Unable to stop himself, Blane got up from his chair, nearly tipping it over, and took a step toward her. Aimee inhaled sharply, feeling her body thrum with expectation. She was thirsty for his touch, and for the pressure of his hot, heavy body against hers. Through half-closed lids, she watched as he captured a piece of ice from his own glass and reached for her.







A beam of bright light swept over her. Although she knew the light was coming from the lighthouse, her mind had drawn inward, shifting her focus off her driving. As a result, she was startled when the brilliant white shaft suddenly pierced the car’s interior, and her hands jerked on the wheel. The car swerved to the right. A darkness loomed in front of her as the vehicle threatened to plunge into the culvert, and she automatically tried to swerve left. She overcompensated. Worse, she hit a patch of ice, and the SUV slid sideways for a few feet.

She fought the wheel to keep the vehicle stable and on the road. Pumping the brakes, she thought she'd managed to regain control until she hit a rock or small sand hill and went sailing into the air. The car twisted, landing hard on its passenger side, and turned over in a three-quarter roll before sliding to a squealing halt. It finally came to rest on the driver's side, tires spinning uselessly. The last thing she remembered before blacking out was the sound of the windshield wipers squeaking as they continued to clear the rain that was trying to ice over the front glass.

And then...darkness.


Standing in the middle of the circle of spray jets, he closed his eyes to seek her through their bond. He found the other half of his heart sitting, impatient, nervous, and bored. Then he turned on the spigots.

At first, Lyric thought the roof was leaking. Glancing up, she couldn’t see where the water was coming from, but she could feel the soft drops on her face. She swiped her cheeks, but there was no moisture.

“Something wrong, Cochise?”

She glanced over at her fellow prosecutor sitting across from her. “No. Just thinking.” Jerico nodded and leaned back in his chair, but by this time she could feel the definite touch of water droplets on her arms and legs.

When Ta’Loov was sure their connection was at its strongest, he worked up a lather in his hands and began to massage the soap through his fur, running his nails over his skin. Lightly scoring his flesh as he touched himself.

Lyric jolted upright in her chair from the sensation.

As she realized what was going on, she tried to close her eyes and appear calm to those around her. Yet, her mind both rebelled and was titillated by the provocative feelings crawling over her skin.

My love, what are you doing to me?


Chuckling, Joab stretched, hearing the muscles in his back pop. His throat still felt parched from his trek over the arid, dusty ground. “May I have something to drink?” he asked.

“Oh, goodness!” Jumping up from her chair, she headed inside, toward the kitchen. “I forgot all about my treat!”

“Your treat?”

“Yeah. Hold on. Watch your eyes!”

She flipped on the light, shielding her sight until it readjusted. Going over to the refrigerator, she pulled open the freezer compartment and pulled out a half-gallon of vanilla ice cream, which she plopped onto the counter. “I bought all the fixings for us to make banana splits. Have you ever had a banana split?”

He paused next to the island bar. “I’ve had a banana before. Is a banana split like taking one and dividing it?”

She gave a bark of laughter. “I figured skinwalkers wouldn’t be savvy about them. Just you wait. I passed an ice cream parlor on my way to work this morning. They had a picture of one on their front window. I got so hungry for one, it was all I could think about all day. So I stopped by the grocery store on the way home and got everything we need.”

She answered by slipping an arm around his waist and lifting her face for his kiss. He eagerly pulled her against him to oblige. It was a long, yet soft kiss. Not meant for anything other than a sweet moment. When they finally parted, he dialed the correct sequence of numbers on the tumbler locks and unchained their bikes.

It was a brisk thirty-minute ride to the outskirts of the town. Like most of the other towns, the streets were lined with abandoned buildings that remained empty—unoccupied and unused for their original purpose. Many of them were no longer worth the time or effort it would take to rebuild or repair. At least not in the immediate or near future. Once the Meheedrians bombarded the planet and wiped out nearly two-thirds of the population, it appeared Earth was doomed to extinction.

Until the Tigurians appeared and prevented that from happening.

After they’d managed to defeat the Meheedrians, the Tigurians had remained, keeping a squadron of ships circling the planet in the event their enemy tried to return.

That had been four years ago. Back when he’d been a staff sergeant in the Air Force. Back when he’d been able to first see the Tigurians as they’d emerged from their shuttles to meet with the remaining diplomatic representatives of Earth. Back when their world discovered the feline-looking humanoids could shapeshift to make themselves appear almost as human as the people on Earth.

He’ll never forget the first time he’d seen Silla. She was an adjunct to one of their diplomats. She with her bright orange and brown striped fur, her big blue eyes, and long fluffy tail. When she morphed into human form, the tail vanished, but her striped markings remained on her skin. And those big blue eyes…

He’d felt an instant attraction for the feline-looking officer. More astounding was her attraction to him. They were like opposite poles of a magnet, unable and unwilling to resist each other.

All it took was a chance meeting, a few hours of conversation, and the rest was history.


She gazed at the object in her hand. "A Seaman's Heart," she whispered. Turning it over once more, she remarked, "I can't see where it begins."

"And you won't," he shook his head. "If the craft has been learned well, you will notice nothing but its beauty." The Immortal paused, then hesitantly asked, "Do you like it?"

"I think it's beautiful," she admitted truthfully. "But…why is it warm?"