Excerpt: Scarlet Woman by Shelley Munro
Scarlet Woman by Shelley Munro
~book rating R
~paranormal feline shapeshifter
Feline shifter, Saber Mitchell wants to marry off his younger
mischievous brothers but his plan backfires when he sees the lady
dressed in red...
They strolled hand in hand across the dance floor. Emily caught
Maggie's look of censure as they passed her dancing with one of
Saber's brothers. Emily hesitated, but her friend's compressed mouth
and scowl looked so much like Michael's she kept walking.
"Changed your mind?" Saber's lazy drawl sent a shiver racing straight
to her core.
"No." Her gaze traced his firm lips. How would they feel closing
around her nipples? Or touching her in a more intimate kiss? Heat
suffused her body along with yearning. Between her legs moistened,
the dampness making her fidget.
"That must be her over there with Sid," Saber muttered. "Let Felix
cope with her nosy questions. We'll sneak past while she's not
looking." With a furtive glance over his shoulder, he hustled Emily
from the marquee.
A gurgle escaped Emily when they slipped past into the growing
darkness outside. After the foot-stomping gaiety inside, it seemed
very quiet. Private. A sliver of disquiet stalked down her spine. She
was doing the right thing, wasn't she?
Saber squeezed her hand, seeming to sense her unease. "We don't have
to do anything. Yet." The light cast shadows across his face but it
was difficult to miss the decidedly carnal smile.
Sex. She could cope with that. No commitments. No need to get hurt
because there were no promises made. Impulsively she headed for the
shadows cast by a stand of poplar trees. Dried leaves crunched
underfoot, her heels sinking halfway to China with each step. She
yanked free and rolled her eyes in exasperation. "I didn't think
about walking on grass in heels."
"How about taking them off?" Saber knelt in front of her, his
calloused fingers sliding across her ankle. Emily inhaled and held
her breath. He undid the tiny buckle and slid her bare foot from the
shoe. Emily grasped his shoulders to balance, her heart pounding. A
balmy breeze blew, tugging at her loose curls. Saber undid the other
buckle, and she lifted her foot for him. Instead of standing, he
remained kneeling in front of her. Her heart skipped a beat. Her sex
clenched, and she was very aware of the arousal dampening her panties.
Saber could smell her excitement. Hear the racing of her heart. She
tensed when he massaged the arch of her foot, but Saber took his time
until she relaxed and a whimper of pleasure escaped her parted lips.
He continued to massage her foot, noticing the sexy red toenails. Jo
was a strange contrast—skittish at times, and yet, strangely forward
and wanton at others. Would the real Scarlet woman step forward? He
slid his palm across a heel and up her smooth calf, savoring the
silky skin and the floral scent of the lotion she'd smoothed onto her
body. His cock throbbed, large and eager, pushing insistently against
his fly and Saber was right there with his lower brain. Interested.
Desperate to bury his cock in her warm, luscious heat. Desperate to
taste her natural juices and watch her shatter in his arms.
His hand rose to the sensitive skin behind her knee, surprising a
giggle out of her before drifting higher across her warm inner thigh.
Slow—when what he really wanted was hard, fast. Hot and heavy with
not an ounce of gentleness involved. Saber struggled with wooing her
instead of demanding. Taking. Because the closer they came to
consummation, the more he thought Sid might be right. After all this
time, his mate had sashayed into his life, and she'd almost escaped
because he hadn't noticed, he'd become used to being alone.
His Scarlet woman.
He fingered her through her panties. Intimately.
Her gasp was loud in the still evening, disturbed only by the throb
of the band and the wail of the female lead singer. "I want you," she
whispered. "Here. Now." Her blue eyes glittered in the half-light
beneath the trees. Anyone could see, but she didn't seem worried. Her
bag slipped off her shoulder and she let it fall to the
grass. "Please," she whispered.
