Book 2,5 in the Warriors of Poseidon series, published in the anthology Shifter in March 2008.
I could find no blurb for this novella.
Finally, Marie, First Maiden of the Nereid Temple in Atlantis, is ready to leave for the first time in her life. To visit her brother Bastien and his lady, Kat. Alaric, the High Priest of Poseidon, opens the portal for her, and accompanies her to Florida, the Big Cypress National Reserve, where they live.
Not only Kat and Bastian are ready to welcome Mary, also Ethan, the Pride Alpha, is present to welcome her to his lands. And when Ethan lays eyes on her, he is lost. Her voice, her laugh, just her. His panther goes crazy, it wants to play with her. But almost as soon as they arrive, Alaric gets the message from Prince Conlan that they have found a trail of Justice, who went missing in the last book. And Alaric and Bastien are needed. Both Atlanteans want Marie to return home, and come visit some other time, but Ethan is insulted with that idea. He can protect Marie when she is on his lands just as well as Bastien can. He will protect of her and Kat both. Marie of course doesn’t want to leave, now is the time to get to know Kat better, her brand new sister. And although Marie is used to warriors around her, Ethan sure is something else. He is hot! But when he tells her by way of greeting her, that he wants to strip her naked and lick her all over, see her long hair spread out over his pillow, she doesn’t know how to react. She is no a shy virgin at almost 400 years old, she has had some lovers over time.
When Kat gets called away, Ethan will take Marie out to dinner, and she decides to tease him, by wearing a very seductive dress and her hair loose. Let him drool! And that he does, he had steeled himself, warned himself that she is not for the likes of him. But seeing her dissolves all his good intentions. He can only think of taking her in his arms and have his way with her.
While driving to the restaurant, Marie sees some animal, and as Ethan’s cats are being killed lately, he takes off to investigate, leaving Marie alone in the car. Which is a huge mistake, as she is attacked immediately. Ethan was married before to a woman who betrayed him to the vampires, and now her pride-brothers want revenge. Travis challenges Ethan to an alpha duel, and Ethan has no choice but to comply. Het has 48 hours to get his affairs in order, and to get Marie to agree to go home, to be safe. But Alaric doesn’t response to her calls, so she has no way to get back home to Atlantis. Ethan and Marie share a few hot nights, making love to each other. And in the end, Marie is witness to the fight, with Jack, the were-tiger acting as independent referee. No leopard will ever challenge a tiger, and win.
Of course Travis tries to cheat, but Ethan wins anyway. His pride is safe, as is Marie. But how can their relationship ever work out, with Ethan in Florida and Marie with her duties in the Temple in Atlantis?
A lovely novella, which I finished quickly. I didn’t mind rereading it, as I really like Marie. She is a quiet woman, but with her own powers, and her Goddess behind her. She was attacked once and paralyzed with fear, not used to violence. But no second time! She can and will defend herself. And it is a good thing panthers are not afraid of water, because when they make love, Marie cannot control her powers all that well, and Ethan’s room gets flooded. And when they finally reach the soul-meld that is so special to Atlanteans, they know they are meant for each other. So somehow, they will make it work. Poseidon will not allow a shapeshifter into Atlantis, but perhaps, someday, he will make an exception for Ethan.
The novella is fast paced, filled with action but also Ethan and Marie getting to know each other and making love. Not really much interaction with other characters, but still a sense of a lot of goings on. Justice is still missing though, at the end.
I like this series, about the warriors of Poseidon, a lot. And I will continue re-reading with the third full book.