by Saloni Quinby
Heat Level: Erotic
Publisher: Changeling Press
Cover art: Marteeka Karland
The following excerpt from Tiger Fork (writing as Saloni Quinby) is for readers 18 and over.
On their way to Bo's lair, both men remained silent, though the tension between them was almost tangible. The backs of their hands brushed and they glanced at each other sharply but with underlying lust, then stepped apart.
Han wasn't exactly sure how Bo felt about him coming to his village.
Despite his earlier suspicions and harsh thoughts, Han still had feelings for the handsome man-tiger--Roar'dyn. Seeing him again stirred emotions he'd never felt before. Had he fallen in love with Bo? Was such a thing possible for a human and a man-tiger, especially a pair who had just met?
But he and Bo had shared so much during a short time. If their desire for peace was real, it reinforced their connection and the belief that maybe humans and Roar'dyn weren't so different after all.
Walking through the village, Han saw homes, families, people working together to build a life. He knew other Roar'dyn dynasties, similar to this one, existed, but they were struggling. Dwindling.
He noted most plainly that the village was missing children.
For the first time Han truly understood the Roar'dyn's hatred and fear of humans. He understood their mistrust.
"In here," Bo said gruffly. He placed a hand on Han's lower back and nudged him toward the mouth of a cave.
Inside several glowing stones--a wonder of nature on this planet--provided dim light. Bo guided Han down a short corridor and they turned into a cozy room.
Rugs covered the floor and a blanket rested on top of a bed of leaves.
"You must be tired. I'm sure the guard who brought you didn't allow much time for rest. Are you hungry?"
"No. I wasn't deprived of food, if that's what you're asking."
"Count yourself lucky you didn't end up food for the guard. Or maybe not." A faint smile flirted with Bo's lips. "You're an able fighter."
"I surrendered my tiger fork."
Bo raised an eyebrow. "Partly?"
"I wanted to find you. I needed to know why you didn't show up. Why I was played for a fool."
"I was the fool! I went to meet you in good faith and found you luring me into an ambush."
"I told you I didn't know I was followed."
"Cordel seemed to believe you. I'm not sure I do."
"Then why am I here, risking my life? Your kind were more apt to kill me than negotiate peace, but I took the chance."
"We have good reason to mistrust you."
"I understand that, but I also know you haven't been completely open with us. You've never talked to us."
"Oh and I'm sure humans have willingly disclosed all their secrets to their enemies?"
"I don't want to be your enemy. I mean *us*, Bo, not just our people. Do you feel anything for me, or did you just use me to satisfy your curiosity about humans?"
Many emotions flashed through Bo's eyes. Then he wrapped an arm around Han, hauled him close to his big, hard body and covered his mouth in a soul-stealing kiss.
When it broke, he murmured against Han's lips, "Since we parted, I haven't been able to stop thinking about you."
"Nor I, you."
They kissed again, plundering each other's mouths.
Until now, Bo hadn't realized exactly how much he'd missed Han, or how deeply the human had touched him. It had hurt too much to admit, thinking that Han had led him into an ambush. Maybe that was why defenders weren't encouraged to mate, the possibility that love would make them vulnerable.
The men parted just long enough for Han to shed his clothes. Then Bo guided him onto the bed of leaves and positioned him stomach-down. Han rested his head on his folded arms and closed his eyes.
Bo sat back on his heels and stared at Han. He caressed his shoulders and back, loving the ripple of muscles beneath smooth skin.
He leaned down and kissed the back of Han's neck, then he swirled his tongue around the curve of his ear.
Han smiled and said, "Tickles."
"Good," Bo continued, teasing his ear, then he trailed his tongue down Han's spine.
Coming in November 2012