Bravery isn’t a matter of size, but one of the heart.
Math geek Asa Tibbs is no wilting flower, despite being a butterfly shifter with a reputation for fragility. When he learns his mate has been kidnapped, nothing will stop from rushing to his mate’s rescue. Least of all any objections by the Wildcat Hills Pride, whom he’s conveniently neglected to seek permission from.
Xander Powell, alpha of the Pride, is chagrined beyond belief. Not only has he been captured by a gang of deer shifters—an insult to his masculine pride alone—but he’s become the new main attraction of a rinky dink circus? And he can’t even shift to get out of his situation, not without alerting humankind to the existence of shifters among them. What’s a lion to do?
Help arrives on colorful wings when the big beautiful butterfly that is Asa tumbles into Xander’s cell. Together, the two men escape the circus. But their journey home is just the beginning of the honeymoon from hell…and what they discover along the way will shake the foundations of the paranormal world.
If butterflies could squeak, Asa would’ve done so when something big and wet suddenly nudged his wing. In lieu of a functioning voice, he tried to flap his attacker in the face. Asa heard a quiet, weirdly amused-sounding chuffing noise.
Asa straightened his body on the shavings, then did a double take. The wet attacker was a big, dark pink nose. A lion’s nose.
Without thinking twice, Asa shifted. Because he was such a tiny animal, it did take a bit longer for his body to grow and reshape than it did most other shifters.
Once he rose to his knees—still panting from the strain of shifting so fast, and feeling a little dizzy—he followed instinct and threw his arms around the big lion’s neck. Sighing, he nuzzled his face into the magnificent white-blond mane.
A male scent assaulted his senses. He groaned, fighting the need to swoon. For the first time in his life, Asa felt whole. Those mating pheromones were the shit.
He didn’t know what Xander looked like as a human. He knew nothing about the alpha apart from his name and what Kei, Xan’s foster son, had told him. It didn’t matter. Fate had made them for each other, so of course they were the perfect match.
God, I hope so. Please, don’t let him be an asshole.
A rough tongue licked him from collarbone to temple.
Asa giggled quietly and rubbed the back of his hand over his face. “Eww. I’m glad to get to know you, too. But no more kitty kisses, all right?” He kept his voice low. He didn’t want to alert anyone to his presence in case someone was roaming between the trailers.
Asa kissed Xander’s nose and grinned. Although little light came through the small gaps in the tarp, Asa could see well, thanks to his shifter genes.
“You have the most beautiful eyes,” he whispered. Maybe not the smartest thing to say. Asa should ask his mate to shift. Or he should fill him in on the non-existent escape plan.
Instead, he sat and stared into the most compelling eyes he’d ever seen. They were the brightest glacier bluish-green, with a milky white rim. Asa wondered if they stayed as pretty once Xander shifted.
As a deep rumbling purr emerged from Xander, a delighted shiver ran down Asa’s back. When Xan shoved his furry head into Asa’s chest, he squeaked lightly and tumbled onto his back. Next the big cat stepped over him, lowered his head, and licked across his chest.
“Stop it,” Asa whispered, barely suppressing his laughter. “Tickles! I have a weird, loud, snorting laugh. What if someone hears?”
Xander chuffed again before his body shook and rippled as the change took over.
Honestly, Asa had never seen someone shift so fast. On the other hand, Xander wasn’t an alpha because he could knit the warmest socks.
Asa’s temperature skyrocketed as soon as the fluffy, lethal cat turned into Mr. Tall, Icy, and Sexy. Suddenly the body pressing him into the scratchy shavings was very human and blessedly naked.
Damn, human Xander had the same eye color as his lion. Too bad some carny could check on Xan any second, or Asa would’ve wrapped himself around his mate like an octopus around its prey.
“You’re mine,” Xan said. He looked and sounded surprised, shocked even. His voice was low, deep, and so damn husky Asa started panting for breath—and scrabbling for functioning brain cells.
“No objections. But we should haul ass before you tap my ass. I mean, sleazy circus director, strange shifters with guns. This is not exactly a fitting romantic atmosphere for a claiming.”
Xander arched one white-blond brow.
“Fine. Before I tap your ass, if that’s what floats your boat.” He patted Xander’s chest, then moaned and placed his hands palms down on the wide expanse of lightly furred, golden skin stretching over the most droolworthy pectorals ever. Had he not been on his back already, he would’ve fallen to his knees and worshiped at the altar of Xander.
Xander’s throaty laughter pulled Asa back into the present. Xan’s eyes twinkled, and the smile that curved his lips lifted him from the devastatingly handsome level to I want babies with you.
“Would you be so kind as to tell me your name, my mate? How you found me would be nice to know as well. Then we can ditch the circus life and find some safe place to…tap asses.” Xan winked.