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by Sarah O'Rourke




  Cat Scratch Fever

  by Sarah O’Rourke

  Cat Scratch Fever by Sarah O’Rourke

  Copyright © 2017 by Sarah O’Rourke

  All rights reserved. No part of this publication or cover design artwork may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods in current use or to be developed in the future, without the prior express written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law (US. Copyright Act of 1976).

  This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, and settings are fictitious, and are the sole property of Sarah O’Rourke. Any resemblance to actual events, names, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. Any real setting, person, or situation is used in a fictitious manner with literary license.

  This work of fiction is intended for mature audiences.

  If you steal our work, we’ll sic our Mommas on you. Crazy One’s Momma will hunt you down and make you pay in blood. Crazy Two’s Momma will pray “for” your eternal soul (which is obviously in great peril if you resorted to stealing some poor little indie author’s romance story...really??? Really???) And trust us...you won’t win when she goes to the Almighty. And if that doesn’t scare you, please be advised that we have an attorney on retainer who will sue you to Kingdom Come. Don’t risk it. This is us, being there for you.

  Table of Contents

  Prologue

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Epilogue

  Sarah’s Contact Info

  More by Sarah O’Rourke

  Prologue

  Most love stories have an innocuous start to them. There’s nothing special to it, really.

  Not at first.

  There’s a boy and a girl. They go out on a date. If they’re really lucky and the stars are aligned in just the right order, then they hit it off.

  And, voila! A relationship is born.

  In the best situations, it’s a nice feeling. It’s safe. It’s predictable. It is, for lack of a better word, mostly ordinary.

  Ninety-nine percent of the time, this is the way things happen.

  It’s the natural order of things.

  But Alexa Davidson and Beaumont LaForte were anything BUT normal or ordinary, and that wasn’t how their story began.

  Not by a long shot.

  No, there was not a single thing conventional about their beginning.

  Because unlike others, their tale was extraordinary.

  Chapter One

  Alexa

  “Holy shit!”

  Stumbling to a halt in the doorway of her mostly dark postage-stamp sized bedroom, Alexa Davidson’s surprised shriek didn’t seem to disturb the mammoth intruder sprawled in the center of her bed. Not in the slightest. Blinking her eyes rapidly, she couldn’t help wondering if perhaps she was dreaming. Surely this illusion was enhanced by a lack of sleep and one too many glasses of the yummy Sangria she’d consumed during the night while celebrating her 21st birthday. Several long blinks later, however, confirmed she was wide awake, and she grew even more nervous as the startling vision before her dismayed eyes never once wavered or altered.

  Nope, nuh uh, no such luck for her. She was entirely conscious and seeing exactly what she thought she was seeing.

  “Holy fucking cheeseballs,” she screeched as a rumbling sound filled the room and eyes that seemed to glow in the dark focused on her from the bed. “This is really happening, isn’t it?” she wailed, shoving the hand not holding a wineglass through her heavy mane of long cinnamon-hued hair while her bright caramel colored eyes narrowed on the…the…thing in her bed.

  There was a flippin’ cat in her bed!

  And unless she could add auditory hallucinations to the growing list of shit that was wrong with her life, the dang thing was frickin’ purring like one very contented kitty, too.

  With dilated, but cautious, eyes glued to the uninvited occupant in her bed, Alexa held out a shaking hand toward the bed and prayed the lazing animal on top of it didn’t rip it off. “Nice kitty?” she nervously questioned as she took a step closer to it. “You’re a nice kitty, right?”

  Yes, she knew it was sort of nuts to be questioning a cat, but this wasn’t just any frickin’ feline.

  Hell, no.

  This was no run-of-the-mill Garfield or Heathcliff she was stuck dealing with tonight.

  Nope, she couldn’t have gotten that lucky. Lately, nothing was ever that simple for her. She was quickly learning to expect the unexpected….and this sucker was definitely unexpected.

  Somehow, though, she’d managed to attract a man-sized black panther with a coat that shined like sable. Unable to look away, she was also displeased to note that the cat was carelessly sprawled across the new 800-count Vera Wang sheets that she’d bagged for a steal at the discount outlet up the road.

