Lion in Wait
Big Cat Mates, Book 1
by Cynthia Sax
eBook ISBN: 06208-01994
Starr is too busy for relationships. She has debts to pay off and three jobs to juggle. The assistant job at Leone Media is a dream. Spending the night with the firm’s sexy boss is pure fantasy. He pets her in all of the right places, his big cat eyes shining with an admiration she’s searched a lifetime to find.
Land this job and you can quit the other three. Starr twitched the flirty red skirt of her Bavarian waitress outfit, wishing she could have changed at the restaurant. Her boss was a tight ass about staying in costume around the customers. You can do this.
She opened the stained glass doors of the sprawling Victorian manor house and walked into the offices of Leone Media — one of the top marketing firms in the city.
The heels of her double strap shoes tapped too loudly on the polished hardwood, the clatter announcing her presence. Not yet. Starr frantically scanned the space, searching for the restroom, a place to change before —
“Finally, you’re here.”
Oh, shit. Starr forced a smile as a stunningly gorgeous woman sprang to her feet, her black designer suit clinging to her size nothing body. Every inch of her, from her finely manicured fingers to her stylish black heels, screamed elegance and refinement, everything that Starr wasn’t.
I’m outclassed and late. Starr glanced at her serviceable watch. No, not late. She frowned. “The appointment was for eight o’clock. Mr. Leone said his brother would be working late.”
“Royce always works late, but what Tanner failed to realize is I’d have to be here to greet you.” The woman hustled around the reception desk, her movements smooth and graceful. “He never thinks of me.” She rolled her brilliant green eyes. “Come.” She grabbed Starr’s arm. “I’ll put you in the library.”
Starr didn’t move. “Is there somewhere I can change?” She shifted the tote slung over her shoulder, her suit folded neatly inside the bag. “I came straight from work.”
“Yes, I can see that.” The receptionist eyed her, her lips twitching. “We don’t have time. I need to be somewhere in five minutes, and it doesn’t matter. Royce has chewed up and spat out the last eleven extremely qualified applicants.” She traipsed along the surprisingly wide hallway, her heels obscenely high.
And I’m not extremely qualified. Starr followed, aware of her community college education, the best she could afford, and her plus-sized figure, not the image any hoity toity advertising firm would wish to project. She plucked at her black bodice, the double laces pulled unbearably tight.
“The younger Mr. Leone thought I’d be perfect for the position.” Please agree with him. Starr stubbornly clung to her dream of working one job.
“Tanner is an ass. I told him he was cruel to get your hopes up.” The receptionist sighed. “I’m sorry.” She wrapped her arm around Starr’s waist and gave her a squeeze. “I know what it is like to want something you can’t have.” The sympathy in her voice dashed any lingering hopes.
I came here for nothing. Starr’s shoulders slumped, weighed down by her disappointment. Should I leave now? She tilted her head, considering her options. My shift has been given to someone else. My cable was cut three months ago. I might as well stay and meet the elder brother.
“Wait here.” The woman waved at a pair of high-backed leather chairs placed in front of a fireplace, a small table nestled between them. “Royce will join you in a moment.” She rushed out, leaving Starr alone.
Starr set her tote down and settled into one of the chairs, her already short skirt pulling up, exposing an expanse of pale skin between the hem and the white stockings. Her seat had been heated by the fire, the warmth permeating her body, easing her stress.
Starr’s gaze lifted from the flickering flames. A mosaic of a lion was embedded in the stone surrounding the fireplace. The beast’s mouth opened as though roaring — its mane flowing, the image strong and masculine, befitting the library.
Starr had heard the rumors surrounding the Leone family — the stories of men changing into lions. Could those rumors be true?
She breathed in, the scent of leather and cologne and sexy man filling her nostrils, the fire warming her. Starr didn’t dismiss the idea as ludicrous, having seen the ghostly figure of the Bavarian Sausage House’s deceased owner hovering around the entrance after hours. If ghosts are real, why not beast men?
I’d work for a beast man. If it paid my mom’s hospital and funeral bills, I’d work for the devil himself. Bookcases framed the stone fireplace, worn volumes filling the shelves, the leather-bound classics surrounding her, as familiar and as reassuring as old friends. Starr relaxed, enjoying the stillness, the precious quiet time with no one to report to, no customers to please.
And no job interview to worry about. She smiled sadly.
The door clicked behind her, the sound obscenely loud in the quiet room, and Starr raised her head, meeting a golden catlike gaze. The intriguing eyes were set in a face too rugged, too scarred to be handsome.
