Word count: 48,900
Serena Blakely made two deathbed promises to her first lover: first that she will love again; and second that she will go on safari with her uncle to hunt the legendary Great Lion. Nothing could’ve prepared her for what she finds on the African plains. Her uncle’s hunting companion is the sexiest man she has ever met, but more than that, she also meets the ngatu, a shapeshifting lion-man right out of African folklore. And the ngatu wants Serena for his mate!
Aubrey Darnell has a secret. The broken heart that once drove him from England to Africa has now transformed him into the ngatu, a shapeshifter lion and man. He has managed to keep his identity a secret. Until now. The mere scent of Serena Blakely sends him into the change. She is his mate, and her love can cure him . Now he must seduce the beautiful young Englishwoman without her finding out he’s the very man she’s promised to hunt.
Publisher’s note: This book is previously published elsewhere.
Something creaked, snapping her gaze to the French doors. They were standing open, the soft white curtains wafting in a breeze. Her heart thumped painfully and she began to shiver. She'd closed those doors before getting into bed.
A shadow loomed over her and she yelped softly, scrambling back against the headboard.
A man, with dark gold hair full and long like a lion's mane, appeared as if from a whisper, his large, powerful body hovering over hers. A full, soft beard, equally soft and wild, covered his cheeks and jaw, and his eyes glinted, like a cat's in the shadows. They were greener than emeralds flecked with gold, their gaze burning into hers. In spite of her fear, Serena found herself captured by the glittering jewels.
He was so close that Serena could feel the heat rising from him. His breath caressed the skin of her face, and tension quivered through his taut, sinewy muscles. He seemed ready to pounce on her.
She stared back, equally tensed. His scent, musky and wild, was unlike any other she'd ever experienced. In spite of her fear, she began to melt, as she had earlier on the terrace.
"Who are you?" Serena whispered over the vibration that seemed to emanate from his core. If she didn't know better, she'd have sworn he was purring!
He continued to stare at her, that strange thrum filling her senses, blending with her own heartbeat. Under his hypnotic gaze, the tension in her body drained. A primal throbbing took over between her thighs, and her breathing became ragged. Desire blazed, making ashes of her fear. She knew that whatever this man wanted, she would give.
She saw him inching his way closer to the edge of the bed. He moved cautiously, like a cat stalking a mouse until he reached bedside and crouched.
"Who are you?" she whispered again, although she did not expect an answer. She didn't know if he even understood.
In one light swift motion, he sprang up, perching his large muscled body on the edge of the mattress. His shoulders and chest were broad, and his arms and torso rippled with quivering muscles. And he was naked.
Serena's eyes had adjusted to the shadowy light and she could see his entire body. His thighs were long with hard muscle. His waist tapered into slim hips and round hard buttocks. When he moved, she saw his cock, long and hard, springing upward from a nest of dark hair. She caught her breath at the sight.
Suddenly, he was over her, his large hands pushed into the pillow on either side of her head. He lowered his face closer and closer. His eyes glittered into hers.
The spellbinding purr that emanated from him vibrated through Serena. Her eyes fluttered closed as the sensation caressed her breasts and the swelling musky flesh of her vaginal cleft. Her breasts heaved with her ragged breaths and her skin dampened with perspiration inspired by the heat of his body so close to hers.
Gently, with a whispery light touch, he nudged her, just like a cat, with his forehead against her cheek. The movement sent a wave of pleasure rippling through her and she instinctively parted her legs, wanting his large, strong body between them.