Shifting Priorities: Mating Dance [MultiFormat]
Click on image to enlarge.
eBook by Anne Kane
eBook Category: Erotica/Erotic Science Fiction/Science Fiction
eBook Description: Jakeb is an Imperial were-panther who wants an heir. Problem is, he doesn't want a mate. When he rescues Kaitlyn from an abusive trader, he proposes a deal: freedom for her, an heir for him. He's startled to find he can't keep his hands or his heart away from his new acquisition, but she has secrets of her own and they discover power isn't all about strength as they are drawn into the age-old mating dance.
eBook Publisher: Changeling Press LLC, Published: 2008, 2008
Fictionwise Release Date: April 2009
* * * *
143 Reader Ratings:
Legend has it, long after the fall of civilization in the twenty-third century, a special breed of mutants was created with the two-fold purpose of defending His Imperial Highness, the ruler of all Earth, and to protect humanity. Known as the Imperial were-panthers, they could shift from human to panther form at will.
In time, the heirs to the Imperial Dynasty became corrupt. They adopted an opulent lifestyle and demanded ever-increasing amounts of tribute from humanity. The Imperial were-panthers saw that humanity suffered greatly from their greed. The shifters were torn between their duty to the throne and their loyalty to mankind. They tried to reason with His Imperial Highness, but he refused their counsel, threatening to banish the shifters from Earth if they continued to defy him.
And so, the Imperial were-panthers decided to protect humanity with one last, heroic act. In a bloody battle, they wiped out the Imperial Dynasty. From that day forth, their entire race disappeared back into legend and myth and no one has seen an Imperial were-panther since.
Of course, Kaitlyn knew better...
Jakeb prowled silently through the underbrush, his sleek, black fur rendering him invisible in the night. The smell of the woman's fear had lured him away from the hunt he'd planned. Now he watched silently as the dark-skinned man pushed her roughly at his companion. With his enhanced hearing, he had no trouble tuning in on the exchange between the pair. It seemed the girl was a pleasure slave, a dancer, and her owner planned to sell her. He growled low in his throat, disgusted by the slave trade that flourished after the fall of the Imperial Empire.
He studied the girl. The sharp scent of her fear filled the air, but she stood proudly between the two men, her chin held high. Thick, dark hair fell in a straight curtain to her waist, framing a delicate oval face. Her dark eyes had an exotic slant to them, and flashed with barely restrained temper. Strips of leather connected the padded cuffs at her wrists and ankles to the slave collar she wore around her neck--her only clothing. Her sinewy grace stirred his interest.
"Dance." The older man, obviously her owner, shoved her roughly in the direction of a wooden dance pole set into the ground in the center of the clearing.
The girl's eyes flashed, and for a moment Jakeb thought she would disobey. He crouched down in the shadows, his tail lashing back and forth. He'd been in a foul temper all week and the interruption of his hunt did nothing to improve it.
The girl walked slowly to the pole, an inherent dignity clothing her naked body. The seductive sway of her hips drew his attention as she covered the distance. She reached the pole and grasped it in one hand, swinging her body in a graceful arc around it before she settled in to dance. Her movements were smooth and sure. Even without music, the rhythm of her body was enticing. A light sheen of sweat quickly covered the twin globes of her breasts as they swung gently to and fro. She held the pole as though it were her lover, and Jakeb found himself envying the wooden stick as she writhed her body sensuously down its length, grinding her hips against the smooth wooden surface. Her scent changed, the fear fading as pheromones spiked the air with a seductive bouquet.
A ripple of primal hunger coursed through his loins.
Jakeb rose silently to his feet, pacing restlessly while he watched her. It had been too long since he'd had a female and he fought the urge to bound into the clearing and claim the girl. He didn't need that kind of complication in his life. He'd been distracted and edgy of late. He knew he needed to find a mate. His reproductive urges were getting harder to ignore with each passing solar unit. He needed a son, wanted a son. But he didn't want a mate.
He'd seen the changes in his fellow were-panthers when they took a female to mate. Compromising, getting soft, and letting the females dictate their lives. There hadn't been a female were-panther born in over a century so the males were forced to bond to human females. The consequences were predictable. Humans weren't as tough as the were-panthers and concessions had to be made for the fragile females. Hell, Tome Rimmer had taken a mate just last moon cycle and his every thought took her safety into account.
Jakeb shook his head. They were getting soft, all of them, but he didn't intend to tumble into that trap. He planned to get his son by a human female without falling victim to her wiles. He would strike a mutually agreeable contract with a suitable female. A business deal, no more and no less.
He watched the dancer as she finished her routine and returned to crouch submissively at the feet of her master, her scent at odds with her body language. She radiated anger and fear. And something else. If she'd been a were-panther, he would have labeled it heat.
He could hear the two men arguing over her worth. Her master reached down, grasping roughly to draw attention to her ample breasts, and Jakeb snarled softly into the cool night. The sight of the large man carelessly handling the female enraged him. Stalking deeper into the forest, he prepared to shift back to his human form. The slaver needed to learn respect for others, even if the other was his property. Jakeb almost hoped he proved to be a slow learner. A nice brawl might be just what he needed to take the edge off his restlessness.
The magic shimmered through him, the sudden flare distorting the dense thicket he'd chosen to hide his transformation. As always, the leggings he'd worn when he'd shifted made the return transformation with him. He entered the thicket as a panther, stepped out a man.
A very large, very arrogant man.