The whir of motorcycles had died away behind her somewhere. In fact, all city noise had been silenced. The only sound reaching her ears was the soft thump of footfalls beneath her as they darted deeper into the night. They left the buildings and asphalt behind them. The woodsy smell intensified, and trees now encircled Shara and the...creature.
She turned her attention to the growing heat beneath her. Taut muscles worked hard under the fur pressed into her palms. Though a man had originally offered her help in the alley, no man was with her now. Her only guide at present was this animal moving lithely, swiftly through the thickening forest.
Its pace slowed, and a bright yellow-green eye came into view as the creature's head swung to the right. Moonlight filtered through the treetops, revealing a regal profile.
A cat. A huge, black panther to be exact. Nostrils flared, breathed in scents, analyzed, decided. Whiskers twitched, and the massive feline leaped to a flat rock as Shara held on. It lowered its body so she could slide off. The fur was a silken sheet beneath her hands. A fleeting desire to get naked and rub her body, cat-style, over the fur almost consumed her.
Before she gave in to the ridiculous yearning, the panther shimmered--like a quick blurring of reality--and a naked man stood before Shara.
Her eyes combed over the well-defined contours of his body. Long legs, powerful arms, strong shoulders. Muscles gave his skin an athletic, chiseled look, and Shara wanted to spend eternity admiring him. Perhaps admiring wouldn't be enough.
The man's chin-length black hair looked as soft as the fur of the panther. Shara reached out a hand, not able to control the desire to touch him. Quick as lightning, however, he disappeared over the side of the rock. An instant emptiness filled Shara. She took a step in the direction he had fled, but within a moment, he was back and adjusting the folds of a long, charcoal overcoat. Shara stumbled back, but couldn't help being a little disappointed he was so thoroughly wrapped.
"What are you?" she whispered.
"What do you think I am?" He raised eyes the color of the panther's--a strange golden green--to meet her gaze. Long, black lashes fanned across his lids like feathers.
"I think you're my savior." The words escaped on a breath, and Shara's pulse drummed in her neck.
"Haven't ever been called that." Sadness filled his beautiful eyes, and Shara wanted to erase that emotion from his face.