Early Christmas present for you guys - a sneak peek at Dominic's story! Mila Devereaux is a pallas cat, like our Madisyn, and she often sings at The Velvet Lounge, which is where the book begins and how Dominic meets her. I can't post the entire first chapter because it's pretty long, so here's an excerpt, hope you enjoy!
Nursing his beer, Dominic watched her as she thanked her audience and then stalked off the stage, ass swaying provocatively. An ass he wouldn’t mind getting a firm grip on.
Moments later, she slipped through the door that led backstage and sort of … flowed toward the bar, as light and fluid as music. People waved at her and shouted out compliments, but she didn’t break stride as she cast them each a smile. He got the sense that she didn’t relish the attention but didn’t find it uncomfortable either.
Reaching the bar, she slipped onto a stool. “Water, please, Mads.”
Damn if that sultry voice didn’t slide down Dominic’s spine. His pack mate, Frankie, spoke in a low-pitched, smoky rasp, but Mila’s voice was a scratchy, gravely, dirty kind of smoky that was almost hypnotic and made a man think of sin.
“You were great up there,” Madisyn told her as she handed her a bottle. “But then, you always are.”
“We should do a duet,” said Mila. “Don’t even lie and say you can’t sing for shit, I know you can.”
The barmaid shook her head madly. “That would gain me attention. Attention leads to ‘fuss.’ You know I loathe ‘fuss.’”
With a snicker, Mila unscrewed the cap off her bottle and took a long swig. “Needed that.”
As if feeling Dominic’s gaze, Mila looked at him. Her direct stare was like a punch to the gut. There were shadows in those eyes. A soul-deep loneliness he could relate to. But there was also pure iron. Whatever had put those shadows in her eyes wouldn’t break her.
Another female might have, at the very least, nodded at him in greeting. Not this female. She didn’t smile. Didn’t frown. Didn’t even change expression. There was no feminine appreciation in her eyes at all. Then, voice dry as a bone, she said, “No sense in staring, you can’t afford me.” She looked away, dismissing him.
Damn, the wolf was just … delicious. A salivating, tantalizing, signature dish dusted with hotness, laced with sheer masculinity, covered in self-assurance, and topped with a sprinkle of raw charisma. Mila couldn’t help wanting to savor every bite.
She’d never spoken to him before, but she’d seen him from afar plenty of times at the bars and nightclubs she frequented; had always referred to him as “GQ” in her head. Dangerously compelling and loaded with sexual energy, he was an expert at making girls part with their panties. Everything about him—his killer smile, his perfectly sculpted body, and his smooth-as-honey voice—made you think of sex.
No female with a pulse wouldn’t want to spear her fingers through that short blond hair that made Mila think of spun gold. No female wouldn’t imagine licking the taut, tanned skin that covered hard, honed muscle. His powder blue eyes were as clear as water and held a hint of infectious mischief, but there was also an almost imperceptible glimmer of shrewdness. She’d bet the guy was nowhere near as harmless as he liked to appear.
Mila had always admired the personal power he wielded. The moment he walked into a room—moving with the swaggering, confident gait of someone who knew his own appeal and would make no bones of exploiting it—people looked at him. Watched him. It wasn’t just his model looks. It was something in the way he moved. Fluidly. Deliberately. At perfect ease with himself. Like everything was natural and effortless for him.
He never had to work the room. No, he just found himself a seat, and people flocked to him like bees to honey. A master at social Tae Kwon Do, he initiated conversation with total ease and seemed to both enliven and draw energy from the crowd.
Everyone loved him. Both men and women flirted shamelessly with him, and he took it all in his stride. But even as he chatted and laughed, he was always alert and vigilant; his gaze often swept his surroundings, processing every little detail.
She had no idea why said gaze had landed on her. She’d seen the type of girl he went for—curvy, blonde, sultry. Mila was none of those things. Well, something had caught his roaming eye. Oh God, she hadn’t smudged her mascara, had she? Probably. It was a little habit of hers. No doubt he’d found something much more interesting to look at by now.
She snuck a quick glance at him from the corner of her eye. Shit, he was still staring right at her. No, he was eye-fucking her. Mila’s heart slammed against her ribs. Just like that, she felt awkward. She wasn’t good at the flirting thing. It felt too much like a game, and she hated games. Wasn’t a girl who flicked her hair, licked her lips, or gave off other sexy “I’m up for it” cues. Mila was too straightforward for all that.
