Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Taming the Cougar by Vonna Harper

Deep in the canyons of northern Arizona, animal psychic Kai Tallon senses someone–or something–watching her, and wonders if the legends are true. This is the land of the Tocho–a pride of half man/half cougars borne of the Navajo–and rumored to possess unearthly masculine powers.

As night falls, Kai knows sleep will elude her, for her body is thrumming with sexual energy. But once she surrenders to the erotic sensations sweeping through her, she discovers a pleasure so breathtaking it can only be a intense it can only be teasing, she knows she isn’t alone.

Something was out there. Something she'd never encountered in her twenty-eight years of life. Something with energy beyond anything she'd ever expected. Something that turned her restless, half-scared, and achingly alive.

She wanted to jump to her feet and run until her lungs screamed and her feet were shredded, until intellect and nerve spilled out of her. Left with nothing except exhaustion and clawing thirst, she wouldn't care about anything except creature comforts. She'd sleep the sleep of the dead, dreamless and peaceful.

But was that what she wanted, she asked as heat speared her. From the first time she'd touched an animal and comprehended that she could sense its emotion and see its world, her life had been dictated by powerful forces. Whether she fought her sight or embraced it didn't matter. The gift and curse was woven throughout her, part of her pulse and breathing. Was this newborn heat, this awareness of her body that different?

"I don't know," she moaned to the faint breeze and, hopefully, her father's spirit. "I don't know what's happening."

Now that she'd admitted how out of control she felt, facing the unknown seemed a little easier although maybe the swift-approaching night was responsible. Before long, darkness would assure there'd be no visual distractions which meant she'd be pulled into herself, knotted into a tight, pulsing ball.

Determined to give the sensations a name, she tried to draw comparisons with what else she'd experienced in life. Fortunately, this primal energy had nothing in common with the tearing grief and anger that had engulfed her the day six months ago at her father's death.

A long-time seeker of thrills, she'd parasailed at the Oregon coast on a day when the winds fought each other, steered a battered race car into a second place finish at a county track, and spent knuckle-whitening hours in a canoe caught in Colorado River class five rapids. Those adventures had dried her throat and loosened her bowels and made her feel acutely alive which had been her goal when she'd taken them on. In contrast this—

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