Shadow Shifters, Book 1

March 27, 2012
St. Martin's Press
ISBN-13: 9780312549107
ISBN-10: 0312549105

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Temptation Rising

Temptation Rising

A sexy new paranormal romance series begins…

They live in the shadows—part man, part animal—hiding their true nature while defending the human race from the most savage of their kind…

Washington D.C. police officer Kalina Harper still dreams about that night, two years ago, when a huge cat-like creature saved her from a crazed attacker. Although she kept the truth to herself, Kalina can never forget the ferocious strength of the beast’s fangs and claws—or the raw animal hunger in its eyes. Until she meets Roman Reynolds…

Powerful, passionate, and impossible to resist, they are the Shadow Shifters…

Muscular, magnetic, and all man, Roman is a high-powered attorney with a predatory smile and seductive charm. He is also a criminal suspect with suspicious connections to the Amazon jungle. But when Kalina discovers that Roman is linked to a secret race of shapeshifting jaguars—who hunt down maneaters—she is forced to put her trust in a man who unleashes her wildest fantasies and fears. A fierce creature of the night whose nature is to protect his female at any cost…

TEMPTATION RISING won the 2012 EMMA Award for Best Suspense Book of the Year

Read an Excerpt

“Excuse me,” she said the moment the door opened. “I have some checks that need a signature and your assistant wasn’t at her desk.”

Behind his desk Rome stiffened, his tongue rolling slowly over teeth that were suddenly too sharp to be human. His nostrils flared as he inhaled and let her scent permeate throughout his system.

It was her.

Inside his cat roared, leaping at the surface as if it knew her too. It had been two years since he’d seen her. He’d thought about her, too much to even contemplate at this moment. Thought about her, dreamed about her, fantasized about her. But he had no idea who she was or where she went that night.

Now she was here.

At his law firm, walking across the floor of his office heading in his direction. He watched her walk, long legs bringing her closer, curvy hips swaying with the motion. Her breasts were round, full, making his palms itch to touch them. The dress she wore wrapped around her body tying at the side with some kind of sash, the material caressing each of her curves like a smooth jazz melody. Her hair, black mixed with a tawny brown color, cut in a short spiky style that accented the exotic features of her face-the face that had haunted him for so long. Complexion the color of honey, high cheekbones and full lips. Eyes the color of autumn leaves.

And she was handing him a stack of checks from his firm.

“You work here?” he asked and felt the amazing stupidity at the question. “When were you hired?” he rephrased.

She stopped abruptly just a foot or so away from his desk. Their gazes met, held. Then she cleared her throat.

“I was hired two weeks ago by Mr. Mathison. I work in accounting. If you could sign these I’ll get out of your way,” she said casting a quick glance at Nick who was staring at Rome.

Two weeks and he’d just caught her scent. Accounting was on the fifth floor, Rome’s office was on the seventh. Still, she’d been this close to him for fourteen days and he hadn’t known.

Why should he? She was nobody special, just a woman he’d helped out a long time ago. There shouldn’t have been any warning signs that she was back in his life, or close to it. No announcement should have been made. He employed more than a hundred people, women included. This one wasn’t any different.

She’d moved closer to the desk by now, extending her arm and holding the checks out to him. He reached for them, let his fingers brush against hers purposely and gasped at the surge of heat that quickly spread from his arm throughout his body. Heat and lust so thick he could barely swallow, so potent his body tightened with the thought of release.

The arm she’d been extending quickly retreated, going first behind her back then, down to her side in a motion that was meant to show control. Yet it was barely restrained control, Rome could see it in her eyes. There was heat there also, and confusion. With a deep breath he resigned himself to knowing exactly how she felt.

Grabbing a pen from the holder to his left he took to signing the checks. Looking at her was causing all sorts of things to go through his mind, feelings assailing his body. Confusion was an understatement.

“How do you like the job so far?” Nick asked pausing to allude to the fact that they didn’t know her name.

Her response was quick, her voice clear, almost melodic. “Kalina Harper. I really like it. I’ve never worked in a law firm before so it’s a learning experience,” she responded.

“Good. We’ll have to do lunch some time,” Nick continued. “I make it a point to know all our employees. I can’t believe I didn’t know you were hired.”

“The checks are done,” Rome interrupted gruffly. Standing he walked around the desk and stopped in front of her. The air crackled with the tension around them. She shifted from one foot to the next. Every nerve in his body pulsated, her scent filtering through his nostrils, dripping into his system like a powerful drug. But even that wasn’t enough to mask the tendrils of pain that ebbed in the distance, the memory of suffering and fear. And something else.

“You like working in accounting?” he asked.

Her gaze met his, almost defiantly as she reached for the checks in his hand. “Yes. I do.”

Lie.

His kind could smell a lie or intended deceit just as easily as they could arousal. Then again, there was a large majority of employees who didn’t like their jobs whether they worked for him or someone else. That was nothing new. Still, it alarmed him.

“May I have the checks?” she asked.

He smiled. Slow, seductive, convincing, he thought. Extending the checks to her he kept his eyes focused solely on hers. There was something about this woman, it intrigued him, turned him on, made him want her. Completely.

And what Rome wanted, Rome received.

“Here you go.” Holding the papers with both hands he made it so she had to touch him to retrieve them. The moment her hands were close he covered them, holding her still.

It was almost painful, this immediate and intense desire for her. But it was the way she looked at him that really caught his breath. In that moment her eyes were different, the amber color lightened, and he swore he saw flashes of yellow, remnants of knowledge.

Did she know who he was? What he was? Impossible.

“Nice meeting you,” he said, smoothly releasing his grip on her.

She took a step back, but didn’t take her eyes off him. Her eyes seemed normal again, her composure slowly taking charge. “Same here,” was her reply before she turned, smiled at Nick then left the office.

“Well. Well. Well.” Nick clapped his hands together and licked his lips.

“Back to work,” Rome said more than a little agitated now.