Eva, a rare white panther, is desperate to avoid her family and their expectations. Hundreds of years of tradition force her to run to the newly appointed Queen only to find her gone. Hopelessness causes her to invoke the right of Hospitality and everything that goes with it, including the mouthwatering lupine cowboy with talented hands. When he whispers her name she’s tempted to submit as long as he meets her every desire.
Clint, the beta wolf of the Koning Clan, is tired of troublesome females walking through the doors of Gryph’s Bar. The last one changed history. Now, a small, seductive feline grates on his nerves and beckons his primitive instincts. Even though she’s trouble, her taste drives him to addiction. Law dictates he must protect her, but the way she calls to his beast may lead to their undoing. As a male with no knowledge of his past how can they have a future?
Running. Running used to be freedom. Now it was her only chance of survival. The feeling of leaves and grass against the pads of her feet, the moist smell of earth, the way the trees would open their branches like a mother opening her arms to a long awaited child. Gone. Now shadows that used to hold wonder only held fear. The night used to be something that called to her, now only served one purpose. A chance of escape from her life. One, she never wanted.
She lifted her muzzle to scent the air. Upwind, she held the advantage. Taking a moment to suck in much needed air, she stopped and rested. The pounding of her heart was the only familiar sound in the foreign woods. To think she made it all the way to Colorado from South America. Her, the most delicate of her family. She snorted, delicate, her ass. She had to be smarter, faster, and more lethal than all the males of her Clan. What was the saying? Practice made perfect. Wrong. Practice at perfection made her the perfect predator. Say that five times fast. She lived for the hunt. But because of some stupid prophecy, she was to be a treasure to her people. Never allowed to see the outside world.
The rays of the full moon danced across her white fur giving off a luminescent glow. So what if she was rare. So what if she was the only white panther to be born in the last four-hundred years. She was still a person with her own thoughts, desires, and dreams. That’s why she was heading to the middle of nowhere. If she could plead her case to Jenifer Koning, then maybe her father would have to listen to reason.
Tales of the queen reached far and wide. Jenifer defied the archaic rules of their world when she entered the Slag, the tournament of kings. Kings not queens being the important word. Jenifer was the only woman in their history to attempt to change her fate. Until now. Alexandria would be the next. She had to be.
That’s why she ran from her Clan, more important her father. Part of her never thought she would make it all the way to North America from her home deep in the Brazilian jungle. Weeks of travel had taken their toll on her body, exhaustion threatened her every step. Soon, she told herself. Internal strength, she liked to think came from her mother, was the only thing keeping her from collapsing.
There. Light shined through the trees. Relief gave her the extra strength she needed. Gryph’s flashed over the imposing red doors with a bouncer perched to the side. Crap. His height and massive arms crossed over his chest seemed less than inviting. How to play this? Her human appearance was less than intimidating. Maybe she could seem unimposing and just walk right in. Yeah right, a girl could dream.
Alex pictured her human form in the center of her inner light. The change wasn’t painful, at least not after the very first shift. Magic allowed them to keep their clothes. The only drawback was that unlike the animals in nature, their color matched in both their human and animal form.
Branches scratched her exposed skin while she parted the bushes. Sashaying toward the bouncer, she tried not to hold her breathe. His scent hit her nose. A bear. Great. This close to winter he could be especially grumpy.
His nostrils flared and brief look of confusion crossed his face before he schooled his features.
“Hi,” she said in a sweet, sing-song voice.
Great this could be harder than she thought. “I’m looking for Jenifer Koning. I request an audience.”
Claws pricked at the tips of her fingers, bringing a burning pleasure. Calming her temper, she did her best not to expose her best kept secret.
“Is she here?”
His response, “Clint we have a live one, again.”
Again? What was that supposed to mean? Her ears tingled as she struggled to hear the voice on the end of the line. From the bear’s wince it wasn’t looking good. For him or for her.
“Go on in. Stay out of trouble.”
Gritting her teeth before she gave him a reason to hibernate, she pulled open one of the big red doors.
Alex took her time entering the bar. She needed to seem like she had every right to be there. She couldn’t risk them kicking her out before she could plead her case to their queen. An old Vince Gil song flowed from the jukebox. Red, faded booths and bar stools filled the space. The scent of fried food assaulted her nose. Doing her best not show her repulsion, her gaze drifted to the bar and the male stomping toward her.
Good lord, he was fine. Faded blue jeans clung to his muscular legs as the heels of his cowboy boots echoed through the air. A green and blue, plaid shirt, with the top buttons unfastened revealing the tan skin of his chest, rolled sleeves resting just below his elbows showed off his muscled forearms. The one on his right was tattooed but she didn’t risked getting lost in its puzzle. Dusty blonde locks hung in his eyes, and a five o’clock shadow covered his jaw. Firm lips pressed into a flat line were only distracted from by his intense blue eyes. She’d never seen such eyes. He was sexy wrapped in a whole lot of delicious.
His mouth moved and she blinked. “I’m sorry, what did you say?”
An irritated rumble sounded in his chest. “I said, who are you?”
“Alex.” After listening to his sweet drawl, she felt a small sensation of being welcome. And then it was gone.
His eyes thinned in what had to be irritation, “What’s your full name and Clan?”
The cowboy was smarter than he looked. Hot and intelligent, be still her quaking knees. Wait, her knees were trembling. Placing her hand on the bar, she braced her body. The room started to spin. She shook her head trying to gain focus. Alarm spread through her at the thought of showing weakness in front of him. This male was definitely a predator and the last thing she wanted to do was fall at his feet.
Then, exhaustion overtook her. Her knees buckled sending her forward into his awaiting arms. His concerned face was the last thing she saw.
About the Author
Author of PNR and Erotic Romance. Published with Pink Petal Books, Ellora’s Cave, and my Self-pub the Koning Clan Series. I love chocolate, reading, and traveling. Some of my favorite authors are, Cole, Kenyon, Ward, and Laurenston.
I grew up in the Colorado Mountains a place full of possibilities. I never found what truly made me happy until I discovered writing. I didn’t really like to read until I tried something a little different. Then like a wildfire my passion grew into a career. I’m thankful every day to have found where I belong. I’m a mother of three kids and a dog.
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