Some Write It Hot

December 20, 2010

Free Read: Gato Negro by Ali Katz Chapter 2

Filed under: Free read — practicalkatz @ 04:00
Tags: , , ,

The continuing saga, Gato Negro Chapter Two, as promised. I hope you’re enjoying the read. If you need to catch up, you can read Chapter 1 on my blog.

Of course, if you just can’t wait for the next installment, Gato Negro is available for Kindle at Amazon.com and for other readers, in .epub format, at Goodreads.   You can always download the book, and the beautiful cover art by Stella Price. Sorry, they wouldn’t let me price it any lower than ninety-nine cents.

Dos

Despite his intention to avoid the woman, Carlos’s gaze settled on her the moment he crossed the tree line into the compound.

Six sat at the table–two women, four men, all young–eating breakfast and talking softly, their voices barely audible over the constant, annoying hum of the generator doing battle with the birds. Only the fairest of the men paid her special attention, casting moony-eyed glances her way. Carlos found himself taking the blond’s measure as a low growl formed. The growl died in his throat. The boy represented no threat. Off in her own world, his hummingbird didn’t appear to care he existed.

Perhaps coming here this morning was more mistake than he feared if his self-control teetered so precariously.

Seeing her in the flesh, the pull grew undeniable. Enough light filtered into the clearing to allow his human eyes a clearer picture of her earthy beauty. Her hair wasn’t black, as the cat had perceived, but the color of rich, dark chocolate. She wore it free this morning. Out of the braid, it hung almost to her hips, thick and wavy, inviting fingers to play. Her eyes shone as black as he anticipated, beautiful and mysterious beneath her dark brows. Right now, they focused on some faraway place, perhaps a land of fantasy where lovers came in many shapes.

More likely thoughts of a lover left behind inspired the scent that drifted across the yard to fill his head.

She smelled of arousal. The dream came to mind in a flash no less vivid than the dream itself. If he hadn’t awakened this morning in a puddle of semen, he might have sworn some demon had brought them together. At all costs, he must take care to hide his response in her presence, to avoid recalling her sweet taste on his tongue.

“Elizandro, my God, man. Where the hell have you been?” Carter, the station’s manager and expert on epiphytes, came out of the main building trailed by his wife and Antonio Alvarez, the resident local ecologist. Seeing Antonio, some of Carlos’s anxiety over his long absence dissolved. As a native, Antonio understood the complex ecosystems in the preserve far better than any outsider did. He was a strong defender of the forest, and Carlos trusted him implicitly.

“South, working a new territory,” Carlos said. His mind bent around the task of choosing unpracticed words while keeping his answers vague. He tried to keep his comings and goings as understated as possible. “Has it been so long?”

“Must be three years,” Antonio said, coming up to grab his shoulders in an intimate gesture of friendship. “¿Como estás, amigo?

Bueno, Tony. Muy bueno. How is your family?”

“Growing,” Carter answered for him with a grin. “His third is on the way–which makes your arrival perfectly timed. Are you looking for work, man? We could use you for a couple of months. We’ve got six new grad students and he wants paternity leave.”

“Congratulations.” Apparently, human men had grown a new interest in their progeny. Or Antonio wanted time off. His gaze drifted again to the woman. She listened to something her friend said, then glanced his way, studying him with apparent interest.

“I’ve got some time,” he said without a thought to the caution he’d promised himself.

“Join us for breakfast. I’ll introduce you and then we can talk.”

* * * *

“Beth, are you paying any attention?” Kate poked at her arm, bringing Beth out of her reverie.

The graphic dream had left her dazed. She’d actually checked under her hammock this morning for evidence of her dream lover. Thank God she found none.

“What’s up?” she asked, somewhat annoyed at the intrusion.

Kate nodded her head in the direction of the main building. Carter and Antonio stood talking to a stranger.

“He keeps checking you out,” Kate said.

“And?”

“And, look again. The man belongs on the cover of a romance novel.”

On closer inspection, Beth agreed; he was checking her out. The discovery inspired a rush of interest. Dark-haired, broad-shouldered, tall, his shadowed brow hid his eyes from this distance, but the chiseled angle of his jaw, the prominent cheekbones, exuded masculinity. The dream came to mind. Heat rose to her face. She had to turn away, hoping he didn’t notice.

“They’re coming this way,” Kate whispered.

Beth busied herself with her breakfast to avoid looking at the three men as they settled at the other end of the long table. Mrs. Carter came out balancing three plates of food and a second pot of coffee. Once the men were served, Carter clinked a fork against the side of his coffee cup to get their attention.

“Kids, this is Carlos Elizandro, the ranger in this part of the forest. He’s pretty autonomous since he covers a huge territory. We haven’t seen him in a few years, so he’s going to make up for his neglect by giving us a couple of months. He’ll be your guide until Antonio gets back. Introduce yourselves when you get a chance. Beth, Kate, Richard, Sam, I’m hoping to send you out to do some collecting as soon as Carlos and I get everything settled–maybe as early as tomorrow.”

At last, Beth had a legitimate reason to look. When he turned his gaze in her direction, the breath caught in her throat. She’d expected dark eyes, but his were light, hazel, almost golden. Her heart skipped a beat.

