Just to let you know, You Only Live Nine Times: Book Three of the Supernatural Enforcers Agency will be ready soon. I'm a little behind my intended schedule, but it is on it's way. For now, below is a sneak peek at it.
Isis checked her make-up in the shiny surface of the elevator panel. Her tiger preened; perfect, as usual. Lipstick teeth and clumpy mascara were just things that happened to other women. She spent far too much and far too much money on her make-up to allow that to happen. She needed makeup that would look fabulous both while she was stuck in the office doing paperwork and chasing perps down.
Age, however, was not something she could account for. She tut-tutted at the tiny lines starting to appear around her eyes. She had just celebrated her thirtieth birthday, and while the age thing wasn’t a big deal, the potential effects on her beauty were starting to niggle. She surveyed herself critically.
She was considered one of the hottest women at the SEA. Seriously, the asshole men in that place had done a poll – at least the pervy ones had, the nicer males had declined to be involved – and she had come out on top along with her lioness friend Avery, and the particularly graceful swan shifter, Cecile.
Not that the dumb poll meant much. Different men had different tastes. Truth be told, Isis thought of herself as pretty but not beautiful. Her lips were a little too thin, her nose a little too pointed, her eyelids a little too droopy, her fiery red hair was chemically enhanced and her b cup bust was padded to turn it into a c cup. But, she had a nice toned figure, enhanced by ridiculously high heels she spent hours practicing running in, and her face and hair were artfully done in such a way that nobody noticed any minor flaws. The fact is, if you act sexy, people will think you are sexy.
She pondered her plans for the evening. Her tiger was feeling more than a little frisky with her oncoming heat and she wondered about perhaps hitting up one of her male friends for a little nooky. She wanted something a little more satisfying than the previous night. Her tiger sneered in agreement. The zebra shifter should spend a little less time worrying about his car and his hair, and a little more about satisfying the female he happened to be with. FYI to him – when it comes to sex, taking your moves from a jackhammer is never going to end well.
Work was quiet at that moment. Her regular team leader, polar bear shifter Gunner was still on leave for his honeymoon with his psychic mate, Erin. And his second in command, wolf shifter Cutter, was on leave with his mate, the spunky little hedgehog shifter, Lucie. That left the rest of the team comprising of her, Avery, a gator shifter called Wayne and their tech support and squirrel shifter, Jessie to pour through unsolved case files. Isis had just been transferred to the Alpha team; they dealt with murders. She was pretty surprised by the transfer. She spent a good six months actively trying to get on the team before she gave up. To be put on the team without any effort was kind of a surprise.
She was glad of the brief respite in work, though. It meant she could try and find her center and prepare for her heat. Very few species of shifters went through heats, or if other species did they were mild. Quite a few cat shifters did, and it resulted in heightened fertility, a change in scent and a huge desire to mount any male who came within a foot of her. The regularity of heats actually varied from shifter to shifter. Thankfully, Isis only went through heats a couple of times a year. She had a friend from her old pride who suffered through them every month. Unsurprisingly, she was mated with eight children. It also meant that they couldn’t get pregnant outside of their heats, but during them they were super fertile. The fertility thing was kind of a load of Isis’ mind – she never had to worry about protection outside of her heats and whenever they hit, she locked herself in her bedroom with some sturdy vibrators and a decent supply of batteries. No kittens for her.
However, her heats also made her seem more attractive to other male shifters – in particular to male tigers, which was never a good thing in her opinion. She tried to avoid them as much as possible around those times of the year.
Isis straightened as a male tiger shifter from tactical stepped into the elevator. Fucking typical. Her tiger almost gagged at the abundance of body spray trying to cover sweat. Buddy, body spray is not a replacement for bathing. He smirked at her, and she did an exaggerated eye-roll in return. For one thing, she was not in the mood for bullshit flirting - she only enjoyed bullshit flirting that she instigated. For another, she was not interested in cat shifters of any kind – especially tigers.
“Hey,” he drawled while eye-fondling her.
“Hello,” she replied, coolly. Her tigress squared her shoulders; the male had six inches and easily eighty pounds on her, but if it came to it, she reckoned she could take him. She had a signature move that she saved for dickwads like him.
“You’re Isis, right?”
“I’m Smith; I just joined from Playa Lunar,” he told her proudly.
Isis gave him a wide smile that anyone who knew her would be running from at that moment. “I know, rumor has it that your ex took out a restraining order against you, so you had to move.”
The big guy’s smile slipped a little. “You shouldn’t believe rumors.”
“Even if they’re true?” she asked, tartly.
