Lessons in Purrsuasion: BBW Paranormal Werelion Surprise Pregnancy Mob Romance (Chicago Catastrophe) (9 page)

BOOK: Lessons in Purrsuasion: BBW Paranormal Werelion Surprise Pregnancy Mob Romance (Chicago Catastrophe)
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Sixteen
Stone


S
elina
, no. There are two of them, we can’t risk it.”

She was already opening her door.

“Either I run out into the street right now in front of Parker’s apartment, or you step on it and we follow them,” she threatened.

“Don’t think I won’t do it,” she added when he hesitated.

Stone muttered a curse under his breath as he started the car.

“Fine, but we are only going to follow, nothing more.”

Damn stubborn woman.

Selina closed the door with a satisfied smile.

Stone stayed well behind, making sure to not tip the tigers off. They made several stops and he noted down the addresses for all of them. Selina kept her eyes on Tom the whole time, fingers digging into her seat.

Finally, the driver pulled up to an old storefront in a more quiet part of town. Tom went inside as the other man remained in the car. Selina looked at Stone excitedly.

“This is our shot!”

“There is no shot! We don’t know when Tom is going to come back out. When he returns to find his driver missing, you bet he’s going to know something’s up.”

There were too many things that could go wrong and Stone was not willing to endanger Selina. Not for this. Not for anything.

“He just went in! I go and walk past the driver, he sees me and gets out, you go for a surprise attack. Then we wait for Tom and nab him, too.”

“Look, Selina, I know you’re anxious to…”

Before he could finish his sentence, Selina was already out of the car and running toward the abandoned-looking building, Stone’s hand grabbing for where her wrist had just been. She must have opened the door even before the car came to a stop.

If Stone started running after her, that would definitely draw the driver’s attention and he could call for reinforcements.

Goddamnit woman!
Stone thought, gritting his teeth and gripping the steering wheel so hard it squeaked under his hands.

He watched as Selina slowed down as she got to the car, looking around nervously. She passed the driver quickly, not wanting to be too obvious. Stone could see the man’s demeanor change as he took a deep breath. The man got out of the car.

“Hey, you there!” the driver called out.

Selina turned around, giving him a good look at her face. Stone ducked down in the car as Selina started running towards it. Tom’s driver gave chase, catching up with Selina in the alley where the Ford was parked.

“Nowhere to run. Come with me, no need to fight,” Stone heard him tell Selina.

Stone jumped out of the car and leapt at the man, landing on top of him when the guy hit the pavement. Selina was already busy opening the trunk and getting out the duct tape and zip-ties.

Stone’s fist connected with the struggling man’s temple. He went limp immediately, eyes rolling in the back of his head. Stone patted down his pockets, finding nothing.

“Oh my god, we actually did it,” Selina whispered excitedly, handing Stone the zip-ties.

Her excitement was cute, in a way. And entirely foolhardy, too.

Selina helped secure him and Stone shoved him in the trunk.

Now onto the real prize.

He could see Selina’s hands shake with adrenaline as he gave her the instructions.

“If you stand near the car, that’s the first thing he’ll notice, not that the driver is missing or that there’s a faint scent of lion on the air. I’ll be right around the corner, ready to take him down. You can do this.”

He put his hands on her shoulders for a moment, looking into her mesmerizing hazel eyes before he drew back. The urge to kiss her was overwhelming and he knew that if he gave into it, then Tom would be the furthest thing from his mind.

Selina nodded and rushed to take her place near Tom’s Audi. Stone stayed out of sight but kept his eyes on her. Minutes ticked by and he could tell Selina was growing more nervous by the minute. He was tempted to pull the plug on the whole thing when the building’s door swung open. Tom strode out, chatting with an unknown man.

Shit, he’s not alone.

Tom’s eyes flew to Selina right away and the other man seemed to recognize her as well. Stone shot out from his hiding place, barreling into the men. The stranger shifted right under him, bursting into a large tiger, teeth snapping at Stone’s neck. Tom got on his feet and grabbed hold of Selina, dragging her towards his car.

The tiger’s muzzle was inches from Stone’s face as he struggled to keep sharp teeth from his jugular. He managed to get a knee up between him and the animal, shoving it back. That bought him the time he needed to let the change take over.

Stone’s lion roared to life, shaking its dark brown mane and wearing a vicious snarl. He glanced at Selina, who was planting her feet near the car, tugging at the arm Tom was gripping. She stopped for a second to stare at Stone, before pulling her free arm back and socking Tom straight in the jaw.

Good girl
, Stone’s insides rumbled.

