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Cougar [Werescape I]
by Skhye Moncrief

Category: Erotica/Paranormal Erotica
Description: With her beloved Shifter mate two days in Oregon's ground, Sierra must choose to live or die. She has two options--join a Shifter clan by choosing a mate or live alone. Life is dangerous for a woman, AEI. Women choose protection in a group or are sold into slavery, even to the aliens.
eBook Publisher: New Concepts Publishing, 2011 2011
eBookwise Release Date: November 2011

eBookeBook

23 Reader Ratings:
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Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [305 KB]
Words: 65488
Reading time: 187-261 min.


Chapter One

Post-apocalyptic Earth: after alien invasion, AEI, 2064 AD

Life has gone to Hell in two generations. Extraterrestrials altered the human genome, splitting humanity into two subspecies of humans, Shifters and Normals. Sometimes Shifters and Normals work together for survival in cities or remote villages. Other times they war for dominance. Regardless of the outcome, they must survive and fight against human enslavement. Hunted by aliens for breeding stock, Shifters understand this the most. Especially, Wolf males. But every once in a while, a female Shifter is born and her Cougar protected from detection because nobody knows what the aliens want with Cougars...

The gangrene should have killed my half-brother yesterday, Jackal thought. My little brother, Rattler, would drop dead any minute. But Rattler had no intention of dying before he reached his mate. So, the others and I followed his ragged brown shirt with cut-off sleeves tucked into his black leather pants through the whispering forest on this last-ditch wild-goose chase of June. To the place Rattler lived the past eight years.

In hiding.

Eight damned years.

We'd wondered where he was as he'd come and go to the village, to the clan, a time or two a year. But we never guessed he had a mate. Everyone just thought he'd lost his mind. Or went on a killing spree. Nobody could blame him for slipping into a rage with life on Earth gone to Hell once the aliens arrived. But hiding a mate? That was the last damned thing we expected.

Not from him.

He wasn't the type to turn down a challenge though. To feel forced into hiding.

Rattler halted, his back to us. Shaking. Elbow jerking. Then, he stepped off again.

Driven onward. Toward love.

That's what he had secreted away.

Because of the damned aliens. Because Shifter mates were targeted above all else for abduction.

We should have guessed what he was up to. He was always so damned determined.

"Up here," Rattler said over his shoulder without stopping.

Demon shot me another one of his speculative looks.

Like I knew what to expect from my baby brother. Rattler and I shared the same mother. But hell if there was any way I could make sense out of his behavior. We'd grown up together. He was the baby five years in my shadow. Actually my shadow until he hit fifteen. But his father never treated me like his own son, just a step-son, and we went our separate ways thereafter. I became his father's right-hand man. Present, yet distanced from Rattler, while Rattler wallowed in his father's favoritism. Then, I hit twenty and proved I could beat the best of the village Guardians. Earned the respect of a man who could enforce village rules among the Normals and Shifters.

With that came rank and duty. Whereas Rattler just lived off the prestige of being the son of the village's clan leader. He could kick ass and kill with the best of them. But he didn't have to work at making something of himself with his built-in reputation inherited through birth. Rattler had it all in becoming the next clan leader. Until he mysteriously abandoned the village. The clan.

Rattler veered toward a thick tree trunk.

A tall ash.

At the tree's base, he halted, slid his gaze up the trunk, wobbled, thrust his palms to his hips, and managed to steady himself. "Angel," he yelled almost a little hoarsely.

The four of us stared up at the weathered wooden base of a tree house, with Rattler. Nothing moved at the rectangular doorway's tarp covering. Except a breeze making the tan cloth flutter. A perfect place to sleep with the aliens' blood-thirsty Bounders crawling across the forest floor, hunting down anyone foolish enough to dare venture out every night after curfew.

"Angel?" Rattler yelled again, somehow managing to brace his rotting flesh, and waited for his mate.

Movement flashed to his left set back deep within the wall of tree trunks forming the forest. First, a bit of bare arm slipped between tree trunks. Then, a leg covered in faded camouflage and a beige hiking boot. A swath of her honey-colored hair pulled back into a long sleek ponytail swung into view. Then, she burst fully into our line of sight, running.

Silently. Like she was part of the woods.

Rattler extended a hand. "Hurry, Angel."

She was slim. About five foot six. Ample curves hidden beneath her olive-drab tank top.

Her gaze locked onto Rattler like he magically appeared and would vanish as she gripped the weathered black strap of the large firearm, something a good sixty years old, looking of military issue by the two visible ends, thrown over her head and shoulder where the strap bit between her breasts.


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