With Cheetah Speed
Published by: eXtasy Books
Author : Charlie Richards
Word Count :21108
Publication Date :2022-05-06
Series : A Loving Nip#28
Heat Level :
- Product Code: 978-1-4874-3601-8
Just a little Love Bite: A cheetah shifter walks into a honky tonk bar to do reconnaissance on members of a cougar shifter pack…and runs into the biggest distraction of his life—his mate.
As the head enforcer for the Shifter Council, Mycroft Portent doesn’t usually do field work. Except, with Fate blessing those under him with finding mates and taking unexpected leave, he finds himself shorthanded. When a report of a shifter alpha shirking his duties to his pride comes across his desk, he decides to head to Texas himself, taking fellow enforcer Dakota Drudeson with him.
Tailing several members of the pride’s inner circle leads Mycroft to a backwater honky-tonk bar. He and Dakota head inside, intending to watch their behavior. Mycroft firmly believes that the way a shifter treats a species weaker than himself is very telling of their home life.
Mycroft doesn’t even make it to the bar before the scent of his mate hits his senses, distracting him. Unable to help himself, he leaves the reconnaissance to Dakota in order to track down the other half of his soul. To his surprise, Mycroft realizes his special someone is a vampire—Boyd Johnson. While the timing is terrible, Mycroft trusts in Fate’s plan. Can he figure out how to complete his mission while giving Boyd the time and attention they need to forge their bond?
Scrolling through the reports on his tablet’s screen, Mycroft Portent mentally cataloged who his available enforcers and investigators were and who would be best suited for each task. As the head council enforcer, he oversaw the duties of every man and woman who worked for the Shifter Council, from the enforcers to those who worked in the kitchens and those who tended the lawns. The only ones who didn’t report to Mycroft were the councilmen themselves, although he normally knew each of their schedules, simply for security reasons.
Mycroft had fought hard for his position, and he wouldn’t trade it for anything, regardless of how it seemed to have taken over his life.
It’s worth it. It’s worth it to help safeguard our species.
Having a front-row seat to the revelation that there had been corruption within the ranks of the Shifter Council had caused Mycroft’s gut to twist with revulsion. He believed the position of Shifter Councilman—or woman, although they hadn’t had one for several decades—was a sacred position of trust. While carrying the title of councilman came with certain privileges, they should have been focused on using those perks for the betterment of their kind rather than lining their own pockets and attempting to gain more power for themselves.
It had been a disgusting display of the avarice that could corrupt any species.
Mycroft pushed the memories away and returned his attention to his tablet. To his relief, he realized he had three investigators available, so he quickly assigned them each a duty, forwarding the corresponding report to each of them. When Mycroft reviewed who was available within the shifter enforcers, he grimaced.
While Mycroft was happy for the enforcers who’d recently been blessed with their fated mates, it created problems for him. Several were on vacation, cementing their bonds. That left him shorthanded.
There were four files, but he had only five enforcers free. Due to the fact that they would be traveling into possibly hostile territory, he liked to send them in pairs. They needed their backs watched because they were normally going there to roust some or all of the inner circle.
Rubbing his palm over his face, Mycroft realized he would need to reassign some people. He glanced through the files of who was assigned to which councilman as protection within the halls of Shifter Headquarters, counting heads. Humming, he chose two and made the necessary calls, letting not only the enforcers know of their change in duties, but the affected councilmen. That way, if the councilman chose to, they could bring an extra guard from their private estate to supplement.
As Mycroft began searching for a final shifter to reallocate, a thought struck him.
I could go. I can do this work on the road.
Mycroft hesitated a moment, indecision filling him. Then it occurred to him that this would be like a vacation for him. He could get out of the office, get his bike out, and enjoy the open road a little before arriving in the area around Amarillo, Texas where the cougar pride in question was located.
My bike. Hmmm…
The cheetah Mycroft shared his psyche with rumbled in his mind. His animal seemed to like the idea. He could fly down the streets on the back of his 2021 CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP. He’d had the street-legal racing motorcycle custom painted with a cheetah coloring design, and he’d just gotten it back two weeks prior, but he hadn’t had a chance to take it out, yet.
It’ll almost be like running in animal form.
Unable to stop himself from grinning, Mycroft made a quick switch on his assignments. He ordered Enforcer Lyra to go with Enforcer Rigel, freeing Enforcer Dakota. Then he picked up his phone to call Dakota himself in regards to the changes.
“Hi, Enforcer Mycroft,” Dakota greeted, answering on the second ring. “I just saw the alert about the change. Is everything okay?”
“Yes, Dakota,” Mycroft replied, dropping titles, knowing the other shifter would do the same. “I sent you a follow-up file. I need you to go to Texas instead.”
“Sure.” Dakota chuckled, adding, “Nice open roads in Texas.”
Mycroft smirked. “I thought you’d like that.”
“Absolutely.” After a second of hesitation, Dakota added, “It doesn’t say who I’m traveling with. What if they don’t have a bike?”
“He has a bike,” Mycroft assured, grinning. “You’re traveling with me.”
“You?” Dakota’s shock came through the line, loud and clear.
Mycroft chuckled. “Yes, me. Don’t sound so shocked,” he teased.
“I, well, huh.” Dakota’s happy-go-lucky chuckle came through the line. “Just can’t remember the last time you went out on an assignment.”
“I was thinking the same thing,” Mycroft admitted. “Which is why, since we’re so short-staffed with so many finding their fated mates, I thought I’d pitch in.” Scoffing softly, Mycroft added, “Besides, I can keep up on files from over the road, and this’ll be like a vacation for me.”
Dakota laughed again. “Sure thing, boss-man. Where and when do we meet?”
“I’ll give you a little time to review the file,” Mycroft told him as he rose to his feet. “I’ll meet you at the gas station on Third and Sommers at five-thirty. It’s close to the freeway in the direction we need out of town.”
“Got it,” Dakota replied. He sounded a little confused as he added, “Three hours is more than enough. Why so long?”
Mycroft grinned broadly. “Thought a little night racing would be fun.”
A soft growl entered Dakota’s voice as he repeated, “Night racing?”
A low chuckle escaped Mycroft. He knew he’d piqued Dakota’s competitive side. The Komodo dragon shifter had two older brothers, and he knew all of them enjoyed a good competition.
“That’s right,” Mycroft replied, grinning. “Night racing.”
“You’re on, Mycroft.” Dakota’s pleasure could be heard in his voice as he added, “But don’t think I’ll let you win just because you’re my boss.”