Friday, November 28, 2008

Shifting Priorities: Mating Dance by Anne Kane

Series: Shifting Priorities
Title: Mating Dance
ISBN (13): 978-1-60521-067-4
Genres: Futuristic, Paranormal, Sci-Fi
Themes: Shape shifters, Legends
Author: Anne Kane
Author URL:
Release Date: November 28th, 2008
PPublisher URL Changeling Press - Erotic Fiction

Jakeb is an Imperial Were-Panther who wants an heir. Problem is, he doesn't want a mate. When he rescues Kaitlyn from an abusive trader, he proposes a deal: freedom for her, an heir for him. He's startled to find he can't keep his hands or his heart away from his new acquisition, but she has secrets of her own and they discover power isn't all about strength as they are drawn into the age-old mating dance.

He slowed to a walk as he approached the base of the cliffs. The scent of the cyborg above him was part human sweat and part metallic tang. He studied the face of the cliff. From this side he could see no visible path to the top, but he wasn't human and a path wasn't necessary. Crouching on his haunches, he leapt to a jutting outcrop above. Utilizing the craggy topography, he ascended the sheer face of the cliff, pausing on a narrow ledge just below the surface.
Testing the air with his sensitive nose, he detected the cyborg above him and to the left. Too bad his panther form didn't allow him to carry weapons. A stun-grenade tossed over the edge would take out his opponent instantly.
But then, where's the fun in that?
He slunk to the right along the ledge as far as he could before bounding over the top and landing solidly on all fours. His large black head swung back and forth, alert senses homing in on his prey.
The cyborg hadn't moved, his ocular implants glowing an eerie green as he used them to search the forest below. He balanced a mobile laser cannon on one shoulder, his finger twitching on the trigger.
Jakeb's tail lashed from side to side, betraying his agitation. He hunkered low to the ground, evaluating the best route to stalk the deadly creature. He'd expected his last assignment to aggravate the established players in the intergalactic drug trade, but sending a cyborg after him was unacceptable. He must have trod on some very big toes.
He sent a quick glance to the forest floor below, seeing no trace of Kaitlyn. Satisfied that she'd followed his orders and remained safely hidden, he slunk toward the cyborg, each foot carefully placed on the treacherous ground. A single rolling pebble could betray his presence to the prey.
When a mere body length separated him from his target, Jakeb crouched low to the ground, studying the angles for a long minute before he launched himself directly at the cyborg. He had the advantage of surprise. The creature stumbled beneath his weight, dropping the laser cannon over the edge as he went down. Jakeb sunk his fangs into the back of the cyborg's neck, his attempt to crush the sensitive vertebrae foiled by a heavy leather collar. Sinking razor sharp claws into the cyborg's shoulder pads, he raked his rear claws down his back, shredding the cyborg's hardened leather shirt and drawing blood.
The cyborg regained his balance and stepped away from the edge of the cliff, dropping his shoulder in a vain attempt to dislodge the giant cat. Jakeb held on and continued to rake his claws down the cyborg's back, inflicting as much damage as possible.
Changing tactics, the 'borg dropped and rolled, forcing Jakeb to release his hold or be crushed beneath his opponent's colossal body. He tumbled free and managed to land upright on all fours. Pivoting to face his opponent, he let out an earsplitting yowl of rage. The hulking beast had sealed his own death warrant the minute he'd endangered Kaitlyn.
The `borg staggered to his feet, eyes narrowed in sudden comprehension. "Were-Panther." His mouth twisted in contempt even as he pulled a wicked-looking knife out of a sheath strapped to his lower leg.
Jakeb crouched, every muscle tensed. Ready to spring, he watched for an opening.
"You're pathetic, all of you." The 'borg spat on the ground at Jakeb's feet. "You betrayed your emperor and you still couldn't protect humanity from us."
Jakeb ignored the verbal assault. They'd done what they had to do, and he wasn't about to justify himself to an assassin-for-hire. He feinted to the right, drawing back when his opponent ignored his move, countering with a high left kick.
"I'm going to gut you like the animal you are." A contemptuous sneer distorted the cyborg's face. "Then I'll go find your little female and teach her how to serve a real male."
Jakeb raised his head and snarled at the threat to Kaitlyn. Pushing off with powerfully muscled back legs, he ignored the knife and hurled himself directly at the cyborg's head, his powerful jaws clamping deep into the side of the creature's neck while his weight threw the 'borg off balance and knocked him to the ground. A quick twist of his head wrapped his teeth around the cyborg's throat and he snapped the neck with a powerful jerk. The huge body sagged to the ground, the green light quickly fading from its manic eyes.
Jakeb leapt free and snarled at the corpse, adrenaline still coursing through his body. A movement in the bushes to the right caught his attention and he crouched low, tail whipping back and forth in an agitated rhythm. He inhaled, searching for danger in the intricate weavings of the wind.
Her musky scent affected him so much more in his panther form. He stood, massive head moving slowly side-to-side as he pinpointed her location.
There. Behind the giant cypress tree.
He sat on his haunches. Threw his head back and roared. The roar of a panther calling its mate. Loud. Demanding. Passionate.
And she came. Head held proudly aloft. Eyes sparkling with arousal and rage. She stalked across the clear space between the trees and the cliff edge, ignoring the fallen cyborg.
Jakeb called his magic, not bothering to hide the transformation from her. He felt himself shifting, fur retreating, muscles lengthening, changing as he once again took his human form. He reached out, wrapping his hand around her delicate wrist, yanking her hard up against him.
"I'm furious with you. Furious!" He glared down into her defiant eyes, silently daring her to speak, to object to his rough treatment. "What part of stay did you not understand?" He lowered his head and took her lips roughly, punishing her with tongue and his teeth. Tasting her. Reassuring himself that she was all right.

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