Shifting Priorities: Mating Ritual
Click on image to enlarge.
by Anne Kane
Category: Erotica/Erotic Science Fiction/Science Fiction
Description: When Jexx finds out the man she's just had fantastic sex with is one of the legendary Imperial Were-Panthers, she's impressed and flattered. But when she finds out he's decided to claim her as his mate, she's less than thrilled. She's not in the market for a bossy male to order her around. When the spaceship the two of them are returning to Earth on suffers from technical problems, the two of them need to work together to overcome the problem and get home before the life support starts to falter.
eBook Publisher: Changeling Press LLC, 2008 2008
eBookwise Release Date: April 2009
110 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [72 KB]
Reading time: 39-55 min.
"This futuristic/shape-shifter based series is off to an interesting start with this tale full of sexual tension, kick butt attitude and plenty of humor to keep the reader's interest. I'll definitely be watching for the rest of the stories in this series--something about these were-panthers and their alpha attitude just makes me want to keep coming back for more."--Chrissy Dionne, Romance Junkies "If you are in the market for a quick pleasant read, Mating Ritual will hit the spot."--Elizabeth Charles, Just Erotic Romance Reviews "This was a fun and quick read that I really enjoyed. The story kept my interest from start to finish and I look forward to reading more by this author as this is the start of a series."--Lilac, Whipped Cream Reviews
Legend has it that long after the fall of civilization in the 23rd century, a special breed of mutants were created with the two-fold purpose of defending His Imperial Highness, the ruler of all Earth, and to protect humanity. Known as the Imperial were-panthers, they could shift from human to panther form at will.
In time, the heirs to the Imperial Dynasty became corrupt. They adopted an opulent lifestyle and demanded ever-increasing amounts of tribute. The Imperial were-panthers saw that humanity suffered greatly from their greed. The shifters were torn between their duty to the throne and their loyalty to mankind. They tried to reason with His Imperial Highness, but he refused their counsel, threatening to banish the shifters from Earth if they continued to defy him.
And so, the Imperial were-panthers decided to protect humanity with one last, heroic act. In a bloody battle they wiped out the Imperial Dynasty. From that day forth their entire race disappeared back into legend and myth, and no one has seen an Imperial Were-Panther since.
Or at least that's what Jexx had believed... * * * *
Jexx eyed up the two males stalking cockily toward her. The one on the right, a scrawny excuse for a man, had a sickly yellow cast to his naked torso. The arrogant swagger of his hulking partner, not to mention his toothy smirk, made her blood run cold. She flexed her hands, feeling the tingle of her battle implants coming online, and for the first time in her life, wondered if they would be enough to give her an edge. Why the hell did I obey the stupid rules and leave my weapons aboard ship? She shifted her stance, tossing her head so that the bells and trinkets woven into her long braids tinkled defiantly.
She started as a big arm circled her waist and drew her back against a hard body. A warm, musky smell invaded her senses and caused her pussy to tingle. Tome Rimmer.
"So this is what you get up to when I let you out of my sight." His low voice was every bit as sexy as she remembered.
She forced herself to relax into his hard body. "Nice to see you. Just happen to be in the neighborhood?" She kept her voice steady and looked up at the two males who were surveying the newcomer with disgruntled expressions on their faces. They'd obviously thought they could take her without too much trouble. Now they had to consider whether she was worth a fight.
Jexx twisted her head to study the harsh face of her ally. A strip of leather around his forehead restrained his shoulder length jet-black hair and gave him a raffish look. His angular face sported a Roman nose and high aristocratic cheekbones. Seven feet of solid, mouthwatering muscle flexed beneath a skin-hugging body suit. She licked her lips and tried not to think of how he looked without that body suit.
The two men locked eyes and came to a silent agreement. The yellow one drifted left, leaving the frontal assault to his companion.
Tome sighed theatrically and turned to place Jexx's smaller body protectively behind his. "I was really hoping you guys were smarter than you looked."
Jexx squelched the urge to slap him for his patronizing dismissal of her fighting abilities. She might be smaller than he was, but she was far from helpless. Typically alpha male, he insisted on treating her like a little lady in an Ancient Earth romance novel. She'd quickly learned that Imperial were-panthers had a wide protective streak when it came to females.
He'd also insisted she belonged with him--he referred to her as his bond-mate. Just because she'd made the mistake of bedding him rather enthusiastically when she'd needed a little action did not give him any rights. Every time she'd pointed that out, he'd just smile and say it was part of the mating ritual.
She eyed up the heavy muscles roping across his back and licked her lips as she remembered how those muscles felt beneath her hands. Mating ritual be damned. She just appreciated his skills in certain areas. She'd have to make sure he got a nice, personal reward for handling these two cretins for her.
She watched him bare his teeth in a predatory smile as the two closed in on him. He looked edgy and restless. Jexx knew he'd spent the last week tracking her down and she felt an unfamiliar twinge of guilt. She'd snuck out in the dead of night shortly after discovering the man she'd just slept with was one of the mythical Imperial were-panthers. That wasn't what had spooked her though. No, she'd run when he'd casually claimed her as his bond-mate. She wasn't in the market for a bossy male to restrict her freedom.