Mate Not Wanted (MF)

Bachelor Auction 3

Etopia Press

Heat Rating: Scorching
Word Count: 60,020
0 Ratings (0.0)

Letting Madison go unmated? Pierce won’t stand for it…

Lioness shifter Madison doesn’t want to be mated. So when her friends bid and win tiger shifter Pierce McKinney at the Bachelor Auction, she knows she’s screwed. Pierce is the one man who can get under her skin. Especially when she knows that sex with Pierce will burn hotter than the sun…

Pierce McKinney has been trying without luck to wear Madison down. So when her friends win him at a charity auction, he’s determined to win her for his own. He’ll give her what she needs and desires, and he’ll even bring in a friend to play to her fantasies. But Madison belongs to him, and only him. And he intends to show her that he plays for keeps. Even if she’s too stubborn to admit it. Because Pierce is too stubborn to let her walk away…

Mate Not Wanted (MF)
0 Ratings (0.0)

Mate Not Wanted (MF)

Bachelor Auction 3

Etopia Press

Heat Rating: Scorching
Word Count: 60,020
0 Ratings (0.0)
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Excerpt


Chapter One

Pierce McKinney stood on the pitch and breathed in the sweet, earthy perfume of grass. A soft, cool breeze picked up, bringing with it the perfume of rain and electricity. He shivered as excitement raced down his spine. Despite the oncoming weather that day they were going to launch the inaugural game for the first ever Elemental Football League. He rubbed his hands together and took in the Plexiglas dome overhead. Dark clouds rolled by. His inner white tiger wanted to run, chase the wind, and try to race the storm to safety.“Ready?” Leicester Glover called out as he strolled toward Pierce with the grace of the coyote shifter he was.Pierce wiped away the sweat coating his face and ran a hand over his bald head before he looked up at his friend, the coach of the London Thunder Prowlers. Lei shoved his hands in his pockets and ducked his head. His military brush cut already sparkled with raindrops. The scars that ran from his temple to his lip were shiny from sweat.“We’re never really ready.” Pierce smiled. “Just as long as you don’t throw up on me, we’ll be fine.” The boom of thunder and answering crack of lightening almost drowned out his gravel-roughened voice.Pierce glanced up. The storm had arrived. Rather than worry him, it only amped up his excitement. The boys would have a field day in these conditions, getting dirty and fighting for the ball.“The lads will love it out there. Only wish I could play.” Lei rubbed the side of his thigh and grimaced.Pierce turned toward his friend. For a moment, worry took the place of anticipation. “Leg acting up again?”Lei nodded. “Just a bit. Only acts up when I strain. Getting these muttonheads up to scruff has been tough, but not being able to play has been tougher.”Pierce shook his head. “You could play if you’d just get your head outta yer arse. That attack was over a year ago. No one faults you for what happened.”A dark cloud passed over Lei’s features as they hardened. His black eyes became unreadable.“Easy for you to say.” Lei’s voice turned as rough as the winds blowing around the stadium and as bitter as black coffee. “Still not telling the press about your little peculiarity, eh? I know it’s been a year but that fuckin’ coyote living inside me is the reason I got kicked off the squad. Him and a hot little blond who was more interested in my personal life than my dick.”The tension between them made Pierce uneasy. The tiger within him tensed, ready to defend Pierce if Lei decided to go off. He had no idea what had crawled into Lei’s body and died, but he refused to allow his friend to take it out on him.“First, I’m relieved and proud that you accepted the job of coaching and invested in this venture,” he said, his voice conciliatory. “Second, like I told you at the time, I care more about you than what you are. And that woman was a gold-digging bitch.”Pierce fell silent, allowing Lei to absorb those words before he continued. “What happened is not your fault, and the way that the sports world reacted to the news was beyond the pale. Now’s not the time to worry about you shifting once a month. We have to worry about whether anyone will show up to this game.”Pierce gazed up at the empty stands. It was a stadium unblemished by hooligan riots and championships.Lei followed his look and sighed. “Sorry, been feeling the pressure. I feel so left out of it all. I’m just a coach, not out on the field, and the only way I’ll get to hear that roar is if we’re a success and get to the championships.” Lei grinned, a determined spark in his eye now. “And we will be holding up that gold cup at the end of the season.”Relief surged through Pierce, and he nodded. “This way people will get used to us weirdo shifters and then maybe I’ll come out of the closet. How about we make a wager, for—say—a tenner? You get the team to the championships and I’ll shift right here on the field.”“And have the ladies rush the pitch to get a piece of a naked Pierce when he changes back? Hell no!” Lei guffawed. “I’d rather win the tenner by getting to the championships.”Another crack of thunder sounded over them. “Better get back to the office before Matt sends out the hellhounds on me.”