Treasured by a Tiger (Eternal Mates Romance Series Book 14)
Despised by his tiger shifter pride as an abomination, Grey has ventured far from home, deep into the bowels of Hell in search of answers about the machinations of Archangel, the mortal hunter organisation who held his twin captive. With no knowledge of the realm, and little skill with the local languages, he quickly finds himself at a dead end—until he crosses paths with a beautiful hellcat female who rouses his darkest most dangerous instincts.
Lyra has been a fool, falling for the charms of a male whose only desire was to make a fast buck by selling her. Shackled and collared, her strength muted by magic, she awaits her time on the stage at a black-market auction, but before it can come, all hell breaks loose and she seizes a chance to escape—and runs straight into a majestic warrior who steals her breath away and tempts her like no other as he battles alone to free everyone.
When Lyra offers her services as a translator to repay Grey for saving her, will he be strong enough to resist the needs she awakens in him and spare himself the pain of her inevitable rejection when she discovers the truth about him? And when the powerful male in charge of the slave ring starts a bloody hunt for Lyra, can she escape another collar and find the courage to trust the tiger who is capturing her heart?
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Curiosity killed the cat.
It was always there, in the back of Grey’s mind.
Although this time, it was his twin’s curiosity that might get him killed.
Black lands stretched as far as the eye could see around him, the sky a dull gold that was growing brighter as he trekked closer to the realm that fiery glow emanated from. Not like he wanted to go anywhere near that damned place, but it seemed the trail he was following wanted to lead him straight towards it.
Grey looked over his shoulder at the distant blue glow that King Thorne of the Third Realm of demons had told him belonged to the elf kingdom. Fucking place sounded magical. Why couldn’t Talon’s itch have led Grey in that direction?
Lush green hills, towering grey mountains, glittering blue streams, and all the sunshine their portal could pour into their kingdom.
He would have given anything to be there, stretched out on the long grass, soaking up that sun and letting the cool breeze play over his bare skin.
Instead, he was trudging through a wasteland, his feet sore in his black leather boots, and the sweat pouring off him sticking his black t-shirt to his skin.
All for his brother’s sake.
He rolled his stiff shoulders, grimacing as a few vertebrae cracked.
Maybe not all for Talon.
The thought of being at the pride village now that his sister, Maya, was gone to be with her fated one, August, had driven him to leave, to find somewhere else to be.
Maybe somewhere he belonged.
He had ended up at Underworld, the nightclub Talon now called home because his fated mate worked there. Grey didn’t belong there though. A few quiet days had passed before that restless itch had pushed him to keep moving, and he still wasn’t sure where he was meant to be going.
He was lost.
He exhaled hard.
Not a sigh.
He might not be sure where he was meant to be going, but his feet were carrying him forwards anyway, and if he had to keep walking forever until he found that place they wanted to rest, he would.
Talon had given him a new direction at least.
Over dinner one night, Talon had mentioned seeing the door again in his dreams. Sherry had given her mate a concerned look, one Grey hadn’t missed. He had focused on his brother then, and felt that need flowing through him, that curiosity that wouldn’t let him go, not until he knew what was beyond that door.
It wouldn’t have been a problem, but the door in question was deep in the bowels of the headquarters of a mortal hunter organisation, a building where Talon had been held captive and tortured for months.
Grey was damned if he was going to let his brother go back into that hellish place.
So, when Sherry had mentioned looking through the files they had stolen from Archangel when breaking Talon’s friends out, Grey had leaped at the chance to help. He would do anything for his brother.
Including going to Hell in his place.
The moment he had found the door mentioned in one of the project files, and uncovered that it was connected to something in Hell, he had known what he needed to do.
Where he had to be.
Talon needed to know what was beyond that door, and Grey was going to find out for him.
His twin had fought him on that, which hadn’t been a surprise given Talon’s habit of trying to act like his big brother. The bastard was stubborn and pushy, had been like it since birth when he had muscled his way out first, arriving in the world a whole eight minutes ahead of Grey.
Eight minutes did not an older brother make.
Grey could be just as stubborn though, and eventually Talon had given in, Sherry convincing him to let Grey go to Hell in his place and follow up their lead.
He had left immediately.
He would find out what was beyond that door even if it killed him. He would do that for Talon, to put his mind at rest and free him from the clutches of his curiosity.
He sighed and looked back over his shoulder, in the direction of the Third Realm and the elf kingdom beyond it. Although, it still would have been nice if Thorne had told him to head that way instead of towards the Devil’s lands.
A cold sinking feeling had gone through him in the demon king’s library when the huge russet-haired male had jabbed a strong clawed finger against a mountain range and told him that was where he needed to start, because it was the place mentioned in one of the reports linked to the project.
Grey hadn’t failed to notice that east of that mountain range was labelled as the dragon realm, and beyond that was the Devil’s domain.
Thorne had been generous enough to offer him an escort.
It had felt like a kick in the balls at the time.
Even Sable, the demon’s little queen and ex-Archangel hunter, had flinched at the offer, and had dished him out an apologetic glance.
