Cuffed and Dangerous [Handcuffs and Lace series]
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by Bronwyn Green
Category: Erotica/Menage Erotica/Romance
Description: When a bounty claim becomes a fight of five against one, Jude Caulfield and Gideon Wells step in to help hunter, Wrenn Saunders, before she's mortally injured. Wrenn soon learns that three is a good number whether in a fight or in the bedroom. Especially in the bedroom--and that's just where Jude and Gideon want to keep her.
eBook Publisher: Resplendence Publishing, LLC, 2009
eBookwise Release Date: November 2009
72 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [106 KB]
Reading time: 59-83 min.
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She might be fooling some of the regulars at the Jack Pine tavern, but she sure as shit wasn't fooling him. Gideon Wells eyed the blonde as she nursed her drink like a broken heart. Her depressed demeanor was Oscar-worthy, but this girl was hunting. He'd bet his right ball her prey would walk through the door any minute.
He leaned back in his chair and observed her reflection in the mirror behind the bar. Short, honey-blonde hair framed her face, stopping just past her chin. She had pale, almost translucent skin that reminded him of an angel's or a vampire's--but he knew she was neither. His gaze rose to her full lips. God damn if she didn't have a mouth made for sin. His cock stirred behind the fly of his jeans, and he shifted uncomfortably in his seat.
He watched her scan the room in the mirror, stopping when she met his gaze. Huge eyes the color of melted dark-chocolate glared at him, and he couldn't help but smile. She was a bounty hunter. He'd never seen her, but he'd heard plenty about her over the last three years. While most members of the shifter community might not be best buddies, they kept each other apprised of shared dangers--like bounty hunters with hard-ons for feline shape shifters.
Her short, snug skirt rode up her legs, giving him a tantalizing glimpse of her thighs. It was impossible not to imagine how the creamy flesh would taste as he lapped at her. As if she knew his thoughts, her frown deepened and she looked away. He took that opportunity to continue his perusal of her gentle curves, following the delicately muscled line of her leg downward. Her feet were encased in impossibly high heels and thin bands of leather wrapped around her ankles. The sharp contrast of the black leather against her porcelain skin hardened his cock further as he imagined her bound to his bed, wide leather cuffs securing her hands and ankles, her body open and weeping for him.
Her foot tapped in an agitated rhythm against the metal rung of the bar stool and he dragged his attention upward. Her full lips were pursed in annoyance as she stared at him. Raising his bottle, he saluted her, barely stifling a laugh when she flipped him off.
The door of the bar swung open and her eyes darted almost imperceptibly toward the doorway. He followed her gaze and nearly groaned aloud as he saw his best friend zero in on the woman at the bar. This wouldn't end well.
With an easy grin, Jude Caulfield approached the blonde and leaned on the bar while he ordered a beer. His smile faded as he crossed the room and sank into an empty chair next to Gideon. After a nearly draining the bottle, he set it on the table and sighed.
"The Montgomery build is on hold and I'm laid off indefinitely, the bar's out of Killian's Red, and I just got shot down by the hottest woman I've seen in months."
Gideon grinned. "So you're writing country songs now?"
"Fuck you." Jude nodded toward the bar. "Who is she?"
"If I'm not mistaken, that's Wrenn Saunders."
"The bounty hunter?"
Before Gideon could respond, a triangle of dull light slid across the floor as the door opened, and Spencer Dane entered. Besides being a werelion and an all around dick, he was also the head of the local lion pride. While Spencer might masquerade as a reputable businessman, he was nothing more than a drug dealer using his import company as a front and the members of his pride to distribute his product. The tiny hairs stood up on the back of Gideon's neck and the need to shift burned through his veins. It was more than cats not playing nicely with those outside their own genus. He hated this guy.
"Easy there," Jude murmured. "The last thing I need today is for you to go panther on him. I can't afford to bail your ass out of jail."
