Masters of the Cats Series: Collaring the Saber-Tooth
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This is the first in the Masters of the Cats series.
Best-selling erotic romance author Trinity Blacio (Running with Fear) brings her unique blend of paranormal ménage to the realm of vampires and shape-shifters with her new series, Masters of the Cat, a world where every woman has three masters to love her.
Collaring the Saber-Tooth: Book One
Light years away, the Tetraheros came together. Their creation, the Cometedge race, is on the verge of extinction, even with the female companions provided to them throughout the years. Meanwhile one lone rogue has tried to wipe out the feline shifter population on Earth. There was only one solution: The Cometedge Pact. Three warriors are bound to every female, connecting two separate races through a sense of duty, blood, sex, and love.
Over the last two hundred years, over thirty-thousand cat-shifters have been hunted and destroyed. As far as Maya Saber can guess, only a few hundred still survive. Maya, the oldest known cat-shifter alive, has only one purpose in life now — to find and destroy the men who murdered her family, no matter how long it takes.
The unusual monsters, or what everyone thought were vampires, should’ve made sure everyone had been killed that night so many centuries ago. Now that she was half Vamplien, (Maya’s personal nickname for the monsters) she and her cat sought only vengeance. How she ended up with a temporary family was still beyond her, but she couldn’t leave any of her feline friends alone. Banding together, her small, powerful group of women vowed to keep Detroit safe, while they searched for others of their kind. Each one has been trained by Dan Edwards, their human friend, in how to kill anyone threatening their home and territory.
Dan alone knows of their plight. Keeping their secret, he and a small group of detectives organize the women, giving them a purpose and a reason to go on.
After fifty years, Maya finally has the name of the gang that destroyed her life. Randolph Arrow and his followers, the Blood Gods, will die for their attack on her family. Maya was determined to make sure each one paid for killing her kin.
* * * *
They call us the Gate Keepers, Vampires, or just Monsters and we are all of that and more. Our race, Cometedge—Sentinels of the portals, are a male-dominated society. We were chosen by an ancient superior race and divided into unites call Kith, we were charged with protecting the countless realms out there and the ways between. One such, led by Akaos and his weru-male mates were bound to find their Zealottalon and bring her home.
Other than their kind, no one was supposed to be able to travel between the realms alone, bu Akaos knewt that wasn’t so. Slayers, thieves, and blackguards now traveled these roads meant only for his people.
For the ancients had gifted immortality and other special abilities to his race, but not all did well by these gifts. Akaos and his men hunt those who seek to wreak havoc throughout the different worlds. As the ruling head of his family, Akaos Featherstone took his position seriously, but even a commander makes mistakes.
Over the past few centuries, Akaos has sought to remedy such a failing. He hunts a man he had entrusted with his gift, but that one remainsl free to create havoc.
For years, his brothers and family protected the primitive humans on their world, but never did Akaos believe that one day he would find their meru, their soulmate, among them.
The sound of the water hitting the rocks below was music to her tired soul. The call of the large pterodactyl birds, flying overhead, had her craving the jungle of her past life once more. The great cat continued to listen to the sounds, while she groomed her tri-colored coat. The blood stains, still fresh from the night’s hunt of wild boars, flown in from Africa, were slowly coming off. The only thing she and her team found on their scouting mission of their city tonight was death.
Lacey and Maya had taken the east side of lower Detroit, following a lead she’d received from one of her sources. Unfortunately, they’d arrived too late. She shook her head and swallowed. Nothing could compare to the massacre of her family, but this scene was close. Before they’d even entered the large two-family home, both she and Lacey could smell the blood and death.
When her family had been murdered, the skeletal frame had been taken from their bodies. Here the skin had been taken in patches. These weren’t neat precise cuts like that of a surgeon either. Each room they entered, they found a body part. By the time they’d searched all the rooms in both sides of the house, there were a total of four men, three women, and one infant, all dead.
When she got home, Maya almost shifted in the large Cypress tree on her property. She was so upset, but she held firm and dug her massive claws deeper into the bark of the tree. Tonight the nightmares would be back, she was sure of it.
The massive saber-tooth tiger rose and arched her back, as she tried to stretch out on the Cyprus tree. It took her years to grow it to its size. Her home was finally becoming what she craved. Now, if she could find the group of killers who stalked her city, everything would be back to normal.
Two screams from below broke the peace in her haven. She slowly turned her attention to the sight beneath her. The two smaller cat sisters growled and attacked each other. Each member of her sanctum had been informed of the rules. She gave them free rein of the properties she owned, but the large separated area, in the far end, near the waterfront, was hers and hers alone. Nobody was supposed to come here or visit uninvited. Maya was not to be disturbed, unless it was an emergency. This did not qualify as an emergency.
Each screech seemed to vibrate inside her skull Twenty feet in the air, Maya jumped off her perch and landed not but five feet from Abby’s head. The ground shook beneath her weight. Her claws dug into the grass beneath her feet.