The tiger advanced, paws swiping and tearing at Stone’s flesh. Stone jumped up and struggled free, raking his claws down the tiger’s face in the process. Both the tiger and the lion lashed out in a flurry of huge paws and sharp claws. Stone managed to break through the tiger’s defenses, sinking his teeth into the animal’s scruff. The large cat roared in pain but Stone didn’t let up, tearing and shaking until his opponent fell to the ground.

From the street behind him Stone could hear a car door slam, followed by Selina’s shout.

“Stone!”

She sounded desperate. There was no way he was going to let Tom take her back to Parker. He let go of the tiger’s scruff, only to quickly chomp down on its neck instead, crushing the windpipe.

Stone turned to see Selina struggling with Tom in the car. With a roar, he leapt on the hood, swiping his paws on the windshield. Tom pulled out a gun, stilling both him and Selina. He aimed it at her temple, wagging a disparaging finger at Stone with his other hand.

Stone backed away, unable to make a move without putting Selina’s life in danger. Tom started the car, grinning the whole time. Selina’s eyes were wide and shiny, she was staring at Stone through the cracked windshield with unmistakable terror.

I’ve failed her!

Stone let out a thundering roar. How could he have been so stupid? He should have never even let her be a part of this plan. This was one mistake he would never forgive himself for.

Tom took off. Stone paced in place for a second, before coming to a decision. Whatever the danger, he had to follow. He couldn’t let Tom get away with this. He knew that if Selina were here, she would tell him to go for it. She would rather risk injury than go back to Parker, that’s for sure.

Stone used his predatory speed to get back to his car, only shifting back at the last minute before getting in. Tires screeching, he flew after Tom, determined to catch up. He could see him stopped at an upcoming traffic light. To his advantage, Tom didn’t know what Stone’s car looked like.

Weaving through traffic, he managed to pull up next to the driver’s side of Tom’s car. Stone yanked the wheel abruptly, slamming his car into Tom’s. Glass shattered and metal screeched as the whole frame of Tom’s car shook and groaned. Stone could see his red hair flying around before smashing against the wheel.

Selina ran out of the passenger side, a small gash on her forehead but looking otherwise unharmed. Stone jumped out, not bothering to fight the urge to wrap his arms around her. Only when bystanders were starting to gather did he let go.

“I’m so sorry,” he murmured into her hair.

“I’m okay,” she whispered in return.

They pulled apart and Selina ran a hand over his cheek.

“Are you alright? That fight back there looked pretty intense.”

“Am I alright?” Stone scoffed. “I got you taken again.”

“But we did it. Despite everything, we came out on top. We got them.”

They did seem to be a good team, he’ll give her that.

Stone reached inside the wreck of a car and pulled out an unconscious Tom. A cell phone fell out of his pocket and Selina grabbed it.

“Should we take it with us?” she asked.

“It might come in handy. Just be sure to turn it off so they can’t trace it back to us,” Stone replied, already securing Tom and getting ready to shove him in the backseat. The guy in the trunk probably wasn’t having the greatest time, but that didn’t really concern Stone.

He had managed to get Selina back. That was all that mattered. They got in the car and peeled off, just as sirens were starting to blare in the distance.

Stone made it to Kate’s in record time and handed the car over to the security guys posted outside. By Kate’s instructions, the two Crimson Claws members were escorted to the basement for interrogation. Stone was more than ready to use all the tactics at his disposal to make the men talk.

But first, he had promised to fill Kate in. Selina trailed behind, keeping her distance. Kate was pacing in the living room when they walked in, looking noticeably paler and sterner than usual.

“What’s wrong?” Stone immediately asked.

“I just got a call from Parker Reeves. He wants to hire me to kill you.”

Seventeen
Selina


H
e wants to what
?” Selina exclaimed, eyes darting from Kate to Stone with rising panic.

“You said ‘yes’, right?” Stone asked Kate, ignoring Selina’s outburst.

“Of course,” she replied. “I’m meeting him later tonight to discuss the details.”

Selina felt like she had fallen through a portal straight into Bizarro World.

“I’m guessing you’re not going to
actually
kill Stone?” she asked, gathering her bearings.

Kate crossed her arms and glared at Stone. Selina was starting to feel more and more invisible in this conversation.

“After the mess he’s gotten me into, I have to say I was considering it for a moment.”

She got the distinct feeling the woman wasn’t exactly kidding.

“Do you think he knows you’ve been helping us?”

Kate had helped her, out of whatever kindness was left in her heart. The thought of Kate putting herself in danger because of it was almost unbearable.

“Parker? Sure, he could be toying with me, luring me into a trap. Or he could just be pissed his men aren’t getting the job done and wants some extra help, just in case,” Kate answered, tapping her chin with a manicured nail.