Nodding, Gideon took another swig of beer, attempting to swallow his dislike with the cool liquid and watched as the creep made his way toward the blonde at the bar. His beast rose in his chest at the sight of Spencer's hand stroking her forearm, his meaty paws caressing her bare skin.
Gideon's fingers clenched around his bottle as she leaned toward Spencer, giving him a clear view of her ample cleavage. Forcing his grip to relax, he drained the last of his beer. What did it matter that she was flirting with a lowlife like Spencer? Gideon would love to think that she was in the Jack Pine to haul the bastard in, but so far, the other man had managed to keep his illegal dealings unproven, letting his pride members take the fall for him.
The bounty hunter swiveled on her stool. Buttons near to popping, her tight blouse left very little to the imagination, including the hint of black lace that cupped the full mounds of her breasts.
"Holy Mother of God," Jude breathed.
"Yeah." It was the only word he could choke out.
Equally enamored, Spencer laid his hand on her bare thigh as she giggled, peering at him through her lashes. In a move so fast, it must have taken years of practice, she pulled a pair of handcuffs from her waistband and snapped one of the bracelets around his wrist.
Spencer stared at his hand, dumfounded. "What the fuck?"
Hopping off the bar stool, she dragged his hand behind his back as she shoved his torso toward the bar top and wrestled the cuff around his other wrist.
"You're under arrest, asshole," she said.
"I think I'm in love," Jude breathed.
Spencer pushed himself back to an upright position. Straining his muscles, he fought against the restraints. "You've got nothing on me, bitch."
She grabbed the cuffs and pulled them upward, twisting his arms in his sockets. "Don't bother--they're silver. And actually, I do. There's a bench warrant from a judge in Detroit for your arrest. You're more than two years behind on child support."
"Look, I can triple whatever your bounty is. Just unlock the cuffs and the money's yours."
With her free hand, she removed a colt from her purse and pressed the muzzle into his back. "I've got a full cylinder. The rounds aren't silver, so you'll heal, but I can make sure it hurts like hell before you do."
"Yep," Jude nodded. "Definitely in love."
"Whore," Spencer growled.
"Helplessness is a bitch, huh?" Keeping a tight grip on the chain connecting the cuffs and the gun pressed against his spine, she shoved him toward the door.
Wrenn knew they were being followed into the parking lot. In fact, she'd expected it. A guy as self-important as Spencer Dane always traveled with backup. In this instance, the backup was made up of lions from his pride. In the animal kingdom, prides were comprised of females, but Spencer's kingdom required a few burlier bodyguards.
Reaching her SUV, she stopped abruptly and spun around, pressing the nose of her gun into her bounty's neck. She met the gazes of the four men and one woman who'd followed them from the bar.
The woman stepped forward, a lanky redhead whose nails were already thickening and lengthening into claws. "Do you really think you can take all of us?"
Wrenn trailed the barrel up the side of Spencer's face to rest at his temple before meeting the woman's gaze. "No. But I know I can get off at least three shots before you touch me. The slugs might not be silver, but scrambled brain is still scrambled brain. It's possible he could survive a head wound, but that doesn't mean he'd survive with his mind intact. You sure you wanna take that chance?"
The woman paused, her eyes darting to Spencer's.
Wrenn watched them all, adrenaline slamming through her veins. The door to the bar opened, but she didn't spare a glance for the newcomers. Spencer was waiting for his chance, and she refused to give it to him. He was guilty of a hell of a lot more than being a deadbeat dad, but she'd take him off the street using whatever means she could.
The deep voice came from the direction of the open door. Feigning a calm she didn't feel, she forced herself not to respond. She has no idea if he was addressing her or the other shifters. She'd bet just about anything it was the guy who'd been staring at her in the bar. Huge and heavily muscled, he was beyond gorgeous. With mocha colored skin and tons of thin dreads hanging to the middle of his back, he was the epitome of breathtaking masculinity. He was also a shifter, and she had no business being attracted to him. But it had been nearly impossible to ignore the desire that heated her blood at the hungry look in his eyes as he'd stared at her.