“Ready. Go talk to the lads. I’m sure they’re climbing the walls.”Lei started off toward the tunnel. Pierce followed, trying to ignore the feeling of his thousand-dollar loafers sinking into the wet grass with each step. He made his way through the labyrinth in the depths of the stadium and headed for his office. His assistant, Matt, waited for him in the plush area, a diary in one hand and an iPad in the other. Worry lines creased his forehead.“Sir, there’s a situation you need to deal with…well, it’s not immediate, but it’s an RSVP and I need to know your answer.”Pierce steeled himself for bad news. His stomach tightened as his gastric juices began to roil. Rather than ask, he made his way further into the space, relishing the newly laid, plush, steel-gray carpet under his feet. The simple white walls showed off black-and-white photos of Pierce holding up various trophies with his old teams. His glass and black steel desktop was clear save for a keyboard, flat-screen monitor, and a calendar. It wasn’t until he was settled into the deep hug of the onyx-leather executive chair that he ventured to ask—praying it wasn’t about the box seats or ticket sales or players quitting due to nervousness—“What is it?”Matt cleared his throat and shifted from one foot to the other, his peaches-and-cream complexion flushed crimson from the top of his head to his neck.Pierce rolled his eyes. “Spit it out, man!” he growled, allowing the tiger a little peek.“Charity bachelor auction.” Matt gnawed at his bottom lip.Pierce didn’t like where this was going. “OK.”The young man took a few paces back, cleared his throat again, and stared at his iPad.Fucking hell, how bad could this thing be if Matt thought he needed distance between them? He eyed Matt with hesitation. They’d been after him for weeks about this so-called auction. More like a meat market if you asked him.“What do they want?” Pierce tried to sound genial but his tone was gruff and edged in annoyance, even to his own ears. He tried again. “What’s the charity?”Matt didn’t look up. “Again, it’s for charity, sir.” He swallowed. “And, sir, it’s for the Children’s Hospital, the one on North Street. They’re having issues with money right now. I know this cause is close to your heart and you gave to them last month…”Matt let the words trail off but didn’t move any closer to Pierce. In fact it seemed as if the rabbit shifter was ready to take a runner. His gaze darted from the doorway back to his tablet.Pierce scented fear in the air. His patience began to run thin. His tiger wanted to shift and chase Matt until he met a bloody end. Rather than lose a good assistant, Pierce moved around in his seat and focused on Matt’s words.“What happened to my donation last month? What issues are they having?” He took a deep breath and ordered his tiger to calm down. He focused on his breathing, but his blood pressure started to rise as another stress was added to his burden. As much as he wanted to help out the hospital, he didn’t want to have to do it with some crazy costumes or by allowing women to paw at him. No price was worth that. He would just make a private donation.Privacy was important to Pierce McKinney. Nobody knew he was a shifter. Publicly, he was just an eccentric billionaire who funded a lot of projects and gave boatloads of money to charity. The fact that he was single was a source of much gossip. Was he gay? Bi? Straight but picky? Nobody knew, and he wasn’t saying a damn thing. No one deserved to know his business but him.Matt adjusted his glasses, took a step forward, and began to speak, still not looking at Pierce. “They invested in research that went bust. It was for the Freedman Stem Cell Cancer Project. Not enough money was sunk into the project, and then there were issues with trying to get to the trial stage. By the time they realized it, all the money that had been donated was gone and they’re not even close to getting the results they want.”Matt sighed and shook his head. Finally, he met Pierce’s gaze, and his big brown eyes were filled with sadness and hesitation. The silent question of whether Pierce would fall on his sword, put on a penguin suit, and allow himself to be pawed at swirled in the coffee-colored depths.“Why didn’t they tell me this when I wrote the check? I’d have given them more if it would have helped.” Pierce tried not to feel disappointed that they hadn’t trusted him. Ever since he’d moved to the town of Pines Ville, he’d strived to build a rapport with the community. He’d also made a point of putting his money into worthy charitable endeavors. He didn’t prop up pet causes. His money would go to things people truly believed in. He didn’t give to charity to get a write-off during tax season. When it came to kids, his heart melted and tiger purred.He didn’t like the idea of the kids of the Children’s Hospital not having access to medical advancements they needed. His stomach became tight as anger surged in his heart over all the red tape in this area of medical research. Pierce himself was getting tax breaks because millionaires and billionaires had pushed for them, but kids with cancer had to go without? Irritation burned in his chest at the unfairness, threatening to bring up his lunch. He took a few large gulps of air, but it didn’t help. The burn grew to the point where his tiger wanted to rip something apart.