Chapter Three

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"Wolves? In Kenya?" Beneath the dripping rim of a colorful umbrella, Nate found a beautiful face drawn down in question. The woman's head was cocked to the side at a jaunty angle as she stopped in the middle of the street to watch three men cross.

Nate trailed behind his teammates. Their commander turned back, having easily heard the woman's question. Dark blonde brows rose above striking, green eyes as he caught Nate's own.

It was mid-morning. The rain had begun not an hour before. Unseen, bodies streamed past as Nate looked to the woman once more. He finally answered, "Unfortunately." His lips twisted in a sour expression.

Master Sergeant Everett snorted further up the road, drawing Nate's attention. A fist raising a single, middle-fingered salute shot above his platinum blonde head. Although they were dressed as locals, Nate blended in with the Nairobi population better than the others. The foreigner's rude gesture was noticed by more than a few people, causing murmurs as they milled past.

Suddenly, a passerby ran into the back of the mysterious beauty. The jarring, accidental shove sent her and a collection of rain off the umbrella and into Nate. It drew his attention from his teammate. Deftly, he caught the woman against him, saving her from a fall onto the wet pavement. Looking up at him, she smiled. It was then he noted her eyes were a medium brown with a tinge of green around the edges.

"Thank you," the beauty all but purred. A hand came up to rest on Nate's left pectoral and tested the firmness it found there. Then, the woman pressed her soft curves against him, and Nate's focus narrowed even further.

Nate's nostrils flared. The beauty's scent was familiar, that of the sun and acacia blossoms. Summer filled his senses for a brief time. Eyes widening, he realized she was the lioness from the previous night. In his peripheral, he barely noted Wolfrick's two-thumbs-up before the rest of his team left him standing in the middle of the roadway.

Were she human, Nate would've been suspicious. But recognizing the scent, he knew she was a shifter. Just like him and the wolves on his team, she was riding the high experienced after a full moon shift.

Ife noted the American were's eyes turn the amber of his beast. A single blink later, they returned to a deep, chocolate brown. She nearly purred again in satisfaction as her nails flexed into the firm muscle beneath them. Something about him felt familiar.

Straightening, Ife observed, "You are not a wolf." She was familiar with that breed of shifter and the way they moved from her time in England. She'd never taken one of them as a lover, preferring human males. As a result, she'd been celibate for more than a year. She'd been celibate for far too long.

Grasping Ife's hand, the shifter led them through the crowd. He headed in a direction opposite the wolves. In a quiet tone, he eventually answered. "I'm a lion."

Coming to walk beside him once they were on the sidewalk, Ife felt the corners of her lips lift in her slow, Cheshire cat smile. "As am I," she told him.

Although Nate recognized her, the female didn't seem to know him. It might be for the best because of how they'd left things the previous night. Younger shifters had a hard time recalling what their beast did during a full moon. This lioness could've been in her early twenties, or she could've been a hundred. Gauging age by looks alone in the races was difficult. They grew older at a much slower rate than humans. It was also possible that she did remember their first meeting and decided to play coy.

After a few feet, Nate let the lioness steer him onward. They were in a more affluent neighborhood. Just two years before, the place would have been bustling with foot and vehicle traffic. It was a sad testament to how much this war had taken from citizens all over the world that there were few people and fewer cars.

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