The Leopard

A demented shifter. A hidden halfling. Brought together by a sick and twisted fate with a sense of humor, Legend, King of the great Leopard Clan has just escaped from a nine year imprisonment and is brought to Valerie, a human that he is sure will break from all the strength he wishes to use on her. Frightened of these sparking passions, Valerie must keep her urges at bay while at the same time protect herself from the striking male that believes she is human. Destined for one another, Legend is a male with a sense of pride that cannot be tarnished by others and Valerie is a female with a quick wit that will surely bring obstacles to the two. Can Legend fight what destiny has clearly had a hand in? Or will Valerie's human beauty and other worldly prowess bring together the fated?

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2. Chapter 1

“Welcome back, Miss Paine.” Edgar smiled at her, quickly opening the door to the lavishing hotel before tipping his hat to her. Valerie blushed, nodding in greeting before rushing inside, followed by the man’s laughter. “Still adorable as usual,” he called after her. She blushed more intensely, bringing the rim of her cap over her eyes so that no other saw the bright blue that contradicted her jet black hair. Several people stared at her, some looking at her as if she didn’t belong there. She didn’t, at least, not in the sense they were thinking. She was exceedingly fortunate that her dead parents had left her a grand amount of money, she could have picked a much better hotel, but it had become her home, filled with people that didn’t know and didn’t care to know her. The female residents dressed in fine clothing, expensive jewelry hanging from their wrists and ears, bright dazzling diamonds worn proudly on their chests, but Valerie kept her appearance simple, she had no desire of turning into one of those snobby imbeciles.

Murmurs and whispers followed her all the way to the elevator where she blushed to realize that all the guests that stood in the lobby were now all staring at her, freely whispering, some even pointing to her before giving a look of disgust. The elevator doors slid shut and that was when she decided to glower and hiss a curse. Knowing that no one could hear her she sighed and leaned her back against the wall, looking down at her gloved hands, long nails and small hands hidden from view although it was the middle of spring. Gladdened to be alone, she peeled off her dark leather jacket, feeling as if her back had been glued to leather before she finally pulled the thing off. It was actually quite an expensive jacket, but she doubted anyone in that building would notice with her always wearing a cap over her eyes.

Left in a black turtleneck and tight fitting jeans, she held her jacket over one arm with her gloves in hand and quickly exited the elevator, eagerly reaching her room and fumbling with the keys in her hands before she managed to get the door open. The sound of the room’s phone sounded as soon as she opened the door, the room dark as she blindly patted the marble kitchen counter until she was finally able to grasp the phone and press it to her ear before it could stop ringing. “H-hello?”

“Miss, are you still in the building?” It was Edgar, but he didn’t sound like his usual self. He almost sounded…..panicked? Frowning, Valerie patted her pockets, checking if she had dropped anything in the lobby.

“Uh, yeah? Why wouldn’t I be?” she asked. A crackling sound was heard from the other line before Edgar’s voice quickly sounded.

“There’s a dangerous looking man here looking for you. I don’t know how much longer I can keep him here, quickly, you must go before-“ he was cut off and a low growl replaced his voice before the line went dead.

“A….man?” The phone slipped from her hand and fell to the floor, the clattering making her jump back with a shriek. “Dangerous?” Lips parted, Valerie stumbled to the chair, scooping up her gloves and jacket right before she rushed into the hallway, slamming the door shut and running before she even heard the click of the lock. The elevator doors opened and she broke into a run, almost crashing into the tall figure that emerged from the stairs. Valerie knew that this was the man Edgar had dealt with the minute his eyes bore into hers. Terrifying ice blue eyes flickered darkly while his shoulders rose, his body seeming to go into a crouching position as he tilted his head to side like an animal. She yelped and turned to run in the other direction. She didn’t make it to the end of the hall before she was slammed against the wall, his hand painfully tight against the nape of her neck while the other fisted around her hair to roughly tilt her head back so that he could press his nose to her neck, the material of her turtleneck slipping down, baring her neck.

