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WHISPER 4: BLACK CAT
Vampire Edmond Chancellor and cat shifter Tobias Crawford have had a not-so-secret affair for over three hundred years. Edmond wants to bond with Tobias permanently, but Tobias has reasons for keeping his distance.
On a chilly December night, both men turn to past memories for guidance, but it’s a present danger that makes them realize that time is precious, even to men who are practically immortal.
The Following Excerpt from Black Cat is for readers 18 and over.
Tobias had hoped that by bringing his family to this new world, they would have a chance to build a life for themselves, away from the unsubstantiated hatred. The endless wilderness of this place would take generations to populate, even for creatures as ambitious as man.
His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of heavy breathing and the familiar slash of a blade through air. Tobias growled and his fur bristled. On silent feet he stalked through the snowy woods and paused behind a boulder outside a clearing. A man wearing boots, breeches and a linen shirt, damp with sweat despite the weather, practiced with a sword with a silver pommel. He had shoulder-length brown hair bound at his nape. Several tendrils had come loose and clung to his damp cheek and neck. His wide-set blue eyes gleamed in the moonlight as he fought an imaginary opponent. Tobias' heart skipped a beat at the fierceness in those eyes.
Tobias knew this wasn't a mere human--the man's scent told him that. It was a deliciously powerful aroma, similar to that of an animal shifter. It was musky yet fresh but with an underlying potency-like the finest Egyptian incense. Tobias had met people with a similar scent and they were invariably dangerous.
Tobias tensed. He hadn't expected to find a vampire here in this untamed land. Vampires liked their creature comforts, not to mention they preferred to mark their territory in heavily populated areas where hunting was simple, plentiful, and where no one asked questions when slaves and peasants went missing.
Worst of all, Tobias knew that there was never only one vampire. Like wolves, they traveled in packs, yet unlike wolves they killed for pleasure, not simply to survive.
Tobias' protective instincts rose. Should he attack now and rid his new home of this fiend? Yet if he did, this vampire's kin would hunt him and his family. Although they despised most other races, vampires were fiercely loyal to their own families.
The vampire stopped his practice and stood, panting, his jewel-like eyes surveying the area.
"Who's there?" he called in a smooth voice, neither too deep nor too high. It was perfect and Tobias resisted the urge to purr at the sound of it.
Tobias remained still, blending in the shadows.
"I know you're there. I can smell you."
Damn. Vampires' senses were almost as keen as those of cat shifters.
"Show yourself, since I've ruined your plans for a surprise attack. Or perhaps you'll run. I wouldn't be surprised if you did. After all, only cowards hide in the shadows."
Tobias nearly snorted with laughter. It was a childish taunt, designed to draw out a stupid foe. Tobias hadn't lived thousands of years because he was stupid or merely lucky.
For several moments neither Tobias nor the vampire moved or spoke. It seemed they didn't so much as breathe.
Then the vampire approached. Tobias considered running or attacking, but like most cats, curiosity got the better of him. He stepped from behind the boulder, directly in the path of the vampire who stopped walking, his blue eyes wide.
Tobias' tail swished in a warning and he growled softly.
"Can't say I expected this," the vampire said.
Tobias circled him. The vampire turned slowly, following Tobias' movements. He held his sword firmly, but not in an attack position. Still Tobias was prepared to dodge a blow and defend himself. He knew better than to trust a vampire.
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