bonded by need

Welcome to our NEW YEAR’S blog hop. There are lots of participating authors with all kinds of prizes available. Please be sure to click the link at the bottom of this post to travel to the next post. Even if you start here, all of the blogs for the NEW YEAR’S BLOG HOP have links to the next author. HAVE FUN!!

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As we’re ringing in another new year with lots of “firsts” ahead of us, I thought I’d share with you some of the first lines in my books. Every author knows that we have one line, one paragraph and if we’re lucky–one page to grab you, the reader and keep you turning pages. I can spend days tweaking and reworking the beginning of my stories. When you look at them individually what do you think? Does the line make you want to keep reading or not so much?

Yeeeeah, I so totally added a picture of the hero from each of the books … what fun is a blog hop without a little eye candy? *vbg* 😉

1. Jahara Khateri’s life was over. As she stared out the windows of the crowded helo-train, she knew nothing could change the course of her life. She felt the hollow reality as obvious as the barren expanse of the desert stretching between her and the horizon.

GARDEN OF SERENITY *

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2. Nicholas Gradin III splashed three more finger of thirty-year-old scotch into the crystal tumbler sitting on the antique desk, not bothering to add ice. He didn’t need some watered-down version of liquid courage. At this moment, he needed straight up, balls-to-the-walls confidence that everything would work out in his favor.

*  GRAPES OF RAPTURE *

NicholasXSmall
3. Margaret Callaghan hid her heartache behind dark sunglasses and the Starbuck’s double-double mocha latte she carried like a shield. The steaming coffee hadn’t helped dislodge the hot coal of despair burning her throat or soothe the quiver of her bottom lip. Mercifully, the front receptionist’s desk of Summit Rehabilitation and Wellness Clinic was empty at this hour of the morning, giving her hope that she just might be able to reach her office and pull herself together before anyone could question her misery.

IN HIS EYES

Touch
4. “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust…”
How could this have happened to someone so young? Julie Tilling dabbed at the tears ruining the makeup she’d meticulously applied to her rounded cheeks. She stared at the coffin suspended eerily over the marred earth of the cemetery, not sure what to make of this farce.

BLIND HER WITH BLISS *

sigh
5. Sara Lancaster had definitely made the wrong decision. Less than twenty-four hours ago she was sure this weekend was just what she needed. Eight hours ago, excitement had fluttered in her stomach as she’d left Boston, overjoyed to accept the invitation. Hell, just two hours ago she’d been giddy with anticipation as she’d collected her bags at the Key West airport and caught a taxi to the boat landing. But her tiny apartment and the bungalow where she currently stood weren’t merely thousands of miles apart—a whole world separated the comfortable life she’d finally made for herself and the fantasy she was standing in.

* RECLAIMED IN ECSTASTY (Coming February 2015) *

Young male underwear model photo
6. It wasn’t much of a noise, just an inconsequential thump in the night that was enough to rouse Professor Paul Morgan from his dreamless slumber. Still cradled in the gentle arms of sleep, his blood thick with sleeping medication, he wasn’t sure if he’d simply imagined the sound. But when another muffled bang was followed by a whoosh of air—he had no doubt the commotion coming from the first floor had nothing to do with his mischievous tabby, Zeus.

* SHADOWS OF FIRE *

Buff FiremanXSmall
7. Jayda Kynslan sauntered into the Whip and Bull Tavern, wanting only two things—a cold beer and a hot guy. The first, she hoped would ease the heavy ache in her chest. The second she hoped would replace the images of the jackass who’d broken her heart.

* BONDED SOULS *

Cole
8. Meghan Tilling’s body quaked with fear and the bone-chilling thirty-eight degrees of the cooler where she was trapped. She pressed her forehead against the icy metal of the door, her palm caressing its pebbled surface, trying to fight the panic lurking like a sinister shadow and threatening to overwhelm her in despair. How ironic that the annoyance of driving in a Maine snowstorm had kept her at Tilling Gardens and Plants, the business she co-owned with her two sisters. Finishing the shop’s holiday arrangements and festive decorations had seemed a better alternative to a white-knuckled drive home in the heart of a nor’easter. Except now, instead of being stranded in a ditch on the side of the road with a chance of being rescued, she was going to freeze to death alone in the walk-in cooler that was the lifeblood of her business.

