The Hunted Series
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Author: Bethany Shaw
Cover Artist: Indie Ebook Cover Boutique
Release Date: February 21, 2015
Tess Monroe is a werecat on the run. Pursued by Hunters, an elite group of humans tasked with extinguishing the entire shifter species, Tess stumbles upon a safe haven. Due to a long-standing feud, she receives an icy reception. Determined to reunite with her loved ones, she accepts the help of, Nate, a werewolf. The attraction to Nate is instantaneous, and Tess trusts him despite his packs archaic beliefs and traditions.
Werecats can’t be trusted. They are the enemy. That’s the motto Nate Tucker grew up with, but when he meets Tess, he can’t help feeling protective of the beautiful feline. He knows he shouldn’t care about her, and he shouldn’t be attracted to her, let alone desire her, but the feelings are undeniable. Tasked with escorting her to a nearby pride, Nate must fight his passion for Tess. An interspecies romance is forbidden. But as they unravel secrets from the past and discover new threats, a taboo romance is the least of their concerns.
Nate pulled off at an exit. It was nearly three in the morning. He was exhausted, hungry, and needed a break from the endless darkness of the freeway. He scanned the rearview mirror, ensuring no one was behind him. The road was dark and vacant. It had been for miles, but he had to check to be sure. Better safe than sorry.
He didn’t want to stop for a long time. There was no doubt in his mind that they were being pursued. As long as they kept moving, they should be okay. Although, he swore at times that the Hunters had supernatural tracking abilities. It was the only thing that could explain how they found shifters sometimes.
Nate drove up to a twenty-four hour Taco Bell and came to a stop just short of the drive thru. He looked over at his passenger. Tess was sound asleep. Her long hair draped over her face like a curtain. He took a moment to appreciate the soft rise and fall of her chest that accented the swell of her breast. She truly was magnificent.
Reaching out, he tucked loose strands of hair behind her ear, letting his finger trail down her silky cheek. Tess stirred, her eyes fluttering for a moment as she leaned into his touch. What am I doing, he wondered as her breathing evened. She’s a werecat, and I’m a wolf, any feelings I have are forbidden, he reminded himself again. Why do I have to keep reminding myself to keep my hands off her? I need to find a wolf when I get home and get the whole mating process over. At least that way if she comes back, I won’t have to worry about whatever this is.
He moved his hand away from her, instantly missing the contact. Wake her up and ask her if she’s hungry. How hard is that? His hand reached out for her again, but he jerked it back. No. Don’t touch her. Say her name. Do something, but for the love of God don’t touch her.
“Tess,” he said huskily.
“Hmmm,” she murmured as she sat up with a yawn. Her eyes blinked open a small smile pulling at her lips as she met his gaze.
He cleared his throat. Don’t make eye contact. “I was going to get something to eat. Do you want anything?” he asked, pointing to the empty drive thru.
Tess squinted at him for a moment as she slowly took in their surroundings. “Oh. Yeah. Sure,” she mumbled as she yawned again. “Where are we?”
“Ohio. Just crossed over the border. Thought we could get a quick bite and I’ll need some more specifics from you about where we’re going,” Nate explained.
“I have the coordinates. We are going just outside of Cincinnati. We shouldn’t be too far from it,” she sighed. “Are we being followed?”
“Not that I can tell. The roads been empty behind us for some time.” He pulled out his cell phone and opened up his Google maps app. “Here. Why don’t you put in the coordinates and I’ll order us some food. Want anything in particular?”
Tess squinted and then wrinkled her nose. “Taco Bell?”
He shrugged. It sounded good to him.
“A couple beef tacos,” she mumbled as she took his phone.
Her slender fingers grazed against his and he closed his eyes, trying to ignore the electricity rippling through his hand from the touch. He shook his head and pulled forward through the drive thru.
“Can I help you?” a male voice crackled over the intercom.
“Five beef tacos.” He’d eat what she didn’t since she hadn’t given a number. Surely she was starved too. “A burrito supreme, chili cheese burrito, two chicken tacos, and two Pepsi’s.”
“Hungry?” Tess asked, arching her brow.
“Yes,” he grinned. Anytime he transitioned, he always burned a ton of calories, and he needed to replace them. It was like that for all werewolves. He wondered if the same were true for werecats. Surely they had similarities as much as they did differences.
“According to this we’ll reach the pride in about thirty minutes,” Tess said, drawing him out of his thoughts.
Wow. They were close. He dug his wallet out and drove to the window, passing a card to the attendant. She promptly swiped it and handed the card and food over. The scent of cheap taco meat filled the car, and he inhaled greedily. His stomach rumbled as his mouth salivated. I can’t wait to dig into my burrito. Nate set the bag between them and drinks in the cup holder.
