Monday, November 12, 2018

*EXCERPT* Cupid's Light by Tami Lund


Do you love the Lightbearer series? Book 5, Cupid's Light, has been rereleased with a new cover and better price! 

Never heard of the Lightbearers? Think Romeo and Juliet--shifter-style. Steamy, with a dose of funny, and always a happily ever after...



Barely out the kitchen door, he shifted into the form of a sleek black panther. These woods were part of Josh’s property, so it was highly unlikely anyone but other shifters would be wandering around out here, leaving Matt free to be whatever form he wanted. And if there were humans out here, well, they were trespassing, and they deserved to have the shit scared out of them by a massive cat one didn’t normally see in the ’burbs.
He prowled for a bit, sniffing around, pouncing on a frightened rabbit and then letting it go because he wasn’t really hungry at the moment. He shook his entire body as if shaking water away, and was about to break into a full out run, when something small, bright, and jittery caught his eye. He watched as a cluster of sparkling lights danced around near a tree.
It was something supernatural. Matt knew there were other magical beings in this world; shifters and Lightbearers did not own that market. It was just that shifters tended to be exclusive creatures, and as a rule didn’t have much desire to intermingle with other beings. As a result, he knew precious little about most of the other creatures out there.
He considered Josh’s arguments as he continued to watch the dancing sparks. His shifter urges–so primal in this form–were pushing him to take a swipe at the dancing lights and then lay chase if they dashed away. He didn’t know what he would do once he caught them–as he was certain he would–but it was the chase that was the exciting part anyway.
He wasn’t particularly worried that this magical creature might be dangerous to him. Shifters had always considered themselves to be at the top of the food chain, and no other beings had ever stepped forward to refute that claim.
The shimmering, sparkling lights darted to the right and then the left, and Matt’s gaze followed, as he stood perfectly still, poised, every muscle tensed. Prepared to give chase.
And then he could have sworn he heard a feminine giggle a scant second before the lights suddenly darted away through the woods. He started running before his brain even comprehended what he was doing.
They zipped through the undergrowth, the dancing, floating lights keeping just out of Matt’s reach as he lunged once, twice, three times unsuccessfully. The attempts only spurred him to try harder. Defeat was not an option.
The lights zoomed over a small stream, and Matt knew the magical creature expected the flowing water would slow him down, but he was smarter than that. He kicked up his speed and then at the last second, soared over the brook, easily clearing it, and then he leaped again, capturing the bundle of lights in his front paws.
The lights danced and wiggled in protest, and when they could not escape, he felt something pressing against his paws, harder and harder, and then his paws were forced apart as the lights transformed into the shape of a female—although slight—in human form. With the shimmering sparks, her dainty, petite build, and pixie-like features, she reminded him of Tinkerbell with pink hair. Even as a kid, he’d had the hots for the tiny faery from the old Peter Pan movies, although he never believed itty bitty faeries were real, until now.
The weight of his panther’s body pushed the tiny female into the bed of fallen leaves, and he found himself standing over a highly agitated and quite beautiful creature, lying on her back, struggling to get out from under the massive paws that had her pinned to the ground.
She had hair that was short in the back and long in the front, one thick lock draped over her left eye. It was a fascinating shade of dark pink. The one eye he could see was big and blue. Her dainty features included a pert nose and tiny pink rosebud lips that were currently pursed in agitation. Her cheekbones were high, her skin creamy alabaster, her neck slender and long. Despite her petite stature, she had the right amount of feminine curves for most males.
Except Matt. He preferred his women to be more… sturdy. This creature looked as fragile as a twig. And as mad as a cornered wolverine.
He shifted into human form, which left him straddling her hips with his hands pressed against her shoulders. He sat up, crossing his arms over his chest, but remained where he was. Although he wasn’t normally attracted to such tiny females, this one fit quite nicely between his thighs.
“What are you?” he asked curiously.
She gave his chest a shove. He didn’t even blink let alone budge.
“Get off me.” Her musical voice was loaded with indignation.
“How do I know you don’t mean me harm?”
“Oh get off it. You’re a shifter. You could eat me in two bites if you were so inclined.”
He cocked his head and let his gaze travel the length of her body, lingering on the slight curves, the soft mounds under the gossamer dress she wore. His cock gave a stir of interest.
