Bite Me(6)

By: Shelly Laurenston

“That is really big of you, cousin.”

“I think so.”

Jake opened the passenger door while Livy walked around the beautiful car. “What do you wanna do after we eat?” he asked.

Livy looked back at the house she’d lived in during her high school years. You know, when she wasn’t crashing at Toni’s place or finding some house that was left untended for a few days.

“What do you think?” she asked her cousin.

Jake grinned. “Take you to the airport?”

“See? You’re not nearly as stupid as your father says you are.”

Jake’s grin never faded. “Ahhh, yes. The love of a family. See what you’re missing by living in Manhattan?”

Livy snorted and opened the driver’s side door. “No. No, I don’t see.”


As always, Livy’s plans did not turn out as she’d hoped. Although she’d intended to be back in Manhattan the night of her father’s funeral or, at the very least, early morning after, she’d ended up staying another full day in Washington, helping her mother contact the many life insurance companies. Not so that the woman could lay claim to Damon’s money, but because it meant her mother most likely wouldn’t bother Livy for the next few . . . years.

Her mother often forgot how annoying she found Livy until she had to spend some “quality” time with her only child. Then all those memories came flooding back and Livy didn’t have to worry about seeing her mother—or putting up with her—for ages.

And despite Livy’s suggestions that she leave, Toni insisted on staying. Which, in the end, was good. Because the woman knew how to get people through an airport as quickly as possible.

“Sit here,” Toni said, pushing Livy down by her shoulders so that she sat on the one piece of luggage she’d brought with her. “I’ll get a taxi and we’ll be out of here.”

Toni went off and Livy rested her elbow on her knee, her chin on her fist, and gazed off across the busy streets surrounding JFK Airport. As she waited, obscenely long legs and massive bodies began to march by her.

She didn’t move or anything, but she did notice the squealing girls and the crowd of people following the full-human males walking by. It was around that time she heard a low male voice bark, “I am not a football player. Now get out of my face.”

For the first time in days, Livy smiled. She couldn’t help it. What exactly did the man expect? He was seven feet and two inches tall. Nearly four hundred pounds. And even with that handsome face, wickedly sharp cheekbones, and dark brown and gold hair that hung in ragged layers almost to his shoulders—he was terrifying-looking. Of course people thought he was on a national sports team. Their other option was murdering serial killer from a “Friday the 13th” movie.

Livy waited until Vic was a few steps from her before sweetly asking, “Hey, mister. Can I have your autograph?”

Snarling, Vic replied, “I am not a—Livy?” Vic stopped right in front of her, his expression of annoyance fading away and replaced by one of curiosity. “What are you doing?”

“Selling my ass on the streets for a few bucks.”

“Times that tough?”

Thankfully, Vic had learned how to deal with what very few called Livy’s sense of “humor” not long after they’d met. Which was good because Livy really didn’t know how to not ask people strange, disorienting questions. As an artist, she found their confusion fascinating.

“Tough enough,” she replied. “Hi, Shen.”

“Hey, Livy. Like your hair.”

Livy smirked at Shen’s running joke. As a honey badger, she had black hair with a white streak off to the side while Shen, as a giant panda, had white hair with big swipes of black through it. He was also munching on that damn bamboo crap. With his fangs, he was clearly a predator. But for whatever reason, although they had the digestive system of carnivores, giant pandas ate bamboo. The problem was that pandas needed a lot of bamboo in order to survive. A lot. So every time Livy saw the man . . . he was eating.

Still, it was fun to watch him hang around poor Vic Barinov. Although Livy saw the grizzly side of Vic more than she ever saw the tiger, it seemed neither side of the hybrid knew what to do with the sweet, but sometimes chatty, six-foot panda who was nearly as wide as he was tall. Something else Livy and Shen had in common. Massive shoulders on relatively smaller human bodies than most shifters were used to. Oh. And they were both Asian. Well, as Jake liked to say, “Livy is half-Asian, half-Polish and allllll honey badger!”