Book 1 in the Heart of the Jaguar Series
USA Today bestselling author Terry Spear has captured hearts worldwide by wrapping the realities of nature into the glorious romance of the wild. Now, she turns her award-winning imagination from the sexy werewolf hunt to the intense sizzle of jaguar shape-shifters.
As a jaguar he is graceful and gorgeous...
Speedy and stealthy...
Fierce, independent, and wild...
As a man he is passionate and powerful...
Willful and wonderful...
And he'll stop at nothing to protect what's his...
Heart of the Jaguar Series:
Savage Hunger (Book 1)
Jaguar Fever (Book 2)
Jaguar Hunt (Book 3)
Jaguar Pride (Book 4)
Praise for Dreaming of the Wolf:
"Fascinating and action-packed."-RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars
"Sizzling with passion, sexual tension, and page-turning suspense."-Bookloons
Praise for Wolf Fever:
"Sensual, passionate, and very well written."-Long and Short Reviews
"Terry Spear knows exactly how to extract emotions from her readers...and keep them riveted."-Love Romance Passion
About the Author
Mackenzie Cartwright was born in New York City to two artist parents and traveled the world at a young age. While in Italy, she discovered the joys of pasta and wine and has been a lifelong practitioner of the art of cooking. Mackenzie lives with her husband and their Siberian husky in New York City.
Read an Excerpt
The Amazon Rain Forest
Everything appeared perfect. Or so it seemed. In the Amazon, bliss could disintegrate into danger in the flash of a lightning strike.
After tangling with a caiman in the river as a jaguar and carrying the reptile back to the hut for his sister, Maya, to cook, Connor Anderson was half drowsing in a tree a couple of miles away, his tail swishing at flies, his eyes half-lidded as he focused on nothing much in particular. Just the way he liked it when they were on vacation here in the rain forest.
Since he had caught the caiman to eat, she had to prepare it. Often they ate as jaguars as nature intended, leaving the meat raw and without spicing it up, no fuss or muss.
But Maya was trying to talk him into searching for a shifter mate again, and this was one of the ways she presented her argument-by preparing a meal fit for a king and giving him a list of all the reasons they needed to find mates, pronto.
He had heard it all before. If a female jaguar-shifter had crossed his path, and he and she had hit it off, he would have considered the possibility of a mating. But that hadn't happened.
Maya was insistent that they try harder to find more of their kind.
He was beginning to wonder if any others existed, other than their own parents and their grandparents before them.
In the distance, the sound of a woman's laughter and sweetly spoken English words without a hint of a Spanish accent caught his attention. The dense jungle foliage muffled the voices, male laughter, and boisterous talk-all in Spanish-following the woman's light chatter. His ears twitched as he listened intently to the sound of her voice as she spoke again, a breathy sugary voice that enthralled him. But then he thought she sounded-drunk.
That notion curdled the pineapple juice in the pit of his stomach. What was she doing out here with these men? And drunk?
"Gonzales will be grateful when he learns we have her. He'll like that we grabbed her even better than the hooker we got him last week."
Connor's hackles rose. If she wasn't a hooker, what would the drug dealer want with the woman who sounded American? Ransom came to mind.
"She will be worth a lot," another said.
Yeah, he had it figured right. A hostage, kidnap victim. Probably the men had spied her in a bar flashing a lot of money around. Most likely, they'd picked her up after plying her with alcohol, taken her hostage, and planned to hide her at a temporary camp in the jungle while they decided how best to get payment for her.
In the condition she was in, she most likely didn't know she was a victim-yet. She probably didn't speak Spanish and didn't know what the men were saying, or they wouldn't have been talking so plainly in front of her.
And these men worked for Gonzales, which was bad news any way they cut it. The man was a cutthroat with fingers in every pie that screamed corruption.
Without hesitation, Connor leaped from the tree in rescue mode and raced toward the sound of their voices. They were a long way off, but his jaguar hearing picked up their conversations just the same.
But how in the world was he to rescue her? The men would be armed to the teeth, and though his teeth could take out any number of them, he would never manage if there were many men.
"Take her and tie her up," one of the men said, "before her comrades come to get her. We will have a surprise waiting for them."
Her comrades? Either more hostages for the taking, or there was bound to be a lot of bloodshed.
Connor quickened his run, careful to ensure that no one else who might be in this part of the rain forest would see him as he ran in the direction of the encampment.
The woman was quiet now. Had she sobered up and was more aware of the danger she was in? Or had she passed out or been knocked out to make her easier to control?
