Some Write It Hot

February 16, 2011

Free Read Gato Negro Chapter 6

Filed under: Uncategorized — practicalkatz @ 04:00
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Copyright 2010 by Stella Price
Here’s Chapter 6

Cover Art copyright 2010 by Stella Price.

Seis

“Come on, girl, give me something.” Kate leaned over the Jeep’s console to get closer to Beth, as though spicy details might be easier whispered than spoken as they bumped along the jungle trail at fifteen kph. She had been prodding for some all morning.

Immediately on their return the first day, the entire compound guessed what had happened between Carlos and Beth. And any doubts which may have lingered were put to rest when he moved into her room the same night. For the last two weeks, they’d spent every moment together, until yesterday. He couldn’t put his rounds off any longer, he’d said. He’d be gone a few days.

Kate simply took advantage of the opportunity to get Beth alone by volunteering them to drive into town for supplies. “Don’t be so selfish. Since you’re the only one getting any around here, we all have to live vicariously through you.”

Beth didn’t fall for Kate’s pitiful attempt to wring details from her. “Jean-Paul likes you.” She grinned. “He’s cute. And the accent–très sexy. He’d make a great fuck-buddy.”

“Pfah,” Kate puffed as she sat back in the passenger seat. “Wake up, Beth. Jean-Paul likes you. He just knows better than to try competing with Tarzan. I’m not desperate. So, tell me,” she said, turning back to Beth, “is he as good as he looks?”

Beth smiled a secret smile. “He’s as good as it gets and that’s all you’ll get from me.”

The road took a tight turn around a rise, forcing Beth to brake. A moment later, they came to an abrupt halt as the front end of the Jeep slammed into a downed tree. Beth caught herself with a hand to the dash, but her chest hit the steering wheel, knocking the breath from her.

“Damn,” Kate said. “And I so looked forward to getting my hair cut.”

“We have to turn around. Now.” Beth gripped the wheel until her knuckles hurt. If these guys wanted to spring a trap, they couldn’t have picked a better spot.

“There’s no place to turn around,” Kate muttered, catching some of her nervousness.

“How are you at backing up? I could get out and direct.” Hopeful, Beth glanced at Kate for an answer and found her staring wide-eyed over Beth’s shoulder. A second later, something cold and hard poked the side of Beth’s neck. Her heart leaped into her throat, but she focused on the gun with perfect clarity and swallowed the fear.

“¡Salga! Get out the car,” a heavily accented voice said near her ear. “¡Ándale.” The man stepped back. Both women scrambled to the ground.

Before turning to face the gun, Beth glanced up at Kate where she stood stock-still at the passenger side. Even wide-eyed and afraid, she appeared to be calculating her options. Kate being Kate, Beth felt sure she’d make some kind of move. She cleared her throat to get her friend’s attention and mouthed “no.” She wanted only to get out of this in one piece.

The gun swung a few inches, pointing the way to the compound, then back to Beth’s face. “¡Vaya! Walk.”

Carter would not be happy losing the car, but Beth didn’t expend too much energy worrying. She reached into the bed of the Jeep for her pack without taking her eyes from the man.

He waved the gun at her. “No. Go.”

Damn, she needed the things in her pack–her camera, her ID, her birth control pills, for God’s sake. Things not easily replaced in the middle of the jungle without transportation. Though she didn’t think he would use the gun, she wasn’t about to argue with it either.

“Let’s go, Kate,” she said and turned into the chest of a second poacher. She tried to go around. Big as a bear and smelling like one, he grabbed her wrist and shoved her against the tailgate of the car.

“Where is your boyfriend today, chica?” The idea this man had been watching them sent shudders through Beth. What did they want with Carlos? She shrugged and didn’t answer.

The first said some angry words in Spanish. Big Guy answered without taking his eyes off her. Beth stood squashed between the back of the Jeep and his unwashed body, quietly dreading the argument’s end.