Selina wasn’t convinced. Even in the ruthless world of murder for hire, past relationships had to mean something.

“Come on, you guys used to date. Why would he hire you of all people?”

“No one knows about that except Kate’s inner circle. We were very careful. Save for the one job we did together, there should be no trace of us as anything more than polite colleagues,” Stone interjected.

The thought of Kate and Stone sneaking around, a torrid little love affair, struck a sour note inside Selina. She looked at his imposing frame, his chiseled cheekbones, his full lips and couldn’t help but feel possessive.

Did he use to kiss her as passionately as he did me?
she wondered before returning her attention to the conversation at hand.

“And I
am
the best in town,” Kate continued, clearly offended that part hadn’t already been mentioned.

“If just one person in the Crimson Claws happened to see you together, if just one person on your security team opened his mouth when he shouldn’t have… It’s too dangerous,” Selina turned to Kate with pleading eyes.

Since when had she become the voice of reason in this crazy trio? Kate seemed to put a lot of trust in her men, but Selina had no way of knowing if it was justified or not.

Isn’t it better to be safe than sorry?

Kate spread her hands with an exasperated sigh.

“I have no other choice but to go, anything else would look suspicious. He’s willing to put up a lot of money and he’s a top-ranking lieutenant in one of the city’s most powerful organizations. There is no conceivable reason to not take the job.”

Selina couldn’t argue with that logic.

“Kate, I’m so…” Stone started, walking towards Kate.

She held up an annoyed hand at him.

“Please, spare me. I knew what I was getting myself into when the two of you stumbled in here like a pair of lost kittens.”

Stone bristled, looking less than pleased at being referred to as a kitten. He was
this
close to pouting, and Selina found it utterly adorable. Kate continued on, unperturbed by his outburst.

“I may kill people for a living, but I still know right from wrong. Besides, I’m not exactly helpless,” she huffed.

Stone crossed his arms, considering her for a moment with a furrowed brow.

“I know. But you’ll be unarmed in a room full of shifters.”

Selina felt nauseated. Sure, Kate kept insisting she was a badass assassin, but all Selina saw when she looked at her was a slender, dainty woman who couldn’t possible fight off a tiger on her own, let alone more than that.

Everyone kept risking their lives for her, when she didn’t really deserve it. Her family had to leave their business and their homes. All the while, she had the power to stop all of this right now.

“I’ll give myself to him,” she blurted out, eyes downcast.

Even saying the words made disgust swirl in her stomach, but if it meant keeping everyone she cared about safe…

Two sets of eyes flew to her immediately. She looked up to see Kate’s mouth hanging open. Stone looked like he was about to throttle someone, fists balled and lips curled in a snarl.

“No!” he shouted, emerald eyes ablaze.

Even when he was furious, she couldn’t help but be drawn to him. She knew he could be dangerous, but he wasn’t dangerous to
her
.

“I can’t let Kate walk into a potential trap because of me. I can’t keep letting you put your life on the line and my family can’t keep hiding forever,” Selina said, trying to rationalize with him.

She could see it wasn’t working.

“You were with him for a few days and you still have nightmares about him. Now you’re willing to spend your whole life with that monster?” Stone demanded, stepping forward until they were only inches apart.

He seemed to stare right into her soul. It should have been unsettling, but instead, all she wanted to do was get lost in those clear, green pools and never think of Parker ever again.

“It’s not about what I want,” Selina answered softly.

Kate strode up to her next, looking downright scary. It seemed her suggestion hadn’t exactly won anyone over. Selina actually shied back a little.

“No, it’s not, it’s also about what we want. You were the one giving Stone a hard time for making decisions for you, you little hypocrite.”

Selina groaned internally.

Was that Kate’s nickname for her now?

“And now you’re doing the same to us. There’s a good chance Parker legitimately wants to hire me. If we play our cards right, this could actually be a good thing. There’s no need to martyr yourself just yet.”

Selina wanted to argue, but Stone picked up where Kate left off.

“If you give yourself over to him, you are just showing everyone that the Crimson Claws can take whatever they want and whoever they want. Isn’t that the exact opposite message your family wanted to send by not giving into their demands for protection money? And how do you think they’ll feel when they hear you’ve made yourself into a psychopath’s sex toy on their account?” he thundered.

Stone’s words were sharp, but she needed to hear them. Turning herself over to Parker would only set a dangerous precedent and wouldn’t do anyone any good in the long run. She needed to trust that Stone and Kate knew what they were doing and could make their own decisions.

