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Sexy Beast 9
By VONNA HARPER CRYSTAL JORDAN LISA RENEE JONES
APHRODISIA BOOKSCopyright © 2010 Kensington Publishing Corp.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneLifting his head, the predator pulled an unexpected scent into his lungs. At first, other than determining that it came from the river, he couldn't isolate it from the potent smell of his lush surroundings. Boats traveling the lazy waterway between India and
Bhutan were daily occurances, giving rise to the question of why this one had caught his attention when so little interested him anymore. Then he noticed the two women standing in the front of the small craft. Eyes narrowing, he drew in another deep breath. That was all he needed to determine that one of them was in heat. Not only was her body temperature higher than her companion's, her sex juices flowed. Gathering his legs under him, he stood and stared through the heavy brush he'd been hiding behind. His tail lashed.
Despite the distance between himself and the humans, his keen sense of scent left him with no doubt that the one he craved was the taller of the two. In her late twenties or early thirties, she wore a sleeveless, pale yellow sundress that reached to her knees. Her legs were bare, her sandals simple things.
The hot Assam spring breeze wrapped the loose fabric around her firm, yet slender thighs and tossed her shoulder-blade length blond hair around her throat and across her forehead, prompting her to push it off her face with ringless fingers. When the wind undermined her effort, she caught her hair at the back of her neck, laughing as she did. His cock stirred at the sound.
Perhaps a half dozen men were crowded into the boat with the women, all of them seeming to talk at once. The chorus of noise from those he wanted nothing to do with made it impossible for him to determine what the two women were saying to each other, not that the words would have made sense. Just the same, a distinctly feminine murmur reached him, and he knew he'd never forget the timbre of the taller one's voice. Maybe he'd been waiting for it without knowing it. She spoke softly, slowly, in English. That, as much as the scent of sex, riveted him. How long had it been since he'd heard the only language he understood?
Lonely in a way that threatened what little remained of his sanity, he continued to study her. Oblivious to his scrutiny, she and her companion kept up their conversation. Her occasional laughter filled his head nearly to bursting, and if he could, he would have plunged into the river, caught up with the boat, and launched himself at her.
Had it truly come to that for him?
On the tail of the question he would have given anything to deny, he had no choice but to admit that yes, if he could, he'd force himself on and into her, and in the mating end two years of hell.
Damn it! It was her fault!
Determined to shake off the fury that would keep him awake and hungry tonight, he ordered himself to turn his back on her, but even as he did, he knew he couldn't. She represented everything he'd lost, everything he longed for.
With no choice but to accept the soul-deep pain, he reassured himself that she couldn't see him. That done, he took several deep breaths. Her fertile time hadn't yet arrived, but it was close enough that her woman's body was preparing for it. He had no doubt that her cunt had softened and warmed. Her breasts were tender, her senses on the prowl for a male even as her civilized nature refused to admit how much she needed to fuck.
Back a lifetime ago when he'd been human he wouldn't have keyed into her heat and hunger. Granted, he might have noted her heightened interest in males, but he wouldn't have understood what was behind a lingering look and flushed throat. Although he hated nearly everything that had been done to him, at least the inescapable forced him to concentrate on what had suddenly become the most important thing in his life, fucking a human female.
Unfortunately, wanting and getting lived in different worlds.
Fighting another wave of anger took all of his concentration. By the time he was capable of focusing on her again, the crude craft had drifted past. Before long, he wouldn't be able to see or smell her. Determined not to let that happen, he put his muscles to work. Even as he hugged dirt, rocks, and grasses, he continued to taste the air. If anything her sex scent was stronger than at first, making him wonder if she somehow sensed his presence. She kept looking around, and her hands were restless on her hips. At the moment, she was standing on her toes, her back arched so her breasts tested the yellow fabric. If she could do so without anyone noticing, would she massage her hardened nipples?
Make it night. Place her on a soft bed in a cool room. Strip off her clothes and let her celebrate her nudity. Give her the freedom and courage to explore her body. Slide her hands over her breasts, along her sides, into the softly curled mass of fair hair at the apex of her legs. That done, glide her fingers over her labia and force her to breathe through her arousal. Mouth open and panting, let her part her sex lips and dive into the heated, wet hole.
In his fevered mind, she was now turned-on, fully and completely caught up in her gift to herself. Embraced by need, she wouldn't immediately notice the male presence in the room, but when she did, instead of being alarmed, she'd laugh and spread her legs even more and offer herself, not just to any male, but to him.
I've been preparing myself for you, she'd tell him. Maybe my whole life has been about this moment.
