Read Cougar Romance: The Traitor: Secret Shades of the Alpha Blood Series (Paranormal BBW Menage Romance) Online

Authors: Paula Knight

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Cougar Romance: The Traitor: Secret Shades of the Alpha Blood Series (Paranormal BBW Menage Romance) (2 page)

But, there was no use
thinking about that now. Not when she could see the small blue lake
in the distance and the white sand playing along its
banks.

She was here. And, sooner
or later, whether for good or for ill, she would find out what
being ‘here’ meant.

As they neared the lake’s
edge, Diana could make out a small black dot waiting for them in
the white dirt.

Her mind immediately
jumped to the black cougar of her nightmares. The burning of the
talisman, likewise, urged her to stop, to turn around to run
back.

She did stop, frozen on
the crest of the hill causing Charlie to turn around and look at
her curiously.


What’s the matter?” he
asked.


Who’s that waiting for
us?” Diana managed to force the words from her mouth. Even as her
talisman continued to burn against her chest.


You should have taken
that thing off,” Charlie said with a chuckle indicating the
talisman.


You still wear yours,”
Diana insisted stubbornly.


Mine’s not connected to a
traitor,” Charlie said with another cocky smile. Diana gave him a
reproachful look and the smile disappeared from his
face.


Look,” he said gently,
“you’ll be ok. I won’t let anything bad happen to you.”

He seemed sincere and, as
Diana realized she had no other options at the moment, she nodded
and followed him towards the lake.

Even as her feet plodded
after him, she kept her eyes firmly fixed on the black creature
growing larger near the sand of the lake. Though, it was still too
dark to make out, the talisman burning, now almost unbearably hot
against her chest, warned her that this was not a creature she
wanted to meet.

No matter what Charlie
said to the contrary, she felt a sharp instinct rise up in her to
trust the talisman more than Charlie’s word.

When they reached the
banks of the lake, Diana saw that instinct justified.

She screamed and backed
away as, in the light of the rising sun, she saw the same black
panther who had attacked her all those nights ago. The same cougar
who had given her scars and haunted her dreams.

She turned and began to
run as fast as she possibly could. Charlie ran after her and
grabbed her arm.


Diana!” he said,
forcefully and painfully taking hold of her arm and dragging her
back to the creature at the lake, “it’s not what you think. You
have to trust me…”

But Diana would not
listen, could not listen to him anymore. She knew what that
creature was, and now, she feared she knew what Charlie was as
well.

This was confirmed when
the creature sat back on its hind legs and transformed into the
person she had most feared since her vision at the
reservation.


Charlie, just give her
the fucking sedative,” Sandra said, “she’s not going to believe
anything you say. Look at her.”

Diana indeed screamed out
more loudly at Sandra’s appearance and now began to thrash wildly
against Charlie’s hold on her arm.


If you think that’s
best…” she heard Charlie say over her screams. Before she knew it,
Diana felt something sharp, like a needle jab into the side of her
arm as the world faded to black.

Chapter Two

C
atahassa Yazzie gasped for breath as he rose from his bed in
a cold sweat. He had seen the rogue cougar. It had come for Diana
and his talisman had burned. It could have been a dream. Cat tried
to tell himself that it was. Nothing more than a
nightmare.

But, connected talisman
did not burn for dreams alone. No, he knew what this meant. This
meant that Diana was in danger.

He sat up in his bed and
the yellow talisman dangling from his neck was still warm though
the burning had ceased. That thought did not bring him comfort,
however. For a talisman connected to another to stop burning meant
either that the person on the other end, in his case Diana, was now
safe or that the connected person was no longer conscious. Possibly
even…

Quickly, he threw the
covers off his body and jumped from the couch. His bare feet padded
across the hall to the room where Diana slept.


Diana?” he called loudly
as he dared not waking anyone else. There was no answer, no sound
from the room.

He knocked,


Diana?” he called again.
Louder this time. Still no response.

He opened the door and his
worst fear was immediately confirmed. Diana’s bed sat empty and the
back window to the dirt road off the reservation was jarred
open.

Maybe she and...whoever
had taken her....had not left yet. Maybe there was still
time.

He rushed to the window
and looked outside. There was nothing.

No cars, no horses, no
people. Nothing but the sun rising over the canyons.


Diana!” he called
desperately one last time. Though, he knew, by now that his cries
were useless. She was gone.

There was only one thing
left that he still might do.

He rushed back to his
room, found a plain white, collared shirt, slipped it over his
shoulders and ran quickly out the door and to the elder’s pueblo.
His Grandfather would be there. He was sure of that. And that was
the only person who could help him now.

When he reached the door,
he pounded on it as fiercely as he could. Now, he didn’t care who
heard him. He didn’t care if he woke the entire
reservation.

Diana was gone. He was
sure she was in danger.

He pounded twice before
the door opened slowly. He was surprised to see standing in the
doorway, not his grandfather, but his father’s scowling face
looking back at him.


She’s gone,” Cat said
quickly, shaking off his surprise. The animosity he felt towards
his father did not matter now.


Diana...the salt mother
has been taken.”


And how do you know
that?” his father asked, scowl still in place blocking Cat’s way
into the room.


Because she isn’t in her
room!” Cat said desperately, “Please, I need to see Grandfather. We
need to tell the council that…”


Lonon,” Cat thanked god
when he heard his grandfather’s voice issue from inside the room,
“let the boy come in. His news affects us all.”