Fuck, shit, fuck, what did she do? Well, she wouldn’t look at him again—that was for sure. She’d just look straight ahead. She’d ignore him. He probably wasn’t watching her anymore anyway. Right? There was no harm in just checking, though, and—
Shit, he was still looking at her. He probably thought she was going to do what other females did and fall all over him. Well, she wasn’t. Nu-uh. She wasn’t even going to look at him again. Not even once.
Or maybe she could try eye-fucking him back? You know, for practice. And experimental purposes. Or something. No, it was best not to attempt it—she’d get it wrong for sure. She’d just come across as creepy and weird and then need to triple-blink with the pressure.
It would be better to just go home and play with her vibrator. Because although Mila was just as susceptible to him as other females, she had no interest in a fling with him. Her ex was a lot like GQ in that he used sex as an escape and was only interested in one-sided relationships. She’d bet that, like Grant, GQ could suavely talk his way out of your life just as fast and as smoothly as he’d talked himself into it … somehow leaving you feeling good about yourself, despite that he’d ended what little you had.
These people were sheer fucking magic. They were also hard to be with. The fact that they were always surrounded by others meant that you were constantly vying for their attention. Women would flock to and flirt with them right in front of you, act as if you weren’t even there. Mila had learned fast that guys like GQ weren’t for her.
That didn’t stop her heart from beating a little faster as he sidled up to her, his mouth curving into a slow, lazy smile. And now he was eye-fucking her again. She didn’t look away this time. No, she forced herself to face him, determined to play it cool. But her blood heated as his hooded, brooding eyes blatantly raked over her from head to toe.
Sexual energy hummed in the air, stirring up her hormones and whipping them into a frenzy. And that darkly delicious scent of amber, rum, and caramelized sugar only made her hungrier.
His eyes came back to hers, glittering with something dark and hot that made her pulse skitter and her cat snap to attention. The air thickened. Charged. Crackled. And little sparks of electricity whispered across Mila’s flesh, making it prickle. Fuck, the guy was beyond potent.
His eyes dropped to her mouth, which was now bone dry. As he stared at it hungrily, his tongue briefly flicked out to touch his lower lip. Her pussy quivered. Quivered. Shit, how did he do that?
This male was dangerous. Far too tempting. Far too compelling. A distinct threat to the composure of all womankind. But she’d be damned if she’d let him see what he did to her. No, she was absolutely determined to stay strong under the weight of all that sex appeal. Luckily, she’d always been good at feigning disinterest in things or people.
“Madisyn tells me you’re one of Vinnie’s cats,” said GQ, his voice so silken smooth it gave her goosebumps. “I’m Dominic. And you are …?”
The name suited him, she thought. “Mila.”
He tilted his head. “Why are you looking so down, Mila? Let me guess—it hurt when you fell from heaven, right?”
“No. But hauling my ass out of hell was a bastard of a climb.”
Chuckling, he cast her bottle of water a quick look. “Let me buy you a real drink.”
“I’d prefer to just have the cash.”
Dominic’s brows lifted, eyes twinkling. “Would you now?”
“Yeah, these are hard times we live in.”
“True.” Dominic tipped his chin at the mountain of muscle behind him, though he kept his eyes on her. “See my pack mate over there? He wants to know if you think I’m hot.”
“Why? Does he have his eye on you and consider me competition?”
Dominic’s smile widened. “Yeah. He and I are both gay. Think you can convert me?”
She snorted and then turned to Madisyn. “Is he always like this?”
With a regretful sigh, Madisyn nodded. “Yeah.”
Dominic edged closer, his eyes dropping to her enticing mouth again. Lush and bow-shaped, it was straight out of every X-rated fantasy he’d ever had. Up close, he could see that although Mila was slim, she wasn’t all skin and bones as he’d first thought. No, she had delicate curves in all the right places, and damn if he didn’t want to get a better look at them.
He itched to touch her flawless olive skin and see if it was as petal-soft as it looked. Maybe even take a bite. His wolf liked that idea, wanted to leave a mark or two on her flesh—not out of possessiveness, but to get her attention. She had such an aloof “I could give few fucks” way about her that his wolf felt overlooked. Especially now as she chatted with Madisyn, like Dominic wasn’t even there. Which perversely made him smile.
