Chasing payne, p.1
Chasing Payne, p.1Chantel Seabrook
Table of Contents
Sneak peek of Turning Payne – Therian Agents Book 2
About the Author
A Therian Agents Romance
Copyright (C) 2015 Chantel Seabrook
Layout Copyright (C) 2015 by Creativia
Published 2015 by Creativia
eBook design by Creativia (www.creativia.org)
Cover art by http://www.thecovercollection.com/
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the author's permission.
Chase glared at the man who stood in the doorway of his office. He slapped a folder down on top of the shitload of paperwork already heaped on his desk. “Dammit, Jacob, I don't have time to babysit a fucking recruit.”
Jacob Oliver sighed and shoved his hands in the pockets of his slacks. Shoulder-length black hair was pulled back at the nape, revealing strongly defined features. He looked like the meticulously trained warrior the Therian Agency had created him to be. “I know, but I need you to do this for me.”
Shaking his head, Chase stared into the eyes of his boss and best friend, and knew he'd already lost the argument. “Who is he?”
Jacob grimaced. “Lora.”
Chase's jaw dropped. “As in your baby sister, Lora?”
“She graduated from the academy in April. The Council hired her last week.”
Irritation turned to fear, and a muted growl vibrated in his chest. “And you let them? You know how dangerous this job is.” His lion snarled and paced inside him at the thought of Lora confronting the merciless rogue shifters he dealt with on a regular basis. There was no denying that the girl was brilliant. She had a quick wit, and natural charm that made her easy to be around, but she'd always been impulsive and highly emotional. A dangerous combination for a field agent.
Not to mention the girl had inherited the best of the Oliver genes. Golden eyes, rimmed with thick dark lashes, chestnut hair that framed a perfect, almost pixie-like face. Mixed with the restless, sexual tension that seemed to radiate off her in waves, every male agent within a mile radius would be after her.
Chase gave a brief shake of his head and sighed. “What were you thinking?”
Jacob's expression darkened. “I didn't realize she'd applied. By the time I found out, she'd already been informed of her acceptance.” Collapsing in the steel chair across from Chase, he frowned, and rubbed the back of his neck. “I didn't come here for a lecture.”
Chase clenched his teeth and fought for patience. “You know I'd do anything for your family, but you can't seriously think this is a good idea?” He owed Jacob's family more than he could ever repay. After his mother's disappearance, and his father's death, they had practically adopted him and his brother into their family. But of all the Oliver siblings, he'd always fought an irrational need to protect Lora. Handing the girl a gun, and sending her into the field, didn't exactly sit well with him. “Is she even old enough to work here?”
“She's twenty-two. One year older than we were when we started,” Jacob said, tapping one finger on his knee as he watched Chase thoughtfully. “But you'd know that if you ever accepted Ma's dinner invitations. She misses seeing you.”
Chase cringed inwardly at the mention of Anna Oliver. It had been well over a year since he'd accepted one of her invitations. The woman deserved better from him, but trying to keep his younger brother from self-destructing had become a full-time job. “Speaking of your mother, you do know she's going to kill you when she finds out about this.”
“She's the one who urged her to take the position.” Jacob rubbed his palms over his face. “Lora's not a child anymore, and we're all trying to be supportive and give her the independence she wants.”
Chase rolled his eyes. “Or at least the illusion of independence.”
“She'll be safe with you.”
“If you want her safe, give her a fucking desk job,” Chase snapped. He had a hard time believing that Anna Oliver, Alpha werelion, and an overbearing mother would accept her youngest daughter's new independence that easily. The woman would have his head if anything happened to the girl.
“She's starting first thing Monday morning.” Jacob propped an ankle on his knee and leaned back. “Will you supervise her, or should I assign someone else?”
Son of a bitch and dammit to hell. He did not need this. “If I do this, then you give me full control. If she screws up, she's gone.”
Jacob rose from his chair, a satisfied smile curling his lips. “Agreed.”
“You're a real ass, you know that?”
Jacob chuckled. “So I've been told.”
* * *
Lora wiped her hands on her black pants and blew out an uneven breath. The lioness within her paced like the temperamental beast she was. Overemotional to a fault, it had taken one nearly fatal event to learn to control her dual nature. She had severed the connection years ago, making it impossible for her lion to emerge, but that didn't mean the beast didn't fight her on a daily basis.
Today the struggle seemed nearly unbearable. The very thought of seeing Chase Payne again set her hormones on overdrive, and her big bad kitty scratching to get out.
What was wrong with her?
She was being ridiculous, acting like some emotional teenage girl swooning over a high school crush. Chase was her brother's friend, and now her boss. He was way out of her league, and she needed to get rid of all unsolicited thoughts ASAP. She was here to do a job, and she wasn't about to let some adolescent crush ruin her chances of advancing towards her goal as a Therian field agent.
