Nirvelli is determined to wipe out any bit of happiness she has. Her life in the Tribe might have been ideal once upon a time—but three years ago one rebellious act ruined everything. Now she only wants out. Can she escape without destroying everyone she loves?
Kane has lived for over three hundred years with his companion Spirit Wolf. He’s known love. He’s known hate. Never has he run across a woman like Velli. Never has his Wolf cared one way or another whom he bedded or loved.
Until her. The Wolf has declared her his mate. Can Kane say the same? If he finally admits it, will his Healing magic be enough to save the deeply wounded Nirvelli?
A broken law leads to great tragedy, and their separation. Velli finds new levels of danger and loss on her own. Kane struggles to find her, but he may already be too late.
“So I take it you like to watch.”
A shiver ran down his back. Her voice wove through him easily, adding to the images his imagination already employed. “Depends on what I’m watching.”
“I see. What is it about a battle that gets you going then? Is it the men? I mean, we do have some fine Warriors.” Her light laughter teased him. “Trust me, I know.”
“It wasn’t the Warriors that made me linger.” Much as he wanted to turn around, he knew that seeing her would add to his mental imagery. It could be very detrimental to a logical conversation. If he cared about such a thing. Then again, did he really care about such a thing? Because, damn. She made it seem unimportant.
“Honest. Well, either you’re honest or you just don’t like me thinking you’re ogling men.” The light touch of her fingers to his arm sent a jolt through his entire body. What the hell was it about her?
“No. Just honest. If you were honest you’d admit that you were angling for me to watch you. From the start.” He quirked a brow. “That’s why you haven’t approached me yet. Right?”
“Oooh, conceited too.” A light chuckle reached his ears. Then she stepped around him her presence a rich heat against the sudden cold pit in his stomach. Chocolate eyes, deeper than he’d imagined sought him out. The sun caught her hair, revealing a red undertone unexpected in a native of the Tribe. Then again, nothing about this woman was expected. “Perhaps I’ve just been very busy. There is a wedding happening very soon, you know.”
“So I’ve heard. The Chief’s son and the Medicine Man’s daughter. Quite a pairing.” Truth be told he’d met neither of the betrothed youths. Then again he’d met very few people on the reservation yet. By choice. “Are you saying you’re involved?”
A small twitch at the corner of delicious lips belied her amusement. “Yes. I know both of them very well. The wedding is keeping everyone busy.”
She appeared to be hiding something. What it was, he had no idea. Then again he didn’t think he wanted to know. This one was handful enough without all the details, instinct told him that much. So why did he want to know more? “Obviously not too busy for some playtime with the Warriors.”
“I need to keep my skills sharp. Stitching beads and planting flowers aren’t on my list of fun things to do. I’ve fought with the Warriors for as long as I was first allowed to.” Her lip made that coy quirk again. “Then when I got older I fought with them in more ways than one.”
“I’m sure you did.”
“So are you done with talking now?”
“What else did you have in mind?”
One by one her fingers inched up his chest. “Well I admit I’m curious what an old man is capable of. Does the experience help you or hinder you?”
Every touch raised his temperature, his blood boiling by the time he managed to close his hand over hers. “Just how would it hinder me?”
“It’s easy to get stuck in a rut. As you get older and more ancient you forget that there can be new, fun, and exciting ways to do things. In all forms of battle.”
“Is that so?”
“So are you stuck in a rut?”
“Not that I know of.”
Her soft hum shivered through him to his core. It bothered him that she took that moment to step back. The summer heat that replaced her paled in comparison to her presence. “In other words yes. Interesting.”
“Are you always so contrary?” Kane closed the distance between them. His body burned with the need to feel her close again. Once again the Wolf pushed its own need forward to mesh with Kane’s, blinding him. Logic had no chance now.
“It’s the only way to live. Life is too boring otherwise.”
“Hate being bored, do you?” Kane gripped her arm and whipped her around to face him. Despite her gasp a smile lit her features. The body he’d admired pressed willingly into his. It drove him to the brink.
“Very much so.” Breathless, eager.
The Wolf pushed through Kane’s last hint of doubt and his lips claimed hers. Without hesitation her hands roamed along his chest and back, spreading their heat along his nerves. It made him regret not returning to traditional dress yet. At the moment he’d give anything to feel her hands directly on his flesh.
Her mind proved to be on the same track, the shriek of tearing cotton exposing his flesh to the hot air. Then her hands were on his chest, nails raking at the skin. Her soft moan rattled through him when her back hit a tree.
Kane fought back to the forefront, wanting to enjoy every second. As one of her legs hooked around his waist he gripped the flesh and pressed hard into her. Each of his earlier fantasies springing to life one by one.
Until she froze, her nails still embedded in his chest. Tension seeped through her just before she pushed him back. “No.”
He couldn’t stop his growl, the frustration too strong to ignore. She stopped him now? After that build up? “What?”
“Don’t seem like the type to care about that.”
“I’m not.” Her breath shook, her hands trembling as she tried to pull back away from him. “This is not. Not the same.”
One glimpse of her trembling lip doused the heat. Down deep he felt a stirring of concern, the Wolf whined quietly. Why on earth did his Wolf want to help her? To soothe her? The Wolf had never cared before. Now it did, and so did Kane. Gently he ran his thumb along her lower lip “How so?”
“Don’t.” She slapped his hand away so fast he never saw her move.
“Thought you liked to push boundaries.” One thumb brushed along the soft skin of her stomach, unable to stop touching her completely. Every fiber of his being wanted to get her wrapped in his arms again. Even so he was willing to wait. To get her story along with her body.
“Not this one.”
“Am I too old for you?”
That earned him a snort. “You are too old for everyone but the Sphinx.” At last she started to relax a bit.
“Good point.” He chuckled, relaxing a bit himself now that she loosened up enough to joke with him. “Is it because we’re in the woods?”
“No. I’m all for a good screw against a tree. A little rough with the fun is always and added bonus.” She smirked. “Unless you like saccharine.”
“I’m diabetic.” His sarcasm made her laugh again. He leaned in. “Just as well. Don’t even know your name.”
“I suppose it’s for the best.” Her breath brushed his ear. “I’m a tease anyway, right?”
“I hope not.”
Sarah Cass’ world is regularly turned upside down by her three special needs kids and loving mate, so she breaks genre barriers; dabbling in horror, straight fiction and urban fantasy. She loves historicals and romance, and characters who are real and flawed, so she writes to understand what makes her fictional people tick. And she lives for a happy ending – eventually. And enough twists to make it look like she enjoys her title of Queen of Trauma Drama a little too much.
An ADD tendency leaves her with a variety of interests that include singing, dancing, crafting, cooking, and being a photographer. She fights through the struggles of the day, knowing the battles are her crucible; she may emerge scarred, but always stronger. The rhythms to her activities drive her words forward, pushing her through the labyrinths of the heart and the nightmares of the mind, driving her to find resolutions to her characters’ problems.
While busy creating worlds and characters as real to her as her own family, she leads an active online life with her blog, Redefining Perfect, which gives a real and sometimes raw glimpse into her life and art. You can most often find her popping out her 140 characters in Twitter speak, and on Facebook.