“They didn’t want to push their luck. You know how hesitant people have become about giving to anything charity oriented. Plus scams have been popping up using the hospital’s name. People just don’t have the money and those who do are clinging to it, so they decided to try this route.”Matt gave a helpless shrug before he broke his gaze and looked down at his tablet. His fingers floated over the screen of his iPad as if his life depended on it.Pierce shook his head, his disgust turning to resignation. “What do I need to do? And please tell me that it doesn’t involve me getting pawed to death.”“Wear a tux and let the bidding begin, sir.” Matt looked up and gave him a small smile but also took another step back. “Just remember it’s for the kids, sir. I’ll even volunteer.”Pierce appreciated the gesture, but the ladies didn’t want a rabbit shifter. They wanted a tiger in bed and they would do anything to get it. At least now they’d have to pay for it.“Laugh all you want, but it’s for the kids—remember that.” Pierce exhaled heavily. “Fine, I’ll do it. Who else has agreed? Do we know?”“No finalized list yet. They’re looking for more victims.” Matt gave another small, mischievous smile. “Shall I put together a list of single players?”An evil thought occurred to Pierce. He grinned. “Yes! I’m all for helping and it’s for a good cause. Tell them I’ll have a list for them by tomorrow. Lei is definitely going to be doing this. If I have to be humiliated then my friends will have to go through it too. My poker club as well. Comb the rugby lists. See who’s available. I can’t keep track of their love lives and I really don’t want to.”Pierce planned to go home before the game to change into jeans and a sweater. Screw the dress code. He was an owner and founder, after all. Thunder rumbled overhead and a particularly loud crack had the lights dim.“Make sure the generators are up and running. Howell’s gonna pitch a bitch fit if they don’t work. And if the boys tear up his pitch too badly then he’s going to charge me double for reseeding things. Shite, make sure that this storm isn’t going to endanger us. If we have to postpone, we will. How are last-minute ticket sales?”Pierce started to undo his tie and slide it across his neck, savoring the heat of the silk against his skin. He shivered. If he was getting pleasure from the simple glide of silk against his skin he really needed to get laid. Just for a moment, his thoughts strayed back to his problem with Madison.“We’ve sold out, sir.” Matt grinned. “Every last seat, including the box seats. I’ve had the owner’s box set up for you with all the junk food you wanted. The chefs are irritated. They wanted to prepare healthy things.”Pierce waved away the complaint. “Let them have their way. Junk food and healthy snacks. It’s a fucking stadium not a restaurant.”Matt grinned. “Yes, sir.”Pierce felt his spirits lifting. He grinned as a stroke of inspiration came to him. “The owner of the Snibston Sharks, Eddy Davis, is going to be here to discuss the Elemental Rugby League schedule. Submit team captain Mack Grant and Eddy Davis for the auction.”Mack would kill him when he found out, but Pierce knew he would be secretly pleased to be treated like a piece of meat. Eddy, on the other hand, was hard to read.“And make sure that we have some Stella or vodka for Mack. You know how he gets. He wants to have fun and get pissed at games, especially since he’s not playing. Poor man will be bitching about not being able to be in on the action. What does Eddy like? I’ve only had dinner with the man and all I know is he likes his steaks bloody.”Matt pulled out his iPhone. “I’ll look it up, see what I can find. You go on home, sir. Everything will be in place when you return. Oh, Mr. Weston will be here. That’s why the chefs wanted the healthy snacks. His heart attack and all.”Pierce perked up. “Weston? Will he be bringing his daughter with him?”A smile tugged at Pierce’s lips at the thought of interacting with Madison. His heart contracted. Warmth filled his stomach and spread through his body. He could see her features—those dark brown eyes filled with fire and defiance. The last time they had been together, she had left the room in a huff, refusing to talk to him. Her father had suggested for the umpteenth time a possible marriage contract between her and Pierce.A chuckle started in Pierce’s chest but he squelched it. Even when they spoke, that smooth, rich, velvety voice of hers tied him up in knots and left him hard and aching to sink into her.Her dark-brown hair was always in a bun or held back from her face, with only tendrils framing her features. Her plump lips left him speechless while she again rebuked him or tried to argue with him about some innocuous point he’d made.Fire always sparked when they argued. Her intelligence set his passions ablaze. He had no use for stupid, witless women. Her nostrils would flare as anger spiced the air along with a brief hint of arousal. She resisted him at every turn.

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