Torn between feeling annoyance that the woman had gotten herself into such a predicament and concern that he couldn't save her in time, he pushed his big cat muscles to the limit.
"No!" she screamed, and the pain in her voice triggered another rush of adrenaline shooting into his blood, his heart pounding furiously.
Maya would never forgive him if he got himself killed in this venture and left her all alone. But he wouldn't be able to forgive himself if he didn't try to save the woman and she died.
"No!" the woman screamed again, and the men all laughed.
"You think you have fooled us, Captain Kathleen McKnight?" one of the men said in broken English.
Connor slowed his pace. Captain? What the hell?
"You wanted to see Carlos Gonzales, sí? You will see him, señorita, and you will be the last to die. He'll want you to watch the rest of your men die first."
All hell broke loose after that. Shooting, English commands shouted through the thick foliage, Spanish curses, screams of pain. Connor paused, his tail twitching, his nose tilted up, trying to smell gunpowder. But he was too far away from the fighting, and without a hint of a breeze in the dense jungle, he smelled nothing but the richness of the rain forest.
He wasn't stupid enough to go into the middle of a firefight. As long as the Americans were part of some kind of drug raid, which was what he assumed now, and were in on this with Captain McKnight, he had no business interceding.
Yet, he couldn't move from the spot of ground where he was rooted, listening for anything further from the woman-a word, a command, another cry of pain. He couldn't leave without knowing she and the Americans were successful, and that she had departed the jungle in one piece.
"No!" the woman cried out again.
More gunfire and swearing, then silence.
As if in the jungle anything could be silent. The bugs continued their raucous singing, the frogs croaked, birds chirped, and monkeys called out. But the sound of man had ceased to exist.
Then more shots were fired, followed by screams this time and sobbing from the woman.
Hell. Connor was certain the woman wouldn't be getting out of there alive.
He ran toward what he figured had to be a temporary encampment, intending to wing his attempt at rescuing the woman without any real plan.
He had come to the Amazon on his and Maya's semiannual visit to get away and commune with their jaguar half in their native environment-not to deal with members of the damned drug cartel. He avoided them unless the drug traffickers came too close to their hut. And then he and Maya dealt with them in the way they knew best-in their jaguar forms.
Maya would have fits if she knew what he was about to do.
Captain Kathleen McKnight struggled to breathe in the hot, humid air of the Colombian Amazon rain forest. She had managed to free herself long enough to wrest a gun away from a dead drug dealer and shoot two more of them dead. But then another man rushed into the tent and shot her in the thigh.
She gritted her teeth against the pain and shot back, aiming at a more lethal spot. One bullet to the head, and he went down. Then another bang, another sharp pain. This one to the fleshy part of her arm, effectively making her drop the weapon. Damn it to hell.
She dove for a rifle. The rush of boots pounded the earth in her direction. Her fingers closed around the weapon.
But something slammed into the back of her head. A sharp, blinding pain shrieked through her skull. She fell forward and landed on her hands, thinking for a flash of a second that she was a dead woman before a black void swallowed her whole.
When she came to minutes later, Kathleen hurt everywhere-her arm, her leg, her head. Her hands were tied with rope and bound to a metal pole that was holding up the top of the canvas tent. The stench of blood surrounded her as her five Army teammates lay on the dirt floor, limbs twisted, clothes bloodied, all dead. Carlos Gonzales would keep her for last-the Trojan horse that had brought the enemy to his camp. From everything she'd read about the drug lord, she knew he would not kill her quickly.
But he must have left the camp after she saw him running for cover, or she was certain he would be standing over her, gloating over killing her team members while she was at his mercy.
The mission to take down the bastard was a bust. It was too late for the others in her team. Too late for her.
Her thigh and arm burned where the bullets had bitten into them. Yet her skin chilled. She twisted her hands to free herself from the ropes binding her. Blinding pain shot through her leg, arm, and head. Her vision blurred with the blood loss and from the excruciating pain, and she knew if she didn't stop the bleeding, she wouldn't make it. Three of Gonzales's men remained in the tent with her, guarding her. One smiled with half-rotted teeth, clearly amused at her futile attempt to free herself.
A shower of bullets popped again and again in the Amazon jungle, farther from the drug warlord's compound. Rat-ta-tat-tat. Men swore in Spanish, some screaming in pain, others shouting orders.
