[Siren Classic ManLove: Erotic Romance, Alternative, Paranormal, Shape-shifter, MM, HEA]
Sage's rebirth presents its own dramas. Timmy, a Scottish wildcat shifter, is a new resident who's set up a bicycle shop on Main Street. He's certain he's found his mate, the delectable serpent shifter, Saalim, a kick-ass ninja and sex god, whose presence leaves Timmy struggling not to lose control. But Timmy harbors secrets that could destroy everything the shifters of Sage have recreated. Timmy's father, George, was murdered by a deranged gorilla shifter, Wilfred Bates, who's on his way to Sage with his motley gang, the East Side Boys of London. And there's more. The mysterious cult, Incandesce, is becoming bolder, sending assassins to deal with unruly shifters who dare to buck their rules. And there's more. Five mini fuzzbutts, red panda shifters who were rescued from an evil shifter collector, Osaki, have decided they're the new law in town. With the stakes as high as could be, the Shifter Criminal Investigative Service is up and running, starting with an investigation by Lou-Ann, Sam, Kealy, Silver, and Christian, who are causing havoc and melting hearts without even trying.
Timmy greeted several early-morning vendors as he strolled along Main Street to his shop, Pump ‘n Ride. At six a.m. on a Saturday morning the cafés catered to the breakfast crowd or were busy prepping for lunch. The smell of fresh bread and pastries was already fragrant on the air, mixed with aromas of freshly roasted coffee, waffles, and the tantalizing waft of bacon.
He turned, smiling at Kobi and Morgan, who were clad in stark black security informs, flashlights attached to their belts, looking like the operators they were. Kobi’s midnight black hair was plaited neatly down his back, his coal-dark eyes glistening with good humor. Morgan’s golden hair was loose and flowing to his shoulders, and he wore his designer stubble with a teasing smile, his golden-brown eyes twinkling mischievously.
“Hey. Just finishing your shift?”
“Yeah. Quiet night, thankfully.” Kobi glanced around alertly. “You are settling in okay?”
“Sure am. The girls love the place. Our cottage is beautiful. And so peaceful in the woods. A nice change from Glasgow. How was your shift?”
“It had its moments,” Morgan interjected, earning a wry smile from Kobi, his mate.
“He tried being naughty,” Kobi said. “Unfortunately for him, the CCTV cameras are fully operational, so sneaking off for a nookie break didn’t go off as planned.”
Morgan growled salaciously, licking his lips. “Not yet.”
Kobi chuckled, shaking his head. “My mate’s one-track mind can only end one way.”
Morgan scooped Kobi up, slung him over his shoulder, and began to trot off down the street, Kobi laughing helplessly as he waved at Timmy.
“See you tonight. You’re open late?”
Timmy nodded, amused at Morgan’s antics. “I’ll get the scooters set up for you.”
The pair disappeared toward the exit, leaving Timmy smiling after them. Turning, he stopped abruptly, almost swallowing his tongue.
Saalim stood two feet away. Graceful. Sexy as fuck. Sensuous lips that were made for nibbling on. His long hair was similar to Kobi’s, and gorgeously silken looking. Golden eyes studied him curiously, a hint of shy warmth in their depths
“My friend has met his match.”
Catching himself, Timmy nodded swiftly, tugging at a lock of tortoiseshell-hued hair. “Yeah. Kobi landed on his feet with Morgan.”
Saalim’s head tilted slightly and he swept his long ponytail over his shoulder. The move was poetry in motion and left Timmy tongue-tied for several second.
“What does that phrase mean?” Saalim asked, sounding as though he’d repeated the question.
“Sorry,” Timmy mumbled, flushing, and looking at his size nine Inov-8’s. “It just means that he’s met his match.”
They shared a smile.
“As I said,” Saalim teased. He seemed to hesitate, then sighed. “I am in a dilemma. I promised Lou-Ann that I would ride with her to school. I had to work over the weekend, or I would have come by then. If I don’t get a bicycle, I’m afraid she’ll resort to underhand tactics.”
