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Manimal

Tales from the Temple I with Manimal by Lani AamesMANIMAL BY LANI AAMES

In the anthology Ellora’s Cavemen: Tales from the Temple I

All Kelsey Locke wanted to do was get away for the weekend. She was sick to death of her ex-boyfriend and his irritating attempts to remain in her life. When a friend offered Kelsey the use of her secluded cabin for a respite, she jumped at the offer. Kelsey was expecting snow, forest scenery, solitude to get some work done without interruptions, and not much else. Little does Kelsey know, someone—or something—is watching her. And his need to mate is strong…

PURCHASE
Ellora’s Cave

Also available at online retailers: Amazon, B&N, and others

EXCERPT

She went to Durak. His eyes were closed, and he looked as if he might be asleep. His hair was cut too short on the sides and at the nape for his angular face. A fringe of longer hair, thick and black, fell rakishly across his brow. She swept it back and laid her hand across his forehead. His skin felt hot, as if he were burning up with fever, but that could be because her hands were so cold. She could always do what her mother had done to check her temperature when she was young…kiss his temple.

Kelsey hesitated. He was asleep or unconscious. Either way he would never know. She leaned forward and watched him for a moment. His face was lean and hard with a not-quite-square jaw and prominent brow. His temples were slightly sunken, framed by cranium and sharp cheekbones. Only the soft lines of his lips relieved the starkness of his countenance and provided a hint of sensuality.

Kelsey pressed her mouth to his temple before she could give in to the impulse of kissing those lips. A secluded cabin was definitely the place, but this wasn’t the time. He felt warmer than normal, but not dangerously so. With luck, his temperature wouldn’t go any higher now that they were inside with a fire for warmth and he was wrapped protectively in blankets.

Brushing his hair back one more time, she started to stand when he grabbed her hand and pulled her back down close to him. His eyes were wide open and looking at her.

“This is developing into a bad habit,” she said.

His grip was as solid as iron, and he didn’t even flinch when she twisted her hand one way and then another, trying to break free. He was injured, cold, and possibly ill. It didn’t make sense that she couldn’t overpower him.

But none of this night made sense. Why was he out here in the first place? Why was he buck naked, sporting a hole the size of her fist in his side?

Why had the huge pawprints turned into his footprints?

“I need you,” he whispered, his voice dry and shaky.

For a split second, a canine muzzle replaced his face. She blinked and had the feeling that he had turned from man to beast to man again, rather than the image of a large dog superimposed over him. She shook her head. She was letting her imagination run away with her.

“What do you need?” she asked softly. “I brought plenty of food if you’d like something to eat. Or do you want water?”

His head shook in the negative, one short sharp jerk to the side. “I want you.”

Kelsey frowned. “You want me to what?”

He shook his head again. “I want you, Kelsey. No time to explain, but I need to discharge.”

“You mean you want to…” Her voice trailed off.

“Fuck you.”

Well, that was blunt. During her time with Charles she’d noticed Durak was a man of few words, and when he did speak he said exactly what he needed to say with no embellishment. His being delusional hadn’t changed that.

“You don’t know what you’re saying. You’ve been injured and you’re running a fever. When you get well, then we’ll talk.” She smiled and laid her hand over his to let him know that she was definitely interested.

He shook his head yet again and scowled. “You don’t underSTAND–” And his voice rose into a howl of distress. His face once again changed into a canine muzzle and his hand morphed into a huge paw with claws instead of fingers. Almost instantly, he changed back to human.

With strength born of panic, Kelsey jerked free of his grip. She scrambled away from him and whatever he was. It definitely wasn’t her imagination. She rubbed her wrist where she’d felt thick fur and sharp claws against her skin. Her heart hammered in her chest as she once again recalled how the pawprints had suddenly become footprints in the snow.

“What is going on?” she shouted at him, fear making her voice quiver.

His body jackknifed and he groaned, a deep mournful sound, as fur briefly replaced smooth, taut skin. “Werewolf,” he whispered.

What?

“I’m a werewolf. No time…no…time…” His hand-paw-hand reached for her. “Too much energy. Overload. Can’t control. Need to discharge now–need to fuck you now.”

Kelsey drew back, beyond arm’s length, and watched him. Werewolves weren’t real! Yet, he was changing right before her eyes. And wasn’t that the thought she’d refused to consider while looking at the two sets of prints in the snow? That he’d somehow transmogrified from a four-legged beast into a two-legged human.

What if the reverse occurred right now and he turned completely into a wolf? Legendary lycanthropes were ravening creatures that slaughtered anyone in their paths. Would he be any different?

Kelsey took a step toward the door, fully intending to run to the SUV and get the hell out of there. But his voice, crackling with the effort, stopped her in her tracks.

“I want you, Kelsey.”

He needed her, but he also wanted her. She looked back and his hand was still stretched out toward her. He wanted her. Didn’t that make all the difference in the world?

“I wish it could be different because I’ve wanted you a long time.”

Kelsey took a step, then hesitated. “I want you, too, but I’m scared.”

“No danger, I promise.” He changed again, from man to wolf to man. “I won’t hurt you.”

With a deep breath, Kelsey made the decision to take a chance and trust him. She took his hand-paw-hand, fascinated by the way it morphed from one to the other. If having sex would release him from this flickering between wolf and human, what else could she do?

Durak threw back the blankets and coat and suddenly the cabin was much too warm for her. His cock was fully erect, long and thick, jutting at an angle from its nest of dark hair. Heat flushed through her, hot desire she hadn’t felt in a long time curling in the pit of her belly. For months, she’d suppressed these feelings for him, thinking he was out of her reach. Now that she could allow them, they consumed her completely.

She undressed quickly, popping buttons in her haste to remove her sweater. She dropped her jeans and panties, already dampened with the juices of her desire, and pulled off boots and socks. She cast her leg over and straddled him. He must have reached critical because the change between human and wolf accelerated until she wasn’t sure which she’d mount, the man or the animal.

PURCHASE
Ellora’s Cave

Also available at online retailers: Amazon, B&N, and others

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