Night of the Cat
Night of the Cat is also available as part of the three story print collection, StarQuest, available now by direct order from Ellora's Cave.
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"...Hot, sexy, and just pure fun, don't miss NIGHT OF THE CAT by Kate Douglas, the exciting second book in the StarQuest series!"
"...All in all, NIGHT OF THE CAT is a warmly satisfying read that leaves you purring in delight -- and best of all, we have the promise that there will be another story in the series some time in the future!"
Reviewed by Ann Leveille for Sensual Romance
"...He is also the sexiest thing in fur - if you've ever owned a cat and felt their tongues lick your skin, then just try and imagine a large tongue like that licking your body - everywhere. Now uncross your eyes and go buy this book!!! And watch out for more intoxicating literary catnip from this fascinating writer!"
Read an Excerpt:
The following material contains strong sexual content meant for mature readers. "NIGHT OF THE CAT" has been rated NC-17, erotic, by two individual reviewers.
"Hey, Jenna. I'm making a trash run....got anything for me?"
Jenna Lang tossed a last handful of pens into her cardboard box, then grabbed a plastic garbage bag off the floor. "Thanks, Malcolm. This about does it." She looked around the empty cubicle and sighed. "Hard to believe it's over, isn't it?"
Malcolm Trent grabbed the bag out of Jenna's hand. "We're not the first dotcom to belly up. I doubt we'll be the last."
"Yeah...but it was a good gig while it lasted. I gotta admit, though...I'm ready for a change. Have been for a long time." Jenna leaned against her empty desk and folded her arms over her chest. "What are you gonna do now?"
"I've got some interviews lined up. There's always work for engineers. What about you?" Malcolm adjusted the bags of trash filling both arms. "Marketing jobs might not be as easy to find."
"Thanks for the vote of confidence." Jenna grinned. She'd always liked Malcolm, in spite of himself. He was funny and okay to look at. Tall and gangly, he resembled an overgrown teenager with a '70s Beatle haircut...cute in a geeky sort of way. It was hard to believe this overgrown boy was ten years older than she was.
She'd let her daytime fantasies run away with Malcolm on occasion, but in real life they'd never done more than have a cup of coffee together in the cafeteria.
Company policy forbade co-workers dating.
There's no more company. Hmmmmm...
Suddenly Jenna realized she was looking at Malcolm in an entirely new light.
She'd never noticed before, but he had the biggest hands and feet she'd ever seen on a man.
"Actually," she said, surreptitiously studying Malcolm's long, supple fingers, "I do have a job lined up. Similar work but not as frenetic a pace, thank goodness. I'm relocating to Sacramento...in fact, I'm moving in a couple days. Already have my stuff packed."
She smiled at Malcolm and he grinned back at her. His mouth wasn't bad, either. Nice wide smile, full lips...but those hands...
"Sounds good. From what I hear, just about everyone here has found work." He turned to leave. "Wanna go for a drink after we shut this sucker down?"
He must be reading my mind! "Sure. Works for me." Suddenly Jenna noticed something shiny through a tear in one of Malcolm's garbage bags. "What's that?" She reached through the hole and grabbed a brass statuette. "You're not really tossing Lucky Louie, are you?"
"Louie hasn't been all that lucky as far as I can tell. You keep him if you want. Maybe if you're the one rubbing his belly he'll grant your wish. If I'd gotten mine, I'd still have a job." He shifted the sacks once more. "I'll meet you in the lobby in ten minutes, okay?"
"Okay." Jenna barely heard Malcolm leave. She set Lucky Louie on the polished surface of her desk. The fat little statue glared at her out of brassy gargoyle eyes. It resembled a roaring lion with its tongue curling grotesquely from between sharp canines, but the body looked more like an overweight Buddha with a shiny, round belly and short, fat legs.
"Malcolm sure thought you granted his wishes when things were going well, didn't he, Louie?" The whole staff had teased the engineer about his habit of rubbing the statue's round tummy for luck. "I can't believe he'd just dump you in the trash!"
She rubbed the little statue's belly. "Maybe I'll get lucky with Malcolm tonight, eh, Louie? Can you fix it so there's something really hot under that dweeby exterior? You know what they say about men with big hands and feet..."
With any luck, maybe she'd underestimated Malcolm before now. The movers weren't due until day after tomorrow. A private little bon voyage party might be just the thing to send her on her way.
Grinning, Jenna stuck the little statue on top of her single carton of belongings, tucked the box under her arm and carefully locked the cubicle door behind her.
* * * * *
Jenna stared at the little brass statue on the bathroom counter. "Last time I rub your belly, you jerk."
Lucky Louie stared back with his gargoyle grin.
