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Jaguar Jack by Dana Taylor
Jaguar Jack Campbell, Aussie reality TV star, travels the globe filming escapades in the wild. His charismatic charm conceals an unwanted psychic gift and buried memories.
Major Maggie Savannah, aka Maggie-the-Mouth, is brash, brave and beautiful. She lives to beat the bad guys via covert military operations. The last thing she wants is a pretty boy TV personality partner.
But when a Senator’s daughter is kidnapped by terrorists on a mysterious island, Jack and Maggie must join forces to secure her rescue and, perhaps, save the world.
Read Chapter 1:
Unknown Beast does dwell,
Unleashed power from depths of hell,
Unchecked ‘til Warrior does wake,
United with power of Saint
Paradisio Island, somewhere in the Pacific
Time collided. Jaguar Jack Campbell froze in place on the jungle floor. He shook his head, disoriented. An explosion of buried images from the past flashed in his psyche.
Earth crumbled around him as he burrowed into an animal’s den.
A gagging smell.
Roars and screams.
A taunting voice—Coward, coward…
Then, a white bird dove toward his face, arrested his attention, and brought him back to the present. The bird circled, squawked, and zoomed ahead. Tail feathers urged him to follow.
Fully in charge of his senses once again, he glanced over his shoulder at the black feline pursuer and grinned.
Then Jaguar Jack ran like hell.
He jumped over fallen branches, dodged infested insect mounds, and scrambled around the huge trunks of trees that formed the canopy of the rain forest.
“Rroww!” The big cat’s howl echoed in the humid air.
Jack sensed the angry feline gaining on him. The sleek jaguar rounded a gigantic trunk, too close for comfort.
You can’t outrun a cat, mate, and she’s not losing interest. Better come up with a plan … and fast.
A gnarled kapok tree caught his eye, perfect for a man to catch a foothold and make a natural ladder to the green universe above. He zigzagged away from the tree, ripped the buttons of his shirt open, and tore the garment off his back. He threw the sweat-drenched shirt into the branches of a prickly bush, ran through dense underbrush, and doubled back toward the kapok.
The ferocious jag passed the kapok, following Jack’s path, and stopped at the discarded shirt. She sniffed and pawed it, then circled the bush for traces of the man.
Jack hurled himself onto the rough-ribbed wood behind the stalled cat, gashed his naked chest as he found hand holds to climb toward the leafy ceiling. A flock of startled parrots lit out from tangled foliage as he reached the first limbs twenty feet in the air. Splashes of bright red and blue filled the sky as they surged to another roost. Their disturbed chirps caught the cat’s attention.
Jack grabbed a thick branch thirty feet up, sturdy enough to hold his weight. Rope-like muscles of his biceps bulged as he hefted himself skyward. He swung his leg over the branch and gazed below. Sweat dripped off his forehead, but his breathing remained steady. Excitement sped his heart beat. Playing tag with cantankerous kitties really got the juices going.
The perturbed black cat circled the base, tail whipping in the air.
“Rrooww!” She let her roar rip.
Even from thirty feet above, Jack glimpsed the glint of long, carnivorous fangs in the cat’s mouth.
“I’m up here, darlin’. What’s the matter, afraid of heights?”
The cat howled again, as if in reply to his taunt, and stretched her long body, claws digging into the coarse trunk. Her hind legs added a powerful climbing force the man hadn’t possessed.
Jack lingered on his resting spot a moment, admiring the sheer grace of his pursuer as she conquered the climb with instinctive precision. Her yellow eyes targeted him with a killer’s intent.
“All right, Jack,” he muttered. “Best be moving on.”
He scampered higher into the dense canopy of intermingled trees. A coiled green snake, camouflaged in the greenery lifted its head. Its tongue flicked to sense the identity of the intruder.
“Sorry, mate, I need a diversion.” Jack grabbed the hefty snake and aimed for the rising black feline. Splat, the snake’s body hit the cat in the face. The surprise assault caused her to momentarily lose her grip and slide a couple of feet, catching her rump on a branch. She lost sight of Jack long enough for him to grab hold of a sturdy vine and swing Tarzan-style to a neighboring kapok. Hugging the trunk, he used his legs to hold and release the tree in the efficient manner he’d learned from his native friends. Ms. Furious Feline continued her upward motion, not realizing her quarry now traveled in a downward mode on another trunk.
Jack glimpsed welcome terra-firma and jumped the last few feet to the ground. He leaned a broad hand against the trunk and saluted his wayward pursuer with his other hand. “It’s been fun, sweetheart.”
High above, the cat screeched her frustration again. “Rrooww!”
She sprawled on a strong limb, panting, much of her fight lost in the chase.
The camera crew materialized out of the jungle.“Cut! That’s a wrap, Jack.”