Authors: Maria Amor
A PARANORMAL BILLIONAIRE ROMANCE
©2015 by Maria Amor
All rights reserved.
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About This Book
WereLion Robert Lowe has it all. He is Alpha of his Pride, CEO of a Billion dollar company and incredibly good looking too. He has conquered both the animal world and the business world and he is loving every minute of it.
He loves easy women, late night parties and the one night stands that inevitably come along with them.
However, he knows that one day he will have to give up his PlayLion lifestyle and settle down with a mate. His pride demands it.
He had no idea that day would end up being so soon....
When Robert attempted to seduce Olivia Price he was expecting another easy lay but he was taken aback by how different she was from other women. For the first time ever, Robert thinks he may have finally found a woman who could tame his PlayLion ways.
Has the Lion finally met his Lioness?
If only it were that simple....
Robert Lowe groaned at the sight of the pale, early-morning light as he climbed out of his car. Shaking his head, he had told himself more than once, before going out, that he was going to make it an early night. But as usual, that had fallen by the wayside.
“Thanks, Bill,” Robert said to the driver, closing the door heavily and walking towards his house.
He scrubbed at his face, knowing that there would be consequences for his bad choices. It was the weekend, so at least he didn’t have to go into the office, but he would be chastised anyway, he was sure. Robert fumbled for the keys to his front door and nearly dropped them before managing to slide the key into the slot. He wondered who would be the first call; would it be his mother—or one of the members of the Pride?
Robert closed the door behind him, asking himself—not for the first time—if it had been worth it. He smiled as he replayed the night’s events to himself. The blonde at the club had been entertaining; not enough to take her home, but enough to convince him to spend the rest of the night out when he had been on the cusp of deciding to go home, bored out of his mind.
Robert went into the kitchen and filled a glass of water. He could already feel the gathering pain and tension of an incipient hangover. The fallout of yet another all-night partying session would be bad enough without having to deal with the lingering effects of his drinking.
What had the blonde’s name been? Robert downed the water in three or four gulps, filling the glass again and looking around for the bottle of aspirin he kept over the sink
, he thought idly.
It had been Jessie.
He wondered if he had gotten her phone number; the night had become a blur. Robert pulled his phone out of his pocket as he sipped the second glass of water. Sure enough, there was her number, under “Jessie.”
He set his phone down and reached out for the bottle of aspirin. He palmed two tablets and knocked them back, drinking down the last of the water. Robert shook his head, smiling slightly, imagining Jessie in his mind. She had been petite; slim rather than curvy, but with so much energy, so much zeal that he had almost thought she might be on something—in spite of the fact that his highly sensitive nose couldn’t detect any scent of drugs in her perspiration or on her skin.
Robert set the glass down on the counter and slowly made his way towards his bedroom. Jessie had been cute. Unlike many women Robert met in the clubs when he went out, she hadn’t been wearing a dozen different scented products—he had been able to make out her natural, human scent underneath a thin layer of high-quality perfume and unscented deodorant.
It was nice: fresh, clean woman, with a faintly greenish undertone, like the woods after a hard rain. It mingled with the sweet citrusy smell of her perfume well enough that Robert had spent the entire night dancing, drinking, and talking to the girl.
It helped, of course, that she had no idea who he was. Robert was rarely recognized when he went out, though the press were quick enough to hound him at events. He had come into his father’s fortune, as well as his position as CEO of Lowe Freight Incorporated, only six months before. He rose to his father’s status as Alpha within a month after the man’s passing.
His family had always kept a relatively low profile socially. The fact of their existence, being something other than regular human beings, made it absolutely essential for them to hide in plain sight. So, Robert’s father had dealt with the situation -- the relentless digging that came along with wealth in the twenty-first century -- by maintaining a public profile that included generous philanthropy and plenty of appearances to mask the times that he was away.
As a younger man, Robert nearly botched his father’s efforts; so much so, that the rise to become Alpha of the Pride had been less than assured by the time the older Lowe died. He had to fight, and then banish, three members, all of them males, all of them of his generation; a fact that still bothered Robert. He knew that the remaining members of the Pride were less than confident in his ability to lead them, to be an effective Alpha male.
