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Lion's Dangerous(Kings of the Jungle #1)

By:Storm, Emma

Lion's Dangerous (Kings of the Jungle #1)
        Author: Storm, Emma

       
         
       



1





There was nothing pretty about sunrise on the polluted waters of an abandoned industrial zone, where a perpetual haze hung like rainclouds, turning morning light into an eerie glow. Sure as hell nothing to bring a middle-aged cripple onto the cracked, trash-strewn streets that made up territory held and protected by the Kings, a Pride of three male lion shifters.

Of which Jude Burke was one.

Silent as the big cat that lived deep inside, Jude stalked through the network of empty streets, sizing up his prey. Human. Male, average height and build. Unforgettable except for the severe limp that made him list to the left.

Easy to overlook, which had been the case for the past several hours. That security hadn't noticed the oddity sooner was a problem, but not as immediate as the human's presence.

At the next intersection, the man had a choice between heading left-deeper into the heart of shifter territory-or right, which would eventually lead him back to the dilapidated cluster of leaning, burned-out houses that made up the vacant sector's western border

West was the correct choice. But Jude had been on the intruder's trail for nearly two hours. They'd come up on this crossroads three times and even though the human was fatigued, his limp more pronounced with every passing block, he kept turning left.

Past the sprawling warehouse that housed the Jungle, the heart of everything the Kings had built, everything the Pride stood for. Slowing in front of the entrance, like a thief who hadn't learned the correct way to case a joint.

Worse, like a human working up the courage to do something stupid. Which would then turn into something dangerous.

Fuck. Enough.

"You. This isn't the place to get your morning cardio."

The man lurched around, off-balance. There was a street light there on the corner. The bulb had burned out years ago, but the post caught the stranger before he fell. He leaned against the rusted pole for about half a second, the same amount of time fear flashed in his eyes, but then summoned enough bravado to straighten his body and hide the fear. More or less. The scent of it rolled off him in waves not even the putrid stench of polluted water could disguise. 

"I was looking for my dog." The stranger stuck his hands into the pockets of his wrinkled department store pants and shrugged. He was doing his damnedest to maintain eye contact but his nervous gaze kept sliding sideways.

"Haven't seen a dog." The only canines who ventured into the Kings' realm were wolf shifters.

"I meant my bitch." Human cleared his throat, took his hand out of his pocket and gestured toward the Jungle. "She's a cheating dog. Likes the clubs, you know?"

Jude crossed his arms over his chest, not remotely tempted to buy this guy's bullshit. "Club closed hours ago. If you know it's here, then you know it's not your business who goes in and out."

"My wife-"

"Uh-huh."

The stranger's face, pale and sweaty a minute ago, turned red. He flapped his lips like a fish, but locked them up tight when Jude raised a challenging eyebrow.

"Get out." Soft words, backed by the kind of command that sent weaker creatures scurrying.

This human male was no different. He took one last look at the Jungle, then turned and started limping toward the safety of the human neighborhood.

Jude watched until the human reached the parking lot of an abandoned convenience store, got into a car, and drove away.

All the while wondering what.the.fuck. kind of balls did that dude have, limping into the lion's den?

And what kind of woman had inspired him to grow a pair that big?

An hour later, Jude was still rolling the question of the woman around in his mind. No closer to an answer, as the whirlwind of kitten fluff known as Summer Burke blew into the kitchen of his once-quiet house, he knew what kind of woman could shrivel a pair.

And he was stuck with her until he found a male lion willing to claim a mate whose troublemaking heart pumped sass instead of blood. Hell, that wasn't fair to Summer. More and more shifters were resorting to arranged union  s instead of holding out for the kind of soul-fusing mate bond they were meant to have. Reproductive necessity demanded they figure out a way to survive in a world where their numbers were shrinking.

But what that kind of business transaction didn't take into account was the power of Imprinting, a connection that formed the instant a destined pair locked gazes-whether a lesser bond already existed or not.

That was what had happened to his parents. A perfectly harmonious, if passionless, partnership destroyed when his mother walked into some crumbling church in Dublin, of all the damn places, and found her One.

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