An Excerpt from Rebel Lion, Aloha Shifters: Pearls of Desire, Book 3
Swinging shifter bachelor gets the surprise of his life. Is he up to the challenge?
The driveway swept up toward the crest of a hill, and a sweeping panorama opened up below. The estate sloped gently down to the sea, with a dribble of a stream cutting through the middle of the property. On the north, the slope petered out gradually, opening onto a handkerchief of a beach. The plantation house stood on a small rise, giving it a majestic view of the entire place. Usually, Dell’s eyes swung to the sea, but today, his gaze went straight to the plantation house porch where his friends stood with someone he didn’t recognize.
“Any idea who that is?” Dell asked.
His friend, Chase, gave a terse shake of his head as he cruised down the driveway and parked. Before he had so much as thrown on the handbrake, Dell found himself hurrying out of the car in an inexplicable rush to find out who the visitor was. Every nerve was on edge, every sense piqued.
Still, he forced his hurried race-walk down to a nonchalant stride. The others didn’t look alarmed, but there was a distinct aura of anxiety in the air.
“Hiya,” he called as he approached the porch.
Tim looked down at him, crossing his thick arms in disapproval. Connor was there too, along with Jenna, Hailey, and another woman Dell didn’t know. Gone were the sympathetic looks everyone had flashed him that morning — the first anniversary of his brother’s death. Instead, they were frowning, making his gut sink. Climbing the five stairs to the porch had never seemed so slow or ominous.
What the hell did I do? Dell muttered into Tim’s mind.
You tell me, Tim grunted.
Dell’s mind raced. He hadn’t missed a patrol, nor had he skipped out on any of the chores Cynthia assigned each member of their group. Having a relaxed nature didn’t mean he was a slacker, not when it came to the safety of his pride.
Then Tim shifted slightly, opening Dell’s view to the visitor. The moment he saw the woman and sniffed her jasmine-and-coconut scent…
His heart raced. His blood rushed, and a bass drum hammered in his soul. She was beautiful, with long, brownish-black hair and beautiful, dark eyes. The thing was, he’d never been drawn to pure looks. A woman had to be interesting too, and that usually took a few minutes of conversation to establish. So why was he so fascinated right off the bat?
Maybe it was the unique mix of factors that made his breath hitch. Her skin had a beautiful olive tone that suggested India — or Indian heritage, at least. Her brow was creased with worry lines, and she was wearing one of those skirt suits a woman might wear to the office if she had a high-up, corporate job.
Dell stared at her, dumbstruck, and she stared back. For a long minute, no one said anything, and the mystery nearly killed him. Then her wine-red lips parted to speak, and he leaned in. But a little gurgle sounded from about ankle level first, and the woman leaned over a basket of some kind.
“Oh, sweetie,” she whispered, sounding so weary, he wanted to throw an arm around her shoulders and prop her up. Then she straightened, holding something.
Dell’s eyes drifted to the bundle in her arms. A tiny pink one. Every connection in his brain fired at the same time.
Pink. Bundle. Baby?
“Everything’s okay,” the woman whispered, snuggling the baby close.
Dell’s jaw dropped. He’d only caught a split-second glimpse of the child, but it was enough. That baby was the spitting image of someone.