Her heart raced with renewed hope. A rescue attempt? For her? Well, for the team, but no one else was alive and whoever it was probably didn't know that. But... who were they?
"Captain McKnight?" someone shouted from somewhere far away, like he was on the other side of the planet.
"Here!" she croaked, her throat parched and hoarse.
Callahan? She thought. But the major hadn't been on this mission. He had been responsible for it, but she thought he had stayed behind the scenes.
Then silence. Callahan?
No one approached the tent, and the three men guarding her exited to see what was happening. "Jaguar!" one of the men shouted, terror in his voice.
Jaguar? No feral cat with any sense would come here in the middle of a shoot-out. Maybe she hadn't heard the man right.
She twisted to free her wrists from the rope. Not making any progress, she stretched out her uninjured leg so that the toe of her hiking boot could hook onto the hilt of a sheathed dagger of the dead man lying closest to her.
Weapons fired. She stopped and stared in the direction of the tent flap. Outside, screams and curses ensued. Fierce growling mixed with the men's terrified voices. Then silence.
Kathleen envisioned a vicious jaguar bounding into the tent and finishing her off, too. She struggled again to free herself. Then she heard movement outside, not sure what was happening.
With her skin perspiring and her wounds bleeding, the only thing keeping her conscious was the pain and the fear of what was coming next.
Footfalls hurried toward the tent. Kathleen braced for whoever it was-one of her captors or a rescuer-praying he was her rescuer.
His chest and feet bare, a man wearing a pair of jungle-green camouflage pants and carrying an assault rifle at the ready stopped in the entryway and stared at her, his mouth grim. His hair was short and blond but not cut in the military style. His face was angular and handsome, his torso bronzed and well sculpted. He didn't look like he could be one of Gonzales's men, yet he wasn't one of her men, either. His hair was too shaggy, and his face sported a shadow of blond stubble.
Even the pants he was wearing didn't fit. The waistband was slung low on his lean hips, the pant legs too short for his long legs, as though he had borrowed them in a hurry from a much shorter man. His gaze searched the tent, ensuring no one was a threat, then again fastened on hers, and for an instant his eyes reminded her of the golden eyes of a feral beast.
The female captain's eyes shut and Connor raced across the tent. He grabbed a knife from one of Gonzales's dead soldiers and cut a much cleaner shirt off a dead American soldier. Then Connor sliced through the rope tied around the captain's wrists. He quickly worked to bind her wounds to stem the bleeding. Her blue eyes opened briefly, but she was drifting off, her gaze attempting to focus on him, her lips parted as if to speak. He could tell she was having a devil of a time staying conscious.
Despite everything, she smelled like a bit of fairy heaven, a sweet flowery fragrance that forced him to take another deep breath, despite his attempt at staying neutral. Her sensual feminine smell assaulted his senses, irritating him at being cursed with his jaguar senses at this particular moment. His pheromones kicked up a notch, triggered by the firestorm of sensations he was experiencing.
"Stay awake," he ordered, trying to concentrate on keeping her alive until help could come for her and struggling to get his focus back on what was important and off his own primitive jaguar need to find a mate and procreate.
"American," she whispered, her eyes heavily lidded. She closed them.
He snapped, "Captain, stay... awake!"
"Easy for you to say," she said, sounding waspish, but as weak as she was, she didn't have the bite to her words.
He smiled darkly and continued to bind her wounds.
"Who are you? What... ah," she grimaced, reaching out to touch him, "are you doing here?"
"Connor Anderson's the name, and I'm vacationing in the area. Save your strength." As soon as he said his last name, he wondered why he had given her that much information.
"I'm... trying... to... stay... awake," she growled, but again the softly irritated tone didn't have the effect he imagined she was going for.
"Where is your rendezvous point?"
If he could take her to where her men would pick up the Army team, she might have a chance. The sound of men crashing through the trees made Connor rise quickly, grab a rifle, and slip out the back of the tent, intending to ambush Gonzales's men before they knew what had hit them.
"Connor," the captain whispered, and it killed him to have to leave her behind, even for just the moment.
But he couldn't protect her if armed men greatly outnumbered him. Hidden in the thick vegetation, Connor saw U.S. Army men scouring the campsite, and he assumed they were coming to rescue the captain. He tossed the rifle and borrowed camouflaged pants and shifted, then waited in the mesh of trees until he heard one of the men speaking: "Hell, Kathleen."
The woman's rescue was now out of Connor's hands. So why the hell wasn't he relieved?
