She was his mate…the only one who could save him.
His Wicked Touch, a standalone paranormal romance from New York Times bestselling author J. Kenner writing as Julie Kenner, is available now!
Bound by his cursed heritage, shapeshifter Luc Agassou must constantly fight the call of the great cat that lives inside him. His only hope for controlling the beast within is to find his one true mate, but after years of searching, he is no closer to finding his love. Or his redemption. Desperate, he stays hidden in the shadows, locking himself away from those he might harm.
Caitlyn Raine has spent her life trying to escape the shadow of her terrible childhood and has given up on the possibility of ever finding someone to love. Instead of romance, she pours her passion into her work. A detective, she’s made it her mission to track down and lock away the human monsters that roam the dark streets of New Orleans.
From the moment they meet, the attraction between them is combustible. Luc is determined to have her, certain she is his mate, his redemption, his love. But there is a killer on the loose in the Crescent City, and all signs point to Luc. Can Cate overcome her own fears and leap into the dark … trusting that their love will save them both?
His Wicked Touch was originally published as Wild Thing by Julie Kenner and has been lightly revised and expanded for this reissue.
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A tear slid down her cheek, and she roughly brushed it away. “It’s only a birthday,” she said, her whisper directed toward the panther.
The great cat stared back, then settled himself on the cool stone, his regal head resting on crossed paws.
“Time to see what I’ve got here,” Cate told it. At midday in the summer heat, the zoo was almost empty, so no one would hear her talking foolishly to a cat. As she lifted the lid on the box, though, all thoughts of idiocy left her head, replaced with an intense sense of wonder.
There, nestled in the velvet-lined interior of the box, lay the most beautiful glass perfume bottle Cate had ever seen. The product of exceptional artistry, the bottle evoked an erotic sensuality, warm silver intricately intertwined through cut, cool crystal. “Oh,” she whispered, the word little more than a sigh, as she lifted the bottle out.
Obviously an antique, the bottle was more solid than it looked, and despite its almost ephemeral beauty, she didn’t worry that she would accidentally break it. This bottle had seen the world, and she let her imagination fly as she pictured it decorating the dressing tables of royalty, holding specially commissioned perfumes or scented oils for a king’s mistress. Because surely a bottle such as this had witnessed both passion and intrigue.
This was no casual gift, and Cate was baffled that Alma—a woman she barely knew—would give her such an extravagant present. Although the bottle was empty, Cate couldn’t resist the urge to tug at the stopper, but it was stuck fast. Not that it mattered. The bottle was bone dry and probably had been for some time. And it wasn’t as if she’d ever take the time to fill it with her favorite fragrance. That was hardly her style, though she was happy to add the beautiful bottle to her dressing table.
She held it up to take a closer look at the fine crystal. The facets caught the light, breaking it into a rainbow of color. And when she shifted the angle, sparks seemed to leap from the bottle into the humid Louisiana air.
In front of her, the cat raised itself, then stood rigid. Its nose twitching and its eyes near-slits.
“What is it,” she whispered. “What’s wrong?”
The cat didn’t answer. And Cate realized that she’d actually expected it would. Absurd.
Instead, it began pacing, more frenetic than before. It circled the habitat, faster and faster, as if searching for a heretofore unnoticed exit.
Still holding the bottle, she stood, then moved to the fence. The cat stopped, turning to face her. Their eyes met, and she lost herself in the deep color of the beast’s irises. She stood, mesmerized, as seconds turned to minutes, minutes to hours, hours to eternity. She’d been drawn in, and now the panther was filling her head, overwhelming her senses. She was the panther. Stalking. Caged. Anguished.
Gasping, Cate jumped back, the spell broken. She glanced at her watch—barely a minute had passed. Had she drifted off into her own daydreams? Or had the panther called to her, reaching out to meet her mind?
Once again, she had to wonder at her far-fetched imagination today. A mind meld with a panther? Because, yeah, that was so much more likely than the reality that she’d simply drifted off because she was overtired and sleeping so poorly.
That was it, of course. A reasonable, rational explanation. And Cate clung tightly to it.
But at the same time, she couldn’t shake the overwhelming sense of foreboding. The sense that she was being stalked.
That there were demons in the dark, and they knew her name.
“Do you know?” she whispered to the panther.
“Do you know what’s happening?”
And then, drifting on a wind that was surely born of imagination, Cate heard the whispered reply—I know, Caitlyn. I know that you are mine….
About J. Kenner
Kenner (aka Julie Kenner) is the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, Wall Street Journal and #1 International bestselling author of over one hundred novels, novellas and short stories in a variety of genres.
Though known primarily for her award-winning and international bestselling erotic romances (including the Stark and Most Wanted series) that have reached as high as #2 on the New York Times bestseller list, JK has been writing full time for over a decade in a variety of genres including paranormal and contemporary romance, “chicklit” suspense, urban fantasy, and paranormal mommy lit.
JK has been praised by Publishers Weekly as an author with a “flair for dialogue and eccentric characterizations” and by RT Bookclub for having “cornered the market on sinfully attractive, dominant antiheroes and the women who swoon for them.” A six time finalist for Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA award, JK took home the first RITA trophy awarded in the category of erotic romance in 2014 for her novel, Claim Me (book 2 of her Stark Trilogy) and in 2017 for Wicked Dirty in the same category. Her Demon Hunting Soccer Mom series (as Julie Kenner) is currently in development as a television show.
Her books have sold over three million copies and are published in over twenty languages.
In her previous career as an attorney, JK worked as a clerk on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and practiced primarily civil, entertainment and First Amendment litigation in Los Angeles and Irvine, California, as well as in Austin, Texas. She currently lives in Central Texas, with her husband, two daughters, and two rather spastic cats.
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