The Lion's Pride(10)

By: Terra Wolf & Olivia Arran


My hand slammed onto the desk, making the pen bounce and roll. That should have been the first thing that I did. Why the hell hadn’t I—?

“You’re not thinking straight. Not surprising, really. You’ve just found your mate, and lost her, and you didn’t complete the mating. Your lion must be going crazy inside of you—it’s a wonder you haven’t shifted yet!” she said, obviously reading my face.

“My lion doesn’t control me,” I growled, shoving the chair back and standing up.

“Not yet. But we need to find her before he gets a little too…unmanageable and we have a situation on our hands. There’s a lot of people who count on you, Zane, and a lot who care about you.”

“I won’t lose control.” I stalked to the door, opening and holding it for her.

“On the other hand, a massive lion running around the city? It might be worth it just to see the news!”

I followed her tinkling laugh down the stairs. If one of these humans knew where Lara was, they were going to tell me. Whether they wanted to or not.





5





Lara



Placing the last box in the car, I ran through the checklist in my head. Nope, I was pretty sure I had covered everything. Heading back up to the apartment, I mentally braced myself for what I knew was coming.

“I’m going to miss you!”

I’d barely got in the door before Tina had thrown herself at me, squashing me into a gigantic bear hug. “I don’t really live here, remember? It was only temporary while the divorce went through and everything got settled in court,” I said, my voice muffled against her chest, my breathing seriously compromised.

“But it feels like you do. You’ve been here ages! Who am I going to talk to in the middle of the night? Who’ll watch old DVDs with me and not laugh at me for crying at all the soppy bits? Who’ll—”

“A dog?” I quipped, finally managing to extract myself from her bosom.

“Or a boyfriend?” Kate added from where she lounged on the couch, munching her way through a carton of—

“What are those?” I demanded, snatching them out of her hand.

“Hey! Give ‘em back!”

“They smell—” I stuffed a cookie in my mouth, groaning as the taste hit my tongue. Salted caramel with chocolate chunks. “Wonderful,” I added around the mouthful.

Swallowing, I shoveled another one in.

“Lara…”

I glanced over at Kate, ready to defend the cookies if I had to.

Her mouth was hanging open, deep lines between her brows. “Are you okay?”

“Fine. Wow, these taste good! Why haven’t I had these before?” I carried the packet to the other couch, cradling them in my arms.

“You have. Are you sure you’re feeling okay?” Kate replied, both concern and confusion lacing her voice.

I blinked at her. I was fine. Why wouldn’t I be?

“It’s just, the last couple of weeks you’ve been acting a little…strange?” she commented, her eyes darting to meet Tina’s.

“Yeah,” Tina added, “ever since that night at the club.”

My hand froze, cookie mid-way to my mouth. Though I wouldn’t admit it to anyone, that night had haunted my dreams, Zane’s face taunting me. What would have happened if I had stayed? I had to keep reminding myself that nothing would have changed. He hadn’t called or texted. He didn’t care to remember, so why should I? “Guys, I just wanted to forget about him.”

“Him?”

Oh, yeah. I hadn’t told them. Stupid cookies, giving me a sugar high! “There’s nothing to tell…”

Kate crossed her arms, her lips set in a thin line. “Lara. Spill.”

And just like that, my resistance crumbled. It had half killed me not to tell them, anyway. It was just…if I was honest with myself, the rejection had been a bit too raw at first, and I had needed the time to pull myself together. To face them. “Okay! I met a guy at the club—”

“Was his name Zane by any chance?”

Kate’s words stopped me in my tracks. “Um, yeah. Why? How did you know?”

She grimaced and waved a hand in the air, not inspiring confidence. “Finish your story first.”

“Nothing much happened. I met a guy—”

“Zane,” Tina supplied.

“—and…well, we…” Heat rushed to my cheeks as I remembered being pinned against the wall by his powerful thrusts.

Kate shuffled forward in her seat, her eyes wide. “Oh, you did, didn’t you? Wow! Go, Lara!”

“And with Zane Sarson!” added Tina.

I didn’t get it. “How do you know that?”

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