“Hop back on the highway,” she instructed.
“Got it,” he replied as he unwrapped a burrito. He took a large bite out of his food and swallowed it.
Tess set the phone down on her knee and let out a long breath. She ran a hand through her hair before picking up a taco from the bag.
“I’m sure it will be okay,” he tried to assure. “I’m not dead yet,” he teased around another bite.
She gave him a small smile before taking a nibble out of her food. “It’s not so bad,” she commented as she lifted her soda up and took a sip from the straw. “I just want to get to the pride. My family… we were close. It would be nice to know they’re okay—that they made it out. It makes me sick to think of what might have happened.”
His own stomach twisted at the thought. He’d seen what hunters did to those they captured, and it wasn’t pretty. After they’d tortured them for information they killed them and then burned the village and all of its occupants. If he had a quarter for all the forest fires hunters had started he’d be rich. Not only were they destroying shifters, but they were harming natural wildlife too. It was disgusting.
“You’ll be safe there,” Tess commented drawing him from his thoughts.
“Your prides let go of the feud?” he asked curiously. The wolves certainly hadn’t. You’d think it happened yesterday.
Tess set her food down on the wrapper. “You don’t know what really happened do you?”
Nate took a sip of his drink and looked at her. He knew the story his mother had told him. Given her hatred, he was beginning to wonder how accurate it was. Anger and racism could blind you from the truth. What if he had it all wrong? What if the wolves were spreading stories to keep the werecats at bay? But why?
“The story I’ve always been told is that a community of werecats and werewolves lived within thirty miles of each other. They were working together to stop an attack from the Hunters. During a mission, a male werecat raped a female werewolf. The werecats refused to bring him to justice and when the Hunters attacked the werewolf pack, the cats never came to help. A lot of wolves died in that attack, including my grandma’s sister and younger brother,” he summarized. His mom had given a much more detailed account, but he didn’t see the need to retell it to Tess.
Tess clucked her tongue and pursed her lips. “Um. No.”
“No?” he questioned.
“That’s not what happened,” she stated.
“I’ll admit my story could be wrong—”
“It is,” she interrupted adamantly.
“And you know this how?” he asked. “You weren’t there.”
“Neither were you,” she countered. “I’ve seen the evidence to support the werecats side.”
“From a feud that’s lasted decades? How?” he asked skeptically. She was full of it now. There was no way she could know what had transpired all those years ago.
“First of all, the wolf and the cat weren’t in a relationship. They were good friends. The pack only assumed they were having an affair, and made up the story about the rape because they couldn’t stand the idea of an interspecies relationship, and wanted to make sure no one else got any ideas. And to make sure that there was a rift between the two species. Prior to the attack on the pack, the pride was under siege. There was no one to come to the packs aide because the pride had been destroyed. By the time the pride survivors made it there the pack had been desolated, and any survivors had fled.”
“You don’t know the truth behind your story anymore than I do behind mine,” he remarked.
She lifted her brow, silently challenging him. “Actually, I do. There were thirteen survivors from the pride. The werecat and wolf being two of them. He had family on the west coast, and he brought her there too. They joined a pride in Washington State, the same pride that I grew up in.”
Nate did a double take. Her eyes held his and her jaw was set firmly in place. She was serious. Is that what had happened? Why would she lie? Why would the wolves lie? What was the point in holding onto a feud for generations? To keep different species from mating. That seemed a little farfetched, or did it? Even now, interspecies mingling between different genders were strongly discouraged. There was the occasional hookup, but same species didn’t truly mate most of the time, sure they could still procreate, but there was a difference between finding your true mate and mating out of obligation to duty. Why would anyone think that two different species could truly mate, let alone have children? Was that even possible? Probably not. How would that even work?
“Wow,” he stated unsure what else to say. What could he say? “And your not just yanking my chain?” he asked.
She shook her head. “No.”
“Why would the wolves lie? What do they gain from carrying on the feud with the werecats? Sanctuary needs as much help as it can get,” he thought aloud. It didn’t make sense.
Tess looked away and out the window. “I’m sure they have their reasons,” she said after a long moment. “It’s possible that they really believe that’s what happened too. I mean, the pack was destroyed except for a few. If the one’s who made up the lie all perished, then there would be no one to set the story straight.”
Could what she said be true? Questions whirled through his mind. If what she said were true, then they needed to figure out a way to get the truth out there. That was the only way the feud would ever end—at least for the wolves. He opened his mouth to speak, but the GPS spoke first instructing them to take the next exit.
Tess squirmed in her seat, squinting to see in the darkness. There was no way she was going to talk to him now. She was too worried about her family. Not that he could blame her. Later. We’ll talk about it later, he promised himself.
