The Eyes of Bast by Lisabet Sarai
M/F Paranormal/shapeshifter erotic romance
Approximately 26,000 words
Published by Totally Bound, 24 April 2015
Heat rating: 4 Flames
Trust your heart. Follow your dreams.
Shaina Williams' grandmother bequeathed her that wisdom, along with a old pendant from the Islands, carved from an ocelot's tooth. When instinct tells Shaina to visit the feral cat trap she'd set in Central Park, she listens to that inner voice, She discovers she's caged a magnificent black tom, but the cat inexplicably vanishes after she tends to his wounds. Seeking the errant feline, Shaina encounters instead a handsome stranger whose slightest touch sets her body on fire. As the day dawns after a night of ferocious passion, her mysterious lover is forced back into his true shape - the tomcat she'd rescued.
Born a cat, Tom was transformed into an unwilling shape shifter by a sorceress who craved a human plaything to satisfy her perverse lusts. Centuries old and irresistibly powerful, Delphine Montserrat will stop at nothing to find her runaway familiar. Shaina vows to do whatever is necessary to defeat the vicious but seductive witch and save the man she believes is her soul mate – even though it might mean losing him forever.
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Excerpt 1 – Rated PG
Tom finally broke the kiss and leaned back with a sigh. “Ah, Shaina! I should never have allowed you near me. But I was so very lonely... I wasn’t thinking straight. Now I’ve put you in danger too.”
“Danger? What kind of danger?” I reached over to flick the switch on my reading lamp, so I could read his expressions. Then I seated myself cross-legged at his feet and clasped his hands in mine. “Tell me, Tom. Tell me everything.”
“You will not believe me.”
“How could I not believe after – after what I saw this morning?”
His brows knotted together. “I never wanted you to see – I was careless...”
“But I did see. And now I know, at least something about you. But I don’t know enough to help you out of whatever trouble you’re in. Tell me the whole truth. I promise I’ll keep it private, if that’s what you want. And I promise I won’t be shocked.”
Tom’s lush mouth twisted in a grimace of disgust. “You might not be able to keep that promise. But never mind. You’ve asked. I’ll tell you.”
He stared off into the distance, above my head. “I was born in a small town in coastal Maine, about seven years ago.”
“I was born a cat.”
I choked down my cry of surprise. How could it be...?
“Yes. I was born under a wharf. I spent the first six months of my life as a black kitten, a stray living off the scraps from the fishing boats and clam shacks. Then she caught me and made me her prisoner.”
“I don’t even want to utter her name. There’s danger in the very word. She is a witch, centuries old, a practitioner of the darkest arts – the epitome of evil. Out walking one evening along the rocky shore, she caught sight of me and wanted me as her familiar. It was easy for her to lure me into her clutches.
“At first she just used me to facilitate her spells. The rumored powers of black cats are more than just legend. Before long, though, she began to experiment.”
His ominous tone sent a chill through my naked body. I pulled the towel around me.
“You see, her advanced age hadn’t diminished her lust. Quite the opposite. She wanted a sexual plaything, someone she could use to satisfy her perverted desires. A male body she could own and control. So she delved into her books of magic, seeking a spell that would turn her poor innocent feline familiar into a man – at least when she wanted him that way.
“Her first attempts failed.” Tom shuddered at the recollection. “She barely managed to save my life. I guess she’d grown fond of me at that point – in her own twisted way.”
“Finally, she found a ritual that would change an animal into a human during the hours when the sun was banished from the earth. I’ll never forget the terror of that first transformation, when I found myself wobbling on two legs in front of her naked body. It was even worse than what came after.”
“What was that?”
“Oh, Shaina – I was human, but scarcely a man. I was barely thirteen.”
Excerpt 2 – Rated R
Go check the old elm. I swear, the voice was clear as crystal in my mind. Lack of sleep, I told myself. Or stress. The cage is still in my apartment. There won’t be anything there. But the urge to go back to the park just wouldn’t let go.
Trust your instincts. With a sigh, I turned and headed for the park, pulling my mace out of my purse as I walked.
The sky was still light enough for me to see shapes and shadows, even under the trees. As I’d expected, area beneath the elm was empty, the grass trampled from my previous visit. Of course no cats revealed themselves. If there were ferals around, they’d be hiding in the underbrush, wary of my scent and the sounds I made, despite my attempts to move quietly.
Tom wasn’t afraid of you. The thought made me ache. He’d been such a gorgeous, affectionate cat. I hoped he was okay.
“Hello.” The voice was male, low and throaty. I jumped and whirled around.
A man stood behind me, a fairly young man with sleek, dark skin and a wide, shy smile. Although his body appeared to be fit and muscular, he held himself in an awkward manner, as if he had some subtle handicap. His arms hung at his sides, his hands clenching and unclenching as though he didn’t quite know what to do with them.
I gripped my mace more tightly, although he didn’t appear at all threatening.
“Um – what are you doing here?”
“Nothing, nothing...” He shrugged and scratched the curly black locks that covered his head. “I heard your voice. I wanted to make sure you were all right.”
Had I spoken aloud? I returned his smile, still uncertain whether I should trust him. “I’m fine. Just taking a walk.”
“It’s not safe here after dark, you know.”
His earnest tone made me chuckle. I held up the can of mace. “I can take care of myself.”
Worry furrowed his high forehead. “That won’t help against some of the things that come out at night.”
A chill shot through me. I shook it away. “I was just headed home anyway.”
“Good. You should be careful.” His smile returned, melting my last vestiges of suspicion. He pronounced his English with a precision that made me wonder if he spoke something else as his native language. It wasn’t exactly an accent, but I could tell he wasn’t a native New Yorker.
“What about you?”
“Oh – I know my way around here,” he answered. He ran his fingers through his curls and arched his back a bit, as though stretching. Despite that odd awkwardness, he was lithe and graceful. A brief pang of desire shot through me. “And I have excellent night vision. Exceptionally sharp hearing, too.”
I couldn’t figure out why, but something about him felt familiar. “Have we met before?” I asked, then cringed, realizing it sounded like a pick up line. “I mean – um – I don’t mean…” Hot blood climbed into my cheeks, though the shadows were probably too dense for him detect my discomfort.
His bold laugh rang out in the growing darkness. “Maybe we have met,” he said. “I live in the neighborhood. Do you?”
“Pretty close,” I answered, alarm bells sounding in my head. No matter how handsome and charming he was, I wasn’t about to give him my address.
“Well, then, you never know. You said you were heading home. May I walk with you?” He took my arm without waiting for my permission.
“Um – actually—” His touch stopped me cold. It drove out rational thought. As if someone had turned on a faucet, hormones poured into my blood. My nipples tensed and my lower lips grew plump and slick. His fingers on my bare forearm were tipped with fire. I gasped, staring up in wonder at his strong, even features, overcome by his imminent maleness.
I wanted stretch out in the grass and pull him down on top of me. I was dying to feel his weight on my chest, his hardness probing between my thighs. Skin on skin was what I craved, with an urgency I’d never experienced in my all my twenty-eight years.
His nostrils flared and I knew he’d caught the ocean scent rising from my sex. I could smell it myself. My saturated panties and jeans were no barrier. He grinned, revealing teeth so white they gleamed in the twilight gloom. I shuddered with need, imagining those teeth tearing my flesh, and stumbled on the gravel path.