away. Though she is probably one of the wealthiest people in the
country, Maryellen has never wanted her wealth. Nor her family who is
constantly trying to find ways to steal her wealth from her. After
being the sole heir to her grandfather’s fortune, everyone has been
out to get her ever since. After countless kidnapping attempts and
always being afraid to fall asleep, El is finally taking the step to
date someone and perhaps find true love.
is plunged into the world of the paranormal as Ryan reveals his true
identity; that he is the leader of the local Pride of Lions. And more
than that is the fact that Ryan knows El is her mate. And to make
matters more complicated, Ryan is part of a Triad of brothers.
Meaning, El has three mates. As El tries to comprehend this crazy new
life she is a part of, she can’t deny how right this all feels. She
now has the protection of shifters and three men who will love her
and keep her safe.
She will have to find the truth behind why she is always targeted and
come to understand that it’s not just for her money. She will have
to make tough decisions, but at least now she knows she will never be
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The truth was, Maryellen Forsythe-Drew, or El to her friends, hated them too. But on this
particular occasion, she had a gut feeling.
And that gut feeling was telling her that this date was going to be epic.
Sure, it wasn’t the first time the gut feeling had made an appearance, and had, ultimately, let her
down. Like the time she’d been certain she’d be allowed more leeway with her campaigns on
one of her charities when instead the head of project development had come on to her.
Filing for sexual harassment, and inadvertently getting the flexibility she’d wanted as a result,
wasn’t how she figured gut feelings should work, but…
“Wow, way to blow your good mood, El,” she grumbled under her breath as she took a seat at
the swanky restaurant where she’d arranged to meet with her blind date.
He wasn’t late. El was just insanely early. The need to get here, to get the ball rolling as it were,
had been driving her since they’d made the damn arrangements on Thursday.
The anticipation of waiting for Saturday had practically killed her. But she’d already had
arrangements with her parents on Friday night, and though she’d have loved to have skipped
that particular session in torture, the misery from breaking that date wasn’t worth it.
Even for a date that had more potential than any other she’d had this year.
She blew out a breath as the server appeared. It was a woman, and praying for female solidarity
instead of sisterly bitchiness, she asked, “Do I look flustered?”
The woman, a young blonde barely out of high school, blinked at her. “Ma’am?”
“I’m about to have a first date,” El explained, her stomach rumbling with more nerves. “I was just
hoping I don’t look as bright pink as I feel.”
The server, Diana from her badge, smiled at her. “No, you don’t look pink. You look quite cute.”
El blinked. “Really?”
“Yeah.” Diana grinned. “I bat for your team, so you can trust me when I say that.”
El’s mouth dropped open. Feeling more flustered now, her hands rose and fell several times on
her lap before they settled on digging into her upper thighs. “Oh my God, I’m so sorry. I didn’t
mean to impose.”
Could she have messed that up more royally?
Diana snorted. “Don’t be silly. I only mentioned it so you’d know when I say cute, I mean it. I can
tell, you’re very nervous though.”
“I am,” El confessed, and it felt weird to have a confessor who was at least ten years younger
than her, but damn, she’d take anything she could get. “I met him on that new dating site, Pride
in Love. My friends dared me to go on it and I thought it was just stupid, but then I met Ryan,
and…” She blew out a long breath.
“He’s like the whole package, you know?”
Diana’s smile was warm. “I’m glad. So why if he’s the ‘whole package’ are you nervous? You
should be excited!”
“Because I’m a dork, and I don’t want to screw things up,” El admitted. “I’m already here forty
Diana blinked in surprise. “Wow! That’s definitely early. Can I get you something to drink or eat
to settle your nerves?”
“I don’t normally drink,” El confessed again. “But on this occasion, I’ll have a white wine spritzer.
Maybe that will calm me down. I really don’t want to mess this up.”
“Well, you look beautiful, and you’re nice and friendly, El. I don’t see why you should be any
different when Ryan comes by.”
Something about Diana’s words before she bustled off had El sitting up straighter. The server
She was a nice woman. Easy to talk to, friendly and caring. On the outside, she wasn’t bad to
look at. Her friends said she was beautiful but El knew they were just being kind—if she
dropped thirty pounds, she’d be beautiful.
