When A Beta Roars by Eve Langlais
(A Lion’s Pride #2)
Genres: Adult, Paranormal
How degrading. Stuck babysitting a woman because his alpha said so. As Pride Beta, he has better things to do with his time, like washing his impressive mane, hunting down thugs for fun, and chasing tail—sometimes his own if his lion is feeling playful.
But his babysitting job takes an unexpected turn when the woman he’s assigned guard duty over turns out to be his mate.
A female threatened by an outside wolf pack.
A woman he wants to call his own.
A mate who doesn’t fall for his charm.
Usually Beta’s leave the roaring to the Pride’s alpha, but in this case given his level of frustration, he might have to make an exception. And if anyone doesn’t like it, they can kiss his furry tail.
Hello, my name is Eve and I am a Canadian author who loves to write hot romance, usually with werewolves, cyborgs or aliens.
I should warn you that I possess a twisted imagination and a sarcastic sense of humor something I like to let loose in my writing. I enjoy strong alpha males, and shifters. Lots of big, overprotective shifters. I am also extremely partial to aliens, the kind who like to abduct humans and then drive them insane...with pleasure. Do you like something a little darker? Then check out my cyborgs whose battle with humanity have captivated readers worldwide.
I love to write, and while I don't always know what my mind is going to come up with next, I can promise it will be fun, probably humorous and most of all romantic, because I love a happily ever after.
“What do you mean Dominic isn’t here?” Arik didn’t quite raise his voice, and yet everyone in the barbershop heard him and noted his displeasure. Heads ducked, hands busied themselves snipping and styling, and no one dared meet his gaze.
If they were lion shifters, he would have said it was because they recognized his alpha status—say hello to the king of the concrete jungle. But these were only regular humans, people easily cowed by a man in an expensive suit with a commanding attitude.
Except for one.
“Granddad is out west.”
The woman’s reply had him spinning, and he inhaled sharply, which drew in more than just the scent of the barbershop. It drew in her tempting aroma—and stirred a hunger that had nothing to do with food.
Smells delicious. For a human.
Standing at just over five and a half feet, the woman barely reached his chin. She didn’t let her shortness deter her. Her head tilted. The chin raised, almost defiantly, as she met his stare. Brown eyes framed in dark lashes didn’t turn from his amber-hued ones.
Someone’s got spirit. But he didn’t have time to explore how far her attitude and bravery went. There were more important matters clamoring for his attention.Such as his poor, shaggy mane.
“What do you mean he’s out west? I have an appointment.” People didn’t cancel his appointments. Nor did they make him wait. The perks of being top of the heap.
“My Aunt Cecily had her baby early. He took some time off to go meet his new grandson.”
A decent excuse, but still… “But what about my hair?” That might have emerged more plaintively than he’d like. However, who could blame him? They were talking about his precious luxurious mane that required a regular trim lest the ends grow ragged, or, worse, a split end dared to make an appearance.
Vanity, one of his faults, along with arrogance and an unwillingness to budge.
“No need to worry, big guy. I’m taking over Granddad’s appointments while he’s gone.”
“You?” A girl, cut his hair? He couldn’t help but laugh, the idea too ridiculous to contemplate.
“I’m sorry. I fail to see the entertainment.”
“You can’t seriously expect me to trust my mane to a woman?” Sexism, alive and well in Arik’s world, the fault of the females in his pride who’d raised him. No coddling for Arik. They didn’t believe in letting him play with dolls or caving to others. His mother and aunts, not to mention his numerous female cousins, had taught him to be tough. They didn’t allow softness in his world, not when they groomed him as the future leader of their pride.
He was all male, all the time, and dammit, a man used a barber, not a hairdresser. Even if she was cute.
“Suit yourself. I’ve got more than enough men to take care of—”
Was that his cat growling?
“—without adding a pompous one to the list.”
“Pompous?” Even if she’d pegged him right, it didn’t stop his indignant glare.
A glare she chose to ignore. She crossed her arms over her chest, plumping her cleavage—ooh, pretty, shadowy cleft. His curious nature drew his eyes to the mysterious and beckoningvee until she cleared her throat.
“My eyes are up here, big guy.”
Caught. Good thing he was a cat. His kind had no shame, nor did they apologize. He shot her his most engaging, boyish grin. “My name is Arik. Arik Castiglione.”
She didn’t react to his smile or titles, so he elaborated, “The CEO for Castiglione Enterprises.” He stretched his lips wide enough to engage his deadly dimple.
And still failed to impress.
She raised a brow. “Is that supposed to mean something?”
Surely she jested. Within his mind, his poor lion lay down in a traumatized heap and crossed its paws over its eyes.
“We are the largest importer of meat in the world.”
Her shoulders lifted in a shrug. “I don’t check the label to see who brings me my steak. I just eat it.”
“What about our chain of restaurants? A Lion’s Pride Steakhouses.”
“Those I’ve heard of. Decent, I hear, but overpriced. I can get a bigger plate of food at LongHorn. And according to my girlfriends, the male waiters are cuter too.”
For once, Arik found himself at a loss for words. His lion on the other hand? His mane was definitely ruffled—and itching.
Arik had already gone two weeks longer than usual for this haircut because of an overseas business trip. Time to get back to his highest priority. “How long until Dominic is back?”
“A week, maybe two. I told him to take his time. Granddad doesn’t often take time off, and he’s getting up there in years.”
A few weeks? He’d look like a wildebeest if he waited that long. “That’s no good. I need a cut. Are there any male barbers available?”
“Afraid to let a girl touch your precious hair?” She smirked. “I can peek at the schedule and see if we can squeeze you in this afternoon.”
“I don’t have time to come back. I need it done now.”
Usually when he used the word now, people jumped to do his bidding. She, on the other hand, shook her head.
“Not happening, unless you’ve changed your mind and are willing to let me cut it.”
“You’re a hairdresser.”
“I want a barber.”
Said the girl without a Y chromosome. “I think I’ll wait.”
Arik turned away from her, only to freeze as she muttered, “Pussy.”
If she only knew how right she was. But, of course, she didn’t mean the feline version.
Pride made him pivot back.“You know what. On second thought, you may cut my hair.”
“How gracious of you, Your Majesty.” She sketched him a mock bow.
Not funny, even if accurate. He glared in reply.
“I see someone’s too uptight for a sense of humor.”
“I greatly enjoy comedy, when I hear it.”
“Sorry if my brand of sarcasm is too simple for you to understand, big guy. Now, if you’re done, sit down so we can get this over with and send you and your precious hair back to your office.”
A woman giving him orders? Not uncommon when a male lived surrounded by them. But actually obeying, that was new – and in this case, unavoidable.
Head held regally high, Arik took the proffered seat, putting his back to the female, but he could still watch her in the mirror and track her by scent. Coconut lotion, fabric softener, and musky woman. All woman.
My woman. Want to taste.
His lion grumbled in hunger. Odd because Arik had eaten a hearty breakfast, even wrestling his beta, Hayder, for the last two pieces of bacon.
The hairdresser swirled a fabric cape around his upper body, swathing him in protection against snipped tickly bits. So far the same as usual, except Dominic’s mere presence never had Arik’s body so aware. The light touch of her fingers at his nape as she fastened the Velcro closure caused all the hairs on his body to stiffen. And they weren’t the only thing standing at attention.
Before he could wonder at his reaction, she withdrew her hand and busied herself with her tray of instruments. Razor, scissors, brush, comb. But forget the manly black colors a barber would use. Her tools were pink and black, zebra striped.