Cat Scratch Fever
By Myla Jackson
Available today from Ellora’s Cave!
Actually, this is the second in my NYC series of otherkind. Witch’s Curse uses the same setting of Hell’s Kitchen NYC. But this is the first time you see the cat shifters there. Hope everyone enjoys it. Tom and Lilly are HOT!
Pale and innocent Lilly Wyatt left the security of home in
Black as a moonless night, Tom Black blends into shadows, prowling the streets of Hell’s Kitchen, on alert to stop trouble before humans become aware of the beasts among them. When his new neighbor falls victim to rogue cougars, he leaps to the rescue, colliding with a force capable of overcoming race, color and species. Love.Excerpt
Tom Black prowled the streets, lurking in the shadows of the alleys, watching over the citizens and patrons of Hell's Kitchen, deep in the heart of Manhattan. Tangy flavors of Chinese, French, Thai and Greek food filled the air around him, mingling with car exhaust and cigarette smoke. Couples strolled hand in hand, laughing and talking, their voices hushed in the late-night air, the sounds of honking horns filling the gaps of silence in their conversations. In this sprawling, eclectic section of New York City, Saturday night appeared to be on its way to being normal and uneventful. But then the clock had only just struck midnight. All the Cinderellas had yet to head home. All the monsters of darkness had yet to show their ugly faces.
Although his pride had won the right to live, work and play in this part of the city, he didn't take anything for granted. Encroachers infiltrated their territory at least once a week, if not more often. Usually on busy nights like tonight. To keep the streets and tourists who ventured out at night safe, he and his people took turns patrolling the avenues, searching for rogues bent on stirring up trouble.
He scented her before he saw her, headed home from her job as a waitress at the Singing Java shop around the corner from where he stood. Her high heels tapped against the pavement, echoing off the brick and concrete buildings. She walked this route every night alone. Her pale blonde hair hung straight down her back like a curtain of silk, her ivory skin appeared almost ethereal in the light from the street lamps.
Her songs haunted his nights as she sat on the fire escape landing a floor below his apartment, plucking the strings of her guitar, her voice sweet and so pure against the grunge of the city. Every time she sang, his heart swelled with yearning for what he couldn't have. A normal life with a beautiful woman by his side. A human like Lilly. As she drew nearer, his groin tightened, the animal filling him, forcing blood to flow in a heaving rush south to fill his cock. He fought the urge to follow and stake his claim on her, to mark her as his. But Lilly was forbidden fruit to be admired for her beauty but not tasted.
Forbidden Fruit. That was Lilly and he'd do best remember that. His oil wouldn't mix with her water, no matter how sweet she was, or how pure her songs and laughter. Forget about how hard he got, or how much he wanted to plunge into her, milking the cream of her womb, making her cry out for him.
As she passed by, her gaze swung toward the shadowy alley where he stood, leaning against the side of a building.
Had he moved to draw her attention? Could she sense his need or smell his desire? His breath caught in his throat as he held steady, willing his heart rate to level, and his cock not to strain so hard against his jeans. If she came toward him, he doubted he could keep from rubbing up against her, or stop his hands from reaching out to hold her.
Her attention shifted to the street corner and she turned, disappearing out of sight.
Tom sucked a harsh breath between his teeth, filling his lungs with enough air to feed his starving brain cells. Fuck. He had it bad for his neighbor and he couldn't-no, shouldn't-do anything about it. She wasn't his type, much more…she wasn't his species.
But that didn't stop him from wanting her and imagining what a life with Lilly would be like. There would be fights over the remote control and what movie they'd watch. There would be nights sitting on the fire escape landing, watching the cars pass, just holding her hand and later, they'd lie in their bed, naked, exploring every inch of each other…
A scream penetrated his fantasy, slicing through the normal sounds of horns honking and people talking, sending adrenaline pumping through Tom's veins. What scared him was the fact the scream came from the direction Lilly had disappeared.
He leaped from the shadows and raced to the end of the street. When he turned at the corner, he couldn't see Lilly anywhere among the pedestrians walking along the sidewalks.
Partygoers only briefly looked around for the source of the woman's scream, before they hurried along their way, anxious to get off the street, out of perceived, yet unseen danger.
Where the fuck had she gone? For a brief moment, he closed his eyes and lifted his sensitive nose to the sky. He could smell the soft scent of her skin, the delicate fragrance of her hair. His eyes opened and he headed for the dark alley halfway down the street.
"Please, go away. Leave me alone." Her voice carried in the humid night air, bouncing off the tall sides of the buildings. "Please, someone help me," she cried.
Tom ground to a halt at the end of the alley, keeping to the shadows while shedding first his jeans and then his shirt. A woman gasped and hurried past. He barely noted her affronted comment, "Freak."
"Nice kitties. Please don't hurt me." Lilly stood with her back to him, surrounded by three man-sized cats with viciously long teeth bared at her. "You really don't want me for dinner. Someone at the zoo needs to be fired." These last words she said through gritted teeth.
Up until now, the rogue cougars had only darted in and out of sight. The unwritten law of the shifter kingdom was to leave the humans in ignorant bliss of their existence. These cougars crossed the lines too many times in the past few weeks and all within Hell's Kitchen territory. Now they threatened Lilly.