Movement in the corner of her eye drew Beth’s attention. She turned her head in time to catch Kate running toward them. Every instinct told her to call out, to stop her friend from doing something which might anger these desperate men even further, but her voice stuck in her throat.

Kate shoved Beth’s captor hard enough to make him stumble. “Leave her alone. We’re going.” She took firm hold of Beth’s arm and pulled her away from the car.

As Beth slipped past him, Big Guy snatched her arm away from Kate and twisted her to the ground. At the same time, he thrust Kate at his partner.

The smaller man held her roughly against his chest, still arguing, still waving the gun.

Then Kate screamed.

A black streak passed behind Beth. The man pinning her to the ground disappeared with a grunt.

Freed, she turned and stared, transfixed for a second, as the cat tore at him. The urgency of their situation cut her interest short. She scrambled to her feet in time to see Kate shoulder her stunned captor aside, knocking the gun from his hand.

Beth kicked the weapon under a shrub at the side of the track. She followed Kate’s trail into the relatively sparse growth beneath the canopy. They ran.

Behind them, the man’s screams cut off.

They wove through the trees in the almost dark. The monkeys’ frantic hooting made it impossible to hear if anyone followed.

The cat roared, much closer than Beth expected.

Kate cried out. Beth slowed to a stop, looking over her shoulder, terrified she’d find the cat attacking her friend.

Kate sat, legs splayed, on the ground where she’d fallen, safe for the moment. She stared back the way they’d come, her expression confused and frightened. Beth followed her gaze.

Carlos strode toward them from the shadows. Speechless with relief, Beth spun on her heels and ran to him.

He stopped where Kate sat and bent to offer his hand.

Kate gaped at him, her face a mask of confusion. “B’alam,” she said. She took the hand he offered and let him pull her to her feet as Beth walked up.

“Are you okay?” Beth asked. Had Kate bumped her head when she fell? What did she say?

Kate blinked a few times, never taking her eyes from Carlos. Her confusion turned to awe.

“You’re naked,” she said.

His gaze fixed on her, but he made no comment.

Beth said as calmly as she could manage, “Carlos, poachers…two at least. The cat attacked. He must be near. Why are you naked?”

“I took care of the poachers.”

“He’s the cat.”

“You took care of them? Are they dead?”

“No, running for town.” His eyes, still locked to Kate’s, filled with despair.

“Carlos?”

“Did you hear me, Beth? He’s the cat.”

Beth gaped at her like she spoke some obscure language.

“B’alam,” Kate said. “Leave it to you to get a god to fall in love with you.”

“I don’t understand. Carlos, what is she talking about?”

Carlos turned sad eyes to her. “I’m so sorry, querida. You were never to see this. Talk to Kate. She can tell you what she knows. I should go now.”

“You mean I’m right?” Kate said. “Don’t go. I have a million questions. How old are you?”

“Older than I look. Beth, forgive me. I will go now.”

“No, Carlos. Wait!”

He walked three steps and his body began to contort. A scream developed in Beth’s throat and stuck as his legs shortened, back lengthened. When the cat stood before her, it glanced back. All that remained of Carlos was the eyes.

“Jesus,” Kate said.

Beth felt her legs give way, then nothing.

* * * *

She came around slowly to the sound of Kate calling her name. When her eyes finally opened, her friend’s worried face looked down at her.

“Are you all right?”

Beth shook her head. She was far from all right, but couldn’t put two thoughts together coherently enough to voice it. With no energy to protest, she let Kate help her to her feet and walk her back toward the road in silence.

The Jeep was where they’d left it, but turned around facing the way they’d come. Both their packs lay in the back undisturbed.

Without a word, Beth climbed into the passenger seat. If Kate didn’t feel up to driving, they would have to sit here until she did. Beth had no desire to get behind the wheel, or to hurry back to the compound.

Kate started the engine right up. No one said a word for the hour drive back to where they’d started. Beth went directly to her room and lay in her hammock, leaving Kate to decide what to tell the others.