Reluctantly, father gave
Cat one last appraising look before stepping aside and allowing Cat
to rush into the home.

There, he found his
grandfather and several other tribe elders seated at a round table.
When he looked to the right of his grandfather, Cat received
another shock.


Amanda?” he asked, “what
are you doing here?”


I sensed you were in
trouble,” his sister said. The sour frown she habitually wore still
in place, “I could tell you were making a mess of things here. So,
I came to help.”

Cat nearly rolled his
eyes. Though they were twins, Amanda had always liked to play the
role of bossy, protective big sister. Her constant attempts to “get
Cat out of trouble” were more vexing to Catahassa than anything
else.


Catahassa,” his
grandfather said bringing Cat’s thoughts back to the matter at
hand, “what news do you have of the salt mother?”


I had a dream,” Cat
said.


So did I,” father said
derisively taking his spot to the left of his grandfather at the
table, “we all have dreams. They can be very
misleading.”


This was different,” Cat
said through gritted teeth. He always tried to show as much respect
as possible to his father when in the presence of the elders.
Though, his Father sometimes made this very difficult.


This was a vision,” Cat
said definitely, “I saw Diana...the salt mother…” he amended,
“being forced into the salt lake. My talisman began to burn against
my chest. It was still warm when I woke up.”

Grandfather eyed him with
interest. But, from the corner of his eye, he could see his father
wave a dismissive hand.


That still doesn’t mean
anything,” father said, “dreams have caused talismans to glow
before.”


Not like this,” Cat
insisted.


Catahassa,” Grandfather
cut in calmly before Cat’s father could respond, “what makes you
think that the Salt Woman is in danger?”


Because, I looked in her
room and she’s gone,” he said desperately. He knew that they were
losing time. If...whoever it was who had taken her...forced Diana
into the salt lake before she was trained before she was
mated…


She could have left on
her own,” Amanda said, “after all, you did mark her before we knew
anything about her. Maybe it was too much for her.”


She didn’t leave on her
own, she wouldn’t do that,” Cat said.


What makes you so
sure?”


Because…” Cat found that
he was so frustrated he could not finish the thought. And, even
more disturbingly, he was not certain if he would be able to
express why he knew Diana would not leave him. At least in a way
that Amanda or his father or even his grandfather could understand.
Finally, he looked to Amanda and decided to make an appeal to their
own connection instead.


Amanda, you yourself said
that you came because you knew I was in trouble,” Cat said
pleadingly. He was glad when he saw Amanda’s sour expression shift
to one of contemplation.

He pressed his
advantage.


You know that something
isn’t right, I know you do,” Cat insisted, “This is what’s wrong.
This is what brought you here.”


In this vision,” father
cut in, skeptical as ever, “did you see these attackers who were
supposed to have taken our Salt mother?”

Cat thought hard back to
the dream. He had seen two figures mired in shadow push Diana into
the water.


It was...a man and a
woman...that’s all I could see, they were veiled,” Cat
said.


Figures often are in
dreams,” Father said dismissively. Cat felt something snap inside
of him without being completely aware of what he was doing, he
stalked menacingly towards his father.

He was halfway to his
Father’s space when a wrinkled but surprisingly strong hand grabbed
hold of his arm holding him back.


Figures can be shaded in
visions as well, Lonon,” Grandfather said still holding Cat in
place, “do not discount your son’s words simply because you have
never had a vision of your own.”

Father’s face colored at
this. He sat back in his seat at the table and gave a respectful
nod to Grandfather.


Ultimately, it does not
matter if the girl was taken or left of her own accord,”
Grandfather said to the table at large, “she’s gone. That is the
main point. In the world, on her own or in the company of enemies,
she is in grave danger. I will call a council of the elders to take
place at noon today so that we may decide what best to
do.”


Noon?” Cat could not help
but exclaim, “That’s too late! If my vision is true, she could be
dead by noon and we could lose everything!”

He could not let them wait
that long. He knew his vision was true. He knew, at this very
moment, Diana was in the company of their enemies. The stillness of
his talisman told him that she was either lying unconscious or,
perhaps, dead already.

Though, the thought made
his heart constrict painfully in his chest, he could not deny the
possibility. He had to know for sure.


Grandfather,” he said
boldly, “I know where she is. I saw her at the salt lake. Let me
gather a group of shifters and look for her.”


Are you insane?” Amanda
asked at nearly a shriek, “no Zuni tribal member is supposed to
enter the salt lake for two months! If you go now, there’s no
telling what will happen.”


I already know what will
happen if I don’t go!” Cat shot back at her, “Diana will die, we
will lose our land and the tribe will die out.”


You can’t know that,
Cat,” she said stubbornly, “you don’t even know if this vision was
real!”


And you don’t know that
it’s not!” Cat said, “We could lose nothing by searching for her
there. But, we could lose everything if we don’t go.”


Or, we could lose
everything if you do!”


We won’t…”


Silence!”

Grandfather’s voice
stopped Catahassa mid-sentence. He realized, for the first time,
that Amanda had stood from her seat at the table and was glaring at
her brother fiercely. Cat also found that his own hands had formed
into fists so tight that his fingernails had begun to scratch at
his palms.

He took two deep breaths,
loosened his hands and looked apologetically at his
grandfather.

Grandfather gave him a
simple nod and motioned for both he and Amanda to sit back down in
their respective seats.

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