Kiss of Heat

Breeds Book 4

Releasing October 30, 2018

They’ve waited a decade to come together. Long years filled with unbearable pain, and soul-wrenching torment that have changed them both and left wounds that have laid their souls bare. Wounds that stand one chance of healing — if only they could stop fighting each other long enough for the truth to work its healing balm.

Kane, a relentless warrior, lost more than his heart to Sherra in a night of mating passion that marked them both for life. But news of her death ripped his soul apart. For years he has fought to avenge the death of the woman he loved more than his own life, by revealing the deceit and cruelty of the Council that created the Breeds.

But Sherra didn’t die. In a cruel and evil twist she was convinced by her sadistic handlers that the man she had given her body, heart and soul to had betrayed not only her, but the child she carried — and lost.

Amid the rapidly escalating violence against the Feline Breeds, Kane and Sherra learn that there’s more to mating than just the “heat”, just as there’s more to love than just the sex…

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PROLOGUE

Sandy Hook

Sherra stood silently in the shadows of the motel, watching carefully, her eyes narrowed as the nine men parted company and went to their respective rooms. They were furious, but one was coldly dangerous. She had watched them at the airport after dropping Doc off at the safe house, then followed them to Sandy Hook and watched as they checked in.

Kane didn’t remind her of Merinus in any way. He was darker-haired, the color nearly black, with intense, cold blue eyes. His strong jaw and high cheekbones gave a hint to Native American ancestry, his hard, graceful body hinting at extensive military training. She knew the look, the way a killer moved. She had grown up among them, been raped by them more than once. But this one she knew personally. This man had brought her pleasure. Despite her pleas, despite her wishes to the contrary, he had taken her beneath the unfeeling eye of a camera, riding her from one climax to the next, his lust fueled by hers, and hers by his touch.

Had it only been eleven years ago? Sweet heaven, that night tormented her even now, as though it had happened only yesterday. The dark soldier who had sworn to help her, to rescue her. He had come to her, holding freedom in one hand, her heart in the other, and spent the night teaching her the pleasures of her woman’s body. When he left, he never returned. But the doctors had. They had returned to her cell with the video they had taped of the night she spent with him. They had snickered at the things Kane Tyler had done to her, that she had done to him, all in the name of science. Rape had not impregnated her. They had wondered if pleasure would.

She was a Breed. As she had been taught in the Genetics Council’s labs, she wasn’t human, she was an animal in human form, nothing more. Even now, ten years after her freedom from those labs, she wasn’t certain which she was. Human or animal. She knew, for a very brief time, in this man’s arms, she had become a woman. And she would hate him for it until she drew her last breath. She had been created, not born. Trained, not raised. When Kane touched her, she had lived. When he deceived her she had lost the only thing that ever mattered in her life, and now, life or death, it didn’t matter. All that mattered was the survival of the Pride itself. Their sanctuary here in Sandy Hook had been compromised in ways that could never be repaired now. They were, once again, homeless. Homeless and hunted.

Her hands clenched into fists of rage as Kane lingered outside his room, lazily finishing a cigarette he had lit moments earlier. She wanted to kill him now. She had sworn she would kill him if she ever found him again. Sworn she would see to it that he paid for every moment of pain she suffered all those years ago. She had sworn he would pay for lying to her, and for doing it so easily without her knowledge. He had betrayed her, just as he had betrayed his sister.

His expression hardened when the last door finally closed and he was left alone with her.

“Where’s Merinus?” His voice was savage, pulsating with a fury that sent a frisson of unease through her body. How had he known she was there, watching him, waiting? “And why the fuck weren’t we met at the airport as promised?”

“I have a better question,” she said from the safety of the shadows. “Why would a brother betray a sister he swears to love, on the eve of promised help?”

He turned around slowly, casually, until he was facing her. She saw hard purpose in his face, and surprise.

“What the hell are you talking about?”

“A full team of soldiers swept over Callan’s house. A dozen men. All I know for sure is that they didn’t get him or Merinus. But I know they want her. They know about her.”

“Know what, for God’s sake?” He raked his fingers through his hair, his voice quiet but rough with fury.

“Why the hell would they attack now?”

“They know your sister has mated with Callan,” she told him carefully. “Just as you knew.”

Or had he? She watched his face pale alarmingly, his blue eyes widening.

“That bastard touched her?” he snarled.

“No,” she drawled mockingly. “He mated with her. Surely you remember the concept? And now the Council no longer cares if they take him alive or dead. They want the woman and any child she carries. But you already knew that, didn’t you, Mr. Tyler? Why else would they attack mere hours after talking to you?”

He shook his head slowly.

“I never betrayed my sister. I wouldn’t.” His voice sent a chill down her spine. Sherra frowned.

“I came to kill you, Kane Tyler,” she said carefully.

He didn’t seem surprised now. His mouth was edged with mockery.

“Perhaps you could delay that little attempt long enough for me to save my sister’s ass,” he growled.

“What the hell is this mating shit?”