  And if she wasn’t mistaken, that damned kitty was shedding all over her brand new priceless find!

  “Bad kitty! Get off!” she demanded in a huff, dropping her wineglass on top of the tall bureau just inside the door. Marching toward the bed while making shooing motions with her hands, she eyed the fine black hairs littering her sheets critically, momentarily forgetting the fact that this animal had razor sharp teeth the length of her fingers. No, she wasn’t concerned about being mauled by this massive feline. She was much more worried about the state it would leave her bedding in when she did finally manage to evict it from the premises. “C’mon, get off!! Scat, cat!!!” she begged, lifting the corner of the flat sheet and giving it a meaningful tug. Unfortunately for her, the squatter remained planted.

  “How the devil did you get in here anyway?” she grumbled as her eyes went to the French doors that opened onto her tiny balcony. Frowning as she noticed them standing wide open, she distantly remembered opening them earlier in the evening when she’d been desperate to air out her small apartment after burning a bag of microwave popcorn. “Crap,” she muttered under her breath as she shifted her gaze back to the purring behemoth in the middle of her bed. “So that’s how you snuck in here, huh?”

  Eyeing the midnight black animal as it turned on its side, she could have sworn it nodded at her. She couldn’t deny that the panther looked rather majestic resting there, staring back at her like it didn’t have a care in the world. From its sleek, gleaming black coat, Alexa knew the big cat’s fur would be silky soft, and her fingers itched to touch it. A quick look at the panther’s shocking long teeth quickly cured her of that urge. The animal might seem docile, but she couldn’t forget that it was probably very wild.

  None of that changed the fact that he was going to ruin her new bedding if she didn’t get it off her bed. It was a wonder its claws hadn’t shredded the expensive material when it jumped on the bed. Fruitlessly tugging at her sheet again, she tried to dislodge the stubborn occupant of her bed. “Listen, kitty, you need to go back the way you came! Don’t you have a nice forest to call home?” she asked sternly, trying to ignore the fact that the indolent creature seemed to be grinning at her. That would be impossible, wouldn’t it? Cats – even huge over-sized panthers – didn’t possess a sense of humor, did they? She had to be seeing things. “Seriously, my apartment has a no pet clause in the lease! You could get me evicted!” she proclaimed insistently as she pointed at the open doors. “You gotta GO!” she begged as she pulled harder at the soft grey sheet.

  This time she didn’t imagine anything. The huge cat in the center of her full sized bed just snort
ed and rolled its eyes at her!

  Jeez, just how much of that delicious fruity sangria had she put away tonight? Because if this was the result of alcohol-induced delirium, she was NOT enjoying the trip. Thank goodness she wasn’t scheduled to work at the coffeehouse where she was one of the lead baristas until mid-afternoon tomorrow. Hopefully by then, her mind would go back to being the fully functioning, rational barometer of her surroundings that she’d come to rely on having. Otherwise, her shift at Beans & Dreams was going to be hell on wheels.

  Shaking her head, she dropped the sheet she still had clenched in her fist and flexed her aching fingers. Heck, when her friend, Tilly, had dropped by earlier tonight with a bottle of that delectable adult juicy juice and two wineglasses and declared that they were celebrating her 21st birthday in the time-honored tradition of young women everywhere, Lexie had merely smiled at her good friend indulgently, fully intending to simply watch her best gal pal get tanked. It wasn’t the first time she’d watched it happen, and it probably wouldn’t be the last, either. She’d had zero intentions of drinking. First, because she, Alexa Renee Davidson, was a good girl and good girls didn’t get sloshed no matter what birthday number they were celebrating. And secondly, because having a couple of alcoholic parents that she no longer spoke to had all but killed her desire to drink anything stronger than iced tea years ago. But after Tilly spent an hour cajoling her to just try the sweet wine, Alexa had given into the pressure and taken a sip from her friend’s glass.