The smaller cat hissed, and jumped back next to her sister, who now lowered herself to the ground. Abby followed her sister’s lead and bowed before her, as the rest of her sisters ran into her room and stopped mid stride, dropping where they were. The sound tape she created for the room shut off automatically, as a nervous quietness filled the air.
The night detective, Dan Edward, came running up right behind her sisters. With his weapon drawn, he was ready to take on the world, but one look at her cat form, and he froze. No one, outside of her sisters, had seen the cat. Now, because of the two sisters’ fight, Maya would have to deal with the consequences.
She turned back to the siblings and snarled before she shifted. Bones crunched, muscles rippled, and skin now replaced fur. Over the years, Maya had learned a small amount of magic. It was just enough to allow her to clothe herself after her shift, along with a few other things no one knew of. She now wore a pair of her faded, hip hugger blue jeans and a tee-shirt. She left off the shoes and socks since she was home.
“I apologize for scaring you, Dan. My sisters know not to disturb me when I’m here.” Maya frowned at the cougar sisters Abby and Agatha, who also shifted back to their human form, but stood naked. “Go get dressed. And I suggest you start practising that spell I’ve shown you.”
As both women left, heading back inside, she warned them. “We will discuss your invasion into my quarters later.”
She ran her fingers through her long hair, which brushed against the curve of her ass. Maya sighed staring at, Dan. She tied her hair into a knot. “Are you going to stand there all day, or are you going to join me for some coffee? I’ll make a fresh pot of hazelnut, your favorite,” Maya said over her shoulder. She moved from of her sanctuary and into the dwelling.
Dan followed her down the hallway and into the kitchen, but he didn’t say a word, as he put his pistol back in its holster.
Maya pointed to the table and started to make the coffee. “So what made you come back here after we said goodnight?” Maya pushed the on button and then pulled out the chair across from Dan, while they waited for the coffee.
Her best friend, Lacey Samuel walked into the room. She straddled the seat next to her and winked. Maya rolled her eyes and tapped her fingers on the table, waiting.
Dan sat back and glanced at both of them. He ran his hand through his shoulder length brown hair. “In my mind, I know you wouldn’t hurt anyone, but seeing you in your cat form… Well it shocked the crap out of me. I mean, I thought you would be the size of a lion, but you’re four times that.” He leaned onto the table and stared at her again. “Damn, Maya you were huge. No wonder you don’t want anyone seeing you like that.”
The coffee maker dinged, indicating that it was done. She got up and poured three cups, using her favorite tempered glass mugs. “Anyway, I got a call from my friend in New York. Randolph Arrow has surfaced there. Well he did last week, but he’s gone again. This time he left another twenty women dead.”
Everything stopped around her. The screams of her family filled her head,the coffee cup in her hand shattered and pieces of it hit the floor. Coffee and glass flew everywhere. Her hand was burned, but none of that mattered.
Lacey and Dan jumped to her side. “What’s wrong?” Dan took her hand and carefully cleaned the glass off, examining it. “You’re lucky you didn’t get cut, but your hand is a little red from the coffee.”
Maya stared into Dan’s eyes. “What do you know about him? Was he arrested? Was it more feline shifters?”
Lacey cleaned up the mess as Dan led her back to her chair. “A special forces agent, the one I mentioned to you before, Akaos, is bringing the file to me tomorrow. I thought you would like to be there since you have been searching for this vampire. And no, this time it was wolves, and the New York pack is hunting now.”
Her breath hitched, her nipples hardened, and she squirmed in her seat. Maya could only nod as she tried to calm the cat inside her. Akaos. Just that name alone was enough to drive her body into a sexual frenzy if she didn’t control it.
She ignored her body’s reaction and concentrated on the case at hand. It was weird that Randolph could switch species, but anything that man did was never a surprise. “I’ll be there and Dan, you know to be careful, right? This man and his followers wiped out my family. Over three hundred of us, and you saw my size? Well, imagine my father. He was twice that, most of our men were.” She glanced down at the new cup of coffee Lacey had placed in front of her.
“What do you know about this man, Akaos?” Her vision shifted to that of the cat’s as she stared down at the table. Her grip on the cup tightened, but not tight enough to break it.
Lacey reached over and squeezed her hand, knowing the trouble she was having. Lacey was the only one who knew of her feelings for this man, what would it do to her when he was close?
Dan sighed and she glanced up to see him take a sip of his coffee. “Do you know how many men were in his group? I mean it’s been so long, maybe his group is no more.”
Maya sat back and snarled. “There are too many clan members for them all to be destroyed. They all weren’t with the group that destroyed my family either, just a sub-group. They called themselves, the Blood Gods. Have you heard anything of them? Did Akaos mention anything?” A chill ran up her back.
Dan shook his head. “As I said before, all I could do was put out a feeler, Maya. If I asked too many questions, others would want to know why we’re looking. I don’t want your age and type of shifter known. Many are still not too accepting of shifters and other paranormal beings. You know this. Hell, it’s only been ten years since your existence was announced to the public.”