Timmy chuckled, noting the delicate flush on Saalim’s satiny cheeks. “She’s a handful.”
“She’s a diva. I promised her mother I’d protect them all after what happened with Nara. A decision that proves trickier since she turned five. I have no idea what happened. She was always such a sweet little thing. Timid. Amenable. Cooperative.”
Timmy’s chuckle was loud and long. “She’s growing in confidence. That’s a good thing. Testing boundaries every step of the way. Best way to a five-year-old’s heart? Don’t give in too easily. She needs those boundaries reinforcing when she steps too far out of line.”
“You speak from experience?”
They began to walk slowly toward Timmy’s store. “I have sisters. Three of ‘em. They were five once. Now they’re fifteen. Haven’t noticed much difference, except for sudden growth spurts and more discussions about love interests and the latest must-have beauty products and fashion.”
Saalim laughed. “I remember their arrival. In a cloud of perfume and sass.”
Timmy smirked. “One thing about my sisters? They’re worse than any five-year-old.”
An alarm sounded, wiping the smiles off both their faces. Saalim shot Timmy an apologetic look after reading a coded text on his phone.
“I have to go. May I come by later? I may prefer the scooters.”
Timmy waved him off. “Go. I’m open until nine thirty tonight. Got a demonstration on some new electric scooters at seven thirty. We can discuss your wheel needs whenever you have the time.”
Saalim raced off, his stride smooth as butter and quiet as a panther. Timmy fanned himself, feeling as though he’d just been hit by a meteor strike. Oh my.
* * * *
Lou-Ann cringed as she heard the alarms blaring right across town, interrupting Monday morning breakfast. They’d been tripped several times over the weekend. Teething problems, Saalim had said, which meant he’d been on call and they’d yet to have a second ninja lesson.
“It’s okay, sis,” Kealy told her, hugging her. “We have people to protect us now.”
“I know. I just…”
“Sweetie. Our security teams won’t let a thing happen to you,” Rosalia said. Their mother wore a calm look that eased Lou-Ann’s fears. “We have the best ninjas on the planet guarding us,” she added, smiling. “You even persuaded one of them to attend class with you.”
Lou-Ann giggled. “Saalim’s the best.”
Rosalia rose to answer the door chime. “Finish your Froot Loops guys. Then we can bail.”
The second she left the kitchen the children went into a huddle. Christian, Sam, and Silver crowded closer to Kealy and Lou-Ann.
“Does everyone understand their mission?” Lou-Ann hissed. “We’re not letting anyone hurt us or our family again. Agreed? We’re ninjas now, remember?”
They all nodded.
“And don’t get caught.”
Timmy padded silently on four paws along the quiet corridors of Sage’s subterranean metropolis, built as a defense against the cold—and possible siege. Each business had a sub-level twin below ground, and accommodations for everyone in cases of emergency. Prior to his arrival the residents had lived in lockdown for months after they’d destroyed their own town rather than let Flashpoint get their grubby mitts on it. A phoenix from the ashes, it was reborn…stronger, bolder, and better than before.
Inhaling the bombardment of odors lingering in the air, he grimaced as he neared his destination. Bleach had him wrinkling his nose. A slight undertone of sweat, with a hint of cologne…and the sweetness of fresh grapes.
He homed in on the scent that was most promising, following the fruit, ducking into a side corridor as a patrol of guards marched past. He must be close. No way they had so many people unless they were guarding someone of significant importance.
He jerked, his back arching, his tail twitching, hissing as Saalim melted from the shadows behind him. Where the hell had he been? He noted Saalim’s nakedness and meowed plaintively. Saalim was adept at squeezing into small spaces or tracking along air ducts in his serpent form. He should have known his descent into the bowels of Sage would be monitored.
“Not going to talk?” Saalim asked, smirking as he stalked closer.
Timmy backed away.
