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Authors: Tatiana Caldwell

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Chapter Twelve

 

Sofia waited. As awkward as it was for her to stand there on
that pedestal like a prized pooch at a pedigree dog show, there she was. Ready
to fulfill both her obligation to the Pride for membership and claim Nathan
Dawson as her one and only mate. Of course, if he would have her. She’d thought
he wanted her, but then why was he just standing there now, staring at her like
that? Had she been too presumptuous in thinking he wanted this too?

They made eye contact. His face was blank but she gave him a
soft smile and an encouraging, loving bat of her eyes. Within the very next
moment he was on the pedestal with her—his arrival so quick it caught her off
guard and she stumbled backward two steps. Sofia gathered her composure, only
to lose it again seconds later as the erotic ferocity of his presence bombarded
her. The heat his long, perfect body exuded, the intensity of his hypnotic
green gems, the recollection of that body underneath her, behind her, on top of
her…

Maldito caliente.
She swallowed hard and fingered a
strand of her hair as the flutters overtook her.

“You’re going to be late for your flight,” Nathan said.

“Yeah, looks like I’m going to miss it.”

“But you have to get back to work.”

“I quit. Sent my boss an email soon after I left you.”

He blinked. “You did what?”

“Yeah I know, not very professional of me, was it?” Sofia
chuckled. “I was hoping you could help me land a gig over at DodgeTech.”

“So you’re staying with us?”

“I’m staying with you.”

“It didn’t sound as if either one of us was really keen with
the idea of doing other people in the Mating Ritual, so I thought I’d—”

“Supersede it with the Claiming Rite.” He finished her
sentence for her.

“Right. This way, we can enjoy the benefits of the Pride and
mate with each other to our hearts’ content, without anyone pressuring us to
get freaky with the other cats.” The look he gave her was unblinking, and so
intense she really began to doubt this was the right move. “Unless, you don’t
really want to be claimed.”

Nathan opened his mouth as if he were going to say
something, but Justin and Cassandra climbed up the steps to the pedestal just
then.

The leopard-shifter winked at Sofia then grinned and handed
the claiming collar he was holding to Nathan.

Nathan lowered his brows. “You knew she was about to do
this, didn’t you, asshole?”

Justin snorted and nodded. “Helped her work through it. Are
you going to take this collar or what?”

“Hell yeah I am,” Nathan laughed as he took the necklace
into his hand.

“You’re a lucky cat, man.”

“I know.”

“Don’t think this makes us friends or some shit like that
though.”

“Hell no, of course not. You’re still a hotheaded asshole,”
Nathan replied with a grin. The laugh Justin gave was a genuine, hearty one.

It was so strange to see those two standing before her like
this—amicable and naked, together. Justin winked at Sofia before he descending
the stairs and she gave him a warm smile. Once he left, Sofia turned to see
Nathan giving Cassandra a questioning look.

“The council approves of this?”

Cassandra nodded. “It benefits the entire Pride. They
approve.
I
approve.”

He narrowed his eyes. “You sure? You seemed pretty adamant
about me—”

“Mating with someone tonight?” She smirked. “Well, you will
be. I told you I was certain of it.” She leaned in close to him and whispered
something in his ear. Then she smiled at Sofia and handed her the second
claiming necklace before leaving the platform.

“What did she say to you?”

“She said she knew there was no way I would refuse mating
tonight, once she realized that I was in love with you.”

Sofia’s mouth went dry and her tongue went numb for a
moment. He’d said it so plainly, as if it were a simple matter of fact. Nathan
was in love with her?

“What makes Cassandra think you love me?”

“Probably the fact that I’m in love for you, for one.”

Her cheeks grew hot and her heart did a double flip in her
chest. “A fact that I didn’t know, but apparently she did?”

Nathan chuckled. “She also put me through sort of a test, I
believe. I didn’t see it at the time, but…” He snorted. “I take it I passed.”

