Tyrone has walked—or swam—the Earth a lot of years. Most of that time he’s spent alone. Working with dozens of other marine shifters at World of Aquatica finally brings him close to others that are sort of his kind—they’re marine shifters, anyway. He works security, seeing as he can’t be in an exhibit because, technically, his kind are supposed to be extinct. When he spots a skinny human shoplifting, he catches him…and realizes the man—Braylon—is his mate. Tyrone convinces his boss and alpha not to call the police. Instead, they give Braylon several shifts of cleaning the park as a sort of community service. During that time, Tyrone has to go about doing something he hasn’t had to do in over four hundred years of life. Can he figure out how to woo a human so very different from himself?
Tyrone Coonan slipped past Eban O’Gillie and headed into the head security guard’s office. Eban also happened to be the head enforcer for their loosely classified pod of shifters. Tyrone trusted the other male’s judgment and hoped he could give him some advice.
Hearing the door close behind him, Tyrone crossed to Eban’s desk. He placed the stolen blown-glass fish on the enforcer’s desk, then turned to face his boss. Seeing Eban’s lifted brow, he shoved his hands into his khaki shorts’ pockets.
“So, I just hauled in my mate for shoplifting,” Tyrone rumbled softly. “Any advice?”
Eban opened his mouth, then snapped it shut. His brown eyes widened. Then he scoffed, and his lips curved into a wry smile.
“Wow, okay,” Eban began slowly. He shook his head, although his eyes did dance with mirth. “Congratulations?”
Tyrone shrugged, then rubbed his chest with the forefingers of his right hand. “I know we have a strict policy, but how can I report him and send him to jail, then try to—” He snapped his mouth shut and heaved a sigh.
“Let’s get his ID, see if he has any priors, and go from there, huh?”
Nodding, Tyrone realized he should have already gotten the man’s information. It just went to show how out of sorts he was for him to screw up standard procedure from step one. He headed back out of the room, doing his best to breathe shallowly because the skinny, dark-skinned guy’s scent was already permeating the room with a musky, spicy goodness.
Sweeping his gaze over the shoplifter’s body, Tyrone admired the way the slender, toned human sat up straight. The man wore designer blue jeans, a form-fitting pale-blue polo shirt, and comfortable-looking Dockers on his feet. His shortly buzzed hair had been bleached blond, which made his skin appear an even darker chocolate. He sported a bored expression on his lean face as he stared in the other direction.
Only noticing the slight tensing along the tendons of his long, slender neck told Tyrone that he had noticed his approach.
At least he’s not ambiguous to me. And I know I didn’t imagine the scent of his arousal.
Pushing aside the thought for later perusal, Tyrone stopped before the human. “I need your identification.” He held out his hand.
The human peered up at him. Holding Tyrone’s gaze, he demanded, “Why don’t you tell me why I’m here first?”
Tyrone had to give the guy props. He had balls, what with his show of bravado. The desire to tie the human to his bed and spank his ass filled him. His blood heated at the idea.
“I watched you steal that fish,” Tyrone replied bluntly, forcing his brows to furrow into a frown when all he wanted to do was kiss the scowl right off the human’s face. He wiggled his fingers. “I’d ask if you can provide a receipt, but then you might give me some bullshit story about losing it or throwing it away.”
The man’s eyes narrowed as he leaned forward and pulled his wallet from his back pocket. Holding Tyrone’s gaze, he flipped it open, pulled out his license, and held out the ID to him. He lifted a brow in silent challenge.
Tyrone used his peripheral vision to take the ID, recognizing the defiance in the human’s eyes. The animal he shared his spirit with wasn’t an aggressive beast by nature, but his mate was human. His acute shifter senses told him the male wasn’t dominant, but he seemed to be hiding behind a mask.
He couldn’t help himself.
Continuing to hold the human’s gaze, Tyrone bent at the waist and leaned forward. As their faces drew closer, his mate’s eyes widened. When they were within six inches of each other, the slender human gasped and turned his head.
Tyrone’s heart thudded in his chest at the ever-so-slight display of submission. Excitement filled him. He wanted to nuzzle the human’s neck, lick up the slight sheen of nervous sweat he saw on his skin.
Instead, Tyrone placed his lips a hairsbreadth away from his mate’s ear. “You’re here because you stole a blown-glass fish. I’m Tyrone Coonan, a security guard, and I caught you. I’m going to run a background check on you and decide whether or not to call the cops.” He heard the man’s breathing hitch and had to smile. “Is there anything you want to say in your defense?” Tyrone straightened and finally took a look at the driver’s license in his hand. “Braylon Armando Whitney the third?”