“No,” he snarled. He loosened his grip in her hair and forcibly made her meet his gaze. He was surprisingly handsome, bright blond hair framed his chiseled features, slightly forming a thin curtain over his blue eyes that seemed to flash silver, and his mouth, lips were pulled back over fangs but she still couldn’t help but appreciate his looks. Well what the hell had she expected? She blushed in embarrassment and he seemed startled by it, blond eyebrows furrowing over his eyes, but what had seemed like a look of gentleness quickly disappeared before he displayed his fangs once again. “Damn you,” he growled. It was her turn to furrow her eyebrows over her eyes. Damn her? Did she know him? Was he one of the residents that couldn’t stand her presence in the building? If he was then it would make sense that he would try to frighten her off, but his expression didn’t seem as if that had anything to do with it. He looked at her as if…..as if he recognized her and didn’t want to believe it.

“W-what do you want?” she whispered, eyes glistening with tears. He felt her begin to shake and snarled with a low growl.

“Weak,” he hissed. “Impossible.” Valerie flinched, that was exactly what she was: weak, pathetic, and alone. She somehow managed to lift her chin stubbornly. Even so, she was not going to allow him to embarrass her like that. Breath held, she did the first thing she could think of. She shot her knee up, connecting it to his manhood. He grunted, staggering back to fall to his knees and cup himself, and giving her to chance to run. She reached the elevator and frantically slammed her index finger on the button repeatedly but just as the doors slid open she was yanked back, his arm wrapped so tightly around her waist it took everything in her to keep from crying out in pain.  “I’ve killed humans faster than you, sweet,” he snarled, running his nose up her neck. “They didn’t even make it seven feet before I tore their throats out,” he added in a rasp. She shivered when he ran a fang against her skin. “I suggest you don’t try that again. It will only turn into a game,” he rasped. A thought crossed her mind and made her begin to shake again.

“W-what did you do to Edgar?” she whispered. He remained silent for a few moments, thinking before he realized who she was referring to.

“Ah, the human male,” he sighed. “Nothing, but I know who my first kill will be if you try to amuse me once more,” he said. He rubbed his cheek against hers, not seeming to realize he was being gentle with her until she asked something that made him growl deeply. ‘

“Can I go see him?” she asked. Jealousy hit him, he saw red and his claws curled against her skin and she whimpered, mistaking it for anger towards her. He didn’t know why that upset him. He could easily kill her, contemplated on doing just that, but, he couldn’t help but feel an ache in his chest knowing that she was frightened of him. He shook his head hard.

“No human can help you now,” he snarled. Valerie shook her head, a few strands of jet black hair escaping from underneath the cap. She didn’t need help, she needed reassurance. What did she know that could make her trust the words of this mad man? No, she needed to see Edgar for herself before she believed him.

“I just…need to tell him that I’m fine before he starts jumping to conclusions,” she defended. He frowned, seeming to see the logic behind that before he gave a curt nod and began to steer her toward the stairs. Like hell I’m walking down thirty-six flights of stairs! Dragging her feet against the floor, she waited until he turned to give her a dangerous look before she tugged at his grip, pointing at the elevators. She pressed the button and scrambled back with a gasp when the doors opened and he snarled and jumped back from the elevator.

Valerie stepped inside, watching him wide eyes as he hesitantly entered the elevator, lifting his nose up and seeming to scent the area. He stood next to her, eyes darting back and forth cautiously, as if he were expecting someone to suddenly appear. Valerie took the time to curiously peek up at him from underneath the rim of her cap. His jaw was clenched, a sure sign that he was grinding his teeth, as he continued to scan their surrounding ever few seconds. Sensing her gaze on him, he stiffened and jerked his head to her, making her blush before she quickly turned her gaze forward, cheeks burning with embarrassment. Earth to Val! You need to think of a plan to escape, not ogle the enemy! The elevator finally stopped at the lobby, making him tense when the doors slid open with a loud dinging sound. He shot an arm around her waist, catching the attention of several people that stared at them with hanging jaws. Well, they did appear……strange. Here she was, simple clothing in an elegant hotel with a man that looked and walked as if the entire world was in his hand and under his control.

