Jaguar Pride Excerpt
by Terry Spear
Stepping through snarled roots and wet and muddy leaf litter, Melissa's paws didn't make any sound as she moved through the towering tropical trees, her ears perked, listening for human voices.
Wearing his black jaguar coat, Huntley was sniffing the air nearby, pausing to listen. Darkness had claimed the area, the trees blocking any hint of light at dusk, not to mention the rainclouds moving in. Though Melissa's golden coat, covered in black rosettes, was difficult to see at night if anyone should shine a flashlight on her, Huntley was even harder to see, making him hauntingly ghost-like. In broad daylight, his rosettes could be seen, but in a darkly elegant way. She'd never tell him though. As hot as he looked, he probably well knew it, and she didn't want him to think she was interested, or anything. Not when they were both currently seeing someone else.
She loved working with him though.
Black jaguars, a melanistic form, averaged about six percent of the regular jaguar population. The jaguar shifters weren't sure about the ratio with their own kind. Huntley's mother was a beautiful black jaguar, and his dad, golden. Both his brother, Everett, and sister, Tammy, were golden also. For whatever reason, Huntley's coat appealed to Melissa, especially on missions like this. He seemed like a Ninja warrior in jaguar form, sleek, agile, and deadly. And she liked that he was wild, like she was, able to live in their native environments without a hitch. Unless they had trouble with poachers.
I was reading a “white warrior shifter” book once where there was no shifting. What??? Yep. They had sex, and talked about how she was a white warrior wolf, but never showed how she was, nor did she ever turn wolf. To qualify as a shifter book to me, the heroine or hero have to shift.
Earlier on, I had read this cool fantasy historical where she was at a lake, talking with the animals, and then a black panther is watching her. Later, we have a handsome dude who is panther-like in his movements, but nowhere did the story actually show him shifting or that he was truly a shifter or that the panther was a shifter. Maybe it wasn’t. But then why say the man moved like a black panther and was watching her at the lake like he was a hot panther shifter? Bad form. If someone is a shifter, show it. If not, don’t allude to it. I kept feeling like the author was afraid to show a shifter as if it might hurt sales, so she just alluded to it for coolness sake. But if there is to be a shifter, I want to know it—for real.
The first shifter story I ever read was when I was a kid and fell in love with the handsome prince who had been cursed by a wicked witch to be a polar bear during the day and a handsome man at night, East of the Moon and West of the Sun. It was the first time that I’d ever envisioned that someone that was a wild animal at some point in their life could be the same as a regal and kind and loving and handsome man. Yum.
I loved Ladyhawke where he was cursed to be a wolf and she a hawk and neither could be with each other in their human forms. Of course, it drove me crazy that they couldn’t be together, but I loved the beauty of the characters and their wilder halves.
I fell in love with Dracula when I was thirteen and saw him in a college play. He’s a shapeshifter too, you know. Some show vampires shifting into bats, others, wolves. And still others, all kinds of different things. But I also felt sorry for Dracula and Wolfman, and in both cases, I felt they deserved to be loved, just like anyone. And so when I wrote vampire stories, and shapeshifting stories to include wolves, jaguars, cougars, and next year, a polar bear shifter, I wanted to show that they were real people, based on real animals, needing real love. I also wanted to show that they were their own people, not despising what they are, but comfortable in their skin…or fur.
I love writing contemporary, but I’m also a huge fan of historical, so I’ll be working on a historical wolf story also.
What would you do if the sexier than life prince that you fell in love with was cursed as a polar bear during the day and you only had him at night to have and to hold?
About the Author
Bestselling and award-winning author Terry Spear has written over fifty paranormal romance novels and four medieval Highland historical romances. Her first werewolf romance, Heart of the Wolf, was named a 2008 Publishers Weekly’s Best Book of the Year, and her subsequent titles have garnered high praise and hit the USA Today bestseller list. A retired officer of the U.S. Army Reserves, Terry lives in Crawford, Texas, where she is working on her next werewolf romance, continuing her new series about shapeshifting jaguars, and cougars, having fun with her young adult novels, and playing with her two Havanese puppies, Max and Tanner. For more information, please visit www.terryspear.com, or follow her on Twitter, @TerrySpear. She is also on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/terry.spear. And on Wordpress at:
Terry Spear's Shifters