fall. Her mouth flooded with saliva. She was almost certain her dinner was trying to fight its way out of her body, but after not so much as a burp, she gave up and kept walking.

She had barely been moving for five minutes when she felt a vibration in her backpack. She swung it around to answer her phone. A smile played on the edges of her lips when she realized it was her best friend Jori who was calling. “Oh thank God. I think I’m about to explode.”

“Uh yeah?” Jori replied in that overly excited voice of hers. “I’ve been stuck in press conferences all day. The Times picked up your convoy story and now the whole world wants answers.”

Anita blinked twice. “Yeah, well think of how bad it would be if you actually had to be one of the people coming up with the answers.” Her voice sounded much more hostile than she had meant it to.

There was a short pause on the other end of the line, before, “Yeah, well at least you’re not getting blamed for decisions you don’t even have a say in.”

Anita glowered at this. “That happens to me every day.”

“This is not a pissing contest, Rhodes. Everyone is dealing with shit right now.”

Anita bit her lip. She was approaching another throng of protesters. Judging from the fact that the majority of them looked like they had just walked out of a crack house and were probably concealing all kinds of weapons, she figured they wouldn’t exactly appreciate her blown-out ponytail and Victoria’s Secret active wear, so she switched to the other side of the walkway and kept talking. “Okay, so why did you call me?” she raised her voice so that she could be heard over the throng of people.

Jori sighed. “I was just wondering if you got an update on Bruce and his pet tiger.”

Anita shook her head before adding a curt, “No.”

“So what the hell? What is he even saying?”

She ducked her head in frustration. “Nothing. He won’t even answer my questions!” 

“Hmm…” Jori murmured. “Then it’s probably not a pet tiger.”

“What do you mean? That’s the only explanation,” Anita argued as she jabbed her key into the lock on her front door.

“But it’s not the correct one. If it was, he would have just told you that.”

“So if it wasn’t a tiger, what the hell was it?”

“Honey, I don’t know.”

Anita dropped her bag on the ground and climbed onto her couch, pressing the phone against her ear and hugging her knees with her free arm.

“Okay, it’s obvious that you are extremely stressed, hun. Come out with me this weekend. You clearly need to get your head right.”

“If by that, you mean that I need to have sex, then I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to pass.”

Jori scoffed. “And what are you gonna be doing when you don’t go?” she asked. “Sitting around thinking about what Bruce is doing at the session?”

Anita glowered out of her window into the dark night as she considered her offer. Then, with her final answer in mind, she stood up and made her way to her bathroom, sighing dramatically.

“Ugh, whatever.
Fine
.”

BOOK: ALIEN SHIFTER ROMANCE: Alien Tigers - The Complete Series (Alien Invasion Abduction Shapeshifter Romance) (Paranormal Science Fiction Fantasy Anthologies & Short reads)
4.48Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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