Authors: Laura Wright,Alexandra Ivy
Tags: #Pantera Security League 6 - Bayou Heat
TWO TO GO
Pantera Security League 6 - Bayou Heat
Copyright © 2016 by Alexandra Ivy & Laura Wright
All Rights Reserved.
No part of this work may be reproduced in any fashion without the express, written consent of the copyright holder.
Two To Go
is a work of fiction. All characters and events portrayed herein are fictitious and are not based on any real persons living or dead.
Cover Designer: Sweet 'n Spicy Designs by Jaycee DeLorenzo
Table of Contents
While writing the Bayou Heat series, the two of us have often discussed fun, side adventures that wouldn’t exactly fit into the overall storyline of the books. Eventually those ideas could no longer be denied and we started chatting about a separate “Six” characters series who were all living outside the Wildlands. Breaking with each of their born-to factions, these Pantera are the baddest of the bad, and willing to work in that gray area between right and wrong. In other words, they’re special ops warriors who are willing to do whatever necessary to protect their people. And so the Pantera Security League was born.
Unfortunately, we’re both overwhelmed with deadlines which meant that it might be years before we could actually write the books, so the solution was to try something completely new. We would write the same story together, each taking turns to layer in the action, emotion, and suspense that readers expect in a Bayou Heat story.
We hope you enjoy the stories! We certainly love writing them!
Alex and Laura
To most people, the Pantera, a mystical race of puma shifters who live in the depths of the Louisiana swamps, have become little more than a legend.
It was rumored that in the ancient past, twin sisters, born of magic, created a sacred land and claimed it as their own. From that land came creatures who were neither human nor animal, but a mixture of the two.
They became faster and stronger than normal humans. Their senses were hyper-acute. And when surrounded by the magic of the Wildlands they were capable of shifting into pumas.
It was also whispered that they possessed other gifts—telepathy, witchcraft, immortality, and the ability to produce a musk that could enthrall mere mortals.
Mothers warned young girls never to roam alone near the swamps, convinced that they would be snatched by the Pantera, while young men were trained to avoid hunting anywhere near the protected Wildlands.
Not that the warnings were always successful.
What girl didn’t dream of being seduced by a gorgeous, mysterious stranger? And what young man didn’t want to try his skill against the most lethal of predators?
As the years passed, however, sightings of the Pantera became so rare that the rumors faded to myth.
Most believed the species never existed at all.
All except a group of humans led by Christopher Benson, the CEO of Benson Enterprises. The reclusive, mysterious businessman has made a fortune by capturing Pantera and experimenting on them in his secret laboratories. He’s created serums with their blood that can offer youth and vitality to his rich friends. And injected warriors with Pantera DNA in an attempt to create super soldiers.
But his ultimate endgame for the Pantera is only now being revealed.
Can they discover the truth of his evil scheme before it’s too late?
She was a ghost.
It was part of the deal.
The shit they’d each signed. Not with a pen or in blood or anything, but with their agreement to join the Pantera Security League. While
weren’t taking that agreement very seriously—
Cough, cough, Cerviel!—
she did. With every breath she drew into her lungs.
The safe house at her back, the sun overhead, Elyon picked up speed, racing through the wetlands, darting in and out of the cypress. She never ventured into the Wildlands, of course.
But she did get…close. Close enough to work her favorite magic.
Shifting into her cat.
Shifting out of her cat.
Back and forth, like a blink of the eye, clicks on a camera. The feeling was a total rush. Heat and cold, wet and dry, hunger, then thirst. It was such an infrequent luxury to have fur on her back, and with each mile she covered, her frustration, her irritation at her fellow Six member started to ease. Unfortunately it couldn’t cease altogether, because that would be impossible. After all, the male had just declared some crazy shit back there. Calling someone his. Unwilling to leave her side. Declaring her his mate.
Hallie. That was her name.
Cue the eyeroll.
Elyon shifted into her cat again and snarled at a bird trying to keep pace with her. She couldn’t believe Cerviel had stepped over that line.
And with an asset!
She flashed back into her female form just as a rush of wind hit her face. Maybe she should give Ramiel a head’s up in L.A. so he didn’t completely lose his shit when he found out. Go hunting for Cerviel. Or Raphael. It was, after all, the big boss who’d told her fellow ghost to end it with that female who was
to becoming his mate. Made him choose.
And now he was letting C off the hook like that…
After she’d completed her mission, she’d make a quickie trip to Hollyweird, take the male for a drink, or seven, and spill the beans. Unless, by some miracle, Cerviel had come to his senses and cut things off with
by then—or at the very least he’d have something to say for himself that didn’t include long stretches of silence while he stared at the asset, drool running down his chin.
She leapt over a fallen log, shifting into her puma midflight.
Not that she was opposed to drool. Or guys, males, drooling. When it was aimed at her, of course. She was, after all, a six foot, sleekly muscled hottie with silver-white hair that she’d buzzed close to her head. Her smooth skin was the color of caramel and her eyes were a brilliant, passionate blue. She’d had men drooling from the day she’d grown breasts. Once upon a time it had been a curse. Now it was just plain fun.
