I love an emotional ending... How about you?
Altered States: Naked Prey
by Myla Jackson
After his release from captivity in a secret gene-alteration hospital, Former Special Forces soldier, Ramone Osceola, retreats to his home in the Big Cypress Swamp of Florida. It's the only place he can get away from a society to which he no longer belongs. A society that wouldn't understand him in the form of a black panther.
Dr. Hannah Smith escapes Hell Hospital to find the only man who can help save her daughter, one of the very men whose genes she altered. Will he help her despite what she did to him? Or will he seek revenge and kill her for changing his life forever? Together, they search for Hannah's daughter and answers, and find them in a love that crosses the boundaries of man and beast.
“Is the problem that you can’t accept me for what I am?” Emily leaned over the back of the seat, her hand resting on Hannah’s shoulder. “Is that it? Will you hate what I’ve become?”
“No, baby.” She grasped her daughter’s hand. “I could never hate you. I love you more than life.”
“She shanghaied me into helping in this rescue, at great risk to herself.” Ramon smiled at Emily. “I’d say that’s proof enough.”
“Then don’t be sad,” Emily said, smoothing the hair back from Hannah’s forehead. “I can’t stand to see you like this.”
“I’m just sorry it had to happen to you. I wanted so much for you. A life, a family, love someday.”
Emily squeezed her hand. “Who’s to say I can’t have all that still?”
Ramon’s gaze met Hannah’s. “She’s right. Who’s to say she can’t have all that?”
What was he trying to say? Was she trying to read more into Ramon’s words than what she heard on the surface? Did he want her in his life? Had he learned to trust her? Hannah’s head spun with hope and the possibilities. Then she fell back to the earth. Get a grip, girl. He’s just trying to help you fix things with your daughter. “You’re right, honey,”
Hannah said, though her gaze never left Ramon. “With the right man, you can have all that.”
“I know, Mom. You were the one I was trying to convince. Frankly, I think it’s kinda cool to be part human and part animal. I’ve always wanted a fur coat but never wanted to kill an animal to get it.”
Laughter bubbled up inside Hannah and she shot a twisted smile at her daughter. “I can count on you to look at the bright side.”
“Yeah, I learned it from my mother.” Emily glanced ahead. “Now, what are we going to do to shut down Genetic Research Institute?”
“You two aren’t doing anything,” Ramon said, his mouth firming into a line. “I’m dropping you off in Austin and going on without you.”
The hope she’d felt a few moments early crashed around Hannah’s ears. He’d had no intention of continuing on with her.
“Like hell you are!” Emily leaned over the back of the seat. “We’re going.”
Emily’s declaration shocked Hannah out of her quickly growing depression. She’d just gotten her daughter back, she didn’t want to lose her all over again. “Maybe Ramon’s right. We aren’t trained to launch an attack on Hell Hospital.”
“I don’t care,” Emily said, crossing her arms over her chest. “I want to be a part of taking them down. I want to be there when Hell Hospital burns to the ground.”
The more Hannah thought about it, the more she agreed with Emily. Her daughter was old enough and had endured enough to make her own decisions. When she opened her mouth to protest Ramon’s edict, she halted when he raised his hand.
“It’s not up for discussion.” True to his word, Ramon refused to discuss his decision all the way to Austin where he left them standing in the parking lot of a transport rental company.
After all they had been through together, and the incredible sex they’d had, Hannah couldn’t believe he’d just drop them off and leave. For all she knew, she’d never see him again and that made her saddest of all. A knot formed in her throat, choking off any final goodbyes as she stared after his vehicle speeding out of sight. Even though she had her daughter back, her life still felt empty without Ramon.
“So, what’s it to be?” Emily asked. “Are we going after him?”
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