Find more from this author on:
About the author:
Athena Wright is a communications professional by day and an author of New Adult and Erotic Romance by night. She loves dirty talk and you’ll find she uses it liberally throughout her stories. She has a special fondness for ménage relationships.
What inspired you to write your book?
I love dark romance and have rarely seen the genre mixed with paranormal, so I thought I’d write my own with shifter werebears and werepanthers.
Here is a short sample from the book:
Gunshots, growling and shouting outside my locked bedroom door was common. I often heard my father’s henchman foiling assassination attempts. His dubious business practices practically invited them.
This time was different. The shouts were louder, prolonged. Pained, even. When the growls faded and whimpers took their place I began to worry. The sound of a body hitting the floor was the norm. The sound of multiple bodies was not. I would recognize that familiar, heavy thumping sound anywhere, even muffled as it was through the door.
The shouts started up again. Reinforcements. This was serious. I flew to the door and banged at it with my fist. The manacles on my wrist allowed me to go that far and no further.
“Hey! Let me out!” I wasn’t going to be a sitting duck for whichever shifter clan had infiltrated my home. My pleas went unanswered. Unease gnawed at my chest. Usually, whenever I caused a fuss, a guard would unlock the door to come in and quiet me down. I had long since learned pissing them off did no good. The bruises had been a stern teacher.
The fighting noises stopped. The silence was eerie. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up. I could almost sense someone coming down the hallway, approaching my room, but I couldn’t hear a single footstep. I inched away from the door, trying to calm my trembling limbs. I wished I had a weapon, but there was no way my father – the man who called himself my father – would allow me access to anything of the sort. He had made sure my room was empty of anything I could use to fight back.
The doorknob rattled. I inhaled a sharp gasp of air, then clapped my hands over my mouth, stifling the noise. The lock did its job, preventing entrance. The doorknob stopped rattling. I contemplated breathing again.
The door exploded in a shower of slivers with chunks of wood flying in every direction. My eyes squeezed shut, hands covering my ringing ears, too slow to protect them from the sudden blast. After a few moments, when I realized I hadn’t been shot, I cracked my eyes open, blinking away the particles of dust floating in the air.
A man stood in the doorframe holding a gun. He was dressed all in black, wearing an almost skin-tight suit. Droplets of blood splattered across his pale skin. No mask. He wasn’t afraid of showing his face. Did he plan on killing everyone who saw him?
The hallway behind him was littered with fallen bodies, some in human form, some fully shifted, others in a half-shifted state. I recognized most of the faces. The men who kept me locked up. The men who beat me. Good riddance.
He scanned the room. I wondered what he thought of the scene. A normal girl, maybe in her late teens or early twenties, long messy hair falling down her back, clearly dressed for bed. A girl with both wrists restrained in metal cuffs and long chains, with a thick silver collar on her throat.
“Where is the Bloodmoon leader?” he asked, voice low in his chest. I was frozen in shock. He cocked his gun and pointed it at me. “Where is the Bloodmoon leader?”
“I don’t know,” I told him, finding my voice, proud that it didn’t shake. I lowered my hands from my ears and let them fall to my side, chains clanging together. Goosebumps covered my skin, my bare arms and legs prickling. It was after midnight. I was only wearing shorts and a tank top for pajamas.
“I won’t ask again,” he growled.
“I honestly don’t know.” I was rarely informed of my father’s comings and goings. His crooked business deals took him all over the world. “If I knew I would tell you. You’re the one with the gun.”
The man tensed, thin lips pressing together. In an instant he was across the room. He grabbed my throat, gripping underneath the collar. My eyes bugged out and I clawed at his wrists. He didn’t let go.
This man moved faster than anyone I’d ever seen, even faster than my father’s elite bodyguards. Cat-like reflexes. The grip was tight, but not tight enough to cut off my air. His narrowed green eyes stared into my blue ones, burrowing deep like he was trying to read my mind. I smelled the blood on his hands, coppery and bitter. My skin was probably smeared with it now. I stopped fighting and forced myself to relax, blinking my eyes wide open, trying to radiate an air of sincerity, to convince him I was telling the truth.
There was something feline about his nose and jaw, and the way he moved was liquid smooth. He had to be a Felidae cat shifter. Which clan, though? All my father’s known allies and enemies flashed through my mind. This man could be from one of dozens. Either an ally-turned-enemy or a clan with an open rivalry.
