My latest Shifter Rescue story - Three Uncaged -- is coming this week! Look for it on Friday from Changeling Press! I've put an excerpt here - look for a smutty one on Saturday.
Shifter Rescue: Three Uncaged
Unsure if they have just traded one cage for another, the three count on each other for comfort and protection. When they find they can share more than just comfort with each other, they very quickly become a collective. Now if only they knew if they were really safe, maybe they could start a new life together.
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Stripe snarled as the door opened, throwing light into the room he shared with a panther and a snow leopard. He knew them both from the zoo, though they'd not had a chance to talk either as their animal selves or as human. It was dangerous to be human at the zoo. Hells, it wasn't great being a tiger at the zoo, either.
They weren't there anymore. He didn't know if this place was better or worse than the zoo, and he had no reason to trust. On the positive side, he wasn't alone here. So far, that was the only positive he'd found.
A slender man came through the door and turned on the light, flooding the room with brightness, revealing a kind face. "Easy, boys. Easy. You're safe here at the Old Tavern. I'm sorry for the cramped conditions, but almost that entire zoo was full of shifters, so you can imagine we're running short of accommodations. Hells, we even rescued the full animals -- I've never seen a zoo that wasn't even fit for rats. There's the bed in the corner, and I've got blankets and pillows on the way for nests. I am sorry there isn't more furniture, like chairs and a table, but we will eventually get that sorted. The bathroom has a sink with glasses on the counter if you need water. There's a bathtub and shower stall too. What can I get you guys to eat?"
The guy looked so earnest, but Stripe had to admit that despite that and the kind words, he still wasn't feeling very trusting at the moment. Sure, they had probably just been rescued, but maybe they'd just gone from the frying pan into the fire, you never knew.
The guy took another step in, moving toward the panther and snow leopard, who'd wrapped around each other, and Stripe put himself between them and their so-called rescuer. He wasn't letting anything bad happen to the pretty kits.
He growled softly. Back off. They're under my protection.
"Okay. I hear you. I'll just send meat. As soon as we can, we'll move you all into separate quarters, right?"
He simply growled again. He didn't even know for sure the kits needed his protection, but he was giving it anyway. He found himself feeling quite protective of his new... roommates? Fellow prisoners? Time would tell them what this place really was.
He had to admit that meat sounded good. They hadn't been fed in days at the zoo. Maybe nearly a week. He'd feel better if they had their strength built up before they had to really deal with anyone.
"If you need anything, you press the big red button on the phone here." The man pointed to the phone hanging on the wall next to the door. "Press it and someone will come as quickly as they can."
Stripe tossed his head, letting the man know he understood.
"I'll be back with meat soon."
Stripe tossed his head again. The words sounded like a promise, but he wasn't counting on anything.
The kits stayed together, quiet and still. He simply stared at the man.
"This is a good place." With that, the man bowed and left, leaving the light on as he tugged the door closed.
Stripe stalked slowly around the room, sniffing and looking in every corner. Then he went over to the pretty kitties and sniffed them, too.
They barely responded, both of them skinny and listless. He was beneath his fighting weight too, but not as badly as these two. It made him angry, and he roared, telling them he was pissed off on their behalf.
The snow leopard stood on shaky legs and faced him, roaring weakly. Stripe went up to the poor thing and licked his face. He wasn't a threat to these two. Just the opposite. Every instinct called to him to protect them. And that was what he would do.
As soon as he touched the lovely kit, a sense of pure comfort seemed to pass between them. He let his voice rumble. Hello, and you're safe. I have you. Then he tossed his head, looking over at the beautiful black panther.
Bright green eyes locked on to his, the glow sharp, sure, like the panther was burning alive. Stripe vocalized to this kitty, too. He would take care of them both now that they were out of their cages and all together. These two needed him.
And maybe he needed them, needed to feel necessary.
smut fixes everything