Sunday Snippet: Dragon New Year: Dragons at Midnight

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Blurb:

One dragon is hot enough, but three can make this tiger shifter burn in the most delightful ways.

Tiger shifter Louisa thought she’d ring in the New Year all alone. Little did she know that three younger dragon shifters plan on making sure she celebrates things right. Add a little steam, a few dragon shifters with dirty minds, and some creative use of furniture and New Year’s Eve becomes the perfect scorching-hot party for four.

Excerpt:

Louisa ran a rag over the dark, wood bar and glanced up at the clock. She had a few hours to get home, put on a party hat, and settle down in front of the TV before the ball dropped. Another year gone and alone as usual. Her sister was off partying Goddess only knew where. Not even a call to invite her to a party.
Her thoughts strayed to the Trio of Trouble, her co-workers, Torsten, Brent and Fletcher. The thought of those three sent a shiver down her spine and heat spreading through her stomach. From Brent’s laid-back, easy charm and smile and his sky blue eyes that always glittered with mischief and flirtation to Fletch—she could sense a sensitive soul under all the bluff and bluster. And then there was their leader, the quiet and intense Tor, whose gaze never seemed to stray far from her. In his brown eyes flecked with silver, she could see unspoken desires and emotions as well as thoughts he kept to himself.
Her feline curiosity was always piqued when she looked at him. There were so many questions he wanted to ask. For all the times she tried to ignore her desires for him and his friends, her brain refused to keep her thoughts in order. Like clockwork, the fantasies she tried to keep strictly to nighttime would rise as soon as she saw one of them, and they only increased in intensity when she looked at Tor.
As of late, those fancies had turned to the ménage variety. At first her dreams were plagued by singular encounters. The more she hung around them, the more all of them would filter into her mind during sleep. The idea of having one man had satisfied her, but three—especially those three—brought to mind her nightly fantasies. Her feline side would come to life, adding more intense wants like bondage, the chase, blood and good, long, hard sex. It had been so long since she’d indulged in her tiger’s wants and needs.
Being a tiger was a lot harder to manage than being a lion or jaguar. Tigers had darker wants and needs, more violence. Being pent up in one place didn’t suit. And unlike some other shifters they didn’t settle down with one person. Monogamy was a foreign concept.
Her parents hadn’t been married when she came along, and once she was old enough her father took off and her mother just kept going. Bouncing around from one place to another gave her a sense of never knowing home and, unlike her kin, craving one place to stay and live. Finding Shadowed Bay had been perfect—a haven for paranormal and human to live and work side by side without much fuss or muss.
Now that she had a home, there was nothing she wanted to do to threaten it, and getting involved with one dragon, much less three, wasn’t on her list of wants no matter how much they made her burn and yearn for sex. There was also the resistance to any sort of relationship. Lonely as her existence had been, she didn’t want to be mated.
As soon as she’d come of age, her mother had tried to pass her off to a tiger who was more interested in having a harem than a relationship beyond the sex. After a lot of yelling, threats, and a fight to escape him, she’d been freed, but not without a warning that she was a marked and exiled woman. It had been her luck to be set up with an Alpha Tiger who had a lot of pull and sway. He’d made it clear she was to be shunned by her kind. Tigers and other felines—out of fear—avoided her like the plague unless they had to interact with her, and even then they’d need a written declaration that they hadn’t initiated the encounter, she had.
It pissed her off but she didn’t mind so much. It kept the felines from hitting on her, and feline men could be extremely arrogant, self-centered, and stubborn. They felt they were the cat’s meow whether they were or weren’t. The women could be vain, selfish, and too absorbed in material things. She didn’t subscribe to any of that. Plain, simple and easy. No fuss and no muss and no complications of any kind was her motto, and she lived by that. To her, the young dragons were a complication, and a whole lot of fuss and muss. For one thing, they were young, in their early twenties, and far too good-looking for their own good.
She had no desire to be a notch on their bedposts or something to brag about. The division between dragons and tigers may have ended in a pact but that didn’t mean she had to trust them. Especially when they came in such delicious looking packages. It didn’t help that her cat Whisper loved to be around them—always rubbing up against them, purring loudly when any of them was near—and could always be found on their laps getting a good rub down or a scratch behind her ears. Slut, she thought. If Louisa didn’t know any better, she’d think her cat was trying to match her up with one of the dragons. Whisper didn’t act that way about anyone else, that was for sure.
