Hunted (Mixed Breeds)
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Copyright ©2013 Julia Talbot
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Chase watched the crowd, his red Solo cup held loosely in his left hand. He was hunting tonight, and his target had just shown up. The lady in question had curves to spare, wrapped in a sweet little sundress, her legs showed off perfectly by a pair of strappy heels. Her deep chestnut hair was pulled back, letting her gold earrings dance against the skin of her shoulders.
Definitely a kitty of some sort.
He glanced at his watch. His friend Jason should be here soon to introduce them. Chase lived in Boulder, so he rarely got to meet the shifters in Denver. Jason knew everyone.
The prey slipped between two burly bear shifters to get to the bar, and she got a real glass, not a silly red plastic thing. He guessed that was the difference between cheap beer and a fancy cocktail.
Lord, he hated these mixer meetup things. They weren't for speed dating. They were for getting to know the other shifters in the area. Their kind was being hunted, and there was safety in numbers. Still, he sat there with his nose twitching, wanting to growl, knowing he had to behave. It was a tough thing.
He checked his watch again. Damn it, where was Jason? Some asshole was making the move on his girl, and Chase didn't want to have to go beat the man down.
Whoa. Huh. His girl?
"You look constipated," Jason said into his ear, making him jump.
"Thanks, asshole." Really, why was he friends with this guy?
"No problem. You know, I really should have brought Rita. They're the ones who are friends."
"Where are Scott and Rita?" Last year Jason had hooked up with not one but two other shifters. A fox and a coyote.
"Scott was feeling under the weather, so Rita stayed home with him." Jason winked. Yeah, Scott hated these shifter mixers more than Chase did. Under the weather, his ass.
"Well, thanks for coming out, man."
"Anything if it will help with the hunters," Jason said firmly, mouth pressing into a thin line.
Chase nodded soberly. Jason had lost someone dear to him to hunters, and had almost not taken the chance on love again. He was glad his friend had moved on. Chase liked Rita and Scott both.
"Introduce us before that jerk makes any more of a play for her?"
Jason glanced at him, raising a brow. "Oh, growly."
"She's special." He didn't know what it was about this one, but Chase wanted her to himself.
Grinning, Jason nodded and started toward Miss Slinky Kitty. "She is. I'm glad you see it."
"I think everyone does." Two more men were circling her like buzzards, waiting for their turn.
"Good thing I know her," Jason said before elbowing in next to the lady in question. "Excuse me. Hi, Shanna."
"Jason!" Shanna beamed at Jason, taking his arm. "Good to see you. Where's my girl?" She peered around the room, clearly looking for Rita.
"She had to take care of a very pouty Scott. Good to see you, too." Jason drew Shanna away from her admirers. "I have someone I want you to meet."
"Oh? Are you getting into matchmaking now?"
Chase snorted. Jason had met both his lovers on a blind date. The same blind date. He wasn't one to take a chance on doing that to someone else, thank God.
Shanna glanced at Chase, pursing her lips. "Hi."
"Hi," Chase said, holding out a hand. "Chase Montgomery."
"Shanna Eli. Nice to meet you."
They shook hands, her pink-manicured nails oddly delicate against his rough skin. He was glad Jason was there, because she probably wouldn't have given him the time of day if he'd gone it alone. As it was, the touch jolted him all the way up his arm, making his scalp prickle. "You, too. I asked Jason to introduce us because he says you're good at what you do."
She tilted her head. Shanna had an expressive face, her eyebrows moving up and down. "Am I?"
Jason chuckled. "Like viciously. She's way more dangerous than she looks."
"Mmm. She looks pretty dangerous." Chase let himself admire a little. She was stacked to the ceiling, this lady. He could get lost in those curves for days.