By Katya Armock
Chloe can “talk” to animals…so why can she hear the thoughts of this hot, green-eyed man?
Abandoned by her mother and raised by a father who’d given up on life, Chloe doesn’t let anyone get close. Lucky for her, she can communicate with animals—telepathically. Animals are the only people she needs. When a suspected dogfighting ring comes to her attention, Chloe decides to do a little spying. In her rush to win the dogs’ trust, she almost gets caught.
Until a sexy stranger intervenes, and she finds she can overhear his thoughts. She’s never been able to hear people, and this man’s about as sexy as she’s ever seen. It’s more than intellectual curiosity that drives her to discover his secret: he’s a jaguar shape-shifter, and the presence of this cat among the dogs might be a bit too much to handle. But the animal attraction is just too hot to resist, and the passion between them makes both the sparks—and the fur—fly…
“Despite how things were left last night, I am still concerned for your welfare, Chloe. It was not my intent to upset you last night. I am, uh, I am…”
I want to jump in and finish his sentence with something like “stupid,” “mercurial,” “heartless,” “a cad,” et cetera, but I bite my tongue. I did, after all, admit I might already be in love with him earlier today. Perhaps I shouldn’t do anything to completely screw this up.
So instead of a biting retort, I soften my expression but still stare mercilessly, willing him to look back up and meet my eyes.
He finally looks up, his eyes pleading with me to understand. “…I do not do well interacting with people. And I don’t tell people my secrets.”
I find myself melting a little when I see some chinks through the wall he erected last night. “Yeah, well, I can understand that.”
He looks mildly surprised that I’m not berating him or stomping past him to get in my car. Am I really that harsh?
Yeah, maybe. No, definitely, if I go on what he’s seen of me.
“You do?” He looks more vulnerable, and therefore more sexy, by the minute.
“I know having to hide a part of yourself puts up a pretty big barrier to maintaining relationships,” I say, and find I mean it. I smile. “And you do seem like kind of a nerd, too.” I’m relieved by the slight upturn to his lips.
“Yeah. You’re quiet and I bet you know a lot. You’ve got a bookish vibe.” At that he seems a little crestfallen, and I worry I just undid any repairs I’d made to this incredibly awkward conversation/relationship/
“That’s not a bad thing. Nerdy can be cool. I’m somewhat of a science nerd and bookish myself. And you’re a pretty sexy nerd, so it’s all good.” Oh, God. There go my capillaries again.
I decide the best way to save face is to keep staring at him, so I see his mouth widen into a satisfied grin. His nervousness seems to have evaporated, and he’s back to cool cat. “You think I’m sexy?”
“And if I do?”
Author Bio:I like books that are funny and fun to read (and hot!) but also make me think or look at the world in a new way. I am influenced by magic realism, comparative mythology, and esoteric spiritual practices from around the world.
I spent too many years chasing someone else’s definition of success. My life simplified, I returned to my first love of writing.
These days you’ll find me writing, pet sitting, juggling a number of freelance gigs, and reigning as my home’s domestic goddess. I live in the Midwestern U.S. with my husband, dog and cats. Alas, I have, as of yet, been unable to teach my husband how to purr.