Home > Lion's Quest (A Lion's Pride #12)(4)

Lion's Quest (A Lion's Pride #12)(4)
Author: Eve Langlais

“I’ll make sure I’m locked and loaded.”

“I know I can count on you, Nora. Be careful. The people we’re dealing with have acted rashly in the past, and I worry they might escalate.”

She almost tossed her bobbed mane in disdain. Humans against a lioness? She’d wager on herself each and every time.

Things moved fast after that conversation. Too fast for her to say anything to the biatches as she packed a suitcase, filled up some grocery bins with goods, and tossed in a potted plant for good measure.

She arrived at her temporary home with a carload of boxes, bins, and bags. Zachary was on hand to unload them. He played the part of boyfriend well. He was a nice guy. Steady. Solid. Handsome if you liked your men rugged like granite and surly to those he didn’t like.

“Hey, short stuff,” was his greeting.

They did a pretend hug, and she whispered, “I take it the subject is inside.”

“Hasn’t moved all day.”

“What floor?”

“One above us.” Zach opened her trunk and began loading up on bins, the fabric handles letting him tote a few in each hand.

She carried her plant and rolled a large suitcase.

Entering, she noticed the elevator and the staircase. Usually she took the stairs, but that would be a bitchy thing for a girlfriend to do to her loaded down “boyfriend.” Not that Zach would complain, but it would seem odd.

In the elevator, she pried more information. “Guess I get day shift ’cause of my job.”

“Yup. I left you the big bedroom since it will be quieter at night when I’m doing my thing.” His thing being on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary. During quiet moments, he’d pore over the day’s footage, looking to see if anything was missed.

Their apartment had a painted brown door with a peephole. Three doors on each side of the hall for a total of six apartments per floor.

Zach unlocked it, and they entered the basic space. First a hall with doors leading off of it, including the bedroom with attached bath. At the end of the hall, a living room with couch, low-slung table. A big chair and moveable desk set up with three screens took pride of place. Right off the living room was the kitchen with its breakfast bar and high-top dining set in chrome.

Nicer than a few places she’d had to do surveillance in. “Give me a second to drop this, and we’ll go over the case,” she said. The plant and suitcase went into the bedroom, the corner apartment unit having a window that overlooked the alley and the fire escape.

She emerged to find Zach in his spot, hands moving, headset on, all his screens showing different things.

“What’s our target been doing?”

Zach pointed to the video screen. “Montgomery hasn’t left that chair where he’s been reading a book.”

She squinted at the tome in her target’s hands. “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? What kind of nerdy shit is that?”

Zach shrugged. “The kind that means an easy job.”

“Boring.” While male lions might like napping all the time—the grumpy Zach being no exception—she still wanted to be in on the action.

“I take it you’ve read the file on Montgomery?” She slipped into calling him by his last name.

“Yeah. Have you?”

Not yet but she planned to. In these days of modernity, his entire dossier had been sent via encrypted file to her phone. She stalled rather than read, preferring to get her own impression first rather than go in with a preconceived notion.

Since it was the weekend, Montgomery didn’t work or shower. He played video games. Texted a few times. Had some chips around three and then ordered dinner at five. It looked yummy enough that Nora got the same thing.

By the time she went to bed, he’d gone from reading to online casino gaming. When she woke, it was to get a report from Zach that the man had gamed until three.

During her turn, Montgomery slept until noon then got up and read some more. But then, rather than order in, he showered and dressed, obviously prepping to leave. Meaning she had to wake Zach. “Subject is on the move,” she told him.

“Fuck. Okay. I’m up,” the big man said, rubbing his face. “Where’s he going?”

“Given he doesn’t have a car and didn’t call for a ride, I’m guessing not far.” And then, because she was bored and not getting anywhere, she decided it was time to officially run into Montgomery.

She quickly changed and raced down the stairs, knowing she had to beat the elevator. When her target emerged onto the ground floor, Nora was ass up in the lobby doing some stretches.

What she didn’t understand was the warmth that enveloped her the moment his scent hit her. Strong spicy soap and male musk.

Tasty.

Mine.

 

 

Chapter Two

 

 

He was only human.

Peter stopped and stared at the nice ass. Firm and round, encased in a pair of those black leggings everyone was so fond of. Perfect height for tapping, if he was a perv.

He walked past it. He knew better than to get involved with someone living in the same building. He’d made that mistake years ago. An ex-girlfriend, drunk out of her mind, pounding on the door at three a.m. while the new girlfriend was blowing him meant he didn’t get to finish.

Nice Ass Lady caught up to him just as he opened the entrance door. A sense of politeness ingrained in him even after more than three decades on this Earth meant he held it and gestured. “After you.”

“Thanks.” She gave him a small smile and a dismissive glance as she shoved earbuds into her ears. Then off she went, jogging up the street, those tight glutes hypnotic.

He followed at a slower rate, hands in pockets, alert to everything around him. Paranoid as fuck despite his sister’s boyfriend assuring him he had nothing to worry about.

As if Lawrence knew for sure. He might have found Peter in that hospital and gotten him off the drugs they were pumping him with, but once they cleared his system, the memories of why they’d drugged him returned. He couldn’t even look at a box of the original and only Frosted Flakes without getting a shiver.

There was a time the mere recollection of orange and black stripes would send him into a screaming fit, the kind that brought men in white coats to lock him away. In that padded room he was safe. The tiger surely couldn’t get at him in there.

Eventually the panic stopped. He started to sleep. Remembered his name. Then he was found. Rescued at last, and while aware he’d suffered trauma, he told his sister, the doctors, everyone, that he didn’t remember a thing.

He told Charlie, his sister, he was fine. She nagged him to go see a doctor to discuss possible post-traumatic stress. One screaming nightmare and she thought he had a problem. Was it any wonder after Charlie’s honeymoon cruise—which he got dragged along on—he found himself an apartment far from his sister?

He loved her, but he couldn’t stand the hovering. And then there was his lying. He felt guilty about that most of all. She’d uprooted her life and gone to Russia looking for him. Had put herself in danger. That more than anything made him wish he could rewind the clock.

But spilled milk and all that. There was nothing to do now about it. He’d survived. Charlie met the man of her dreams as a result of his actions, so silver lining. His sister was going to have a happy life.

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