I’ve never been able to resist a reluctant hero or a heroine who doesn’t realize how strong she is until she’s tested. Throw in a steamy jungle, a forbidden attraction, unrelenting danger and of course some steamy sex and I couldn’t be happier.
When the rights to ASSASSIN’S KISS returned to me, I revised it slightly and self-published it last year. I’m working on book 2 in the Jaguar Assassin series and plan to release it this year. Enjoy!
A desperate shifter, a lethal assassin and a dangerous prophecy…
Her only crime was being born. Kira is the key to a secret that the Jaguar Council will kill to keep and their sworn enemy, the Brotherhood will kill to possess. Ten years after surviving the terrifying exorcism that revealed her true nature, Kira, a half-human jaguar shifter treks to the Guatemalan jungle, desperate to find a culture she suspects might exist and relief from the desire she’s been afraid to unleash upon any human.
What she finds is danger, death and Sebastian, a lethal Jaguar Assassin who rescues her from the rogues he’s been tracking, only to find that she’s more dangerous. Halflings have been forbidden for centuries and killing her should have been easy but nothing has prepared Sebastian for the visceral need to protect Kira. Caught in a treacherous web of danger and deceit, the lovers battle a growing list of enemies to uncover a secret that will save them both.
Approximately 62k words
Kira recoiled at the first pull of the moon. Her vision clouded and a blood-red haze covered the lush green leaves and trees of the Guatemalan jungle. Her body arched, scraping her naked back against a tree, willing her stretched skin to give.
This was how the change took her. The terrible heat came next, and then her bones shifted, muscles stretched, ligaments popped. Relief was only moments away. She fell to all fours and closed her eyes.
“Hurry!” She prayed to any god who would claim her.
Primitive, insatiable desire gripped her, twisting her as hard as the moon’s pull had twisted her body. No human lover would ever understand its ferocity or its terrible burning need. Not that she would chance a human lover. She screamed, frustrated and angry.
And then she was off at a four-legged lope, her tawny, black-spotted fur brushing against the whipsaw branches of the dense, green underbrush as she picked up one steamy scent after another. She barely heard the churning river over the roar of her own blood. The water was wild, almost pulling her under when she dove in. Struggling against the current, she clawed her way up the rough, muddy bank, oblivious to everything but desire and the familiar riot of scents she’d followed for days. Her own kind. So close.
At the edge of a small moonlit clearing, Kira’s heart expanded, stretched to take in the eight sleek, muscular bodies so much like her own. The familiar red haze darkened and the heat inside her built. She took a tentative step forward, sniffing the air.
Living on the streets, she’d known better than to trespass on another’s turf without first learning the rules of confrontation. But the seven males and one female weren’t human and they weren’t simply jaguars. They were the shapeshifters it had taken her ten years to find. Street instincts aside, she was going in blind, guided only by the singular, red haze of desire that encompassed her narrow world.
The largest male leapt upon a boulder just wide enough for him to perch. Other than his black-tipped ears, he was all spotted, tawny velvet and sinewy grace, regally surveying an equally large female sitting directly below him. The female bristled, emitting a breathy, asthmatic bark that, except for the menacing hiss accompanying it, was as familiar as Kira’s own.
Ten years of homeless wandering told her this was no happy-to-see-another-of-our-kind greeting. Kira circled out of range of the larger alpha female. In her heat-induced state she’d been reckless but there was no going back now. Her challenger’s eyes narrowed and her muscular shoulders bunched right before the alpha bared her teeth. Oh hell. The six males on the ground backed away into an ever-widening circle while the larger male watched from his boulder.
Jaguars were known as beasts that kill with one leap, piercing the skull or breaking their victim’s necks. Not really the way she’d planned on ending up. Kira stood her ground until the female was nearly on top of her. She dove to one side but not far enough away from the slash of a claw that ripped open her side. Dropping, she rolled away but the bitch followed, still slicing through the air with a determination that had the markings of a death match.
