Chapter One: First Sight
Lyvia hates Mondays. Especially when she and her partner and best friend Sharissa Flemmings get called into their boss’s office.
“This project is messed up,” Mr. Trinkle said, pointing to his computer screen.
“Yes, sir.” Sharissa nodded. “We have fixed it several times, but someone keeps unfixing it.”
Mr. Trinkle snorted. “How are they unfixing your project?”
“We don’t know. It just keeps breaking,” Lyvia said.
“Okay, so why don’t you fix the problem?”
Lyvia and Sharissa stared at their boss.
“Mr. Trinkle, as we said, we did fix it,” Sharissa said, a bit annoyed.
“Someone unfixed it,” Lyvia said.
“I don’t see the problem here, girls. Just fix it again.” Mr. Trinkle waved his hand for them to leave his office.
“The nerve of the man,” Shar grumbled as they left their boss’s office.
“How many times have we fixed it?” Lyvia asked as they headed back to their desks.
“Four times,” Shar grumbled.
Lyvia nodded. “Okay. So, let’s fix it one more time, and if it’s unfixed again, we’ll go to corporate.”
Shar looked at her, her eyes wide, then burst into laughter. “I really like having you as my partner. My last partner would have advised that we spend our life fixing the problem so we don’t get into trouble.”
Lyvia chuckled. “I see why she didn’t last long here.”
“Yes, we’ll be there this time. Sheesh.”
Shar looked up when she heard her mate’s voice.
Lyvia smiled at her friend’s delighted face.
Dustin smiled when he saw them and went straight to Shar.
“Yes, Raj, we’ll be there. Bye,” he said with an irritated growl, then hung up.
“Raj complaining about us missing last week’s game?” Shar asked as she wrapped her arms around his waist.
Dustin nodded and kissed her. “We better go this time, or he’s liable to drag us down there.”
She chuckled. “I’d like to see him try.”
“Down where?” Lyvia asked, watching them.
“Dustin’s friend Raj is a professional hockey player,” Shar said with a smile.
“Holy fuck.” Lyvia looked up at Dustin. “Can I come?”
“You like hockey?” Shar asked.
Lyvia nodded. “I grew up with it. My dad loves sports, especially hockey. Says it’s the only place a shifter can let off steam and not go to jail.”
Shar chuckled. “I never thought of it that way. So, I take it you like violence?”
“Only on the ice,” Lyvia said with a wide grin.
“Well then, you should come,” Dustin grunted. “It will be nice to have someone who knows what’s going on so we don’t get lost and call the puck a ball.”
Lyvia and Shar chuckled.
“Just tell me what time, and I’ll be ready,” Lyvia said with a wicked grin.
“This place is crazy!” Sharissa shouted over the noise when they entered the stadium for Raj’s hockey game.
“I know!” Lyvia yelled back. “Isn’t it great?!”
“I know this isn’t because she’s a shifter!” Sharissa hollered to be heard over the crowd.
Dustin grinned. “Apparently, your friend likes loud and rowdy.”
Sharissa nodded, and Lyvia laughed.
“Shar, you don’t have to holler; we can all hear you without you shouting.”
Sharissa and Lyvia turned in a circle until they found the source of the voice. The Kraftman brothers sat in the second row, waving at them.
“Shut up, Dylan; it’s the excitement of the place,” Sharissa grumbled.
They could hear all four men chuckle at her response.
“Come on, let’s grab our seats.” Livia took hold of Sharissa’s hand as they walked down the aisle, Dustin close behind them.
“Hey brother, glad to see you made it, finally,” Daryl said as he watched Dustin and the girls sit down in their seats in the row in front of the brothers.
“What? You’re telling me you came to last week’s game?” Dustin asked, looking at his brother.
His four brothers snorted at the same time.
“We were here,” Dylan said.
Sharissa chuckled. “Sorry, boys. We… uh… had other things going on last weekend.”
“You mean like a wedding to plan?” Dominic asked, batting his eyes at Shar.
Sharissa slapped his knee. “No.”
“They were screwing,” Dylan said with a laugh and a grunt.
Others around them stopped talking and looked at them. Shar’s cheeks turned a bright red.
“Say it louder, Dylan, don’t think they heard you in Japan!” Dustin hollered with a growl.
“Sorry.” Dylan chuckled.
“So, you chose to screw your mate’s brains out over coming here, huh?” Daryl asked with a shake of his head.
Shar turned around entirely and leaned over the back of her chair to be closer to the brothers.
“Dustin and I have decided to start our family, so we were….” She didn’t get to finish her sentence.
Dylan and Dominic pulled her from her seat, and the four brothers hugged her with shouts of excitement. Sharissa laughed as each of them kissed her on the cheek.
“Then what the fuck are you doing here?!” Dylan demanded.
Shar chuckled, and Dustin huffed.
“One minute you’re criticizing us for not being here, the next you’re hollering at us for being here. Make up your damn minds.” Dustin growled at his brothers.
“Well, that was before we knew you were aiming to give us a niece or nephew,” Dominic said with a grin.
“Please make sure it’s a nephew. We have no clue what to do with a niece,” Daryl said as he helped Shar back into her seat.
Shar smiled at him. “You know we have no control over that. And besides, all you have to do with a niece is buy her pretty things.”
All four men laughed.
“Look at us, Sharissa. Do we look like men who buy pretty things?” Drezden asked, motioning to himself and his brothers.
“You never know.” Sharissa winked, then turned in her seat.
The buzzer went off, announcing the start of the game.
“This is so exciting,” Lyvia said, jumping up and down in her seat.