Smith cleared his throat. “A buddy of mine told me that you, ah, you know…” He trailed off and raised an eyebrow at her.
Her tiger let out a snort of disgust and turned her back; the animal wasn’t in the mood. Between the change in her scent and her somewhat easy reputation, she knew exactly where this was going. Not that she was going to make it easy for him. “No, I don’t.”
“He said that you were friendly.” The word friendly came out as a soft rumble as his eyes flashed yellow in desire.
Isis affected innocence at the direction of this irritation conversation. “I’m very friendly. Can’t you tell by the fact that we’re talking to one another instead of standing in awkward silence?” Which she would infinitely prefer.
“No, I mean friendly.” He was almost purring by this point.
“Do you want to borrow my lipstick or something?” she asked, mockingly.
A flash of anger marred his angular features for a few seconds before he reined himself in. “What I mean is that he said you were a girl who liked a good time.”
“You mean like dinner and dancing?”
“No, I mean, you know, a good time,” he growled impatiently.
“Oh, you mean fucking?” She said it in such a neutral, straight voice that he blinked at her for a few seconds before a predatory smile crept over his dumb face.
“Yes, exactly, fucking!” He seemed mightily relieved that she brought it up. “So how about it?”
“No, thank you.”
Smith frowned. “Come on, Allen said you were up for anything.”
“I’ve never done anything with Allen, so he really isn’t an authority on my sexual proclivities,” she scoffed. Her tiger swished her tail; the beast was not interested in the conversation, but she couldn’t help a smidge of annoyance to seep through. “And while I do enjoy satiating my needs with no strings attached sexual encounters, I don’t just drop my panties and bend over for any asshole with a dick.”
“I think you’d be flattered that I’d offer my services. No need to be a bitch about it,” he snapped.
“There’s every need,” she hissed. He was insinuating that she was slutty and then was surprised that she wasn’t falling over him and begging him to take her.
He leaned close to her – too close. Her instincts and her nose told her to step back from the large male invading her space, but she stood her ground. Start letting male cats boss you around and the next thing you know you’re a housecat with a litter of five kittens to run after. Not happening.
Smith smirked at her and took a leisurely sniff. “I can scent you. Your heat’s coming. You need someone like me to keep up with you. Other shifters don’t get heats – you’ll be lucky if they last through the night.”
If her tiger could, she would vomit. Instead, she would just have to go with telling him to fuck off. “Don’t worry, stud, I just bought three new vibrators and a thirty-two pack of batteries. When my heat finally arrives, I’m all set.”
“You really think a vibrator can get the job done?”
Always has in the past – and although the experience didn’t exactly leave her glowing with happiness, she wasn’t about to buck her ritual and try it with a real guy. And she wasn’t about to admit that to this jackass.
“Oh yes. A penis that doesn’t get tired and no awkward small talk after – what’s not to like? I get all the satisfaction I need without having to put up with a sweaty, heaving asshole grinding on me and not even getting me close to where I need to be.”
The left side of his mouth curled up, giving her a disturbingly crooked smile. If she couldn’t scent his arousal – and see the evidence of his lust pressing against his trousers – she’d swear he was a serial killer who was about to kill her. “Sounds like you need some convincing.” No, not kill her – he wanted to hump her.
Smith pushed her against the wall of the elevator and aimed his wet mouth at hers. She turned her head to the side, and he pressed sloppy kisses against her cheek as his hands slid down to her hips. Her tiger roared at her, pushed at Isis to let her free and claw the crap out of this ardent fuckwit. Isis gritted her teeth and held back. Did she think that he was an asshole who needed teaching a lesson? Definitely. But did she think he was worth destroying a new pair of jeans to shift into her stripy companion? No, hell no.
She allowed his slobbering mouth to reach her neck, and she unleashed her signature move. It started with a knee to the crotch, morphed into a head butt when he reared back in surprise and then ended with a roundhouse kick that knocked the perv right on his ass. Her tiger roared in success. Take that asshole! Smith slumped to the bottom of the elevator, cupping his junk and whining pathetically.
Signature move – worked every time. Just in time, too. They arrived at her floor. Isis rubbed her neck, trying to de-slime herself. “If you try to do this to any other female in the building, I will do a lot worse than just bruise your balls. I’ll leave it up to your limited imagination to think about what that might entail. Got it?” Smith whimpered. “Got it?!” Her tiger snarled.
“Yes,” he muttered stumbling to his feet. One hand remained protectively over his man parts. Probably in case she got the urge to give them another seeing to.
For the first time since Smith stepped into the elevator, Isis smiled genuinely. “Good kitty, and by the way, welcome to Los Lobos.”
