Authors: Regina Carlysle
Savage Sanctuary, Book Two
Running for her life, Chantrea Morgan, unmated and approaching her time of
change, stumbles through the night only to be rescued by a gorgeous yet dangerous
male. Blinded by instant recognition of her mate, she clings to him, her only means of salvation. Her body burns for him. Her heart aches with the need to be claimed by this wild Texas panther.
Hudson Cates, warrior of the Turquoise Moon tribe of shifters, saves his grieving
mate and brings her home to claim her in the only way he can…with orgasmic pleasure,
savage possession and a raw sensuality that is bred into their species. In a ritual as old as time, only he, aided by another male from their tribe, can help Trea embrace her
Ellora’s Cave Publishing
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Panther Moon Copyright © 2011 Regina Carlysle
Edited by Helen Woodall
Cover art by Dar Albert
Electronic book publication March 2011
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Chantrea carried an armload of supper dishes to the sink, the muted sounds of the
television playing in the living room, making her smile. Sounded like a baseball game to her. Being an addict to the game was her dad’s one true vice. Her mother, Celia,
laughed at something Brant said. Typical evening in the Morgan household. Outside
the modest Texas home, crickets chirped as the wind rustled the leaves of ancient oaks and cottonwoods. An owl hooted from a faraway branch. “Hey, Mom, dinner was
great,” she called as she loaded the dishwasher, turned it on and headed into the living room.
Celia smiled from her position curled up against her husband of several centuries.
“Love it when a new recipe turns out.”
Brant kissed the top of his wife’s blonde head and winked at Trea as she wandered
into the room. “You did good, hon.”
As an unmated female panther, she had grown up knowing she wanted what her
parents had. Love. Affection. The deepest kind of understanding between mates. It was so heartwarming to witness their love firsthand. She was constantly in awe.
Wandering to the wide mantel over the fireplace, she shoved her hands in the
pockets of her worn jersey shorts and looked at the pictures lovingly displayed there. “I miss Maxwell.” Her sigh was soft but even over the sounds of the game she knew her
folks heard it.
“Your brother had to leave, honey. It was his time,” her mother said with calm
conviction. Trea turned at the slight hitch evident in her mother’s voice and knew Mom missed him too. “He likes his job in Houston though he still hasn’t found any females of our species. There are just so few of us left but maybe, just maybe he’ll be one of the lucky males to find the perfect mate. You would think it easy in a city of over five
million people. I know it hurts that he had to go but it’s natural, honey. He’s a man and gods know there is no future out here in the boonies. We’ve lived like hermits for so long.” Celia lifted a brow and glanced at Brant. “It hasn’t been fair to either of our children.”
Trea picked up the framed photo of her brother and herself taken during one of
their rare family vacations. Tracing the handsome, male face, she blinked back moisture from her eyes as a blast of love caught her off guard. Like her, Max was blond and
green-eyed but there the similarities stopped. Where she was slender, small, and to her way of thinking, rather ordinary, her brother Maxwell was a bonafide heartstopper. The gorgeous rascal was built like a tree trunk, broad-shouldered and handsome as sin. He was the kind of guy who’d made the local girls melt but he had carefully avoided all
but the most necessary entanglements with humans. Smart dude. Trea was so proud of
him and couldn’t help but wish him well in finding a mate of his own. The lady would
be a very lucky feline. No doubt about it.
Behind her, Trea heard her parents shift position and she turned, surprised, when
her dad pushed a button on the remote to turn off the television. Silence, sharp and
somewhat ominous, fell into the depths of the small cabin. “We need to talk, princess.”
Frowning, she replaced the photo and gingerly sat on the edge of an overstuffed
chair to look at her parents. Something about her father’s tone sent worry to dance over her spine. “What’s up, Dad?”
Brant Morgan focused his gaze on her. “Your mother and I have been talking.” He
cleared his throat, obviously uncomfortable. “Chantrea, you are nearing your time.
