Lee was raised to be subservient, but her soul was screaming in agony with every moment in her household. Her mother helps her escape to the Crossroads the very night her father begins proceedings to sell Lee to one of his companions as third wife in a pride.
She was unprepared for the dating scene and shocked by the mating scene at the Crossroads, but the moment she sees something wrong, her shock turns into action and she does what she has to do.
James watched the lioness in his bar, but despite her body being exactly his type her shy demeanour is a turnoff. He wants a woman who can hold her own with him, a woman who can stand at his side, not behind him. He is convinced that she is too timid for him until she follows two thugs out into the night and claws them bloody before they can attack their vulnerable target.
Watching her go from timid to ferocious, he has to reassess his first impression, and he has to admit, the claws are a bit of a turn on.
Lee slipped away from the house and engaged in a partial shift. She ran to the local vet’s compound and slipped into the empty large-animal barn in the back.
A quick check of her watch showed that she was three minutes early. Lee paced, gradually letting her lion legs shift back into human. Her feet were bare, and she was wearing only the slacks and blouse that she used to hide her nursing gear. Lee sighed. She was not prepared for this.
A glowing doorway opened and two women walked through. One had all the hallmarks of an avian shifter, and to Lee’s senses, she smelled like an owl, with the musk of a bear. Feathers and the night were on the wind with the warmth of fur in the nuances. The other woman smelled of lightning, ozone and cookies.
“Hello?” Lee didn’t know what she was supposed to do.
“Do you have something for me?” the cookie woman smiled, and the voice was familiar to Lee.
“Yes, Kris. My mother handed me this.” Lee extended the small packet and waited while Kris examined the contents before handing it to her friend.
“Do you know why you are here?”
Lee blushed. “I need to find a mate…fast. My father is trying to sell me to one of his work buddies, and I just want to find a man who will want only me. My mom has told me about the Crossroads, and I want to try going there.”
Kris smiled but she asked, “What do you mean, only you? Does your father sleep around?”
Lee shook her head. “No. My father is a fundamentalist lion. He believes that the women in the pride should take care of him, and he has four wives to make sure that it is a comfortable life for him.”
“I thought you said he worked.”
“He does, he has a job to keep up appearances in the human world, but all the homes, cars, vacations, land, were bought by my mother and the other women of the pride. He only owns the big screen television and beer.”
The owl was staring at Lee in surprise. “The women allow it?”
“He was young and strong once, and that is when the abuse was most prevalent. If I get married to my father’s choice, I will be starved and beaten to show me my place. I will fight back eventually, and then, things will go badly for everyone around.”
Kris nodded. “Let’s make sure that it doesn’t come to that. Now, you are heading to the shifters’ Crossroads. It is a dimensional bubble that can only be reached by folks with my sort of talent. You will be safe there.”