Authors: Kat Simons
Daniel Borowski, Tracker and enforcer of tiger shifter law, faces an impossible choice when the woman he loves is set on breaking one of their people’s most fundamental rules—don’t kill humans. Daniel’s own sense of justice cries out for the life of the man who murdered one of their own, but killing him—especially in tiger form—is an automatic death sentence. Daniel loves Sarah too much to allow her to throw her life away for revenge. But preventing her from killing could cost him any chance at a future with her.
Her soul demands blood
Sarah Chu never imagined losing her best friend so young and in such a gruesome way. Until then, she was focused on her career as a genetics researcher and trying to get pregnant during the Mate Run so she could be with the man she loves. After her friend’s murder, Sarah can think of little beyond ripping the man responsible to pieces. So when Daniel stops her from taking her revenge, anger and frustration make her lash out at him even as the chemistry between them roars through her. If she kills the human, she’ll sacrifice the life she imagined with Daniel. If she lets the human go, she’s not sure she’ll be able to live with herself.
Justice will come at a price
To protect Sarah, Daniel will do whatever it takes, including finding another way to get justice. Even that might not be enough for her, though. But when the murderer comes after them, intend on torture and death, Daniel and Sarah will have to choose…destroy the killer or protect their own future. Because they can’t have both.
Copyright © 2014 by Katrina Tipton
Edited by Kemberlee Shortland
Cover by The Killion Group
Published by T&D Publishing
All Rights Are Reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously, and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locale or organizations is entirely coincidental.
They cannot be sold, shared or given away as it is an infringement on the copyright of this work.
Ridley Creek State Park outside Philadelphia
Daniel Borowski stared through the darkness at the sleek black Jaguar parked in front of an isolated home at the edge of the park. The bastard with Sarah sat sideways, his profile visible through the back window. Daniel had no trouble discerning Bradley Williams’ dark blond hair and blue eyes, even in the dark. Tiger-shifter eyesight was handy that way. He only saw the back of Sarah Chu’s head, but he knew it was her.
He’d know Sarah anywhere.
His lip curled as he watched the two. Bradley was the kind of slick, rich asshole who always set Daniel’s teeth on edge, but this man’s pretty boy exterior hid a murdering evil that sent Daniel’s instincts into overdrive. Especially when the bastard was sitting next to Sarah.
Daniel dug his fingers into the bark of a fallen tree in front of him, trying to rein in his anger.
“You’re sure you don’t need help?” Alexis Tarasova asked from beside him.
He kept his gaze on the car, swallowing a growl as Bradley touched Sarah’s cheek.
“I’ll be fine,” he answered in a tight murmur, hoping his mentor wouldn’t pick up on the rage he heard in his own voice. Alexis might have been retired for ten years, but she was still one of the best Trackers he’d ever known. He was a better Tracker for her training. Sometimes, though, her perception was inconvenient. Right now, he needed her to concentrate on her part of this situation, not his straining control. “It’ll take both of you to keep Joseph away.”
He glanced at her, taking in her focused stare. Beside her, her husband Victor Romanov waited so silently Daniel might have forgotten he was there, if he couldn’t sense him.
To the west, not far from their position in the trees surrounding the front of the house, Daniel also sensed Joseph Bennett in his tiger form, waiting for his chance at revenge against the man who’d killed his sister. Joseph was so full of rage he wasn’t thinking straight.
Neither was Sarah.
Daniel looked back to the car in time to see the bastard lean toward Sarah and say something close to her ear. Daniel snarled.
Alexis nudged his arm. “Victor can handle Joseph if you need me. The point is
to kill the human.”
“I haven’t forgotten why we’re here.”
“You sure? Because you’re stripping bark off that log.”
Daniel scowled down at his hand. His fingers were buried in the thick bark. Fuck. If he couldn’t calm his temper, he would ruin everything. He was a Tracker. He should be able to control himself.
For Sarah’s sake, he
to control himself.
“I’ll be fine. Just make sure Joseph doesn’t get anywhere near that man. You have a place to
…hold him until he’s thinking straight again?”
Alexis signed something to her husband, who signed back. Daniel didn’t understand sign language so he waited for Alexis to finish.
“We’ll take him to Victor’s retreat near the Canadian border. That should be far enough from Philly to keep him out of trouble.”
Alexis narrowed her eyes and her mouth tightened. The reaction was telling.
“You don’t think he’ll calm down, do you?” Daniel asked, facing the car again.
“Would you if Williams had murdered your sister?”
“No.” He’d want to rip out the man’s throat and drink his blood. He was already itching to tear him to pieces, and that was just for
Sarah. He could only imagine what Joseph felt.
Or Sarah for that matter. Su-jin had been her best friend. Sarah’s rage and need for revenge no doubt matched Joseph’s—strong enough for her to risk her own life.
