Authors: Lizzie Lynn Lee


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Lizzie Lynn Lee




Rose Meyers, a struggling single mother of two, stumbles upon an unconscious man on her way home from an interview for a waitressing job. She calls for help and accompanies the handsome stranger to the hospital. When the man recovers, he’s impressed with the way that Rose handled the emergency and he offers her a job at his private investigation firm.

Joseph Sandford is a PI with a big secret. He is a former black-ops soldier whose DNA has been altered and combined with lion’s, making it possible for him to shift into beast form at will. The project was terminated when one of the subjects went rogue and killed half of the staff and scientists. Now, Joe and others like him live in hiding.

It doesn’t take long for Rose to fall hard for her hot new boss, but Rose is also concerned about him; he comes to the office battered and bruised and acts like nothing is wrong. Out of impulse, she tails Joe to find out what he’s up to and gets more than she bargains for…

Joe wonders what he’s doing when he hires Rose on a whim. Perhaps it’s the undeniable attraction he feels for his curvy new secretary, or maybe it’s something else. He tries to maintain professionalism between them but when Rose snoops too close to his secret, he just loses it. If a pair of handcuffs can’t keep her in line, maybe his lion can…


First Edition 2016

©Copyright Lizzie Lynn Lee March 2016

Cover Art by (Lizzie Lynn Lee) ©Copyright (May/2016)

Edited by LinnieSarah Helpern

Proofread by Cassie Hess Dean



This book contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author.


This is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents and dialogues in this book are of the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is completely coincidental.


Table of Contents:




Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Join Lizzie’s Mailing List

About the Author

Preview from Animalistic




Chapter One





Just as she was backing out of the cafe, Rose tripped over the doorstep and had to scramble to find her balance— she failed, and landed with a splash in a puddle of what she hoped was just water.
Jesus H. Christ.
She looked up to see the manager of the café watching her with a bemused expression.
, she thought, so much for that great interview.
If I can’t even walk without tripping, I doubt they’re going to trust me with a tray full of food and drinks.

She shot the manager a sheepish smile as she got up off the pavement and shrugged as she turned to hurry away down the street, her cheeks burning with embarrassment. She was beginning to think that Cleveland was cursed, or that maybe it was just her. Rose sighed and looked down dolefully at the mud drying on her taupe kitten heels. They were the last hold-outs from her former life as a high-powered information technology specialist in Silicon Valley. Now there was nothing left to remind her of what she used to be, of how successful she had once been. This was turning out to be just the cherry on top of a terrible, terrible year.

“Damn it,” she swore under her breath, biting her lip to hold back the tears that had been fighting to break free ever since the big move. But Rose wasn’t someone who cried easily, and even though everything else in her life had changed recently, she wasn’t about to give in to her emotions now. So she stood there for a moment with her eyes tightly closed, taking a long, slow, deep breath and trying to remember why she had come here in the first place.

It wasn’t her fault that she’d been toppled from her position of power and comfort. It was his—her cheating, lying, thieving ex-husband Brent. Anyone should have seen the divorce coming from a mile away; they had gotten married too young to begin with... high-school sweethearts. Meant to be. But as they grew older, the stress of becoming parents and balancing between work and home life drove them apart.

Rose shook her head in annoyance as she trudged off towards the bus stop, remembering how angry Brent was that his little wife was more successful than he was. He couldn’t stand the fact that she made more money than he did, that she received repeated commendations while he toiled at a dead-end job. She tried to be the dutiful wife, assuring him that she didn’t mind being the main breadwinner and that his big break would definitely come sooner than later. She tried to be encouraging and supportive; playing down her successes to spare his pride, but he just couldn’t bear the idea that he was playing second fiddle to a woman. Brent complained that she was emasculating him, making him look bad in front of all his peers. Rose would nod silently, and began to resent him more and more.

It was a fight that raged on for years and ended disastrously. She counted her lucky stars that she had gotten sole custody of her two young daughters.

Rose slumped down onto a bench at the bus stop, looking up at the dark clouds knitting together overhead.
Aww crap.
“Please don’t rain, please don’t rain,” she murmured fervently.

Just then, a rumble of distant thunder rolled, and a soft mist of rain began to fall.

“Wonderful,” Rose groaned, fumbling in her purse for an umbrella. She opened it and held it above her head, watching the potholes in the road slowly fill with water.

She took out her cell phone and stared at the lock screen background. It was a candid photo of her daughters, laughing as they built a sandcastle at the beach. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and the girls looked so blissfully happy. Rose wanted to dive into the photo and live there instead, forever carefree in paradise with her little girls. But instead, she tucked her phone back into her purse and looked around sadly at the gray, dreary surroundings of Cleveland, Ohio. Her wealthy friends back in San Francisco had begged her to stay with them and just crash at one of their massive houses until she could find her footing again. She had lost the house in the divorce settlement, along with most of her savings. Brent had bled her for as much money as he could, seeking revenge on her for years of being better than him, always a step ahead.

