In the Amazon Rainforest, traditions are important. They've long led to survival for the Amazon warrior women.
Kyle Reynolds, ruler of the werepumas, is ready to fly in the face of those treasured customs for the love of Rubia Costa, who will soon be out of his grasp if he can't win her affection before allies of the Amazons steal her away from him forever.
Rubia Costa tied down her hammock in a peaceful spot where she went to get away. She'd told no one of this spot, and yet she was within yelling distance of her people. Help would come if the need arose.
She didn't dare venture far from her village. But these days, her village wasn't as calm and mundane as it once had been. So far, she wasn't sure whether that was good or bad. Life and traditions were changing, and she couldn't hold back confusion as pieces of what she'd been taught now unraveled around her.
She climbed onto the hammock and gazed at the trees above her. The hammock swung gently, lulling her into the relaxed state she so desired. She closed her eyes and sighed softly.
The dream world rose up to greet her. The sound of dry leaves crunching underfoot forced her back to alertness. Her eyes shot open to see a tall, dark-haired man staring at her.
She lunged for her spear, stuck in the ground nearby. Gradually, the realization dawned on her who this man was, and she settled back, her nerves still tense and ready to fight.
"Some reflexes you have there," Kyle Reynolds said. A grin stretched across his lips, brightening his face. At ease, he leaned against the tree near her feet while she admired his broad, muscular shoulders that narrowed down to a slim waist.
She rolled her eyes and crossed her arms, unwilling to show the impact his presence had on her. "What are you doing here? How did you find me?"
"My sense of smell isn't as acute as other animals', but it's good enough to find where you went. I wanted to make sure you're not out getting in trouble."
His grin turned into a smirk, and he pushed off from the tree.
"What? Like my friend..." She grimaced. Although they still talked, Adara had so much going on. They didn't spend as much time together as they had before, especially now with Rei in Adara's life.
"I don't know what you're talking about." He winked and sat next to her in the hammock. It tilted enough that she slid closer to him.
Her hip bumped his, and her nerves tingled. She crawled away. Unfortunately, he must have taken that as an invitation to come closer, since he lay next to her. "What are you doing? Get out of my hammock." She scooted farther away as her body started to slip toward his once again.
Kyle grabbed her wrist and kissed her knuckles. His gaze held something she'd seen in glances between Rei and Adara. Those kinds of emotions were unfamiliar to her. Vaguely, she realized their meaning, but why would Kyle project that toward her?
He trailed his lips over her wrist and slowly moved up her arm. His warm breath tickled her flesh. She couldn't drag her gaze from his. Her voice escaped in a whisper. "What are you doing?"
"Something I've wanted to do for a while now. You don't make this easy for me, Rubia." He rolled over carefully. His body hovered over hers, and he pressed his lips against her shoulder and then her neck.
Sensations of pleasure spread between her legs, warming her body to a fever pitch. What were they doing? Panic rose up within her, and she shoved hard at Kyle's chest, throwing him off balance. The hammock tilted, and air rushed by just before her body hit the ground with a thud.
Pain throbbed throughout her back, and a groan welled from her throat. She blinked her eyes open.
Kyle knelt next to her. Concern etched soft lines at the corner of his mouth. "Are you okay?"
The ache in her back sharpened, and she fought not to wince. Instead, she pushed against Kyle's chest. "I'm fine. I can walk."
Kyle stared at her with a raised eyebrow. He shook his head. "I'll carry you. It's no trouble."
Great. She didn't want her tribeswomen to see him carting her around as if he was her protector or had... claimed her. Let alone the state she was in. They might worry she'd been injured, which wasn't far from the truth since she wasn't feeling too well at the moment.
She shoved against him, but it was like trying to move a solid tree trunk. He didn't budge an inch. Her people had studied the werecats, since they lived in such close proximity, but she had a hard time getting used to one being so close. She wasn't sure she wanted to be intimate with Kyle.
Something about him was alluring, but she couldn't dream of becoming tied to the werepumas' leader and shirking her responsibilities as an Amazon. She wanted to lead a peaceful, simple life. Those words were foreign when Kyle was involved.
He stood just out of sight from the village's catwalks, and she wriggled in his arms.
"Set me down. Right now." She lowered her voice and glared at him. If only he didn't have such a solid grip on her spear, but there was no chance she'd be able to wrestle it away from him. Not if he didn't want her to.
Determination set in his jaw, but he gently placed her feet on the ground. "Fine. Go show everyone how strong and brave you are." He muttered under his breath, "Silly woman."