From her blessing, the nagual were born - fierce jaguar warriors given the ability to become man or feline. Felipe is one of them, but now they are fewer and their dangers are greater. Dynamite, guns, and the spread of an invading civilization are only some of the perils threatening his village.
A chance encounter with a mysterious woman becomes more than the shifter could’ve ever bargained for. Upon revealing his true form, Felipe immediately captures Dahlia’s interest, but the simple, genuine attraction between them is doomed. Dahlia is hiding secrets - secrets which make her the natural enemy of her suitor.
Felipe and Dahlia must find a way to overcome their differences... for something waits just beyond the village boundaries, eager to make the whole tribe its prey.
Where the occasional beam of sunlight broke through the canopy, the flora flourished and grew thick. A large, sprawling chain of sweetly fragrant pink orchids caught her attention until a dancing cloud of blue butterflies quickly tore her gaze away. They led her in a westward direction from her original, wandering path.
The woman moved easily through the thick foliage in aged hiking boots and khaki pants stained with mud and chlorophyll. Her dark green tank top clung to her tawny skin, damp from the humidity, but her pace never slowed from fatigue. Dahlia usually didn’t suffer exhaustion. Another kind of physical need tended to trouble the woman. It itched in the back of her throat and seized her belly with hunger.
Something rustled overhead in the leaves. Dahlia went perfectly still as she closed her eyes and listened to the world around her, drawing in slow and deep breaths through her nose. Cat. Her eyes snapped open and she quickly spun to the left to discover golden eyes peering back at her.
“Good puss…” she murmured in a low voice, taking a slow step backwards. She held the cat’s gaze and projected waves of reassurance in an effort to compel the feline into submission. The rare gift had worked once or twice for her in the past with large predators on the African plains by lulling even the most vicious animal to a placid state.
In the span of a second, Dahlia noticed two things about the beautiful creature before her. The first was that it had an eerily intelligent stare, its keen eyes focused and unmoving. The second was that it wore a sheathed knife strapped to its dark-furred left foreleg. Her failure to soothe the animal was revealed by the rumbling noise that vibrated in the feline’s throat. Its growl exploded into an eardrum-splitting roar as it burst forward from the tree branch.
The powerfully built panther struck her in a pounce.