Tears sprung to her eyes, mostly because she was moved by how these people she only just met felt so strongly about her, about keeping her safe even if she wouldn’t. But also because she was relieved she didn’t have to get used to the idea of Parker’s hands on her, or having his babies.

“Okay,” she whispered. “We’ll do it your way.”

For now.

“Damn right,” Stone muttered under his breath.

Kate plunked down on one of the couches and let out a long sigh.

Some of the tension had left Stone’s body, but Selina could still hear a faint growl rumble in his chest as he stalked the room, looking more and more like a caged big cat. She watched him sheepishly, catching herself enjoying the way his body moved despite the anger evident in him.

“Now that we’ve got that settled, can we get on with coming up with a plan?” he asked, taking a seat next to Kate and avoiding looking at Selina.

She thought she could see a hint of gold peeking out from under his lashes.

Selina sunk into a nearby armchair, wiping away tears and willing herself into being brave. They were going to come up with a plan and it was going to work. And she was going to stop having outbursts, good or bad.

“I can’t go into the building with you, but I can still be your backup,” Stone said to Kate, voice still a little growly.

And entirely too sexy.

“How?” she asked, but her smile told Selina she already had an idea of what Stone was talking about.

He spread out on the couch, a dangerous glint in his eye and Selina had to stop herself from getting up and jumping in his lap to take full advantage of it. The pull he had on her was bordering on ridiculous at this point and her emotionally raw state only magnified it.

“I still have some Navy buddies that owe me a favor or two. We’ll get you a microphone, something small enough that even if they search you, they won’t find it. I’ll be listening not far away, ready to jump in if anything goes south.”

“You won’t have the element of surprise this time. He knows how you operate now,” Kate warned, grey eyes narrowing.

“That’s why Stone is going to take me with him. If anything goes wrong, I’m a great distraction. I’m betting no one from Parker’s crew could resist running after me,” Selina said confidently.

She could see a muscle tick in Stone’s jaw, but he didn’t say anything. Instead, he got up and turned to Kate.

“I’m going to go get what we need. I’m going to need another car.”

Selina jumped up as well, suddenly nervous again.

“What if someone has spotted Stone in one of your cars?” she asked Kate, alarmed.

“What kind of an operation do you think I run here? None of the cars here can be traced back to me,” she replied, managing to sound only mildly condescending.

* * *

S
elina spent
the hours leading up to the meeting with Parker pacing and worrying. Stone came and went, assuring her he was using back roads and hidden entrances in case they were being watched. Tom and his driver were still in the basement with Kate’s security guys keeping a close eye on them.

Kate appeared in the living room where Selina was already waiting in a cloud of Chanel No. 5, wearing a skintight light pink dress, hair in her signature curls. The outfit definitely didn’t leave room for any weapons.

She looked less and less like a scary assassin and more like a suburban Barbie every time Selina saw Kate. In a way, Selina was sure that it was a part of Kate’s skillset, to look as unthreatening as possible.

Selina guessed the over-enthusiastically applied perfume was to mask any scents she might have been carrying. She had already heard Kate take a very long shower beforehand.

“That must be one tiny microphone,” Selina remarked, keeping her distance.

Kate laughed, tapping her chest.

“It’s hidden under the edge of my bra. Very powerful, you guys should be able to hear every whisper.”

“Shouldn’t we have a safe word so we know if you’re in trouble? Like ‘pineapples’ or something?” Selina asked, suddenly recalling every action movie she had ever seen.

It sounded ridiculous when she said it, but the idea itself had to have some merit, because Kate didn’t laugh her out of the room.

“Maybe something a little less conspicuous,” Kate smirked before considering it for a moment.

“If I ask to use the bathroom, you come running in. How’s that sound?”

Selina nodded, before getting up and heading to the garage to meet up with Stone. Her heart beat heavily in her chest when she entered the large space, but Stone barely took note of her. He was still a bundle of tightly wound nerves and his body language told Selina all she needed to know.

As far as Stone seemed to be concerned, Selina should be tied up and left home with seven armed guards standing over her. The last thing he must have wanted was her to be put in the path of any kind of possible danger again.

Tough luck. I’m going to help in any way I can,
she thought.

They were going to arrive early to set up and stake the place out. Stone handed her a laptop before picking a black SUV with tinted windows as their ride for the evening.

“It’ll be fine,” he told her, but he didn’t sound particularly convincing.

Selina climbed in, hands sweating and bile rising in her throat.

Kate is going to be fine. Right?

BOOK: Lessons in Purrsuasion: BBW Paranormal Werelion Surprise Pregnancy Mob Romance (Chicago Catastrophe)
11.75Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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