Among their people, killing a human being, especially in tiger form, was an automatic death sentence. There had been a few exceptions over the years, but that was before forensic science had improved so significantly.
There would be no leniency for Joseph, even given the circumstances. Killing a human risked exposing them all to the human world. Their people were already on the brink of extinction and desperately struggling to survive. They couldn’t afford for the general human population to learn that tiger shapeshifters existed.
Sarah might not be put to death because she was a rare female tiger, but she would be caged for life if she went through with this. Daniel couldn’t allow that. He loved her too much to let her to throw her life away.
“He’s getting closer,” Daniel said, jerking his head in the direction of Joseph’s approach.
A soft growl carried through the dense woods, quiet enough only the tigers would be able to hear it. The enraged tiger knew they were there to stop him and he was warning them off.
Alexis glanced at Victor, then back at Daniel. “Good luck. Keep her safe.”
Daniel nodded and watched as she and Victor slipped into the darkness under the trees. As they disappeared, he glimpsed Victor begin to disrobe. He would shift into his tiger shape while Alexis stayed in human form. Between them, they’d be able to handle Joseph, no matter how angry the man was. At least Daniel hoped so. As a former Tracker, Alexis had handled worse. But Joseph was Victor’s best friend. They’d try not to hurt him.
Daniel focused on the car again. Joseph was their responsibility. He had to trust Alexis and Victor to do their part. His job right now was to get Sarah out of this, unharmed. And to avoid killing the bastard with her.
He pulled in a deep breath, letting the warm, humid summer air clear his head. The scent of beech, oak, fresh cut grass, and soil settled him. He waited and listened to the others as they closed with Joseph. Then he rose from his hiding spot beside the drive and approached the car on Sarah’s side. The gravel covered driveway barely crunched under his light footsteps.
He snatched open Sarah’s door before Williams realized Daniel was there. Sarah, on the other hand, glared up at him. He knew she’d felt him approach. Hell, she’d known he was in the trees.
For a split second, the dark power of her gaze stilled him. Even angry, she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever known. Black straight hair hung over her shoulders. The car’s interior light threw shadows across her sharp features, highlighting high cheekbones and the beautiful tilt of her dark brown eyes. Without thought, his gaze dropped to her mouth—those full lips had always captivated him. Right now, they were pressed tight together, and her jaw was clenched.
He blinked and forced himself to remember why he was here.
“Out,” he ordered. “Now. We’re leaving.”
“Who the hell are you?” Williams demanded.
“Her fiancé,” Daniel easily lied. As far as he was concerned, it was only a partial lie anyway.
“You shouldn’t be here,” Sarah hissed.
This close, the smell of Bradley Williams’ lust and strangeness punched at Daniel. Though it was a subtle texture, impossible for Daniel to describe in human words, he could tell from Williams’ scent the man wasn’t sane, and his lust wasn’t for sex.
Despite Daniel’s best effort to control his temper, he snarled, a low animal sound rising in his throat. He swallowed down the instinctive challenge and reached a hand out to Sarah.
She ignored it. “It’s none of your business what I do,” she said.
“You heard the lady,” Williams said. “She wants to be here. Looks like your engagement is off. Beat it.”
Daniel kept his gaze on Sarah so his tiger didn’t get the best of him. He quickly unfastened her seatbelt and pulled her from the car. “I understand why,” he whispered into her ear. “Believe me. I understand, but it will only hurt you. I will not allow that.”
She jerked free of his hold as soon as her feet were under her. “What I do is not up to you, Daniel.”
Williams jumped from the car, slamming his door shut behind him. “What the hell do you think you’re doing? Do you have any idea who I am? I will have you thrown in jail for this.”
The irony of that comment almost made Daniel laugh. He finally looked the other man in the face, letting him see his anger, and his animal.
Williams stopped short. Some small part of him was sane enough to recognize death when he faced it. Unfortunately, he wasn’t sane enough or afraid enough to let that knowledge stop him for long.
“The lady wants to be with me,” Williams said with a smirk. “If you don’t get the fuck out of here, I’ll make sure you’re ruined.”
“I’ll leave right now. With Sarah.” He looked down at her. She was a foot shorter than his 6’3”, but her stature belied her stubborn will. He scented her anger, a complex acrid punch overlaying her natural scent, and he knew she’d fight him. He couldn’t blame her wanting to kill Williams, but throwing away her life for revenge wasn’t an option.
…” she warned, the quiet edge of tiger in her voice.
He put his face close to hers, their noses almost touching. “I’m not leaving without you.”
When she didn’t respond, he gripped her arm and started toward the trees, and the path that would take them off Williams’ property back to the side road where Daniel had parked his truck. She jerked her arm, trying to pull free, but he refused to let go.
Suddenly, Williams was in front of them, grabbing Daniel’s arm in a solid, strong grip and stopping him and Sarah in their tracks. The man’s strength and quickness were impressive for a human. Surprisingly so.