She ignored the whispers and sighed in relief, tensing to run and hug him, when she saw Edgar but knew that wouldn’t be wise since her captor’s arm tightened around her when he felt her tense. Edgar ran a hand through his dark hair, frowning when he spotted her. He was eyeing her captor with suspicion, his hand visibly tensing to reach the phone that lay at his desk. Valerie smiled at him. “Sorry, Edgar,” she giggled and rubbed the back of her neck shyly. “I should have told you that a friend of mine planned to come visit me here.” Edgar stared at her, reading her intently before he finally released a heavy breath and burst into a fit of a bellowing sort of laugh.

“You gave me quite a scare, Miss. Ah, sorry for the misunderstanding Mister-“

“Legend,” he replied with a nod.

“Pleasure to meet yah, new to the city?”

“Yes, I’ve never seen a place quite…..active,” he nodded. Edgar let out another laugh and shook hands with him.

“I got to say, I’ve never met any of the Miss’s friends since-“ Valerie cut him off  with the sound of clearing her throat.

“Uh, yeah, we were just getting ready to rest, I’m sorry for worrying you,” she apologized. Edgar nodded with a smile and tilted his hat to the both of them before turning to open the door for a young woman that entered, her arm linked the arm of a burly looking man. The man’s gaze flickered to Valerie, his eyes looking at her until she blushed and broke away from his gaze. Legend caught his stares and snarled viciously at him, making even that very built man turn pale and quickly walk away, his female looking over her shoulder confusingly. Legend grabbed Valerie’s elbow and steered her away from the door, leading her to the stairs. She didn’t argue, not even when she felt that her feet were about to give away from under her. Valerie had taken the stairs many times when the elevators were filled, but she knew she was going to collapse when they had reached the twenty-first floor.

Her feet ached, blistered by the time they finally reached her floor. She didn’t know either to feel gladdened or terrified that she would soon be in her room, able to rest but forced to be trapped in a room with a madman. Valerie fumbled to get her keys but Legend had already gripped the doorknob and snapped it open before she could make an attempt to unlock it. She was beginning to become irritable, scowling when he entered her suite and stuck his nose in the air, trying to scent another but all he could find was her delicious scent of vanilla. He’d found her, a human fated to him, and now she sat in her den, awaiting his action with blank eyes. “Remove your head covering,” he commanded briskly. She raised an eyebrow and gave him an expression that said “Are you off your meds?”

“N-no,” she muttered. He took a step forward, extracting his claws and curling them until he reached forward to delicately brush them over her cheek that began to wash with a stain of pink.

“No?”

“I’m not taking anything off,” she said shakily. Clicking his tongue Legend snatched her cap, staring in awe as perfect black hair tumbled from her head and past her small waist. She looked up at him, sputtering in outrage.

“Black hair and blue eyes,” he murmured, twirling a strand of her hair between his thumb and forefinger. “Do all humans carry this trait?”

Valerie frowned, human huh? It seemed that her suspicions were right, this madman was not just mad….it appeared he wasn’t human either. She blushed and that was enough to snap him back to reality. Eyes dark he sank a fang into the inside of his cheek and grabbed her elbow, following the distinct scent of soap until he found the washroom and pulled her in, slamming the door shut so that he could lean against the shut door. “Shower,” he commanded. Her jaw dropped open. He was….serious? She wanted to curse at him, make him think twice about wanting to hurt her, but she knew that that would come with consequences. So instead, she turned the shower on, scowling when a cruel smirk took his lips. Water hot, Valerie turned to look at him as she slowly kicked off her shoes, his eyes turning dark while his nails sank into his palms.