Anxiety raced through her. She needed this job. It was more than just a paycheck; it was a chance to redeem herself. An opportunity to stop those of her kind who would use their strength and animal abilities to cause harm. They were predators, rogue Metamorphs that allowed their animal nature to govern their actions. Dangerous not only to other shifters, but also to the oblivious humans they shared their world with.
Straightening her shoulders, she walked through the concrete hallway, and with feigned confidence entered Chase's office.
Head bowed over an open manila file, his dark hair fell over his forehead, casting a shadow across his face. A face that Lora had memorized; strong chiselled jaw, lush lower lip, and blue eyes that could make a girl's knees grow weak with just one glance.
No man should be that good looking. Her animal growled in agreement. She pushed the thought away, clenched her hands into fists, and took a deep breath. It didn't matter that her lioness had claimed him for her own, he would never be hers. She'd learned that hard truth five years ago.
She saw the moment his animal senses recognized her presence. His nostrils flared and the thickly coiled muscles in his neck and shoulders went rigid. He lifted his head from what he was reading and sharpened his blue eyes on her.
She sucked in a deep breath as his gaze slowly roamed over her body. Primal, masculine power radiated off him in waves. Her nipples hardened and her skin sizzled, every hormone in her body suddenly activated.
This was a mistake. She should have insisted, no demanded to be assigned to someone else. Someone who didn't make her body turn to liquid heat, or obliterate the control she'd gained over her animal DNA.
Chase cleared his throat and crossed his arms over his chest. He leaned back in his chair and watched her. Unease flashed in his sapphire eyes.
“Sit,” he ordered.
She clenched her teeth and sat down in the steel chair across from him. Taking a deep breath, she counted backwards from ten in her mind, controlling the animal who paced too close to the surface.
“It's been a while since we've spoken,” he said, standing.
She nodded and glanced around the sterile room. He'd worked at the agency for nearly ten years, and yet there was nothing, not even a picture, to personalize it.
A muscle twitched in his jaw. “I was surprised to hear you joined the agency. I never knew you had any interest in working with the Therian Council.”
Neither had she until recently, but it was time she stepped up and did something with her life. Something that made a difference. Something that would erase the guilt that had plagued her for five years.
She had something to prove, at least to herself, and where better to do it than alongside the nation's most powerful Alphas. The only thing that stood in her way was the six-foot-two werelion that currently hovered over her, inspecting her with an expression that challenged her conviction.
“I've always envied the work that you and Jacob do. You save lives, protect the innocent, expose those who would use their animal abilities as a weapon…” She bit her lip and shook away the violent memory that assaulted her mind. “I want to be a part of that.”
“You do realize how dangerous this job is?”
She tilted her chin. “I've spent years listening to my brothers brag about what they do here. I know as well as anyone what the job requires.”
Chase paced the room for several moments before sitting on the edge of the desk with his arms crossed over his powerful chest. “You're ready to risk your life?”
He wasn't trying to hide his disapproval, and Lora felt her own irritation mounting. “I don't have a death wish if that's what you're asking.”
His gaze locked on her, watching her with a silent intensity that was more than unnerving. It was downright intimidating.
“I'll be honest—I don't like this.” He uncrossed his arms and gripped the edge of the desk, his knuckles whitening. “There are other jobs within the agency that don't pose any risk.”
Was he freaking serious? So it was all right for him to risk his life, but not her? Bullshit! She wouldn't let Chase Payne bully her into leaving. She'd worked too hard over the past year to get where she was.
“If you don't want to be my supervisor, I can ask Jacob to reassign me.”
“No.” A snarl resonated from his chest. A dominant sound, meant to intimidate.
Damn him. The man reeked of scare tactics. He wouldn't win. She wouldn't let him. Did he really think she would back down that easily? She'd grown up in a houseful of alpha males, all fighting for control.
“I graduated top in my class. I'm more than qualified to—”
He moved so quickly that she barely had time to react. Placing his hands on the arms of her chair, he leaned over her, blue eyes blazing, his face inches from her own. “To what?”
She swallowed hard and bit her lip. His hot breath tickled her cheek, and his male scent surrounded her like a musky cocoon, turning her insides to mush.
To her horror, a small whimper escaped her lips.
A hard smile played across his mouth, his gaze cool and calculating. “Tell me, Lora, what are you qualified to do?”
Pure male confidence.
His eyes remained locked on hers, daring her to challenge him. Her animal stalked, paced, rumbling to get out, clouding her mind with dark, dangerous desire. He was so close, his mouth tempting her, drawing her—
Without thinking, she grabbed his collar, yanked him down to her level and drew his mouth towards her own. Her lips brushed against his, and he went still.