“I could. How do you taste?”
She screwed up her face into a look of distaste. “Is this your idea of flirting? No wonder you need help.” She used a burst of magical energy to push him away. He rolled to the side and she leaped to her feet, as limber and agile as a gazelle.
Maybe I’m hungry after all. Why did he consistently view this creature in terms of prey? Watching her brush grass and dried leaves from her dress, he reached over and plucked a twig from her hair. She reacted as if he’d burned her. He showed her the twig and she rewarded him with a frosty glare. He almost laughed, but was too distracted by the feel of the spun silk of her hair. He looked, but there were no more twigs to give him an excuse to touch it again.
“That was completely unnecessary,” she said tartly.
“Which part?”
“Pouncing on me the way you did.”
“You just said you knew I was a shifter. What did you expect? We’re animals. And I was in the form of a cat when I saw you. Dancing sparks, bouncing around like that, it’s like shining a flashlight in a dark room. I was only doing what came naturally.” He shrugged.
“It’s natural to give chase,” she retorted, “but not to pin me to the ground and not let me up.”
“I’m not sure what type of shifter you normally hang out with, but frankly, it would have been more natural if I’d taken a bite out of you instead of letting you go.”
She sniffed and lifted her chin. “That’s not what the handbook says.”
Matt laughed. “The handbook? There’s a handbook about shifters? Really?”
The petite being crossed her arms and thrust out her tiny, elegant chin even farther. Visions of licking his way from that chin along that neck and down to points south filled Matt’s brain. He shook his head to rid it of such crazy thoughts. He wasn’t that sex starved, was he? It hadn’t been that long since he’d last gotten laid.
“We have a handbook on practically every species of living creatures. At least, all the ones we work with.”
“We? Who’s we? What are you, anyway?” Matt leaned against the nearest tree, crossing his ankles and arms, as casual as she appeared tense.
That adorable chin lifted another notch. “I am a Cupid,” she announced.
Matt blinked. “A what?”
“A Cupid,” she repeated, clearly irritated at his lack of reaction to her announcement.
“What the hell is that?”
She cocked her head and regarded him. “You’ve never heard of Cupids?”
Matt shook his head. “I guess your little handbook didn’t mention that shifters don’t really associate much with other beings.”
She nodded slowly. “Yes, actually, it did mention that. It’s just that I assumed… I mean, I figured you would at least be aware of other beings, even if you never associated with them.”
Matt shrugged. “Nope. So what’s a Cupid? And what’s your name, anyway?” If they were going to carry on a conversation, the least they could do was make introductions.
She dipped into a curtsy that would make a seventeenth century princess proud and said, “I am Adora Adone, Cupid Level One. Pleased to meet you.”
“Adora Adone?” he repeated. “As in love and desire?” He may not know of her kind, but he knew a little about other languages.
“Yes,” she said brightly. “That is exactly how my name translates. Clever, don’t you think?”
Matt didn’t respond to her question. “I’m Matt Tigre,” he said, offering his own introduction.
“I know. You are the one I was sent to help.”
He cocked an eyebrow. “You were sent to help me? I didn’t realize I needed help.”
She nodded solemnly. “Few do, when they are at the point where they require our assistance.”
“Our? There are more of you?”
Another nod, still solemn. “Oh yes. There are quite a lot of us. And despite our numbers, we stay constantly busy. Few people are successful at finding love without our interference.”
“Finding love?” Matt repeated, and then he shot up straight, staring at her as if she’d sprouted a second head. For all intents and purposes, she had.
Cupid. Little cherub with a bow and arrow. Matchmaker. He knew the legends, had always assumed they were a human’s made-up tale. It never occurred to him that the tales might actually be… real?
He backed up a step, needing to put space between himself and the crazed woman standing before him. “Wait a second. You think you’re going to–you mean–all that crap about bows and arrows and love and shit really exists?”
Her face screwed up with righteous indignation again. It was really quite an adorable look for her, despite what she claimed to be. “What a crass way to describe what I do. And for your information, we no longer use bows and arrows. Most have lousy aim, and we were forever accidentally hitting the wrong person.” She shook her head at some memory. “It’s highly difficult to undo the connection once it’s been made, accidental or otherwise.”
Matt took another step backwards. “And you think you’re going after me now?”
“You are my latest assignment,” she confirmed.
“Assignment? Who determines this assignment? And how the hell do I get unassigned?”

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