The Lion's Pride(9)

By: Terra Wolf & Olivia Arran


I didn’t need his pity—fuck that—I needed Lara. And I was going to find her.

I walked around my desk and sank into the chair, letting my head fall back as my fingers stroked across the leather arms. A couple of hours ago, I had been adamant I didn’t want a mate, but now? I couldn’t think of anything else. Closing my eyes, I played back the last hour, letting it dance across the front of my eyelids. I knew I didn’t love her, not yet, anyway. It was far too soon. But I felt something beyond the urge to fuck her—a yearning of some sort? I tried to sort through the tangle of emotions, peeling away the base needs and mating urges. Yeah, I yearned to get to know her, to talk to her and hear her laugh. To explore that hint of feisty attitude and get a feel for what kind of woman she was. What made her tick? What did she love? Hate? Was she grumpy in the mornings? Did she mainline coffee? What music did she like? Did she want to travel or was she a homebody? Did she want children?

“You’re thinking very serious thoughts, Zane. What’s up?”

“Gretchen—” I opened my eyes to find her sitting in the chair in front of me. I had been so lost in thought, so preoccupied, I hadn’t been aware of her arrival. Something that had never happened before—ever.

Eying me, she sucked in a breath, releasing it on a low hiss. “What happened? All Andy said was that you needed me, that it was urgent.”

“I found her.”

“Her?” Confusion creased her brow.

“My true mate.”

She leaned forward, her lips curving up into a wide grin. “Who is she? Why are you—”

“She left.”

Shocked silence grew between us, the only sound a soft hum of music from below.

She sat back in the chair, curling her legs up beneath her. “Why?”

“I don’t know. I really don’t fucking know!”

“Okay, easy there. We’ll find her. I take it you and her—?” Her hands floated in the air, coming together in the middle and bouncing off each other.

I growled, jabbing a pen at the desk. “We did…”

“And did you—?” This time two of her fingers curled into hooks, mimicking a biting action.

Like I was a motherfucking vampire. “I did…”

“Oh. Well, that’s okay then.”

“I didn’t say the words.”

Her mouth fell open. Snapping it shut, she muttered, “Why the hell not?”

“Because we were interrupted!” I snarled. I knew what she was getting at. If I’d said the words, binding us together and completing my half of the mating, I would be linked to her, would know her feelings and emotions. I would feel the tug of the bond and know where she was.

“Oh.”

Yeah, oh. That summed it up perfectly. “I need to find her.”

She snapped to attention, her spine straightening. “Of course you do. Tell me everything you know and we’ll go from there.”

“She—” A knock on the door interrupted me. “Yes?”

Andy walked in, leading a tall, blonde woman dressed in the club uniform of black. “This is Stacey. Go on, tell him what you told me. He won’t bite.”

Stacey took a step forward, her eyes flicking from me to Gretchen, then back again. “I think I saw the woman Andy described leaving. She was alone and looked in a hurry.”

“Did she talk to anyone?” The words came out in an eager tumble. I’d gone past the point of caring what anyone thought; all I could about was Lara.

“No. Nobody. She just left.”

My lungs deflated and I slumped back in the chair. “Thanks. You can go back to work now.”

“Is there anything else I can do for you, Mr. Sarson? Get you a drink or something to eat?”

“Actually, a brandy would be good. Thanks, I really appreciate it.” How the hell am I going to find her? I didn’t ever get her last name!

“Sure thing. I’ll be right back.”

I looked up just in time to catch Gretchen watching the door, a speculative look in her eye.

“What is it?” I asked, frowning.

She paused, looking like she was about to say something, then shrugged. “Nothing. Except, well…Stacey, she’s a good looking girl—”

“Who?” Why did it matter what a girl looked like? I’d stopped noticing women months, maybe years ago. When they did nothing but throw themselves at you, it got old. And boring. And when they weren’t your mate…it felt hollow. Now I’d met Lara, I knew exactly how hollow those past encounters had been.

“Exactly, nothing important. Now, where shall we start? Most of the group that participated tonight are still downstairs. Shall we go talk to them?”

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