"If it weren't for you, I never would have invited Malcolm back here...remember, he was supposed to be hot."
She could have sworn Louie's little brass eyes twinkled.
"I was horny, okay? Besides, he lives with his mother. We couldn't very well go there."
Did Louie just wink?
"Well, he sounded like he knew what he was doing!" She glared at the grinning statue. "Talk about false advertising! With hands and feet like his, he should have been hung like a horse...I had no idea condoms came in petite!"
Louie appeared to hold judgment on that comment.
"Well, he knows his wine, he talked a good game...how was I to know?"
Obviously, Louie needed more details.
"Okay...so maybe I shouldn't have invited him home. What a fiasco. He said he was into 'light bondage,' then he totally freaked when I pulled out some silk stockings. He said he wanted to 'taste' me. Biting my neck is not the kind of tasting I'm interested in, dammit."
When she'd suggested he "taste a little lower," he'd practically turned green.
Then he'd asked her to go down on him.
"What a jerk!"
Louie's little brass shoulders seemed to droop with shame.
Muttering, Jenna stepped under the shower spray, then pulled the nozzle down and washed between her legs. Even though Malcolm had used a condom, she still felt yucky.
What a disappointment...even guys who weren't all that well-endowed could be decent lovers.
Malcolm, however, was not one of them.
He's not even remotely acceptable!
She adjusted the spray, turned the temperature up a little warmer and ran the pulsating jets over her breasts and belly with an occasional teasing shot at her clit.
Nothing. Not even a tingle.
Not a good sign when you can't even give yourself an orgasm, Lang!
If only she could get the blasted image of Malcolm out of her mind! Hell, she had more muscle definition than he did! Malcolm, naked in her bedroom, white skinned and pasty, a few scraggly little hairs on his chest and zits on his back, humping her leg like a damned teenager.
After all that talk over wine, the whispered things he'd like to do...shit! Obviously, the word foreplay was not in his dictionary. He hadn't even touched her...at least not where it counted! What a waste of those wonderfully long fingers...
No wonder he still lives with Mama!
Grumbling, Jenna turned off the water, toweled dry and grabbed Lucky Louie. She caught a quick glimpse of herself in the full-length mirror on the way out of the room. Tall, dark blonde and still slim and muscular from miles of jogging and hours of workouts...she worked damned hard to look good and what did it get her?
Bad sex or no sex. Take your pick.
Life definitely was not fair.
"Ya know, Louie, I'm not in bad shape for thirty." Jenna dropped the statue on her bed and looked in the closet for her bathrobe. "So, why can't I catch a decent man...and where's my damned robe?"
A soft thunk caught her attention. She whipped around, then realized the statue had rolled off the bed and landed on her packed suitcase.
Suitcase! She'd already packed the bathrobe. No wonder she couldn't find it.
"Thanks, Louie. I guess you're forgiven." Jenna picked up the statue and dragged her old quilt off the bed. Wrapping the worn blanket around herself, she wandered into the kitchen and dug an open bottle of Chardonnay out of the 'fridge. Juggling Louie, the quilt and the bottle in one hand, she grabbed her only crystal goblet in the other...everything else was already packed.
Jenna set Louie on the coffee table, lit a couple of candles, turned off the lights in the front room then, wrapped in the quilt, curled up in her favorite old rocker, surrounded by boxes and crates of her belongings.
Sipping at her chilled wine, Jenna stared at the brassy little statuette. Candlelight flickering off the shiny metal made him look like he was breathing.
"It's like this, Louie. I need to find a man. I thought you'd be able to help, but so far you're battin' zero...no, Malcolm doesn't count. Yeah, I know. Obviously, he had a wonderful evening." She snorted, then laughed out loud. "Ya know, Louie, that's got to be the first time I ever heard a guy whimper when he came! What a sad excuse for a man."
She shook her finger at the statue. "I am very disappointed in you, Louie. I asked for hot and you gave me Malcolm. He is not hot. He's pathetic."
The candlelight flickered brighter, then subsided. "Okay. I get your drift. I'm the one who's pathetic. Thanks loads. You are SO good for my self esteem."
Jenna downed her wine then refilled her glass. "Where am I going to find a real man, Louie? Think there might be one waiting for me in Sacramento? Maybe I need to go on a cruise...you know, one of those singles fantasy find-your-man-on-board-ship cruises...nah...just a bunch of losers go on trips like that."
One of the candles flickered out. Jenna leaned over and tipped the lit candle to re-light the other, then sat back in the chair and wrapped the blanket tighter around her breasts. "You know what I want, Louie. Are you willing to give it another try? How about we skip the cruise and try for a cowboy this time? A big, tall, sexy, rugged cowboy."