Her boss, Rune, even commented on Whisper’s attachment to the trio. A soft meow came out of the darkness. The overly fluffy Persian padded toward her. The bottlebrush tail swished back and forth. Her large blue eyes blinked at up her mistress, an expression of contentment on her face. “You ready for the New Year, Whis? You’ll get an extra bit of tuna tonight.”
“Merow?” Whisper sat down. Her tail continued to sweep across the floor. She seemed to know words like tuna, treats, and nap but things like no didn’t seem to make a dent in her kitty brain. Just like a feline, Louisa mused. “Yes, tuna. And no, the trio isn’t here to give you extra treats. Don’t think I don’t know what you’re after.”
“Merow?” Whisper blinked up at her, innocence in her gaze.
Louisa rolled her eyes. “Don’t try to play the innocent. I know you try to get into the catnip when I’m not looking. Anyway, you’ll get extra tuna and some extra petting too. I’ll even make a fire so you can stretch out in front of it. You’ll like that, won’t you?”
Whisper got up and brushed against her in a sinuous glide of fur against denim. A loud purr drifted up to let her know the kitty was satisfied.
After a glance around, she saw there was nothing else to do but blow out the candles. The soft, dim glow had added a lovely, romantic, intimate feel earlier in the night when they’d served an early dinner to parties on their way to other festivities. Now the bar was empty. Louisa didn’t want to leave. She had all the champagne she would need, there was a TV, she had snacks from the kitchen, and her e-reader was in her purse. All she needed was someone to smooch, and the night would be perfect. Spending the night at work wouldn’t exactly be anyone’s ideal for New Year’s Eve, but she didn’t want to return to an empty house. Not again, anyway.
Her thoughts turned to the Triple Heat boys. At least that was what she called them. Usually she avoided even looking at anyone younger than herself. She wasn’t exactly young at thirty-five, but she’d always thought that she’d be married or in a serious relationship by thirty. Work and going back to college to study business management had kept her busy and her nights filled with homework and work schedules. Now that most of that was over, she was alone with only a cat to call company. It was by no means a bad thing but around this time of year, with Christmas, New Year’s, and Valentine’s Day all coming one after another, she really did feel how alone she was. Especially Valentine’s Day. Glowering over the upcoming Cupid-friendly, couples atmosphere that would sweep through the town, she threw the cloth under the bar and made sure everything was as it should be.
Again, Tor, Brent, and Fletch came up. Her body heated and began to hum with arousal. She thought back to nights when sensual dreams of having one or all of the men haunted her. Fantasies of a ménage plagued her waking days as well. Sometimes when she glanced over at them and caught their eyes, a flash of a heated kiss or a little groping in a storeroom, or something more with one or more of them. It took an embarrassing encounter or her boss, Rune, jolting her out of her daydream for her to refocus.
Shaking her head, she shoved back any thought of the trio and all the naughty and corrupt things she’d like to do to them and turned her attention to performing the end of the night clean up. “Besides, just because they wink at you or flirt a bit doesn’t mean they want you,” she grumbled to herself. “I’m older and in no way shape or form going to morph into Scarlett anytime soon. So might as well read about scorching hot sex.”
“Merow?” Whisper responded.
She shook her head. “You don’t care. You just want treats.” With a chuckle, Louisa turned away and headed toward the last of the tables to finish the cleanup.
Explosions burst from outside, casting pink, yellow, blue, and green shadows through the window. The sounds of parties and cheering joined the fireworks. She glanced toward the front of the bar and saw a few shadows drift past. Shifters in their animal forms could be seen. A small smile curled her lips. Her inner tigress watched the reveler with interest.
A sound from the kitchen drew her attention. Her ears prickled as voices reached her. Tension flooded her body as she strained to listen. She crept forward and continued to listen. The tigress hissed and stood up in her cage, ready to act if her human counterpart didn’t.
A soft mewl from over her shoulder made her stop and glance back at Whisper. The Persian darted under a booth chair to hide. Satisfied her pet wouldn’t be in danger, she moved toward the kitchen, listening to the voices increase in volume.
She called on her inner tiger for a partial shift, her nails turned into thin daggers. Her body was hot and primed to pounce and transform. The tiger’s power increased inside her, the pressure growing as energy glided along her muscles and tendons. A dull ache throbbed through her arms, legs, and torso. Her hands shook as she held back the full power of the tiger. Until she was sure the intruders were a threat she wasn’t going to go full tigress on them.

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