Nate opened the door for Tess as he led her into the TV room. He smiled and motioned to the large couch. She took a seat and got comfortable.
He picked up the remote and eased down onto the opposite end of the couch. As much as he’d like to sit close to her, Tess’ perfume was intoxicating. He could be easily overwhelmed with desire for the werecat. Better to watch the movie at a distance. With the click of a few buttons, he brought up the red Netflix screen.
“You did it,” she laughed as she shifted so she could look at him.
“It took a little work.” Liar. You spent the better part of the afternoon rerouting wires and fiddling around with this. He handed the remote over to her. “Ladies choice.”
She leaned forward, her fingers grazing over his as she accepted the controller. He gritted his teeth as heat engulfed him. His cock hardened at her touch and his wolf roared to life, ready to claim her. He inhaled sharply. The desire for her seemed to be getting worse. Would it be so bad to give in? He could get her out of his system and then he could mate with a nice wolf in a few weeks. Would she be open to the idea? If they both agreed to a fling with no strings attached, it could work. No. He groaned inwardly. One night with Tess wouldn’t be enough. I still want her.
“I suppose I should spare you the sappy romance,” she teased, drawing him from his thoughts.
What did she say? Think. Romance. Right. “You don’t strike me as the type of girl who likes those,” he replied.
“I could go for a good action flick,” she agreed. “How do I do this exactly?” she asked looking down at the remote.
He scooted closer, his shoulder bumping against hers. His length throbbed against the restriction of his pants. She looked up at him, and her breath caught in her throat. He watched as her tongue darted out to wet her lips. So close—so beautiful. I want to taste her. I need to. Make a move.
“How do I…” she trailed off, locking gazes with him. “Nate.”
He growled low in his throat, enjoying the sultry way his name rolled off her tongue. “Tess.” He reached up and brushed strands of hair from her face. The silky locks slid through his fingers.
When she didn’t recoil, he moved closer, cupping her face with his free hand. His thumb traced tiny circles over her smooth cheek.
“Your pack won’t approve,” she spoke quietly.
“I don’t care what they think,” he answered honestly. He didn’t care. For years, he’d been following laws that made no sense to him. It didn’t bother him to break rules that he didn’t believe in. Tess was… there were no words to describe whatever was happening between them. The urge to claim her, to take her was driving him insane. He had to have her. Now.
Tess bit her lip, seemingly unconvinced.
Nate brushed a finger over her soft, plump lips. “They don’t have to know. It can be just tonight. No strings.” I’m such a liar. There is no way one night will be enough. We can sort that out in the morning. Maybe she feels the same.
Tess nodded with a sigh. Needing no further encouragement, he leaned in pressing his mouth to hers. Her lips were softer than he imagined. They were so full, and they moved harmoniously against his. More. I need to feel every inch of her silky skin.
He growled, pulling her closer, needing to feel her plush body pressed against his. Her mouth parted, and he slipped his tongue into her mouth, exploring every inch that she allowed him to.
Tess gripped his shoulders and shoved him back. He frowned momentarily confused until she slid one of her lithe legs over his waist and straddled him. Her lips found his again. The light kisses quickly changed to heated nips and feverish clashing of tongues. Their teeth gnashed together as they both fought for control. Her nails dug deliciously into his shoulders, marking him as hers. He reveled at the thought as the urge to make her his filled him.
He gripped her waist firmly, lifted her, and then laid himself over her on the couch. Tess mewed beneath him, her hands raking up and down his back, lifting the hem of his shirt up, and over his head.
Yes. I need more. I need her. Claim her.
By Jo on February 20, 2015
I was given a copy of this book for a honest review…
This was my first book by Ms. Shaw and it was truly an awesome read, I’ve always loved shifter novels and her’s was no exception. It had to be one of the best shifter stories I’ve read in a while!
after my literary journey with Tess and Nate I found myself wishing for their happily ever after, They deserve it! I thought.
The emotions the author expressed in the story seem to leap out and wrap themselves around the reader, especially during scenes of suspense, there was a tenseness in some of the scenes that you could easily feel. Similar to when you watch a suspenseful movie and find yourself thinking Be careful guys!
The first chapter does a nice job of grabbing your attention from the very start, you can very easily feel Tess’ emotions; her pain and fear, it’s these emotions that keep you reading!
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I am happily married to my husband of almost nine years and have two wonderful children.
I have always loved reading and writing and am thrilled to have published my first novel.
Paranormal romance is my go to genre and the genre I prefer to write in. I love the unique feel of creating an entirely different world and implementing it into the human verse.
Author Website: https://bethanyshaw.wordpress.com/
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