Louie remained as inscrutable as ever. Jenna leaned over and picked him up. The brass felt warmed by candlelight. Absentmindedly, Jenna stroked her finger over the smooth belly.
"I have such great fantasies, Louie. Let me refresh your little brass brain. I want a lover like the one I dream about at night, one who's strong and tall and still has the element of the beast in him. I'm so damned tired of computer geeks with their wimpy muscles and wimpier personalities."
Jenna poked Louie in the belly. "Want to know what I dreamed last night?" She giggled. "All I will tell you is that it included me tied to a bed and a guy who was hung like a bull elephant."
She added the rest of the wine to her empty glass. "I didn't see him, in my dream, but my perfect lover has got to have hair on his chest, real hair, not that wimpy little scraggle like Malcolm's got...and muscles. Really big muscles."
She giggled, rubbing Louie's belly even faster. "C'mon, Louie...think you can do it? Can you find him for me? I want a man who likes the way I taste and smell and feel, a man willing to experiment a little with his darker side...and with mine."
The room spun a bit as Jenna finished the glass of wine. She probably should have eaten dinner tonight. Damn Malcolm. Talk about your cheap date. Now she was probably too woozy to even consider cooking anything.
There'd be time in the morning. She'd packed just about all her belongings, the new job didn't start until next week and there was absolutely no reason at all for her not to sleep in as late as she wanted. Yawning, Jenna snuggled further into the quilt, still rubbing Louie's brass belly.
Suddenly, the oddest thing happened.
She swept her fingers across Louie.
Something stroked between her legs.
She rubbed a little faster.
The sensation increased.
She slipped one finger between Louie's fat little legs, across the brass nub representing his cock and balls.
Something directly stimulated her throbbing clit.
She rolled her fingers in a circular motion over the fat little brass belly.
Something twirled deep inside her, filling her.
She rubbed the brass statue a little harder, a little faster. An orgasm bubbled near her surface.
This is weird...this is really, really weird. Louie, are you actually grinning at me?
Her strokes grew longer, smooth and slow, back and forth across the statue's brass belly, down between its fat little legs where she spent long moments circling his little brass nub.
Not once had she touched herself, yet each sweep of her fingers across the warm brass brought her closer to climax. Eyes half closed, breath coming in short, sharp bursts, Jenna felt the familiar tightening, the hot, needy undulations coiling deep inside.
Fingers flying, faster now, unbelieving, not caring this was entirely impossible, Jenna tottered at the edge, suspended over the abyss, gasping, each breath catching in a soft moan...suddenly she shuddered, cried aloud and sailed into darkness, passing through the most intense orgasm she'd ever known.
Her hands went limp. The little brass statue rolled to the floor where it lay on its back, grinning at the ceiling.
The candles sputtered and went out. The worn quilt settled to the empty chair, still damp from the spot where Jenna had once sat.
Floating. So, so far away...
Jenna hovered halfway between sleep and wakefulness. She knew she ought to get up, but then she'd lose those glorious erotic dreams still simmering in her soul.
Nights were good. Last night was fantastic...after Malcolm left, of course.
Daytime sucked. Hopefully the new job would get her out of this funk.
Change is good. How many times had she repeated that phrase?
Maybe one of these days she'd actually believe it. Not that she'd liked her old job all that much, but losing it hadn't been part of her plans. Just a year ago, computer marketing specialists could call their own shots in Silicon Valley. Now they were practically sitting on street corners with cardboard signs, begging for jobs.
Somehow, Jenna couldn't quite picture herself sitting on a sidewalk. She definitely preferred her little Mercedes over a shopping cart, which was the main reason the offer in Sacramento had looked so good, even though it paid barely half the salary she'd been getting.
She'd joked with her co-workers about getting laid off; never dreaming the whole damned company would fold, taking her down with it. Not Jenna Lang, wonder-girl of the dotcom era, successful advertising ace and marketing guru. So what if the work had bored her to tears? Frustrated by long hours, repetitious projects and absolutely no time for a social life, she'd at least had a steady-and sizable-income. Thank goodness she'd invested that income wisely, or she'd really be in a panic.
Well, the big bucks were officially a thing of the past. At least it should be a lot cheaper to live in Sacramento...not that the state's capital was known for its night life.
Cowboys...that's what her assistant had told her. It's hot in the summer, foggy in the winter, and when you go out at night, be prepared for cowboys.
Jenna smiled. Cowboys were really not her style...of course, who needs a night life with a fantasy life like mine? No matter how bad the days, she'd always have her nights...but cowboys?
