Charlie Gavin is a panther shifter and the Beta of the Thirteen — the group to become the next Dásreach Council. But, to become the council the Thirteen must find their mates. When his best friend and Alpha, Kai Darrow, called, Charlie was happy his friend found his mate, but a bit jealous too. That was until he saw Natalie on the side of the road with her friends after a blown tire. His panther’s natural instincts immediately took control and his passions rose with each interaction with the emotionally distanced ex-Marine.Natalie Matthews, goes by Nat, decided a long time ago that living life only got you hurt. She devoted herself to the Marines and when she questioned her life as a soldier; she retired and began helping wounded soldiers that spoke to her own wounded heart. Her life was rewarding, but lonely, until the Book Worms. Control and logic ruled her life, but paranormal romance and her Book Worms gave her a place to release her deepest hidden desires. Desires that manifested in one cocky British Dásreach panther.
Unbeknownst to the Thirteen a darkness is working against them, preventing possible mates from coming into contact with them. Working in the shadows and using human pawns, the darkness has set its sights on Natalie and her friends.
Can they release the past before the future they’re building crumbles?
Releasing the Panther Excerpt
Prologue © Josette Reuel
What really bothered Nat was that she wasn’t so sure they were delusional. Logically, she knew they had to be, but deep down her heart whispered about possibilities. Was this one of the reasons that she enjoyed paranormal romance so much, was she a closet believer in the unexplained? Maybe she should call her friend from college and set up an appointment once she got the girls out of this mess — she obviously needed some psychoanalyzing.
Toeing off her shoes, she realized that she held her hand against her chest. It still buzzed from where Charlie had touched it and she felt the need to protect herself from whatever the electricity was that had moved through her body at his touch. Since the day she’d visited the psychic she hadn’t slept worth a damn. Dreams of panthers and of a man with blond hair had tormented her awake each night. Then she saw that tattoo. Since then, the dreams became even more detailed, and when she’d seen Charlie…
“Argh,” she yelled as she flung herself back on the bed and grabbed a pillow to cover her face.
The soft cotton was soaked in sandalwood, the earthy smell of the man that kept intruding on her thoughts. His blond hair and blue-green hazel eyes had haunted her from the moment she’d first seen him. Him and that damn panther tattoo. How she wished she’d fought against going to the tattoo shop now. Damn it, she should have talked Al and Rogue into going to one of the other book events in any other state than Louisiana. Then they wouldn’t be in this mess.
She groaned. Nat prided herself on always facing things head on, but today… all she wanted to do was hide under the blankets.
A knock on the door caused her to groan. She wasn’t ready to talk to her friends. She had no answers to give them.
The door creaked open, “Natalie? Can we talk?”
Fuck. It was him.
“Go away,” she mumbled from under the pillow.
“Natalie, please talk to me, love?”
Nat felt the bed dip as his weight settled onto the bed and then he pulled the pillow away.
“I did, I said go away. Do you Brits understand English?” She gave him her fiercest scowl, the one she once used to terrify new recruits back when she was training.
All the man did was grin at her. She huffed and grabbed another pillow to hide behind. Why wouldn’t he leave her alone? She muttered to herself. Thoughts ran through her mind of what would have happened to Al and Rogue if she hadn’t been along to help. Rogue had been working on learning how to protect herself, but Al was a marshmallow — soft and sweet. She shouldn’t have left them by themselves. It had been selfish of her to forget the needs of her friends and run because of her inability to deal with her own fears. Hadn’t the Marines taught her anything?
She leapt from the bed and headed for the door. Charlie’s hand fell on her arm just as her hand wrapped around the door knob.
“Where the bloody hell do you think you’re going?” he practically growled at her. “Why can’t you just talk to me?”
He flung her around and backed her against the door. Nat was torn between arousal and fear. She really didn’t believe this man would hurt her, if she did — if any of the men gave her the impression they would hurt her or her friends — she would have fought her way out of the house from the very beginning. But there were too many unknowns, what with the men who had attacked them on several occasions and then the gunfire at the tattoo shop, for her to react without thinking. Charlie lowered his head and his breath beat at her neck. Panting breaths filled the room with sound.
“Not that it’s any of your business,” she responded coldly, “but I was going to my friends.”
“When it comes to you, everything is my fucking business,” he growled low in his throat and nuzzled her neck. “You. Are. Mine.”
With a hard shove and years of training, she pushed the infuriating man back and he tripped him over her foot that was wrapped around his leg to unbalance him. He fell onto the ground and glanced up at her. A huge grin curved up his lips.
“You can wipe that smile off your face. I don’t belong to anybody but myself, so you can go… go…” Charlie’s movements as he lithely came to his feet made Nat’s mouth go dry.
“Go where, love?” he asked with a light laugh.
“Damn it, just let me out of this damn room so I can check on my friends,” she yelled.