He’d warned her. She’d thought he wanted to hide the fact he’d been in prison, or had smuggled drugs in his sordid youth, or some other perfectly normal skeleton. That he wasn’t human–scientists’ minds did not go in those directions. He was beautiful beyond belief, but everything about him said man. He tasted like a man, smelled like one. Yes, he made her body sing like no man had before, but the only magic there was the magic in her heart.

Yet she had to believe what her eyes told her. As a scientist, she should want to explore, to find out why the impossible was, after all, possible. She didn’t, though. She wanted only to remember Carlos as he lay beside her after love, sweet and vulnerable, spent and happy.

The secret revealed. Carlos did not exist. She couldn’t think of him as he was, so she mourned what he wasn’t.

Later in the afternoon, Kate stopped at her threshold. She held a thick book much like the dozens of textbooks Beth had hoped never to see again after four years as an undergrad science major.

Beth roused herself, ready for answers.

Kate spread the book open on the small desk next to the window.

“Here he is.” She pointed to one of four statues pictured on a page of pre-Columbian art. “B’alam Agab, the night jaguar–supposedly one of the four progenitors of mankind–that’s the Maya legend. The Olmec, however…”

“Kate, you’re not talking hundreds of years here; you’re talking millennia.”

Kate glanced up. “Yeah.”

Beth skimmed through the passage next to the picture, then read it more closely. When she finished, she flipped the book closed and shoved it at Kate. “You can’t tell anyone.”

“Like, who would believe me?” Kate said, pulling the book to her chest. “I want to talk to him, though. Imagine the history he could clear up. Olmec! Beth, so little is known…”

“Anything he told you couldn’t be proved.”

“Well, I understand that. But you can’t expect me to stop wanting to know. That’s my job, right?”

* * * *

At breakfast, Carter clinked his cup for their attention.

“Carlos has been called away. He won’t be back,” he announced.

Everyone turned to Beth.

“What did you do?” Sam asked.

Kate stuck up for her. “Leave her alone. Beth didn’t do anything to make him go.”

“The situation was a disaster waiting to happen,” Sam said. “Just great, Beth. Now we don’t have a guide for a month until Antonio gets back.”

Look for the final chapter, Chapter 7, on March 9.

Thanks for reading.
ali
http://www.a-katz.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 🙂

 

January 19, 2011

Free Read Gato Negro Chapter 4

Cover Art copyright Stella Price 2010

Gato Negro, is available for Kindle at Amazon.com. and other readers, in .epub format, at Goodreads.

Without further adieu, Chapter 4

Oh, R-rated content warning!


Cuatro

In the dream, he came through the window, soundless as the cat, a silhouette against the black of night. His naked shadow stood over her, unmoving, except the eyes. The dark hid them from her, but she felt their path. Where his gaze fell, her skin sizzled.

Tonight, when she reached for him, her body obeyed. She pushed herself up. Her arms wrapped around the shadow, drawing him to lie beside her.

Slowly, carefully, he settled into her capricious bed, turning her gently to spoon against her back. His hard cock burrowed between the cheeks of her ass. His hands explored what his eyes had already taken in.

Her body responded with a gush of arousal. His mouth descended to her shoulder, biting, then licking away the sting. The hammock creaked beneath their combined weight, swaying to the movement of her hips as she rubbed against his hardness. Cradled in its soft fabric, their bodies tried to meld into one.

Rough hands cupped her breasts, thumbs petting the nipples until they tightened into hard little kernels. The empty, throbbing place between her legs ached to be filled.

Perfectly timed, he pulled her leg over his and penetrated her with the length and breadth of two fingers. Thumb on her clit, he plunged into her wetness, bringing the ache to a demanding need.

She wriggled against him, begging for more. Pitiful, whimpering sounds escaped her. She’d never begged to be fucked. Tonight she did, her only fear that she’d awaken too soon.

With a roll of his hip, he brought his cock to her opening, pressed, stretched, filled her. She cried out as the first spasms struck her before he had even seated himself within her.