She felt her lips twitch in a slight smile. Once she'd gotten rid of Malcolm...damn, she'd had the most fantastic dreams! After she'd fallen asleep...Wow...there'd been shackles, restraints of some kind holding her face down on the bed. Pillows, something soft wedged under her belly, images of a large, almost bestial male looming behind her, mounting her, bringing her to one stupendous orgasm after another.
Had he actually roared?
Now where the hell did that guy come from?
Not a clue...but she certainly hoped he'd come back! Just thinking of the dream made her wet.
If only she weren't so cold. She must have set the thermostat too low. She tried to remember her last lucid thoughts from the night before.
Oh! Lucky Louie. Talk about weird! No way in hell could she possibly have had an orgasm rubbing that stupid little brass statue's belly! Must have been the wine. She'd finished an almost full bottle by herself.
Which explained the wilder than usual dreams...and the headache.
Damn but her head hurt. She needed to get moving. Had to finish packing, check with the movers, make sure the new digs were ready, utilities turned on.
Another couple days and she'd be settled in her new townhouse in Sacramento. So what will you find there, eh Jenna?
Definitely a bit more rural environment than she was used to. Cowboys? Maybe...that could be interesting...or not. She knew for a fact cowboys weren't all they were cracked up to be. Then again, she might enjoy finding out she was wrong.
Maybe you should just take Lucky Louie.
She felt a low throbbing between her legs, just thinking about that amazing orgasm.
Damn. Had to have been the wine.
Cowboys sounded better all the time.
A clattering sound intruded into her drowsy meanderings. Good Lord! Her teeth were chattering!
Struggling into wakefulness, Jenna shrugged off the last vestiges of sleep, yawned and raised her hands up over her head to stretch.
Chains clanked and rattled. Her hands jerked to a halt at ear level, elbows bent, wrists struggling against some sort of restraint.
"She's awake, Lieutenant."
"Thank you. That will be all."
"I'll be just outside your door."
Jenna's eyes flew open. She blinked, then blinked again and squinted against a blinding light that suddenly flashed on, blotting out all behind it.
"Be quiet. You will speak only when addressed."
"Who the hell are...?"
Something warm and leathery cuffed the side of her head. Not hard enough to harm her, but it definitely got her attention.
Jenna bit down on her retort.
"I will ask the questions. You will merely provide answers."
The voice was deep, a bit raspy and raw, as if from lack of use. Jenna shuddered, shivering as much from cold as fear.
Other emotions warred...anger...confusion...
A threat lingered in the potent silence.
Terror clawed at her belly, but remnants of the erotic dream flickered through her mind. How could she possibly think of sex right now?
You've been so damned horny for so long, you can't think of anything else! Jenna clamped her jaws together to keep from screaming. She'd damned well better think of something else...naked and shackled to a bed by an unknown captor might be one of her favorite fantasies, but the reality left a bit to be desired.
The image almost made her laugh. Naked? Chained to a bed? If only she wasn't scared shitless right now, this could be most entertaining.
Where the hell was she? Jenna blinked against the glaring light, trembling even harder from fear and cold. She wished she were back in her apartment. She had stuff to pack, movers coming, a new job waiting for her.
A future to live, dreams to dream...
The dream's over, sweetheart.
She took a deep breath. She'd learned control in the corporate world. She could deal with this guy, whoever he was.
"What WF unit do you call master?"
WF? What the hell is WF? She squinted her eyes against a sudden pain to her head. The question seemed to reverberate around inside her skull. Jenna concentrated on easing the pain, on controlling the tension mounting behind her eyes.
On not thinking about her state of undress.
The pressure eased.
"I asked you a question. You will answer me."
Jenna opened her eyes wide at the demand. She stared into the blinding intensity of the light and concentrated on the raspy but oddly melodious voice hidden in the shadows beyond. The accent was completely unique, unfamiliar to her.
"I haven't got a fucking clue what the WF is," she said. "Is that answer enough?"
A low, familiar growl reverberated from behind the light.
The fine hairs on the back of Jenna's neck stood up, and she blinked rapidly against the glare. Why the hell would a growl sound familiar?
"The World Federation. The ruling body on Earth. The bastards who are doing their best to wipe out all Sensitives, all extra-terrestrials, anyone who hails from a different world, a different way of thinking. That World Federation."
Jenna struggled to sit upright, tugging at the chains holding her against the bed. At least she thought it was a bed. The surface was hard and flat, not uncomfortable but certainly not the chair she recalled falling asleep in last night.
She sensed movement behind her and suddenly the tension on the chains released enough to allow her to scoot back against a cold, wooden backboard. She sat up. There was something about an upright position that left her feeling less vulnerable.
