The sweat-covered body thrashed on the bed in the grip of a nightmare. “NO, NO, NO.” He murmured the words aloud as his head moved from left to right. His body jerked, and tawny cat-like eyes opened, his breathing harsh and labored.
Malachi scanned the room, his eyes focused on the furniture in his bedroom—chair, dresser. He repeated what they were in his mind as he stroked a shaky hand down his wet face. He breathed in, out, in, out, a routine he developed over the years when he woke from a nightmare. Malachi startled as a cool, gentle hand caressed his cheek. He leaned into the tender touch as his heart settled to its normal rhythm. His pupils returned to that of a human as he focused on the face of his mother. He knew she would be here. She always came to him when the memories of that night invaded his dreams.
The night his brothers and father were lost to him forever. Even now after so many years the pain in his heart still hurt like a physical wound. Tears clouded his eyes as his older brothers’ faces came to his mind. They teased him relentlessly because he was the youngest. Treating him like older siblings would. A tear fell on his cheek, unnoticed, when his father’s face came to him. A sad chuckle came from him as he remembered his dad would tell him the stories of what his older brothers would do to him. He too was the youngest son in his family. He always made things better for him when his brothers would tease him just because he was the youngest. Malachi shook his head of the memories that came to him. The stories his father would tell them. But his favorite story was the one his dad would tell about meeting his mother.
His father used to tell him and his brothers about the first time he saw her. The story of how they met would change all the time but not the way he described her. “She was lovely, standing next to her father with her other two sisters. All were beautiful but your mom…” He would laugh and shake his head. “I didn’t know the name for the color of her hair until my brother poked me in the gut and said look at the strawberry-blonde, then I had the name. Her light brown eyes sparkled with intelligence so big and beautiful, so much emotion held inside.”
“What has brought about the nightmare?” his mother asked as her ethereal form settled beside Malachi on the bed. She ran her hands over his and through his hair.
The horror of the long-ago night flowed through his mind. The screams, the poignant smell of blood and burned flesh saturated the air, from the pile of his pride’s bodies set on fire. He trembled as he did that night for the destruction of his people.
Malachi took a breath before he turned to his mom. “A young female tiger was taken from her pride last night. The Beta asked for help of the Society sentinels to help find her.” He scooted past her to the edge of the bed, swung his body around, and stood. His feet touched the soft plush carpet on his floor. He stood there for a moment, the last remnants of memories faded away from his mind.
His mother’s voice drifted over to him as he made his way to the bathroom. “Yes, but why would this bring on your nightmare? You helped in situations like this before.”
He stopped in the doorway as he spoke. “They set their home on fire. A couple of teenage cubs witnessed the abduction and tried to help.” His body tensed before he continued, “They are in the hospital being treated for gunshot wounds.”
“Gunshots. Since when have shifters used guns?” She stood as she spoke.
“That’s just it. They have never used them before. The Beta thinks some humans were also involved.” Malachi continued into the bathroom. The sound of water filled the silence of their conversation. When he came back his mother was by the window. She turned her head when he walked back over to the bed. A huge sigh escaped as he sat.
“Why did the Beta contact the Society? Why not the Alpha?”
“The home they burned belonged to the Alpha.”
“They take the Alpha’s daughter?”
“What about her family?” she asked in a whisper.
“Alive, but in serious condition. When they heard the shots, some of the shifters went in before the flames totally consumed the house. They managed to get the Alpha and his mate out.”
“Do they know why she was taken? What are you not saying?” His mother studied him. “There is more about this than a simple kidnapping.”
He turned to look at her. She always could tell when he was holding something back. He sighed. He might as well tell her. “She is a liger, Mom.” He saw his mother’s features change for an instant. Fire burned in her eyes before she was able to control her feeling.
“Do you think that is why she was taken?” There was a slight tremble in her voice.
“I don’t know. The only ones who knew what she really is are her parents and brothers and the council Prime, Daniel. The Beta of their pride does not even know. They even kept it from the rest of the council.”
“She must be freed. You must save her.” There was a sense of urgency in his mother’s tone as she came over to him.
Malachi searched her face as she sat next to him, her arm going around his shoulders.
“Her fate could not be left in the hands of her kidnappers.”
He heaved a sigh of frustration. He knew he would go after her and take her from humans or shifters or both who took her. Her very existence could be a new stage of evolution for changelings. He would have to put his search for Seth on hold for now.
He turned to her, his hand holding hers. They were cool to the touch, but they were real; they had substance.
“Mother, why are you still here?” He asked the same question whenever she appeared to him. Again she gave him the same answer.
“For you, my son.”
He bowed his head a moment before he spoke. “That was the answer you gave me when I was a cub and the pride was gone. But, that is more than fifty years ago. I am a grown man now. Why do you still come to me to me, especially after a nightmare?”
“Because, you need someone still.” She gave a sad smile as she started to fade.
He shook his head in disbelief.
She patted his knee. “When the time is right, I will leave to join your father and brothers. For now I will be with you.” She kissed his cheek as she faded away.
“When the time is right,” Malachi muttered to himself. “The time was right years ago.” He was no longer the frightened child he was when the council took him. He was a council enforcer, the elite warrior, no longer a cub.