What People are Saying About This
"Beautiful and magical" - The World of Jesse Kimmel-Freeman
"You will feel the humidity against your skin, smell the lush vegetation, and hear the howler monkeys in the trees. She transports you to the predatory, magical, tropical world of jaguar-shifters." - Paranormal Romance with Lisa Annesley
"An action packed page turner." - Urban Girl Reader
"Everything you could want in a paranormal romance is in here, fast paced action, explosive romance and well developed characters that you will easily grow to love" - A Bookworm's Haven
"A sexy, action-packed paranormal romance that is sure to captivate you from the very beginning." - Romance Junkies
"Spear tells the story in such a way you come to believe in the ability while immersed in the characters' lives. She makes the impossible seem real and natural while keeping you in suspense." - Thoughts in Progress
"Terry Spear takes her readers on a wild ride through the Amazon... " - Joyfully Reviewed
"Wow, [Spear's] writing voice is beautiful and [she] is a wonderful storyteller. " - Wickedly Delicious Book Blog
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Captain Kathleen McKnight and her team are in the Amazon trying to take down a dangerous drug lord, but the mission goes horribly wrong. She's kidnapped, her team is ambushed and slaughtered, and she would have been next, if it hadn't been for the appearance of a jaguar followed by the mysterious Connor Anderson. He's instantly attracted to the brave female warrior before him, but he can't risk his secret being uncovered, and he decides to let her go. Kathleen can't forget the trauma from the failed mission. Suffering from PTSD and the subsequent dissolution of her engagement to her fiance, she follows her psychiatrist's recommendation to go back to the jungle to face her fears. She's determined to find Connor, the man who keeps a pet jaguar, to thank him in person. Upon her arrival, her guide fails to show up,and so she decides to make the trek alone. Surely a pet jaguar won't harm her, right? It doesn't take long before Connor crosses paths with her, and he decides to take her back to the home he shares with his sister, Maya. It's not long before the drug lord hears about her reappearance on his turf, and he wants her. Can Connor keep her safe from her enemies, keep his secret and possibly get his mate as well? Maya recognizes the sizzling chemistry between her brother and Kat. She desperately wants Connor to be happy and be with his mate. Connor won't hear of it and remains stubborn about getting closer to Kat. What's a sister to do but take matters into her own hands, or paws? From the blurb, I expected a suspenseful romance with a hot male shifter determined to win over the warrior-like heroine. For me, this story fell a little short. In the beginning, I wasn't sure if Maya had all her marbles. Her determination to push Connor and Kat together, by any means necessary, was a little on the creepy side. Not to mention she didn't spend any time thinking about possible consequences good or bad. Kat took the intentional turning surprisingly calm. Too calm for my liking. She never took Maya to task for deciding her fate without telling her about their cat shifter abilities. That put me off a little. Then there was a lot of repetitiveness about Connor and Maya's history, as well as Maya's reasoning for turning Kat. Constantly on the run, trying to make it to civilization, then going over the worst case scenarios of Kat shifting on a plane full of humans took some steam out of the story and out of the sex scenes that just felt rushed. What I did like was Kat's struggle to control her shifting. It was actually quite humorous that she'd suffer from sleepwalking, and she'd shift at the most inopportune times. Despite not having mastered her ability on command, she easily fell back on her combat training to help protect Connor and Maya. For that she earned brownie points from me. If you enjoy an exotic location, a hot hero with a penchant for purring, and quite a bit of action then this book is for you, but it wasn't quite for me. Thank you Sourcebooks (Imprint: Sourcebooks Casablanca) via NetGalley for the ARC. Disclaimer: A review in exchange for the ARC was not promised. The views and opinions expressed in this review are my own, and in no way represent the views or opinions of the publisher/distributor.
When you¿re in the Army and are captured by the bad guys, even if you knew it was going to happen, the last thing you expect to see is a jaguar in their camp. The next to the last thing you expect to see is a guy who isn¿t Army untying you and helping you lie down. Then your above- you-in-grade fiancé shows up and could care less about how YOU feel ¿ he¿s just pissed he didn¿t get to catch the bad guys. He doesn¿t even really care that you are the sole survivor of the plan.A year later when you go back to the jungle to relive your PTSD issues, minus one fiancé and plus one very well researched map the last thing you expect is that the same jaguar will show up. The next to the last thing is that he doesn¿t try to eat you. This is the beginning of a fast-paced tale of shapeshifters, love, drug lords and South America that will leave the light one until you¿re done reading it. A paranormal romance with a great plot and plenty of baddies to beat! Terry Spear, who usually writes about wolves has done an excellent job changing species and the story of Kat, Maya and Connor will be well worth your effort. It¿s out in October. Go enjoy!
