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Another “Jungle Law” Teaser

June 1, 2012

So, my Love is Always Write event story, Jungle Law, comes out this month. I won’t say when, since we’re not supposed to disclose the day, but it comes out this month. It was immensely fun to write in deep third person coming to love someone who spoke a different language than himself. Kaanan and Deshi had to come to a common language together, and even by the end of the story, they hadn’t reached a full vocabulary. In fact, by the end of the story, they were only beginning to use personal pronouns. XD

But, it was fun—if challenging—and I’m glad I participated. I know K. and I have a holiday short (though it isn’t holiday themed, only a freebie short we plan to release during the holidays) that’s based off the photo prompt Adara gave here. It’s bubbling in my head, waiting for the right to be written (as Mae has to be finished first), but we’ll post it sometime between Yule and Christmas. 😀 (I know someone ultimately chose it, but it was my first choice picture but couldn’t be claimed at the time, so I chose the one that became inspiration for Jungle Law instead. Doesn’t mean I can’t write the prompt one, too, for my own enjoyment!)

Right now, I have more teasing from Jungle Law for you!

***

One piece of the fruit led to another, and then another, but when he reached for the fourth, Deshi pulled it back before he could grasp it. He frowned and reached again, but Deshi chuckled and kept the slice of fruit just out of reach. “Open,” Deshi ordered softly, pointing to his mouth.

His frown deepened, but he did as Deshi said, opening his mouth a little. Deshi placed the fruit past his lips himself. It was a little awkward, and he didn’t understand the significance of such a ritual. The only time he had ever fed another was when his cubs were too young to feed themselves. He chuffed at Deshi. “Kaanan not weak like cub.”

Deshi’s cheeks turned a vibrant pink at that. “No. I see Kaanan,” Deshi breathed, gesturing to help add meaning to his words. His name was spoken with Deshi’s hands cupped outward at his forehead like feline ears. “Kaanan strong… smart… beautiful.”

Each word was given a motion, but the last one made no sense to him. He tilted his head, trying to understand. “What beautiful?”

He watched Deshi’s face flush up, and the scent of arousal pricked at his nose as Deshi motioned to different things around them. “Fire. Water. Sky. Kaanan beautiful.”

It was a compliment, then, one that obviously meant something special to Deshi. And Deshi was saying it not only about his human form, but about his natural feline form. He couldn’t help but purr at that, and when Deshi offered him another piece of fruit, and then bites of the fish from their roasting sticks, he allowed Deshi to place it into his mouth without a fuss. It was when Deshi’s fingers were replaced by Deshi’s lips that he finally tensed again, staring at his human companion.

Deshi pressed his fingers to his lips again. “Kiss.”

“Kiss.” He knew that caress of lips to lips. He’d had female mates in the past. There had even been two males in his long history of protecting this forest. None of them, though, had been part of a poacher’s party. Deshi had come with the humans who had intended to take the skins of his brethren. He shifted, frowning. “Killer. Came with killers of the cat,” he said. “Kill the beautiful.”

Horror filled the boy’s face. “No!” Deshi shook his head. “Killers bought me.”

He frowned, growled. Bought? What did bought mean? “Tell Kaanan.”

Deshi huffed. “Mother, Father, owed coin. They had no coin. They had me. Sold me to killers.”

Bartering he could understand. Debt owed and coin scarce. He remembered a distant winter when he’d gone into a village for supplies he’d been desperate for. He’d needed to give something in order to receive the supplies. What Deshi was saying, though, meant that the boy’s own parents had used Deshi as the coin to fulfill the debt owed. What debt was so great that parents would barter their own child to killers? “What debt?”

“Food.”

A child for food? “Food?”

“Food. Village starving. Needed food. Traded food for me.” Deshi tossed a stick into the fire. “Village had food then.”

Food for child. Probably with a promise that the child would be well taken care of. He growled. “Deshi worth more than food.”

Deshi flushed. “I am?”

He nodded. “Yes. Deshi smart. Quick.” He looked Deshi over, trying to see him with an eye for pleasure. “Pretty.”

“Pretty?” Deshi laughed, the sound pleased, amused. “Kaanan beautiful, Deshi pretty.”

“Yes,” he declared.

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