  And that single sip had been delicious! Just like that, she’d given in to peer pressure and gone from being a staunch teetotaler to a self-proclaimed sangria lush. Yes, that wonderful beverage had definitely changed her mind, and before she’d realized it, she and Tilly had nearly killed the entire bottle. At the time, she’d figured, what could be the harm? She was safe in her own apartment. She wasn’t driving. She’d been with a good friend. Truly, what could possibly happen?

  Eyeballing the enormous animal in her bed, she could only assume that God had chosen to answer her question with a sign she couldn’t possibly miss.

  Drinking was, very much indeed, a bad choice for her!

  Thankfully, Lex had only been forced to walk a few steps down the hallway to find her bed. Poor Tilly, on the other hand, had been forced to call her older sister for a ride home. Alexa would be willing to bet her next paycheck that her poor bestie was still listening to her elder sibling lecture her on the dangers of alcohol poisoning.

  Looking at the golden-eyed animal that was resting his massive head on her plush down pillow and stretching his muscular body over her ruined sheets, Lexie silently admitted that perhaps dealing with her new unwanted roommate wasn’t so bad considering what Tilly was currently being subjected to.

  Taking a deep breath, Alexa drew herself up to her full height and steeled herself for a battle. Although, since she stood just an inch over five feet, she knew her intimidation factor was virtually non-existent, but she had to start somewhere. It was time for her to quit stewing over decisions she could no longer change and instead concentrate on the concrete facts regarding her current situation.

  And the fact was there was a flipping cat in her bed! A gigantic feline fiend apparently intent on wrecking what was left of her birthday. Because, yes, there was a cat in her bed, and it was stinkin’ immense. Since when did ordinary cats – even if they were frickin’ panthers - get that big?

  The simple answer was they didn’t. EVER.

  And an even better question was – Why wasn’t she scared of it?

  God knew, it had fangs that promised grim death to anyone that provoked it. Oddly enough, though, she felt not a single ounce of fear or distress standing in front of it. It was like she instinctively knew this animal would never cause her a single second of harm. In fact, the longer she looked into its eyes that glowed in the darkened room, the more convinced she was that the purring beast would do whatever was necessary to protect her. It was like she and the animal had some kind of weird, unspoken connection. It was a bond that she didn’t want and had never asked to share, but one that she couldn’t deny and wouldn’t change even if she could.

  How fucked up was that? Maybe this was some kind of voodoo curse one of her disgruntled customers had wished on her when she hadn’t served their coffee quickly enough. Personally, she thought that might be a bit of overkill, but caffeine addicts were serious in Louisiana, and one did not play around when it came to providing quality coffee in the bayou.

  “Why couldn’t you be a dog? I could have handled this if you were a dog,” she muttered as she rolled her eyes toward the ceiling and hugged herself. “Especially since I’ve always been a puppy person,” she continued to babble as she shut her eyes and continued chafing her hands up and down her arms as a bizarre electrical charge seemed to ripple through the air inside the tiny bedroom.

  “Well, I think it’s safe to say that you are now very much a cat person. Or, at least this cat’s person,” a deep, sexy voice rumbled from the bed. “More specifically, you’re this panther’s person.”

  Alexa’s eyes popped open as that rich, deep voice seemed to vibrate through her being. Screaming as she spotted an extremely real -- and from what she could tell (even in the darkness) was an oh, so very naked man in her bed -- she quickly lunged for the nearest makeshift weapon she could find. Sadly for her, the closest missile she could find was only her television remote, and that merely bounced off her interloper’s sculpted chest.

  “Ouch!” her prowler growled, batting away the remote as she continued to screech, blindly searching for another weapon in the mostly dark bedroom. “Alexa, chère, settle down!”

  Wait a second? Why did her trespasser know her name? And why did that southern drawl sound so familiar? Making a half-turn on her not-so-steady feet, Alexa fumbled for the light switch on the wall, relieved when her searching fingers found what they were looking for. Flicking the switch, she squinted as her unfocused eyes tried to adjust when the room was suddenly flooded with bright, artificial light. Finally able to see a few seconds later, she couldn’t help emitting a small squawk as she saw the nude man lounging in the center of her bed.