“Mmm. So does that also mean you want to be collared?”

“By you I do.” He fingered the pendant on the collar he was
holding thoughtfully. “Only if you really want to be claimed by me, and aren’t
just doing this because you think this is a compromise with the Pride.”

“No. I want you,” Sofia confessed. “I have from the very
beginning.”

“Good.” Nathan clasped the necklace around her throat. It
wasn’t too heavy but it hung a bit loose.

She smiled as she reached up and placed the necklace she was
holding around Nathan’s neck and clasped it behind his nape. She fingered the
back of his neck and then his shoulder blades, trailing her hands down his
skin, tracing his collarbones and moving her fingers over to the metallic
rendering of the symbol that represented the Leo sign that rested against his
breastbone. “Why do they even call these collars?” she asked. “They hang too
loose.”

“When you’re human they do,” Nathan said before his body
morphed and the muscular, handsome, green-eyed cat stood before her.

What was a necklace on the man was now a well-fitted choker
against the thicker neck of the animal. Sofia found herself beaming proudly at
the collared beast, now property of Sofia Saldana. She shape-shifted as well,
just to join him in the experience of being truly collared.

They nuzzled each other’s noses and Sofia rubbed her head
against Nathan’s neck, her purr intermingling with his, before she found
herself nestling against the neck of the man—who was sitting on the floor of
the pedestal with a growing erection.

“Lose control again?” she laughed once she shifted back.

“No, just getting impatient. We’re at the Mating Ritual, and
this is a Claiming ceremony. There’s supposed to be sex.”

She laughed, both with relief and a bit of nervousness.

“I’m serious,” he said. And he looked it, too. “You ready?”

“This is crazy, you know.”

“What is?”

“This ritual. This Claiming Rite. Performing it with you,
when I hardly know you.”

“You keep saying that,” he scoffed. “But already you know
more about me than most any of my other so-called friends and family. And I
feel closer to you than anyone else in my life.”

She beamed. “Me too. I want this, Nathan. But to be honest,
I’m still sore. You know…from earlier.”

“Is that so?” Nathan pushed her down gently upon the
carpeted platform. “Show me where it hurts. I’ll kiss it and make it better.”
He kissed her tenderly on the mouth, sucking her bottom lip between his. “Does
it hurt here?”

Smiling, Sofia shook her head no. He trailed his lips down
her chin, underneath it, down the length of her neck. He suctioned his mouth on
the crook of her shoulder in a warm, wet, hungry suckle. “Here?”

“No, not there.”

Down farther his mouth traveled, visiting both of her
breasts. He lapped at her nipples, which were tender and achy, yet still eager
for his attention. He alternated between licking them and taking them into his
mouth, suckling her almost as if he expected her to secrete something yummy.
She was so sensitive and he sucked with such force that her eyes watered and
her cries came out in tiny, choppy squeaks. When he pulled his lips away long
enough to speak, his voice was thick and heavy with desire. “Does it hurt
here?”

“No, but it will soon if you keep doing that,” she said.

“Sorry.”

“Don’t be, I love it. I’m just really sore all over. Even my
back hurts. Too much shifting these past few days.”

“Mmm. Turn around,” he said as he was already guiding her to
her hands and knees. His big, smooth hands caressed her waist, massaged her
hips and bottom for a while, before he moved to get on all fours behind her. He
lunged forward and Sofia shuddered when she felt Nathan’s warm breath against
her crotch. “Especially here, I bet?”

Sofia closed her eyes and bit her bottom lip. “Yeah,
especially there.”

First there was one gentle lick. Then two. Then three slow,
deliberately teasing laps of his long tongue against her outer labia that had
her sex throbbing with need. When his face made contact the fourth time, his
tongue parted her lips, stroked against her inner folds and lavished her clit.

She yelped again, louder this time. Nathan paused. “Want me
to stop?”

“No,” she breathed.

