soft and smooth. She moaned when he brushed his fingers through the dark curls at the juncture of her legs.

Her eyelids fluttered, before slowly opening. “What?” She glanced around, then threw her hands across her chest and jerked her legs up.

“You looked at me!” she sputtered.

His brow wrinkled. “And that angers you?”

“Of course it angers me.”

She grappled for the cover but it was just out of her reach so he handed it to her. She seemed quite upset with him.

“You took advantage of me after I fainted.”

“It’s wrong to look at the naked body?”


“But what about when you look at mine? Is that not equally wrong?”

“I’m not looking at you.” Her gaze moved downward, then shot back up.

“Aren’t you?” He smiled. This part Earthling, part Symtarian, was a mass of contradictions.

She grabbed the cover and wrapped it around her, then stumbled into the other room. She came back a few minutes later with a large white cloth.

“It’s a towel. Do me a favor and wrap it around your waist.”

She really had a problem with his nakedness, yet he could sense a passionate nature within her.

“How did you do it?” she asked, changing the subject.

“Do what?”

“Change into a jaguar.”

“I told you, I’m Symtarian. We are a race of shapeshifters.”

“Or you’re a damned good magician.”

“Would you like me to show you again?”


She was very fervent when she was cornered. And he could almost feel the rapid beat of her heart as it pounded inside her chest.

“The towel?” she reminded him.

He slowly came to his feet, noting the way her gaze lowered, then quickly darted elsewhere. He grinned as he knotted the towel at his waist. She looked at him, saw that he was smiling, and frowned. She was even more alluring when she frowned.

“What do they call you?” he asked.


“Callie,” he said, testing the sound of her name on his lips. “I like it.” It seemed to unnerve her when he said her name.

“Do you have someplace to go?” she asked. “Someone I can call?”

“I’ve finally found you, why would I leave when I just arrived?”

She closed her eyes and he wondered if she might be going through some kind of ritual. She closed her eyes quite often, losing herself in what appeared to be a trance of some kind. But then, she opened her eyes again.

“I really don’t want to have to call the police to come take you away because this isn’t where you belong.”

“You have a mark on you. It looks like a rose.” When she didn’t say anything, he continued, realizing it might be harder to convince her than he’d first imagined. “On your right cheek.” When her face flamed, he knew she was aware what cheek he spoke about.

She pulled the cover closer around her. “You looked at my butt!”

“No, I just know it’s there.”

“That doesn’t prove anything.” She jutted her chin forward.

Rogar had an incredible urge to cup her chin, pull her closer and taste her, inhale her scent. It hadn’t been enough to hold her in his arms last night, to feel her naked body pressed close to his. But he didn’t touch her. Instead, he untied the towel.

“What are you doing?” she asked, panic lacing her words.

“I have the same mark. All Symtarians have it.” He turned around.

“That doesn’t prove…uh…” Her words stammered to a stop. “So what if you have the same mark.”

He picked up the towel, retied it around his waist, watching her facial expressions. They ranged from denial, to maybe there was truth in his words, then back to denial.

She shook her head. “This is crazy. It’s absurd. You are not an alien, and you need to…to…leave. Right now.”

“Did the people who raised you say nothing about your ancestors?”

She squared her shoulders. “My parents died when I was very young. I grew up in an orphanage.”

Now he understood. Of course, she would deny her heritage. Earthlings weren’t as advanced as other worlds.

There was a knock on her door.

She froze.

“Miss Jordon, are you awake yet?”

“Mrs. Winkle, my landlady.” Her gaze flew to him. “I don’t know what she’ll do if she sees you. Hide!”

She seemed quite flustered by this person she called a landlady. It was interesting to watch Callie.

“I need my robe,” she muttered, dropping the cover.

Very nice.

Before he could study her form, she made a little gurgling noise, then grabbed the cover, and hurried back to the other room, emerging a few moments later wearing a white robe of sorts.

“Stay here,” she said, holding up one hand as if he wouldn’t understand her words. Did she think he was feebleminded?

“Stay!” she said once more, this time gritting her teeth.

She would make a fierce hunter the way she bared her teeth. It didn’t last long, though. Her expression quickly turned to one of pleading.


He nodded once in acquiescence.

“Coming,” she called out as she hurried to the other room, shutting the door to this one.

He casually strolled over and reopened it. He couldn’t see Callie or the landlady, but he would at least hear them talking. He was curious to listen in on their conversation.

Another door opened.

“I was sleeping in this morning,” Callie breathlessly told the landlady.

“I didn’t mean to wake you, but the rent is due, you know.”

“Yes, it’s the first of the month. I’ve been living here for almost a year and it’s always been due the first.”

Rogar heard the sarcasm in her voice. Apparently, Callie didn’t like this other woman.

“And I haven’t raised your rent, either. At least, not yet, even though everyone else has been raising theirs. I pride myself in taking care of my tenants. I’ve always been known as a fair woman.”

“I’ve been very pleased living here, too. I’ll get your money.”

Rogar frowned. He could tell Callie had just lied. Why had she felt the need?

“Huh-choo! Oh, excuse me.”

The woman’s voice sounded closer this time. He eased the door closed a little.

“Here’s the rent,” Callie quickly spoke.


“Bless you.”

“Odd, I usually don’t sneeze unless I’m around cats.”

There was a distinct pause.

“Do you have a cat, Miss Jordon? You do realize pets are not allowed, don’t you?”

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