Devlin St.Claire is a whole lot of trouble, with a badge. Kicking ass and arresting unruly paranormals is all in a day’s work for Devlin. Her hatred for the shifter population has gotten her into more trouble than not, especially with her boss.
She’s a little spitfire just waiting to explode on the first shifter who crosses her path. Imagine her surprise when that shifter turns out to be her mate. So what happens when her new mate is accused of not one murder but two? She has no choice but to fight back the only way she knows how – a bit of detective work and a little brute force. One way or another, she’s going to prove that Jameson Starke is innocent.
As the sexual tension becomes damn near unbearable, only one question remains. Will she be able to walk away from one night of passion, even if his life depends on her staying?
*this is a 2-in-1 release, you also get Sinfully Cursed by Kate Allenton!
Devlin narrowed her eyes at the large shifter, his meaty arm pressed to her throat, his bulk blocking out the other bar patrons. The sounds of the raucous crowd hadn’t dimmed since their altercation began, so she doubted anyone was paying them any attention. She knew she shouldn’t have let him goad her into a fight, but she hated shifters, especially werewolves, and hadn’t been able to pass up the opportunity to put big and smelly in his place. He’d gotten in one or two licks but hadn’t done any permanent damage. She’d have a bruise or two by morning, but that’s all.
Shifting her hips, she angled her leg between his, hooking her foot behind his knee. Devlin gripped his arm and twisted her torso, throwing her shoulder into him. She knocked him off balance and took him to the ground. It was a textbook maneuver and would’ve gone down smoothly if the fucker hadn’t hung onto her like he was Velcroed to her ass. A quick elbow to his gut released his hold on her, and she rolled to her feet.
He grabbed her leg with his ham-like hand, his fingers sliding up toward her thigh, and she saw red. Baring her teeth, she drew back her foot and nailed him right between the legs, feeling more than a little satisfied when he dropped his hand to grab his crotch, howling long and loud in agony.
“The next time you grab a lady on the ass, make sure she wants your attention, asshole,” she spat at him. “The amount of alcohol I’d need to consume in order to sleep with you would probably kill me.”
She stepped over his body, now curled in a fetal position, and strolled up to the bar. Signaling the bartender, she ordered a shot of whiskey. Her body was still thrumming with excitement, every nerve alive and screaming for more action. She needed something to calm her down. About the only way she was going to burn off this energy would be a hard night at the gym, or a long night of lovemaking. Seeing as how she was between boyfriends, she didn’t see that as an option. Not that she’d ever truly had a boyfriend. Fuck buddies were more her style. Unfortunately, her last one had decided he’d had enough of playing the field and had gotten married two days ago.
Slamming her shot glass down on the bar, she turned and surveyed the room. The werewolf was still down, but he’d drawn a crowd of sympathizers. More shifters. Just what she needed. The place was crawling with them. Hell, there was even a vampire at the end of the bar. But she wasn’t here to bust anyone tonight. She’d come to O’Leary’s to kick back and relax, blow off steam. A smile spread across her full lips. She’d blown off steam all right.
Her eyes cut to the werewolf again. Hmm. Trouble seemed to be brewing. Two shifters separated from the group and were ambling toward the bar with her in their sights. One was short and wiry, probably a cat shifter. His spiky hair was gelled to perfection, and his skin held the honeyed glow of a warm tan. The other was taller, with lean muscles and a hard edge to him. His eyes were shifty, his nose blade thin. Werewolf? No, that wasn’t right. He seemed cagey, as if he wasn’t used to being in civilized company. Coyote.
They stopped in front of her, hatred burning in their eyes. The smaller one looked her up and down, his look both lascivious and insolent. It was clear that he wanted her yet didn’t want to want her. Not that she gave a rat’s ass what he wanted. If he laid one finger on her, she’d feed him his teeth.
“Can I help you boys with something?” she asked.
“That was a cheap shot,” the bigger one said. “In a fair fight, you’d have never taken down Big Mike.”
Big Mike? Seriously? She snorted. “Yeah, well, Big Mike cries like a little baby.”
The smaller one gave her a chilly smile. “If you’re so sure of yourself, maybe you’d like to go up against a real fighter.”
“Sure. When one gets here, you let me know.” With a smirk, she turned around, dismissing them. She wasn’t completely stupid though. She could see them in the mirror over the bar and watched as they made a move on her. Spinning around, she kicked out at the bigger one, sending him staggering back several paces. Hmm. Not the result she was going for. He should’ve been knocked on his ass, possibly even been thrown across the room. Her kicks had been known to do some serious damage.
The smaller one attacked, coming at her with a right hook. She brought up her arm, blocking him effectively, and slammed the heel of her hand up into his nose, breaking it. She watched as his eyes teared and he grabbed his broken snout. But she didn’t have time to do anything more because the coyote was on her again.
Everyone had cleared a path for them, giving them more than enough room. A few cheered them on, some yelling for the men to put the bitch in her place. If they weren’t careful, they’d be on her list next. She could do this all night long and never get winded.
The coyote howled and rushed her, his hands out, fingers curved like claws. She braced her feet, bent her knees, and waited. When he was close enough, she dropped her hip and launched a punch to his solar plexus. It didn’t stop him, but it stunned him momentarily. While he was confused, she snapped a sidekick into his stomach, sending him backward several feet.
Devlin advanced on him. He came at her with a swinging punch, but she blocked it and nailed him with one of her own, right across his left cheek. She felt the bone give under her knuckles and smiled at his roar of pain and fury. He launched himself at her, shoving his shoulder into her stomach and knocking her back a few paces, but she didn’t falter. She brought her elbow down hard where his neck met his shoulder. When he released her, she brought her knee up into his face, clipping his chin before he had a chance to raise his head.
