This snippet is from my book Bleacke’s Geek (Bleacke Shifters 1) writing as Lesli Richardson. It’s available on Amazon, Nook, Kobo, and at ARe.
When girl meets geek, the fur’s gonna fly.
Dewi Bleacke is a no-nonsense Prime Alpha wolf. As head Enforcer of the Targhee pack, she’s in charge of Florida. Her assignment is to kill a dirtbag who sold his daughter. She doesn’t expect to find her handsome, albeit geeky, soulmate in the process.
Dr. Heathcliff McKenzie Ethelbert lives a quiet, boring life. A professor at USF, he has no girlfriend, no car, and is a devout vegetarian. So when a mysterious woman with mocha eyes literally drags him out of his booth and then proceeds to have her way with him, it’s not his average night out. When she follows their sexy interlude by abducting him after killing a man, he suspects life has just taken a drastically odd turn.
Now Dewi, her partner Beck, and her surrogate father Badger, have to educate her new “grazer” mate on the ways of the Targhee wolves. “Ken” does his best to fit in. But an old killer lurks in the shadows–the wolf who murdered Dewi’s parents. Can she keep Ken safe, or will her mate prove to everyone that he’s a lot more than just Dewi Bleacke’s geek?
The door opened into a large kitchen. He stood, stunned, as he looked around. Wide expanses of spotless granite counters, stainless steel appliances, and what appeared to be custom-made cherry cabinets. Someone with a lot of money and very good taste had designed this kitchen.
After setting his laptop case on the counter, she shrugged off her coat and hung it on one of a row of hooks by the door they’d just entered, where other jackets and coats were hung.
Then he spotted the gun on her hip. In his earlier shock, he realized he hadn’t actually seen it when they were in the bathroom. She’d undressed and dressed so quickly, he hadn’t noticed.
She watched him as she drew it, did something to it, and removed both the magazine and a chambered round. Laying them on the counter, she asked, “You ever handle a gun before?”
He shook his head.
She pointed at him. “Don’t. Touch. Not until after I have a chance to teach you.”
A sudden compulsion to leave the weapon alone washed over him. He’d thought about maybe trying to grab it, use it to make her give him her phone so he could call for help.
Not that he’d ever held a gun before or even knew where he was to ask for the police to rescue him, but now he couldn’t even think about touching it.
“Go ahead and try, if you think you can,” she called over her shoulder at him as she walked across the kitchen to the large fridge.
Taking her up on it, he found if he tried to step forward with the intent of grabbing the gun, he couldn’t.
She turned from the fridge with a carton of milk in her hand and a smile on her face. “You and I will get along just fine.” Then she screamed, startling him. “Badger!”
He flinched, then flinched again as an answering roar rumbled from somewhere upstairs. “Hold yer britches, kiddo. I’m comin’.”
He heard before he saw the large, squat man descend the stairs. His solid bulk seemed to make the whole house tremble as he grumbled under his breath all the way down to where they stood in the kitchen. His left eye was gone, the sunken lid crossed by a thick, gnarled, twisting scar that started above his eyebrow and descended nearly all the way to his chin.
A few inches shorter than him, but taller than the woman, the man looked him up and down. Wild, curly red hair liberally threaded with grey framed his stocky, grizzled face. His remaining eye, a bright crystalline blue, carefully looked him over with keen interest.
He spoke with a thick and distinctive Scottish brogue. “Eh, what’s this? This yer surprise?”
“Promise not to laugh?” she asked.
“I make no such promise, Dewi.” Well, at least he had a name to go by now. “Fess up.”
She took another drink from the carton. “He’s my mate,” she mumbled.
“He’s yer what?”
Her gaze fell to the floor as her face reddened. Seemed something could make her blush and crack her composure after all. “My mate,” she softly repeated.
The older man looked stunned as he stared at him, then back to her. “Claimed and all?” he finally asked.
He couldn’t stand them talking about him as if he wasn’t there. “What’s going on?” he asked, fully aware his voice bordered on a shrill, girlie shriek. “I’d like some answers!”
The man he assumed was named Badger pointed a finger at him. “Shut up. I’ll deal with ye in a minute.”