“I know where you live,” Saalim reminded him. “There is no point trying to leave. You know, do you not, that this area is restricted? You’re lucky I was on duty in comms. I recognized that cute tail of yours. What did you think you could accomplish?”
Timmy did the only thing he could think of. He ran.
Saalim set off after him, lithe and fast, his strong legs powerful for all their slenderness. He was toned to perfection, his sleek body easily keeping up with Timmy, who had to hustle to keep ahead. He darted left and right, but Saalim was not deterred. Finally, panting, Timmy stopped, shifted, and turned to face Saalim.
“Are you going to arrest me?”
Saalim chuckled. “Not at all. I just want to know why you came here.” He gestured to the empty corridor. “You should’ve zagged. This is a dead end.”
Timmy looked around, cursing himself, backing away as Saalim stalked him. “Why is Wilf still breathing? He is breathing, isn’t he?”
“Why do you want him dead?”
“He murdered my father, remember? My sisters are terrified that he’s about to stage a coup.”
“They have nothing to worry about. His followers are tired of running. Otherwise they’d have tried to rescue Wilf.”
Timmy stared as Saalim sauntered off, his perfect ass swishing, gleaming under the yellowish lights that lined the walls. Following at a slower pace, Timmy admired the ripple of muscle shimmering with a fine sheen of sweat, the long, flowing swathe of midnight dark hair swaying with each step. He flushed as Saalim threw a coquettish smile over his shoulder.
“See something you like?”
“Everything about you.”
Saalim’s gaze went molten, his lips parted, and he turned, displaying his burgeoning cock to perfection. Timmy licked his lips, helpless against the searing heat. He felt his dick rise to meet the occasion, and stopped a foot from Saalim, swallowing hard.
“My sisters wanted to know if we’d kissed yet,” Timmy said huskily.
Saalim’s smile was an enchanting mix of shyness and want. “Our date’s the talk of the town,” he said, then laughed. “My brethren have discovered the noble art of gossip. Kaden’s Salon is buzzing with juicy details.”
Timmy chuckled. “Who needs spyware when you have Fly, Alfie, and their stylists?”
Saalim took a half step closer, the tip of his cock brushing Timmy’s. They both gasped. Timmy’s pulse raced, his skin prickling with awareness, his cock throbbing with a primal rhythm.
“We’re on camera,” Saalim husked.
“Let’s give ‘em something else to talk about. Mate.”
Saalim’s pupils dilated as Timmy moved in, wrapping his arms around Saalim, cupping his ass, and pressed his lips to Saalim’s, inhaling the startled exhale. Their groans blended harmoniously, their hearts beating in sync.
The kiss deepened, Saalim opening for Timmy’s tongue, hissing his pleasure as Timmy went deep, exploring every recess, memorizing texture and flavor. Squeezing firmly, Timmy kneaded Saalim’s butt, trailing a finger along the shifter’s crack, moaning softly as he found the motherlode.
They eased back, startled, as they heard footsteps, panting.
“That escalated,” Timmy quipped, stroking Saalim’s sleek butt.
“I did not want to admit that we could be mates,” Saalim said, a gorgeous flush on his cheeks, his lips swollen and reddened.
“Neither did I,” Timmy whispered softly. “I’d never even been on a date before, then there you are, sexy as hell, asking me to eat with you.” He punched the air, earning a chuckle.
“I want what Xian Lu and Kobi have,” Saalim told him, tracing a heart on Timmy’s pec.
Timmy shuddered. “I want you,” he murmured, leaning in close, and shoved Saalim into the wall. He didn’t care who saw them, and found a new assertiveness, amazed that Saalim submitted, knowing the ninja could quite easily smash him into a pulp—with his little finger, probably.
They kissed, grinding together, moaning at the delicious friction, moist with precum. Timmy reached between, grasping both dicks, and massaged firmly, nipping at Saalim’s perfect lips. Saalim hissed, arching against Timmy, clutching at Timmy’s shoulders.