To win the battle for his soul, he may have to sacrifice the woman who set him free.
, Book 1
Aimee Horner lives and breathes her career as a graphic novel illustrator, but she never expected it would invade her dreams. In recent months, worsening nightmares have pulled her into the darkest corners of Hell.
On a rare night out with friends at a traveling carnival, she finds herself strangely drawn to an abandoned carousel adorned with vividly exotic animals. One steed, a massive white tiger, is a temptation she can’t resist. The moment she climbs upon him, her world changes forever.
More than five thousand years ago, Roric and his fellow shapeshifting warriors were imprisoned in their animal forms, a last-ditch effort by the goddess they served to save them from the horrors of Hell.
With one special woman’s touch, he has a chance at freedom and redemption—but the clock is ticking. If he is still alive in twenty-four hours, the spell will be broken, and Hell will have no claim on his soul. The only hitch is his blazing attraction to Aimee. If only he could trust that she isn’t merely a distraction sent by Hades—luscious bait to lure him from his mission.
Product WarningsThis book contains an ancient curse, an imprisoned goddess, a graphic artist and the hot shapeshifting immortal warrior who turns her life upside down while they battle Hades and his minions for their immortal souls. There is also plenty of hot sex between the heroine and her hot, shapeshifting warrior. Just saying.
Copyright © 2012 N.J. Walters
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication
Dreaming. She was dreaming. Sighing, Aimee began to relax, much happier with this turn of events. She shuddered, hating the sensation of falling through the air, the pure helplessness of it.
There was something niggling at the back of her brain. Something important. Like an itch she couldn’t scratch, it irritated her. She could almost remember but the next second it slipped away. It was totally forgotten as he tightened his grip around her and his lips grazed the side of her neck.
His mouth was warm and supple against her skin. Tingles skated down her neck and spread out over her breasts. Her nipples puckered, aching to be touched.
Sighing, Aimee sank deeper into his embrace, feeling safe and not so alone for the first time in years. He was so warm, his skin almost hot next to hers. He was…naked. And so was she.
The sensation jolted her. She always wore a nightgown to bed.
Just a dream,” she whispered to herself. It didn’t matter that both of them were totally bare. It wasn’t often she had a good dream, so she needed to enjoy this one to the max.
What if it wasn’t a dream? Tension crept up her spine, disturbing her sense of contentment and bringing with it a sense of growing unease.
Of course it’s a dream, she assured herself. It had to be. The only man who’d been near her bed in about a decade was the one in her dream. And even he’d never quite made it into the darn thing.
Still, she knew she would never fully relax if she didn’t test her theory and find out for certain. If this was a dream, she’d be able to open her eyes and he would still be here. Carefully, she turned her head toward him and cracked one eye open. Although it was still night, dawn was breaking in the east, and the pale light illuminated the rather large man in bed with her. When he didn’t disappear, she opened her other eye.
Yup, it was the same man from her previous dream, and he was even more handsome than she remembered. Even half asleep, his features appeared harsh and unforgiving. Tough was the word that described him best. His forehead was wide, his cheekbones high. His nose was broad, yet somehow suited his face. His eyes were closed, emphasizing the long, black lashes that fanned against his cheeks. They should have softened his face, but somehow they just served to call attention to his masculinity even more.
Thick, soft hair tumbled down his shoulders. Unable to resist, she reached out her hand and stroked her fingers through it. It was incredibly soft, the texture different from any other hair she’d ever touched. It felt almost fluffy, like fur. The light parts weren’t blond, but white. And running through it were thin stripes of black. He had the most amazing hair color.
As she continued to stroke his hair, a rumble of pleasure rose from deep in his chest. She felt the vibration against her skin and it warmed her from head to toe. It sounded almost like a purr. She grinned. She didn’t think he’d appreciate being compared to a giant housecat. No, not a housecat—that was much too tame for a man as elemental as this one. He’d be wild, like a giant lion or maybe even a tiger.
She felt a connection to the stranger, felt surprisingly safe with him. But of course, in the end, he was nothing but a figment of her very impressive imagination. She barely stifled a giggle. She felt almost punch-drunk. Well, it was her dream. She could feel any way she wanted to.
Satisfied with her assessment, Aimee continued her perusal. The quilt was tucked around his waist, leaving his impossibly wide chest and shoulders bare. She slid her fingers over the thick cords of his neck down to his immense shoulders.
Continuing her journey, she traced her fingers over his massive biceps. An intricate band was tattooed around it. Aimee had never seen anything like it. The ink was vibrant and it seemed to be ancient writing of some sort, rather than just a symbol.
She peered up at him. His eyes were still closed, his breathing even and deep.
Emboldened, she shifted again so that she was resting on her side. The perfect specimen of manhood beside her conveniently rolled onto his back, giving her unrestricted access to him. A quick glance reassured her that his eyes were still closed.
He released a slow sigh and his breathing steadied. She waited a moment or two, but thankfully, he seemed to drift back to sleep. Which was fine with her. It gave her the opportunity to explore the bounty laid out before her. Bands of muscle corrugated his torso. She’d never seen a man so ripped, not even in magazines or on television. Yet he wasn’t muscle-bound.
Reaching out, she tentatively touched his chest. Sleek, supple muscles rippled beneath her fingertips as he shifted and settled himself more comfortably against the mattress. Aimee paused in her exploration, waiting until he was still once more.
He was so warm he was almost hot. Aimee flattened her palm against his chest and felt the heavy thud of his heart beating against it. A light dusting of black hair covered his torso before angling downward and disappearing beneath the quilt. It was almost exactly like the hair on his head—smooth and silky. It was ridiculous just how soft his hair was, especially when compared to the rest of him.
Aimee slipped her fingers down the center of his chest and circled his bellybutton. The quilt shifted and something nudged her hand. She glanced down and her breath caught in her throat. He was aroused. There was no mistaking the hard, thick bulge for anything else.