* CHEAT HER WITH CHARM *

Arranging Love
9. Jesus. Even though Jonathon Brierton wasn’t particularly religious he prayed for Divine intervention. Not that he wanted any lightning strikes or halos of light illuminating the shadowed corner of the club where he’d hidden himself, but a little more help in the patience department would certainly go a long way at the moment. It went against his baser nature to sit back and wait rather than walking over and convincing the copper-haired beauty leaning over the railing across the way to put on his collar and join him in one of the private dungeons below.

* BOUND IN ECSTASY (Coming January 2015) *

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10. Lilly D’Angelo wasn’t expecting a trip down memory lane when she sauntered into the dingy tavern, but the acrid stench and gruff hum of the Friday night crowd carried her back to one of the seedier establishments on Chicago’s south side nonetheless. Except for the clientele, the owner had managed to replicate nearly every detail right down to the blue haze of cigarette smoke and the soft crooning of a jazz band on the corner stage. Pushing the sour thoughts of home from her mind and focusing on the job at hand, Lilly morphed her features into her sexiest vixen pout and moved gracefully toward the long bar on the other side of the room. Her voluptuous breasts, spilling temptingly from her silk blouse, led the way. The eyes watching her leather-clad ass sashay around the battered tables were clustered on various life forms—none of them human. Yeeeeeah, definitely not Chicago. Hell, this wasn’t even Earth for goodness’ sake.

* A TOUCH OF LILLY (An All Romance Ebook BESTSELLER!) *

Dallas
11. Deirdre Tilling slammed the spade into the soil. Her booted foot thumped down on its metal edge, driving it deeper and transferring her frustration to the wounded earth. She’d been working the flowerbeds around her farmhouse since noon. And though the sun stretched the shadows of the maples long across her lawn, painting their leaves a deeper crimson, the hours of heavy labor hadn’t helped ease the pain of loneliness.

* DECEIVE HER WITH DESIRE *

a man's place is in the kitchen
12. She raced through the shadows, her claws digging deep in the damp forest floor. Lush ferns of summer slapped at her muzzle but didn’t slow her speed. The scent of rabbit rode on the night air laced with the honeyed aroma of silky lupine. Jayda Kynslan tamped down the urge to hunt. Time had become her enemy. Her attention needed to stay focused on more important quarry.

* BONDED BY NEED *

beautiful eyes of a wild wolf: dangerous mammal

****  THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED  ****

So, what do you think? Any of  those “firsts” catch your eye? Leave a comment on this thread telling me how much you loved one of the lines (*g*) or enjoyed the eye candy or a special “first” you’re anticipating in 2015.

One person who comments on this post between now and SUNDAY, JANUARY 4 at 6:00 pm, EST will be chosen at random to win a “NINA PIERCE GIFT PACK”, including a signed book and some other fun swag. (Shipping to US and Canadian residence only. An international winner will receive a $20 Amazon gift card in lieu of gift pack.)

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Check out PAIGE TYLER’S blog to continue our New Year’s hop!

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I’m hanging out my “Caution: Promo Ahead” sign today. LOL!

Every author knows that we have one line, one paragraph and if we’re lucky one page to grab the reader. I can spend days tweaking and reworking the beginning of my stories. So I thought today I’d share with you the first lines of my books (with the names removed). When you look at them individually what do you think? Does the line make you want to keep reading or not so much?

So here they are in no particular order. Can you figure out which book they’re from? (And I included a line from a book that isn’t currently available at this time.):

1.) She slammed the spade into the soil. Her booted foot thumped down on its metal edge, driving it deeper and transferring her frustration to the wounded earth.
~ Deceive Her With Desire

2.) Margaret Callaghan hid her heartache behind dark sunglasses and the Starbuck’s double-double mocha latte she carried like a shield.
~ In His Eyes

Bondage women3.) She wasn’t expecting a trip down memory lane when she sauntered into the dingy tavern, but the acrid stench and gruff hum of the Friday night crowd carried her back to one of the seedier establishments on Chicago’s south side nonetheless. ~ A Touch of Lilly

4.) She had definitely made the wrong decision. Less than twenty-four hours ago she was sure this weekend was just what she needed.
~ Invitation to Ecstasy

5.) “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust…” How could this have happened to someone so young? ~ Blind Her With Bliss

