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Beast of Burden

MuseitUp Publishing

Heat Rating: SWEET
Word Count: 97,266
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When a werewolf kills her father, Kat copes the best she can—she rips out its throat. Kat’s a werecougar and her secret’s safe as long as she wears grandma’s amulet. Yet there are some things not even a werecougar can outrun.

Hiding from the killer inside, once-popular Kat walks the halls of Alpine Ridge High, cast out of the in-crowd, alone in a sea of former friends. When they target her as the butt of their jokes, Kat struggles to keep her claws retracted.

Even if Kat’s almost given up, life hasn’t forgotten about her. New boy in town Remi Gere has all the makings of a knight in shining armor—hot, sweet, and chivalrous—an unexpected breath of first love. But when Kat discovers who Remi really is, will she go for his heart—or his throat?

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Kat smiled. Alone with her in the same room idled the next Calvin Klein model. Remi was dead on. She’d been afraid all right, but not of the airplane. That… ratty Chihuahua. Yet, his presumption would sound less embarrassing, so she played that hand.
“So Catalina…” Catalina was the Spanish translation of her name. The way he pronounced it made her shiver. What a sucker for accents—and dark hair. Remi, naturally, had to have both. He blushed a bit and said, “I meant Kathrynne—”
“Kat,” she interjected, and then realized it may have come across curt. “I like to be called Kat, please.”
“Like la gatita? A little kitten?”
That kitten grinned from ear from ear. “You could say that.”
Remi turned away and wouldn’t look at her. She must have flirted too much. Maybe too little. Her shoulders dropped. Flirt? What a total failure…
He laughed off their awkward exchange and returned his gaze. “Que adorable.”
And you’re adorable too, Kat thought, relishing in success. Remi shifted on the vinyl cot and his hand accidentally brushed against hers. A shock of goose bumps ran up her arms. Scanning the room for her hooded sweater, she found it nowhere. They could have stuffed it in her carry on. Kat hoped he didn’t notice her reaction.
“Would you like my jacket?”
She rubbed at her arms. “Uh. Yeah. There must be a draft in here. Or something…”
Remi pulled off his jacket—leather, classy, not over the top like those biker guys wore. Under the leather a tight black T-shirt stretched across a broad chest and two incredible arms. Kat’s eyes widened and she shamelessly stared at him. He winked after catching her in the act of admiring him. Yet, like a gentleman, he held out his jacket and helped her slip it on.
When Kat thought he wasn’t looking, she turned her nose into the collar and inhaled, breathing in the scent of soap, clean and fresh, undertones of some wonderful cologne, and the leather. The aroma, tasty…and so was Remi.
“Now maybe Mother will believe me. I’m not the only one who likes that jacket.”
Kat’s face burned and her head tilted. To avoid her incredible stupidity, she turned to stare at an airline advertisement poster. Fingers found her mouth. Don’t chew on your nails. God, who turned up the heat…? She always ran a little north of 98.6. Having a perpetual fever came in handy when wanting to ditch a class or two. Like the ones with Malcolm in them. Their school nurse was a sucker for a girl with a fever.
And Kat was feverish when it came to Remi.
* * * *
“Your skin” —he brushed her shoulder with the soft pad of this thumb—“is very warm.”
“Oh.” Kat blinked and tried to recover as he continued to touch her.
The urge to touch her left him flummoxed.
Faust popped back in the room, catching Remi tracing patterns on Kat’s shoulder. “Sjelefrender allerede?” he asked with a raised brow. Soul mates already…
Remi shook his head and quickly jerked his hand to his side. His father relentlessly teased him about girls, enjoying that his son drew them in like a magnet. Remi figured it reminded Faust of younger days... So he humored him. Besides, Faust blew Mother away when it came to the parenting role. Perhaps, a bit of an exaggeration. More like his father’s casual parental interest seemed easier to tolerate than Mother’s suffocating ways. She constantly nagged Remi (now, her only son) about finding his elskede—beloved, in their ancient language. More like betrothed. His sjelefrender—soul mate? Yeah, right. If he didn’t hurry and find a love on his own, his mother, determined to carry on the bloodline by having a bunch of grandkids, would push some stranger on him. She’d even persuade Faust to join the game. But to Mother it wasn’t play. “Time’s running out,” she always reminded Remi.

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