Tiger Magic(8)

By: Jennifer Ashley

And to have his betrayal thrown in her face in front of a helpful stranger, that hot-looking, weird-eyed . . . Shifter.

“Oh no.” Carly scraped tears from her eyes with an already sodden tissue. “The poor guy. I left him in Ethan’s house.”

She’d have to go back. This was Ethan’s frigging car anyway. Much as she wanted to run it off the road, or maybe push it into a deep, muddy creek, she had enough sense to know that Ethan would sue her for it. He liked to sue people.

Carly dragged her foot back into the car. Surely the Shifter-man with the multicolored hair would have left, caught a bus, called a friend.

But she thought of him and his slow stares, his not-quite understanding of what she was saying to him. She’d left him defenseless with Ethan, and Ethan didn’t like Shifters.

Carly started the car.

“Are you Carly?” a male voice said almost in her ear.

Carly bit back a scream. A dark-haired man peered in through the open driver’s-side window at her, regarding her with a pair of very blue eyes. Behind him stood another man, just as tall but without as much bulk, younger. A flash of black and silver showed above the T-shirt of the man staring at her, a Collar. He was Shifter.

“Is the tiger-man all right?” Carly asked him, wiping her eyes again. She had no way of knowing if this Shifter knew hers, but she was worried about him. “Did he get home?”

The Shifter blinked once in surprise, then he masked that surprise like a master. Carly had worked for a while now in the art business, which involved selling high-dollar goods. Those who bought and sold learned to school their faces and words in order to make the most profit or spend the least amount of money, but their body language could speak volumes. This man was telling her he knew all about body language but could manipulate it to serve his ends.

“I’m Sean,” the man said. “You need to come with us to the hospital. Tiger’s been asking for you.”

“Hospital?” Carly gasped. “What happened?”

“Tiger got himself shot, that’s what happened,” the Shifter said, his Irish accent becoming more pronounced. “Seven times, right in the gut.”


“Seven? Oh my God, is he all right? Where is he? I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

Surprise flickered in the blue eyes again. “Why are you sorry? Did you shoot him, lass?” A tiny bit of anger also touched him, a flash that told her that this man would be dangerous when he was angry.

“He was hurt because of me, wasn’t he?” Carly cried. “Where is he?”

The passenger door opened, and the younger Shifter slid inside without asking permission. “Follow Sean. He’ll get us there.” The young man closed the door and touched the dash in wonder. “I’ve never been in a ’Vette before,” he said, his accent as Irish as the other man’s. “Wicked, this is.”

“Come on, lass,” Sean said and unfolded himself to walk to a motorcycle parked behind her. Though not as big as Tiger, Sean moved with ease that belied his strength, the balanced grace of a cat.

He started the motorcycle and waited for Carly to back out of the driveway before he started down the street in front of her. Carly’s hands shook a little, but her tears had dried. Concern for Tiger cut through anger at Ethan.

“I’m Connor, by the way,” the young man said as she started to follow Sean. “Still a cub, but getting there. You ever want to sell this car to me, we can negotiate.”

“It’s not mine,” Carly said.

“No? Whose, then? Think they’d be willing to sell? If not to a Shifter, I can find someone to be an in-between.”

There was nothing at all wrong with Connor, but Carly’s temper splintered. “It belongs to a two-timing, gutless, son-of-a-bitch-bastard-asshole, and I wish you’d steal the damn thing from him!”

Oh, that felt good! Carly laid her head back on the headrest, clutched the steering wheel as she floored it down a hill after the motorcycle, and let out a long, heartfelt scream.

“Whoa,” Connor said. “Take it easy, sweetie. Maybe I’d better drive.”

“No way,” Carly said. “He told me to take the ’Vette so I’d be out of the way when he did it with his bitch, and so I’m taking the ’Vette.”

She peeled around the corner after Sean, laughing as the car hugged the road and accelerated at the same time.

Connor’s eyes, blue like the other Shifter’s, rounded. “Are you saying your mate cheated on you?”

“He’s not my mate. No way, no how, never, ever. And that’s exactly what he did. Hang on.”

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