His teeth brushed her shoulder. A low growl sent vibrations coursing through her, electrifying every nerve. He rocked, gliding through her slickness with easy, careful strokes, fueling the flames.

A solid lunge and she boiled over into a maelstrom of pleasure. His arm against her belly pulled her tight. He drove her to the peak and beyond, gnawing at her shoulder and neck, growling in her ear. When she fell limp in his arms, his hand slid to the apex of her sex, gathered moisture from their joining and caressed her clit.

The hammock rocked precariously as his thrusts grew more heated. Sharp, barking grunts pulsed against her neck.

Until that moment the dream was hers–all about her pleasure. But now her shadow lover lost control, thrusting hard and deep and long with her squeezed in his arms. His finger on her clit brought her back to a state to match his own. Between them, civilization vanished. In the pitch-blackness, only He and She, sweat-slick flesh and the liquid sounds of their most primal need.

He shuddered when he came, his thighs quivering against hers, his body quaking. The sound he made tore through and out of her in explosive spasms.

When the hammock finally came to rest, he turned her onto her back, slipped between her legs and started again.

* * * *

From the shadows, Carlos leaned against a mossy trunk watching the woman who’d yanked him from the comfortable oblivion of his most basic nature to this–this semblance of humanity. A masquerade so skillfully wrought he himself fell to its allure.

She sat on a rock behind a camera and tripod, downwind of several clumps of bright orange blossoms, observing through binoculars. Now and then, she penciled something into the notebook in her lap or snapped a shot of a feeding hummingbird. He’d found her like this at seven and again at ten. It was now noon.

At long last, Beth stretched, set the notebook aside and stood.

He coughed softly to alert her before speaking. “How do you sit so still for so long?”

Her face turned in his direction already wearing a brilliant smile. Her unabashed happiness at seeing him tugged at his heart.

Exiting the shadows, Carlos moved one step closer to taking the leap he’d avoided for a hundred years. He was about to let himself fall in love. It was inevitable. The only question remaining was would she go home happy for his attentions.

“Sitting for all this beauty isn’t hard,” she said, walking toward him. “For instance, I could sit and stare at you all day–would be no chore at all.” Reaching up on her toes, she planted a welcoming kiss on his cheek that burned through to his loins. “This is my project, heliconia and hummingbirds–at least in part.”

The expectation in her face prompted a question. “What are you looking for?”

“The unfortunate likelihood of losing two species because one is going extinct,” she said. “Let me get my camera.” She returned to her abandoned perch and began packing the equipment away. “Heliconia beckneri is dependent on the Sabrewing for pollination,” she continued. “But, the flower is on the endangered species list. I need to determine if the relationship is as strong in the other direction–if Beckneri’s demise will affect the hummingbird population–and extrapolate the extent of the damage.” All packed up, she stood in front of him expectantly. “It doesn’t look good, actually.”

He took the pack from her hands and slid an arm about her waist. They walked together toward the compound.

“So, the Sabrewing will be no more,” he said. “Sad to hear.” Another notch in his belt of failures.

“It is a beautiful bird–worth saving, if possible. It might adapt, but Beckneri nectar has a much higher nutrient value than the other heliconia I’ve tested. But you know all this, don’t you?”

He answered with a grin.

“I thought so. You could probably write my thesis for me right now.”

“No, the research so far proves only the relationship. Yours might save a beautiful creature from extinction,” he said, in no way wishing to subvert her enthusiasm for the project. If only he had a thousand more like her.

His answer pleased her. The way her face lit up when she smiled stopped his breath.

“But you didn’t come looking for me to talk about birds and flowers, did you?”

No, he came to court a broken heart and, in all likelihood, one for her as well. “There is a place I want to show you. Are you working this afternoon?”

“You mean, like a date?” She grinned. “How does after lunch sound?”

“A date after lunch sounds good. You’ll need your swimming clothes–no fords this time.”