That boiled his blood. If he was going to die, he would show at least a little chutzpah before they took him out. Pulling himself up to his full height, he glared at them. “You two listen to me. I was minding my own business, eating dinner and working. Then I got abducted, raped, and forced to flee with a murderess. I deserve some answers!”
Badger stared at him before he burst out laughing and turned to her. “Ye already claimed him then, girlie?”
Her face turned a deeper shade of crimson as she nodded.
The man’s laughter roared out of him as he held on to the counter for support. “Holy Goddess, ye picked yerself a fine one, didn’t ye? And despite his scrawny looks, he does seem to have a right fine pair of bollocks hiding in there somewhere.”
“Now listen here—”
“Shut up!” both of them ordered. His mouth clamped shut, although he suspected based on what he’d already experienced that it had more to do with her command than Badger’s.
Badger scrubbed his face with his hand. “Well, what’s his name, girlie? Or are we calling him ‘Shut Up’ for life?”
Now beet red in the face, she mumbled, “We haven’t got that far yet.”
“No thanks to you,” he thought, unable to voice it.
Her head snapped up as she glared at him. “I’m sorry you were at the right place at the wrong time, but would you rather me let a man who’d whore out his own daughter go free? Especially when he had three younger than her at home he planned to sell off, too? I had my orders.”
He glared at her.
She shoved the carton of milk back in the fridge and growled, “Fine. Say whatever you want.” She slammed the fridge door shut.
Badger cackled and turned back to him. “Well, laddie? What would ye have us call ye if ‘Shut Up’ ain’t to yer fancy?”
He took a deep breath. “My name is Heathcliff.”
Her eyes widened. “Fuck. Me. No way. Please, Goddess, tell me you’re busting my balls.”
“My mother loved Wuthering Heights. If you make a joke about the cartoon cat, I’ll…” Well, he’d already seen her kill a guy. “I’ll be really pissed off if you make a crack about the cat.”
That amused Badger immensely. “Heathcliff? Oh, lassie, I can’t wait for the next pack Muster.”
“Shut. Up,” she growled at him.
Badger grinned. “Not quite. So what’s yer full name, boyo? First, middle, and last.”
He’d go out with at least a little dignity. He threw back his shoulders. “Heathcliff McKenzie Ethelbert. Doctor,” he added, although that last part sounded a little lame, even to his ears.
She let out an audible groan and leaned over the counter, her head hung low. “Nooo.” It almost sounded like a mournful howl.
Obviously delighted, Badger slapped her on the back with a pleased cackle. “Well, Heathcliff McKenzie Ethelbert, let me formally introduce ye to yer mate here, Dellis Tadewi Bleacke.”
Badger grinned. “Mate. Welcome to the Targhee pack, boyo.”
“Pack?” He felt his mind close to shattering. He decided to focus on the one thing he could comprehend and deal with. “Wait a minute. Your name’s Dellis, and you pick on me for Heathcliff?”
Her head snapped up. “You will call me Dewi. D-E-W-I.”
“Well, you can call me Heathcliff.”
“Oh, fuck me, no way in hell.” She straightened and turned to face him. “McKenzie, huh? I’ll call you Ken. I like Ken. I already have a cousin named Mac. No way in hell am I introducing you to my family as Heathcliff.”
Badger laughed again. “Peyton and Trent are gonna shit themselves.”
She glared at the older man and jabbed a finger at him. “Don’t you dare call them!”
He held up his hands. “No, no. I’d rather see the shock on their faces at the next Muster. This’ll be a scream.”
“If you can tell me what I’m supposed to call you,” Ken said, “why should I settle for Ken? Which I hate, by the way. And who says I’m staying here? And…what is this pack you keep talking about?” Maybe he shouldn’t have asked that last question, but he was more than a little curious.
Badger looked at Dewi. “Ye get to do the honors, young lady. He’s yer mate.”
She stared at him, those beautiful mocha eyes melting him. Despite the crazy situation he felt his cock stiffen in his pants. He shifted his position around the corner of the counter to conceal that fact.
Dewi’s eyebrow twitched, revealing her apparent amusement. Somehow, he knew she realized why he’d moved. “I’m an Alpha wolf shifter,” she said. “Targhee pack out of Idaho. I’m one of their Enforcers.”