Nat sucked in oxygen. She was not acting like herself at all and she was becoming concerned about how this man messed with her equilibrium. She studied him and saw naked bodies entwined and moving together in a rhythm that made sweat bead on her temples. Turning her head toward the door, she pulled the door handle hard. She glanced up and saw his huge hand against the door. Her forehead plunked against the stained and polished wood. Damn the man.
Charlie placed his finger under her chin and adjusted her head so that his lips brushed against hers. Without realizing what she was doing, until it was done, Nat turned into his arms. Her hands traveled up his large biceps and soon her fingers were twined into his slightly waved hair. At this moment, nothing else mattered, just her and him — a woman and a man.
His lips barely touched her own and he spoke against them, “Natalie… Natalie… Natalie…”
She shivered and gasped as her name, said in his deeply accented voice, set fire to parts of her that had never before been lit. He took advantage of the moment and pushed his tongue past her lips. The kiss deepened and he commanded through his touch alone.
The earth shook. Her mom had always talked about how the earth shook the first time she’d kissed Nat’s father.
Charlie pulled back and looked quickly around. A large booming sound accompanied the shaking this time and both of them glanced at each other in shock. Nat’s hand swung out and she slapped him. She wasn’t sure why she did it, she just did it.
“No one kisses me… ever.” Nat knew she was being unreasonable, but emotions and fears rose inside of her and she couldn’t control them. “At least, not without my permission.” With those final words she spun, opened the door, and raced down the stairs.
The last she saw of Charlie’s face, his mouth had dropped open in astonishment.
She rounded the corner and rushed into the kitchen to find it empty. The rat-a-tat-tat of gunfire resounded off of the house and she headed toward the front door where it was coming from. As she reached the door, Charlie caught up with her and jerked her back.
“Bloody hell, woman. What are you thinking? You want to get killed?” He pushed her to the side of the door and peered out through the curtains on the sidelights.
“My friends need me,” she gritted out through her teeth as more gunfire sounded from outside.
“Kai and Malkum will keep your friends safe,” he pushed back the curtain, “I think we can make it to the truck.”
He grabbed her hand and pulled her through the front door. They jumped from the porch and ran in a straight line for the truck. Yelling from the side of the house indicated that they had been seen, but Charlie kept moving. Soon Nat found herself shoved into the front seat and Charlie was getting in on the other side. Before she could take a breath he was peeling out down the drive with gravel pinging off of the metal body and shooting out behind them from the force of the tires.
She glanced back and saw men dressed in black running to an SUV, which she hadn’t noticed during their mad dash to the truck. She fell against the door when Charlie made a sharp turn onto the road at the end of the drive. Another SUV was waiting for them and sped up to catch them. She saw another one ahead, but Charlie had a good grip on the wheel and moved the huge truck like it was a much smaller car.
Gunfire banged against the side of the truck and her thoughts went to her friends — friends that weren’t used to gunfire, bombs, and warfare.
“Damn it. I need to go back for Al and Rogue,” she yelled at him.
“My priority is you. Kai’s is Al and Malkum’s is Rogue. I will not put you in harm’s way when I know they are in good hands.” He turned a corner and she flung into his side, “now put your bloody seatbelt on and hold on while I lose these assholes.”
Nat could count the number of times she willingly did what she was told without complaint, and this was now one of them. She was staring ahead at two SUVs that blocked the road. She and Charlie may not make it out of this alive. She needed to get to safety and then she could help her friends. As her seatbelt clicked, Charlie looked in her direction with a huge grin. He was enjoying this!
If she got out of this, she was checking them both into a mental ward, because she found herself grinning right alongside of him.
“Ready for a wild ride, love?”
“Absolutely,” she responded as she gripped the strap above the door and braced her other hand on the seat.
Books By Josette ReuelDásreach Council Novels
Book 1: Finding the Dragon
Book 2: Accepting the Bear
Book 3: Releasing the Panther (2016)
Book 4: Loving a Bear and Wolf (2017)
Holiday Pack Series
1.1: Wolves for the Holiday
1.2: Wolves for the Holiday
1.3: Wolves for the Holiday (2016)
Gwar’Arth of Karhu Ridge Series
1.0: Subtle Magic
Spencer’s Helpline Series
1.0: Shift or Treat
2.0 Mistletoe Magic (2016)
Josette Reuel spent many years in the corporate world writing stuffy computer software manuals, until one day a shape-shifting dragon kidnapped her and dragged her off to be his destined mate... as the words flowed on to the page, she realized that it was time to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a published author.
An avid reader from her earliest memories, Josette enjoys many genres; however her current passion is anything Romance. Her love of Fantasy and the Paranormal tends to come out in all of her writing with strong alpha heroes, each with a little something extra.
Finding the Dragon — the first book in the Dásreach Council Novels — was her debut novel. The future promises to be full of more great releases.
Connect With Me Online
Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JosetteReuel, @JosetteReuel
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Visit my Web site: http://evanleabookshelf.weebly.com/
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