As El’s mom often said, “You have such a pretty face, darling.” That wonderful compliment often
came when El arrived at the family home, dressed formally as her mother required, and always
feeling wanting in comparison to her stick thin sisters-in-law—a feeling her mother encouraged.
El shrugged off the thought because if she had her parents on her mind she’d never charm
Ryan.Even thinking about her family was enough to subdue her, and El knew that wasn’t the woman
Ryan had come to know.
Within the anonymity of the dating site, she’d allowed her natural vivacity to flow free when
they’d chatted, and she wanted Ryan to meet that side of her. The uninhibited woman who
could and would appear when she wasn’t being cowed by her mommy and daddy.
Irritation flared, and she embraced it. Embraced the heat because it burned that inner core of
cold that she’d created over the years as a defense mechanism.
Spying Diana coming with her drink, El took a look around the restaurant and smiled. It was a
fancy place, that was for sure.
Bright white, it should have been cold, but huge golden orbs were suspended from the ceiling in
different heights, creating a wave of sorts. The orbs were like miniature moons. All of them in
They swirled about the room, even appearing on the floor; in corners or over on the dancefloor
in the center of the restaurant, which was bordered by the bright orbs.
Tables were sectioned off for privacy with low frosted glass partitions, but the bright cerulean
blue tablecloths were a spark of color in the otherwise white restaurant. Even the waitstaff wore
She looked at the doorway where the maître d’ stood. The woman was tall, close to six feet, and
she was the only staff member that El could see who wore color—the same bright blue as the
tablecloths. Her white starched blouse was tucked into high waist trousers, and the result was a
El wished like hell she had the figure to pull off something so simple, but she was way too round
A pear when she needed to be a ruler.
Feeling Diana’s approach, she was about to turn when she saw Ryan—immediately recognizing
him from his pictures online. He didn’t come from the front door, but from a back room behind
the maître d’. He stopped to talk to the woman, smiled at her as he bent over the stand, and
studied the plans
she kept on there.
Just as El was wondering whether Ryan managed the restaurant or something, he kissed the
maître d’s cheek.
Bile tried and failed to gurgle around her insides, but jealousy did. It hadn’t been a sexual kiss,
El tried to reason with herself.
Still, seeing it hurt.
The thought had her stiffening in her seat because she didn’t own the damn man.
It had been a kiss on the cheek, not an all-out make out session in the doorway. Friends kissed
friends, right? It could be perfectly natural. Innocent, she thought frantically.
Before the tension from her date kissing another woman could flood her, Diana appeared and
popped her drink down in front of her. The server must have seen where she was looking
because she half-turned and saw Ryan.
El frowned at Diana’s reaction—the other woman dropped her tray to her side and declared,
“You’re the Ryan?”
El flushed. “Excuse me?” Mortification succeeded in turning her bright pink. What the hell was
Ryan approached the table, and now he was nearer, and not kissing cheeks with beautiful
members of staff, she had to admit he was better looking in person.
God, talk about a total understatement. Better looking? That was like saying he was handsome.
Well, handsome wasn’t the word.
He was a god.
That was it.
No other way of describing him.
Taller than the maître d’, she knew from his profile he was six-seven. But he wore it well. He
wasn’t thin and lean, but lithe and strong. His muscles were evident through his brutally tailored
navy suit. It clung in all the right places and displayed a soupcon of a white silk shirt that lay flat
against abs so
delineated, she could see them through the fabric. He wore no tie, but he had a little pocket
handkerchief… the lack of one and the presence of the other equalizing the semi-formal look.
His hair was a blond any woman would have killed for. So many shades of gold, her own hands
longed to touch the silky locks. He was tanned and bronze, and his eyes were a bright blue that
seemed to scan the situation with ease.
He had a strong Roman nose, a wide brow, lips made for kissing, and a jaw so hulking she
knew from looks alone how stubborn he was.
All in all, she felt totally underdressed and overwhelmed.
Who was this god and why had he elected to date her?
She gulped when he shot her a smile that made her melt. Just like that.
His nostrils flared a second, but before she could freak out over whether he could smell her
arousal—who could do that? No one, she desperately reassured herself—he turned to Diana
and wrapped an arm around her.
Wow, this guy was tactile.
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