Book 2.b of the True Mates Series
Leopard's key is part of the Dreams & Desires IV series at Freya's Bower.
Dreams & Desires I
Dreams & Desires II
Dreams & Desires III
Dreams & Desires IV Feb 2011
|By Teresa D'Amario
Freya's Bower Publishing
ISBN: Coming 1 Feb, 2011
No Trailer at this time.
For More about the cover artist, check out her Pickyme's site
By purchasing these collections, you can help turn someone's nightmare into the pursuit of dreams. Every year, four million women are assaulted by their partners. At Freya's Bower, we want to do our part to bring this statistic down to zero. To this end, all net proceeds from every Dreams and Desire anthology purchased will go to a battered woman's shelter. Through education and support, we can make a difference.
How much damage could a simple piece of jewelry cause?
A silver key is the only clue to the disappearance of Kel. It’s a mystery leopard shifter Dmitri can only solve with the help of the jeweller who created it.
When Hailey created the key she knew whom it was destined for, and the ‘knowing’ has never been wrong. But secrets are revealed when Dmitri visits her shop for her help. Secrets she cannot share. Yet when he takes her in his arms, her soul knows what her heart fears.
And the answer lies within The Leopard’s Key.
Thank God for city apartments -- though being a leopard shifter, that wasn't something Dmitri Petrov normally thanked anyone for. He personally preferred the wilds, and the warmer the climate, the better. The one good thing about cities: most buildings were just far enough apart he could run across the rooftops, silent and undetectable. Especially apartment buildings. They gave him plenty of leg room, allowing him the freedom to use his natural skills, leaping from one rooftop to the next, feeling the cool night air against his face.
The cat inside him liked the stillness of the night, when the breeze whispered through the trees or city streets. He didn't storm around wearing shit kicking motorcycle or cowboy boots. He wasn’t Wolven. He was Leopard. And cats didn’t like making noise. He wore shoes he designed himself: soft, quiet, and comfortable. Like a leopard’s paws. So soft he could charge across a roof at a full run without a sound.
A satisfied smile curved on his lips. He enjoyed the challenge of teasing the leopard side of himself, the beast which always struggled to push away the human part of him. He rarely shifted. A leopard running free in the city brought way too much attention. Instead, he kept in tune with his beast by teasing his instincts, keeping them sharp and precise.
His brother didn’t understand, believing Dmitri tried to be more human than shifter. Kel was wrong. Dmitri didn’t dislike his leopard side. In fact, he was considering a trip to Africa, so he could spend time in the wilds. Camping. Hunting. Shifting.
Dmitri crouched, studying the cars in the parking lot beneath him.
A soft breeze fluttered past, and he brushed an errant strand of dark hair from his face. His only nod to vanity: his hair. He’d spent the three years in his military hitch rubbing his head, looking for the long, dark hair he’d worn all his life. It was nice to have it growing back.
Another breeze brushed against him, and he sniffed the air, searching.
A car pulled into the parking lot. Instincts buzzed in his head. Flattening against the roof of the building, his muscles tensed. The female stepped out of the car, oblivious to his watchful eyes. This time when he sniffed the air, he recognized the subtle scent of honeysuckle. The cat inside him reared its head and rumbled approval. Shoving back the animal instinct, he crept to the edge of the building.
With a soft whoosh, Dmitri dropped to the pavement, the surface still warm from the day’s sun. He righted himself from the crouch and prowled toward the woman.
She strode across the parking lot, unaware of his stalking.
“Excuse me?” He kept his voice soft, not wishing to frighten her, but still she whirled around, blue eyes round.
“Yes?” She cocked her head to one side, a question in her eyes. “Did you lock yourself out?”
“Are you Hailey Sanford?”
Her eyes widened, and she glanced around, and he knew she realized they were alone. But she didn’t bolt. Instead, she widened her step, transferring her grocery bags to her left hand. Her non-dominant hand.
In her right hand, she held her keys, sharp edges out. He fought the urge to smile. Good girl.
A ghost of a smile tracked across his lips. “My name is Dmitri Petrov. I believe you know my brother, Kel.”
Hailey frowned. “I remember a Kel.” She peered at him, as though measuring him against his brother. “But you could be anyone.”
“I need to ask you about this,” he said, digging his hand in his pocket. She cocked her head. He’d piqued her curiosity. He drew out the small velvet bag and lifted the necklace out by its chain, careful to avoid the touch of silver to his flesh.
He dangled the necklace and charm before her.
“What are you doing with that? I sent that to Kel’s mother.” She reached to grab the charm, but he snatched it back, tucking it back into the pouch.
“And I’m her second son. I want to know why you sent this to her.”
She frowned. A strand of soft brown hair fluttered in the breeze, and Dmitri fought the unexpected urge to tuck the stray hairs behind her ear.
She shrugged. “I thought she might like it.”
He didn’t buy it. The shrug was too forced. There was no spark to her scent to tell him she was lying, though she wasn’t telling him straight. This woman had secrets.
“Of all the—Because silver is beautiful. It’s fun to work with, and I thought she’d like it.”
Dmitri frowned. Could it be that innocent? “She’s allergic to silver. It’s a hereditary thing. All of us are.” They were more than allergic to it. If the metal got into their blood stream, it meant death. An open wound created by silver never clotted. They would bleed to death.
“I’m sorry,” her voice was soft, filled with regret. “I’ll just take it back.”
He shook his head. He wasn’t ready to let it go just yet. He tucked the small blue velvet jewelry bag into his pocket. “I’ll keep it for now.”