Publisher: Kensington Aphrodisia | Release Date: April 28, 2009 | Length: Novel; Anthology | Prowl, Book 1
Meet the Cruz brothers. They look human—except for the golden sheen their eyes take when they’re aroused beyond control…and the way their claws come out when it’s time to play rough. They’re Panthers, ancient shapeshifters, and their survival depends on mating to bring out their wild sides…
When Antonio, the strong, sexy new leader of the Panther pride, meets luscious Solana in a dark alleyway, their passion lights up the night. But she’s an outcast, an impossible mate—and her touch makes him lose all control…
Ex-model and businesswoman Andrea doesn’t need anyone—until she meets Miguel, who tempts her mind with daring games and teases her body with dark, forbidden pleasure she can’t resist…
Wild twins Ricardo and Diego do everything together—and their women appreciate the teamwork. Until shy Isabel takes refuge in their pride, and both want to claim her. Of course, sometimes two mates are better than one…
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Antonio watched the men circle his mate from atop a building far above the alley they’d cornered her in. A few nimble leaps brought him to end of the shadowed corridor. He jerked his clothes off and dropped them as he ran, shifted into his Panther form to let his black fur blend into the night, and stalked the men as they had stalked her.
The predators became the prey.
He ran a tongue down a long fang, anticipation and rage boiling hot in his veins. They would pay for scaring her. God and all the saints couldn’t save them if they harmed her.
It had taken two days to track her scent after he’d sensed her in the city. And now he’d found her. Nothing compared to the ice that froze the blood in his veins when he heard her first scream, the terror of seeing men hunt her. Yes, these men would beg for his mercy before the night was through. A growl rumbled from his chest as he moved down the alley, his claws digging into the pavement.
When one of the men grabbed for her, a roar ripped from his throat. Everyone froze, turning in slow motion to stare at the newcomer. A Panther. He bared his teeth and watched the man closest to him turn ghostly pale. He could smell their fear, taste the tang of it on his tongue, and he took a small amount in satisfaction in that.
This close, even his rage couldn’t cloud the fact that the men weren’t human. They were Panthers, like him. Worse, they were from his Pride. The Ruiz brothers—Marcos, Juan, and Roberto. His own people, under his rule. Why would they hunt a Panther female? If she belonged to another Pride and was visiting his territory, then her Pride leader would hold him responsible for any harm his people caused her. Not to mention she was his mate and he would shred them alive for hunting her in the first place.
She screamed, and the frozen tableau broke into chaos. Antonio lunged forward, slicing his claws into Roberto’s calf. He went down with a spray of blood and saliva, squealing and clutching his leg.
Antonio leaped over the fallen man to sprint forward, intent on reaching his mate. Juan shifted to Panther form, hissing a warning, but it meant nothing to Antonio. They were past the point of warnings. A single leap forward and the two of them clashed mid-air, claws and fangs tearing into each other. Antonio slashed across the young Panther’s face and he rolled away with a whimper, his black fur matted with dark crimson.
Antonio’s tail whipped around as he sprang for Marcos. The man tried to climb the wall, but he had no more escape than Antonio’s mate had. Antonio dragged him down to the ground, his fangs digging into the man’s jeans. Both front paws planted on the younger man’s chest, making him wheeze for breath, and Antonio shoved his face into Marco’s. A growl vibrated his vocal cords, and what little blood was left in the man’s face fled. His blood-shot eyes went wide with horror.
His mate’s soft cry reached Antonio’s ears, jerking him back from the edge of feral. He shuddered, fighting the instincts of his Panther nature. He turned towards her, wanting to comfort her and soothe her fear.
But she wasn’t looking at him—she snarled at Juan, bracing her back against the wall as she hissed deep in her throat. A purr rumbled his chest at her courage.
Marcos took the opportunity to speak. “Please, sir. Listen to me. She doesn’t deserve protection. She’s a—”
A roar ripped free from Antonio’s throat as he transformed into his human form. He lifted them both to their feet, hoisting the shorter man up by his t-shirt until they were nose to nose. “Silence. The three of you will be in my study when I return to the mansion. Is that clear?”
“But how long until—”
“Obey me. You won’t enjoy the consequences if you don’t. But I will.” He dropped Marcos to his feet. The younger man scrambled away and ran. His brothers had already disappeared.
He turned back to his mate. “Are you all right?”
“Yes. You?” She shoved her dark hair out of her face, her fingers sifting through the streaks of blonde that shot through the long strands. He soaked in the details of her, taking in every curve of her face and body. Her chocolate brown eyes searched him and they went wide when she saw the straining erection jutting between his thighs. Shifting back had left him naked. A wry smile pulled at his lips. He was going to have to figure out where he’d dropped his clothes and hope some vagrant didn’t steal them before he got there. For the moment, he focused on his mate.
She sucked in a quick breath when he took a step towards her. Swaying on her feet, she stared at him for long moments. The silence stretched to a fine breaking point. She shook her head, pressing the heel of her hand to her forehead. “It can’t be.”
Ah. She’d finally sensed it. That they were mates.
“Oh, but it can be. It is.” Stalking forward, he backed her up against the brick wall. His nostrils flared to catch her sweet scent, the one he would become addicted to. He had no doubt she had the same adrenaline humming through her as he did, and it morphed into something hotter, more carnal. Anger and fear still pumped through his system. His shaking fingers fisted at his sides. His eyes narrowed at her and a dart of excitement flashed through her gaze. The delicate smell of her wetness filled his nostrils. It was heady. She swallowed, her lids dropping to half-mast.
She released a breathy laugh, and naked want shone in her gaze. “I don’t believe it. We can’t be mates.”
“Let me prove it to you,” he growled. His hands wrapped around her waist, lifting her against the rough brick. Her legs curved around his flanks, she arched against him, and made him snarl with his need. She drove him wild. Jerking her dress up, he found her naked underneath. Perfect. He pushed forward, his hips fitting into the cradle of hers. The blunt tip of his cock rubbed over her slick folds. Her gaze flashed with the same desire that burned in his veins. “Your name. Tell me your name.”
Her little pink tongue darted out to slide along her lips. “Solana.”
She whimpered, tightening her legs about him. He groaned, but held back from plunging his dick into the snug fit of her damp pussy. Barely. “Yes or no, Solana?”
Her hands reached for him, fingers burying into his hair. Choking on a breath, she arched her hips toward the press of his cock. “Yes.”