“What do you know about this Akaos?” she asked again. Maya got up to add some creamer to the coffee.
Dan snorted behind her. “You are always so cynical. Akaos Featherstone has been with the Paranormal Unit for the past ten years. He’s also helped the states, informing everyone about the different customs and the things they need to know when encountering one of your kind.”
“You make it sound like we’re freaks, Dan. I’m not like they are. So let’s not forget that please. We’ve lived here longer than most of you.” Maya turned to face him. “I’ve heard of this man, Akaos. I’ve also been told he is very commanding. That no one knows exactly how powerful he is.” She leaned against the countertop and took a sip of her coffee. Maya knew she wouldn’t sleep now. The cat itched to come out, but would have to wait till Dan left. Thank God she’d eaten earlier, before they’d gone out. Having a blood bank down the street helped nicely when she was in need of a quick blood fix.
Dan stood next to her and put his coffee cup in the sink. “From the rumors, some say he’s one of the oldest vampires around. He works closely with the High Council. I’ve met him once, a few years ago. Gave me the creeps, but he was very smart and didn’t take any crap from any of his people.”
“Does he know that I’m here?” Maya walked Dan through the halls towards the front door.
“No. I haven’t said anything about you, but from what I have heard, the High Council knows all.” Dan reached for the front door and peeked back over her shoulder. “Will we have a problem when we meet him at noon tomorrow?”
“I don’t know. As far as I know I’m the only half vampire and cat shifter around.” She placed her hand on Dan’s shoulder and squeezed. “I don’t want to expose too much tomorrow, Dan. The High Council can make my life hell, if they have a mind to. I won’t give up my home, or my family.”
He nodded and walked outside to his SUV. Maya made sure he got in his car before she closed the door, then turned on the expensive security system.
Both cougar sisters, Abby and Agatha, stood in front of her and waited. Maya sighed and stared at each woman. “What was the problem that you had to disturb me and expose my cat to Dan? You broke one of the two rules I asked each of you to respect when you first got here.”
“We’re sorry Maya. We’ve been so wound up lately. With all the deaths neither of us has slept. I’m afraid both of us just lost it. We have no excuses. If you want us to leave, we will.” Agatha, the older by ten minutes held her gaze, and waited.
Behind them, the rest of their family waited to see the two female’s fate. “We have all had a rough four months. I know you haven’t been able to go out and run. I was going to wait to show you this tomorrow, but I think it’s time. Follow me.”
She walked through the hallway and pushed open a panel, which hid one of the secret tunnels built long ago. Glancing behind her, Maya watched as each of the women came into the tunnel. They whispered and ran their hands over the painted concrete walls. Each passageway led from the main house to other, both smaller and larger buildings on the property. One hallway contained an illustrated story of her life, and of the people who had influenced it over the long lonely years.
She then led the way down that hall towards one of those buildings. The particular warehouse she had chosen was at the east corner of her property, but it was perfect for what she made it into. Maya skimmed her fingers over the picture of her brothers and sisters playing in the woods. This would do. With over forty thousand square feet, her sisters would have their own playground as she did when she was a cub.
Maya purchased the property over thirty years ago. She hadn’t done anything to it until her family started to grow. Everything inside had been gutted, as she transformed it into their own private world, with the help of the right people.
She turned before the large steel doors and stared at the women around her. “As you know, the tunnels we are in have been here for over fifty years. No one knows of them. Slowly, I’ve built them to connect to all the buildings that I own. Eventually, I hope to purchase this whole side of the district on the riverfront. That way we won’t have to worry too much about strangers. This is for all of you. Agatha, Abby I wouldn’t turn you away because you made a mistake. We all have to survive.”
Opening the door, Maya stepped inside. Each of her sisters moved into the building only to stop and gawk. They gathered into an alcove and Maya could actually see the tension in each of their bodies dissolve. Trees, bushes, a large pond in the middle of the warehouse, along with some smaller animals filled the entire building. “Now, you have a place you can run and enjoy. I was going to show you tomorrow night on our day off, but it seems you need this now.”
Lacey turned to her. Tears ran down her cheeks. “You are the most amazing woman I’ve ever met. It’s beautiful and perfect.” She pulled her into a hug. “Thank you.”
Abby hugged her as soon as Lacey stepped back and shifted. “I can’t thank you enough. You save us, take us into your home, train us and now this.” Abby shook her head. “Not even our parents did so much for us when they were alive, thank you.”
“Go, your sister is waiting for you. And Abby…” Abby looked over her shoulder. “There will always be a place for you two here.”
For the next few minutes, Maya watched her feline sisters run and play. All the while, she dreaded the meeting tomorrow. Knowing it would be near impossible to hold her cat back. There was also hope, that her long hunt might soon come to an end. Akaos Featherstone just might hold her cards of fate in his hands, and she did not like that one bit.
She slipped back into the tunnel, closing the door behind her. Maya needed some alone time. Akaos was closer and there was no mistake, her cat wanted to mate with him. Her life was about to change drastically and Maya didn’t know if she would be able to handle it.