Determined to live in the stolen moment, he'd whisper that she was right as he climbed onto the bed and settled his body over hers.
The fantasy faded, leaving him lost. Looking around, he realized he hadn't kept pace with the craft. Ignoring caution, he pushed through the brush until he was nearly parallel to the boat. He strained to separate the women's voices from the others. At first only the higher tones distinguished female from male, but by putting full effort into it, words began to make sense. Thrilled and disbelieving, he risked getting even closer to the bank.
"Well," he heard. "Is it everything you thought it was going to be?"
Distracted by the other female's question, he nearly tripped over a log. The boat was heading toward a bend in the river. If he didn't keep up his pace while remaining hidden, he'd-
"It is amazing, isn't it?" the shorter female continued, her accent causing the hairs along his spine to lift. "I told you the reserve was just as nature designed it. If I was a white, this is where I'd want to live. No zoo for me."
That voice, had he heard it before? Stopped by the question and his sudden alarm, he stared as the boat slipped closer to the bend. Although he'd fought the mist that stood between him and his past more times than he could remember, he again tore at the thick veil. Something started to lift, and a memory pushed through the mist at him. Then, before he could make sense of it, the past disappeared.
Slammed by equal amounts of reality, pain, and fury, the tiger once known as Rhodes Jenner screamed.
A tiger's cry seared Jori Bianchi's nerves. Jolted out of her attempt to respond to what her companion had just asked, she clutched the railing and stared into the dense cover that made up the bulk of the Manas Tiger Reserve in the Bhutan hills of Assam in northwestern India. At the same time, she chided herself for letting her mind drift when she should have been concentrating on catching a glimpse of the rare white tiger she'd come thousands of miles to see. As a zoologist working for a big cat rescue organization in Texas, she should have one goal, one mission.
"Wow. I didn't expect that," her newfound friend Vasanta Malhotra said, sounding disbelieving.
"That?" Jori repeated.
Vasanta stared unmoving at where the sound had come from. "To hear a tiger right off the bat and for it to be so close."
"It is close," she agreed. "But didn't you say you didn't know squat about big cats? How can you be so sure what it is?"
Vasanta looked at her from behind lush black lashes, then turned her attention back to their surroundings. "Sure? Maybe I just want it to be what you're looking for. I'm right, aren't I?"
Jori glanced at the other reserve visitors who, like her, had taken note of the sound. Unfortunately, the language barrier prevented her from saying anything to them. "Yes, you are," she told Vasanta. "At least about it being a tiger. How exciting!" An omen, maybe?
The exotic-looking Indian woman with long, ebony hair, large, black eyes, and dusky skin nodded. "So where is it?"
"You're asking me? This is your homeland, not mine. Unfortunately, thanks to the forest, we might never see it." Disappointment tightened her throat. It wasn't fair! After everything she'd done to get here, didn't she deserve more than a single sound that might or might not belong to the predator named Mohan in honor of the first white tiger to come under human control?
"Maybe we can get our guide to stop," Vasanta offered as she covered Jori's hand with her own.
"Then what? I can't just jump out and head for shore." "But you want to, don't you?"
"More than anyone could know. Talk about being obsessed."
"That you are. I figured that out the moment you told me about your reason for coming to India." Vasanta shook her head. "If that's Mohan-"
"Chances are it isn't," she said, partly to stop herself from getting carried away. "With nearly a hundred tigers in the reserve, it'd be too much to ask for to have found Mohan the first day I'm here."
"Like you said, if only the staff here hadn't let him loose so soon after he was captured and brought to Manas."
Jori couldn't help smiling. After all, just a few days ago, Vasanta hadn't known anything about Mohan, let alone her mission. But since the two women had bumped into each other during the Bohaag Bihu festival celebrating spring, Vasanta had come to comprehend Jori's dedication to her assignment. In fact, Vasanta had insisted on accompanying her to the tiger reserve.
"I couldn't agree more that he should have been studied to determine he truly doesn't have any of those dangerous inbred tendencies instead of being set free so soon," Jori pointed out. "But we're talking about an area of the country that's been dealing with upheaval for years. Obviously they have more important things to focus on than protecting a white stud."
"Believe me, I know all about the upheaval. Just the same, like you told me, it's been decades since a white has been spotted in the wild. There's so damn much zoologists could learn from studying him. Then there's the whole breeding business."
"Which is why I'm here. To think there might be a healthy, pure white ..."
Vasanta shook her head, then lifted her hand to shield her eyes. Doing the same, Jori strained to see more than an unending mass of vegetation. Situated far from human habitation, Manas provided a safe environment for many of India's exotic creatures. Everything from red pandas to pigmy hogs, the rare golden langur, giant hornbills, hoolock gibbons, even hispid hares and herons lived in the wilds.
