In the pool

“At the Pool”

Steam rose from the pool. She tossed in several lavender bouquets and inhaled the fragrance. Slowly she slipped the silk robe from her shoulders, laying it on the bench, and stepped down into the bath. As she sank into the water, she felt the stress of the day melt away, replaced by the soothing warmth. The afternoon had been long and tedious, but the formal dinner that followed was interminable. Finally she had escaped, pleading a blinding headache. She lowered herself into the water, sat on the stone stairs, and closed her eyes, allowing her thoughts drift away from the trade negotiations that had occupied her earlier.

She heard a deep, rumbling purr from the bank. She looked up to see a huge tiger standing on the bank, staring at her. Its amber eyes reflected the moonlight and he growled, a low menacing sound, and padded into the surrounding trees. Moments passed, she heard nothing, and the moon couldn’t penetrate the dark of the woods.

A soft splash interrupted the silence. She quickly turned toward the sound, but smiled when she saw him. Naked, he was as powerfully built as a man as he was as a cat. Graceful, strong,  he sat beside her and pulled her onto his lap. He whispered, his lips grazing her ear, “Alone. Where are your guards?” She turned her head, silencing him with her mouth. She had slipped out without letting anyone know. He would disapprove, of course, considered it dangerous, but just for tonight she didn’t care.

“I missed you,” she murmured, trailing her hand down his arm, across his taut stomach. He nuzzled her neck, and slowly lowered his head to her breasts, teasing her nipples with his tongue and fingertips.

Snap! A twig cracked not far from where they sat entwined. His head jerked up and he practically threw her from him. He was half out of the water before she knew what was going on, his body shifting as he moved. Seconds later she heard his roar, followed by a chilling scream. She buried her face in her hands. Death. She knew he had and would kill to protect her, but never had she been so close, never heard that moment. The sound made her shiver.

He stalked back to the pool and quickly dipped his muzzle into the water, but not before she had seen the blood.

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Dottie at Tink’s Place has a Monday Morning Flash Fiction challenge that I’m enjoying. Each Monday a new picture prompt will be posted and if you choose to participate you post your story on Friday – 350 words, give or take.