Tiger-shifter Grio has one job, locating dormant tiger-shifters and introducing them to the world of Saffron Tigers. When he finds Professor Phoenix Lamoure, he soon discovers that Headquarters got a couple of key points wrong—Phoenix isn’t actually a professor, but he is Saffron Tiger royalty, a member of the lost royal line.
Phoenix didn’t have things easy growing up. His mother spent most of her life in a mental institution, and he spent his formative years in foster care. When a stranger approaches and tries to unearth his family history, Phoenix becomes wary. And when the stranger actually kidnaps him, all bets are off!
Can Phoenix ever believe what Grio has to tell him? Or will he be forever convinced that he’s as crazy as his mother?
Heat Level: 3
Length: Extended Amber Kiss (13k words)
Read a short excerpt...
...Phoenix stood. “You’re creeping me out, man. I’ll see you around.”
“I’m sorry, that wasn’t my intention.” He stood as well, trying not to loom. “Perhaps we can go to your office?”
“No way. I’m not going anywhere alone with you.”
Well, he’d screwed the pooch on this one. Headquarters was going to kill him.
“Just calm down, Phoenix. I have no intension of hurting you.” And the only thing that could make the situation worse would be scaring Phoenix into spontaneously shifting for the first time right here.
“What do you want? I mean, this feels totally wrong.”
He’d obviously taken the wrong approach. Of course it seemed Phoenix was smarter than your average tiger. Grio sighed. “Look. I know something about your background and you aren’t going to believe me and I’d rather get laughed at in private.”
“I’m not interested. My mom… It was awful. I don’t want to know.”
“What happened with your mother?” The file on Phoenix was woefully thin.
“She died in an asylum. She committed suicide.” Phoenix frowned, face confused. “Why on earth am I telling you this?”
“I have that kind of face?”
Suicide. Had Phoenix’s mother known what she was? What Phoenix was?
“I’m very sorry about your mother.”
“It was a long time ago. I hadn’t been able to see her in years.”
“Do you know why she was in the asylum?” He could tell he was pushing at a sore spot, but he really needed an in.
“Because she was delusional.”
“Like she believed she was really a tiger or something?” He had to take the opening.
Phoenix looked at him, wide-eyed. “I have to go.”
“What if I told you she wasn’t crazy? What if I had more information? Please, don’t just run. Have dinner with me. Something.” He really didn’t want to have to kidnap the adorable bespectacled man, but that option was looking more and more like his only one.
“She was crazy. Like screaming and tearing her skin.” Phoenix began walking, luckily in the direction of Grio’s SUV.
“Did she tell you that you were special?” Grio asked.
“She was my mom.” Phoenix kept walking.
Grio matched Phoenix’s pace easily. “Did she tell you that you had royal blood?”
Phoenix stopped, stared at him. “Go away. Go away and leave me alone.”
“I can’t. This is too important...”