When An Alpha Purrs(2)

By: Eve Langlais


“We are the largest importer of meat in the world.”

Her shoulders lifted in a shrug. “I don’t check the label to see who brings me my steak. I just eat it.”

“What about our chain of restaurants? A Lion’s Pride Steakhouses.”

“Those I’ve heard of. Decent, I hear, but overpriced. I can get a bigger plate of food at LongHorn. And according to my girlfriends, the male waiters are cuter too.”

For once, Arik found himself at a loss for words. His lion on the other hand? His mane was definitely ruffled—and itching.

Arik had already gone two weeks longer than usual for this haircut because of an overseas business trip. Time to get back to his highest priority. “How long until Dominic is back?”

“A week, maybe two. I told him to take his time. Granddad doesn’t often take time off, and he’s getting up there in years.”

A few weeks? He’d look like a wildebeest if he waited that long. “That’s no good. I need a cut. Are there any male barbers available?”

“Afraid to let a girl touch your precious hair?” She smirked. “I can peek at the schedule and see if we can squeeze you in this afternoon.”

“I don’t have time to come back. I need it done now.”

Usually when he used the word now, people jumped to do his bidding. She, on the other hand, shook her head.

“Not happening, unless you’ve changed your mind and are willing to let me cut it.”

“You’re a hairdresser.”

“Exactly.”

“I want a barber.”

“Same thing.”

Said the girl without a Y chromosome. “I think I’ll wait.”

Arik turned away from her, only to freeze as she muttered, “Pussy.”

If she only knew how right she was. But, of course, she didn’t mean the feline version.

Pride made him pivot back. “You know what. On second thought, you may cut my hair.”

“How gracious of you, Your Majesty.” She sketched him a mock bow.

Not funny, even if accurate. He glared in reply.

“I see someone’s too uptight for a sense of humor.”

“I greatly enjoy comedy, when I hear it.”

“Sorry if my brand of sarcasm is too simple for you to understand, big guy. Now, if you’re done, sit down so we can get this over with and send you and your precious hair back to your office.”

A woman giving him orders? Not uncommon when a male lived surrounded by them. But actually obeying, that was new – and in this case, unavoidable.

Head held regally high, Arik took the proffered seat, putting his back to the female, but he could still watch her in the mirror and track her by scent. Coconut lotion, fabric softener, and musky woman. All woman.

My woman. Want to taste.

His lion grumbled in hunger. Odd because Arik had eaten a hearty breakfast, even wrestling his beta, Hayder, for the last two pieces of bacon.

The hairdresser swirled a fabric cape around his upper body, swathing him in protection against snipped tickly bits. So far the same as usual, except Dominic’s mere presence never had Arik’s body so aware. The light touch of her fingers at his nape as she fastened the Velcro closure caused all the hairs on his body to stiffen. And they weren’t the only thing standing at attention.

Before he could wonder at his reaction, she withdrew her hand and busied herself with her tray of instruments. Razor, scissors, brush, comb. But forget the manly black colors a barber would use. Her tools were pink and black, zebra striped.

The indignity of it. He almost said something but held his tongue, only because he could see her watching and waiting for it in the mirror. As if he’d give her the satisfaction. This cat held his own tongue—for now.

The hairdresser sifted her fingers through his long strands, lifting and studying the various layers Dominic usually cut into it. Unlike many businessmen, Arik preferred to keep his golden mane somewhat long. Funny how many of his lovers had told him it gave him a leonine appearance—if only they knew the truth.

“How much are we taking off?”

As little as possible, given he still didn’t trust her. “About a half inch or so. Just even up the ends.” That should tide him over until Dominic returned.

“Are you sure?” She frowned at his crown, as she held long strands up. “You look like you could use at least two inches off, if not more.”

How did she know? Arik usually kept his mane to a civilized length that just touched the top of his collar.

“I’m sure.”

“You know, a man your age really should have a more mature cut. The shaggy surfer style is more suited to young guys.”

He dug his fingers into the armrest and fought not to growl. “I like my hair like this.”