A feline shifter Quickie, now available from Ellora's Cave
Tiger Kersen Amat wants to marry leopard Jarita Namar. All he needs
to do is find rubies for the bride price and woo the sexy shifter.
Unknown to him Jarita is already interested. When they meet in the
Burmese jungle sparks fly, along with love and laughter. Mutual
pleasure explodes, sweet, erotic and compelling, until thieves intent
on stealing rubies intrude. A disaster since without the rubies
there's no bride price and their courtship will be doomed. Obtaining
Jarita, a jewel beyond price, as his mate might take more than rubies
Help was on the way.
Currently off-duty, Kersen knew the other security force members
would handle the interlopers. The shifters would destroy the opium
rather than allowing it to reach the city streets. He was free to
concentrate on Jarita.
Kersen peered through the branches and intercepted Jarita's gaze. Her
golden eyes focused on him, unblinking. Heat seared his groin. He
couldn't wait to get his hands on her.
Once the spooked men were no longer within hearing distance, Kersen
crawled along the tree branch and leapt to the ground. Jarita
followed suit, prowling over the mud caused by yesterday's rain and
leaf litter to rub against him. Her head nudged his shoulder and her
soft purr vibrated along his side. Once again his thoughts jumped to
sex despite his worries. He backed away to shift, needing to talk to
her. Why was she out here on her own? Hell, if she intended to meet
Fuck, he couldn't let that happen. Refused to stand aside and let
another male steal her away. His, dammit. She belonged to him or at
least she would by the time he was finished.
Fully changed to a man again, Kersen frowned down at her. She rubbed
against his legs, showing affection like a damned housecat. "Shift,"
he ordered. "I want to talk."
Jarita grunted, an unhappy sound, but stepped back to transform. "You
want to talk?" she purred, her breasts heaving under the tight
turquoise blouse. He couldn't help but notice the hard tips of her
nipples pressing against the cotton fabric. "You didn't wish to talk
during my cousin's party. All you did was flirt with that stupid Rani
and her sisters."
Kersen's brows rose at her tone. Interesting. "Were you jealous?"
"No!" The word exploded from her in a snarl. "Why would I be jealous
about you making a fool of yourself?" Delicate pink shaded her coffee-
colored cheeks, her dark brows lifting until they resembled thin
slashes of displeasure.
Damn, she was beautiful. His palms itched with the need to touch and
his gaze wandered to full pink lips. Unconsciously he took a step
forward. The dark-haired princess backed up until a broad tree trunk
halted her retreat.
"Maybe you wanted me to kiss you like I kissed her?" Kersen picked up
a strand of her long straight hair, winding it around his finger. "I
could kiss you now, if that was what you wanted."
She swallowed, the slender column of her throat moving in a telltale
sign of her unease. "Why would I want to take Rani's leavings?"
Kersen chuckled at the hint of jealousy in her words, feeling more
confident. Maybe not another man. He dipped his head, savoring the
tart scent of her, the hint of green leaves and the underlying
sandalwood. It wasn't the normal flowery scent of the other women and
he liked the note of originality. "Because I tempt you?" He brushed
his lips over the corner of her mouth, savoring her sharp intake of
air. She wasn't immune to him. His lips touched the tip of her nose,
the curve of her cheekbone while his hands wandered across her
shoulders, drawing her closer until her breasts brushed his chest. "I
do tempt you, don't I, Jarita?"
"Let me go."
To his relief her body spoke an opposing language, leaning into him,
silently daring him to take what he desired. Her family was pleased
with the idea of the match because it gave a clear signal they
supported the move for the clans to join forces. Not that Jarita
knew. Originally he'd intended to court her, woo her until she gave
in to the powerful force between them. Recognized it as readily as
he. Maybe a more immediate approach would work better.
"You're very beautiful." He smoothed a lock of hair away from her
face, his fingers tracing the whorls of her ear, tugging lightly at
the ruby stud piercing the lobe. He fingered it carefully while his
lips nibbled at her chin. The ruby necklace he intended to design for
her would look stunning when draped around her neck. "No wonder all
the males want you." He felt her shiver when his fingers traced along
her collarbone to the spot where his ruby necklace would lie just
above her cleavage.
"I thought you were going to kiss me?"
"I thought you wanted me to let you go?" He confused her—that was
obvious. It was good to keep her off balance. His lips brushed the
corner of her mouth again, this time letting her feel the smooth tip
of his tongue. She trembled, a gasp escaping. Although she didn't say
anything, Jarita angled her body closer, pressing her high breasts
more firmly against his bare chest. The beginnings of a satisfied
smile twitched at his mouth. It would be good between them.
"I…what if they come back? They might catch us unawares."
Kersen laughed. "We're shifters. We'll hear them long before they see
us. No, you're worried about what punishment I might exact after
finding you in the forbidden territory. What are you doing here?"
"I…I don't have to tell you." She refused to meet his gaze, studying
the surrounding trees instead.
"Are you meeting with a lover?"
"No!" Her attention snapped back to him. "I…my lovers are none of
Anger bloomed, swift and dark. Of course she'd have previous lovers,
no doubt when she'd worked in Europe. They were a modern society,
many of their people traveling to the West for their education and to
work or live. He'd had lovers while abroad, but it didn't counteract
the wash of jealousy curling through him. "I don't wish to hear about
your former lovers."
"Then don't flirt with Rani and her sisters in front of me."
Ah, the resentment worked both ways. Relief replaced his anger, the
knowledge she'd at least wondered about him enough to experience
jealousy soothing his angst and possessiveness. He pressed a swift
kiss to her lips, desperately wanting more but knowing this wasn't
the time. That would come later tonight.