Claimed by the CatamountBy: Libby Bishop
The smell of food bore down sharply on her senses, and she
moved swiftly through the trees and brush to follow it. She was almost
silent in her footsteps. Her nose and ears told her everything she needed
She stopped and sniffed the air. Then, she lowered herself
behind brushes, trees, and leaves, the autumn colors hiding her tawny,
black, and bits of white perfectly. She waited…
There it was. Dinner. From the west, unaware and getting
The whitetail came into view seconds later, dipping its head to a
mountain stream. It was rare that a doe was alone this time of year, but
here she was. At the perfect angle.
She lowered herself more, preparing, using her expert hunting
skills and knowledge to make the kill. She was very patient.
Then, with a burst of speed and precision, she attacked. The
deer realized her fate far too late and only ran but a few yards. Teeth
sank into the neck, and within moments, dinner was served.
It was the time of year. She just had to hunt more often to work
off the extra rush of hormones and need to feed. She was always
careful, staying close to or on her vast property. But today was
different. She was on a friend’s property, a trusted friend who was out
of town for the day. After retrieving her clothes from the porch of the
friend’s home, she jogged to her truck and grabbed a pen and paper
from the glove box. She wrote a thank you note and IOU for the hunting. Then, she got back to her truck and took off over the mountain
to her house…on the dirt back roads.
She couldn’t help but go a bit too fast today, knowing who
would be traversing them as well.
The flashing red lights in her rearview as she turned a corner
made her grin. She hoped he was in a playful mood this
evening—knowing he was on duty had been the reason she’d picked
this route home. Her grin widened as a six-foot-two redhead stepped
out of his own truck to walk to hers.
She rolled her window down.
The fair-skinned man grinned back as he rested his arms on the
door. “Cilla Walton, you know better than to drive that fast on this
Her blue eyes met his brown ones. “Aw, come on, Riley.” She
tried to look as sincere as possible. “I was only doing fifty/fifty-five.”
He chuckled. “On a forty mile an hour road.”
She laughed softly, loving the scent rolling off of him. She
knew he was smelling her as well. “Riley Cooper, are you going to give
me a ticket?”
He leaned in the window about an inch, inhaling. His grin
turned wicked, suggesting all sorts of tempting things. She tried not to
“Not tonight, I’m afraid. I’m heading for my parents’ house for
dinner with them and my brothers. As you know, my mom’s birthday is
“Yes. I have something for her,” she replied. “I’m also taking
her shopping over in Burlington in the morning, with Ginger and my
“Dad talked to you.”
She nodded. “We’ll be back before dinner, around four-thirty.”
He leaned against her door and reached a hand in to move stray
strands of her tawny-colored hair behind her ear. “You’ve been out
hunting…and you got the kill.”
She smiled softly. “Of course I did.”
“Over at Ram and Mara’s?”
“Yeah, Ram mentioned you asked permission to hunt on his
and Mara’s land. Why?”
She shrugged. “I just wanted a different place to hunt—the deer
near my house are getting suspicious.” She winked.
Shiver, shiver, shiver… She managed to hide the shiver, but not
the scent it caused. Damn autumn air.
“I’ll see you tomorrow, then?”
“Yes, you will. And by the way,” she said as he stepped away
from the door while she put it back in gear, “you smell edible.”
He grinned. “So do you, babe. And I plan on remedying that
The heat rushed through her and she shook her head. “You
shouldn’t say things like that after I’ve hunted. It can cause
uncontrolled reactions!” She had to raise her voice because he was
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