She laughed at something the barmaid said and, Jesus, the smoky sound was like fingers curling around his cock. He’d been rock hard since she’d started singing on that stage, and his dick showed no signs of standing down. A greedy ache to possess her had him in a tight grip, and it was made worse by the electric energy she gave off that fluttered across his nape. And God her scent … Frosted berries, rosewood, and sweet honey. Yeah, he wanted more of that. His wolf wanted to lap it up.
The odd “note” to her scent told Dominic that her parents weren’t the same breed of shifter. When different breeds conceived a child, said child would either be the same breed as their mother or the same as their father. But just as they would have the physical characteristics of both parents, they would carry a hint of both breeds in their scent. He could smell the pallas cat in her, but he couldn’t quite make out what the extra “note” to that smell was. “Which one is the pallas cat—your mother or your father?”
Mila blinked at him, surprised. “My dad.”
“What’s your mom?”
His brows flew up again. “Your mother is a wolverine? Oh, Mila, you just get more and more interesting. Can you introduce me to her? I’ve never met a wolverine.”
Mila could only stare at him. The guy wanted to meet a wolverine? Most breeds of shifter pointedly avoided them. “I’m beginning to think you’re not quite sane.”
“Admittedly, you’re not the only person who feels that way. Does that mean you won’t go home with me?”
“Is there much point? I doubt it would be easy for two people to fit in a cardboard box.”
He laughed. “Mila, you’re a tough audience.” Damn, he really liked this cat. Liked her sharp wit, dry humor, and aura of electricity. Liked the quiet confidence she displayed—it was in her easy smile, her unapologetically direct stare, and the self-assured way she carried herself.
Her feline air of indifference was like a challenge, and he just wanted to find some way to crack that poker face. But she wasn’t giving him any openings. She practically batted away his pickup lines. Dismissed his flirtatiousness. Snorted at his attempts to charm her.
He knew she was attracted to him—he could see it, sense it—but she didn’t appear interested in acting on it. She wasn’t playing coy or hard to get. Wasn’t testing him or attempting to take control of the situation by leading their dance; he knew those games, could spot them easily.
He had the clear sense that she was simply very selective in her choice of sexual partners and, for whatever reason, he didn’t meet her standards. Yeah, that poked at his ego. It also made him determined to pick up this challenge she presented.
Fighting the urge to tug on one of those unruly curls and then watch it spring back into place, Dominic said, “Come on, you’re not going to make me go home all alone, are you? That’s mean. Or maybe you’re just nervous. What is it, are you a virgin?”
She frowned. “No.”
Oh, this guy is pure trouble, Mila thought. Especially since he was stirring the interest of her moody cat—not just sexually, but because the cat sensed there were many facets to this male and she couldn’t quite understand why he was hiding them. Yeah, Mila herself got the feeling that he wasn’t quite the shameless, shallow flirt he came across as.
When he stepped further into Mila’s personal space, his eyes fixed on her mouth yet again, she knew it was time to go. Bottle of water in hand, Mila slid off the stool and said to Madisyn, “Good luck protecting this one from himself.”
Dominic pushed away from the bar. “You really won’t take me with you? Come on, if you don’t enjoy yourself, well, you’ve only wasted five hours of your life. Eight if you wanna include foreplay.”
Mila snorted. “Sorry, GQ, you’re not my type.”
“GQ?” he echoed. “Why am I not your type?” Dominic was pretty sure no one had ever said that to him before.
“Because I like men. You’re just a little boy.” Mila patted him on the head. “A little boy who comes across as a deceptively harmless flirt so that people underestimate you and label you as a player, which then makes them think they have you all figured out. But I’ll bet very few people really know you, and I’m sure that suits you just fine.”
A wide smile curved his mouth. “Damn, Mila, where have you been all my life?”
“Exactly where I’ll be during the rest of your days on this Earth, sweetie—in your most imaginative dreams.”
© Suzanne Wright
Mila: I’ll bet you’re one of those guys who gives his cock a name.”
Dominic: “I call mine ‘the truth.’”
Mila: “The truth?”
Dominic: “Because women can’t handle it.”
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