After being banned from Kinky Kritters, the sharks want revenge and Lady Leo’s son Amani makes an easy target. They decide to kidnap him and then sell him off to a crane, one who has been searching for a pretty little mate for a while now. Amani fits the bill perfectly, but he isn’t exactly happy about being a prisoner and he keeps thinking of escape. If Mr. Grainger would let him be out of his sight for even a second, he might actually be able to accomplish something.
One of the sharks has second thoughts about selling Amani off to someone intent on abusing him. He calls into the shifter crime tip line, and speaks with Officer Nero, who is quickly on Amani’s trail and intent on rescuing him. Saving Amani is only the beginning as the ferret takes an interest in the little lion’s wellbeing as he recovers and moves on from his ordeal. Amani is stubborn, and even being kidnapped couldn’t break his spirit. Nero wants to see him get better, but he also wants to have Amani tied down and helpless under a whip as well. Amani has his own ideas of what a good Dom is made of, and a ferret doesn’t cut it for him. He wants pain, and lots of it, and in his mind only big predators can do that for him. Nero can’t wait to prove him wrong.
It was nearly four o’clock on a Thursday morning when Amani finally left Kinky Kritters and locked the doors behind him for the night. His mom and sister would be there at eleven, and the club would be open again at noon. For now his family’s business lay silent at the edges of downtown, where the busy streets gave way to industrial warehouses and, finally, to the train yards and the desert. He liked the sounds of the night around the club, and he preferred working well after everyone else had gone home. Even the cleaning crew had left hours earlier. In the silence of the club, he concentrated on the inventory and on ordering more supplies. He could check everything over and repair anything that needed work. It was the one time of night where Kinky Kritters wasn’t full of noise and people, where he could actually be alone and quiet. As a lion should be.
He didn’t have a car, since there was no point in having one. When he needed groceries, or clothes, or anything else, he could get a ride. The humans had such wonderful apps now, and he, unlike some shifters, had fully embraced human technology. He didn’t care for most of their ways, but he liked what they could create. Whether they knew it or not, they seemed to want to compensate for their single form by making life as easy as possible.
His apartment was in a warehouse that had been converted into expensive lofts. His was pricier than most because of the view—from his bedroom, he was able to see the bright lights of downtown Las Vegas. Even in the middle of the night, the place looked as though there were a ton of Christmas trees just outside his windows, unless he closed the heavy blinds to screen it all out. There were only four blocks between his apartment and Kinky Kritters. His mom didn’t like that he lived in a less desirable area of town. His sister sided with their mom. She was still trying to earn her way into Kinky Kritters at that point, so he was pretty sure she would have agreed with anything their mom said. His sister was still too young, though. Emotionally, that was. She might get her heart broken by a careless man wielding a whip. Just as Amani had.
He wasn’t worried about the area his apartment was in. He was a lion. Granted, he was young, barely more than a cub at best, but he was still a lion. He had claws and teeth, and he could do some real damage if anyone ever tried to attack him. There’d never been any reason for him to worry, though. People rarely hung around at night. During the day, the warehouses were busy, and there were people running around everywhere. Sometimes it made it impossible for him to sleep when he worked this late at night. But once the sun went down, people tended to trickle away. A few regulars worked around the warehouses as security, and there were some who drove around Kinky Kritters at night as well, just to make sure no one was trying to break in. But those were the only people Amani ever saw there.
So when he spotted a big black van seemingly waiting for him under a streetlight, and he smelled putrid, murky water, he bared his teeth. There were human security guards who could come by at any second, which made shifting tricky and fairly impossible, but that didn’t mean he was completely defenseless as he saw three sharks coming toward him.
“You were banned from Kinky Kritters for what you did to Rodney,” Amani called to them. “You aren’t supposed to be within five miles of this place.” His pulse raced, but he was determined to stand straight and tall. Bullies backed down when confronted with a confident target, and the sharks were nothing if not bullies.
One of them—Amani never bothered to learn the names of scumbags—laughed. “You think your mommy’s rules matter at all to us, little boy?” An ugly sneer warped his face in grotesque, scary ways the face of a human wouldn’t have been able to achieve. It grew longer, more pointed, as his sharp rows of teeth began to take up too much room in his mouth.
Amani hissed at him, and then he lunged. He started to sprint forward to tackle the shark five feet in front of him, but before he could move at all, something hit him from behind. Before he knew it, he was on the ground, two sharks on top of him pinning him to the rough concrete sidewalk.
“Get off me!” he screamed at them. The concrete bit into his cheek as he thrashed about trying to fight them off, but they were too heavy for him. He felt a prick in his arm, followed by a sharp, searing heat. His head spun, and darkness engulfed him.