When she'd flown over the preserve on her way to the closest airport at Guwahati, the great carpet of lush green had more than taken her breath. Looking down at it, she'd half believed she was going to step back in time. Of course, knowing she'd be staying in one of the state bungalows at Mathanguri deep in the forest while waiting for her meetings with reserve officials reinforced that impression. Because there wasn't any electricity, everyone who stayed there had to bring in whatever food they'd need.
"I hate saying this, but I have to," she admitted to Vasanta. "Maybe, no matter how hard I try, I won't see Mohan. After all, he could be anywhere. Even if I manage to convince staff here to help me capture him, who knows if I'll be successful."
"What's with this I business? I thought we were in this together?"
"Oops. It's just that when I started begging and pleading for this assignment, I thought I'd be on my own."
"Well, you're not. Get that in your head. Like I keep telling you, this is a hell of a lot more interesting than trying to please more bosses than I can keep track of. For as long as you're here, I'm at your side."
Although she was still trying to get used to Vasanta's insistence that she delay returning to work after the vacation Vasanta had taken to celebrate Bohaag Bihu, she had to admit she appreciated the company. As an interpreter for a leading shipping company and fluent in English, Hindi, Sindhi, and Bengali, Vasanta was the perfect companion.
Also, being around a young woman who made no secret of embracing her sexuality was a kick. Thanks in large part to the sexual undertones of Bohaag Bihu, the two had quickly determined what, maybe, they had most in common. If she told Vasanta that she felt as if she might crawl out of her skin within the next minute, would her friend say she knew exactly what she was talking about?
Of course she would. After all, hadn't Vasanta been the one to answer her questions about the spring Assam festival celebrating the advent of seeding time? Although she still didn't know everything about the tradition behind the celebration, she'd been delighted when Vasanta had encouraged her to join in the dances taking place in the small village where they'd met. According to Vasanta, Bohaag Bihu included folk songs of love and romance. Known as Bihugeets or Bihu songs, they gave each village's prettiest young women an excuse to dress in colorful costumes and flirt. Granted, she'd had to hum because she didn't understand the words, but going by the men's reactions, the songs were more than a little suggestive, and if she'd wanted, she could have had her pick of sexual partners. Yes, she'd been more than a little tempted, in part because the dancing had had her all hot and bothered, but the last thing she dared do was jeopardize her primary reason for her trip. It was one thing for Vasanta to say yes in response to a man's less-than-veiled invitation to wander off into the dark. As for her, she'd spent her nights trying to deal with a body that wanted one thing, to be fucked. Some concentrated masturbation took the edge off, but the edge kept coming back.
Right now it took all she had not to lift her skirt and rub her fingers over her cunt. Being turned-on had a lot going for it. A quickened heartbeat and higher temperature was a hell of a lot more intriguing than not caring about sex, but why did her body feel so out of control today? In fact, she half believed she could happily accommodate a new sex partner every half hour until exhaustion landed her facedown on the dirt. She was insatiable, plain and simple.
More to the point, she was standing on a poorly constructed boat drifting down the Manas River in the middle of a massive reserve in a country she'd never thought she'd see, with no sign of a man she could communicate with, let alone trust to scratch her itches.
"You're doing it again," Vasanta said as she bumped Jori's arm with her own. "Getting that spaced out look."
"Am I?" she asked without taking her attention from the seemingly endless jungle.
"Indeed you are. As I've pointed out before, it's my educated opinion that you need to get laid."
"That I do," Jori finally thought to agree. "Do you think there was anything in what we had to drink during the festival, a little something to get the juices going that stays in the system for a long time?"
Vasanta studied her, her gaze growing more serious with every moment. "It's really getting to you?"
"I don't know what you mean by it, but I'm serious. If someone with a cock so much as looked at me right now, I'd jump his bones. Too damn bad this place doesn't have a cold shower."
"You could jump into the river, but it's hardly cold," Vasanta said after a brief silence. "Nothing around here is this time of the year."
Vasanta was right. It might only be April but already this part of the world was hot and getting hotter. Between being on a trip that might well be the opportunity of her career and needing to get laid, she didn't know how to control her emotions, to say nothing of what to do with her nerve endings. She felt newborn, in the middle of a grand adventure, excited and scared all at the same time.
Excerpted from Sexy Beast 9 by VONNA HARPER CRYSTAL JORDAN LISA RENEE JONES Copyright © 2010 by Kensington Publishing Corp.. Excerpted by permission.
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