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Secrets are every where

Excerpt of Beneath a Rising Moon by Keri Arthur

Purchase


Imajinn
March 2003
Featuring: Duncan Sinclair; Neva Grant
252 pages
ISBN: 1893896382
Trade Size
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Thriller Psychological, Mystery Police Procedural, Paranormal

Also by Keri Arthur:

Blackbird Crowned, July 2021
Paperback / e-Book
Magic Misled, February 2021
Paperback / e-Book
Blackbird Broken, October 2020
Paperback / e-Book
Deadly Vows, June 2020
Paperback / e-Book
Blackbird Rising, February 2020
Paperback / e-Book
Wicked Wings, October 2019
Paperback / e-Book
Burn, June 2019
Paperback / e-Book
Demon's Dance, February 2019
e-Book
Cursed, November 2018
e-Book
Hunter Hunted, August 2018
e-Book
Unlit, May 2018
Paperback / e-Book
Hell's Bell, February 2018
e-Book
The Black Tide, December 2017
e-Book
Ashes Reborn, September 2017
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
Blood Kissed, May 2017
e-Book
Winter Halo, December 2016
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
Flameout, July 2016
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
City of Light, January 2016
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
Wicked Embers, July 2015
Paperback / e-Book
Darkness Falls, December 2014
Paperback / e-Book
Penumbra, November 2014
Paperback / e-Book
Generation 18, October 2014
Trade Size / e-Book (reprint)
Memory Zero, September 2014
Paperback / e-Book
Fireborn, July 2014
Paperback / e-Book
Circle of Desire, April 2014
Paperback / e-Book
Circle of Death, March 2014
Paperback / e-Book (reprint)
Circle of Fire, January 2014
Paperback / e-Book (reprint)
Darkness Splintered, November 2013
Paperback / e-Book
Darkness Hunts, November 2012
Paperback / e-Book
Beneath a Darkening Moon, October 2012
Hardcover / e-Book (reprint)
Beneath A Rising Moon, August 2012
Paperback / e-Book
Darkness Devours, June 2012
Paperback / e-Book
Darkness Rising, November 2011
Paperback
Darkness Unbound, October 2011
Paperback / e-Book
Mercy Burns, May 2010
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
Bound to Shadows, November 2009
Mass Market Paperback
Deadly Desire, April 2009
Mass Market Paperback
Destiny Kills, November 2008
Mass Market Paperback
Wolfsbane and Mistletoe, October 2008
Hardcover
Hotter Than Hell, July 2008
Mass Market Paperback
The Darkest Kiss, May 2008
Mass Market Paperback
Embraced By Darkness, August 2007
Mass Market Paperback
Dangerous Games, April 2007
Paperback
Tempting Evil, March 2007
Paperback
Kissing Sin, February 2007
Paperback
Full Moon Rising, January 2007
Paperback (reprint)
Full Moon Rising, February 2006
Hardcover / e-Book
Penumbra, November 2005
Trade Size
Beneath a Darkening Moon, December 2004
Trade Size
Memory Zero, June 2004
Trade Size
Kiss the Night Good-Bye, March 2004
Trade Size
Circle of Desire, July 2003
Trade Size
Beneath a Rising Moon, March 2003
Trade Size
Chasing the Shadows, November 2002
Trade Size
Circle of Death, June 2002
Trade Size
Hearts in Darkness, December 2001
Trade Size
Circle of Fire, August 2001
Trade Size
Dancing with the Devil, March 2001
Trade Size

Excerpt of Beneath a Rising Moon by Keri Arthur

The music swirled through the darkness, its beat rich, seductive. Night cloaked the ballroom, a mantle challenged only by the occasional flicker of a torch burning high on the rough-hewn stone walls. On the dance floor, couples swayed to the music, their bodies so close they almost seemed one. Heat and sweat mingled with the growing odor of lust and longing. Scents that stirred her senses, made her hunger.

Neva Grant looked uneasily over her shoulder. Though the moon was lost to the clouds that crowded the night sky, she could feel its presence. Feel its power.

The full moon was too close. She shouldn’t be here. Shouldn’t be doing this when the wildness within was so close to the surface.

But she’d made her promises. She intended to see them through, no matter what the cost.

