Assassin's Core, 2
Alexi is a jaguar shifter who isn’t used to having to think about a lover, so getting used to having to consider Tatiana’s feelings will take nothing short of work on her part. At the same time, Alexi’s faced with the ambition of men bent on making her part of their money-train or crushing her.
As the fight for love comes down to the wire, Alexi realizes she’ll bend to keep Tatiana in her life. Then, the enemy commits the cardinal sin of trying to separate Alexi from her mate by any means necessary, including kidnapping.
When the jaguar seeks redress for the crimes against her, laws will be broken, and she’ll spill blood before she breaks.
Be Warned: f/f sex, sex toys, mild BDSM
Alexi growled and stepped into the bedroom, reached around to her back, and jerked her gun from the holster of her sports bra.
She felt Tatiana behind her, smelled her perfume. The animal sensed her anger, and Alexi cursed again as she stripped off her silk blouse.
This was not how she’d intended for the night to go. She’d wanted to focus on Tia and show her how important she was to her.
“Was it my grandfather?” Tatiana demanded.
“He wasn’t there, no,” she said with a frown. That bastard might have been mixed up in this, though. “I need to take a shower, okay? I won’t be long, and we can have dinner here or down in the club if you aren’t too upset to eat with me.”
“I just don’t understand why you put me second.”
Alexi faced her and saw the hurt in Tatiana’s eyes. It slinked through her, making her cat snarl at her for disappointing their mate.
“That wasn’t my intention.”
“Then why not wait until after our date to kill someone?” Tatiana demanded hotly. “It’s just like saying I didn’t matter.”
Alexi closed her eyes and fought the snarl trying to tear from her as she reined in the animal’s anger at her as it warred with the very human common sense of her.
Her animal half, the jaguar she shared her genes with, was part of the reason she’d survived tonight. Its base instincts were what the human half of her always reverted to in times of danger. She had too little experience with real love and emotion, making her default response defensiveness and coldness.
“It’s up to you, Tia.” She strode into the bathroom to take a shower. She wouldn’t fight with her. Hell, she wouldn’t even beg her to see reason.
Tia had known what she was walking into, but if she was changing her mind, fuck her. She’d survive without her mate. Having her in her life would be preferable to not, but romantic drama wasn’t her thing.
Alexi turned on the water in her large shower and finished undressing. She climbed in to clean up. The blood had dried on her skin, and Corri was right. It stank like hell.
She dipped her head beneath the water, wetting her glossy black hair. Alexi sighed as the heat pelted her skin. Finally, she reached for the bath puff and liquid soap to wash up.
When she entered the bedroom, Tatiana was perched on the bed having taken off the sexy dress she’d been wearing. So, they weren’t going out.
Alexi walked over to the dresser and opened a drawer and withdrew clean panties and bra.
“Going out later?” Tatiana asked, an edge in her tone.
“Down to the club.” She slipped into the garments and went to the closet.
“Tell me about the problem,” Tatiana urged.
Everything about her tone was calm and her expression had been one of composed resignation. Alexi hated that Morales had ruined her evening and would kill him if he wasn’t already dead.
“A rival wants me to cut him in on my business,” Alexi said. “He’s threatening to cause me trouble.”
“So, you killed him?”
The confusion in her tone made Alexi smile as she got into slacks and a blouse.
“I’ve killed for less, but no,” Alexi said. “He made an error in calculation when he put his hands on me.”
“You killed him because he touched you?”
“No, Tia.” She went to put on boots. “Things are a little more complicated than that.”
“Explain them,” she said softly.
“I had to kill him when he grabbed me around the throat, or he’d have taken liberties from then on thinking he could do whatever he wanted to me.”
Tia studied her, looking as if she was trying to assess the truth of the statement and that really pissed her off. The woman didn’t understand how hard she had to be to survive in this business.
Hell, Tatiana seemed to be having an easier time accepting that her grandfather was a bastard killer. This wasn’t going to work. Nature hadn’t made a mistake, but nature was about chemistry and primal instincts.
Her mate just wasn’t.
“I’m going downstairs. Do what you need to do,” Alexi told her. “I’m not going to beg or force you. You said you wanted to be with me, but I guess you thought I’d stop doing my job because you said that.”
“I thought you’d spend time with me,” Tatiana said coldly as she rose. “I guess that was my mistake.”
“No, your mistake was thinking—” She broke off. “I don’t want to fight with you. I need my head in the game.”
“If you hadn’t killed him, maybe you wouldn’t be thinking about the game,” she shouted.
“Yeah. Ask grandpa how that works, Tatiana.” She turned and headed for the door.
“Is this how you solve problems? By treating me like this and then running out? I deserve more than your back.”
Alexi turned and stalked toward her, and Tatiana went still, breath coming out in a rush.