“Here they come.” Dustin pointed to the team coming onto the ice.
“Yay, Raj!” Shar shrieked as she jumped to her feet when she saw his number on the back of a jersey.
Raj Cunningham turned a quick turn and grinned when he saw his friends in the stands. He waved to them, then turned back to the ice. Today is a special game. If they win this game, they’re going to the playoffs. His friends’ support will make everything that much sweeter when they wipe the ice with this team.
“Pretty fan you have there, Raj.” Alec, his teammate, and friend, said, looking up at the stands where Shar stood hooting his name.
Alec was the only other shifter on their team.
Another female voice blended in with Shar’s, one he didn’t recognize. She must be the friend they’d asked for an extra ticket for. Her voice sent pleasure up his spine, and he shook his head. Can’t let a pretty woman or voice distract him.
“She’s taken,” Raj said, looking at his teammate.
“Both of them?”
Raj shrugged. “Not sure. The blond is, though; she’s the mate of one of my best friends.”
“Mate?” Alec asked, his eyebrows furrowed.
Raj grinned. “Yeah. You remember the Kraftman brothers?”
Alec snorted. “Yeah, I remember them.”
“Dustin found his Fated Mate.”
“No such thing,” Alec grumbled.
“Oh, but there is. And all the stories are true.”
“All of them?” Alec asked with bright eyes.
Raj grinned. “Every last one of them.”
The buzzer went off to start the game, and their minds changed from the possibilities of mates to the game.
“Oh my God! Your friend plays rough!” Lyvia said excitedly when Raj slammed a player from the other team against the glass across the ice for the fifth time.
“He does, doesn’t he?” Sharissa said excitedly.
“I love it!” Lyvia shouted with enthusiasm.
The buzzer went off, calling for the first intermission.
Shar looked at Dustin. “I’ve got to pee.”
Dustin chuckled. “All right, babe.”
“I’ll go with you,” Lyvia said, getting to her feet. “We can get something to eat and some beer before we come back.”
“Get us a beer too,” Daryl said, handing Lyvia a fifty.
Lyvia snorted. “I’m keeping the change if I’m late getting back.”
Daryl laughed. “Deal.”
Dustin handed Shar some money and kissed her before he let go of her hand.
“Oh, my God. Look at that line,” Sharissa groaned.
Lyvia groaned, too. “We’re never getting out of here.”
“We’re going to miss the start of the second half,” Shar said, bouncing up and down.
“I have an idea.” Lyvia took Shar’s hand and pushed past the women. “Pregnant lady with a bursting bladder coming through,” she said as she pushed people out of her way.
“Hey!” a woman yelled, giving Shar a shove.
Lyvia turned on the woman and growled at her.
The woman saw her silver eyes, and her face paled.
“I said, pregnant woman, coming through. Do you really want me to tell everyone that you shoved a pregnant woman just because you couldn’t wait to take a shit?”
The woman’s eyes bugged out of her head as she looked at Shar. “I’m sorry,” she whispered.
Lyvia grinned. “That’s better,” she said, then turned and pulled Shar into the next empty stall.
Both women broke into fits of giggles.
Five minutes later, they were in line for refreshments.
“We can’t use the same trick here.” Sharissa snickered.
Lyvia grunted. “At least I’ll be thirty bucks richer.”
Shar laughed. “Yes, let’s look at the bright side of things.”
They finally got to the front and ordered. They loaded the trays and headed back to the stands. They were five minutes late, and the teams were already on the ice.
“Stop screwing around, Raj!” Dustin bellowed as he stood up, waving his fist at his friend.
“Here you go,” Shar said with a smile as she handed him their tray.
“Thanks, babe,” Dustin said as he sat back in his seat.
Lyvia was so intrigued by what was happening on the ice that she didn’t hear the brothers ask for their beer. She saw Raj’s number on the back of a jersey and watched in fascination as he slammed the same man against the glass again. Her eyes were glued to him, and she couldn’t pull away.
“Lyvia?!” Shar called out, but Lyvia didn’t hear her.
Raj and the same man skated toward Lyvia. Her heart pounded in her ears. The man slammed Raj into the glass right in front of Lyvia, and she jumped. When Raj looked at her, time froze. She dropped the tray of beers and didn’t hear the Kraftman brothers’ screams of rage.
“Uh-oh,” Shar said as she watched her friend and Raj. “I remember that look.”
Dustin watched the two and chuckled. “They’re screwed.”
“Mine,” Lyvia found herself saying at the same time as Raj.
Lyvia felt her tiger purr as they stared at their mate.
Raj slammed his fist against the glass and called out something she couldn’t understand.
“What the fuck?” Dominic mumbled as he watched the two stare at each other.
“Another match.” Sharissa smiled.
“In the middle of one of their biggest games?” Daryl asked with a laugh. “He’s royally screwed.”
Raj continued to stare at the beautiful shifter. His mate. He never thought he’d find her. She looked about as hungry for him as he was for her.
“Come on, Raj, stop flirting with the bunny and get your head back in the game,” a teammate called out.
Raj growled. “She’s not a puck bunny. She’s a friend of a friend, and she happens to be mine.”
The man snorted. “Well, I don’t care if she’s the Queen of Sheba. Get your head back in the game.”
His mate walked down the stairs toward him. His eyes never left hers as she placed her hand on the glass, where his hand was still pressed against the other side.
“I’m going to make you mine!” he growled at her.
She smiled at him, and he knew there was going to be a lot of fucking in their future.
“Cunningham!” his coach thundered.
Raj left his mate and returned to the game, but his thoughts were never far from her.