She let her gaze roam the dance floor again. Somewhere down there, a killer lurked. A man who was using this secluded, exotic retreat as his own private hunting ground.

A man she had every intention of finding. And slaying.

She raised her glass and finished the last of her wine. The alcohol slithered warmth through her body, and perspiration beaded her skin. Hunger rose, flashing white- hot through her veins. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath.

Not tonight. Please, not tonight.

But the pulsing need suggested it was already too late for such prayers. The wildness had woken. It would not remain leashed for long.

Maybe she shouldn’t bother even trying. The killer seemed to be choosing the more adventurous of this wanton crowd. Unleashing the wildness might be the quickest way of attracting his attention.

Bile rose up her throat, and she swallowed heavily. While she had no real choice about what she had to do tonight, she wasn’t about to give the wolf within free rein. She wasn’t like any of the hunters who danced on the floor below. Her world was one of sunshine and restraint, of trying to live normally.

These people rejoiced in the night and the power of the moon. They came to this mansion for the freedom and the safety it offered, seeking to sate the moon-spun lust surging through their veins. That was why most of the men were naked. Why most of the women wore little more than wisps of material that covered everything and yet left nothing to the imagination. Only their faces were concealed. Once the moon’s spell had faded and daylight returned, they would fade back to their packs, picking up their lives where they’d left off, not knowing the face of any of those they’d chosen to mate with the previous night.

Unlike her pack, these wolves were free spirits, exhilarated by the thrill of the chase, by the excitement of capture and possession. The belief of one mate, one life partner, had never touched these dark halls.

But for her promise, she would not be here tonight.

She put aside her glass, then adjusted her ornate mask and made her way down the stairs. The deeper shadows that lined the walls were filled with hunters in various stages of mating. She forced her gaze away, even though the wildness within yearned to watch. Hungered to join them.

Her stomach turned again. God, she hated this place. Hated everything it represented. Given the choice, she’d rather burn the Sinclair estate to the ground than be walking its halls. She wasn’t a prude, far from it—she’d given in to the power of the moon more than once herself. But if it wasn’t for this place, if it wasn’t for the wanton and careless behavior of its guests, her twin sister would not now be lying in the hospital close to death.

Tears stung her eyes, and she took a deep breath. Don’t think. Just do.

She moved onto the dance floor, inching her way past the slowly dancing couples. Her pulse throbbed in time to the music’s heavy beat, and the deep down ache got stronger.

She clenched her fists and made her way towards the rear exit. She’d spent most of her adult life fighting the worst of her desires, and she would not give in now. Not fully, even here in this place of dark freedom.

And yet at the same time she knew she’d do whatever she had to—even unleashing the wildness—if in the end it led her to the man who’d attacked her twin.

She’d studied the files in Savannah’s office before she’d come down here this evening. The killer had struck three times, each time near dawn and just beyond the boundaries of the Sinclair mansion. The victims were always alone, though forensics had, not surprisingly, found evidence to suggest each victim had taken more than half a dozen lovers the night of their deaths. Savannah and the other werewolf rangers who patrolled the Ripple Creek Reservation—which was the mountain homeland of the four Colorado wolf packs—believed the killer was shadowing his victims as they left the mansion, attacking once they were well clear of any help. But they had no proof of this, nothing more than scents and suspicions—neither of which were admissible in court—human or werewolf.

Savannah had been following one such scent when she’d been attacked by a silver wolf. Only the fact that she’d been in wolf form herself had saved her. The winter coat of their tribe was thick, and the silver wolf had been unable to gain any true grip around her sister’s throat. But even so, her wounds were multiple and life threatening.

Neva had shared the last, terrifying moments of her twin’s horror. And while she’d never wanted to go through something like that again, it was the link between them that had in the end saved her sister. Savannah had syphoned Neva’s stronger psychic abilities and used them to finally fend off the wolf.

Neva closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Even now, her sister’s pain edged Neva’s consciousness. When she’d left home this evening, the doctors still weren’t sure if Savannah would survive. Even she couldn’t say with any degree of certainty. Savannah was hanging on to life by the slenderest of margins, and it wouldn’t take much to snatch the lifeline away.

Which is why Neva had touched her twin’s unresponsive mind and made a silent vow: She’d hunt down the killer and finish what her sister had started, if Savannah found the strength to live.