* * * *

The Jeep bounced over a rutted track, hardly a road at all, in a direction Beth had not taken before. At first, Carlos’s efforts to maintain his half of a conversation were obvious and endearing. He loosened up after a while, but his answers to any personal questions, though forthright enough, provided little information.

“No family,” was all he said when she asked.

“How old are you, Carlos? Carter told me you’ve been around at least as long as he has, but you can’t be that old.”

“Older than I look.” The playful grin he threw in her direction softened the obvious avoidance.

They came to an abrupt halt a few feet from a fallen tree blocking the road. Carlos leaped out to investigate.

“You can’t imagine you’ll move that alone. Is there a way around?”

“Wait in the car,” he said.

She ignored the instructions. “Could we use the Jeep to push it out of the way?” she asked, coming up to him where he studied the end of the log.

“Poachers. See how the end is cut, not broken. This is fresh.” He took her by the arm and led her to the driver’s seat. “I have to take care of this. I want you to drive back to the compound.”

“No, I’m coming with you.”

“No, you are not.” He dug around in the back of the Jeep for his daypack and pulled out a gun and holster that he donned low on his hips. “Poaching in the reserve is a serious crime. These men will be dangerous.”

“How will you get back?”

He pointed. “The compound is less than eight kilometers in that direction.”

“Through the jungle? No way. I’ll wait here, and we’ll go back together.”

“Beth, do you see the roadblock? They may be watching us now. Get in the car and drive. I have lived here all my life. I know these people.”

Beth stopped arguing. This was his job. Rather than continue to give him a hard time, she climbed back into the Jeep and started the engine, but watched as he disappeared into the trees.

She hated leaving him. She threw the car into reverse and stretched to keep her eyes on the road behind. Backing up was not her strong point, but the rutted track was too narrow and overhung to turn around. She moved backward at a snail’s pace until she found a spot wide enough, maybe, for a five-point turn. Carefully, slowly, she eased the rear end to the right.

The vegetation muffled the loud bang when the tire blew.

She slammed her hands on the steering wheel and cursed.

What choice did she have? Beth snatched her pack from the back seat and set off after him.

 

Look for Chapter 5 of Gato Negro in a couple weeks.  Of course, if you just can’t wait for the next installment, you can always download the book, and the beautiful cover art by Stella Price.

For Kindle @ Amazon.com

For other readers (.epub) @ Goodreads

Sorry, they wouldn’t let me price it any lower than ninety-nine cents.

Thanks for reading.
ali
www.a-katz.com

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

January 5, 2011

Free Read – Gato Negro, Chapter 3

Cover Art copyright Stella Price 2010

Here’s Chapter 3 of my Contemporary Erotic Romance, Gato Negro, now available for Kindle at Amazon.com. and other readers, in .epub format, at Goodreads.

Tres

“We will cross here,” Carlos said.

Beth regarded the rope spanning a narrow part of the river with more than a little trepidation. Apparently, they were supposed to wade across using the stretched and worn line for leverage.

“Is this s-safe?” she stammered. She was the shortest and smallest of them. Picking up a twig, she tossed it into the middle of the deceptively calm stream and watched it sweep away in the current. “There has to be another way.”

“Nothing in the forest is without risk, colibrí,” he said. “The water is little more than waist deep. I’ve crossed here many times. There is a rope bridge six kilometers upstream. We’ll use it coming back, but Carter said you must take readings at noon. We will not reach the site in time if we try to walk that way.”

She hadn’t heard him string so many words together in the two days since he’d shown up at the compound. Soft and low, melodic, with the hint of a purr, his voice flowed over her, harmonizing with the murmuring of the water until it seemed as much a part of the forest as the bird and insect song.

He called me hummingbird. At the moment, Beth thought she might follow Carlos Elizandro anywhere.

“Well, I’m game,” Kate said and began unbuttoning her blouse where she stood.