“She’s a Prime Alpha, actually,” Badger chimed in. “Lone wolf. And not just one of their Enforcers. She’s the Head Enforcer. She’s too modest. Usually she don’t take to others very well. Count yerself lucky, boyo.”
“I don’t count myself lucky!” he yelled, near the end of his tether. “You people are crazy, and I want to go home!”
* * * *
Dewi sensed him drawing dangerously close to a mental breakdown. Despite her irritation and trying to wind herself down to settle her hunt instinct so she didn’t accidentally hurt her new mate, she stepped closer to him. She hated how he flinched away at first.
“I’m not going to hurt you,” she said, forcing her voice to stay soft and gentle. She reached up with her right hand and palmed his cheek, her eyes never leaving his.
He let out a soft moan as his eyes dropped closed. He nuzzled her hand with his lips.
“See?” she said. “It’s instinctive. We’re mated.”
“I don’t understand any of this.” He kissed her palm, setting off a flurry of desire in her core. She needed to quickly get some food in her—preferably really rare steak—and then she could take him upstairs and spend the night getting to know him better.
“You don’t have to understand any of it. I’m a shape-shifter. Wolf pack. We’re not just legend. I’m sorry about how this happened, but I couldn’t let you get away when I found you.”
“Wolves mate for life,” Badger chimed in. “When they find their mate, if the person’s not already taken, they claim them. Especially a Prime Alpha like Dewi here.”
She felt Ken’s resistance—she refused to call him Heathcliff—drain from him as his lips traced her palm. He grabbed her hand and held it pressed to his mouth so he could kiss and lick her flesh. “Don’t worry,” she assured him. “We’re going to spend the next couple of weeks right here getting to know each other. And I’ll have plenty of time to tell you everything.”
“I can’t,” he gasped without opening his eyes.
“What do you mean, you can’t?”
“I’ve got to work.” He finally opened his eyes. “I’ve got classes to teach Monday morning and papers I haven’t graded yet.”
Badger cackled. She shot him a dark look. “I think I’m gonna have to re-estimate him,” Badger joked. “He’s got a bigger set on him than he looks.”
“Shut up,” she said.
“Oh, no ye don’t, girlie,” he teased. “Little Miss I-Don’t-Need-A-Mate has found her match. Despite his looks, I have a feeling he’s gonna teach ye a thing or two. Mebbe give ye a run for yer money.”
If she leaned in and kissed Ken’s delicious lips, she would end up ripping his clothes off and fucking him right there on the kitchen floor despite Badger’s presence. Instead, she captured his hand and gently squeezed before letting go. She was painfully aware of how fragile his fingers felt in hers despite the fact that he was a man with a little substance to him.
“I have to eat dinner,” she explained. “If I don’t, we’re going to have a serious problem. I’m sure you’ll probably want something, too, since I interrupted yours.” She stepped away even as Badger dove for the fridge and pulled out a couple of huge steaks from the ready supply he kept for her.
“How ye want yers, Ken?” he asked.
She didn’t miss his sarcasm.
Ken blinked. “Um, no. No thank you. I’ll just have a salad.”
Her mouth watered at the sight of the steaks as Badger fired up the gas grill built into the stove top. He knew she needed to eat to help sate her urges after a hunt, especially when she made a kill. “No, you have to eat,” she said. “Trust me. You’ll need more than salad for the night ahead of us.”
He slid onto a stool in front of the counter. “No, thank you. I don’t eat steaks.”
She sensed Badger turn to look at him. “Well, what do you eat?” he asked.
“I don’t eat meat.”
“Ye what?” She winced as she heard the laughter threatening to break through Badger’s voice again.
“I don’t eat meat,” Ken said. “I’m a lacto-ovo-vegetarian. I eat dairy and eggs. Every once in a while I’ll eat fish and shellfish, but that’s the only meat I eat.”
She grimaced, her shoulders tensing. Aaaand here it comes…
Badger burst out into gales of laughter. “Let me get this straight. Yer a vegetarian?”
“Ye don’t eat red meat?”
Badger turned to her. His grin split his ruined face from ear to ear. “Oh, Dewi, please, ye got to let me be there when ye break this to yer brothers! Their big, bad Prime Alpha baby sister is now mated to a grazer!”
You can buy Bleacke’s Geek (Bleacke Shifters 1) from the following retailers: