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"An amazing new series, with lots of exciting possibilities leaving you bouncing in your seat..." -5 Cups, Hollie at Coffee Time Romance. Full Review.
"JAGUAR'S KISS gives readers an intriguing and steamy look into the world of a pride..." -Annetta Sweetko of Fresh Fiction. Full Review.
"An outstanding start to this series..." -Shellie Surles of Fresh Fiction. Full Review
"The forbidden romance between a heroine who is essentially a princess and a 'nobody' is one readers will root for." -RT Bookreviews. Full Review
Jaguar's Kiss Copyright © 2014 Vivi Andrews All rights reserved.
Maybe Lila was a coward after all. There really wasn’t any other explanation for the fact that she was fleeing from her fiancé. She slowed to a walk, stumbling a little as the alcohol sloshed through her bloodstream. She was almost back to where she’d shattered the beer bottle. She was really having a bang up night. Temper tantrums, running away—
The thought evaporated as she saw the figure standing in the darkness next to the fence post with her hair ribbon tied around it, staring out over the elk enclosure. For a second she was terrified Roman had circled around them and she would have to face him after all, then she realized the form didn’t have the bulk to be the future Alpha. No, this shadow was all sleek strength, dark hair, and the smoky scent of a jaguar teasing her as the wind shifted.
Oh mercy. She wasn’t prepared to deal with him any more than she had been to face Roman with that hops-induced honesty in her bloodstream. But it was either talk to him, turn back and face Roman, or march on past, pretending not to notice him there—which would be just another cowardly, childish move in a night that had already proven her pathetic.
She refused to be a coward in front of him.
Lila marched over to the fence, trying to sway her hips but fairly certain her va-va-voom was more than a little alcohol impaired. “What are you doing here?”
He turned his head, looking at her for the first time, though he had to know who she was the second she came into range. In answer, he lifted his own bottle for her to see—tequila—and she saw he had the end of her hair ribbon curled around his little finger.
“Me too,” she said in response to the alcohol. The world dipped unexpectedly and she reached out to steady herself on the fence, hoping it looked like she had intended to lean against it shoulder-to-shoulder with him. “Patch and I ran out so I’m headed back for a refill.”
“Shouldn’t you be with your fiancé? Celebrating the upcoming nuptials?”
The growly quality in his voice made something warm stir low in her abdomen. She cleared her throat. “He’s out there with Patch.”
The alcohol honesty chose that moment to rear its ugly head. “You aren’t much of a conversationalist, are you, Santiago Flores?” She wanted to hear more of that rumbly voice.
“You want conversation?” The words sounded like a threat. “Then by all means, let’s converse. Do you really want to marry Roman?”
This conversation again. Joy. Lila sighed, resigned. “It’s doesn’t matter what I want. It’s what I’m going to do.”
“Are you really such a martyr?” That lovely growl was back in his voice.
“It’s not martyrdom.” She was certain it wasn’t. She just couldn’t seem to think past all the alcohol to figure out why precisely.
“So you don’t think you’re giving anything up, is that it?”
That was it. No sacrifice. How helpful he was. “Exactly. What would I be giving up?”
“A thousand opportunities.” He spun to face her, dark eyes flashing in the night, all that contained ferocity suddenly erupting with startling intensity. “The chance to be something more than what others would make you.”
“So I can be what you would make me instead?” She turned to face him head on, throwing her chin back to growl up at him. “Everyone wants me to be their version of what I should be. Even you.”
“Then what do you want? Who do you want to be?”
“I don’t know! Don’t you see? If I wanted something more than this life, maybe I would go after it, maybe I would be brave, by your definition of the word, but I don’t. I never have. So what’s so terrible about what I’m doing? What am I giving up, Santiago Flores? What is supposed to stop me from doing what I’ve always known I would when the time came? What is it you think I’m supposed to want?”
He gripped the nape of her neck, his fingers tangling in her hair as he pulled her toward him, his other hand cupping her jaw, tipping her face up to meet him as his lips closed over hers, firm and fierce and demanding and—oh my God, so exquisitely perfect.
She’d been kissed before. Of course she’d been kissed before. In twenty-three years as the pride’s resident flirt, she’d kissed dozens of guys in a sort of playful almost-platonic way that was all the other shifters would dare. She’d even gone a bit further with a few humans who didn’t know Roman to be afraid of him—until her instincts had reared up and put a stop to it.
She knew perfectly well what lips were for, thank you very much. But all those kisses. All those affectionate buses and eager lip locks. They had never been this.
The rest of the world simply melted away until there was only Santiago. He nibbled, sucked, coaxed and teased until she opened for him and his tongue stroked into her mouth, a question she answered with her own, angling her head for more. She’d ceased to exist outside this kiss. There was only his heat, his strength, the pull of his body, and her need. God, her fierce, impossible need for more of him.
She wrapped an arm around his waist, pulling herself against him so their bodies aligned, a gasp escaping her mouth at the feel of all that delicious heat. Her other hand slid up his chest and around to palm the back of his neck, holding him there in case he had any rogue thoughts about pulling away. Away wasn’t allowed. Only closer, harder, deeper and more.
And he was very good at those words.
Other Books in the Lone Pine Pride Series
Taming the Lion
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