When Sara Shield sees the wild Zetithian hermit riding across the meadow on her stallion with a black leopard beside them, she's stunned. Not just because the man is astride the horse without benefit of saddle or bridle and not because he is gloriously naked. She's stunned because the leopard, the horse and the Zetithian form an incomparable image of Nature at her finest.
She wasn't the kind of woman who normally would swoon at a man's good looks and she wasn't starting now. All she wanted was her stallion. And she tells Jerden as much.
Jerden's first thoughts on seeing Sara standing outside his cabin are less than charitable. He thinks she's another one of those women who lust after him because he's Zetithian and one of the great lovers of his race. He ignores her greeting, her outstretched hand and walks past her just telling her to take her horse if she wants him.
And that's the start of Wildcat by Cheryl Brooks. No immediate 'knowing' that this is the mate of their dreams. No instant lust or yearning desire. No, this book starts with two wounded people who are more or less content to live their lives in the little cocoons they've made for themselves.
But, of course, that's not going to happen. Meeting Sara is the impetus for the illness plaguing Jerden to come to a head. He suffers from nightmares so real he can hardly distinguish them from reality. He sees again the murder of his lover, the murder that sent him to this lonely spot. Finally, he practically falls atop the stallion and in his delirium, the stallion takes him to the one place where he can get help - Sara's ranch.
Sara isn't sure what to do with the fallen Zetithian. He looks close to death though so she has him brought into her house and put in the only bed she has - hers. She's startled when the stallion watches over Jerden from the window and even more startled when the black leopard regally stalks into her house to make sure Jerden is being treated right. She can't blame the two animals though. Something about the ill man calls to her to help him.
That's how the romance begins. Wildcat is a more tender love story than some of the others in the Cat Star Chronicles but no less passionate. The two of them find they have at least one thing in common - unwanted attention from the opposite sex. They agree to form a partnership by pretending to be lovers. But Jerden's illness has passed and he realizes that he can tell that Sara is his mate. Normally the instant he wants a woman, she's eager to satisfy him. Not Sara.
He can tell that she does want him though. But something holds her back. Though it drives Jerden crazy, he's willing to do whatever it takes to earn her trust and love.
Wildcat is a tender yet deeply passionate love story with earthy humor and a touch of mystery. It's a compelling story of two wounded souls who need each other and whose coming together heals them both. Brilliantly written by a talented author, I highly recommend this one.