“This is Beth,” Kate said boldly. “I’m Kate. Richard, Sam, David, Jean-Paul, all accounted for. We’re glad to have you, Carlos.”

Carlos smiled shyly at them all. Beth put his age at about thirty–young to be responsible for what amounted to a section of wilderness half the size of Rhode Island, most accessible only on foot.

“How well do you know the area?” Beth asked. He couldn’t have been at the job long.

“Well enough,” he said, eyeing his plate as if he hadn’t eaten in a week.

Avoiding me? Of course, he might just be very shy. Which has its own appeal, she thought, lips curled into a grin.

“No worry, Beth,” Antonio said. “Carlos knows this jungle better than anyone. I wouldn’t leave you in any but the most capable hands. Carlos, Beth had an encounter with a jaguar the other day at Rio Sardinal.”

Carlos glanced up, expectantly. The hazel eyes were disconcerting on someone so dark.

“Melanistic,” she said, ill at ease, “young, watching from the tree line.” Antonio would bring up the cat.

His scrutiny made her squirm. “I know this cat. He is shy of people–not dangerous. Still, fortunate for you he wasn’t hungry.”

Beth nodded, praying he didn’t question her further. She couldn’t take much more of that intense regard without melting to her seat.

Sitting back with her coffee, she held her other questions and left them alone to eat their now-cold breakfast. Her gaze kept returning to Carlos. More often than not, he was glancing her way out of the corners of his eyes while savoring each bite as though it was fois gras and truffles instead of eggs and bacon.

When his tongue slid out to clean a bit of egg from the corner of his mouth, her eyes fixed on his movement, hypnotized by the act of bringing food to his lips, pausing to smell, sliding the fork between his teeth slowly, relishing every morsel. And with each bite, it seemed, he glanced her way. Until, after one of those bites, his gaze lingered and the expression on his face made her feel like his next.

Her dream lover’s hungry kisses stared back at her. Embarrassed to have been caught gawking, Beth picked up her tray and left.

* * * *

The following morning, they all met at the Jeep after an early breakfast. The faded light of dawn had just begun to seep through the canopy.

“You have all brought something for getting wet?” Carlos reminded them. Carter told him these four had arrived only two weeks ago and had not traveled as far from the compound as he had in mind. Many things needed to be taken into account when hiking a jungle trail. The unremitting dampness was one they’d have to get used to, but this morning’s trip included a soaking. “There is no electric dryer where we are going.”

Each nodded his assent as they piled into the Jeep. The one called Kate brazenly opened her shirt to show him the swimsuit she had on beneath, then laughed at his surprise.

He returned her smile. He was not so out of his element that he’d misinterpret a bit of playfulness. The disorientation he’d lived with since walking into the compound yesterday had begun to fade–except around Beth.

Carlos slid behind the wheel and paused, staring at the unfamiliar configuration on the dash. “What is all this?” he muttered, already unsure his foot would remember how to use a clutch after so long. He didn’t need all these dials and gauges.

Beth leaned over him from the back seat and started naming them all.

“All you need to worry about is RPMs and fuel,” she said. Her hand gently gripped his shoulder. One supple breast grazed his upper arm. Hot breath brushed his cheek. When he turned to her, she met his eyes with a smile. “You do know how to drive, don’t you?”

The scent of vanilla and heat wafted over him. He swallowed and turned back to the wheel.

“Sure.” How could he resist a woman as willing as this? He couldn’t quite remember why he should want to.

The Jeep slipped into gear with little effort and took off with only a few lurches, then smoothed out. Now all he had to accomplish was to stay on the road. He could handle that.

Even in the half-light of dawn, her presence in his peripheral vision distracted him. Every time her gaze fell on him, its heat seared the back of his neck. And she watched him constantly, as she had all day yesterday.

Last night, her scent had carried to him across the compound. With his man’s intellect, Carlos resisted the temptation to cross to her room and take what he wanted, but the cat–well, the cat had his own thoughts on the matter. Carlos dreamed of her again, but woke unsatisfied and restless this morning.

Even now that scent tore at his mind as all the blood rushed to his groin. Better not to look, but knowing her eyes were on him, and knowing her scrutiny to be the source of her heat, made looking unnecessary. She wanted him, and unless she did something to change his mind, he would not be able to resist her for long.

Perhaps he should take what she offered and hope in the end only his heart suffered.

The road ended two hours from the camp. They proceeded on foot. The four were not quiet walkers. Though they kept their voices low, the constant chatter drowned the peaceful sounds of the jungle and raised the raucous cries of angry howlers.

They reached the ford by ten as planned.

Catch Chapter 3 next time.

Thanks for reading.
ali
www.a-katz.com
http://practicalkatz.blogspot.com

Purchase

For Kindle @ Amazon.com

For other readers (.epub) @ Goodreads

and, oh, if you’ve already read, a couple stars would be appreciated. Better yet, stars and a review 🙂



2 Comments »

  1. Way too cool.
    Ali, you are a true talent.

    Comment by KevaD — December 20, 2010 @ 20:08 | Reply

  2. Mwah… Thank you, David 🙂

    Comment by alicats — December 20, 2010 @ 21:35 | Reply


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