The relief Saber felt was countered by the relentless throb at his
groin. God, he was desperate to grab her offer and plunge inside her
tight channel, taking her hard and fast until they both burned. But
he wasn't so far gone that he forgot about privacy. That woman
investigating the panther sighting would hunt them down if her
previous behavior was any indication. She was certainly tenacious,
firing letters off to several of the council members asking for
information. Since he'd been voted as the one to communicate with
her, he'd answered the initial politely worded letter with one of his
own, refuting the idea of mystery cats near Middlemarch. She'd
ignored his reply and followed her letter with persistent phone calls
and now a visit, despite his assertions she was chasing non-existent
ghosts. Still, she kept pushing. He refused to give her material to
publish in the tabloid press. About black panthers or the modern
sexual techniques of a closet shifter. She might pretend she was
researching a book, but it had been her byline attached to the
newspaper article. Despite his assertions she was chasing ghosts, the
woman remained resolute and, deep down, he didn't expect that to
Saber stood abruptly, lifted Joanna into his arms and strode toward
the next stand of trees across the other side of the paddock.
"My shoes and bag."
"You won't need them." When she opened her mouth to argue, Saber
paused to kiss her, tempted by the sexy curve of her bottom lip. Just
one quick taste—enough to make them both crazy. Minutes later, he put
her down. They were further away from the marquee and possible
interruptions. The hoot of a morepork drowned out the band, and when
the echo of the lonely cry died, only silence remained. A gentle
breeze ruffled the leaves. They responded with a placid song, a
serenade for the sensual dance to come. Jo slid down his body,
arching against him with a sound that reminded him of a contented
purr. Apt. Very apt.
Saber buried his face against the crook of her neck, breathing in her
scent. Without warning, the ripple of awareness preceding the shift
to cat slid seductively across his skin. Goose bumps prickled. A
faint glow emanated from his hands. He hissed in alarm and fought,
gritting his teeth. Fighting the change with everything he had.
"Are you all right?"
Shit, this had never happened before. His father hadn't mentioned the
strange phenomenon when they'd had the sex talk. Their Uncle Herbert,
who'd taken on the guardian role after his parents' death, hadn't
discussed the oddity either. Maybe it was something peculiar to him?
Saber gritted his teeth, resisting the shift toward feline with all
his might. He inhaled sharply, struggling to remain in control, to
remain in his human form. Pity Uncle Herbert wasn't there to offer
advice—the elderly man had passed away two winters ago. Exhaling
slowly, he kissed and nibbled at the soft skin beneath her ear while
he wondered what to do. There wasn't anyone else to ask, not without
suffering an incredible amount of embarrassment. "Turn around," he
ordered, trying to hide his panic. "Put your hands against the tree."
So you can't see me. "I want to touch your ass. Besides, this will be
easier. I don't want to get grass stains on your dress." And I want
to take you in the traditional way from behind, he added silently,
every particle of him wanting to dominate, to seize her by the scruff
of the neck and exert his power. He wanted to mark her with his
scent, his teeth, and make sure no other male dared to approach his
woman. Because she belonged to him, whether she knew it or not. It
was just a matter of time…
Adventure into Romance
with Shelley Munro
Peeping Tom by Shelley Munro
Here's a scene from the start of the book where the heroine Tomasine is baiting the trap to snare one of the Mitchell brothers. Watch out Felix...she's out to get ya!
“Don’t worry,” Gina said airily. She circled Tomasine and efficiently sprayed her from head to toe with perfume. “I’m not going to do anything to jeopardize our safety. But I can still look.” Her hazel eyes shut and a soft smile played across her lips.
It was so uncharacteristic that Tomasine stared in shock. For an instant the girl appeared adult then Tomasine blinked and saw Gina’s familiar chubby face. “I guess looking can’t hurt. We all need something to look forward to each day.” Something in the girl’s expression made her prod a bit harder. “Is there someone in particular?”