But she’d never, ever—
—give up her life, her work, her vow for a Drooler.
Mating was a true sucker’s bet.
And love? She laughed. Didn’t exist. Not in her past, present, or future.
A scent hit her cat’s nostrils and she hissed into the wind. She was close. Almost there…
The thing was, she didn’t begrudge Cerviel or any of the males she worked with a little piece on the side—some action when they needed it. She was known to take what she wanted when she wanted it too. Maybe it wasn’t even the mating that bothered her so much. But witnessing her friend so openly vulnerable. He had trust in his eyes…love, belief that
was worth giving up everything for. Trusting her with his very soul. He didn’t know what that meant. What damage could be done.
And no matter what, she’d make certain that no one ever came close to touching her soul on such a primal level.
She’d eat their heart if they tried.
Her cat leaped onto the bank in front of the abandoned one-room shack. For several seconds, she allowed it to frolic in the water, kicking up mud and plants. It wasn’t until her entire coat glistened in the sun that she shook herself off, then shifted back into her jeans and leather.
“Can’t stay away from this place, can you, Ely?”
The leader of the Suits had shifted midstride and was walking toward her with a grin. The top brass of the Diplomatic faction of the Pantera was pure, golden perfection. Thick blond hair, richly tanned skin, and eyes that were jade at the moment, but glowed with liquid amber power in his cat form.
“Hey, boss,” she called out as he approached. “This little shit shack was my home at one point. And we always come home, don’t we?”
“Only if we have information to share with the class,” he replied.
As the male’s scent settled around her like a cloak, Elyon’s cat purred. Raphael was one of very few in the world she considered a part of her pack. Along with The Six, of course. Not that she fully trusted him—that honor went to no one but herself—but she believed in him. Looked up to him. Respected him. And was eternally grateful to him.
After all, he’d saved her.
Unlike most Pantera, she hadn’t been raised in the Wildlands. Her parents had been Diplomats, working in Central America. Passing as wealthy human business owners, they’d been targeted by a local gang. Their house had been ransacked, but they’d only taken one thing. The most precious item her parents possessed.
Like the true cowards they were, the men had snatched Elyon when she was in the care of the housekeeper, and soon after a ransom was demanded for her return. She’d only been five freaking years old, but it had taken the men less than a day to realize there was something different about her.
Poor babies. Not!
Scared by her stunning strength and eyes that glowed blue fire, they panicked. Instead of dropping her on the doorstep of her terrified parents, they’d taken her to the jungle and dumped her in a swift-moving river. No doubt they’d hoped she’d drown, her body swept away by the water. Or perhaps eaten by one of the numerous predators.
Too bad, asshats.
Death was so not her. She’d not only survived, she’d thrived.
Became a predator herself.
Granted, she hadn’t been able to shift into her puma form, being outside the magic of the Wildlands, but she had the instincts of a wild animal. A few months later she’d been found and taken in by two ancient sisters who lived together in a village that was way, way off the grid. They’d cared for her, loved her in their way, and treated her like their own cub.
Not at all surprisingly, the memories of her real family grew distant and indistinct pretty damn quick. That is, until Raphael walked into the village and claimed her as a Pantera. How he’d found her he wouldn’t reveal. But he’d insisted she return to the Wildlands. At least long enough to allow her puma to be given the opportunity to be released. Bless him for that. It had been glorious. But, unfortunately, once there, she’d sort of freaked out, emotionally. She’d refused his pleas for her to be reunited with her parents. Thing was, she just hadn’t been ready to open herself up to her family. Two Pantera she barely remembered. Not yet.
So, Raphael had given her an option.
To become a part of the Pantera Security League. Or “The Six,” as they called themselves. To become Elyon, the angel who guided, comforted, and protected, but who also brought plagues on the houses of anyone who tried to screw with her. And truly, she’d never regretted saying yes to that offer.
Even when the news of her parents’ death had come to her eight months after her return. Goddess on high, she’d actually been grateful. The work had stolen every dark thought, every great and powerful wave of guilt, every deep regret, and turned it into supreme productivity.
And an iron wall around her heart.
“You have something to share, Ely?” Raphael said, his gaze constantly moving, always aware of his surroundings.
When Pantera were away from the Wildlands, even a hair over the border, they were always looking for trouble.
Especially these days.
She nodded. “I do. I managed to locate the ‘RR’ that was on the message.”
Interest sparked in the older male’s eyes. Just a week before, Xavier, the head of the Geeks, had intercepted a message from their enemy, Christopher Benson.
Code red. Dispose of all test subjects at Rattlesnake Ranch, China House, The Orchard, Mulberry Lane, Battle Creek, and RR.
Cerviel had just returned with the test subject at Rattlesnake Ranch.
Hallie. The Mate.
Now it was Elyon’s turn. Though her asset retrieval was going to go a helluva lot differently. Get in, locate, extract, deliver.
“Tell me,” Raphael commanded.
She glanced around the remote area and the safe house she’d spent many months at when she’d come home with Raphael. There didn’t seem to be anything to concern herself with, but life had taught her to be cautious. She always assumed that there was someone hiding in the shadows, or listening from the bushes.