His expression was impassive. Cold. Empty. His eyes, though, they were different. Fiery green, bright and clear. His face was sharp, all angles and shadows, but he was attractive despite that. Or maybe because of it.
He moved, pulling me closer. The taut muscles of his lean body pressed against mine. My body responded despite myself, blood thrilling at his touch.
It had to be the adrenaline. This shifter carried a gun, had killed his way through my clan, was probably going to kill me. Sex should have been the last thing on my mind. I couldn’t help it. A slow pulse of arousal throbbed between my legs.
His nostrils flared and his pupils dilated. He released his tight grip on my neck and slowly eyed me up and down, taking in my bare arms and legs, the strip of skin between the hem of my tank top and the waistband of my shorts. I should have blushed and tried to cover myself in embarrassment, but instead my body grew warm, nerves buzzing. My nipples peaked through thin cotton. It’s just from the cold, I told myself, but it was a lie.
This man, this shifter, gun in hand and covered in blood, was awakening parts of my body I never thought would arise from their slumber. His gaze lowered to my chest, laser-focused. I flushed. He clenched and relaxed the grip on the gun at his side. I exhaled a shaky breath, lips parting. He leaned into me, pressing a knee between my thighs. I gasped out loud and his eyes blazed with heat. His hand gripped my hip, pulling me closer, pushing our bodies together until my chest was flush against his, the soft mounds of my breasts crushed against his hard muscles. The smell of blood was stronger now, but instead of repulsing me, it spurned me on, made me fearless, reckless.
I had the sudden urge to tear off my clothes, to bare myself to him and let him take me. I wanted to pull out his cock and wrap my hands around it until it hardened under my touch. I wanted to choke on it until he came and then swallow down every last drop of him.
It was crazy. I had no idea why I was reacting this way. All I knew was, I wanted him.
My eyes dropped to his mouth, so close I could almost taste him. I took a step, closing my eyes, moving closer for a kiss. That broke the spell. He pushed me away with a violent shove and pointed his gun at my head, lightning-fast.
I reeled from the suddenness of it, and a chill ran down my spine. What the hell had I been doing? This man was an assassin. He was probably going to shoot me dead. I had to be insane to be thinking these things.
Then why was I still craving his touch?
His mouth opened and closed a few times before he clenched his jaw, struggling for the right words. Eventually he spoke.
“Why are you locked up in this room?”
His hand was steady on his gun, but still clenched tight, knuckles whitened and straining. He hadn’t been unaffected by our intimate moment.
I hesitated, debating what to tell him. I still didn’t know where our fervor of lust had come from. Would he treat me better if he knew who I was, or would he hurt me until I told him everything I knew? He could have hurt me already, if he wanted information. The throb at my throat taunted me. Alright, he could have hurt me more than he already had. I had suffered more than a bruised throat at the hands of my father’s thugs. Maybe a half-truth?
“You’re chained to the walls.”
That did complicate matters.
“I tried to break out once before.” It wasn’t a lie. I had made many attempts at freedom. He didn’t need to know I hadn’t tried in years. I knew by now it was useless.
He considered me silently for a moment, eyes blazing. “You’re coming with me.”
A spark of hope lit up in my chest. I had no idea who this man was, but if this was my only way out, I would take it. I took a step forward, and the jingle of chains caught both of our attention. The spark of hope faded.
“You want to try and free me without the key, go ahead.” I lifted up my arms, baring the cuffs on my wrists.
The man stuck his gun in the waistband of his pants and examined the cuff. The blood on his hands had dried into streaks of dark brown, flaking off with every shift of his arms. I didn’t care that it was getting all over me. I peeked up through my lashes. He didn’t seem as intense now. With a puzzle to solve, the expression on his face softened into something like curiosity. Then he pulled out his gun and pointed it at my hand.
“Whoa, wait, what the hell-!” I yanked my arm back.
“I’m not going to let you blow my hand off!”
He glared at me and grabbed my wrist again, holding it out and away from both our bodies. He aimed his gun and twitched his trigger finger. A gunshot blasted through the room and I flinched. Heavy chains hit the floor. He grabbed my other wrist and repeated the procedure. I didn’t flinch as hard, prepared this time, but the gunshot was still loud enough to make my ears ring.
He let go of my wrist and I brought both hands up to examine them, wriggling my fingers. The manacles were still there, but the chains were gone. I was free from my father.
I was also the captive of a murderous Felidae shifter.
He took both my wrists in one hand and clenched them tight.
Something hard and cold hit the back of my neck. Everything went dark.