Although veterinary technician Carlton is violently allergic to cats, he loves them with an undying passion, enough to tolerate miserable symptoms to keep working with the felines in the San Maribal Zoo. The cheetahs especially fascinate him. Then he meets a mysterious stranger who is evasive about why he’s in the zoo -- nude and after hours! This man tells Carl there’s a cat inside him wanting to get out. That sounds really crazy, and the suggested way to make it happen even crazier ... but exciting.
Zyl is a member of the ancient shifter tribe, or Were-Kind. His people are working to enforce humane treatment of animals and save endangered species. Hearing of a planned raid by an extreme animal rights group to free the denizens of zoos, they realize this will a real catastrophe. Joining forces with regular humans to avert the problem will mean “coming out” as the powerful beings they are. Again, a potential disaster.
Attracted to Carlton against his better judgment, Zyl teams up with the vet tech he meets under awkward circumstances only to discover a valuable ally and a soul mate.
Zyl reached again and took Carl’s hands in his. “Close your eyes a minute and just feel. Let your intuition and your inner senses respond.” He felt subtle tension quiver along the other man’s nerves, tighten his muscles, and dance goose bumps over his skin.
Although Zyl usually shunned the use of the mind control power all Were-Kind had to some degree, he sent the thinnest trickle of warmth and care through the junction of their clasped hands. Within a few heartbeats, he felt the slow relaxing that slipped over Carl’s body. The hands he held softened, fingers losing their stiffness. Then the least trace of a returning current of responsive energies began to flow back to him.
The connection begun, they both stood and moved to the side, coming closer as the table’s barrier no longer separated them. Carl still had his eyes shut. He moved almost as if in a trance. An instant’s icy panic touched Zyl. Had he exerted more control than he intended, perhaps too much, so he had taken over the other man’s mind?
No, even when he shut off the delicate exchange, Carl’s reaction did not vary.
“You can open your eyes now if you want to.”
Carl’s lids snapped up and his dusty blue gaze fixed on Zyl’s face. He smiled, an expression so bright and unexpected that Zyl’s heartbeat stuttered.
“I want this, well, something. I’m not real experienced but I’ve known for years I was gay. If you are too and it seems like that’s the case, I’d love to do whatever you want. I’m maybe not a real sub but lean that way. I want my partners to take charge. And if it makes me become a shifter, maybe that’s what needs to happen.”
The tingling current flowing between their clasped hands seemed to grow stronger, hotter, more insistent. Zyl let it lead him. He took a step and then a half step more until they were standing just a few hairbreadths apart. He released Carl’s hands and lifted his own to settle on the other man’s shoulders. Carl reached as well and put his hands at Zyl’s waist. They both angled their heads so that noses did not bump and there was no hesitation as they kissed, the first powerful expression of a union yet to come.
Carl tasted like coffee yet also a subtle flavor that seemed unique to him. Zyl knew his beast senses, even when he was in human form, were much stronger and more sensitive than those of most humans. Scents and tastes were especially keen, powerful, and significant. He’d now know Carl anywhere, any time, and under any circumstances. Just a hint of his scent would be enough.
Their arms tightened around each other as the kiss went on. Tongues dueled and fenced, breaths gasped as their mouths moved, turning and shaping different connections.
Yes, Carl’s feline. What kind? Zyl was too bemused for now to sort that out but any doubts he’d had vanished in a trice. He knew soul-deep they were almost kin and yet different enough to intrigue, attract, strike mutual sparks from each other. A crazy joy and excitement sang through him with this discovery. Maybe he’d been sent to his current base at this zoo for a purpose even beyond the Were-Kind work he already knew.
He felt Carl’s stiffening cock nudging at him even as his own had gone rigid while the kiss went on. Need and hunger began to take over, blurring his other senses, thoughts, and inhibitions. This coming union was essential, pre-ordained, and filled needs he had barely realized existed. He growled low in his throat.
Carl responded. “Yes. Yes! I want you, need you. Whatever -- I’ll suck you or you can fuck me or anything. We just have to do something, anything. Now!”