"As much fun as the first book, this sequel continues the story of the unusual cat shifters who recently discovered their true king, Noah. Both Noah and his mate Gage are back, but this book focuses on Dean (Gage's friend) and a man he rescues when looking for traces of another team member. The mix of tension and humor is well-balanced, but this book leans more toward the suspense as more dark machinations are discovered. Poppy is a great guy, and wonderful despite what he has been through. Abused for years, he has no idea what is going on in the outside world. He sees Dean as his new Master since he thinks he is only good enough to be a pet. As he learns about things like refrigerators and has his first hot shower, his intelligence begins to show, and he develops the kind of self-confidence that allows him to stand up for himself and show how courageous he really is. He is also quite clever at figuring out what others may want, and he uses those skills to protect Dean and his friends. Dean is a tough assassin (just like Gage used to be) and it takes him a long time to "get" Poppy. He is fundamentally uncomfortable with the whole Master/pet situation, but realizes that he has to wean Poppy off that idea slowly. Poppy has been a pet ever since he can remember, and once Dean gets his head out of his behind, he can actually really help Poppy. And he does just that. I loved the scenes in the second half of the book when Dean has finally understood how important Poppy is to him—and vice versa. Like Noah and Gage, Poppy and Dean entertained me, making me follow their amazing discoveries and adventures through sheer force of personality and quirkiness. They fell for each other in very different ways than the first couple, but they are clearly meant to be together. If you like unusual shifters, action/adventure and a lot of revelations that show an even bigger conspiracy than became obvious in book one, and if you enjoy a mentally strong but physically weaker male being protected by a strong alpha male, then you will probably like this book as much as I did." -- Serena Yates, Rainbow Book Reviews
Dean Stone chuckled. His sandy-blond hair, longer now, brushed against his cheeks as he shook his head. He leaned back against the wall behind him and he watched as his friend Gage argued with Noah, the man’s boyfriend, or partner, mate, whatever the little fur ball was to the former assassin. Noah Andrews was also the king of the cats or some such shit like that.
Dean was still trying to figure it all out.
What he did know was, despite the fact that Gage Tynan had grown from a man who was a couple of inches shorter than Dean to someone who stood a few inches taller than him and topped him by at least twenty pounds, it was Gage’s little five-foot-six mate that ruled his life. Noah had Gage firmly wrapped around his furry little finger. Apparently, the increased size was a side effect of mating with Noah, the cat king. Gage’s very human body grew to whatever size was needed for Gage to become Noah’s guardian.
The fact that Noah could shape-shift into a house cat was just an added bonus for cannon fodder. Dean was still reeling from learning that shape-shifters lived outside of Hollywood movies. And now, not only was he friends with the king of cats, he was living in the pride’s damn house.
I had to have been dropped on my head as a baby.
That was the only way to explain it.
“Gage.” Dean held up his hand to stop the arguing couple. His head was starting to ache from watching Gage and Noah go back and forth. Gage wanted to go with Dean to get Marcus. Noah wanted him to stay home where he would be safe. “I am perfectly capable of going to this meeting on my own. I’m a big boy, I promise. I’ve been taking care of myself for a very long time. I can even go to the bathroom all by myself.”
Dean smirked with amusement. The whole growling thing was not necessarily new. Gage always growled. Now he just did it with more flair. “Dude, seriously, sheathe the claws. I’m just going to pick up Marcus in town and bring him back here. It’s not like this is a mission or anything,” he said with a touch of an attitude in his voice. “If I stub my toe, I promise to call you right away.” Dean bristled a little bit that Gage seemed to have so little faith in him. He had been at the agency almost as long as Gage. He had been going out on missions for years. He wasn’t stupid. He knew how to be cautious.
Dean clenched his hands, hiding them by crossing his arms over his chest and tucking them under his arms as he pushed away from the wall. “I’m starting to think you don’t trust me, Gage.”
“Of course I trust you, Dean.” Gage pushed a frustrated hand through his short hair. “I just—” Gage’s lips twisted as he grimaced. “I don’t like the way this is going. We still haven’t heard from Steele, and Trent isn’t answering any of our phone calls. This smells of a setup to me.”
Dean arched an eyebrow. “You think Marcus set us up?”
“No, I think Marcus is being used as bait to set us up.”
Dean couldn’t argue with that theory. Except for a single phone call two weeks ago to arrange a time and place for pick up, they hadn’t heard from Marcus at all. And Gage was right. They still didn’t know where Steele was. He had simply disappeared.
Almost every single mission that Gage, Dean, Marcus, and Steele had been assigned to in the last few months had gone wrong somehow. Either the target was off or in the wrong place. The locations were questionable, and there was absolutely no backup. There’s no way in hell intel got screwed up that badly that many times. It was all starting to add up to someone in the agency setting them up.
Dean’s money was on Gregory Trent, the head of their black ops division in the Company. He was the man that handed out the assignments and gave them their information, even if he got it somewhere else. Trent was the one that decided if the information was good or not, and then passed it along to them. Trent was also the one that started acting strange just about the same time the missions started going bad.
Dean wasn’t a genius by any means, but even he could add one and one and come up with a good theory. Over the last few months, Trent had gotten weird. He received phone calls that he always took in private, had meetings with people behind closed doors, and went off for days at a time. Trent had never been like that in the past. He had always been a standup guy even if he was a tad standoffish.
“Would you be happier if I took Braden or Jonas with me?” In the weeks since he met the lion-shifters, he had grown to respect them as much as he did Gage—and that said a lot. Gage, Marcus, and Steele were pretty much the only people Dean trusted to guard his back. He used to trust Trent just as much, but that started to fade when Trent began keeping secrets and acting all mysterious-like.