6.) It wasn’t much of a noise, just an inconsequential thump in the night that was enough to rouse him from his dreamless slumber. Still cradled in the gentle arms of sleep, his blood thick with sleeping medication, he wasn’t sure if he’d simply
imagined the sound. ~ Shadows of Fire

7.) He splashed three more fingers of thirty-year-old scotch into the crystal tumbler sitting on the mahogany desk, not bothering to add ice. He didn’t need some watered-down version of liquid courage.
~ Divine Deception

8.) She sauntered into the Whip and Bull Tavern, wanting only two things—a cold beer and a hot body. ~ Bonded Souls

Rafael_iStk10XSmall9.) Jesus. Even though he wasn’t particularly religious he prayed for Divine intervention. Not that he wanted any lightning strikes or halos of light illuminating the shadowed corner of the club where he’d hidden himself, but a little more help in the patience department would certainly go a long way at the moment. ~  Maid for Master

10.) She raced through the shadows, her claws digging deep in the damp forest floor. Lush ferns of summer slapped at her muzzle but didn’t slow her speed.
~ Bonded by Need

What do you think? Do you have a favorite? Do you think any of them missed the mark?

And my latest book news? Well, I’m happy to announce all of the books in the Dangerous Affairs, sexy romantic suspense series, BLIND HER WITH BLISS and DECEIVE HER WITH DESIRE and CHEAT HER WITH CHARM are now available in audio format. What a kick-in-the-pants to hear someone else reading my stories! I hope you’ll check them out:

blind-her-with-bliss-audio-e-reader-copy
Available from:
Amazon
Audible
iTunes

decieve-audio-e-reader-copy
Available from:
Amazon
Audible
iTunes

audio - cheat-her-with-charm-web-copy

Available from:
Amazon
Audible
iTunes

Welcome to my weekling Six Sentence Sunday where I share a little snippet from one of my books. This week I’ll give you a little snippet from my shifter series. Bonded by Need is a sexy menage story involving two alpha males and one very confused polymorphic shifter …

“Jealous, yeah, I was fucking jealous when you left with Zane,” Cole declared as he stalked back to Jayda, pulling her against the solid wall of his chest. “You’re a wolf shifter and my lover. I don’t want your cougar half to be attracted to some cat on the prowl.”

“Zane’s not on the prowl.” She breathed long and slow, willing herself to tell Cole the truth. “But something did happen between us this morning up on the ridge.”

Currently available FREE at Ellora’s Cave and Amazon

Thanks so much for stopping by this week and thank you especially to those who take time to comment. Be sure to check HERE for other authors participating this week.

Welcome to my weekly Six Sentence Sunday where I share a little snippet from one of my books. As promised, in celebration of Halloween, I’m going to stick with my paranormal theme. Here’s a snippet from Bonded by Need, part of my sexy erotic susepense “Shifting Bonds” series.

His strong cougar body brushed against Jayda—a shoulder running along her side, the flick of his tail along her jaw, the unexpected nip of his teeth on her haunches making her jump and her womb clench.

Zane stared at her, his pupils dark and bottomless. Jayda thought she’d like to fall into them and stay safe and warm in the cougar’s aura forever.

But the mournful howl of a wolf rent the stillness of the night and broke the spell holding her captive. She’d heard it so many times, Jayda knew immediately Cole called to her. When she turned, Jayda saw him high up on the ridge, Cole’s wolf head thrown back, his anguished wail splitting the night.

Also available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Thanks so much for stopping by this week and thank you especially to those who take time to comment. Stop HERE to check out other authors participating this week.

Welcome to another Six Sentence Sunday where I post six sentences from one of my books. The days are hot and so are my snippets this summer! How about a little heat from my paranormal shifter suspense novel, BONDED BY NEED

The sweet taste of her exploded in Zane’s mouth and pumped fire through his veins. His hands were everywhere on her—running the silken length of her braid, kneading her back, caressing her face. Her deep moans vibrated against his chest, straight to his heart. Zane had never wanted a woman with the desperation he felt with Jayda in his arms.

Smiling at her, Zane kissed her nose and whispered, “not here, let’s go inside.” He prayed Jayda didn’t come to her senses between the truck and her office.

Also available at Ellora’s Cave and B&N.

Thanks for stopping by. I always appreciate your comments. Please click HERE to check out other authors participating in Six Sentence Sunday this week.

See you next week!

Welcome to my weekling Six Sentence Sunday where I share a little snippet from one of my books. This week I’ll give you a little more from my shifter series. Bonded by Need is the next in my sexy erotic susepense “Shifting Bonds” series.

With the ease borne of years of shifting, the wolf before her rippled and shuddered until it too became human. The man towered over her, his fists planted firmly on narrow hips. The wild mane of dark hair framed the scowl on his face and stuck to his broad shoulders. She couldn’t stop her eyes from traveling down his furred chest and lower still over his flat belly to his aroused sex. A primal need pulled at her womb. Even angry, this man, her lover, was a powerful aphrodisiac.

Also available at Amazon

Thanks so much for stopping by this week and thank you especially to those who take time to comment. Stop HERE to check out other authors participating this week.

I’ve been thinking a lot about promotion lately. (But really, if you ask most authors, their marketing concerns rank right up there with their looming deadline and the next line edits.) Because, let’s face it, our books might as well just be sitting on our computers if they’re not out their finding readers.

But then again … there is such a thing as TOO much. And I wonder when an author knows when they’ve crossed that line. I mean, I think everyone else knows when a promotion, whether it’s blog/contest announcements or a promotional excerpt that’s blasted everywhere, is driving them insane. Eventually, that cool promo the author was so excited about, becomes the spam that every receiver just deletes with an eyeroll.

And you know, I’ve begun to wonder if I am that author. I know there’s a balance between letting people know my new book is out and becoming a nuisance in the inbox. The fact is, when you hit that point, people no longer see you anyway.

Yet there is that 10 exposure thing before a person consciously recognizes your name. That’s right. We need to see something an average of 10 times before it works its way into our psyche. And of course the same 10 things aren’t going to be seen by the same 10 people so that means a smattering of promo across different avenues to be sure you’ve hit everyone more than once…or does it?

There are so many ways to market that a gal can go crazy trying to keep up with it all. And the old addage, do what you enjoy doesn’t always apply, because quite frankly, I enjoy more than I should. Sometimes to the detriment of my writing. LOL! There are times when I’d be just as happy sitting around chatting on twitter or making a book trailer as writing my next book. Heck, that other stuff is easy, which meant I did it A LOT.

Well no more. I’ve dropped out of Yahoo loops I wasn’t really using. I’ve stopped blog surfing (which is rather ironic since I blog) and I’ve limited my twitter to a couple days a week. You see, I’ve been watching some really successful authors and they don’t market. They write. Now isn’t that a novel idea?

Anyway, I just thought I’d share with you the newest in my “paper” marketing…romance trading cards. They came out beautiful. I’m so pleased. Frauke at Croco Designs took my vision and turned it into these …

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Aren’t they gorgeous? I’ve just started sending them out. (And yes, Zane is noticeably missing from the “Bonded” set … there was a glitch that’s been fixed and he should be arriving soon.) They’ll be making their debut appearance in some goodie bags at RWA National Convention in a couple of weeks.

So what do you think? When does an author’s promotion become an annoying buzzing in your ears. Because you know me … I just gotta know!

Since time flies so quickly I’ve decided to take time the first Sunday of every month and sort of “assess” where the last month has taken me both professionally and personally. That way, when the year is over, I won’t wonder if I actually managed to accomplish anything. I’ll know I’ve actually enjoyed the year!

So, let’s see, in January I did submit a short story to my editor. If contracted (fingers crossed), it will be offered as a free read. This story involves the three shifters, Jayda, Cole and Zane from my Shifting Bonds series. I’m in hopes of finding some new readers to fall in love with this trio. I expect the next book in this series “Bonded by Pride” to be released in 2011.

January also saw the release of “Maid for Master”, the first in what is turning out to be a series. I’m pleased to say the second novella in this series is cooking along quite nicely. 😀 I expect to have that out to my editor by the end of the month. Which is really awesome for me. Sometimes I fall into a slump with my writing and I’ve promisaed myself this year I wouldn’t do that. So far, so good.

I’ve also been plugging away at a couple of books in my backlist that I hope to have released directly to Kindle by the end of this month. This is new to me and I’m looking forward to sharing the news as I figure out this new technology that seems to be exploding.

On the personal end of things … well, it’s a long haul for me as perspective buyers for my house don’t seem to be braving the cold winds of Maine. Hopefully February will be different and someone will just fall in love with my house and I can sell it and join Mr. Nina down in Rhode Island. This being separated is for the birds. Neither one of us is too fond of maintaining two households. On the good news front, if someone makes an offer, it doesn’t take long for everything to fall into place and to get us moved out.

So there you have it. Probably waaaaay more than you needed/wanted to know about the Nina. And just for something different, I’ll leave you with an excerpt from “Bonded by Need”. Enjoy …
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

She looked up the side of the mountain, down into the ravine and back up the rock wall, anywhere to avoid looking at him. “Yes, well, I guess we need to find a way to get out of here. And quickly.” Jayda used the wall to get to her feet, but her head spun again and she swayed. She slumped into Zane’s embrace and he held her while she retched.

“Really, Jayda, I’m pretty sure you have a concussion.” He brushed the hair from her face, his gaze raking over her features. The upturned nose fit perfectly with the rounded cheeks and full lips. Christ, she was beautiful.

Whoa, back up. What the hell was wrong with him? He had just been named head of the cougar shifters. Even considering getting involved with a wolf shifter was just a bad idea all the way around. And here he was, thinking lusty thoughts about the mate of the head honcho. Down, boy, down. He mentally refocused his libido. “There’s no hurry. We need to take this slow. Getting up the ridge may prove a little trickier than coming down.”

Once again she realized how close their bodies were and pushed from him. “Yeah, well, I think there is a reason to hurry.” She shot a glance over her shoulder. “Let’s just get out of here. You can take me back to the clinic and you and your cougars can come back and find the kits.”

The kits. He’d forgotten all about them. Zane went down on one knee and purred low in invitation. They popped out of the small crevice one at a time.

Jayda cooed. “Oh, you found them!”

“No, Jayda, you found them.” He picked one up by the scruff of the neck and smiled. “Not that I’d recommend this method again, but we have them.” Zane looked up the wall. “Now we just have to figure out how to get everyone back up to the truck.”

“Well, how did you get down here?” Jayda looked up, shading her eyes against the noonday sun. “I’m not sure I can climb.”

“I came down in cougar form. But I came in from that direction.” He turned and looked at the slope, trying to work out a solution. “I could carry you on my back.”

She didn’t respond. He turned to see her appraising him and his cock immediately stirred under her probing gaze. Embarrassed, he bent and let the kit join his sibling. “Stupid idea. Why don’t we both shift and we can each carry a kit in our mouths.” He shot her a look over his shoulder. “Do you feel well enough to shift?”

Her face flushed. “Yeah, but…” She looked from his ass to her body. “But then there’re no clothes for me when we get to the top.”

His fingers dug through his hair and he blew out a breath. Driving home with a naked Jayda next to him was definitely more than he could handle. “How about you wear my shirt and I wear my pants?” He stood, giving her a view of his shoulder, his hands covering his over-anxious cock. In all his life, Zane was sure he’d never been naked in front of woman and tried to keep his interest in her a secret. “We just need to get the hell out of here. You shift and I’ll follow.”

“Well, turn around. I’m certainly not getting naked in front of you.”

“Oh sorry.” He turned his back to her. Zane heard the rustle of clothing and imagined that tight little tank top coming off and her bra falling to the ground, leaving her full breasts exposed. He bit back a groan when the zipper of her jeans rasped, but he couldn’t control the surge of blood to his cock. He was slime. The woman had nearly lost her life trying to save the tiny cougars and all he could think about was her curvaceous, naked ass.

“Okay, I’m shifting.”

He waited a heartbeat and turned, expecting to see a wolf. But the form before him rolled and shimmied in an odd mix of human, wolf and cougar parts. The kits cried and backed away from Jayda. Zane wasn’t sure how to help her. Tears welled in eyes that were surrounded by the round nose of a cougar then the full shape of a wolf and finally she gave up, her naked form appearing on her hands in knees in front of him. Her breasts hung seductively and her ass curved ever so provocatively toward the sky. Shit.


This week I thought I’d repost a Thursday Thirteen that ran last year with 13 of my favorite lines from my erotic suspense novel, “Bonded by Need” available ftrom Ellora’s Cave.

1. The moon had risen. Its orange hue now washed to an alabaster glow that danced in shimmering facets along the rolling water.

2. Anger rippled over his lips curled back in a snarl.

3. He held both her hand and her gaze captive a beat longer than courtesy dictated and something deep within her stirred.

4. And now the woman tormenting his libido was head first in a small rock outcropping, her full, luscious ass wiggling as she backed out of yet another empty den.

5. The moon rose steadily over the tree line across the lake, its ruddy glow shimmering across the water’s surface like a throbbing artery of blood.

6. “We kissed.” Jayda could barely push the words past the guilt burning her throat. It had been innocent, but at the moment it felt like so much more.

7. “My heart belongs to you. My wolf believes you are his mate. The choice for me to stay will be yours, Jayda. But I warn you not to leave me waiting too long.”

8. His mouth brushed hers, a whisper of a touch that heated his blood and drew a quiet moan from her.

9. Now, striding down the hall of the emergency room, the heavy odor of disinfectant and jealousy clogging his lungs, Cole slowed his steps and tamped down the wolf looking to shred the cougar mauling his woman.

10. Loving two men seemed wrong. Obviously her heart hadn’t gotten that particular memo because that’s exactly what was happening.

11. He marched around her as if inspecting to be sure her shift had been complete. His strong body brushed against Jayda-a shoulder running along her side, the flick of his tail along her jaw, the unexpected nip of his teeth on her haunches-that made her jump and her womb clench. In any form the man made her hot.

12. Cole understood how deeply he’d come to love her, but until this moment, when he believed he might lose her to another, did he realize how much her heart had intertwined with his.

13. Her words sliced his heart as surely as if she’d taken a knife to his chest. He had no doubt if he looked down blood would be spreading across his t-shirt.

And since I’m working on the second book in the Shifting Bonds series, currently titled Bonded by Pride and it’s going to be Aaron’s book here’s a little bonus with one of my favorite lines of Aaron’s … 

Aaron stood, counted bills off the wad of money from his pocket and dropped them on the table. “Seems to me someone with Jayda’s special talents may need more than Cole alone can give her.” He shrugged. “But what do I know? I’m just a detective.”

I’m squeeing happy. I got the release date for my next book “Bonded Souls” which will be out APRIL 21! Yay! That’s only a few weeks away. That book is the prequel in the Shifting Bonds series. And to make a wonderful week even better Sensual Reads gave “Bonded by Need”, the next story in this series a 4 STAR REVIEW.

Kimberly had this to say:

Nina Pierce makes a statement with Bonded by Need. The characters are intense and passionate while the story just pulls you in. This is a great paranormal story that will appeal to readers who enjoy shifter stories. Bonded by Need is a four star work with an amazing sense of sensuality and sizzle. I am looking forward to the second book in this Shifting Bonds series.

I’m so pleased I’m snoopy dancing! I thought I’d share an excert from “Bonded by Need” with you:
She looked up the side of the mountain, down into the ravine and back up the rock wall, anywhere to avoid looking at him. “Yes, well, I guess we need to find a way to get out of here. And quickly.” Jayda used the wall to get to her feet, but her head spun again and she swayed. She slumped into Zane’s embrace and he held her while she retched.

“Really, Jayda, I’m pretty sure you have a concussion.” He brushed the hair from her face, his gaze raking over her features. The upturned nose fit perfectly with the rounded cheeks and full lips. Christ, she was beautiful.

Whoa, back up. What the hell was wrong with him? He had just been named head of the cougar shifters. Even considering getting involved with a wolf shifter was just a bad idea all the way around. And here he was, thinking lusty thoughts about the mate of the head honcho. Down, boy, down. He mentally refocused his libido. “There’s no hurry. We need to take this slow. Getting up the ridge may prove a little trickier than coming down.”

Once again she realized how close their bodies were and pushed from him. “Yeah, well, I think there is a reason to hurry.” She shot a glance over her shoulder. “Let’s just get out of here. You can take me back to the clinic and you and your cougars can come back and find the kits.”

The kits. He’d forgotten all about them. Zane went down on one knee and purred low in invitation. They popped out of the small crevice one at a time.

Jayda cooed. “Oh, you found them!”

“No, Jayda, you found them.” He picked one up by the scruff of the neck and smiled. “Not that I’d recommend this method again, but we have them.” Zane looked up the wall. “Now we just have to figure out how to get everyone back up to the truck.”

“Well, how did you get down here?” Jayda looked up, shading her eyes against the noonday sun. “I’m not sure I can climb.”

“I came down in cougar form. But I came in from that direction.” He turned and looked at the slope, trying to work out a solution. “I could carry you on my back.”

She didn’t respond. He turned to see her appraising him and his cock immediately stirred under her probing gaze. Embarrassed, he bent and let the kit join his sibling. “Stupid idea. Why don’t we both shift and we can each carry a kit in our mouths.” He shot her a look over his shoulder. “Do you feel well enough to shift?”

Her face flushed. “Yeah, but…” She looked from his ass to her body. “But then there’re no clothes for me when we get to the top.”

His fingers dug through his hair and he blew out a breath. Driving home with a naked Jayda next to him was definitely more than he could handle. “How about you wear my shirt and I wear my pants?” He stood, giving her a view of his shoulder, his hands covering his over-anxious cock. In all his life, Zane was sure he’d never been naked in front of woman and tried to keep his interest in her a secret. “We just need to get the hell out of here. You shift and I’ll follow.”

“Well, turn around. I’m certainly not getting naked in front of you.”

“Oh sorry.” He turned his back to her. Zane heard the rustle of clothing and imagined that tight little tank top coming off and her bra falling to the ground, leaving her full breasts exposed. He bit back a groan when the zipper of her jeans rasped, but he couldn’t control the surge of blood to his cock. He was slime. The woman had nearly lost her life trying to save the tiny cougars and all he could think about was her curvaceous, naked ass.

“Okay, I’m shifting.”

He waited a heartbeat and turned, expecting to see a wolf. But the form before him rolled and shimmied in an odd mix of human, wolf and cougar parts. The kits cried and backed away from Jayda. Zane wasn’t sure how to help her. Tears welled in eyes that were surrounded by the round nose of a cougar then the full shape of a wolf and finally she gave up, her naked form appearing on her hands in knees in front of him. Her breasts hung seductively and her ass curved ever so provocatively toward the sky. Shit. Zane needed to focus. Obviously Jayda was upset.

“What’s wrong with me? I’ve never had problems.” She looked at him, frustration and fear drawing deep lines on her face. “I can’t feel it. My wolf isn’t here.” She pressed her hand over her heart and Zane’s did a little stutter step of its own. “What’s wrong?”

Zane knelt before her, working to ignore the fact that her body was even more alluring without clothes. Unshed tears were glistening in her eyes. She needed him. He pushed her back on her haunches, creating distance between her luscious lips and his. With gentle fingers he lifted her chin and forced her to look into his eyes. “How do you usually shift?”

“I’ve never shifted without Cole. He helps me…relax.”

“How?”

She grabbed the flimsy top and covered her breasts. “Zane, this is just stupid. We can find another way up. Maybe you should just try to take me up.”

“No, you can do this.” Zane cupped her face. “How does he help you relax?” he asked firmly. From the flush of her skin, he suspected he already knew the answer. Still, if he moved on Jayda before she was ready, that wouldn’t help her shift either. “How does he help you, Jayda?” This time his tone was more firm even as his thumb traced the line of her jaw.

“He takes my mind off it…but it’s stupid. I can do it myself.”

Zane held her gaze a moment before his eyes roamed her face and settled on her pouty mouth. He brushed his lips to hers. Her breath puffed, the sweet scent feathering his face. Uncertainty sparked in her eyes, but she didn’t pull from him. With a gentle caress, he sucked her bottom lip into his mouth. Jayda sighed and closed her eyes. He changed the angle and pressed his lips to hers. Soft heat exploded at his mouth and radiated down his torso, straight to his cock. He broke the contact but kept his face pressed to hers. “Feel me, Jayda. Feel the animal within. Give yourself over to it.”

He brought his mouth to hers again and sank into the sweet taste of her. Jasmine and honeysuckle filled his nose and he didn’t know if it was her scent or the summer breeze caressing his body. His tongue ran the seam of her lips, inviting her to open for him. A shock of desire jolted him as her silken tongue caressed his. Zane’s hand reached up to caress her breast but came up against the solid wall of muscle and fur as he filled his lungs with the scent of her,. He pulled back, witnessing Jayda’s cougar stretching and changing her bones. He hadn’t expected her cougar to emerge. Pride swelled his chest. He’d brought out this part of her.

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