“You will always be my cub,” his mother’s voice whispered in the air.
The sensations of holding Shauna so close bombarded him and his body reacted in typical guy fashion. His pulse raced, and blood pumped into his cock. He felt her intake of breath when his erection dug into the side of her hip. He stared into her eyes, his mouth aligned with hers, and his tongue skimmed over her mouth.
She stared back at him, the green in her hazel eyes deepening as he licked at her lips again. Malachi’s hands delved into her hair to hold her in place as he explored her lips. Shauna’s mouth opened enough for him to plunge his tongue inside. He watched her lashes drift lower, watched her eyes darken. The sweet taste of honey filled his senses.
“Damn! She tasted good. Like innocence.” He thought.
Something he had never known of, something he did not believe existed. He ended the kiss slowly and looked at her. Shauna’s face was flushed with a slight blush to her cheeks. Malachi gaze traveled to the camisole Beth had put on her after she gave Shauna a sponge bath. Her breasts swelled over the snug blue top. They were firm, plump little globes with hard, pointed nipples.
His eyes narrowed on the obvious signs of her arousal, and his cock stretched beneath his boxers. “Your nipples are hard.” He snarled as he tried to control the arousal of his body. But her tight little buds were just below his fingertips, more tempting than he could have imagined.
The stretchy neckline gave effortlessly to his fingers as they smoothed over the hard curves. They were flushed too, the dark dusty nipples hard as the fabric rasped over them. The elastic hooked beneath the firm mounds and lifted them higher. Malachi’s fingers trace a path around one nipple before his thumb and forefinger gripped and tugged firmly. Shauna’s body bowed as the sexual wince shook her frame.
His body was hot, and he shook as he heard her moans. The lust had mounted fast and hard. He felt out of control. He lowered his head, mouth opening as he covered a quivering peak, drew it in, and sucked into his mouth as he leaned over her. His tongue curled around it as she lifted closer and pushed her nipple tight and hard against his tongue.
Shauna squirmed beneath the molten heat of his mouth. He may be a stranger to her human half but not to her beasts. She screamed when his teeth seized the hard peak, nipping and tugging it. His lips, teeth, and tongue worked her nipple until he heard her panting for breath.
“Goddess, you taste good,” he murmured before he drew the peak in deep and hard, sucking her into his mouth.
She twisted under him; her hips rose as he leaned over her. Whimpered howls emitted from her as his fingers started to play with the other nipple.
“You like that?” He raised his head, his eyes narrowed on her as his fingers twisted the tortured nipple.
“What do you want, baby?” he whispered then, a wicked sexuality suffusing his expression, giving him a dangerous, dark look.
The burn went from her nipple to her womb; the endless ripples of arousal through her lower body had her panting for breath.
“He is our mate, our other half. Do not fear your hunger for our mate,” they whispered into her mind.
He pulled at her nipples again, and her gaze glazed over as she fought for breath. A flaming rush of sensation invaded her body.
She arched to him, gasping as his fingers tugged at her nipples again. She wanted his mouth there again. His head lowered again. His mouth was hot, his tongue an instrument of torture as it rasped and lashed at the peaked flesh and sent her senses careening with pleasure.
Then his teeth nipped at it, sending fiery shards of painful pleasure exploding into her womb. His lips covered hers again, his tongue forging into her mouth. Her tongue tangled with his. His hands gripped her head to hold her to him.
His hand moved from her head, flattening on her waist before smoothing to her thigh, her lips parting as she gasped for air, as his fingers grazed the crotch of her panties. His tongue pumped into her mouth as he got rid of them. When his hand returned, she stilled, his palm cupped her pussy. His head lifted slowly, his eyes narrowed on her, watching her carefully as he moved lower on the bed, as his gaze went between her thighs; his fingers parted the saturated folds, which sent tingles of electricity flowing over her nerve endings. She shuddered as she felt his breath send a cooling caress over the sensitive tissue.
“Damn, this is the prettiest little pussy I’ve ever seen,” he whispered. His fingers running through her slit tore a cry from her lips. “I’m going to eat you up, baby.”
Malachi’s tongue followed the path of his fingers. Slowly, he worked the snug little valley, gathering the juices that pooled there as she bucked at his lips. His hands held her hips tight as he licked through folds that had never known a man’s touch.
He moaned into her pussy, licked and sucked the folds of skin, then his tongue moved higher, rasping over her burning clit.
“Yes,” she moaned deliriously. “Oh yes, please, please…”
He growled as his tongue circled the tight little bud, swamping her with a pleasure.
“Like that?” he whispered, his breath blowing over the straining mass of nerves.
“You taste sweet,” he growled. “Like hot syrup, smooth and sweet on my tongue.”
She whimpered, her head twisting on the bed.
“Do you want to come, baby? Your little clit is hard and swollen. Do you want me to make it feel better?”
“Yes,” she cried.
His fingers slid through her juices, stroking over the entrance before circling the hole of her rear. She jerked at the caress but lay still, trembling as he did it again, then again. He gathered more of her juices and repeated the movement, over and over again as his tongue licked at her swollen pussy, until she screamed with the building pressure when his finger slid deep inside her burning rear.