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Series: Book Three Satchel Pride
Genre: Paranormal Romance M/M
Release Date: September 17, 2023
Lion shifter and business executive Mike Doy thought he’d never find his fated mate… until he hires Jake Bradford.
His biggest mistake – revealing his true nature to Jake. Or maybe their shared kiss. Whatever ignited between them quickly burns out as Jake’s life spirals out of control. Jake isn’t prepared to understand—much less face—the paranormal world or the concept of fated mates.
After Jake’s parents were lost in a tragic wreck, he’d been tasked with caring for his young brothers. But a cruel aunt with the intent to take his brothers and an irate landlady threaten to separate the family.
Mike offers help, but Jake might not be able to accept the intimidating shifter’s support. With the help of a friend, Vanessa, Jake begins to understand the shifters and discovers another side of Mike. A side that’s loving, caring, and an ally. But his ever-shifting world might keep him and the man he’s fallen for apart… unless both are willing to fight to protect their love and family.
Excerpt - Mike's Assistant
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The mellow vibrations of the guitar strings resonated throughout the spacious office. The workday was done, and I needed a moment to collect my thoughts. It’d been a long day. Hell, it’d been a long week. Ever since that first morning, Jake had been distant. The times I tried to have small talk, he’d brush me off smoothly and rush out of the room. I didn’t know what happened, but he kept me at arm’s length, and his walls were firmly in place.
My fingers strummed the strings, and a familiar tune I'd been toying with formed. I hummed, then sang softly, “I’m a lion in a man's disguise. Can't you see the truth in my eyes? I'll be the king. You’ll be my crown, won't let those steel walls keep us down.” I smiled—those words felt so fitting right now.
A light knock caused me to stop playing and look toward the door. Jake, the object of my thoughts, stepped into the room. He flashed a smile and quickly averted his eyes. It was as if he looked at me; I’d see through the walls he expertly put up.
“Sorry to bother you, Mr. Doy,” Jake said.
I hated that he called me Mr. Doy, even though I’d corrected him numerous times. It was as if it was another way for him to create distance.
“It’s Mike. You’ve already been here a few days. It really is okay to call me Mike. And you’re not bothering me at all. The workday is finally done, and it’s Friday,” I replied.
“That’s why I came in. It’s getting late. I, uh, didn't mean to interrupt. Your playing sounds great.” Jake blushed before continuing. “But I was planning on heading out, and I wondered if there was anything else I could do.”
There was plenty he could do. “Thanks, I just dabble in playing. I always wanted to be a rock star,” I replied, ignoring his question.
Jake released a small giggle, and I couldn’t help but smile. It was a beautiful sound. I placed my guitar to the side and rose from my seat.
“Any plans for the weekend? Have you explored the city yet?” I asked, grabbing my guitar case.
“Um, no, not really. I have….” Jake’s voice trailed off, and I turned to look at him.
“You have….” I prodded.
Jake opened his mouth to reply, but quickly shut it and shook his head. “I don’t have any plans,” he said.
I knew he was holding back, and I hated it. The next thing would be his quick exit. I had to stop him.
“I’d be happy to take you out and show you around,” I said, cutting him off.
Jake focused on me, and his eyes widened. “Uh, no, that’s okay. You don’t have to—”
“I want to. You’re new in town. I can show you all the best places if you’re up for it.” I stepped closer to him.
Jake swallowed hard, and I could feel his nervous energy fill the space. “Look, Mr. Doy—Mike,” he corrected, exhaling slowly, “I appreciate the offer, but I don’t think it’s a good idea. We work together and—”
“Jake, it’s just a tour of the city. No strings,” I said, softening my tone. I took another step closer. I wanted to be next to him. I wanted to hold him. My lion roared within me, urging me on. He wanted his mate as much as I did.
Jake stared at me, and his breath quickened. Looking into his eyes, I could see the cracks in the walls, the vulnerability of trust. His eyes said he wanted to trust me, but he was scared. It was that fear that gave me pause. Perhaps I was coming on too strong, but I couldn’t stop myself. I leaned in and pressed my lips gently against Jake’s.
The world seemed to pause for that heartbeat, the weight of everything I’d left unsaid displayed in the kiss. It was magical, and I never wanted it to end. I was kissing my mate. The one who was made just for me, and I was kissing him.
Jake’s breath hitched, and he didn’t move, but soon his lips moved and pressed back on mine. It was perfect. Jake pushed back, breaking the spell we were under. His eyes were wide, and panic etched his expression.
“What… what was that?” Jake stammered, his face a deep shade of crimson.
My heart raced. Feeling his panic replace the nervousness made me realize I may have fucked up. “Jake, I’m sorry, I just…. I”
Jake shook his head. “I can’t …. You’re with Vanessa. Oh shit, I’m gonna lose my job. I’m going…” Jake shook his head and ran out of the room.
“Jake, wait!” I called out, but Jake was already gone, leaving the room in silence. I stumbled back, and my lion roared within me. What had I done?