Pants and a shirt would have helped even more.
"I don't know who you are. I don't know what you're talking about and I haven't got a clue how I got here." She kept her voice level, forced her teeth not to chatter. It was so damned cold! She glanced at her chest and realized her nipples were puckered into half-frozen beads, the areola a pale pink instead of her usual deep rose.
Self-consciously, she drew her knees close together, almost completely hiding the bush of dark blond hair at the apex of her thighs. What did she care if her wax job was a month overdue? It wasn't like she was trying to attract this jerk, for crying out loud!
Not like she'd attracted Malcolm last night.
She felt a hot, angry flush spread over her body. What a waste!
A shame she'd been so successful. The damned statue had satisfied her better than Malcolm. Too bad Lucky Louie was just another fantasy...along with that unbelievable dream she'd had later!
Jenna shook her head, ridding herself of the final vestiges of dreams and fantasy.
This wasn't a fantasy. This was kidnapping, pure and simple. Kidnappers killed people. They did really bad things to their victims and then they got rid of the evidence. They...
"You were found sleeping in a chair in my residence at 0300. Naked, I might add. There was no evidence of a break in and I have never seen you in my life. Your presence cannot be explained by conventional methods. My orderly injected you with a light sedative before bringing you here, but I was unable to scan your thoughts. I see that you still have the block in place.
"If you are here in an attempt to seduce me for information about the Rebellion, you're wasting your time. Unlike other Explorers of Mirat, I do not find humans the least bit appealing. Other than as a first course, I imagine."
What the hell is he talking about?
Jenna stared at the glaring light, willing her captor to show himself. Nothing he said made any sense at all! If she could see his face, get some idea of what he was like...
Her head ached with the struggle to control her thoughts, the sense that somehow, if she wished hard enough, he would step beyond the light.
I want to see you. Why won't you let me see you? Something about that odd growl of his had sounded terribly familiar. Is that why you're hiding? Are you someone I know?
She focused all of her energy, her fear and anger on her captor. Concentrated with the entire force of will at her command.
A low growl filled the room. The light flickered, then swung aside.
Jenna pressed back against the solid wall behind her, an intense awareness of her own mortality suddenly flooding her body.
Tall and athletic, she'd always figured she could take care of herself in any situation. None of the situations she'd imagined, however, included anything remotely like this.
Shadows shifted, the light dimmed as a large shape passed before it, and suddenly a huge figure towered over Jenna.
Her grandmother's favorite little embroidered pillow suddenly came to mind, the phrase stitched across the front loomed in Jenna's thoughts...Be careful...you might get what you wish for.
She opened her mouth to scream, but the image in front of her was beyond screaming, beyond description, beyond any fantasy she'd ever imagined.
"I do not understand why I have shown myself."
Jenna clamped her jaws shut. She barely noticed the hollow, questioning tone in his softly spoken words.
He. She knew he was male. She just wasn't sure what kind of male.
The beast towered over her, his body encased in a skinsuit of palest silver. His physique rivaled any athlete's, his muscles rippled beneath the sheer fabric as though the material had been painted over them.
He stood just inches from her eyes, his huge thighs so close that, even though her wrists were tightly shackled, she could have reached out and stroked him if she'd wanted. The bulge of testicles and penis was unmistakable, though lightly disguised beneath the fabric. Muscles rippled across his abdomen, spread out to cover a broad chest.
Blinking, willing her rushing heart to settle back to a semblance of normal cadence, Jenna raised her chin so she could see his face.
She bit back a scream of pure terror. He was not human. Not remotely human. His muzzle was elongated like that of a large cat, his ears placed high and forward against his skull. A thick mane of dark hair parted in the middle, flowed down his back and over his shoulders. His amber eyes glared at her, half in anger, half in consternation.
It was that human expression, that questioning look combined with such obvious intelligence that stopped Jenna's scream. Her mouth fell open again.
She almost laughed. Jenna Lang had never been speechless in her life.
A sudden movement caught her attention.
A dark tuft of fur twitched and skittered near the beast's ankles. Jenna blinked, mesmerized by the flick and jerk of fur.
She clamped her jaws tight. It was all too much.
"Shit! You've got a tail!"
A deep growl emanated from the beast's chest.
"You're a fucking lion! A fucking TALKING African lion. This doesn't make sense. No sense at all." Shit! There must have been something in that wine...Louie? That dumb statue couldn't...? Jenna flopped back against the bed.
No, this couldn't be real. No one fell asleep in their own apartment and woke up chained to a bed by a larger than life, standing-on-two-feet African lion!
"I am not an African lion. I am an Explorer. A Lion of Mirat"
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