“Everybody’s watching,” he teased.

She glanced down and around the room. Everyone
was
watching
her and Nathan, it seemed. Many seemed to even be getting off from their
display. “I don’t care,” she said. “I mean I do… But I don’t, not with you. I
don’t care if the whole world sees me with you. Not even from the first moment
I met you.”

“Good,” he said as he dived back in. This time he held
nothing back as he ate her with wild abandon. Gripping her by the hips, he held
her in place from behind while he buried his face between her thighs, his
tongue deep within her, employing his mouth as if it provided the salve to ease
her pain.

And indeed, it was working. Sofia rocked back and forth on
her hands and knees, humping against Nathan’s face as he ate her rapaciously
until the fierce orgasm rose up and up, clenched her in its grip and then
washed a surge of pleasure over her like a soothing balm of passion and fire.
He kept his mouth on her as she came, drinking every last drop.

When her arms began to wobble weakly, Nathan moved to
collect her on his lap. She fell against his chest, panting hard, and he held
her tightly in his arms.

“Any better now?” he asked.


Ay de mi
. Yes,” she said. Even as she said this, his
erection pressed against her thigh and her own libido roared in response to
his. She kissed him, tasting her sweetness on his tongue intermingled with his
own flavor, as she poised herself on his lap to mount him.

Carefully she lowered herself onto him, bracing herself on
his shoulders as she eased him inside. Being that she was well lubricated and
that she’d already received him twice recently, it was much easier to seat him
this time. When he was all the way in, she bounced up and down a few times to
get the fit just right, and they both cried out in pleasure when their bodies
adjusted fully to accommodate each other.

“I could be in love with you too, you know,” Sofia whispered
into his ear.

“Could be?”

“Could be.”

“I’m already madly in love with you. Have been from the
moment I laid eyes on you.”

“And now I’m yours.” She rode him languorously, stirring the
passion between them without completely shaking it up.

“You are mine,” he agreed. “All mine.”

“What are you going to do with me now that I’m all yours?”

“I want you to be my wife someday. Serve me warm milk, let
me give you tongue baths, have you birth my kittens.”

Sparks of both lust and admiration shot through her as she
pressed her mouth against his, inhaling his scent, as she used their joining to
scratch the itch deep within her body, her heart, within her soul. Soon they
completely forgot that there was anyone else in the room or in the world, and
shouted out as they reached the pinnacle of pleasure and carefree bliss
together.

 

About Tatiana Caldwell

 

Let’s see, what should I tell you about me? I’m an IT geek
who happens to also be a vixen with an overactive imagination. I will write
anything from programming code to smoldering erotica, so long as it involves
brains or sex. Preferably both. ;)

I’m a published author of erotic romance in several sub-genres,
including paranormal, fantasy, futuristic and science fiction. I believe love
can happen not only any time or any place, but with anyone, and so my stories feature
a diverse cast of characters.

When I’m not writing or working, I can be found reading;
playing video games of all kinds; watching movies, anime and sci-fi television
shows; exercising; spending time with my husband and children; or making
complex spreadsheets.

 

Tatiana welcomes comments from readers. You can find her
website and email addresses on her
author
bio page
at
www.ellorascave.com
.

 

 

 

 

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Ellora’s Cave Publishing

 

 

www.ellorascave.com

 

 

 

 

Cat Out of the Bag

 

ISBN 9781419939310

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Cat Out of the Bag Copyright © 2013 Tatiana Caldwell

 

Edited by Beverly Horne

Cover design by Syneca

Cover photography by ArrowStudios/shutterstock.com

 

Electronic book publication December 2013

 

The terms Romantica® and Quickies® are registered trademarks of
Ellora’s Cave Publishing.

 

With the exception of quotes used in reviews, this book may not
be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any means existing without written
permission from the publisher, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.® 1056 Home
Avenue, Akron OH 44310-3502.

 

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This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons,
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