Grey had refused Thorne, because he had grown tired of being coddled by his brothers a long time ago, and wasn’t about to accept it from a male he barely knew.
Looking back, he probably should have taken the demon up on his kind offer. The big guy had been nice enough to teleport him into Hell, had put him up for a few days at his castle, and had sent him off with some provisions and a crudely drawn map of Hell.
Grey pulled the map out of the thigh pocket of his black combat trousers and stared at it.
At how close the village was to dragons and the Devil.
A few demonic travelling companions probably wouldn’t have been a bad thing.
It wasn’t as if he knew Hell. He had come here without a plan, without any idea about what to expect, and that was dangerous.
His family had raised him to be prepared.
It had all gone out the window when Maya had left, and that feeling had kicked in, that need to walk and not stop walking, to put as much distance as he could between him and his pride.
He pressed his hand flat against his chest, felt his heart thumping hard against his palm, and stared into the distance, not seeing the cragged mountains that speared the gold sky.
What was it that had made him leave?
He was mad at his older brother, the alpha of their pride, and needed some space and time to work through those feelings. Mostly because he wanted to throat-punch Byron whenever he saw him.
Was that the reason he had strayed this far from home?
He didn’t want to do something he would regret?
As much as he hated Byron right now, which the bastard deserved after everything that Maya had been through because of him, he still loved the son of a bitch. He was still Grey’s brother.
Grey started walking again, his hand drifting across his chest to adjust the straps of his backpack. He jammed his thumb through the right strap and let his hand dangle there, his mind whirling as he thought about home and the gnawing feeling in the depths of his heart. Something had made him leave. Something other than his anger towards Byron.
Had to be.
Gods, maybe he was just messed up.
More fucked up than he had thought possible.
Or maybe there was nothing keeping him at the pride now.
It was strange having his freedom after spending two centuries at the pride, devoted to the care and protection of his little sister. He couldn’t remember a time when he had been free to come and go as he pleased. It had been erased from his memories, replaced by the decades that had come after Byron had become alpha, a time when Grey had been locked away from the world because Byron had deemed it too dangerous for Maya to be allowed to go outside the pride village, and had charged him with being at her side always.
Meaning the bastard had shut them both in a cage.
Fuck, it was weird.
Was that why he felt lost?
Because he was free at last?
He still hadn’t processed that, wasn’t sure he would for a long time yet. He had never really felt like a captive, because his family had been there, everyone he cared about at the village with him, but now that he was free to come and go as he pleased, he felt as if he had been a captive his entire life.
The world beyond the one he had known was huge, endless, filled with incredible things and possibilities, and he had hurled himself headlong into that world.
It was a little overwhelming.
His senses sparked, warning of life nearby, and he tensed and stilled, stretching his focus outwards to encompass the area. He slowed his breathing, becoming silent in the shadowy world, and his vision brightened as he studied the dimly-lit lands surrounding him, making it easier for him to pick out the rocks that could easily hide enemies, giving them ample chance to sneak up on him.
He should have taken Thorne up on his offer.
But the thought of having a demon escort had felt like another cage.
He wanted to be free.
He curled his lip and dragged air over his teeth, trying to scent the owner of that heartbeat.
Another joined it as he risked a step closer, and then a third and a fourth.
He peered ahead of him, into the darkness.
Something was there.
He risked another two steps.
The shadowy shapes came into focus.
The village Thorne had said was the one Archangel had named in their report.
He must have walked further than he had realised while lost in his thoughts.
Grey cautiously moved forwards, lowering his hands to his sides as he approached the village. The loose black gravel crunched under his heavy boots, loud in the thick still air, grating at him. His muscles twitched beneath his skin and an urge to shift settled over him as he closed in on the buildings and the people coming and going between them.
It had been more than a day since he had last seen people, a day of trekking across a black wasteland with only an occasional distant screech or roar punctuating the silence. Those sounds had raked at his nerves, leaving them raw and stealing sleep from him. He hadn’t rested in more than twenty-four hours.
It was little wonder he felt on edge now.
Ready for a fight.
He felt vulnerable, easy prey if anyone chose to fight him, his body and mind badly in need of rest.
For all he knew, those sounds that had kept him marching forwards rather than taking a break could have been made by people. Hell was full of things he had never seen before, creatures straight out of myths and legends, or horror movies.
He could be walking right into a nest of the howling, shrieking beasts, lured into a false sense of security by their human appearances.
The urge to shift into his stronger form to protect himself grew stronger, and he slowly pulled down another calming breath. He was letting his imagination run away with him, and that was dangerous.
He needed answers, and kicking up a fuss in his tiger form just because he feared the things that had gone bump in the night in the wasteland wasn’t going to get him any, especially if the people in the village found out he thought they were the ones making those unholy noises.
He doubted they were.
It was just his imagination tricking his weary mind into believing something ridiculous—something liable to get him killed.
He needed to rest and regain some strength, and then his imagination wouldn’t hold such sway over him.
He didn’t need to shift.
He kept it tamped down, breathing through it and tightening his hold on his control, refusing to let his tiger instincts rule him. He was only here to speak with the people and find out what they knew about the project, and what Archangel had wanted when they had come through this way.
