Artist Wynn McGuire has a problem. An enemy wants him dead.
Sheriff Mick Greene also has problems. Helping Wynn survive and finding the elusive "Snow Cat" that is prowling outside his small mountain town.
Wynn and Mick have another problem as well, their growing interest in each other. When Wynn disappears Mick is certain he’s either dead or has gone back to his old life. Then he discovers the truth about Wynn, just days before Wynn comes back into his life. Will this truth, plus Mick’s ex-lover and another man seeking to kill Wynn force them apart, or can they surmount the obstacles and learn that love indeed conquers all.
Mick tried to turn the camera on. He wanted to see the two pictures that had caused all the problems. It took him a moment to realize the battery was dead.
He didn't get a chance to buy a new battery until he was on his way home. It seemed as if everybody and their brother had problems only the sheriff's department could solve, from a runaway cat to a three-car accident just outside of town involving a local and two sets of tourists who didn't understand there was a reason for the speed limit on the winding mountain road.
So when his day ended, an hour later than normal, he pocketed the camera and headed out. After arriving home, he set the camera on his desk, went to change into well-worn jeans and a T-shirt, then fixed supper. He was anxious to see the photos but figured since he'd waited this long, another hour wouldn't matter and he'd have filled the empty hole in his stomach, which made him feel more human.
Finally he sat down at his desk, put the new battery in, and turned on the camera. Pressing the 'review' button, he brought up the last picture Wynn had taken.
"What the fucking hell!" He looked at the picture in disbelief then at the drawing over his desk and back at the picture. "No way, no how is that possible."
The picture was of a man, but not fully a man. The face was the one Wynn had shown him, the man he said was Lionel Knight. He was half bent over, above the body of a woman that had been torn to shreds. That was bad enough. What was unbelievable was the fact Lionel was more cat than man. His lower body was fully animal, thick powerful legs covered in black fur ending in powerful looking paws. It had a tail which was, Mick thought, shorter than say a tiger's or a leopard's in comparison to his body length.
From the waist up, he was still partially human, black fur melding into black chest hair. His hands were half morphed into cat's paws, long, sharp nails extended. The look of pure hatred as the creature stared out of the picture sent shivers down Mick's spine.
Hesitantly he looked at the second picture. Here the creature was fully cat, a jaguar, Mick thought. The nails of one front paw were imbedded in the woman's chest; the cat's powerful jaws gripped her arm and Mick knew seconds later they would pulverize it.
For a moment he thought maybe the two pictures were part of some fantasy shoot, one of the jaguar, the second of a morphing figure-maybe something Wynn had set up as inspiration for one of his paintings. Then he realized that was impossible when he looked at the time notations in the bottom corners of both pictures and studied the half jaguar, half man in the first one, comparing it to the second of the jaguar. The hind quarters were identical in both.
What the hell did I get involved in? Something out of science fiction, fantasy, the occult? Is this ... thing the same jaguar I found dead, its throat torn out, the day Wynn went missing? Is it ... was it ... really Lionel Knight?
Those and more questions spun through his mind as he turned on his computer.
Then he popped out the camera's memory card and plugged it into the USB slot before opening his photo program. After transferring the two pictures, he studied them side by side. He hadn't been wrong, it was the same jaguar, or ... or whatever it is.