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Just like any other shifter, Julie always imagined meeting her mate and living happily ever after with the charming male of her dreams. Nothing could have prepared her for the shitstorm that was about to become her love life. With her luck though, shouldn’t she have expected it?
Hector has lived his life knowing that he’d become Alpha of Blue Valley one day. Turns out, acting like you always have it together and living it? Well, those are two very different things. He panicked when he first realized that his sister’s best friend was his mate, now he must rise to the occasion in hopes that he can salvage the rest of his life—but no pressure.
Deacon had no idea what fate had in store for him with a new start in Blue Valley, meeting his mate and her ‘plus one’ wasn’t it. These two are so mixed up in the past it seems almost impossible to make things right and move forward. Good thing he’s a professional.
Julie was very proud of herself for waiting until seven the next morning before she climbed the trellis to Heidi’s bedroom window and snuck in just like she’d done a million times since they were children—well, maybe not exactly the same. This time, she had the forethought to listen at the window to make sure all occupants were still sleeping. The last thing she needed was to interrupt her bestie getting ‘serviced’ by her new beaus. But given the fact that the current bane of her existence was most likely sleeping in a room down the hall, she simply couldn’t risk the front door.
She had just eased the window shut and turned around to a rather large mound of bodies in Heidi’s double bed, thankfully still covered by a quilt. Her legs were bent, preparing to launch as a devious smile crept over her lips…
“Wak—ahh!” She squeaked and jumped back as a low growl split the previous silence and two sets of golden feline eyes popped open in the dim light of dawn.
“No, Julie,” Mason growled. “No eggs and no damned bakey! We’re taking back that spare key unless you agree to never come through our door before 8:00 AM again.”
“She came in through the window,” Wade muttered before pulling a pillow over his head.
“What’s happening?” Heidi groaned before her eyes opened slowly. “Hey, babe, what’s going on? Why do you look like hammered shit?”
“No.” Mason placed a huge paw over Heidi’s face, and Julie struggled not to laugh, as her twenty minutes of sleep last night threatened to snap her mind. “You can have a key to our new place if you agree not to barge into our bedroom at ungodly times in the morning.”
“Okay … unless it’s an emergency.” She reluctantly agreed with the giant, naked tiger in her best friend’s bed.
“Great, now can I please get back to cuddling my mate—”
“It’s an emergency!” Her voice bellowed to the ceiling as she interrupted him, causing giggles to erupt from Heidi and curses from the men on each side of her.
“You are an emergency.” Mason groaned and followed Wade’s lead to pull a pillow over his head as Heidi tried to climb out from in between the two of them.
“Awww, you’re so sweet, thank you.” She knew he hadn’t meant it as a compliment, but she was a wolf and was therefore genetically predisposed to only hear things she wanted to.
“Is there a reason you’re using the window instead of the door?” Heidi asked as she pulled on a robe. “Oh Goddess, did Derek get drunk and pass out in his lion form on the porch again?”
Wow, this confession was going to be tougher than she thought it would be. Julie didn’t think Heidi would be mad that Hector was her mate, but there was a very good chance that she was going to be furious that Julie had known all these years and didn’t say a Goddess-damned thing about it to her best friend in the entire world.
There was really only one way to deal with this, Julie knew that. So, she’d do what she’d always done when it came to delivering bad news to a lion shifter female—she’d Band-Aid that bitch off quickly and then dive for cover.
“I’ve known for the last six years that your asshole brother, Hector, is my mate, but he pretended like it wasn’t happening and he obviously doesn’t want me, so I don’t want him either and last night he lost his mind and said it out loud in front of your brothers and your dad and now I don’t know what’s going to happen!”
It all came out in one overly loud, long, run-on sentence and when it was done, Julie covered her face with her hands and waited for the worst.
Huh. I wasn’t expecting the worst to be a bunch of heavy breathing…
She moved two fingers aside so she could see what was happening, and in case Heidi tried to maul her, she would still only lose one eye. To her surprise, Heidi, as well as both of her mates were just staring at her with their mouths hanging open.
The seconds ticked by and Julie watched closely as her friend’s expression moved from shock to realization, then a murderous look clouded over and Julie waited to get yelled at for betraying the one person she loved most in the world.
“That … arrogant, selfish, know-it-all, big-haired son of a bitch!” Heidi screamed, her hands clenching as her claws slid from her fingertips. “I’ll kill him!”
Now it was Julie’s turn to stand there in shock, but lucky for them all, Heidi’s mates recovered quickly as they both grabbed her before she could yank the bedroom door open and go find her big brother.
“So … you don’t hate me?” Julie’s words were quiet, but they stopped Heidi in her tracks like she’d used a bullhorn. “For not telling you all these years?”
“Oh, babe.” Heidi pulled her in for a big, lion-sized hug, and for once, Julie didn’t struggle. She just took the comfort her friend offered. “I don’t hate you. I wish you had told me, though. I can’t imagine how awful this must have been, going through it all alone. But don’t worry, we’ll fix it.”
Julie sighed. “I don’t need you to fix anything, Heidi. There’s nothing left between me and your brother. He made his choice, and I made peace with that years ago.”
Liar. The worst thing that cat-bastard ever did was make me have to lie to my best friend, and now he’s doing it all over again.
From the look on Heidi’s face, she suspected Julie wasn’t being honest, but she was thankful Mason interrupted.
“Well,” he announced, looking at his phone. “I think the first thing we should do is get both of you out of here and away from that asshole lion. My assistant just texted the house is ready. Let’s go.”
“Good plan,” Julie agreed and walked to the exit, ready to get away from the slight scent of Hector that was lingering in the hallway.
When the room went silent, she looked behind her.
“We’re not climbing out the damned window.” Wade rolled his eyes at her.
Tigers. So danged bossy.
Sarah Marsh was born in British Columbia, she’s only recently began her writing career finding it the perfect outlet for taking the edge off a nine to five job. She’s a science fiction and romance junkie and when her imagination started to take the characters she’d read about even further in their adventures she decided to try writing something of her own.
Her biggest weaknesses are animals of any kind … she even loves the ones that wake you up at four in the morning because they can almost see the bottom of their food dish.
When it comes to life in general she’s a big believer that laughter is the best medicine and that there’s no such thing as too much love, which is why she’s such a sucker for a happy ending.
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