Gage’s eyebrows shot up. “You’d do that?”
“Yeah, sure.” Dean shrugged. “It wouldn’t hurt for them to see how a professional does it.”
Gage chuckled and nodded even as he wrapped an arm around his much shorter mate and pulled Noah to his side. “I’d appreciate it, Dean. Until we get a chance to talk to Marcus and find out where Steele is, you’re the only one from the agency that I trust. I’d really feel a lot better if you took some backup.”
Dean rolled his eyes. It wasn’t a mission, but a simple retrieval—child’s play in his book. But he didn’t feel like arguing the point to death with Gage. The man could be just as stubborn, if not more so, than Dean.
“Consider it done.” Dean turned and started for the door when Noah’s hesitant voice stopped him. He paused at the doorway and glanced over his shoulder at the little runt.
“Be careful, okay?” Noah asked.
Dean grinned and winked at the smaller man, gaining a slight growl from Gage. God, it was too easy to screw with these two. “Sure thing, pussycat.”
“Come on, Poppy. We’re going to head up to our room before Noah uses your innards to knit an afghan.” He swung Poppy up over his shoulder, saluted Gage and Noah, and carried the laughing little man out of the room.
Poppy laughed all of the way up the stairs and down the hallway to their bedroom. Dean just shrugged when people stopped to stared at them—well, Poppy specifically. There really was no way to explain Poppy’s condition without explaining his past and that was only for Poppy to tell. If he wanted people to know, he’d tell them.
Dean breathed a sigh of relief when he reached the bedroom and walked in, shutting the door behind him. He walked over to the bed and swung Poppy off his shoulder, dropping him into the middle of the bed.
He pulled Poppy’s bathrobe off and tossed it into a chair then kicked his own shoes off. Dean stretched out on the bed beside Poppy. When Poppy finally stopped laughing, he turned to look at Dean. There was a glassy look in Poppy’s green eyes that said he was still high as a kite.
Dean chuckled and reached over to brush Poppy’s hair back from his face. “How are you feeling, Poppy?”
“I hurt, Master.”
“You hurt?” Dean pushed himself up into a sitting position and glanced down the length of Poppy’s body. He couldn’t see anything wrong with Poppy. He looked fine. Maybe he was getting a stomachache from all that sugar. “Where?”
Poppy’s face flushed as he grabbed his groin. “Here.”
Dean swallowed hard as every ounce of blood in his body flowed south. “Let me see.”
Poppy didn’t hesitate at all as he raised the oversized shirt he wore up to his chest and exposed the beautiful erection jutting out from his groin.
“Oh, hell.” Dean licked his lips. They had gone as dry as the Sahara Desert all of a sudden. His throat wasn’t doing much better. It felt so thick he could barely get air down into his lungs. “Would you like me to make it better, Poppy?”
He should be shot for asking but…
Yeah, he was going to go to hell for this.
He just knew it.
Dean scooted up to the top of the bed and then gestured for Poppy to join him. When Poppy got to his side, Dean lifted the man up and over his chest. He kept his eyes locked on Poppy’s as he leaned forward and sucked the head of Poppy’s cock into his mouth.
“Master!” Poppy wailed.
When Poppy wiggled to get away, Dean tightened his grip on Poppy’s hips and held him in place. He sucked Poppy’s hard cock further into his mouth, carefully listening for any sounds that said Poppy didn’t want this.
Instead, deep moans filled his ears and Poppy pressed forward with his hips. Dean almost grinned, but that would have meant letting go of the cock in his mouth and he wasn’t about to do that. Instead, Dean grabbed the edges of Poppy’s shirt in his hand and lifted it up until Poppy pulled it over his head and tossed it away.
Now the man was totally naked in Dean’s arms. Well, on his chest, but it was essentially the same thing. Poppy was naked. Dean started sucking long and hard as he reached for the bottle of lube on the nightstand.
Behind Poppy’s back, he flipped the lid and poured some out on his fingers. He closed the lid with the other hand and set the lube bottle down on his chest. He pulled off of Poppy’s cock long enough to tell the man to grab the headboard, and then he sucked him right back down.
When Poppy grabbed the headboard, it changed the angle for both of them. Poppy’s cock now hung hard and long right over Dean’s face, making it easier to lick the sides and get to Poppy’s balls.
It also made it easier for Dean to reach Poppy’s ass. Dean kept his lips locked firmly around Poppy’s cock as he stroked his fingers lightly over the crack of Poppy’s ass. He knew the moment his fingers brushed against Poppy’s hole because the man suddenly stilled and a long keening noise filled the room.
Swallowing Poppy’s erection to the root, Dean pushed one finger into Poppy’s ass. It was only as his finger slid easily in that Dean remembered what Gage had told him. When he was aroused, his pheromones would tell Poppy’s body that he was about to be claimed by his mate.
Dean didn’t have to stretch him out.
Still, he wanted to be really, really sure. He would never do anything that would hurt Poppy, and fucking him with no lube would hurt like the dickens. He wiggled his finger for a moment and then pushed in another finger.
With his free hand, Dean reached up between their bodies and tugged on one of Poppy’s pert, brown-hued nipples. Poppy’s cries grew louder as he started humping Dean’s face. Dean stroked his hand all over Poppy’s chest and abdomen, flicking his fingernails over Poppy’s little buds.
At the same time, he pushed a third finger into Poppy’s tight ass, fucking him with all three digits. Using his tongue, Dean laved the tender depression beneath the swollen crown of Poppy’s cock then tongue-fucked the tiny slit, licking away the salty taste of Poppy’s essence.