Beth moved behind a tree for at least the illusion of privacy while removing her shirt. She folded it into her small daypack to keep dry. They all wore quick-dry shorts, but the bathing suit would be more comfortable than a wet T-shirt.

Carlos took the ford first, striding through the current with apparent ease. The muscles in his back rippled as he tugged and pulled to test the strength of the rope. Among the three men, they’d keep the lead taut for the others to cross.

Kate followed Carlos. Her confident stride took her into water midriff-deep until, about halfway across, the current redoubled. She moved more cautiously. Gripping tightly with both hands, she leaned against the force of the water for about three meters, then strode through the shallows and did a little victory dance in the mud on the opposite bank.

The crossing took longer than Beth had anticipated.

Sam grabbed her pack. She tossed him nervous thanks and waded in.

The water was surprisingly warm, but dragged at her legs so her muscles strained in unfamiliar ways with each step. By the time she moved into the midstream flow, the water reached her breasts. She froze.

With only one foot in the current, she already recognized the unsteady hold it had on the rocks. Kate’s extra height and fifteen kilos would come in handy right now.

She paused a moment, considered asking for help. Thought better of it–by the time one of the men reached her, she could be on the solid ground of the other bank with her pride intact.

One more step. Her legs flew out from beneath her, and she went under.

Beth clutched the lead, holding on for her life.

The rope stretched under her weight as the current dragged her legs downstream. She hung on. Forget trying to get her feet on the ground, she needed to breathe.

The surge of water tore at her hold on the rope and the breath in her lungs. Panic tried to swallow her. She thrust it aside and fought to raise her head above the surface.

One hand lost its grip. The current flipped her over.

She finally gulped a breath of air and water. The rope ripped from her fingers.

Two arms came from nowhere, grabbed her about the waist and lifted her to her feet. She gasped, choking, fighting for air and trying to get a grip on the rocks as Carlos dragged her to the bank. Still clutching his arm, she leaned forward and vomited an amazing amount of water into the mud.

Carlos supported her up the bank and held her as she fell against him, shaken, cold and weak-kneed.

“O, lo siento. I’m so sorry, mija. I didn’t think you are so much smaller,” he crooned, while she clung to him.

She became aware of his naked chest against her cheek at the same moment he did. He gasped, and his heart stuttered beneath her palm. Something deep inside her melted.

“She needs mouth-to-mouth,” Kate quipped.

Beth shot her a scathing glance and pulled away from Carlos as a violent coughing spell erupted to expel the rest of the water from her lungs. When she was finally able to stand on her own, she glanced up at him and found him frowning, his golden eyes full of concern.

“Okay?” He attempted a lopsided grin.

“Yeah, good.”

As the other two crossed, without incident, Beth sat on the ground, silently contemplating her mortality while pouring water out of her boots and squeezing her socks dry. Occasional bursts of laughter attempted to erupt from her chest like the monster in Alien, but she managed to control her hysteria.

An uneasy silence fell over the group. Once everyone was put back together, they continued along the path for another hour to the site Carlos had in mind for them. She waved off help from both Carlos and Kate and let the slow, steady pace clear the shock and adrenaline from her system.

By noon, she was fine. They entered an oak grove deep under the canopy where orchids and fungi of every imaginable color wound their way up the thirty-meter trunks and out of sight. Beth recognized half-dozen genera at first glance.

The men went off to find a mid-height tree to set their tackle in, hoping to get samples from higher up.

The equipment she’d packed was safe and dry in its waterproof case, thanks to Sam’s foresight in taking her pack before the crossing. Kate and Beth worked at ground level, metering the light available at this, the brightest part of the day under the canopy, photographing, taking inventory and notating each species’ population and growth pattern. They took samples only of the least familiar species, since keeping the delicate blooms intact on the way back would be a challenge.

At three, they stopped to allow time to get to the Jeep before dusk. The others prepared the samples for transport while Beth took a second set of meter readings for comparison.

As she finished the last reading, Carlos walked up to where she worked. Without a sound, he leaned against a tree, watching her.