“Leo Mitchell,” Gina said. “That man is a babe. His butt—”
“Enough.” Tomasine held up her hand and pulled a face of mock alarm. Thoughts of the Mitchell brothers made her uncomfortable. Her pulse rate picked up and suddenly Tomasine was uneasy and blast it—aroused. Part of it was because of her plan but the rest—the unknown factor—worried her more. An omen? The hairs at the scruff of her neck prickled and the sensation spread downward to catch at her breasts. Tomasine drew a sharp breath, riding out the needy ache caused by the friction of her nipples against the bodice of her dress.
She knew there were shape-shifters living in Middlemarch—she could smell the difference in the inhabitants. But what she couldn’t tell was if this was a safe community. After two years of traveling the world, she needed to stop running, to find a safe place for her daughter Sylvie and for Gina. They both deserved a normal childhood full of love and security. During the last two months, she’d tried to get closer to the locals but she’d failed dismally. In hindsight, passing herself off as a reporter hadn’t been the wisest course but it was too late now. She was stuck with the cover and made a reasonable living writing fluff pieces for the paper in Dunedin. Apart from writing the one story about the local black panther sightings… Now that had definitely been a mistake.
“One look at Leo Mitchell’s butt is not enough,” Gina said. “I can’t promise not to sneak another look. Allow me one guilty pleasure.”
Tomasine sighed, secretly glad of the distraction. Sometimes she felt as though she were talking to a contemporary, which was why sex had come up when it shouldn’t have been discussed at all. “I don’t suppose looking can hurt.”
“No, it’s the touching that gets you into trouble,” Gina shot back.
Tomasine grimaced at Gina. Once again she regretted running her plan past the teenager. “Don’t remind me.” Now she was about to take the last steps in her carefully laid plan to seduce Felix Mitchell and she wondered if she were about to make the biggest mistake of her life. Tomasine snorted at the anxious thought. Oh yeah. Too late for that. She’d gone one better already. Nothing she did would ever top trusting Bernard Lerfervre enough to take him as husband and mate. Her mouth firmed when she collected her bag and slung it over her shoulder. This plan had to work.
“How do I look? Will Felix Mitchell take the bait?” Tomasine did a slow twirl, the full sea green skirt lifting in a whisper-soft rustle against her thighs. The fabric stopped above her knee—in fact the whole outfit was too abbreviated for her liking. It felt as though one full breath would make her pop right out of the bodice. Tomasine reminded herself to save the heavy breathing until she’d snared Felix Mitchell and corralled him somewhere private. At that stage, it wouldn’t matter if her bare breasts popped into prominence. It could only help her cause. Her dark hair was arranged in a complicated twist leaving her neck and shoulders bare while she wore wispy green panties and sheer flesh-colored stockings beneath—the kind that stayed up without a garter belt.
“Felix Mitchell would need to be deaf and blind to miss you,” Gina said. “I don’t think any of the Mitchell brothers are short in the brains department. A brain and a sexy butt. Be still my heart.” Gina patted the left-hand side of her chest.
“Go and watch the cartoon channel,” Tomasine suggested. “Something wholesome, but finish your homework first.”
“Sure, Tom. I’m almost done with my assignment. Don’t forget your supper contribution.”
“Good girl. Thanks for reminding me. I’m not sure what time I’ll be back—maybe not until the morning if Felix takes the bait. Okay? Ring me if you have any problems. I don’t care what time it is.” She slipped on her strappy silver heels and straightened. Tomasine pressed a kiss to the girl’s cheek. The sixteen-year-old hugged her back briefly—an improvement from their first anxious months together when Gina had refused any tender touches. The genocide of their people had scarred them all. This plan had to work—they had to find a safe place amongst others of their own kind if they wanted to survive. A colony she could trust, who wouldn’t report back to that man and place them all in grave danger. Tomasine sighed with longing. Feline shifters might be solitary but they weren’t meant to live alone.