He remained still, eagerly waiting for her to undress for him, he felt as if she were a present ready to be unwrapped. But she never did. Instead, she kicked her shoes to the side before she stepped back into the curtain of water, dark turtleneck and jeans clinging to her body damply. Legend snarled- she dared disobey him? Striding forward, he pressed his claw to the base of her neck and dragged it down the shirt, tearing the material until he was able to slide the material off of her shoulders so that it landed at her feet with a plopping sound. The same fate met her jeans, he seemed to like that the jeans hugged her rear end tightly because he brought his hand down on her bottom with a growl of approval before he tore the material and let it fall to the shower’s floor. He stood away from the cascade of water, standing close enough to keep his hands on her and prevent water from landing on him at the same time.

Scenting the various amount of bottles, Legend picked a bottle that smelled of vanilla, not a scent as strong as her natural one but it was one he approved of on her. He squeezed the shampoo out, holding it in his palms until he placed it in her hair, surprising her with how gentle he rubbed it against her scalp, massaging her until she couldn’t resist and finally let her body slightly relax in the water. Just when she had fully relaxed, muscles unclenching, she tensed again when she saw him take a step back to undress himself. She jumped out of the shower, almost slipping when she quickly snatched the towel from the rack and wrapped it around her. Legend chuckled and fisted his hand around her hair, tilting her head back so he could press his mouth to her neck and then murmur in her ear, “Try to run and I won’t hesitate to hunt you.” She shivered, but not from the cold breeze that greeted her when she opened the door.

Legend appeared fresh out of the shower in minutes, jeans slung on lowly with upper body bared and shining with wetness. He sloppily rubbed the towel against his hair, water droplets landing on the floor with small plops. Valerie lay in her bed, wearing clothes much more revealing than that of the day. When he had showered her, uncovering her for his eyes, he had found that she had hidden a lot from everyone. Generous and creamy breasts were hidden underneath dark material, a round and firm backside held in tight fitted jeans. And he was the first to ever see what was underneath. Now she slept, a pink tank top and white shorts that barely covered her thighs was all that kept him from seeing her treasures. “Are you going to kill me?” Oh, not asleep. He coughed into his fist. Had she seen him ogling her?

“I don’t know,” he answered. “Leopards have never gotten a human before,” he added in a lower voice. She sat up, looking at him with wide eyes.

“You’re a shifter,” she breathed.

“You know of them?” he asked, imitating her look of surprise. Valerie nibbled her lower lip and shrugged.

“Not really, my dad used to tell me about them before he died,” she murmured.

“What do you know about my kind?” he asked, his hackles rising. If she realized she was his, then perhaps she would understand his need to mark her.

“Nothing much, I know that shifters consist of three groups: leopards, jaguars, and panthers.” She held a finger up for each one she mentioned. “Oh, and he also said that you can identify a shifter because they have bright blues eyes,” she added. Legend made a scoffing sound, arrogantly raising his chin.

“Your father was a fool then. Only powerful shifters hold that trait.” Valerie’s nails dug into the bed sheets.

“Call my father a fool again,” she hissed. Legend raised an eyebrow, finding her anger amusing for some reason.

“Or else what? Tell me,” he added in a murmur. “How did he die?” Valerie sucked in a breath, fighting back the tears as she lowered her gaze and turned her head away.

Sniffling, she blinked away the tears and raised her chin in the air. “He was murdered for your information. Along with my mother.” He frowned, so that’s why she was alone. A female in New York was one thing but a female living alone in New York was something else altogether. His question had hurt her, her eyes drooping heavily as she curled up in the center of the bed. Her struggling had grown weaker when he lifted her, lying down next to her before clasping her to his chest. She dragged her nails down his chest as hard as she could but he merely rasped, “I see you like your bed play rough.” She sputtered and struggled anew. “If you are so full of energy, then perhaps I can tire you out with a demonstration,” he growled in her ear. Valerie let out a cry of frustration before burying her face into her pillow. Legend chuckled cruelly, burying his face in her hair as he held her in a crushing embrace.

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