I’ve wandered away from the group again. She winced. Carlos looked like he had something to say about her carelessness, but, thankfully, kept his peace.

She sat on a mossy deadfall, filling in her notes and feeling self-conscious. If he didn’t stop looking at her, she was going to come unglued. She glanced up to tell him and met his eyes. Her heart hiccupped. She closed the notebook, packed the meter away and got to her feet.

“You’d better either kiss me or quit staring at me like that,” she said.

His brow rose to his shaggy hairline.

She’d taken only a few steps to join the others when he came from behind. Grasping her arm, he pulled her into a gentle embrace. His mouth came down to connect with hers.

She’d been waiting for this and meant to enjoy every second. But she was not prepared for the heat.

Carlos gently brushed his lips over her face, mouth first, then chin, cheeks, brow, feather-light kisses on her eyelids, down her nose, back to her lips. His tongue reached for her, tasting, coaxing.

Her whole body tingled. Heat rose between her legs and he hadn’t even really kissed her yet.

Instead, he breathed her in.

The kiss became something new. He latched onto her mouth, sucking. His tongue pressed insistently for entry. She opened to give him access and melted into him.

No ravenous, rude rape of her mouth, but a steady invasion. He kissed as he ate, savoring every nibble, pausing to taste, smell, lick. The gentle devouring awakened every nerve cell, visited every pore. His essence became part of her.

His chest beneath her hand quivered and he moaned. Slowly, his arms surrounded her about the back and hips, pulling her tight, and her legs lost the ability to hold her up. He grew hard against her belly as she softened.

Skin to skin, she clung to him, willing the kiss to continue. This was the stuff of life, inevitable, like breathing, like her heart beating. How do you end a kiss like this?

But it had to end. Carlos set her on her feet and pulled back to peer into her eyes.

“This is not a good idea,” he growled. The sound sent shivers through her.

“Oh, yes,” she whispered. “This is a great idea. Like a dream, like something I’ve waited for a long, long time.”

* * * *
If he didn’t sleep, he couldn’t dream, so the cat ran. All seemed well. Whatever had brought him back to his old territory was gone, or too insidious to discern with a cursory examination. TE’e-le, the forest, kept her secrets tonight.

He’d fished earlier. Without hunger to drive him, the running was mere restlessness, an attempt to escape. The woman’s scent carried to him on the night air, relentlessly drawing him toward the compound where she slept until, after the third time turning away, he shifted. In human form, her pull was stronger, but the instinct to surrender was easier to fight.

The man, however, needed rest.

Back at the creek where he’d eaten earlier, he gathered his clothes, donning the jeans, and bundled the rest into the T-shirt. Moving a little away from the bank, he built himself a nest of fallen leaves among the roots of a strangler fig. He rested his back against the trunk and let the night’s lullaby wash over him.

When he was a god, women were served to him. They knew what he was, and whether they thought they wanted him or not, after a week or a month or a year, each returned to her village a goddess and happy for his attentions. He’d loved a few and lost them all.

He’d failed as a god–his people were no more.

Still, TE’e-le held him in her grip. Why she kept him was a mystery–he’d failed her as well, a thousand times, ten thousand times. He was beyond redemption. But she kept him. He must stay until he understood what was needed of him, and neither cat nor man could resist the woman.

He must approach this as a man.

Beth wanted him. She would ask for all he had to give, and what he had wasn’t enough. Eventually, now or ten years from now when he hadn’t aged, she would discover his secret and run. He should tell her, but he didn’t want her to run.

Maybe she would tire of him before Antonio returned. Then only he need know the pain.

He dozed and dreamed.

Look for Chapter 4 of Gato Negro in a couple weeks.  Of course, if you just can’t wait for the next installment, you can always download the book, and the beautiful cover art by Stella Price.

For Kindle @ Amazon.com

For other readers (.epub) @ Goodreads

Sorry, they wouldn’t let me price it any lower than ninety-nine cents.

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

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

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