Therefore, she had settled on an incredibly difficult, but necessary decision: to move to Cleveland. This city was a far cry from the San Francisco bay area, and Rose knew it would be an immense lifestyle change for all three of them.

They’d packed up what little they had left and jumped on a flight to Cleveland to move in with her retired parents. Luckily, Rose’s parents were more than happy to share their home, and were delighted to finally get some quality time with their granddaughters. And Rose had just enough of her savings left to sustain them for the time being.

But time was quickly running out. And so was the money.

“Where’s that damn bus?” Rose wondered aloud, peering up and down the street.

She checked the time on her phone, annoyed. It was already four in the afternoon. The rain was starting to pick up a little, and Rose finally got tired of waiting. So she got up to start walking. She couldn’t stand to wait for the bus any longer. Besides, a brisk walk through the rain just might clear her head a bit. Or at least let her burn off some of her nervous energy.

After walking a few blocks, the bus drove right by her on its way to the bus stop where she’d just been waiting, dousing her legs with a splash of dirty street water in the process. She swiveled around and stared open-mouthed after it, unable to believe how bad her luck had soured as of late.

“Seriously?” she shouted, waving her arm. But of course the bus didn’t stop, and Rose was left standing on the sidewalk, soaked from the knees down. She groaned in frustration and continued walking, fuming to herself.

But suddenly, she was distracted from her fury by a strange sight out of the corner of her eye. She stopped short and squinted quizzically at a strange, large heap of tattered clothing poking out from behind a dumpster in a nearby alley. Rose’s heart raced, but she couldn’t stop herself from walking over to check it out.

“What the hell,” she mumbled as she approached, realizing it was a human body.

A man.

Whose clothes were rumpled and torn in places.

Whose face had a streak of what had to be blood down one cheek.

Rose stumbled back at first, covering her mouth in horror. What if he was dead? Shaking, she reached for her phone to call 911, but then the man groaned.

He was alive!

Before she could think better of it, Rose crouched down beside him and looked him over, reaching out for his arm to search for a pulse. Pressing two fingers to the inside of his wrist, she closed her eyes and counted.
One-two. One-two.
It was there, but terribly, dangerously faint.

Just then, the man’s hand grasped hold of
wrist and she cried out, trying to jerk her arm away. But his grip was tight, almost desperate, and he wouldn’t let go. His lips parted, trying to speak, but no sound came out. He was simply too weak. She wondered what the hell had happened to him, who had left him in such a wretched state, alone and unconscious in a filthy alleyway. Rose felt a surge of sympathy for him.

But she couldn’t turn him away, even if he had let go of her hand. Not now. She had to save him somehow. Rose dropped her umbrella, pulled out her cell phone with her free hand, and began dialing 911.

“Hello, 911 operator. What is your emergency?” asked the voice on the other end of the line.

Rose was so unsettled by the whole affair that at first she struggled to speak. She was finally able to focus her eyes on the man’s face, and he was startlingly, unexpectedly handsome. Rose blinked down at him in shock.

The 911 dispatcher sighed and repeated, “Hello? What is your emergency?”

“I’m s-sorry, I’m here,” Rose stammered into the phone.

“Okay, ma’am. What is your name?”

“R-Rose Meyers. There’s a man in an alley. He looks bad—I, uh, found a pulse but it’s weak. Oh god, I hope he’s not dying,” she replied, her voice trembling.

“Stay on the line, ma’am. What is your location?”

Rose scrambled to describe where they were, being new to the city. She hastily gave the closest cross-street she could recall and explained, “We’re in an alley off the street. A few blocks down from the bus stop. Please hurry. There’s blood on his face…”

“Yes, ma’am. An ambulance has been dispatched to your location. Please remain on the scene until they arrive if at all possible. Are you injured or in danger, as well?”

“N-no, I’m alright,” Rose answered, shaking her head.

The man on the ground breathed shallowly, the blood smear glistening on his cheek. His fingers were still curled tightly around Rose’s hand, like something in his unconscious mind had forced him to hold onto her. She knew what it felt like to be abandoned and left out in the rain, at least metaphorically, and she was determined to stay with him until he was safe.

A few minutes later, Rose heard the welcome wail of an approaching ambulance. The white emergency vehicle pulled over and a team of paramedics jumped out of the back, bolting down the alley toward Rose and the mystery man.

“Oh, thank God!” she shouted, relieved. The guy on the ground certainly did not look good, and she had been terrified that he might die holding her hand.

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