First book I’ve read by Ms. Spear, but won’t be my last.
LOVE all of her storys
Great story! I really enjoyed the cast of characters...there was some negative and some positive...Overall positive, highly recommend...great beginning of this series. HEA!! ***vrnb***
Well-rounded characters, descriptions of the jungle were spot on. Want more of this author's works.
Hollie 15 Bow
Cal 17 sword
After loving a book later in the series, I had to go back and read this one from the beginning. I will say that Terry Spear has improved over the books. While book one wasn't quite as good as later books, it was still a really great story. There were just a couple of things that were a bit off for me. Connor's sister, Maya, was a bit immature and childish. This wouldn't have been a problem if she was young or had a minor part in the story, but she played a very major role and a lot of her decision making regarding this role reminded me of a twelve year old's thought process at times. I understand her motivations and emotions, but the way they were portrayed just wasn't quite right. Also, Kathleen is a bit too forgiving and trusting - especially after what Maya does to her. Ya - I would soooo not get over that easily. What really makes this book work well is how Kathleen and Connor are together. They just fit in a way that is really hard to understand. I loved their parts of the book - which is good since they are the main characters. Their flight from the bad guys got a bit repetitive at times. I mean, how many times are they going to almost catch them but they shift and save they day. Overall, this was cute and really fun. I enjoyed this "introduction" to the jaguar world and I see why so many people are in love with this series.
238 pages. Can't wait to read the next book in this series.
This is a smart storyteller who has the right formula for what the masses want. It has the right amount of intrigue,steamy sex scenes, romantic hero yadayadayada. The three stars are for the fact that it was sooooo predictable
Really good book.
It was a nice different take on shifter stories. About 240 pages. I liked that there were action scenes, I just wish they were more detailed and lasted longer than 2 or 3 pages.
Started with action and kept going
Held my attention for the most part. Good book
- 3.5 Savage Hunger Stars - Savage Hunger is book one in Heart of the Jaguar series by Terry Spear. This is a re-read for me. I enjoy reading Ms. Spear’s books. I will say I was not as drawn into the story as the first time around, but I still enjoyed the read. We get a sweet romance with a little action. Connor, Jaguar shifter. Him and his sister Maya where abandoned as kids and don’t know a lot about the Jaguar shifter world which leaves them not to sure if they can change someone into a Jaguar or how it all works. They have stayed together and both want a stable family. In comes Kathleen, human, whom Connor has not been able to get off his mind since he rescued her. I like Connor and Maya, but as for Kathleen I did not get the military vibe off her. She hesitated to shot a bad guy and she came across as not knowing what to do. Maya I really enjoyed. She brings in a very sisterly feel and love to the story, plus she is determined to get her bother hooked-up. The characters for the most part are well developed and interesting aside from my one issue with Kathleen. The story progresses fast, with some action and wonderful hot steamy sex. I find myself re-reading this type of book when I don’t need to use a lot of brainpower to follow a story. I like the easiness of the read and the fun shifter feel to the story.
I loved book and can't wait to start the second on in the series. Good work Ms. SPEARS
This was a free first read. I got a kick out of this story. The characters were great and so was the story. The author repeated herself when it wasn’t necessary but other than that this is a kick ass shifter tale.
My Thoughts - 5 out of 5 Unicorns - I loved it!!! Okay not sure when I bought this book from the used book store, but as always with Terry’s books I loved it!!! The cover is sexy, and I love the jaguar and that Connor and Kat are included :) It definitely attracted me into buying it especially with Terry’s name on it :) I buy anything fantasy written by her :) One day I may take the plunge into historical, but there is never enough time to read everything :) I love Kat as a character. She is brave and confident and doesn’t want to just sit around while everyone else does the protecting. But my favorites are Maya and her twin brother, they are awesome how they stick together and go out on a limb for each other ;) I’m hoping Maya’s story is next :) There is plenty of action and conflict in this story to keep you hooked. Terry does an awesome job of building the world because I was never bored reading it. If I wasn’t watching my sister’s kids (4 of them), I’d have read this in one sitting :) I highly recommend this book to my shifter loving friends, jaguar lovers & those who already love Terry Spear!! Can’t wait to read more and since I have next book with me on vacation it will be soon!!!