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Chapter 17


“You guys! Stop staring like that! And for goodness’s sake, Fran put down the damn phone!” I scolded as soon as I reached her car.

She and Anthony were unfazed by my embarrassment and just chuckled at my expense.

“Sure,” Fran grumbled while I quickly slid into the backseat to grab my handbag.

“Where do you think you’re going?” Fran asked as she turned in her seat to face backwards.

“I’m leaving with Conner,” I began but she interrupted me.

“Ditching us so soon hey?” She asked and wiggled her eyes at Anthony who tried to stifle a laugh.

“We’ll meet you at the bar,” I groaned while quickly leaning in between them and checking my makeup in the rearview mirror.

“Hey, don’t leave me alone with her,” Anthony teased and gestured towards Fran, who in turn immediately winked at him, “she’s a man-eater.”

I grinned in the mirror.

“Watch out boy, I’ll chew you up,” Fran replied in a seductive, yet teasing tone.

“Fran,” I warned, “meet us at Horse & River in thirty minutes, ok?” I eyed her seriously, trying to warn her not do ditch me tonight. I really needed my wing-girl.

“You look great, Babe,” she replied with a bright smile.

I couldn’t help it, but excitement suddenly welled up inside me and my face lit up. Leaning in closer, I pecked her on the cheek and slid out of the backseat to make my way towards Conner, who was already waiting for me by his van.

“Break a leg, Babe!” I heard Fran yelling across the parking lot as I was nearing my mate.

A warm smile broke out on his face and I inwardly cringed at my friend’s lack of discretion.

Conner held the passenger door open for me as I took the last few steps towards him. I was sure it wasn’t his own, but rather a company vehicle since it had the words ‘Lion Heart National Zoo’ written in bold on both sides of the van, along with the zoo’s logo, printed on the back.

“Milady,” he said as I slid into the passenger seat.

When he walked around the front, I watched him through the window and loved everything about him. Butterflies filled me to the brim and suddenly I felt nervous and unsure of my decision to leave with him, alone.

He climbed in next to me and swiftly started the engine.

For the most part, the short drive to his apartment was quiet, but it wasn’t uncomfortable.

I think we both were still a bit shocked at how things had turned out and were lost in our thoughts.

At some point, I perked my sensitive wolf-ears to focus on his heartbeat and I found that his heart was racing uncontrollably, the same as mine. It brought me some relief to know that I was not just some girl he tried to pick up, but that I must mean something more to him if I could get his heart to speed up like that.


It felt amazing to have her so close to me.

Her lovely smell filled the inside of the park’s van and I secretly wished the smell would soak into everything so that it could linger there forever.

My mind was still racing, but Rachel did not feature in there anymore.

Melena was gorgeous and a few times, I found myself sneaking a peek at her long, silky legs taunting me in that slightly short dress and high heels of hers.

Focus man.

It almost took all of my self-control to keep my hands fixed on the steering wheel. They ached and begged to reach out and caress her under the warmth of my hungry palms.

In the saturated silence, Melena’s phone made a loud, obnoxious beep and she pulled it out quickly to read a message.

I glanced in her direction absentmindedly and saw a picture of us together in front of the zoo’s gate, kissing.

She didn’t see me looking, so I swiftly averted my eyes and acted like I was checking for traffic. It must have been that crazy friend of hers.

Melena almost dropped her phone in shock and turned a bright red.

“Everything ok?” I asked, acting like I didn’t know what had caused her sudden embarrassment.

“Uh-yeah,” she mumbled and stuck her phone back into her bag.

It felt so unreal to have found such an amazing woman who was still able to blush. It must have meant that she had some innocence left, despite her beauty and the fact that guys must have been falling at her feet daily. Just like I was.

The mere thought of other guys trying their luck on my girl had my stomach churning.

“Have you been working at the zoo for a long time?” She suddenly asked, pulling me back to reality and out of my negative thoughts.

“Yeah, going on seven years now.”

“Must be a very interesting place to work?”

I chuckled, my mind flashing with images of all the strange and funny things I have witnessed over the years, “you have no idea,” I replied as I glanced at her.

Big mistake.

Her bright blue eyes were shining with wonder and I struggled to look away but had to force myself since I was the one driving.

“What do you do?” I quickly asked, trying to keep my mind from wandering.

“Uh-I am a doctor,” she replied and for a split second, I thought that I must have misheard her.

“Excuse me?”

“A doctor,” she said again.

My mouth fell open. I couldn’t believe it. Could this woman possibly get any better?

She was beautiful, innocent, witty and by the sound of things pretty smart too.

“Your mouth is hanging open,” she said trying to stifle a giggle.

Abruptly I slammed my jaw shut and focused my eyes back on the road.

Ok, this might turn out to be a bit more difficult than I initially anticipated. Landing a smart girl was one thing but getting her to stick around was something entirely different. In my experience, intelligent girls tended to be very dynamic and driven individuals, which meant that they were almost always looking for their next challenge.

I truly hoped that it was not the case here. I didn’t want to be her next challenge only to find her getting bored and moving on in a few months’ time.

“Is there a problem?” She asked, obviously picking up on my discomfort.

“No, not at all,” I answered with a stiff smile.

“What’s the matter? Are you scared of doctors?” She asked teasingly.

Ok, now my real smile was back.

How did she do that?

I chuckled lightly, “not unless they tie me up and stick a needle in my neck.”

“What about just tying you up?” She asked back in a sultry voice.

I was not expecting that at all and flicked my eyes to hers instantly, feeling the inside of my mouth go dry. A second later, the van’s front wheel went over the curd of the road, harshly jerking me back to reality. I quickly pulled on the steering wheel until we were back on the road.

“Shit,” I mumbled under my breath while she giggled behind her hands.

“Oh, you are enjoying this, aren’t you?” I asked as warmth spread over my cheeks and down my neck.

“You have no idea,” she replied, reciting my words from earlier and I couldn’t help but smile.


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