He also knew that most of them were not in a position to lead themselves. They didn’t have the wealth that he had, they didn’t have control of Lowe Freight, and they were not the boss—Robert was. They could, and did, exert a great deal of pressure on him, however.
In his bedroom, Robert stripped out of the suit he’d worn the night before and slipped down between the blankets on his bed, wishing not for the first time that he had somehow managed to let someone else take the great big honor of being the Alpha. He fought for his position because he knew it was what his father wanted for him, what his mother thought was best. It would be difficult to maintain control of the company he had inherited -- a company that employed more than half of the Pride --without being the Alpha.
As he curled up in bed, lacking even the energy to pull the blinds shut to block out the rising sun, Robert sighed. He would be in trouble with the elders of the Pride, and he knew it. The only question that remained was which of the elders would be the first to contact him. He fell into a deep sleep, pondering the question until his bone-deep fatigue claimed his thoughts.
Robert’s question was answered when the sound of his phone ringing woke him up out of his sleep a few hours later; entirely too soon for him to feel rested. He groaned as he reached for it, unable to remember how it had made the trek with him to come to rest on his bedside table.
Good habits. Or bad habits, depending on how you look at it,
he thought with a touch of bitterness.
Robert reached out for his phone blindly, more interested in stopping the ringing than in actually answering it; but he knew that no one, other than one of his employees or one of the members of his Pride, would call him so early in the morning on a weekend.
“Robert here,” he said, turning his face towards the pillow. He grimaced, feeling the dull throb in his temples in spite of the water he consumed to forestall the hangover he felt building up. He decided that it wasn’t the alcohol; it was the lack of sleep.
“I thought I would give you notice that I’m coming over, Robbie.” Robert stifled the groan that built up inside of him at the sound of his mother’s voice. He should have guessed that it would be her. Even the elders of the Pride would have waited until later in the day to get in touch with him for the purposes of reaming him over his late night.
“Mom, you really don’t have to,” Robert said. “I’m suffering enough already.”
“We need to have a conversation, Robert,” his mother said firmly. “I should be there in twenty minutes; that is enough time for you to get a quick shower and get dressed—unless you brought someone home with you.”
“No, Mom, I didn’t,” Robert said, sighing. “There’s no way out of this, is there?”
“Not a single method. Twenty minutes, Robert.” He heard the amusement in his mother’s voice and thought—hoped—that it might not be that bad. Maybe she would take it easy on him.
Robert pried himself out of his bed and put the phone aside, taking a deep breath as he made the small but daunting trek to his bathroom. The last thing he wanted at nine in the morning, the time confirmed by his phone, was a long talk with his mother, but he knew that there was no way around it.
Alice Lowe was going to speak her piece to him whether he was ready for her in twenty minutes or not. If he wasn’t showered and dressed, she would simply walk into his room and speak to him there. She was the one person in the Pride who could take such a liberty with the Alpha—but then, Robert thought wryly, the parents of monarchs around the world had the same level of freedom with their children, anointed sovereigns or not.
He had showered, brushed his teeth, and dressed in a pair of jeans and a tee shirt, by the time he heard his mother coming into the house. “I’ll make breakfast,” he called out, walking away from her. Maybe if he forestalled her disappointment, he could avoid the rough edge of his mother’s tongue.
“I’m surprised you’re hungry at all,” his mother countered, following him into the kitchen. “How much did you drink last night?”
“Enough. I wasn’t driving.” Robert took down a skillet.
“It’s not fitting for an Alpha to avoid making eye contact,” his mother said. Robert heard her sitting down at the table, heard the creak of the chair beneath her. He closed his eyes for a moment and stopped in the midst of his busy preparations. She was right, of course; as the Alpha, he should be the embodiment of confidence—not avoiding his own mother’s gaze. He sighed and turned to face her.