It may have been foolish, but it was better than sitting at home waiting for the worst.

Of course, she was no ranger. Far from it. She had no idea how to load a weapon let alone shoot, and she only had a wolf’s natural skills when it came to tracking. But she was far from defenseless. Like most of the wolves of her tribe, she rated high in telepathy, but she was also almost off the scale when it came to empathy. The two abilities combined could be a deadly weapon if one knew how to use them properly—as the wolf who’d attacked Savanna had found out.

So far tonight, Neva had kept her shields well up. Skimming the minds of hunters when the moon bloomed was far too dangerous and would attract the kind of sexual interest she was trying to avoid. Besides, she might just alert the killer she was here, seeking him.

The rangers believed it was probably one of the Sinclairs behind the killings, but they were a large and closed- mouthed pack and had yet to provide the rangers with any real help. And while the Sinclairs were all silver wolves, they did not have a monopoly on the coat. Even in her pack, which were primarily golden-coated, silver could be found.

She’d never find the killer roaming the outskirts. It was doubtful if even the rangers could. It had to be done from within the Sinclair stronghold. And there was only way she could achieve that. Goosebumps skated across her skin, and she sent a silent prayer to the moon for strength.

She’d spent a good part of the day studying the Sinclair lineage. The wolf she’d chosen to seduce was the pack leader’s third son. By all accounts he was the wildest of them all, but he was the only one who’d been away when the first two murders were committed. Safe—or as safe as any of the Sinclairs could be.

She’d also spent time studying the mansion’s floor plans before coming here, and she had talked to Betise, a regular customer at her family’s diner. Though barely thirty-six, Betise had been attending moon dances at the mansion for a good twenty years and knew the place almost as well as the Sinclairs themselves. It had been Betise who told her that Duncan Sinclair rarely joined the dance before midnight, and that before then he could usually be found close to his rooms on the west side of the mansion.

She hurried out the rear doors. The night breeze stirred her flimsy skirt. Its touch was cool against the fever- kissed skin of her thighs. She glanced skyward again, judging the time by the position of the moon she could feel, not see. Close to midnight. She had to hurry. She tugged the delicate material clear of her bare feet and ran to the back of the mansion.

A cherub-filled fountain came into sight. She slowed, scanning the windows until she found his. Her heart was beating so fast it felt as if it would tear free of her chest, and she knew its cause was fear, not exertion. She’d never done anything like this before. Didn’t know if she even had what it took to attract, and hold, a wolf with Duncan Sinclair’s experience.

But she had to try. It was the safest way to gain full access into the mansion.

She could only smell one wolf in the rooms above, and there were no others in the immediate area. Betise’s information had certainly been accurate. If she pulled this off, she was going to keep the woman supplied with free coffee for the next year.

She walked over to the fountain and stripped off the flimsy excuse for a gown. Then she stepped into the icy water, avoiding the worst of the water-tossing cherubs as she turned her attention to his window.

Everything she’d learned about him suggested he liked a chase and preferred his mates to be sexually adventurous. While she could never claim to be that, she was a wolf and the moon was high. And Betise had offered more than a few tips.

But she couldn’t exactly send out a blatant invitation to the man. The rules of the moon dance said no names, so she had to be a little more devious. The Sinclairs were the only other wolf pack who were strong telepaths, so she just had to make it seem he was catching her thoughts.

Lord, I ache tonight.

She kept her mindvoice breathy, wistful. For several tense seconds, nothing happened, then his presence stirred and walked across to the windows. She dipped her fingers into the water and wet her neck, letting the cool droplets dribble between her breasts.

Hunger surged through the night, a force so strong it almost knocked her over. His need for the dance was high. Very high. The thought churned her stomach, but she was here now and would not back away.

She let her gaze roam the windows until she saw him. If his shadow was to be believed, he was big. Bigger than she’d expected. She cupped another handful of water, sipping it quickly to ease the dryness in her throat.

Why do you ache? The moon is high and the night free.

His mind voice was rich, husky, and stirred her senses with longing. She clenched her fists. She had to remain in control. She couldn’t let the wildness free.

Perhaps I am choosy.

You can be choosy as many times as you like on a night such as this. Amusement swam across her senses, warm and sensual.