Maybe this is a good moment to—”
Trea’s face burned. “Dad!”
Celia patted Brant’s arm. “Love of mine, you are so clueless. Let me.”
He shook his head and sighed heavily, seeming downright relieved to let someone
else tackle the delicate subject of a female were panther having her first
. “Good. Go for it.”
Celia wasn’t deterred, focusing an intelligent gaze on her. “For all these years,
we’ve tried to keep you safe out here in the country. You know panthers are solitary
creatures and it’s uncomfortable for us to live among crowds. It’s stifling. Invasive. It was a huge risk for us to even let you attend the public school in town but, honey, we have worried so much about you. You’ve been so isolated out here in the woods of east Texas. No friends. Nothing that normal human girls come to enjoy. You don’t have a
real life out here.”
“But I’m not human, Mom. It’s okay.” Chantrea knew darn good and well her life
wasn’t normal. Sometimes it made her sad but this wasn’t the fault of her parents. They had to protect her. It was their duty and she would never fault them for the lonely state of her life. She shook her head and smiled, not wanting them to stress about the choices they’d made. “Really. Don’t worry about me.”
“We have to, Trea,” her dad said, leaning forward to prop his forearms over his
sturdy thighs. “It wasn’t possible for you to date the local boys, honey. You know we don’t mix but you are a woman now. Things are, um—”
Once again, Celia put her hand out to stop him. “Happening to your body.”
Trea swallowed hard, knowing the utter truth of Mom’s words. Already she felt
flashes of heat zip through her with astounding effect. Soon she would be helpless to the oncoming change and facing the shift from woman to panther would be the most
horrible thing imaginable when dealing with it alone. She knew she couldn’t do it. The time to mate was upon her. Discomfort climbed over her flesh and buried itself deep in her belly. “Do we have to talk about this now?”
“We’ve decided to move to Sanctuary,” her dad baldly stated. “It’s time.”
Sanctuary, an area in south central Texas, had been set aside years ago by their
king, Titus Declan, who believed the survival of the were panther depended on them
building a community. It was brilliant. Truly, brilliant. Bring them all together in the same place, ensuring males and females could find mates, band together for protection from human predators, and have some kind of normalcy in their lives. Still, her father 8
had balked at the idea of giving up the solitude every panther craves. So they’d
remained in their little wilderness home, shielded from the world. “I can’t believe this, Dad. You would give up your home just to take care of me? I’m a grown woman. I can
take care of myself. I’ll go. Alone. You and Mom stay here.”
Brant surged to his feet. “Damn it, we’re a family. It doesn’t matter how old you
are, we love you. We need to be part of your life, Trea. When your brother finally left, it almost—”
“Broke our hearts,” her mother finished. Odd how they always finished each
other’s sentences. “He had to go. A man doesn’t continue to live with his folks but
honey, you’re our girl. We should be near. There will come a time when you’ll find a
mate of your own, you’ll have offspring.” Tears filled green eyes. “I just don’t want to lose you completely.”
Dad put his arm around his wife’s shoulders. “We’re selling the place. It has been
decided. Honey, you must find a mate and if we don’t head out to find others of our
kind, you will be in very serious trouble. It’s settled.”
An hour later, Trea sat curled up with a book watching covertly as her mom and
dad walked hand in hand through the front door. Laughing, her mom looked back over
her shoulder. “We’re going for a romp, sweetie. See you in a bit.”
She knew it might be longer than a
. They loved nothing more than to strip down at the edge of the woods and shift into their beasts. Once they’d gone, she closed her eyes, leaning her head back against the cushiony fabric of the couch. So many changes ahead. A new place, new people. How would it feel to actually socialize with others of her species? An odd excitement filled her, along with a healthy dose of nerves. And
maybe, just maybe, she would find her mate and her years of loneliness would end.
Trea closed her eyes and drifted off to the sounds of nature at play outside the walls of her home.
A loud shotgun blast ripped through the night, quickly followed by another. Celia