Noah Littlehawk and Aaron O'Malley have searched long years for the mate they will share, a jaguar female to fulfill their lives and ease their loneliness. What begins as a job soon becomes much more when they meet Violet. Her quiet intensity calls to them. Her body makes them yearn to claim her with the savage hunger of their species.
Death comes for Violet Carson like a speeding train. She knows the shift from woman to beast will rip her apart without the help of jaguar mates. As heat and lust overwhelm her, two men step from the shadows to claim her body and soothe the fire that consumes her. But a human predator waits and he won't rest until he possesses her, body and soul.
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November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Jaguar Hunger by Regina Carlysle
"Let's see what Senor Diablo has hired us to watch," Noah Littlehawk murmured as he leaned forward in his chair. "Or better yet who." He flipped a series of switches on the intricate panel on the table in front of him. Eyeing the row of small monitors stretched out before him, he saw that each room in the multimillion dollar lodge next door was empty. For the moment.
Aaron O'Malley set down two mugs of coffee and took a seat next to him. His green eyes narrowed on the monitors too but he didn't speak as he leaned back and crossed his arms over his chest. As partners in Jaguar Investigations, they knew each other well and though they'd both needed the break provided by the beautiful, wild scenery of northern New Mexico, Noah knew there was something about this job that wasn't sitting right. Finally, Aaron grunted. "I don't trust the son of a bitch."
"Me either. The man is a devious bastard. Gossip in the San Antonio business community says Angel Ramirez has earned the name Devil. Still, his money spends as well as anyone else's. He hired us to keep an eye on his mistress for a week and that's what we're gonna do."
"Wonder why he didn't get some of his own men to do his dirty work?" Aaron straightened and reached for his coffee and took a sip. "He has an entire army out there on his hacienda."
Noah shrugged. "Who the hell knows? Guys like him buy trust but we know that's no real kind of loyalty. Maybe he's afraid one of his men will blab to his wife that he's fucking some nymphet. You know Satan's Strumpet."
Aaron snorted and reached for a manila file folder. He opened it up and both men studied the beautiful brunette in the glossy eight by ten. Noah went still as he took in the delicate, classical features, the wealth of pretty coffee-colored hair, and serious blue eyes.
"Looks can be deceiving," he said, despite the fact that one glance had him going as hard as a stone. Damn, she was a looker. Everything about her soft appearance was appealing on some elemental level but from what he knew of her, she was the mistress of a married man who quite possibly had earned his fortune in the drug trade. Angel had a wife, kids. Hell, he was a grandfather who had a sweet young thing on the side. "Shit, who am I to make moral judgments?"
"Definitely not either of us," Aaron said as he snapped the folder shut and pushed it aside. "Let's stick to the job, get it done, and then get the hell out of here."
Noah cut his friend a glance. "Feeling restless, my brother?" He addressed him in the way of their kind, in the way of the Panthera Onca. The Jaguar race. Jaguars were huge cats, only smaller than lions and tigers and at one time they populated Mexico, Texas and Arizona yet since the early nineteen hundreds they been hunted almost to extinction. Most of their breed of shifter had been hunted as well, leaving them only a handful, hidden here and there among fully human populations.
He and Aaron had known each other for hundreds of years. They traveled together, fucked human women together, and together they hunted for the one female who would complete their circle of family. Unmated jaguar females, hell, any kind of jaguar female was damn near impossible to find. They were practically extinct. Lately, he and Aaron spent most of their time just trying to fit in among the humans in the sprawling central Texas city they now called home, hoping against hope they might be two lucky males who would actually find their mate.
A seemingly impossible task.
Aaron went to his feet and paced the floor of the homey rental cabin that was nestled a short distance from where their prey would reside for her mountain vacation. He sent his fingers through his rumpled blond hair. "Yeah, I reckon." He paused and gave Noah a look filled with frustration. "For days I've had a feeling. Don't know if it's good or bad. Ever just know that something important is about to fall right on your head? Crash over you like an avalanche?"
"Considering the mountains around us, let's keep avalanches out of this, okay?"
Aaron snorted. "Yeah, right. Good idea."
Noah turned his attention back to the monitors they'd installed in Angel Ramirez's mountain vacation house days ago. He might have tried to lighten the mood but he knew just what his friend meant. For days he'd been plagued by this weird feeling that something was coming. Who the hell knew? He'd stopped being surprised by things a long time ago.
But something was in the air and he wanted to breathe it in, drag it deep into his lungs. He felt alive. That was it. He felt alive for the first time in many years. A sense of anticipation caused his blood to whip through his veins like a drug. Intoxicating. Damn, he almost felt drunk with it. Shaking his head, knowing he had to shake this mood and get the current job done, he thought of the tiny, undetectable cameras and microphones he and his partner had installed in every room of the place next door. Miz Violet Carson wasn't expecting a spy-fest and wouldn't be clued into a damn thing. They'd watch her, follow her, find out if she was meeting a lover then hightail it back to Texas. Maybe then he'd figure out what was eating at both him and his partner.
