Serengeti Sunrise - By Vivi Andrews
For you, my lovely readers, who nagged me sweetly asked for Zoe’s story from the moment she stepped onto the page in Serengeti Heat. Thank you for returning to the pride with me.
Zoe King was screwed—in the least fun interpretation of the word.
You break one little rule and it bites you on the ass. Every. Damn. Time.
She glared at the white smoke billowing out from under the jeep’s hood. Lately, her luck sucked donkey balls.
So much for her secret, back-before-anyone-knew-she-was-gone trip into town. She hadn’t even made it out to the main highway before the jeep decided it would rather be a fog machine.
Stranded on a dusty country road. Zoe King, kickass rock-star goddess of the lioness persuasion, had been reduced to a Texas Chainsaw Massacre cliché.
She could’ve hoofed it back to the ranch, but she’d still have to explain how the jeep had come to be broken down on the side of the road, four miles outside the property boundaries. Confess later or confess now—at some point there would be shit hitting fans.
Zoe wasn’t the kind of girl who put things off. She lived her life by the motto: now or never, preferably now.
So she called her brother and admitted she left the ranch without permission. Permission. As if she was an infant who couldn’t take care of herself. She was a grown woman and a shape-shifter, for Christ’s sake. A lioness lived inside her skin and on a good day she could even kick her big brother the almighty Alpha’s ass. How much trouble could she possibly get into?
Of course, Landon didn’t see it that way. She had to listen to a solid ten minutes of her brother playing Master of the Pride before he finally got tired of bitching her out—or decided he’d have more fun doing it in person—and told her he’d already sent out the cavalry.
And she knew just who he’d sent. Dammit.
Zoe propped a hip against the dented side of the old jeep, folded her arms and tipped her face back to soak in the sun, trying for a Zen state as she waited. The heat crawled over her skin, thick and heavy, but at least it hadn’t reached the please-God-kill-me-now levels of midsummer yet. They were still a few months and a dozen degrees shy of that lovely experience.
And, if there was a God, she’d be long gone before the summer heat hit. Off to greener pastures. Independent again. Free.
Of course, she needed more than God. She needed a car that could make it more than four miles from the ranch before breaking down.
Goddamn useless mechanic.
Zoe shifted her weight against the jeep’s dented door and closed her eyes. Think Zen, dammit.
The heat from the metal bled through her jeans. She didn’t have a lot of experience with Zen states, and she had a feeling she was sucking at this one, but luckily she didn’t have long to wait.
Zoe barely had time to perfect her I-don’t-give-a-shit pose before she heard the distinctive coughing roar of a truck’s engine speeding toward her, sounding eerily like the pissed-off lion she knew would be sitting behind the steering wheel. She didn’t open her eyes to watch him approach. Her other senses were a fraction sharper with her eyes shut, and she wanted to focus on the little sensory details so she wouldn’t think about the asshole bearing down on her in the tow truck.
He already got too many of her stray thoughts as it was.
Gravel scuttled beneath the truck’s tires as it pulled off onto the shoulder behind the jeep. Zoe’s nose twitched as a whisper of a breeze carried grainy dust particles to tease her nostrils and stick against the sweat-kissed skin of her temples.
The constant dust was just another of the joys of living in west Texas. She couldn’t step two feet outside her bungalow without feeling like every inch of her exposed skin had been coated in a fine film of dirt. How Landon could actually like it here, she couldn’t imagine.
Well, actually she could imagine. But Landon’s affection for Bumfuck Nowhere, West Texas had more to do with his mate Ava’s manifest charms than it did any driving need to be bathed in dust on a daily basis. If Zoe had gotten laid once over the last goddamn year, she might be in a slightly better frame of mind herself. But the pussified lions at the pride wouldn’t lay a finger on the Alpha’s baby sister. The cowards.
The truck’s engine gave one last