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Elizabeth Kelly Books

The Assassin and the Bear Book Nine (EBOOK)

The Assassin and the Bear Book Nine (EBOOK)

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This predator is no match for his prey.

Tori knows she shouldn’t flirt with the sexy bear shifter, Judd. She’s a bunny shifter. There’s no future for them. And not just because he’s a predator and she’s prey.

Tori isn’t nearly as prey-like as Judd thinks she is…

She’s hidden behind her dumb bunny façade for so long that she’s almost forgotten who she really is.

Until an old enemy finds her.

With hiding no longer an option, Tori prepares to make her final stand. But with danger lurking around every corner, she’ll need Judd’s help as well as a little magic.

Judd’s wanted Tori from the first day she started working at the bar. Too bad the flirty bunny shifter has made it clear they’ll never be anything more than friends.

Until he sees the real Tori, and everything changes.

Judd is thrust into a treacherous world of magic, mad scientists, and a sweet little bunny shifter who just might be an assassin.

With the fate of the world at stake, will Judd convince Tori that they can save the world and build a life together?



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Read an excerpt

Astoria Genevieve Baker did not have time for the bullshit that was currently going down just a block from her shitty apartment.

She’d be lucky if she weren’t late for her work shift as it was.

Of course, it didn’t mean she was going to walk right by the woman’s soft cries like the asshole ahead of her had done. Fuck that bullshit.

Her boss was a good guy. He’d forgive her for being late this one time.

She turned down the mouth of the alley, marching steadily toward the bastard who had the woman pinned against the wall and was currently slapping her face in a steady rhythm that was more about the humiliation than the pain.

Astoria sniffed the air. The dickweed was a skunk shifter. The odour that clung to every pore would have clued in even a human. The woman was a skunk shifter too. Not surprising – skunks tended to stick to their own kind. Mostly because of the smell.

She slipped out of her jacket, letting it fall to the snow-covered ground. The cold air bit into her bare arms and seeped past her nylon-clad legs, but she ignored it. A little cold wouldn’t hurt her.

As Astoria grew nearer, she could hear his whiskey-roughened voice say, “You gonna disrespect me again, Carla?”

“No, Bill, I won’t. I promise.” The woman’s voice cracked every time Bill’s palm connected with her cheek.

“Good, because I’m getting fucking sick and tired of -”

“Hey, dick for brains!” Astoria’s voice was soft but clear.

Bill didn’t turn away from Carla, although he did stop slapping her. “Get lost, bitch. This ain’t any of your concern.”

“Did you come out of your mama this fucking ugly, or did you get smacked in the face with a baseball bat?”

Lame. She really needed to work on her insult game.

It may have been lame, but it caught Bill’s attention. He stepped away from Carla. The skunk shifter stayed where she was… huddled against the wall, her cheeks bright red from the slaps and tears forming ice chips in the dark hollows under her eyes.

“What the fuck did you just say to me?” Bill said.

He started toward her. He was a big man, probably just past the six-foot mark with a soft belly and jowls beginning to sag. He towered over her diminutive size. Not that she gave a fuck. The bigger they were, the harder they fell, right?

She rolled her shoulders like a boxer before a big fight and cracked her neck as Bill grew closer. It’d been a long time since she’d been in a fight, and she wondered if she still had it in her. Fighting was a lot like dancing. The less you practiced, the rustier you got.

It was too late to worry about it now. Bill was nearly on her, and from the look on his face, he was getting ready to start slapping her around like poor Carla.

Bill stopped inches from her, staring down at her with a sneer on his face. He sniffed in her direction before looking her up and down, his gaze lingering on the tight, thigh-high skirt she wore and the t-shirt that clung to her perky tits like a second skin. “You’re not half bad looking, are you, ya little slut? Tell you what, I’ll forgive you for the disrespect you just showed me ‘cause I can be a nice guy. So, hop away, little bunny, this ain’t none of your fucking concern.”

He turned around to head back to Carla. Astoria shot her leg out, kicking him in the ass with the toe of her winter boot. It made a satisfying meaty thud, although the pig-like squeal Bill made as he staggered forward was infinitely more enjoyable.

