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Authors: Tressie Lockwood

For Toron's Pride

BOOK: For Toron's Pride
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For Toron's Pride
For Toron's Pride

Title: For Toron’s Pride
Author: Lockwood, Tressie
Language: English

For Toron's Pride
Chapter One

Sienna folded into the car’s dark interior and tugged on the hem of her skirt. All she needed was to give Davon an eyeful on this long trip, and the man would be getting ideas.

The fact that she’d given in to his begging for her to join him was bad enough. They weren’t together anymore, and she wanted to forget they ever were.

“Why am I even coming?” she demanded for the fiftieth time. “I don’t get what this weekend is about.”

When she peered over at him, it was just as she had suspected. His gaze was locked on her legs. She should have known better than to wear a miniskirt, and maybe she should have found her own way out to wherever the hell the gathering was taking place.

“Davon!”

He started and blinked. “I told you why you have to go, Sienna. Toron wants all of his people present, and you’re one of us now.”

“Whose fault is that?” Try as she might, she still hadn’t accepted the fact that she was a lion shifter—a freaking lion. “I didn’t choose this life, and I don’t accept him as my master.”

Davon scratched the back of his neck and hitched his shoulders. Guilt rolled off him like a cloying fog, which only served to rile her resentment. “He’s more of a leader, and you’re a part of the pride. You had to come so you can learn more about our ways.”

She folded her arms over her chest and rolled her eyes.

While Davon admitted he’d been wrong to bite her in the throws of sex, he wasn’t suffering any obvious consequences. No, it was all on her. She was the one who had to put her plans on hold and meet Toron Shaw when he came to New York to “manage” the situation. Just thinking about the man made her squeeze her legs together and then cross one over the other. She fell silent and forced her thoughts on other things. She would not dwel on that man’s appearance nor on the way he had affected her body. She hadn’t seen him since that time a couple weeks ago, and she didn’t want to.

She needed to learn their ways? Why? Nothing had happened to her in the two weeks since she had been turned, nothing beyond a few superficial changes. Of course her hair grew thicker and longer, more vibrant. Her skin issues cleared up all over her body. Even her breasts were a lot perkier, and she’d dropped about ten pounds, like, overnight. That stuff was awesome, but nothing beyond that. Surely, she could ignore them and the fact that she was no longer human. No one would ever know any different.

“You haven’t forgotten what happened on the full moon, have you?” Davon had to go and bust her bubble. She remained quiet, and he went on. “That was the best way to convince you that you’re one of us, even if it did scare you.”

“Scare me?” She snorted in disgust. “Fool, I was terrified. I couldn’t get a grip. I thought PMS had turned me into the bitch from hell , but then it got worse when I changed. You should have warned me.”

“I said I’m sorry, Sienna, but you know how you get when you’re mad.”

“So you decided to risk other people’s lives because you were scared to face me?” She shook her head. “What did I see in you? I’m so glad I wasn’t pregnant like I thought. To be tied to you for eighteen years is a worse sentence than being turned into a shape-shifter.”

“Damn, girl, you’re harsh. I’m kind of new too, you know. I’ve only been this way a couple of years.”

“Whatever. Maybe you’re the one who should be up under your leader learning to keep it in your pants.”

His eyebrows rose, and for a minute she thought he was going to comment on her crack about curbing the sex, but he turned away and stared out the window. They were speeding down the highway on the way to Vermont. The trip couldn’t be over fast enough, not the hours on the road and not the entire weekend spent with people who thought it was normal to turn into animals. Sienna unsnapped her handbag and fished her Kindle from it. She would lose herself in the pages of a mystery novel and let the world pass by.

* * * *

The sign read “Welcome to Sutland, Vermont, population 4000.” Sienna couldn’t imagine living in a place like this, a far cry from the big city where she’d been born and raised.

All around her were trees. The narrow roads led off into long paved and unpaved driveways toward country houses that appeared lonely without closer neighbors.

They drove another few minutes, and then turned into one of the paved drives. Sienna caught her breath at the sight of Toron’s place. The word estate came to mind because of how much land that seemed to belong to him, including a big house and several smaller buildings at various points on the property. All of it said the man had money, which made her less inclined to have anything to do with him.

“We’re here,” Davon said, and she glared at him.

“No shit?”

Davon stepped from the car and held a hand out to her, but she used her own door to get out as the driver rushed to help. Sienna left the two of them standing there and headed for the entrance to the house. Let them fight over the luggage. She expected Toron to open the door when she reached it, but a beautiful woman did instead.

“Welcome, Sienna. I’m Stella.” She offered a smile that was anything but sincere and stepped back to let Sienna in.

“He was expecting you and Davon a couple hours ago as he likes to greet his couples personally, but an issue with work came up. He’ll join us for dinner later. Meanwhile, I’ll show you to your room.”

Sienna held up a finger. “First, we”—she waggled the finger back and forth between her and Davon—“are not a couple, and second, I hope you meant rooms because I am not sharing a bed with this man.”

Sienna didn’t know why Stella seemed disappointed in her announcement. Davon was not going to be linked to her all weekend. She didn’t care what these people’s ways were. If they thought they were going to lock her with him, they had another thought coming.

“No problem,” Stella pushed between clenched teeth.

“Follow me to your room, and someone can get one ready for Davon.”

Sienna followed the woman across the hall and up a curving staircase that was hardwood buffed to perfection.

Their heels clicked on the smooth surface and echoed across the wide-open space that extended straight up to the second level. Huge landscapes at least six feet tall hung on the walls, and a skylight brightened the lobby where she had come in. Sienna became even surer Toron rolled in the dough.