The coyote rose to his full height, towering over her five-foot-three-inch frame. Before he could come at her again, Devlin spun, her leg arcing. A moment later her heel connected with his temple, knocking him out cold. The shifter fell to the floor in a boneless heap.
The shouts and cheering stopped as everyone stared in both horror and fascination. One pint-sized woman had just taken out three men – shifters – who were much larger than her. She could tell by their faces that they weren’t sure if they should be in awe or be afraid. Fear worked for her.
“Anyone else?” she taunted. “Is there anyone else who wants to get their ass kicked tonight?”
The crowd moved back, giving her space. They parted like the Red Sea as she made her way back to the bar. Devlin smacked the wood bar top twice, and the bartender slid another whiskey down to her. She caught it easily and threw it back in one gulp. It burned going down, the fire licking its way down her throat and into her chest. Throwing some cash down, she stepped away from the bar and sauntered to the exit, feeling every eye in the place on her.
She slammed her hands against the door, shoving it open and stepped out into the brisk night air. The black stiletto boots encasing her tiny feet clicked on the concrete as she made her way to her pride and joy. As she slid into the candy apple red Mustang, her black leather pants squeaked against the leather seats. Closing the door, she engaged the locks and started the engine, smiling as her baby purred to life.
Tilting the mirror down, she fluffed her long red hair, wiped away a smudge of lipstick, and winked at her reflection, her green eyes sparkling with mischief and mayhem. Her blood was still pumping from the fight, and she wasn’t ready to go home.
A commotion across the lot caught her attention. Two men were arguing, the smaller one gesturing wildly. But it was the larger one who held her attention. He was tall, which was enough to draw her eye, but she found she liked the overall package. Longish brown hair, a tattoo covering one arm, and a glint of something at his ear. An earring perhaps? He had bad boy written all over him.
Devlin licked her lips. If he weren’t in such a heated discussion, she’d get out and go introduce herself. She needed a diversion tonight, and she had a feeling he’d be more than adequate in the sack. Just looking at him set her on fire.
Mr. Lickable hefted the smaller guy by his neck, and she wondered if she should step in. She reached for her door handle, but her phone went off, the ringtone indicating it was the chief. Tearing her eyes away from the scene before her, she answered the call.
“St. Claire,” she said, holding the phone to her ear.
“Do you want to explain to me why I just received a call from O’Leary’s that you’ve been in a bar brawl with not one but three shifters?” the chief yelled into the phone.
She winced. “I didn’t start it.”
“Sure you didn’t. You never start it, do you, St. Claire? I want your ass in my office at 0800 hours. And not a minute later! Is that clear?”
“Take your ass home and keep it there until work tomorrow. I don’t want to receive any more calls tonight about fights.”
She sighed and disconnected the call. Looking back across the lot, she realized the men were gone. It looked as though any sexual satisfaction she was going to get this night would be from BOB. Hell, who was she kidding? She was going to go home and hit the heavy bag, just like she did every night. Most women had pretty couches, dainty tables, and nice rugs in their living rooms. She had a beat-up leather sofa, a scarred coffee table, and her workout equipment. No frilly things for her.
Pulling out of the parking lot, she headed for home. Part of her wanted to rebel and hit another bar, disregard what the Chief said, but he was already going to chew her ass good in the morning. She didn’t need to give him any more ammunition than he already had on her. The man just couldn’t see the humor in a situation. Come on, how many women could take out three men? Instead of reprimanding her for it, he should be commending her. She deserved a medal for teaching those assholes a lesson. Maybe they’d think twice before assaulting a woman again.
Devlin cranked the radio, blasting Apocalyptica as she cruised the streets. She could easily be back at her bungalow in ten minutes, but where was the fun in that? Instead, she took the scenic route, hitting the highway and letting her baby run. She watched as the speedometer crept past ninety then one hundred. With a smile, she let her car fly, adrenaline pumping in her veins.
Thirty minutes later, she pulled into her driveway and into the garage. She closed the door as she got out of the car and scanned the street out of habit. In her line of work, you could never be too careful. All seemed quiet as the garage door dropped closed. Devlin opened the door to the kitchen and punched in the alarm code. She pushed the door shot and locked up then she reset the alarm and flipped on the kitchen light.
After pulling her Beretta from the back of her pants, she set the gun on the counter and opened the top cabinet. She retrieved the bottle of tequila off the top shelf and unscrewed the top. Tossing the lid in the trash, she upended the bottle, drinking deeply as she moved into the living room. Devlin collapsed onto the sofa and kicked her feet up on the coffee table. The TV remote was too far away, but the one to her stereo was within reach. Devlin put on her favorite station and turned the volume all the way up. Let the neighbors complain. She’d be happy to tell them where they could shove it.
After taking another deep pull on the bottle, she set it down and pulled off her boots. She wiggled her toes and rolled her neck on her shoulders. Devlin grabbed a clip off the table and pulled her hair back in a ponytail. She rolled to her feet, taking the bottle with her, and slowly danced her way around the room, checking window and door locks along the way. Through a slit in the curtains, she observed the neighbor taking out the trash. Odd for so late at night. She watched another minute or two, but when he went back inside, she shrugged and moved away.
Being on lockdown totally sucked. It was only ten, and she was still ready to be out on the town. Maybe she should’ve gone out with Parker instead of heading out on her own. Something told her Parker wasn’t in a bar getting into fights with shifters. She was probably off somewhere singing karaoke. Not that she could carry a tune in a bucket. Nevertheless, Devlin was usually front and center cheering her on.
After guzzling the last of the tequila, she chunked the bottle in the trash. Not even a slight buzz. Damn. Well, the night was young. There were always other bottles with her name on them, all waiting patiently in the kitchen. One tequila, two tequila, three tequila… more!