"This doesn't concern you, Gideon, so why don't you stay the hell out of it?" snapped one of the males she currently held at bay.
"I don't think so."
The husky voice of different man drifted to her. If she had to guess, it was Gideon's friend, the one who'd tried to hit on her before Spencer had made his appearance. With short, spiky brown hair and soulful green eyes, he was just as attractive as his friend. His mouth was perfectly sculpted, and as he'd talked to her, it had been all she could do not to lean into him and sink her teeth into his full lower lip. Another damn shifter. What the hell was the matter with her?
"No one asked you, Jude," snarled the redhead.
"Yeah, I know. But that's the kind of guy I am--always willing to offer up an opinion."
The smile in his voice tugged at the corners of Wrenn's lips.
"Now, why don't you all take off and let the lady do her job?" Jude continued.
"Why don't you go fuck yourself?" the woman retorted.
Several of the werelions advanced, but before Wrenn could react, Gideon and Jude leapt between her and the other shifters, blocking their way. Claws extended, but not fully shifted, they engaged the lions. The scene before her erupted in a flurry of growls and flying bodies as they attacked one another.
From the corner of her eye, Wrenn saw the other woman advance. Turning slightly to face her, Wrenn cocked the gun. "Do it. I'm more than happy to pull the trigger."
The redhead stopped in her tracks, her lovely face twisted in a vicious snarl. The commotion around them ceased as suddenly as it started with three of the four men lying on the ground unconscious and the fourth groaning in a heap. Both Gideon and Jude panted heavily, and Jude wiped a trickle of blood from the corner of his mouth while Gideon pulled his ruined shirt away from the bloody claw marks that marred his stomach.
"I can't believe you'd turn against your own kind, Gideon," the female werelion bit out. "For a pathetic human."
Gideon's eyes hardened, glinting in the streetlights like chips of amber. "You've never been my kind."
Though it wasn't directed at her, the bitterness in his voice sent a cold chill through Wrenn.
Ignoring the shifter drama going on around her, she opened the back door and shoved Spencer into the vehicle.
"You're making a mistake," he warned.
"Trust me--it's not the first time. I'm sure it won't be the last." As soon as he was seated, she attached his handcuffs to a short length of silver chain that had been mounted to the floor of the SUV and fitted the silver cuffs around his ankles.
"Don't you think this is a bit excessive?" he asked coldly.
"You're not only a criminal, you're a shifter, so, no. I don't think this is at all excessive."
Slamming the door, she noticed that the rest of the werelions had taken off.
Jude stepped closer and nodded toward the SUV. "You gonna be okay with him? We can give you a hand you if you need it."
"I don't," she snapped. She pressed her lips together and tried to gather her thoughts. "Look, I appreciate the offer, as well as your help earlier, but this isn't my first collar. I can get him to where he needs to be." Refusing to discuss it further, she got in the car and pulled out of the parking lot.
Guilt niggled at her for the five-hour drive from Petoskey to Detroit. Gideon and Jude were clearly just trying to be helpful, but ultimately, they were shifters. That sobering thought was enough to push away any residual remorse. She knew better than to get close to them. She might be stupid enough to be attracted to them, but she wasn't idiot enough to act on it.
At least, that's what she'd told herself as she sped past the thick forests and rolling farms that lined the highway that led back to Petoskey. Wrenn pushed harder on the accelerator, urging the vehicle a little faster. The drive from the Wayne County Jail had given her entirely too much time to think, but she still couldn't quite believe she was on her way back to the same lakeshore town she'd left yesterday. After a sleepless night, remembering Jude and Gideon covered in blood, watching her drive away, she knew what she had to do. Part of the bounty was theirs. Hell, they'd prevented her from having to make good on her empty threat to shoot Spencer. They'd also gotten hurt in the process. Granted, they both would have completely healed by now, but she'd walked away without a scratch. Definitely not the usual scenario when bringing in a shifter.