A cat shifter hiding in plain sight and the man who loves her take on the one threat determined to expose her alien race to the world.
A cat shifter trying to fit into a world that didn't start as hers. The man who would love and protect her with everything he had. Mira never expected to find the one man she would grow to trust and love among the human men. Living with humans had grown to be a skill for the Felids. As long as they didn't expose themselves, they were safe. Rhys never thought he'd find the love of his life or that she would turn out to be an alien cat shifter. What she could do with her shape was amazing. He vowed to protect her and her people.
Unfortunately, someone has learned of their existence, and is hunting for Mira.
"...A fast paced read, Ms DeRicci gives us a well-thought out plot. I loved the chemistry between Mira and Rhys. I also liked that while Rhys was against any plan that would endanger his mate he also loved her enough to let her do what she needed to do. Kudos, Ms DeRicci, for bringing your readers another enjoyable tale." -GJM, Rites of Romance Reviews, rorreviews.wordpress.com
"...Caged was a short, thrilling, uniquely intense tale that had me hooked from the start. The plot started off strong and continued throughout until the very end. Both Mira and Rhys were fun, likable characters and there was no doubt that they loved each other. Their erotic scenes were beautifully written with just the right amount of spiciness. And, the danger element only added more bang to the storyline. Readers, you can’t go wrong with Caged. It was definitely worth the time it took to read. It was a delight to read Diana DeRicci’s Caged and I look forward to future reads from this author." -Nikita Steele, VeiledSecretsReviews.com
Mira watched his sleeping form with unblinking eyes. Steady breaths made his chest and shoulders rise and fall. She’d only recently realized she liked to watch him when he was this relaxed. He was a hard worker, constantly doing something at the house, or concentrating on something at work. His mind rarely slowed down, except for sleep. All that energy kept his lean body trim. His own version of weightlifting kept him toned. She licked her lips.
Rhys was a walking god. Dark brown hair and luscious eyes, he was always able to make her heart race. Even sitting in the chair across the room by the window, simply watching him sleep, he drove her crazy to be near him. Their relationship hadn’t started out on the best foot, but they’d somehow managed to survive each other. The first thing she’d wanted to do was run, then kill him and then run had become an option, because he’d discovered her secrets. How quickly she found out he was a man who was worthy of her secrets.
Burying her sigh in the crook of her arm where it rested on her lifted knee, she let her gaze wander to stare out the window again. It was afternoon. He was due back at work the next day. Their weekend away at his grandfather’s cabin in the Catskills was a total disaster.
Because of her. She winced, toying with the rolled seam edge of the chair cushion between her fingers. How had they known to set the net? Rhys was right. What was the chance that a cheetah would be found in the mountains?
In this form, unless she needed blood, she was undetectable. She bled red, the same as a human, only her blood never lost its red oxygenated color. She didn’t have a blue vein in her body anywhere. So maybe she wasn’t exactly like a human, but whoever noticed had to be damned close to catch the difference.
Except for Rhys, no one ever had been.
Felids were home schooled or tutored, because they couldn’t pass the blood work needed for public schools. They didn’t need the vaccinations because of their immunity, so that was another strike against them, though none had ever been infected by the many ailments that seemed to plague mankind. Fitting in had never been easy, regardless.
There weren’t only the public aversions, but the cat needed to run. That was essential. A cat with cabin fever grew cranky and hard to control. Mature Felids could control the cat easier, but it still wasn’t a pleasant experience for the Felid, or anyone they were cooped up with.
That was why Rhys had taken her north. Since admitting to their bond and letting the relationship happen, she’d been pacing the townhouse for weeks. His grandfather’s cabin should have been perfect, a long way out of the city. Secluded. Unknown. But someone had known.
Then a thought occurred to her. Something he’d said…only them, not with the family. He was right. Who knew the two of them were going there for the weekend? No one else in his family knew her secrets. He’d glossed over a lot of her background and childhood with his mother, refusing to divulge anything she wouldn’t say on her own. Rubbing her chin on her knee, she knew she loved him for that alone.
The world outside the window was mostly quiet. The suburb where his townhome was located was well out of the inner city. Birds flew from tree to tree, chirping and discussing their moment to moment. Squirrels raced up and down large elms and oaks, their brown tails fluffy banners of their passing.
A tiger trotting down the sidewalk would create havoc and terror, she was sure of it, though the idea of doing it still brought a smile to her, just because it would be interesting to say the least.
Her brow scrunched as she tried to sift through memories and possibilities. Had someone discovered what she was, what they were, and were hunting for them, like Rhys feared? She wasn’t sure how many Felids still existed, only the five from her home pod. She knew there had been over a hundred on the initial mission sent to Earth, but beyond that, much of what had been was lost to memory. To help the younger generations integrate easier, the elders had even ceased using their own language. As different as a sponge to a turnip, the Felids had managed to hide among the humanoid race, though their biology and anamorphic ability set them apart irrefutably.
Laying a cheek on the crook of her arm, she wished she had answers to what had spurred yesterday morning’s capture. Maybe it was simply because she was a cheetah caught in the Catskills. Though the net had to have been set well in advance. Was she a catch that had caught them by surprise? What else had they expected to trap? And why by the cabin? Mira rubbed her face trying to replay yesterday morning. She was going to get a headache trying to understand what had happened. The longer her mind ran in circles, the tighter that circle shrunk, giving her no answers. Maybe she wasn’t the only one using the area for a running ground and had been captured instead of another Felid.
Or maybe they were just cruel, heartless poachers really only out for whatever was caught in their net.
She must have made their jaws drop, she thought. Either way, now that someone knew there were cheetahs in the Catskills, people would be combing the range looking for more—or just for her.
A sigh drew her attention to the conked out man lying on his side on their bed. Considering the day before, the long night and that morning, he was probably exhausted. She hoped someday to have children with him. It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t impossible either, as previous couples had discovered. Their humanoid DNA was close enough to merge and essentially create a hybrid, but the Felid remained dominant. She hoped their species never lost that uniqueness. She could imagine children with his solid shoulders and his eyes. Cloud gray and brown, like winter bark.
Mira followed his hand when it appeared from beneath the sheet at his hips. His fingers spread and wove down his chest to linger over his flat stomach. Her pulse hitched, and she was unable to look away. Flicking upward, his eyes were still shut. She wondered if he were asleep, or if he knew she was watching every single motion he made.
Compelled to follow that wicked hand, she watched as it drifted over his pecs to inch beneath the sheet edge, where the noticeable bulge created by his erection was impossible to miss.
“You’re evil,” she teased him, knowing without a doubt he was awake, and was aware of her captivation.
“No, I’m trying to be tempting,” he told her. “I’m all alone in this bed.” His lips stopped moving to form a slight pout.