Tender-hearted and lonely, Kya yearns for heritage and home. The staff and animals at the sanctuary where she works have become almost family, but it is not enough. She craves the stability and acceptance she hears in the voice of her dream lover and sees in the eyes of a wounded wildcat. Chosen to guard the royal heir, Ja claims his lost charge in a desperate attempt to save her from enemies she can not imagine or comprehend. At every turn desire and obligation clash as Kya tests his loyalty to the clan and his will to walk away. Touching her breaks the rules that he has pledged his life to uphold, but fulfilling his duty might destroy everything worth fighting for. Both must face the roles they were born to play. Hers to lead. His to protect. Can Hannah blindly accept her responsibility as queen or will she turn her back on the extended family she longs for in order to keep the one who destroys her loneliness? Does she even have a choice?
The voice from her dream floated from the cage. Malachi’s eyes held hers without wavering. Hannah looked around for someone playing tricks on her, but the night remained still, eerily quiet as it had been every night since the big cat arrived. “Who’s out there?” No one answered her call. She strained to see beyond the dim circle of the yard light. Nothing moved.
Help me, Hannah.
Fear edged its way into her thoughts. Unconsciously, she slid toward the big cat to protect him. Her hand brushed the back of his massive paw. Malachi did not move. She crawled a little closer. The putrid smell of infection drifted from his open sore. “Do you trust me, Malachi?”
He lay still as she reached carefully through the bars and patted his neck gently. With a shaky laugh, she pulled her hand back glad it remained on the end of her arm.
“Maybe we should try this alone, you and I, huh?” She considered the insanity of the idea only a moment before she ran to the medical lab and gathered the necessary equipment. She had never treated an animal by herself but had assisted Harry often enough to feel confident in what she was doing.
Within moments she stood outside Malachi’s cage once more. The cat lay as she had left him. On her knees so as not to frighten him, Hannah inched across the safety line and sat next to the animal’s outstretched paw. She readied the antiseptic on a clean cloth and laid out bandages and antimicrobial solution. “Are you ready for this?” With a shaky smile, she gently patted his leg. “I hope so because I’m not sure I am.” Her hand shook as she picked up the cloth. “Don’t eat me, okay?”