“M… Mr. Leone.” She struggled to her feet, her right stocking slipping down her leg. The younger brother’s manner had been light and playful, the businessman always laughing. This older brother was hardness and strength, his expression gravely serious.
Mr. Leone glanced at the crisp white paper in his big right hand. “Starr.” His lips twisted. “I should have known by the name.” He crumpled up her resume and tossed it into the fire. “I guess we don’t need this.”
The paper, representing her chance for a better life, burned. “I guess we don’t.” She lifted her chin, hiding her disappointment, grateful for the receptionist’s warning. I’ve been chewed up and spat out, as she predicted.
Mr. Leone prowled around Starr, moving silently, sensuously, his black suit fitting him like a second skin, his shoulders broad, his hips lean. Starr stayed still, resisting the urge to turn with him, feeling like prey for a very large predator.
He leaned closer and sniffed, his nostrils flaring. “You smell delicious.”
Starr’s cheeks heated. “Friday is all you can eat bratwurst at the Bavarian Sausage House, sir.”
“Hmmm…” he purred, the sound reaching down deep inside her, moistening her long-neglected pussy. Starr had no time for lovers; earning money was her sole focus.
She straightened, and Mr. Leone’s gaze dropped to her bodice, her white peasant blouse barely containing her breasts. He wants me. That knowledge filled her with a feminine power, a small compensation for the time she’d invested.
“I’ve worked there for three years and two months, sir.” She pulled down on her skirt. His gaze tracked her movements. Prey. She gulped. I’m definitely prey. “Mostly in the role of waitress,” she admitted, feeling the need to be honest. “But once I helped distribute flyers… ummm… implement a mass marketing campaign.”
His lips twitched. “I appreciate the effort, but you can stop with the stories, Starr.” He skimmed his fingertips over her arm, and she shivered, her body coming vividly alive, her toes and fingertips tingling. “I know who you are.”
“Who I am?” Her voice held a huskiness she’d never heard before.
“You.” He cupped her chin, lifting her gaze to his. “Are my birthday present.”
It’s his birthday. Her breath caught. And he’s alone, working late, as I was on my birthday. “I’m not getting the assistant job, am I?”
“No, you’re not.” He shook his great mane of blond hair, his unusual eyes glittering with amusement.
Starr gazed up at Mr. Leone, her body craving his touch, her soul needing the escape he offered. “Then yes.” She rested her palms on his lapels, pushing her breasts against his chest. For one night, I’ll do this. “I’m your birthday present.”
“I told Tanner I didn’t want anything.” His pupils narrowed to slits, his eyes unblinking. “I was mistaken.” He dipped his head, capturing her lips with his, his embrace firm and demanding.
Starr opened to him, and he filled her mouth with his tongue, flattening his hands on her back, pulling her deeper into him. His large frame was hard with unrelenting muscle, the ridge in his dress pants pushing against her.
She tilted her head back as he ravished her, stroking into her mouth, rubbing against her, his hands dropping to her ass. He kneaded her flesh, pulling her skirt higher and higher, and she moaned, needing his fingers on her naked skin.
It had been so long since she had felt like this — desired, wanted, with a strange rightness she might have never experienced. He lifted her easily onto the arms of the chair, spreading her legs, fitting between her thighs.
“Oh, Mr. Leone.” She gripped his suit-clad shoulders as he kissed down her neck, nipping, licking, his mouth hot, so very hot.
“Royce,” he corrected, his voice low and deep. “With you, I’m Royce.” He pushed her blouse down, freeing her breasts, the cool air hitting her skin. “Is all of this for me?” His lips curled into a boyish grin, his eyes glowing with gold.
“It’s all yours, birthday boy.” Starr linked her fingers around his nape, his tawny hair seductively soft, and she drew him downward, burying his scarred face in her bosom. He slipped his tongue between her breasts, his breath hot and exciting.
“Lick me. Suck me.” She squeezed his hips with her thighs, rising into him, grinding her wet panties against his dress pants, as he complied, swirling his tongue around her right breast, reducing the seductive circles until he latched onto her sensitive nipple. Starr arched, pushing her curves into his mouth, and he sucked, the pull and release surging down to her pussy.
“That’s it.” She threaded her fingers through his shaggy mane of hair, encouraging him. “Royce.” Starr savored the strength of his name. He pulled on her nipple, elongating the pinkness, and then he released, switching to her left breast, lavishing her neglected curves with equal adoration.