Oh god, what was she doing? She knew she should stop, but something primal pushed her forward. She dragged her tongue across his lips and felt the tiniest shudder rip through his body.
His tongue swept against hers and for a mouth-watering moment, he returned her kiss, setting fire to her senses. Years of dreaming about Chase Payne hadn't prepared her for the electrifying sensation that coursed through her body.
A groan reverberated in his throat, low and deep, a sexual sound that left her panting for more. Lust rippled through her body, invading her senses. He tasted sweet, with a mix of tanginess and just a hint of spice. She couldn't stop even if she wanted to. Her animal growled, wanting more, needing more.
He broke the connection with a sudden jerk backwards. His eyes wide, dark with desire and something akin to fear. “What the hell?”
A hint of satisfaction rolled through her. For the first time in her life, she felt like she had the upper hand. She looked up at him and smirked. “I'm qualified in more areas than you know.”
* * *
Heat rushed through him. His heart raced and his cock twitched to a similar beat in his pants. His animal roared and paced within him, clawing to get out, to take more of what she had promised.
Her amber eyes glinted with a challenge, and met his gaze with a boldness that he had never seen in her before.
The kiss had taken him by surprise, as did the emotions that fired through him. It was hot, demanding, and hungry. So hungry, that he'd barely been able to pull back.
Fuck, she was Jacob's baby sister. He would tear Chase to shreds if he walked in and found him with his tongue down Lora's throat. But that wasn't the only thing that worried him. He ran his tongue over his canines and the sweet substance that filled his mouth—Fuck, fuck, fuck. There was no way in hell this was happening.
His lion snarled in response as if confirming his fears.
The scent of her desire wreaked havoc on his senses, and the smile that played across her luscious lips only amplified the fire that burned in his groin.
Taking a step backwards, he bumped into his desk and cursed. Damn her. What the hell had she been thinking?
“Shit, Lora,” he growled low in his throat, placing another few feet between them. He jumped as a knock sounded on his door. “Come in.”
“Lo-lo, there's my baby girl,” Jacob said, entering Chase's office and sweeping her up in his large arms.
Lora returned the hug, a blush staining her cheeks. Even with high heels on, her head barely reached her brother's shoulders. Unlike her older siblings, she had always been petite.
“You can't call me that here,” she said, brows turned down as she looked up at Jacob.
Jacob nodded and gave her an affectionate smile before turning his gaze on Chase. The moment their eyes locked, Jacob frowned. He inhaled deeply, looked at his sister, then back at Chase.
There was no hiding the scent of arousal that filled the small room.
Jacob's eyes darkened. “Everything all right?”
Chase gave a curt nod and sat down heavily in his leather chair. He made the mistake of looking back at Lora, and had to rip his gaze away from the full curve of her breasts that stretched the fabric of her tight black blouse. “Yeah, sure. Although I'd actually get some fucking work done if I wasn't interrupted every five minutes.”
An awkward silence followed. Chase kept his focus diverted to the files in front of him.
“I'll be there.” He looked pointedly at Chase. “You should come too. Ma's been asking about you, and I'm sure it's been a long time since you've had a home cooked meal.”
“Yeah, sure,” Chase grumbled, looking away, unable to meet his friend's curious gaze. Shit, he needed to get his head together.
“All right, well I'll leave you two. I'm sure you're excited to get started,” Jacob said, giving Lora a pat on the shoulder. “See you both tonight.”
Jacob shut the door as he left and Chase almost ordered Lora to open it. Alone with her, the tension nearly strangled him.
“I don't know what you were trying to prove earlier, but it won't happen again.” Pinching the bridge of his nose, he kept his gaze down, pretending to read over the papers. “If you're wanting a tour of the facility, my assistant will show you around. I'll figure out what to do with you tomorrow.”
When she didn't respond, he looked up.
A sudden, vulnerable pain flashed across her face. It was quickly replaced with a cool stare. Amber eyes that only moments before had seemed to burn with a fire of their own, were now as hard and cold as the resin they resembled.
Straightening her shoulders, she tilted her chin and looked down her nose at him, before turning on her heels and placing her hand on the door handle. With her eyes downcast, she opened her mouth as if to speak, and then shut it quickly.
Jaw clenched, and cock throbbing, he rubbed the back of his neck and watched her walk out the door. He groaned low in his throat at the sight of her shapely ass as it disappeared from his view.
He should never have agreed to be her supervisor, but even if he wanted to push her off on someone else, there was no way his animal would allow him to now. Not when there was a possibility of her life being in danger.
And especially not when something dark and primal had erupted within him the moment his lips locked on hers. It was more than just a physical reaction.
Chasing Payne by Chantel Seabrook / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes