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Excerpt from Catamount Ridge
Blurry-eyed, Jessie Marcus ignored her throbbing head and pushed the blankets off her body. After a couple of unsuccessful tries, she forced herself into a sitting position. The inside of her thighs burned. It had been a long time since she had that much sex, and her muscles felt it. Battered and bruised, her entire body ached. Jessie was frightened, but she couldn’t quite grab hold of why.
Snatches of an eerie dream crept back into her consciousness. Mixed up images of Derek and the mountain lion, which had attacked her the previous day, were all jumbled together. Jessie frowned and mulled over the episode.
In all her years with the Forest Service, there hadn’t been a single account where a second lion interrupted a kill. The large cats were solitary by nature. Nocturnal hunters, being out at midday was not the norm. The devastating drought had depleted the area’s resources and might have been a contributing factor, but the odd behavior went against everything she knew to be true.
The memory made her shudder. Instead of being sore from too much sex, her body could have been a lifeless mangled mass. The cat would have hidden her remains in the underbrush. Between the lion and other scavengers, it wouldn’t have been long before her bones were picked clean and her family would never know the cause of her disappearance.
Lucky didn’t come close to describing her narrow escape. One moment she was facing off with a full-grown lion, poised for attack. With her hands raised above her head, Jessie bellowed at the top of her lungs hoping to frighten the animal off. The look in the blue-gray beast’s steely eyes told her he wasn’t falling for her bravado. His lips curled into a sinister grin, and his body settled back onto his powerful haunches. The cat waited mercilessly for her own fear to make her incapable of action.
Jessie knew she might not survive the day, but it would not be because she failed to act. She shifted her weight in preparation of the assault. The fast, rhythmic, thumping of her heart pulsated through her head, and kicked her senses into high alert.
The cat caught her slight movement and adjusted his oversized paws accordingly.
Jessie saw it, and the instant the mountain lion leaped, she dove to the side. A blur flew overhead and a searing pain raked down her arm.
Another lion had attacked the first and knocked the blue-gray animal off its deadly trajectory.
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