He reached under her skirt and snapped the ribbons on her panties, his fingernails surprisingly sharp. Starr unzipped his pants and reached inside, freeing his cock from the folds of his cotton boxer shorts.
“Is all of this for me?” She grinned at him, gliding her thumb over his tip, spreading his precum, savoring his almost daunting length.
He chuckled. “It’s all yours, beautiful.”
I feel beautiful. Starr stroked him, working him with both hands, and he nibbled on her nipple, the tiny twinges of pain exciting her. I need him. I need him inside me, now, before he changes his mind. “Condom?”
“Right pocket.” He bobbed in her hand.
She tore the package open and sheathed him quickly, rolling the latex over his shaft. Starr positioned him at her entrance, her pussy gushing, extra lubrication unnecessary, her body ready for him.
He eased into her, stretching her open, sinking deeper and deeper, filling her as she’d never been filled before. “Fuck, you’re tight,” he growled.
“And you’re huge.” She wrapped her legs around his waist, strengthening the connection between them. He stilled, his base pressed against her pussy lips, his chest heaving, both of them remaining almost fully dressed.
“Are you okay?” She petted his hair, playing with the strands, the length unexpected for a businessman.
“Better than okay.” Royce met her gaze, his golden eyes catlike, a stubble she’d never noticed before covering his jaw. “You’re perfect.” He rocked, the slow slide urging the fires of her desire higher.
“Perfect,” she repeated, her extensive vocabulary erased from her brain, the only knowledge left revolving around Royce, the push of his cockhead in and out of her pussy, the prick of his nails against her ass, the musk of his cologne.
He moved into her with more urgency, pulling her toward him as he thrust forward, driving farther into her. Starr panted, hanging onto his broad shoulders, her breasts slapping against his silk tie, and he grunted, the animalistic noise exhilarating.
Royce rode her hard, fucking her savagely, a sheen of perspiration forming on his face. He’s a beast, wild and primitive and, for this one exquisite moment, he’s mine. She undulated against him, passion stealing her breath, this encounter surpassing her limited experience.
Everything inside of her tightened while he hardened even more. The friction escalated her fervor, her senses enhanced. For years, she’d worked constantly, rushing from job to job, sleepwalking through her life. In his arms, in this instant, she was gloriously alive, feeling, smelling, hearing. She reveled in the coarseness of his hair, the flare of his cockhead, the pulsing of the veins in his shaft. She breathed in his distinctive scent. She savored the heat rolling off his body, the primitive sounds pulled from his throat, the rumble of his chest.
“Harder. Faster. More.” She dug her fingertips into his shoulders, unable to pierce though the fabric to reach his tanned skin, the barrier frustrating her.
“Mine,” he growled, slamming into her, his muscles straining against the confines of his suit. “Mine. Mine. Mine.” He captured her earlobe between his teeth and bit down, the pain breaking her.
She screamed, bucking, the world exploding into a thousand different pieces, all different colors. He roared, temporarily deafening her, and rammed into her, holding the pose for three long heartbeats, prolonging her orgasm.
Royce shuddered and collapsed, sagging into her, his forehead dropping to her shoulder. Starr held him, running her hands over the broad expanse of his back.
“I needed this,” he murmured into her bare skin. “I thought I didn’t, but I did.”
“You’ve been working hard, too hard.” Starr caressed him, the tension seeping from his body. “And you’ve been alone, with no one to talk to, being strong, too strong, for everyone else, neglecting your own needs.” She told him what she wished someone would tell her, expressing the loneliness in her own heart.
“I’m the boss, the alpha, the older brother.” His breath blew hot against her neck. “The health of the firm falls on my shoulders. I’m responsible for the pride; all of them depend on me.”
The pride? “Tonight, I’m responsible for you.” She pressed a kiss to the top of his head, this strong, successful man she had let inside her.
“Only for tonight.”
“Only for tonight,” she reassured him, squelching her need for more. I don’t know him. This yearning is because I’ve gone too long without companionship.
“Good.” He raised his head, meeting her gaze, humor lighting his unusual eyes. “Because I don’t know if I can afford more.”
“I understand.” Starr smiled gently. Her schedule was as jam packed as his, her debt mounting, the interest compounding daily, a cycle of debt she might not ever escape.
“Let me take care of you, Royce.” She stroked over his back, marveling at the muscles rippling under his suit jacket. “I may not have a lot of experience in marketing, but I’m very good at taking care of others.”