He wasn’t here to fight.
The urge to shift didn’t abate as he entered the village perimeter, marked by a rough stone wall that circled the few black huts and makeshift tents made of some sort of animal hide. If anything, it grew stronger in time with the scents of the people coming and going through the settlement.
Some of them were powerful.
Some smelled of the tinny scent of magic.
A dark-haired male dressed in long black robes off to his right stopped hammering a peg for his tent into the inky dirt and looked up at Grey.
A witch. Or did they prefer warlock? Wizard?
What the hell did they like being called? He could hardly go and speak to the male if he wasn’t sure. The last thing he needed to do was insult someone who could flay him with nothing more than a few muttered words.
Grey shuddered as he looked at the male’s hands.
And realised the tent peg he had been hammering into the black ground wasn’t the sort bought in a store in the mortal world.
It was a broken bone.
Definitely not talking to him.
It had nothing to do with the male’s creepy, dangerous, air and everything to do with the fact he was obviously a traveller.
Grey needed to speak with a resident if he was going to find out what Archangel had been doing here.
He scoured the small village, trying to spot a local. A few people stopped to stare on their way past. Nothing new there. Grey was used to people staring at him.
He ignored them and continued his search. On the opposite side of the village, two males and a female exited the largest of the thatched huts, laughing with each other, a glow to their cheeks. He breathed deep to catch their scent. Smiled. Alcohol.
Was the hut a sort of tavern?
He crossed the village to it, pretending not to notice the way more people stared at him, their eyes tracking his progress. He didn’t care. He really didn’t.
He bared his fangs at one male, a reaction he hadn’t been able to hold back. The male bared fangs right back at him, his pupils turning elliptical in the centre of his red irises.
Grey supposed Hell was probably fabulous in their eyes. No sunshine to make them go crispy. Just endless night.
He flashed fangs at the male again, and stood a little taller as the male turned away and walked in the opposite direction to him. Easy win. Which was strange. Normally vampires liked to fight to claim top spot, to prove themselves the most powerful things with fangs out there. Which was utter bullshit.
Dragons had to be the most powerful things with fangs.
Maybe demons cut a close second, possibly a joint placing with the elves. Grey had heard all manner of things about elves, some of which made them sound dangerous and not as magical and wonderful as he had believed as a kid.
Hellcats slotted in below them.
Vampires barely ranked above the other feline shifters.
Still, it was odd of the male to leave without a fight.
Grey slowed his steps and watched the male walking away. He didn’t stop at the perimeter of the village. He kept walking, heading into the darkness, going south-east.
High, bubbling laughter broke the silence.
He shook off his curiosity about the male and returned his focus to his mission, shifting his gaze back to the hut that was possibly a tavern.
Another female toppled out of it, a male following close behind her.
“Excuse me.” Grey raised his hand to snag their attention.
Both of them stared blankly at him.
They looked at each other.
In a language he didn’t know.
The female was rather animated as she prattled on, tossing her blonde hair over her bare shoulders, revealing a small top that was more strapless bra than corset. Matching black leather hugged her long legs. She was pretty too, a bright glow around her pupils that might have fooled him into believing her a shifter like him.
Only she smelled of sex and sin.
Her partner stood behind her, giving Grey a death glare turned up to the max.
Succubus sidled towards Grey, a wicked sway to her curvy hips and a smile tugging at her cherry red lips.
Crimson bled into the male’s eyes, his pupils stretching thin in their centres.
And this one looked as if he might fight to prove who was stronger.
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Book 1: Kissed by a Dark Prince (FREE AT SELECTED RETAILERS)
Book 2: Claimed by a Demon King
Book 3: Tempted by a Rogue Prince
Book 4: Hunted by a Jaguar
Book 5: Craved by an Alpha
Book 6: Bitten by a Hellcat
Book 7: Taken by a Dragon
Book 8: Marked by an Assassin
Book 9: Possessed by a Dark Warrior
Book 10: Awakened by a Demoness
Book 11: Haunted by the King of Death
Book 12: Turned by a Tiger
Book 13: Tamed by a Tiger
Book 14: Treasured by a Tiger
Felicity Heaton is a New York Times and USA Today international best-selling author writing passionate paranormal romance books. In her books, she creates detailed worlds, twisting plots, mind-blowing action, intense emotion and heart-stopping romances with leading men that vary from dark deadly vampires to sexy shape-shifters and wicked werewolves, to sinful angels and hot demons! If you’re a fan of paranormal romance authors Lara Adrian, J R Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Gena Showalter and Christine Feehan then you will enjoy her books too.
If you love your angels a little dark and wicked, the best-selling Her Angel series is for you. If you like strong, powerful, and dark vampires then try the Vampires Realm series or any of her stand-alone vampire romance books. If you’re looking for vampire romances that are sinful, passionate and erotic then try the best-selling Vampire Erotic Theatre series. Or if you prefer huge detailed worlds filled with hot-blooded alpha males in every species, from elves to demons to dragons to shifters and angels, then take a look at the new Eternal Mates series.
If you want to know more about Felicity, or want to get in touch, you can find her at the following places:
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