Will she lose him to the Everglades and his destiny?
When a black-clad motorcyclist pulls up alongside her, thrilling her with dark eyes that promise raw, wild sex, Mala Bey’s system goes into overload. Moments later, the stranger loses control and crashes into the Everglades. Horrified, Mala desperately searches for the compelling man, but it’s as if the thick vegetation swallowed him whole. Yet she hears his voice calling for her…
Caught in a portal filled with disembodied voices calling him backward in time, Laird Jaeger clings to his only lifeline to the present—the woman with the haunting gray-green eyes. A mystical thread connects their thoughts as ancient forces drag him farther back into a past only his Seminole blood remembers.
A mysterious, panther-like creature guides Jaeger toward a past life as Thunder, an ancient tribe’s only hope of survival. Even as the past wraps tendrils around his soul, his and Mala’s connection endures. Its power is enough to burn a fiery path of desire through time, but their growing love may not be strong enough to break destiny’s spell.
This book has been previously published and has been revised from its original release.
Lots of hot sex in the Everglades with no bugs. Or snakes. But some rather judgmental Seminoles.
The storm flung itself at Mala Bey’s car. Attacking, sometimes shrieking, it buffeted her small vehicle until Mala was forced to slow to thirty miles an hour. Her windshield wipers were all but useless.
Blue-black, the cloud-choked sky dominated everything. Occasionally, Mala glimpsed a sliver of gold on the horizon which gave her hope that the entire world wasn’t locked in this furious Florida afternoon storm, but she had little time to reflect on anything except making sure she didn’t skid off the highway and plunge into the Everglades lurking on either side.
Alligator Alley. If she got out of this alive, she’d get in touch with whoever was responsible for naming highways and tell them they hadn’t gotten it right. This too-thin thread of civilization cutting east to west through southern Florida should go by something like Hell’s Back Yard. Dark Deception. Thunder—
The explosion worked in harmony with the fingers of brilliant light erupting on the sky. As a native of a state regularly attacked by violent weather, she should be used to the power and overwhelming energy. But, except for a handful of vehicles plowing through the deluge, she was alone in a savage and primal land. The storm wouldn’t last long, and the sun would return to bake and steam the earth. She should have waited to travel from Naples to Fort Lauderdale, but a huge chunk of her future lay at the end of this highway.
The sky became both beautiful and powerful as lightning slashed and scarred. It seemed to hold, then grow and shudder, sending out endless fingers of fire. Although she’d told herself to be ready for the next cannon shot, when it came, she barely stifled a squeak. The car shuddered. She would swear it briefly lost contact with the road. She wanted to pull over and wait out the anger and energy, but if she did, she’d have to park near the encroaching Everglades. For reasons she didn’t want to examine, that frightened her more than driving through lightning and thunder and punishing downpour.
Frightened…or something else?
Creatures that should have never been spawned dwelled in the Everglades. Alligators, panthers, snakes—massive, slithering, silent snakes. That’s what upset her, not the sense that she was about to be challenged, changed.
Once again lightning rent the sky. The incredible display called her to it.
Now going little more than twenty miles an hour, she headed arrow-like toward the blue and black horizon. A moment ago she’d been terrified. Terror now turned into fascination. This monster of energy and might held her in its grip. She gave herself up to it as she’d long dreamed of giving herself, totally and without will or thought, to a man and became nothing except nerves and sight and hearing.
In that secret dream she walked naked and hot with need toward a dark, faceless man. His powerful body hummed, challenged, promised. Urged by his silent command, she’d dropped to her knees before his spread legs and lowered her head in submission. Waiting for him to claim her.
When he gripped her hair and forced her to look up at him, her body heated even more. Became less hers. She immediately arched her back and offered him her breasts which he took in his large, rough hands. The work-hardened paws claimed her breasts, flattening her swollen nipples against his palms. He began a demanding, slow circular motion that brought her to a place somewhere between pain and climax. Her clit swelled and became wet, and with breath and eyes, she begged him to thrust his cock into her. To end the wanting. He wore only tight black briefs, and his hard penis filled them. But she knew not to touch him until he gave her permission.