"Fuck it, brother," he said as he went to his feet and stretched tired muscles. "Let's grab a beer and get out of here. I'm going stir-crazy."
"Good idea." Aaron walked over to the fridge and grabbed a couple of bottles of beer. He set them on a rough-hewn coffee table and shrugged into a heavy shearling coat. Noah followed suit and pretty soon the two of them were walking through the wooded surroundings. Deer that roamed freely in the area lifted their heads and froze when he and Aaron stepped through the front door of the cabin. Quickly, as if sensing a predator, the deer dashed down the hill and soon disappeared.
"There goes dinner," Aaron said dryly.
The Texas Hill country was a damn near perfect place. Lush, green, a feast for the eyes, but Noah had to appreciate the pristine beauty of these mountains. Around these parts, golden leafed aspen stretched majestically skyward, mingling with pinon pine and other dense foliage as far as the eye could see. In the distance, snow-topped mountains rose up as if standing guard over the nature around them. Beneath their feet, dry leaves, russet and red, crunched underfoot as they milled around aimlessly.
Noah took a pull from his beer and stared off down the winding road that would bring their prey to them. They'd wandered close to the huge structure they'd strolled through just a few days ago. The cedar and glass house was more than a house. Damn thing was a mansion as far as he was concerned.
"Hell of a vacation spot," he said stopping to lean against the thick trunk of an ancient fir.
"I could live here." Aaron stuffed his empty bottle in his coat pocket and picked up a pine cone from the ground. Tossing it and catching it repeatedly, he finally snatched it up and looked at him. "Wish we weren't working. I wouldn't mind prowling around the area a little bit."
"Maybe in another week or--"
They both went still at the sound of tires crunching on gravel as a vehicle rounded a corner and pulled into the horseshoe drive in front of Angel Ramirez's mountain home. Behind the wheel of the chocolate-brown SUV was a certain pretty brunette. They were standing fairly nearby in an area just between the big cabin and the much smaller one so they both got a good look at her as she braked to a stop.
"Her pictures don't do her justice," Aaron murmured under his breath. "Perfect."
Noah went still as she stepped out of the vehicle and stretched a bit. From where they stood they heard her sigh. Being a Supernatural had its handy moments for sure. The sound wrapped around him like a soft wind and his skin prickled. What the hell?
"You feel that, Noah?"
"Yeah. Just remember she's a job not a quick fuck."
"Who's talking about quick?"
She walked around to the back of the vehicle and pulled out two suitcases. After struggling with them for a minute, she hoisted them to the ground as a quick breeze caught her dark hair and whipped the shiny stuff around her oval face. She glanced up with a startled look but both he and Aaron grinned and gave her a friendly wave.
Separating himself from Aaron, he loped up as she picked up a couple of brown paper grocery store sacks. "Here, let me help you with that." He caught a whiff of her faint perfume and tried to ignore it. He plastered on his friendliest smile and watched her shoulders relax slightly.
"I've got it. Really. But thanks." Violet Carson had a voice like hot buttered sin. Husky and slow with a slight Southern lilt. He plucked one of the sacks from her overburdened arms.
"Violet Carson. Wow. What a cool name."
His smile widened and this time it was completely genuine. "My Cherokee ancestors seemed to think so." He glanced over as Aaron sauntered up wearing his warmest, most open expression. "This is my buddy, Aaron O'Malley. We're here for the week. Thought we'd go up to the mountain and get a little skiing in. Maybe do some trout fishing."
"Sounds fun. Real guy stuff."
"Aaron this is Violet Carson."
Aaron stuck out his hand, playing the part of a hapless everyman then laughed at the sight of her arms full of grocery sacks. "Here, let me get these for you," he said as he bent to grab her suitcases, one in each hand. "Might have some trouble getting these up all those stairs."
"Thanks," she said, smiling. Her expression was warm and open. She was not a bit as he'd expected considering she was the mistress of Angel Ramirez who, from all accounts was as cold as fucking ice. One would imagine he'd go for the cool, man-eater type. Well, he'd been wrong before. Maybe he was wrong now. "Where are you guys from?"
"Texas," Aaron said as he made his way up the wide cedar and brick stairs leading to the front portico.
"Really? Now isn't that funny. I'm from Texas, too. San Antonio."
"No shit!" Noah followed her, his gaze on the gentle curves of her ass as he climbed the steps behind her. "We're from the Hill Country, too. Some coincidence huh?"
"It sure is," she said, stopping at the front door where she set down her grocery bag and gave him a wide-eyed look from those sweet baby blues. "What do ya'll do?"
"We both work for an advertising firm."
"Hm. Well, thanks for this." She smiled a little, caution setting in. After all she didn't know them and shouldn't invite two strangers into her place, no matter where they came from. Smart. She dug for her keys in the oversized black leather bag she carried on her shoulder. "It would have taken me several trips. Hope you have fun while you're here."
"We plan to," he said, giving her space by stepping away. "You too."
With that, he and Aaron left her and headed back to the small cabin to begin their surveillance.