Perhaps I long for a more careful seduction once the initial fire has passed.

His silhouette stirred. She caught the brief glimpse of a muscular arm before the shadows closed in again. A difficult request when the moon rides high.

So it would seem. She arched her back, stretching her arms skywards. The emotive swirl of his thoughts became a wall of heat. He wanted her, of that she was certain. Whether he would take her was unclear. He hadn’t yet moved from his dark hideaway.

Perhaps I should go home. The moon, it seems, offers me no comfort tonight.

He hesitated. Perhaps we should talk on the matter.

The bait had been taken. Now to snare him fully. But the elation that ran through her was tempered by the knowledge that true victory would mean spending the rest of the week in this man’s bed. But it was a small price to pay when her sister’s life hung in the balance.

She considered him a moment longer, not wanting to seem too eager. You are little more than a shadow to me. I cannot discuss possibilities with someone I cannot see.

The French window opened, and he stepped out onto the balcony. Her heart slammed into the wall of her chest, then it seemed to drop somewhere in the vicinity of her toes.

He was tall, close to six foot, if not over, his build quietly powerful, but lean like an athlete’s. His hair was dark and long, full of unruly waves that brushed his shoulders. His face was that of a dark angel’s—beautiful, and yet somehow sinister. And while it may have been true that the eyes were the mirror of the soul, this man’s were shuttered and painted black. There was nothing to be read in his expression—or the lack of it. If not for the sensation of hunger that burned between them, she would have thought him uninterested.

Do you like what you see?

She gave a disinterested shrug. Looks are not the measure of the man. Even though this man’s looks were stirring her in ways no man ever had before.

A wise statement for one so young.

She raised her eyebrows, a smile teasing her lips. And that is a very condescending statement from one so young.

Amusement touched his sensual mouth. He crossed his arms and continued to regard her in that disinterested yet oddly disturbing manner of his.

I have squeezed many years of living into this young body, believe me.

So his reputation had suggested. Had she any other choice, she would have stayed far away from this particular wolf and his wild, hungry ways. But he was the only Sinclair the rangers did not have under suspicion and, therefore, her safest route into the Sinclair stronghold.

Ah. Then perhaps you have little interest in one less well travelled. She picked up her gown and pulled it on. The sheer material clung to her damp breasts and caressed her aching nipples. Again his need swam around her, a blanket that smothered, leaving her breathless.

I did not say that.

No. She hesitated and stepped free of the water, then raised her gaze challengingly to his. I intend to leave. But if you can find me before I depart these grounds, we shall...talk...more on this matter.

She turned around and walked away, not looking back. Yet his gaze burned into her back as surely as his hunger sent a fever blistering across her skin. He would come for her, she was sure of that.

Now all she had to do was pray she could hold his attention for more than just this night.

***

Duncan Sinclair moved through the crowd, silent as a shadow. Unnoticed, unseen. The music pounded through his veins, a heavy, throbbing beat that matched the need in him.

He’d had no intention of joining the dance tonight. He’d wanted nothing more than to complete his task here and leave as quickly as possible. But his intentions had flown out the window the minute he heard the wanton, wistful thoughts of the female.

He let his gaze roam the darkness. There was still a wealth of unclaimed women ready for the taking, but most of them were long-time participants of the dance, as jaded as the night itself.

Not so the wolf who’d played in the fountain outside his rooms. There was a freshness about her, a vibrancy, which suggested she was very new to the mansion and the dance.

She was here somewhere. He could sense her. She was a teasing hint of sunshine in the darkness, a caress of warm shyness that taunted the outer edges of his mind.

He wanted her. God, how he wanted her.

He continued on through the crowd and made his way out the rear doors. The night breeze rifled cool fingers through his hair, but it failed to ease the fever pulsing through his body.

She was close. The musky scent of femininity stirred the air, mixed with the gentle tang of jasmine. He walked through the strand of Aspens that divided this section of the house from the main gardens, his strides long, eating the ground. If she was indeed leaving, she would have do so through one of three gates. The closest gate to his room lay behind the summer house. He made his way past the grand old pavilion, but her scent didn’t linger near the gates. She hadn’t come this far yet.