“Speak your piece,” he said, leaning against the counter. His mother smiled slightly, looking him up and down.
“You got in when—maybe five in the morning?”
Robert shrugged. He hadn’t really kept track of what time it was. He didn’t really want to know.
“It was dawn,” he admitted, holding her gaze. He knew that he resembled his mother in some respects more than his father. While Robert had his father’s thick, medium-brown hair and the accompanying widow’s peak hairline, he had inherited his mother’s bright eyes and some of her bone structure, the soft look to her lips.
“You need to find a mate.” Alice Lowe held up a hand to prevent interruption. “There are members of the Pride who doubt you, Robbie. And you have no one to bequeath the business to if you…” She paused, pressing her lips together. “If something happens to you.”
“I’m in my twenties,” Robert countered. “You’ve got access to my medical records, Mom—it’s not like you don’t know that I’m healthy as a horse.”
His mother’s lips turned down in a disapproving frown.
“You broke your arm four months ago jumping out of a plane.” Alice crossed her arms over her chest, pinning him down with her gaze. “And before your father passed away, you nearly broke your back doing…what was it again? Mountain biking?”
“I haven’t even been in a plane or on a bike in two months,” Robert told her firmly. “I’m not taking any chances with my life.”
“You are if you think that no one’s going to challenge you again, just because you banished three members of the Pride,” Alice countered. “The elders are starting to get restless. They might let Al or even Gary challenge you if you don’t find someone soon.”
“What do you think I’m doing, going out? I’m meeting people.”
Alice frowned. “And just what has your success rate been, in terms of finding anyone you’re interested in mating with?”
Robert fought the urge to look away.
“You know it’s different,” he said slowly. “You know, you and Dad were a totally different thing.” Their marriage, and their mating, had been an arrangement; their genetics and their pheromones compared before they even met each other.
“What’s wrong with talking to the matchmakers? There are lots of eligible women.”
Robert shook his head. “I just…I don’t want to do it that way. I want to find my mate on my own.”
“But you do want to find a mate?”
Robert hesitated for a moment before nodding. “If it’s going to get you and the rest of the Pride off my back, yes, I do want to find a mate.”
He sighed. He had hoped that he could have a little more freedom, a little more time to enjoy his life before it was time to settle down and start trying for children. Robert knew that he had a responsibility to the Pride—a responsibility that every member had, but which fell even more heavily on him as the Alpha.
But at twenty-six, he was not ready. He didn’t want to give up the freedom just yet to go out, have fun, and decide whether or not he wanted to go home with some girl he had met.
“I think I’ll stay for breakfast,” his mother said, smiling, “before I go speak to the elders. God knows, I’ll need something in my stomach before dealing with them.”
Olivia had known from the moment that she’d shaken the man’s hand, that Alexander Brooke, hiring manager for the publicity department of Lowe Freight, didn’t like her. She’d hoped that she could improve on the initial judgment, but she had spent the interview feeling off-balance, nonetheless.
She graduated from college three months before, and she knew that her resume was at least as good as that of any other person contending for the job. She had done prestigious internships with some of the best firms managing clients that were every bit as valuable as Lowe Freight.
Before she met the hiring manager, she had been confident; the HR department member who conducted her phone interview was complimentary, the questions were easy to answer—in part because Olivia drilled her answers into her mind with repeat practice, and she thought that the in-person interview would be as much of a slam-dunk as the phone interview.
Brooke had come into the lobby like a man looking for an argument. “Is the next candidate here, Olivia Price? Or is she running late?” he asked the receptionist, loudly enough for Olivia to hear him. She took a deep breath to restrain her instinctive anger at the assumption and stood, fixing the most polite smile she could manage, firmly on her face.
“I’m here,” she said, keeping her voice carefully level.
“Ms. Price arrived ten minutes ago,” the receptionist said lowly, giving Olivia a sympathetic glance with her face turned away from Brooke.
“Come on back then, this won’t take long.” Olivia swallowed down the retort that was forming on her tongue, took another deep breath, and approached the man.