  “Holy shitballs!” she squeaked. “Tall, dark and expresso?” she breathed before her jaw finally dropped in shock as her eyes locked onto her favorite coffeehouse customer, Beaumont LaForte’s, phenomenal naked body. From his thick, wavy coal black hair down to his elegant bare feet, this man’s body was chiseled perfection. He was all sculpted muscle and lean, lickable lines. Hell, she’d always known that he was fine. Waiting on him almost every day, she’d assumed she’d gotten somewhat accustomed to his handsome good looks, but seeing him like this… bare and as naked as the day he was born….well, nothing could have prepared her for that utter beauty.

  “Hello, chérie,” his husky voice greeted her as he offered her one of those aw-shucks-ma’am-grins that threatened to melt her panties every single time he bestowed one on her..

  “I…you… I don’t understand this…there’s no way this is happening,” she prattled on, shaking her head as she looked from the bed to Beau. “It doesn’t make any sense. One second there was a c-cat… a great big, giant cat with huge teeth and the most gorgeous black coat and now, there’s you. A naked you. A big, beautiful you, but a really naked you, nonetheless. In my bedroom. Naked,” she rambled, lifting a trembling hand and pointing at the bed. Shaking her head, she wondered if this really was a dream. It had to be, didn’t it? How else could her favorite customer (and ultimate spank bank fantasy) really be here in her bedroom while utterly and fantastically naked, she thought as she continued to stare at the hardening penis between his thick, muscular thighs. Holy shit, was that dangling ding dong of his getting even bigger? Eyeing Beaumont’s length closely as his dick flexed against the inside of his thigh, she grinned even as her cheeks grew hot. Hot dang, it was!

  Hearing Beaumont’s deep chuckle, she reluctantly forced her eyes back up to his incredibly handsome face. It probably wasn’
t exactly ladylike to ogle his boner, but damn, when the hell could she ever hope to have a dream this good again? Biting her lip as she stared into his shining eyes, her heartbeat began to accelerate as she saw the gleam of masculine interest reflected there. Was it possible that her dream Beau was as interested in her as she was in him?

  At 30 years old (she knew because she’d had to card him when he bought the rare pack of cigarettes at the coffeehouse), Beaumont was nearly a decade older than her, but none of that made him any less desirable to her. If anything, those lines etched around his eyes and mouth, whether from age or too many hours out in the hot Louisiana sun, had made him even sexier. With light brown eyes that looked almost gold when he stood in the right light, a killer smile that never failed to drench her panties, and cute dimple in the center of his chin, his good-looking face had lit up more than one of her days while she’d toiled away at Beans and Dreams. When you added in his lean, sinewy muscles, his narrow hips and his tight ass, he was pretty much a walking, talking sexual fantasy come to life. And now, evidently, her overly exhausted mind wanted her to believe the hunk that had dominated more than one of her dreams was now languidly reclining in her bed.

  Jesus, what had been in that devil juice Tilly had given her?

  Scrubbing the heels of her hands against her tired eyes, Alexa fought for her sanity. Although, if she was gonna go batcrap crazy, having Beaumont LaForte along for the ride would be no hardship. “I’m going insane. That’s the only reasonable explanation for any of this. Gargantuan cats and kissable cocks? I’ve gotta be nuts,” she muttered without opening her eyes.

  “Lexie, sugar, you aren’t crazy. I promise, you aren’t,” she thought she heard Beaumont LaForte’s deep voice drawl. And Lord, she loved the way he always called her sugar. He pronounced it like shougah, and every time he said it, she got a warm fuzzy in the center of her chest.

  Jerking as she felt his hot hands surround her wrists, pulling her hands away from her face, Alexa’s eyes widened and her breath caught in her throat as she stared into the bottomless golden eyes of her cat. Only, it wasn’t a cat looking back at her at all. It was Beau. And now he was standing naked as a jaybird right in front of her. Man, he could move fast.

 

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