Beastly Desires(6)By: Nikki Winter
His eyes scanned several pumps around him and finally landed on an SUV just feet away and with bated breath he waited as the front driver’s side door swung open, staring when a pair of dusty steel-toe boots appeared, followed by long powerful legs, full hips and a waist that he could span with both hands. A heavy chest pushed against a plain white T-shirt underneath a leather bomber. When those boots touched the ground Kaisal jerked his gaze upwards and felt his tiger stir.
Definitive feline features came into view. Full lips with a small, muzzle-like nose, sharp cheekbones and a dimpled chin all under skin that was a rich, raw umber beneath the lighting. Honey-toned hair was tied into a ragged knot, and he briefly wondered if it was as soft as it appeared but what caught his attention, what gave him pause and set a growl into motion that rumbled up from his gut, was her eyes. Large, luminous, and tilted up just at the corners with distinctly small pupils, and her irises—like the rest of her—were golden, ringed in green. Lioness.
If he hadn’t been unequivocally sure she was feline before, the way she moved was an unmistakable indication. Although her steps were hurried, she had a willowy sway that spoke of the animal that prowled just beneath the surface of her skin. At his beast’s urge, he took a step forward. Her head swung around and she pinned him where he stood with a stare that said one thing—Don’t. Fucking. Think. It.
Kaisal’s lips curved and her own curled. That made him chuckle. Mean. He liked mean. With a smirk, he gazed after her as she headed for the convenience store, stopping in front of the doors the moment she realized it was closed for the night.
The low, throaty tone of her voice reached out and seemed to give his beast a rub just between the ears. His heart started a staccato rhythm as she turned on the heels of her boots and stood staring at her SUV, hands tugging at her hair in obvious frustration.
He leaned on the grill of his Yukon and focused on her. “Need help with something, sweetheart?”
Her glare leveled him. “No.” Short, to the point, and without a bit of emotion. She started back to her vehicle, standing outside with her hands pressed against the hood, the wheels clearly turning in her mind. Kaisal could’ve seen the tension in her lithe form from a mile off.
“Are you sure about that?” He took another step in her direction.
“I said no.” She rose to her full height as he got closer. “Turn around.”
“Are you having car trouble? Because I can always…” His question ended mid-sentence the moment he found himself staring down the barrel of a forty-five.
“I asked you to turn around.” Once again, no emotion, not even in her gaze. However, aggression rolled off her in waves, but he couldn’t grasp why. At least not until he followed the line of her stare and saw what was most assuredly a cub tucked into a booster seat in the back of the car, head leaned over, mouth open and eyes closed as he slept on, completely oblivious to his mother’s barely leashed hold on her temper.
Kaisal looked back to her, saw the subtle trembling of her hand, the way her chest rose and fell in minute breaths, noticed the scent of fear masked by irritation that spiked in the air when, instead of walking away, he stepped just that much closer.
“You’re frustrated and tired,” he stated, keeping his tone soft. “Let’s be rational. I don’t want to hurt you or your son. I just want to help because you’re obviously stranded.” And running. He knew a runner when he saw one, and from the smell of gun oil that was all over her and wafting from the SUV, Kaisal would bet his last that she had several more weapons and whatever else she needed to get away from whomever it was she was attempting to escape.
The key to understanding survival was that no one pulled a weapon unless they felt they had reason to. She didn’t see him as a threat because he was male or large—she saw him as a threat because he was a stranger, and any wrong movement she made could undo whatever ground she’d gained.
“You can help me by ambling right back to Mr. Rabbit, Pooh Bear, and Piglet.”