Pummeling footfalls pounded around them. Sinclair clutched Nahla and hunkered down behind a tree.
Several cheetahs stampeded through the underbrush, heading straight for the cottage. Sinclair’s heart sank as one led the way, followed by two more on its heels.
When the cheetahs passed within a few feet of them, Sinclair leapt out of her hiding place and shouted, “Rio! Runnnnnnn!”
Growls lit up the area in front of them as they crashed through the forest, paws skidding across the gravel driveway.
She couldn’t stay there knowing Rio was in danger, nor could she leave her niece alone in the woods. Who knew what other horrors lurked out there? Hoisting Nahla onto her hip, she forged ahead, prepared to live with the cost of her decision.
Sinclair burst through the woods on the side of the cottage, a few feet from the Pathfinder’s open door. It waited for her like a free offering. Fleeing to the SUV, she shoved Nahla in the passenger seat and got in behind her. Unlike the women in the movies, she had no problem with slamming the key into the ignition and starting the engine.
“Sinclair!” Rio shouted.
She lifted her head. Rio and Kyle left the heavy-metal man curled into the fetal position on the ground and came to the driver’s side. It dawned on her for the first time that the buzz-cut man and the cheetahs had disappeared. Could they have been the ones in the woods?
Sinclair triggered her window. Before she could say a word, Rio reached inside and pulled her in for a kiss.
“Are you two okay?” he asked, glancing at a frightened Nahla in the other seat.
Breathing hard, she replied, “We’re fine. But they’re out there, Rio. There are real monsters out there. I’m talking men turning into cheetahs!”
“I know,” he said, scanning the area and wrinkling his nose with a whiff. “I want you and Nahla to stay inside until I say it’s safe, understand?”
He knows? Sinclair couldn’t answer him. How did he know about the monsters lurking around the house? Did he know they would be paying him a visit? Funny, how he showed up at just the right time too.
Sinclair watched her niece as she sat on her knees and rocked back and forth in the seat. But it was the smile and the way Nahla looked at Rio that bothered her. “What are you smiling at? Aren’t you scared of the monsters?”
She shook her head. “No. Wee-oh like ’em. But he’s diff-went. He help us. Not hurt us. Uncle Kyle too.”
“What do you mean like them?” She glanced at Rio who pointed toward two cheetahs who began stalking the front of the cottage. Where did they come from?
“Both kitties too. But they friendly kitties. I smell it, Auntie Sin. Can’t you?”
“Colette entertains from beginning to end, spinning an emotional, compassionate and sexually charged tale about shapeshifting werecheetahs. Colette shows a very active imagination. The characterization is so realistic, you might believe they actually exist.”
— 4 Stars from
“UNSTABLE ENVIRONMENT is a very different type of shapeshifter story. Marcia Colette tells a very unique story with a totally unexpected twist.”
— Chere Gruver of ParaNormal Romance