Isis almost skipped out of the elevator. If her tiger could grin, she would be grinning. Was it wrong to enjoy putting dickheads in their place? Not in her book. No, in her book it was fun.
She found Jessie hovering outside the elevators. Her naturally dark red hair had been dyed black and sported lightning-like streaks of purple. Her nose was twitching, making her glasses bounce up and down.
“What’s up, nutsy?”
Jessie opened her mouth to answer but snapped it shut and frowned as Smith staggered out of the elevator, crying quietly. “What’s wrong with him?”
Her tiger was almost giggling. “I don’t know, I think he kicked himself in the nuts while shaving.”
The little squirrel shifter raised an eyebrow, skeptically before amusement played on her lips. “He should be careful, I heard those groinal shaving injuries can be fatal.”
Jessie sobered as she heard the tinkling sound of laughter. Isis followed her gaze to the ice-cold, skinny blonde woman dazzling their uber boss, Director Lovell, with an obviously fake smile. After their team leader, Gunner, their boss was their director, a python shifter called Gerry Sanders. He oversaw all the investigative teams and was technically a deputy director to Director Juliet Lovell – the head of the Los Lobos branch of the SEA. She was one of the few vampires in the Los Lobos division, most shied away from the California branches due to the sunny weather, but Juliet was old enough and strong enough to withstand just about anything. She was also rumored to have been romantically involved with Shakespeare and provided inspiration for a certain play that shall rename nameless. Psst – it was Romeo and Juliet.
“Who’s blondie?” asked Isis. Her tiger yawned in disinterest.
Jessie sighed. “That’s Edith Sanders, the director’s – our director’s – wife.”
Isis and her beast perked up in interest. “No shit. Huh, what do you know? I heard a rumor he was married, but I thought it was bullshit. I assumed he just went home and plugged himself in for the night to update his software.” If she could, her tigress would give her a high five.
On the other hand, her squirrel companion was not amused. “He’s not that bad.”
“He’s a freaking robot.”
Jessie’s cheeks heated in indignation. “No, he’s professional. You wouldn’t catch him doing something stupid like kneeing people in elevators.”
“You would if they slobbered on his neck and threatened to show him a good time,” retorted Isis, not in the least offended. It was one of her better qualities – at least in her opinion. While people might find her rude and brusque, she rarely took offense over anything (except perhaps when it came to her mother – but that ghoul didn’t count). She could dish it out and take it.
“Besides you should see him when he’s shouting at Cutter. He’s pretty, ah, passionate about that.”
Isis chuckled. Yeah, she could believe that. The aggravating wolf shifter could drive a saint to murder. “The director has my condolences; she looks about as welcoming and appealing as a lemon tree.”
“She is kind of skinny, isn’t she?” Jessie looked up at Isis through her eyelashes before her eyes dipped to her own curvy form.
“Skinny? Nutsy, I’m skinny, she looks like she operates on a liquid diet. She looks like a grape would be too much for her.”
The blonde caught sight of Isis and Jessie, and her face took on a moue of distaste that twisted her usually beautiful features. She looped her arm through Juliet’s; with a flick of her platinum blonde hair, she led the vampire away. What the fuck was that about? Her tiger clacked her magnificent jaws together. Uptight bitch. “No wonder the director works long hours if the alternative is going home to that.”
“Yeah,” agreed Jessie, half-heartedly.
Isis bumped her shoulder. “You going to the bar tonight?”
“I don’t know; I kind of have a lot of work to do.” The tigress pouted and batted her eyelashes, but Jessie wasn’t moved. “That only works on men.”
“Wrong again, ye of the bushy tail. I’ve had a lot of luck using this expression on women.”
“I’ll bet. Let me rephrase, that won’t work on this woman.”
“Never say never,” Isis purred with a wink. “Anyway, if I see you, I see you.” She strolled away, leaving Jessie shaking her head.
Her tiger stretched out and nudged Isis. She breathed in and out a few times. Yes, she could feel it, too. A tingling in her sex, a warming in her womb and a pull towards anything with a Y chromosome. Easy girl. They’d been through plenty of heats before, and this one would be no different, and this was just the warm-up to the main event.
After her encounter with Smith she wasn’t exactly psyched at the thought of trying to meet someone new, and as for calling up an ex… The only ones who weren’t now mated either tried to hassle her into starting a – shudder – relationship or didn’t exactly make her toes curl. Maybe she should grab a drink at the bar and then go home and relieve herself in a nice warm bubble bath. Her tiger shrugged. Yes, that sounded like a plan.