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SAVAGE HUNGER
by Terry Spear

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy

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She thought she had headed away from the sounds of a wild cat roaring in the woods. At first she had wanted desperately to see the jaguar because he might lead her to Connor Anderson. She wasn’t so sure now. Not after she had heard the cat roar. He sounded angry… and hungry. For some reason, she associated him with that long-ago jaguar roaming with Connor, but she couldn’t give a rational explanation for the feeling. What if he wasn’t Connor’s jaguar companion? Yet, she just had this gut feeling that the two were together.

First, his cry came from one direction, then another. From everything she had read about jaguars and from the way this one had roared, he was one big cat. But she knew they lived alone, so two of them probably weren’t roaming out here; the roars were just echoing off the jungle foliage or rocky cliffs or something, but she still was in big trouble.

Well, more so than she already had been. She surveyed the greenery surrounding her in every shade and hue of green imaginable to an artist and reminded herself that she was hopelessly lost.

As she maneuvered through the thick vegetation, the broad leaves and tangled vines brushing against her and grasping at her, she hoped she was moving away from where the big cat had been roaring. She hadn’t thought she would be all alone in the jungle, listening to a big cat growl while maybe next on his dinner menu. So much for seeing a jaguar up close and personal. This wasn’t what she’d had in mind.

According to her research on jaguars, they normally slept during the day and hunted during dusk and dawn. If necessary, they would hunt during the day. This one sounded too hungry to wait until nightfall.

Heart pounding, she stopped moving, trying to recall what she had read. Stand still and make noise. Whatever you do, don’t run. Jaguars rarely attacked humans. Unless maybe it was a very old jaguar, and he needed something really easy to catch and eat. It could be old. She couldn’t tell. Its roar was deep and low and, well, grouchy, like an old jaguar, she thought. They didn’t roar like lions or tigers, but more of a deep, throaty cough repeated five or six times that sounded like, “Uh, uh, uh, uh, uh.”

She was afraid that if she ran, she would be just too tempting for a jaguar of any age to ignore.

She heard something moving toward her from behind. The hair at the nape of her neck instantly stood at attention. Her heart was already tripping. She was afraid it was him—the cat with the deep, angry, growly voice. She knew the big cats moved silently through the jungle. She imagined the cat would appear before she would even be prepared to face him. And then what?

Turning slowly, she looked to see who or what it was. An armed man? Or a toothy jaguar?