She turned her attention from the house’s décor and focused on the woman ahead of her. Who was Stella? Toron’s wife or girlfriend? She couldn’t imagine any other reason she would greet them, and she looked nothing like Toron, who was blond and big, while Stella’s auburn hair extended half way to her waist, adding to the rightness of her petit figure. This was the type of woman he probably would go for, the trophy wife. Thinking about it, Sienna shook herself. Not that it made any difference to her. Her concentration was reserved for the next steps in her plan, and a man did not enter into the equation.

Sienna settled in her room, still thinking about Toron and Stella, and then showered and changed her clothes. By the time she’d unpacked and done a little reading, it was time to go to dinner. She had no idea if the people here dressed up for the occasion, so she slipped into a simple mini dress, with a deep blue lower half, and white with tiny blue flowered bodice. A long solid blue cardigan, which reached her upper thighs, would keep her warm.

As she headed downstairs, her stomach knotted. Maybe Toron wasn’t as hot as she remembered. Maybe he didn’t tower over her, and his shoulders and arms were nothing special. Her fantasies were probably just that—fantasies— and the imposing presence he had was a figment of her imagination. Sienna had always admired how sexy some white men were, but she had never sampled any. Leaving it for nighttime dreaming was all she’d done, but a man like Toron could make a woman rethink that practice. At least her memory of him could.

Picking up voices from around the corner, she wrung her hands and slowed her pace. She’d never been the shy type, preferring to speak her mind no matter what anyone thought, but coming to this type of gathering marked a new experience. Every person in that room was a shifter.

Sienna halted and put a hand up to the wall. She drew in a breath and cursed herself for its shakiness.

When the shadows in the hall shifted, she peered up. Her fantasies were way off base. “Toron,” she murmured.

“Hello, Sienna.” Why the hell did he have to have such a deep, rumbling voice? The sound reverberated off the walls and made the hair on her arms rise. Authority—that’s all she could think to describe it as being, even if he didn’t issue a command. “It’s good to see you.”

“You too.” She chewed her bottom lip. Toron’s height of several inches over six feet, and his shoulders, which seemed to dwarf the hall , took her breath away. He must have come straight from a shower because his hair lay in wet ringlets about his head. On any other man, it might have appeared boyish, but on Toron, it added to his sexiness. Of course, she couldn’t ignore the eyes. Golden and piercing as if they looked into her soul, yet warm at the same time.

His eyes drew her in, and she’d stepped closer without realizing it. She forced herself to stop.

Toron smiled, revealing even white teeth, and held out his hand. “Will you join us? Everyone is waiting, and I don’t like keeping them hungry.”

A chill raced down her spine. Yeah, don’t deny the animals their food. Just the mention of it stirred her own appetite, but when she put her hand in his, the desire that roared to life had nothing to do with meat and everything to do with the beast standing before her.

For Toron's Pride
Chapter Two

Sienna raised her napkin to wipe her mouth. The delicious four-course meal satisfied her and the wine did the trick. Even though she almost never drank, she’d had two glasses to calm her nerves. Now that Toron sat at the opposite end of the table, she could think and take in the guests. The table sat twenty people easily, and every spot was taken. More women than men sat down to dinner, and Sienna wouldn’t have thought that was weird except that every one of them could scarcely take their eyes off Toron.

While Stella sat at his right side, he paid her no more attention than he did to the other women and to Sienna herself. His hands were bare, and Stella wore a few rings but no engagement or wedding band. The other women’s hands were bare as well, except for one woman, and from the way the man at her side fought for her attention along with the band on his ring finger, she guessed he was her husband. Sienna resisted the urge to stare at Toron. If he got off on women fall ing all over themselves for him, she wasn’t the one to join in. They could have at it.

“Is something wrong, Sienna?” Toron’s voice startled her from her thoughts.

“Um, no, it’s fine.” She dared a glance in his direction, and the same pull came over her. What was it about him?

“I don’t know if you know, Sienna,” Stella began in her condescending way of speaking. She placed a hand on Toron’s arm, a possessive move if ever Sienna saw one.

“Toron is the alpha of his pride, and as such, he is very powerful—and very appealing.”

“Meaning every heifer is after him?” Sienna asked with feigned innocence. Stella’s cheeks reddened, and so did most of the other women’s. Boy, was she not making friends. Sienna didn’t know when to bite her tongue, so she ducked her head and pretended an interest in the last of her steak. The truth was she was stuffed.

Toron laughed away the tension. “I admit it comes with the territory, my…appeal. I don’t mean to do it but…”

“Uh huh, whatever.” Sienna waved her fork in the air, giving the impression she didn’t care one way or another how he lived his life. He could kiss her ass. Of course thinking that brought wrong images to mind, and this time she did grind her teeth.

Davon grasped her hand and squeezed. “Sienna’s just not used to our ways. She’lll come around, and that’s what this weekend is about, isn’t it? Learning from our leader?”

Sienna tried not to gag. Apparently, the ass kissing wasn’t limited to the women. Even the men were wild about Toron. She glanced up through her lashes at the man who was head of who knows how many shifters and caught his gaze on Davon’s hand holding hers. For some reason,

Sienna didn’t want him thinking they were still a couple, so she jerked free of the clutch. What Toron Shaw thinks does not matter, damn it. Then again, it might be a good idea if he believed she wasn’t available.

Toron watched her a moment longer before he spoke.

“This all might seem a bit strange, but please understand that I love my people very much. Their safety and well-being is of number one importance to me above all else.” The women preened, and Toron continued. “I will do whatever it takes to be sure none suffer or is unhappy. That includes you.”

Sienna shredded her napkin in her lap.

“I am a natural. That means I was born a lion shifter,” he said, and her eyes widened.

BOOK: For Toron's Pride
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