Vance thought his pride meant everything to him...until fate sent Joey into his lair and into his heart.
Vance grew up the odd one out in a macho and very insular pride of lion shifters. Differences like enjoying the cool fall weather are bad enough-his pridemates would kill him if they learned he was gay. Still, his pride is all he knows. He'd never even met a shifter of another type...until he discovers an unconscious cougar male in his lair.
Joey is on the run and wants to keep Vance at arm’s length, especially since someone very close to the lion is the root of all his troubles. But there is something irresistible about Vance, something which has Joey wanting more than he ever dared to dream.
When their lives are threatened, Joey must choose whether to sacrifice himself, or try to live and keep Vance close...for the very short remainder of his life.
At once overwhelmingly curious about his visitor, Vance knelt again and slowly pulled the blanket completely away from the male's head and upper body. And stared. The unconscious shifter was by far the most attractive man he'd ever seen. Accustomed to the huge, craggy features of his pride, he was entranced by the beautiful, angelic lines of his face. From checking his pupil reaction earlier, Vance knew his eyes were green--another anomaly. Almost every other shifter he'd met had some form of brown or golden eyes like himself.
His shoulders and chest were lightly muscled and defined--very masculine, but carrying a lot less bulk than Vance was used to seeing. A tattoo in some sort of abstract, tribal-looking design covered most of one deltoid. He was drawn to it, and after closer examination, he noticed how cleverly the form of a cat was woven into the seemingly random lines at the centre of the design.
His skin, too, was different. Very light, smooth-looking. Vance tested the shoulder with the tat. Yes, smooth and soft, with no discernable body hair below the neck--at least for the parts on display. Flushing, he had to restrain himself from removing the blanket entirely to check the rest of his person.
His colour deepened when he realised that he was still stroking the tattoo, and he quickly snatched his hand away. Needing something to keep himself occupied, he drew the blanket back over the male's shoulders and stood restlessly. He decided to take inventory of his supplies, something he hadn't bothered to do for a while. When it was just him, it didn't matter. But a part of Vance nudged him, whispering that it was important to be prepared, that the male might be here a while.
Unused to company in his cave, Vance found his gaze drifting back to the huddled form as he worked. Frowning, he wondered whether the fire was doing any good at all. If he was drugged, he might not be able to regulate his temperature normally--in either direction.
Better check him--I mean, his temp out. Don't want him uncomfortable. Part of him was gleeful about having a reason to touch the male again.
He's unconscious, drugged, and most likely straight.
And gorgeous. Don't forget gorgeous.
Vance knelt again by the male, the position becoming a familiar one. He raised a hand, thinking to feel the back of his guest's neck to try to gauge his temperature. But just as he was about to make contact with the male's exposed nape, he suddenly found himself flat on his back, a knee firmly pressed to his chest...