When a flitter-craft crash lands near Gregory's lair, the Imperial Were-Panther doesn't expect to find an unconscious female dangling from the captain's harness. Gregory's life is about to get interesting…
Bryony fled her bond-mate after one weekend of incredible sex. Six long years later Tanner found her, and he’s not about to let her out of his sight again.
Caitlin knows how to get in and out of a house without detection, but Kyran's not only caught her red-handed, he also seems to think they have some kind of bond-mate thing going... What’s a girl to do when the mark you’re after turns out to be an Imperial Were-Panther who thinks you’re his mate?
Publisher's Note: Mating Season (Box Set) contains the previously published novellas Imperial Command, Imperial Temptation, and Imperial Haven.
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Mating Season (Box Set)
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Copyright ©2014 Anne Kane
Excerpt from Imperial Command
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Gregory circled the downed ship, his blaster held at the ready. The pilot had managed to drop it neatly into the clearing, but an overhanging branch snagged the starboard stabilizer at the last moment and flipped the ship over just before it hit the ground.
Gregory didn't like the looks of that lazy curl of smoke drifting up from the belly of the machine. The thought of a fire this close to his lair made him nervous. The pilot and passengers needed to get out in case those fuel tanks exploded.
There were no territorial markings on the hull, and the scorch marks on the belly indicated a rough passage through the upper atmosphere. He shook his head. What type of idiot would use a flitter shuttle for interplanetary travel? Thumbing the safety on, he holstered the blaster and studied the ship, looking for a way in. The access port to the left looked like his best bet, and he pushed aside the heavy underbrush to make his way toward it.
Grasping the outer handle, he threw his considerable weight against the access port. Slowly, metal screaming in protest, the door began to slide. The recycled air of the shuttle rushed out of the opening, and the scent it carried hit him square in the gut.
A female Were-Panther. Young and in heat.
Hot blood rushed to his groin, stiffening his cock painfully within the tight material of his suit. Ignoring his discomfort, he wrenched the metal hatch cover aside and peered inside. The ship design was simple, and he could see a female form hanging upside down from the safety netting over the pilot's seat. Experience born of too many covert missions caused him to hesitate a few minutes, probing the dark shadows in the corners to make sure there were no other occupants waiting to ambush him.
A low groan drew his attention back to the female. Climbing onto the sloped metal ceiling, he made his way to the center of the bridge, carefully avoiding the debris strewn about during the crash. The woman's lashes fluttered up, and he caught a glimpse of her gorgeous amber eyes. One arm flailed weakly before she lapsed back into unconsciousness.
Gregory ran his hands over her, ignoring the call of her heat cycle while he checked to make sure she hadn't sustained any serious injuries during the rough landing. When he was satisfied it was safe to move her, he wrapped one arm around to hold her steady while he cut away the safety netting. Another groan escaped her lips, and he shifted her to a more comfortable position in his arms. Her full breasts pressed enticingly against his chest, and he gritted his teeth at his body's eager response.
Where had she come from? He didn't recognize her from any of his recent trips to Capital, the were-panthers community on the far side of the planet. And why had she been flying so low over his territory?
Another groan dragged his attention back to the female. Turning, he made his way back to the airlock, the trip more awkward with the woman's weight on his shoulder. Stepping out of the ruined flitter, he paced across the clearing and laid his burden down gently on a soft patch of undergrowth. Her eyes remained closed, and he couldn't help staring at her body, every inch outlined in mouthwatering detail beneath the tight space suit.
She was short, he'd guess barely up to his shoulder, with a thick mane of dark hair restrained in a single braid that fell to her waist. Her scent identified her as one of his own, an Imperial were-panther, but that led to the question of where she had come from and why she was flying around alone while in heat. Her parents should be keeping her safe from the inevitable pack of males that would hone in on the irresistible aroma. Even now, females weren't numerous and were never found running around the Black Planet in an ill-equipped flitter. He doubted the flitter had been sturdy enough to handle flights through the untamed jungle regions of the planet, let alone interstellar flight.
He snapped a couple of saplings off at ground level and laid them on the ground beside the unconscious woman. Selecting some sturdy vines, he wove them around the poles to build a travois. Primitive, but it would be more comfortable for the female than traveling on his shoulders. She didn't wake when he transferred her to the makeshift sled, and that worried him. Grasping the edges of the poles, he headed for his lair, dragging the woman behind him.