He turned around. The shock on his face made her laugh, and Bill’s surprise quickly turned to rage. His face red, his chest heaving, he came at her with murder in his eyes and his fists raised.

She dodged his first wild swing with practiced ease, her body doing what came naturally despite how long it’d been since she fought. His following two punches were just as simple to avoid. His anger and his shock worked against him, although even if he’d been clear-headed, she would have kicked his ass easily.

She taunted him for a few minutes, letting him try to hit her at least half a dozen times as she dodged and ducked. He repeatedly swore, his fists flying, but she was a rabbit, for fuck’s sake. She was built for speed.

“You little bitch, stop fucking moving!” he growled out.

She laughed again. “What’s the matter, stinkypants? You too old to catch me?”

“You slut!” he shouted.

She ducked out of the way of another wild swing. “You know slut isn’t actually an insult, right?”

“I’m gonna rip your fucking legs right off your body,” he said.

“You’d have to catch me first, slowpoke,” she said with another taunting grin.

He roared with anger. She side-stepped him neatly when he rushed forward, sticking her foot out and grinning when he tripped over it and went sprawling into the snow. He jumped to his feet, snow and… ew, gross… a rotting banana peel stuck to one cheek.

“Uh,” she pointed at his face, “you got a little something…”

He swiped the peel off his face with another angry roar. Astoria could have done this all day, fuck, it was incredible how good this felt, but she really would be late if she didn’t finish this in the next few minutes.

Bill rushed toward her again – some assholes just never learned – but this time, she grabbed the lid of a trash can with her right hand and blocked Bill’s blow with her left arm. Before he could swing at her again, she punched him in the face with the garbage lid. The crunch the metal made when it connected with his nose sent a wave of satisfaction over her.

Bill the skunk crumpled to the ground, his legs folding under him like a wobbly card table, and his eyes rolling up in his head as blood gushed from his broken – well, more like shattered – nose.

She leaned down and studied his face before giving him a boot to the ribs. He didn’t move, and she dropped the trash can lid beside his prone body and turned to Carla.
“You okay?”

Carla blinked at her before pushing away from the wall and joining her on unsteady legs. “You… you killed Bill.”

“Nah, he’s not dead. Just unconscious. Although…” Astoria leaned down and heaved Bill’s body onto his side so he wouldn’t choke to death on his own blood. She might not be opposed to beating the fuck out of some slimy shithead who liked to slap women around, but she wasn’t a killer.

Not anymore, anyway.

Carla still stared at Bill, like she couldn’t believe what happened. “I… thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” Astoria said. “Hey, this isn’t my business, but you can do better than this loser. You know that, right?”

“It’s my fault,” Carla said. “I wore something I shouldn’t have, and I knew Bill wouldn’t like it.” She pointed to the skinny jeans she wore. “My pants are too tight, and I showed too much cleavage at -”

“Don’t do that,” Astoria said. “You’re allowed to wear whatever the fuck you want to wear. It’s your body. Don’t let this asshole,” she kicked Bill again, grinning when he groaned in pain despite still being unconscious, “convince you he has the right to tell you what to do with your body or your life for that matter. He has no power over you.”

Shit, now she sounded like an after-school special, but damn if she didn’t hate to see a woman looking broken and defeated over a fucking man.

Carla stared at her. “My sister says the same thing.”

“You should listen to your sister.”

Carla suddenly pulled out her phone and snapped a picture of Bill’s face. She smiled at Astoria. “For my sister. She’ll probably frame it and hang it on the wall.”

Astoria laughed and walked to the front of the alley to snag her coat. Carla followed her and patted her arm a bit timidly. “Seriously, thank you for helping. Where did a bunny learn to fight like that?”

“You’re welcome.” She ignored the second question. “Do you live with Bill?”

Carla nodded. “I do. Or rather, I did. I’m about to grab my shit and take the next bus to my sister’s. She lives in Winchester. You ever been there?”

“Once. In another life,” Astoria said. “Take care of yourself, Carla.”

“You too.”

Carla headed north, and Astoria kept going south to her car parked on a side street. She climbed behind the wheel and turned the heat to high, rubbing her hands together to warm them up. Her rabbit bounced around with glee, and Astoria couldn’t help but grin at her excitement.

