Tessa Banks is a cat burglar, in more than once sense of the word. A leopard shifter with a talent for taking what doesn’t belong to her, she braves the wintery cold of a RockyMountain resort town in a quest for vengeance.
Reformed thief and tiger shifter, Doyle Frost, uses his unique talents to steal from the bad guys instead of for them. Known as one of the best, a simple retrieval for a client should’ve been easy, but in the game of chance, things hardly ever go according to plan.
Plans go off the rails when the two thieves discover that Fate has a twisted sense of timing. Will they be able to keep their hands off each other and stay out of trouble long enough to pull off the heist, or will one of them be left to take the fall while the other takes the prize?
The first whiff of her scent hit him as he left the treeline. Doyle’s stride lengthened, going from an effortless lope to a sprint as he chased that elusive fragrance right up to the door of the estate.
Of all the times to find his mate, it had to be now? Doyle raised his muzzle to the falling snow and snarled in frustration. Somewhere in that house was his mate, and the Monet he’d been sent to retrieve. For the first time in his career, Doyle was going off target. Nothing would stop him from finding his mate. Nothing, and no one.
He wanted to charge in, to seek her out and claim her. His mate’s scent was rich, tantalizing enough to cloud his human mind and allow his tiger to dominate. It was only by sheer will that he reined the beast in, reminding it that there were still security measures in place. He had to speak to the wolves, get them to deactivate the barriers so he could find his mate.
He shifted to human and the bitter chill helped him focus. Made him more human, but even then Doyle could feel the beast pacing just beneath the surface of his mind. In this form his sense of smell was lessened, but he could still taste her perfume lingering on the air. His cock surged to life despite the cold, hard enough he could have battered the door with it. Not that he needed to. Someone had left the goddamned door open. Doyle tore open the pack, the biting cold numbing his fingers and slowing him down as he fumbled for the Bluetooth style earpiece. He got it into his ear at last and flicked it on with a shaking hand.
“I’m here. Deactivate everything, right fucking now!” he snarled, the tiger coming through in every word he uttered. His mate’s scent was everywhere. He needed to find her. Fuck her. Claim her for his own.
“Calm down, dude. We’re on it,” one of them replied, he couldn’t tell which one.
“You don’t understand. My mate. She’s here. Now. I have to find her.” Doyle was hauling clothing out of the pack as he spoke, dressing as quickly as he could in the black jogging pants and T-shirt that he found inside.
“Holy fuck. Did you say your mate is there?”
“Did I stutter, pup? She’s here. Now get me the fuck inside.”
“Uh, yeah. About that. Someone’s already deactivated the sensors from the main panel.”
Fuck. So either his mate was another thief, or she was involved with the owner. After more than a hundred years, the gods had picked a hell of a day to go screwing with not only his sex life, but his career. He stamped his feet into the cheap shoes he’d found at the bottom of the bag and sprinted into the house. His mate’s scent was stronger here, saturating the air and showing him the way.
Doyle took the stairs two at a time, then three, ignoring the twins’ questions as he tore through the ornately decorated house. He hit the landing at the top of the stairs and followed the alluring fragrance of his woman down the long corridor, fighting to keep his tiger in check with every step he took. He wanted to know her name and her taste. What she would sound like when she laughed? When she cried out his name in pleasure? He wanted to know everything about the woman he’d never expected to find. Above all else, though, he wanted to feel her body beneath his as he took her and claimed her for his own.
Barely slowing, he passed the doorway to what his intel indicated would be the main display area for Christophe Heinz’s collection of stolen goods. Normally, Doyle would have paused to reflect on the beauty all around him, but not this time. This time he only had eyes for the captivating creature who was staring at him from the far side of the room.
Fucking hell, she was gorgeous. Petite and curvy, with a tumbling mane of golden blonde hair that framed her face and set off the startling green of her eyes. Eyes that were currently wide with shock.
The word bounced around the inside of his skull as lust seared his veins. He snarled, baring his fangs. She curled her lip in answer, her eyes widening as her nostrils flared and understanding dawned in those beautiful eyes. “No!”
Well, that wasn’t a word Doyle heard very often.
His beautiful mate hurriedly crammed something into a bag and set it down by her feet. A quick scan of the walls showed him exactly what was in the bag, one of a series of paintings of water lilies. His mate was a thief, and she was stealing the same damned thing he was here to retrieve.
As far as he was concerned, there was only one possible explanation for this state of affairs. Fate was a fickle bitch with a wicked sense of humor.
“My name is Doyle Frost, and I believe you have two things that belong to me, love.” His brogue was back, proof that his control was slipping, badly.
“And what might that be?” she asked, her voice somehow managing to be both sensual and full of challenge at the same time.
“Well, for one thing, that’s my client’s painting you have in your bag. I’ll be having it back, if you don’t mind.”
Her eyes darkened and she shook her head in denial. “It’s mine. You can’t have it. Not the painting, and not anything else you might be thinking to claim.”
“Is that so?” he challenged and prowled across the room, doing his best to ignore the steel rod that had replaced his cock and the demanding roar of his tiger who wanted nothing but to take what was his.
She held her ground until he was only two feet in front of her, but then her gaze lowered to his very obvious erection and she took a step back. “No.”
“You keep saying that word as if it’s going to change anything, my beauty. It won’t.” He lunged for her, grabbing her and hauling her roughly into his arms. He couldn’t wait any longer.