Movement on her left pulled Mala back from the brink of madness and ecstasy, burying but not killing the fantasy and her unchecked reaction. She was being passed, not by a car, but a death-black motorcycle. Its rider crouched low over the beast like an Indian riding a wild stallion—or a man riding a woman. Maybe her. He wore a helmet so dark it was nearly impossible to determine where it left off and the thunder-born landscape began. If it hadn’t been for the clear face mask, she might not know whether a man or woman was on board.
He passed slowly, not cautiously so much as if he was determined to get an intimate look at her and didn’t care how long it took, or whether exceeding her speed put him in jeopardy. She tried to take her eyes off him, but the man held her with something, maybe nothing more than an extension of the forces which existed around and above and beyond them.
She took in his bulk, the power and size and agility of him, and wondered if any woman had ever tamed the wildness she sensed in him. If she might be that woman. The motorcycle, lean and sleek and dangerous, seemed hard-put to battle wind and rain. A lesser man would have been forced to stop, or been blown off the road before he could.
Not this panther-man.
Her gaze didn’t waver from him until he’d passed. Nothing else mattered during those seconds when their eyes met and locked and communicated something which now rode deep and hot in her belly.
It couldn’t be. She wasn’t feeling sexual excitement! Yeah, right.
He was a stranger, a damn fool risking his life on an all-but-deserted highway in danger of being overtaken by the ravenous jungle. He couldn’t possibly sense that he embodied her secret and unattainable fantasy.
He was arrogant and self-confident, a physical creature who leaped from one adventure to another, one sexual partner after another, seeking release for his boundless energy. Whether there really were such men, or whether they simply existed deep and untapped and usually unacknowledged in her subconscious, she didn’t know, didn’t care.
He was man. Animal. Sex. Storm and darkness, woven seamlessly into the environment.
Now he was ahead of her. He’d eased up a little as if he’d sensed her speed and easily matched his to hers the way her dream master-lover knew how to bring her to the brink of climax again and again—to extend the awful, sweet torture. She could tell he was a large man, well over six feet, with shoulders so wide that if she tried to wrap her arms around them, she’d be hard pressed to do so. A man like that could never be controlled. He was a master of control.
Get a grip, right now!
He wore nothing to protect himself from the liquid spear points slamming into him. The lack of a coat didn’t surprise her. Even in the midst of a storm, the temperature seldom dropped below eighty degrees. Still, his bare hands and arms and throat must be taking a terrible beating. It occurred to her that her vehicle would provide him with protection and wondered why he’d passed instead of remaining behind her.
He looked over his shoulder. Again those eyes, all but hidden under their Plexiglas protection, reached for her, grabbed hold of the hungry woman in her and said something silent, and elemental, and undeniable.
She took in several open-mouthed breaths and tried to force her attention on what had brought her out here today, but the case filled with silver and abalone jewelry which rode on the seat beside her no longer mattered. Only this rain slickened highway, the dark unknown on either side did. The panther-man ahead of her.
Mostly the man.
She was now going just under twenty miles an hour, her speed determined by the motorcyclist. He must have realized he’d made a mistake by passing and wanted back the scant rain-break her car provided. After several minutes of indecision, she pulled into the passing lane. Keeping far to the left to reduce the amount of water her tires threw at him, she touched the gas pedal.
He was looking at her again, those shadowed eyes sealing them together. Something that tasted too much like fear invaded her. She absorbed it until it changed into need which found a home at the joining of her legs. The heat she now felt had nothing to do with outside temperatures and everything to do with desire and fantasy.
The rain would cease. He’d stop his motorcycle. She’d pull over next to him and get out. He’d dismount, take off his helmet, revealing ebony hair and eyes which carried the same compelling color and spear her with his gaze. He’d reach out his hand, not in question, but command. She’d place hers in it, warm and strong and wet, leather against silk. With him leading the way, they’d step into the jungle. The jungle would absorb them.
“Strip,” he’d say. “Now.”
And she would.
• Adobe Acrobat • Adobe Acrobat for Sony • eBook ETI-2 • EPUB • HTML • Microsoft Reader • Mobipocket/Kindle • Rocketbook