“Later,” she snapped. “Now is not the time for explanations. Now is the time for you to tell me how the Council learned of the mating, if Merinus didn’t tell you of it.”

And Sherra was nearly certain he hadn’t known. He was a liar, but in this one instance, he was telling the truth. Her gifts had grown through the years, with maturity and desperation. She could now smell a lie as others could diseased trash.

“Who are you?” His voice sizzled. “And you’re going to have to be a little more forthcoming than you have been, woman. I can’t help Merinus or Callan with so little information.”

Taking a deep breath, Sherra stepped from the shadows. She watched his eyes widen, saw the suspicion turn to knowledge.

“You aren’t dead,” he whispered, blinking, as though trying to assure himself she was there. His expression went slack with shock, his eyes gleaming beneath the low lights with at first something resembling hope, then with fury.

Bitterness filled her with a wave of pain so intense, she nearly drowned beneath it. He was furious now, and he had no right to be.

“No, lover, I wasn’t killed. But that doesn’t mean you have much longer to live.”

Sherra faced her past now as she never had before. Nightmares and broken hopes fragmented around her, drawing her soul into a bleak, dark void she feared she could never escape. She felt the surging lust, the need, just as Callan and Merinus knew it, thundering through her blood, through her very being. Before her stood the man who had betrayed her years before. In a bleak, cold lab, his body laboring over her, throwing her into pleasure despite every barrier she put up against it. Her mate. The father of the child she had lost. The one man she had sworn to kill.

She was alive. Kane stared at her, hiding the tremble in his hands, the need welling inside him like a dark, hungry cloud. How many years had he dreamed of her, needed her, longed for her with every fiber of his being? And now she was here, standing before him, shrouded in darkness, her eyes glittering with hatred.

Hatred.

He swallowed past the emotion clogging his throat, the regret lancing his chest and the disbelief he couldn’t seem to shake. As though the world had shifted on its axis, pitching him into a world that was as different as it was the same the day before.

“Why didn’t you contact me?” He could barely force the words past his lips. She was alive, had been all these years. He had suffered through hell, ached until he swore his soul was a raw, open wound, and all this time, she had been alive.

She sneered. A cold curve to her lips that twisted in his soul as he watched her. Fingers as slender and graceful as life itself reached beside her to pluck a delicate white blossom from the thick bush at her side. They tore at the petals, ripping them casually from their delicate mooring and leaving them to drift in wounded splendor to the ground.

Staring at her was tearing his soul to pieces. Realizing she had been alive, all this time, free, and she hadn’t contacted him, hadn’t even bothered to let him know, was destroying the last thread of sanity he

thought he had held onto all these years.

“Goddamn you!” he snarled, fury surging inside him, so hot, so deep it blistered the open wounds her

“death” had left years ago. “All these fucking years, and not even a goddamned phone call, Sherra?

Nothing?”

He had to clench his fingers into fists to keep from jerking her to him, to hold back the lust and burning rage filling his mind. He was literally seeing red. The haze at the edge of his vision rippled and burned, turning the soft fall of the hotel lights into a bloody aura. Her gaze flickered over him, cold, unemotional, filled with victorious triumph.

“And I would have done that why?” She bared her teeth, her hatred crisp, clear, lining the beauty of her expression with remorseless hatred.

He fell back a step, feeling the blow to the pit of his soul. He had bled for her. Had nearly died for her. For this. Her hatred.

“No reason.” His voice was hoarse, and he hated her for that. Hated the emotion tearing his heart to pieces as she watched him with the glimmer of amusement in her eyes. “No reason at all.”

Merinus was all that mattered now. His sister and the man who held her.

“Where’s my sister?”

“She’s safe.” She shrugged again. “That’s all you need to know.”

He moved before she could blink. He had known his only edge would be whatever surprise he could gain. He took the advantage fiercely. His hands caught her wrists, twisting them quickly behind her back, holding them in a steel-hard grip as he pushed her roughly against the side of the motel.

“Wrong,” he snarled. “That is not all I need to know, nor is it all you will tell me. By God, I nearly died for you and your fucking Pride once, but I’ll be damned if Merinus will be hurt any further.” His free hand gripped the long silken hair, his fingertips transmitting the sensation of cool, perfect pleasure to his brain even as he fought it. Her body pressed against him, still, unyielding as her eyes widened in shock.

“You’re crazy,” she snapped. “No more games, Kane, you betrayed us all…”

He wanted to shake her, wanted to howl in misery. “You believe what the hell you want to now, Sherra. I really don’t give a fuck. But you will tell me what the hell is going on and you will do it now. Or so help me God I’ll make you wish you had.”

Hunger ambushed him. His cock swelled to painful, immediate erection, his mouth watered for the taste of her, the scent of her body made him sweat, made his balls draw up in lust. Eleven fucking years. Eleven years without her, craving her taste, her touch. For what? For fucking nothing.

“You will tell me.” He pressed his cock into her lower belly, watched her pale, watched the fear that flickered in the shadows of her eyes as his heart twisted in misery. “Or I’ll show you, lover , the bastard you believe I can be.”

Only Merinus mattered. For now.