When An Alpha Purrs(3)

By: Eve Langlais


“Suit yourself. I was just saying you’d look better with a shorter cut.”

Shave his precious mane? Never! “Do you always argue with your clients?”

Her eyes met his in the mirror, and he wasn’t surprised to see a smile lurking at the corners of her lips. “Only when they’re wrong.”

That surprised a bark of laughter from him. Despite his irritation with the situation, and her outspoken nature, he grudgingly liked Dominic’s granddaughter. “Very well. You may cut it a little shorter than a half inch. But not much shorter. I do not want to end up scalped.”

“For a man your age and in your position, you are way too obsessed with your hair,” she muttered as she bound sections of his mane with hairclips. Not exactly his most manly look.

Arik kept a close watch for anyone with a camera or cell phone. Dare to take a pic and he’d probably go furry.

Okay, he wouldn’t go furry in public, but he sure as hell would extract retribution. CEOs of billion-dollar corporations had an image to maintain, and pink hair clips holding his hair at crazy angles didn’t exactly fit it.

“How come I’ve never met you before?” Dominic had paraded a great number of his children and grandchildren through his barber shop over the years.

Attention focused on her hands, which wielded a set of scissors, she answered. “I don’t visit often. I live out in the Midwest with my mom and dad. I was actually working at a hair salon out there until it shut down, and Granddad offered me a job here.”

“You just packed up and moved?”

“Why not?” She released a layer of hair, and the scissors kept snipping. Golden bits flittered to the floor, and Arik tried to not tense. There was just as much hair strewn as when Dominic cut it. She seemed to know her business when it came to using scissors, but for some reason, he couldn’t shake his unease.

“Women should stay close to family.” His female family members certainly did, despite his best efforts to pawn them off onto other tribes and cities. Hell, he’d even tried to bribe some of his more rascally cousins with the promise of condos on other continents. However, the lionesses in his pride were content. A sign he was a good leader, but annoying as it meant they were constantly putting their whiskered noses in his business.

And they also loved to play matchmaker.

“When are you going to give us some cubs?” Not a day went by that he didn’t hear this.

“I’ve got a friend I want you to meet.” Fun for a night, until the next day when his cousin hammered him to make some kind of commitment.

The hairdresser reacted to his statement about a woman’s place with a snort. “Get with the times, big guy. We’re no longer strapped to a kitchen or forced into arranged marriages. We even get to vote. Girls nowadays often move away from home and have jobs. Or at least this one does.”

He couldn’t help but wince as she gave a decisive snip to his mane. So far, everything looked good. Yet he could have sworn ominous music hummed at the edges of his mind, feeding a certain dread he’d never admit aloud.

Scared of this woman and her scissors? Never. And his lion reinforced this with a very masculine rawr.

Still though, she’d essentially accused him of being a chauvinist. He explained himself. “I did not mean to sound misogynistic. I merely stated that women often find comfort in having family around them.”

“I do have family here.”

“Touché.” Then he couldn’t have said what prompted him to ask, “What of your boyfriend? I’m sure he’s not pleased at your abrupt departure.”

She paused and stared at him in the mirror. “Is this your not-so-subtle way of asking if I’m single?”

“Was I being subtle? Let me rephrase then. Do you have a lover?” He’d challenge him to a duel if she did and—

Hold on a second. He wasn’t challenging anyone, especially not the human boyfriend of a hairdresser he’d just met.

Just met, and yet wanted.

The realization made him frown. Time to hit the dating circuit again if a plump and mouthy human girl was capable of making him irrational. It didn’t help that his lion urged him to rub against her and mark her with their scent—to keep other males away.

Not happening. Marking any kind of female was bound to create complications. Arik wasn’t about to settle down or commit himself. He was in his prime. Playing the field.

Flirting with a hairdresser who set his hairs on end—and brought his erotic senses alive.

The things I could do to her. Nibbles on her creamy skin… Nips at that luscious lower lip, which pulled taut as she frowned at him and said, “First off, I don’t think my love life is any of your business.” Snip. “Second. Even if I were single, I wouldn’t date you.” Snip. Snip.