Kira feinted right, twisted low and attacked, sinking her teeth into her opponent’s unprotected throat. She clawed into the alpha’s chest as her adversary screamed and tried to shake loose. Kira strained to hold on, her limbs shaking, her jaws locked. The female’s last cry was one of startled disbelief as one last breath shuddered out of her and she collapsed.
Kira scrambled from beneath her dead opponent and crawled belly down and backward, searching for a place to defend. The pack slunk toward her, their wheezing barks turning into whines. Why had she thought they’d welcome her? No one else ever had.
The large male sprang from his rock. Kira tensed, waiting for his attack until he grabbed the limp, bloody female in his jaws and dragged her into the jungle. Four young males darted past Kira. Bleeding and too weak to run very far, she inched back, her focus shifting between the remaining two. A sharp bark from above closed off any hope of safety in the trees. One of them must have doubled back.
Balancing his front paws on a splayed limb, Sebastian crouched in the notch of a low-hanging tree. His growl had netted him a snarl that warned the female was ready to shred his ass. Ungrateful bitch. His vow to protect the innocent trumped his assignment to kill the rogues he’d been tracking for days before her trail had crossed theirs.
He was questioning his sanity as he watched the two young males circle the small female. Sheer determination seemed to be the only thing keeping her on her feet. He smelled her fear, and underneath it, the same pulsing desperation that clawed at his insides and begged to be answered.
He forced a low purr and jumped in front of her, barking a warning when one of them feigned a charge so the other could cut the female from his protection. She flipped around, crouching and hissing, covering his back.
Heat and confusion rippled off her in waves, calling to him as it called to the young rogues. Taking on two heat-crazed males was risky enough. Protecting a wounded female at the same time was asking for trouble he didn’t need. He was counting on ingrained behavior.
Jaguar protocol demanded that the alpha female’s death during a moon ceremony be honored. With Fontaine, the Jaguar Priest, leading them, not even rogues would leave one of their own to rot without full ceremonial rites.
The two males paced but their attention wavered between him, the wounded female at his back, and Fontaine’s demanding snarls, just beyond the clearing. They slunk off, one after the other. He whipped around to hiss a warning but the female lay on the ground, wide-eyed and panting hard, her tawny fur matted with blood, dirt and leaves.
He cursed the vow trumping his mission, clamped down on the loose skin at the back of her neck and started dragging her. They needed to make the river before Fontaine sent the tracker, Diego, after them.
Sebastian shook the female by the scruff of her neck, trying to revive her enough that she realized they were going into the water. She dug her claws into the earth and managed a weak hiss. There was no time to explain that Diego could track a fish through water if he weren’t so afraid of it. He wound himself around her, jerked her free and rolled them into the river.
Water churned over them as he held her, struggling against the current. She was still fighting him when they went under a second time and then she started to convulse, her muscles and bones shifting. She’d drown them both before he could get them to safety inside the cave behind the waterfall. He had no choice but to release her and shift into his human nature while she reformed, sputtering and bobbing in the roiling water.
One sure stroke brought him hard against her naked back and he cursed as she flailed, backhanding him. He snaked one arm around her, cradling her hips with his own, settling her over the ridge of his growing erection. She stilled instantly. Her rumbling purr seeped through his bones and muscles, belly and cock.
Growling, he nipped gently at the side of her neck, nudging her jaw up enough to keep her head above water. She tasted of fear and excitement, heat and death. Primitive, feral desire twisted through him, answering the promise he’d followed for days. She whimpered and burrowed against his chest and belly while he kicked, propelling them backward until he felt rocks beneath his feet. Almost there.
He half crawled, half dragged them both through the falls. The cave was little more than a shallow niche hollowed into the rock lit only by the moonlight filtering through the mist the falls produced. He wasn’t dragging her any farther without knowing who she was and what the hell she’d been doing following Fontaine’s mercenary rogues. Her dark, spiky curls tickled his nose when he scooted them into a reclining position.
He was honest enough to realize that his panting was only partly due to the adrenaline rush of their escape. Even now her scent curled through him, drawing him into a promise he’d followed for days. Who was this naked, shivering woman he might have just imperiled an entire race to save?
Available now for $.99 from these retailers: