Read An Excerpt
E-book, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
Why is that man…naked?
Dazed and flat on her back, Margaret O’Hare observed the man’s bare backside as he stood on a nearby weather-beaten dock, toweling off. Her vision, at first a groggy mess, focused to a machete-sharp point, the pain in her forehead equally knifelike.
Yes. Naked. Really. Really. Naked. She’d never seen such a large, well-built man or such a perfect backside — hard, deeply tanned, and worthy of a marble sculpture. Maybe two. Or five. Too bad she was a painter.
Hold on. Where the ham sandwich am I? Margaret’s eyes, the only body part she could move without experiencing pain, whipsawed from side to side. Jungle. Dirt. Lake. Okay. I’m lying near the lake. Yes, this was good. She recognized the place. Sort of.
Am I near the village dock?
Her peripheral vision said no; this dock had a tiny palapa for shade at the very end.
She made a feeble attempt to lift her throbbing head, but her body rewarded her with a spear to the temple.
Ow. Ow. Ow. She took a slow breath to allow the skull-shattering jab to dissipate. All right. Relax and think. What happened? What happened? What happened? And who is Mr. Perfect Bottom over there?
A sticky blanket of gray coated her thoughts, but she did recall swimming that morning. Maybe she’d slipped on the village dock and fell into the lake. Maybe Mr. Perfect Bottom had been bathing down at the shore and rescued her.
Her clothes were bone-dry except for the sweaty parts. Come to think of it, she felt like a mud pie, soggy underneath and dry on top, baking in the sun. It didn’t help that someone — maybe the man? — had placed a warm fur under her head and neck. God, it was itchy.
She willed her hand to make the painful journey behind her ear to give it a good scratch. Her fingers brushed the soft, silky hairs of the makeshift pillow.
How odd. People in these parts don’t wear mink.
The mink coat purred.
Maggie sprang from the moist grass and scrambled back a few feet against a thick tree trunk. “Ja-ja-jaguar!”
The glossy black coat didn’t budge a paw. Then the damned thing smiled right at her like some real life Cheshire cat. God damned disturbing.
“You! Cat!” The man barreled down the dock, each heavy step thundering across the creaky wooden planks. “Leave! Do not return until I call you.”
Maggie should have been frightened by the boom of the man’s tone, but instead, his rich masculine timbre soothed her aching head.
“Raarrr?” the cat…responded? I must be hearing things, she thought, her eyes toggling back and forth between man and beast.
“Do as you are told,” he said to the animal, “or the deal is off.”
The black cat hissed, whipped its shiny black tail through the air, and dissolved into the shadows of the lush vegetation surrounding the small lakeside clearing.
This is too bizarre; I need to get out of here. Maggie turned her wobbling body to seek shelter in another dream.
“Where the hell do you think you’re going?” said that deep, rich voice that wrapped her mind in ribbons of warm dark caramel and exotic spices.