When An Alpha Purrs by Eve Langlais
A Lion’s Pride #1
A lion’s pride isn’t defined only by those he commands but also resides with his hair, so when a human dares to butcher Arik’s mane, he gets his revenge—and claims her as his mate.
A billionaire CEO and leader of the largest East Coast pride, Arik is a ladies man and a lion. Used to commanding others, and obedience, he can’t believe it when a hairdresser with tempting curves chops off a hunk of his precious mane.
But her biggest mistake is in running from him.
Run as fast as you can, little mouse, because this cat loves to chase—and pounce.
Oh, and he also likes to nibble on tender bits. What he doesn’t expect is to fall for a human woman, a woman who can make the impossible happen because everyone knows lions can’t purr…until now.
“What do you mean Dominic isn’t here?” Arik didn’t quite raise his voice, and yet everyone in the barbershop heard him and noted his displeasure. Heads ducked, hands busied themselves snipping and styling, and no one dared meet his gaze.
If they were lion shifters, he would have said it was because they recognized his alpha status—say hello to the king of the concrete jungle. But these were only regular humans, people easily cowed by a man in an expensive suit with a commanding attitude.
Except for one.
“Granddad is out west.”
The woman’s reply had him spinning, and he inhaled sharply, which drew in more than just the scent of the barbershop. It drew in her tempting aroma—and stirred a hunger that had nothing to do with food.
Smells delicious. For a human.
Standing at just over five and a half feet, the woman barely reached his chin. She didn’t let her shortness deter her. Her head tilted. The chin raised, almost defiantly, as she met his stare. Brown eyes framed in dark lashes didn’t turn from his amber-hued ones.
Someone’s got spirit. But he didn’t have time to explore how far her attitude and bravery went. There were more important matters clamoring for his attention.Such as his poor, shaggy mane.
“What do you mean he’s out west? I have an appointment.” People didn’t cancel his appointments. Nor did they make him wait. The perks of being top of the heap.
“My Aunt Cecily had her baby early. He took some time off to go meet his new grandson.”
A decent excuse, but still… “But what about my hair?” That might have emerged more plaintively than he’d like. However, who could blame him? They were talking about his precious luxurious mane that required a regular trim lest the ends grow ragged, or, worse, a split end dared to make an appearance.
Vanity, one of his faults, along with arrogance and an unwillingness to budge.
“No need to worry, big guy. I’m taking over Granddad’s appointments while he’s gone.”
“You?” A girl, cut his hair? He couldn’t help but laugh, the idea too ridiculous to contemplate.
“I’m sorry. I fail to see the entertainment.”
“You can’t seriously expect me to trust my mane to a woman?” Sexism, alive and well in Arik’s world, the fault of the females in his pride who’d raised him. No coddling for Arik. They didn’t believe in letting him play with dolls or caving to others. His mother and aunts, not to mention his numerous female cousins, had taught him to be tough. They didn’t allow softness in his world, not when they groomed him as the future leader of their pride.
He was all male, all the time, and dammit, a man used a barber, not a hairdresser. Even if she was cute.
“Suit yourself. I’ve got more than enough men to take care of—”
Was that his cat growling?
“—without adding a pompous one to the list.”
“Pompous?” Even if she’d pegged him right, it didn’t stop his indignant glare.
A glare she chose to ignore. She crossed her arms over her chest, plumping her cleavage—ooh, pretty, shadowy cleft. His curious nature drew his eyes to the mysterious and beckoning vee until she cleared her throat.
“My eyes are up here, big guy.”
Caught. Good thing he was a cat. His kind had no shame, nor did they apologize. He shot her his most engaging, boyish grin. “My name is Arik. Arik Castiglione.”
She didn’t react to his smile or titles, so he elaborated, “The CEO for Castiglione Enterprises.” He stretched his lips wide enough to engage his deadly dimple.
And still failed to impress.
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