We should find someone to fuck. C’mon, pretty please? her rabbit pleaded.

She shouldn’t have been surprised that the rush of adrenaline from the fight had turned into a serious need to fuck. She was a rabbit shifter, after all. Still, her libido could and often did get her in trouble, and there’d been more than one occasion when she’d wished she had better control of it.

It was only a fifteen-minute drive to work, but she was still five minutes late by the time she parked in the half-full lot and hurried toward the entrance. She stopped and took a few deep breaths, trying to calm the rush of adrenaline and her urge to fuck.

It had lessened slightly in the drive to work, but it would roar back to life the minute she saw him.

It always did.

She and her rabbit both wanted him with a raw intensity that grew harder and harder to ignore. Working with him day in and day out certainly didn’t help, nor did his flirty behaviour or the lust she could sometimes smell drifting from his skin when he looked at her.

That got her rabbit worked up something awful, but she’d never read too much into it. He was a natural flirt. She’d seen his flirting skills in action many times, and it was never a surprise to her when the women lapped it up. She understood it. Hell, most shifts, she could barely stop herself from pushing him into the supply room and riding him like a pony.

Shit, she needed to stop thinking about him and his body, or she really would lose control. Maybe she’d get lucky. Maybe he wouldn’t be right at the front door, and she wouldn’t have to hear his deep voice, smell his intoxicating scent, or be knocked over by his two-hundred-watt grin. His shift started the same time as hers, but he could be in the back room grabbing a keg. He was technically the bouncer, but he helped out with other stuff at the bar.

She rolled her shoulders again, arranged her face into her usual mask of brainless innocence, and mentally submerged herself in the role of dumb bunny she had perfected. She opened the door and stepped inside the warm bar, making sure her smile didn’t slip when he was right there.

“Hello, doll.” His warm and appreciative look made her feel stripped down to her very core despite her layers of clothes.

What was it about this man that made her want to throw away her new life and show him who she truly was? No matter what it cost her.

“Oh, like, hey, Judd. How ya doin’, handsome?” The affected Valley Girl voice she had adopted grated on her nerves, just like it always did.

“Can’t complain, sweet thing. You’re looking gorgeous tonight.” Judd said.

“Oh my God, stop it! You’re making me blush.” She giggled, making it so high-pitched that the wolf shifter in the corner booth glanced over with a look of irritation.

“How was your day? You do anything fun with the kids?” Judd shoved his hands into his back pockets, making his t-shirt cling to his chest and sending her lust into overdrive. Her rabbit was going crazy and sweat dripped down her back as she fought for control.

Judd could smell her lust. He was a black bear, and they had great sniffers. But what did it matter? He knew she lusted after him, but he also knew she wouldn’t fuck him. He’d apparently made his peace with that long ago and was content to keep things flirtatious.

Which didn’t bother her. Nope, it didn’t bother her one little bit.

Maybe if she kept telling herself that, she’d eventually believe it.

“It was, like, fine. The kids had a birthday party to go to this morning.” The lie about her non-existent children rolled easily off her tongue.

“I didn’t do much while they were gone because I was sooo tired from last night’s shift, and, like, my feet were totally killing me. I really need to get some better arch support in my shoes. You know? Like, I heard that most women are nearly crippled by the time they’re forty because the shoe manufacturers deliberately use this weird material in the insides of their shoes that make women’s feet change shape over time. Isn’t that, like, terrible?”

“I haven’t heard that,” Judd said.

She could barely stop the laughter – her genuine laugh, not that fake giggling shit she did and fucking hated – from spilling out. One of the things she loved about Judd was his ability to keep a straight face when she droned on and on. Not only that, but he actually appeared to pay attention too.

“Yeah, I know it’s, like, kind of crazy, but -”


She looked over to the bar where her boss, Porter, stood near the beer kegs. “You’re late.”

“I gotta go, big guy.” Knowing she shouldn’t, but fuck, she was dying over here, she let her hand trail across Judd’s flat, tight abdomen. Just the feel of his hard stomach made her fucking gush into her panties. “I’ll talk to you later, okay?”

“You bet, Tori-girl.” Judd winked at her.

Telling her rabbit to simmer the fuck down, she walked away.

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