He backtracked to the summer house and there he found her. Stopping in the shadow-filled pavilion, he once again drank in the sight of her. She was small and delicately built—not what he usually chased, that was for sure. Her hair was a silky wave that brushed her hips, and deep gold in color. She still wore the mansion’s gown, and the gossamer fine material hid little. He hungrily surveyed the lean length of her, from the proud thrust of her breasts to the dark gold triangle of hair between her thighs, then down the long length of her legs to her toes and back up again.

Her mask was heavily ornate and hid most of her features. But even from where he stood, he could see her eyes. They were the green of a new-born leaf, rich and exotic.

The heat in his loins became an ache that almost consumed him. He had to have her. Now.

He moved out of the shadows. Uncertainty flickered in her beautiful eyes, then she came towards him. Her gaze boldly traveled the length of his body, seeming to linger on the hard evidence of his excitement before finally rising again to his face. Her nipples were puckered, straining against the gossamer restraints of her gown, evidence of the desire he could clearly smell.

She entered the pavilion and stopped in front of him. The musky scent of her desire grew stronger, fueling the already raging need in him. But he wasn’t the only one aching with the needs of the night and the moon.

"So you found me."

Her voice was huskier than before, but still as smooth as silk, as rich as velvet. Despite the heat that surged between them, her gaze was cool. Wary.

"Yes."

He touched her cheek, running his fingers down to the warm fullness of her lips. She trembled under his caress, but didn’t back away.

"So you wish to discuss the matter further?" she asked.

"No. What I wish is to dance with you."

The words were little more than a formality. She’d basically consented to his advances back there in the fountain.

Panic flitted through her eyes, making him wonder just how new she was to the mansion and its ways. Certainly he’d never seen her here before, but he’d been away for nearly ten years.

She swallowed convulsively. "Indeed?"

He moved his hand down the long line of her neck. Her pulse was a wild flutter under his fingertips. "Indeed."

"And what of my desire for a more lingering seduction once the initial fire had gone?"

He let his hand drift down to her breasts and gently rubbed one firm nub through the film of her dress. She shivered, her lips parting a little, as if she couldn’t suck in enough air.

"I think that could be arranged."

She closed her eyes briefly. "One night holds no interest for me this phase."

"But you have not yet tried the goods and cannot say whether one night or more will be enough." He leaned close, his mouth capturing hers, gently demanding.

For the briefest of moments, she froze, her lips hard and unyielding under his. Then she sighed and seemed to melt toward him, deepening the kiss, opening her mouth, letting him explore more fully.

Heat shivered through his soul, and the urgency increased tenfold. He wanted her as he’d wanted no other in his life, and the effort of holding back, of not taking her right then and there, had every muscle trembling.

But she had yet to say yes. Until she did, he couldn’t fully take her. There were rules, even here in this mansion some called a den of debauchery.

He slid his hand down her waist and found the slit in her skirt. Touched the silk of her thigh and worked upwards. He cupped the triangle of her curls then gently delved her moist heat.

Her moan shuddered through him, testing his strength, his will. He delved deeper, sliding through her slickness, until her muscles pulsed around one finger, then two. She pressed against him, riding his hand with increasing urgency. Her skin was feverish, flushed with desire and need.

A need he understood only too well.

She grabbed his shoulders, fingers trembling, nails digging deep.

"By the moon." Her voice was little more than a fractured whisper. "Please..."

Her plea raged across his senses, almost destroying his control. Yet at the same time, an oddly primeval sense of power surged through him. She was his for the taking, whether she’d admitted it yet or not.

He stroked harder, faster. Her body shuddered against his, her skin glossy with perspiration. He kissed her ear, ran his tongue down the long line of her neck. She tasted of honey, desire and sunshine—and he knew then she was a wolf who played in the daylight more often than moonlight. They lived in two different worlds, but right then, he didn’t care. She’d stepped into his realm, and he intended to take every advantage of it.

He took a nipple into his mouth, sucking hard through the gossamer material. Her shuddering reached a crescendo, and her cry of pleasure sang through the night. A wave of primitive power surged through him, yet he knew he could take her higher, deeper, than what she’d yet tasted.

He slid his fingers free of her and began undoing the ties of her gown. Her eyes, darkened by a mix of pleasure and surprise, flew open.

"Dance with me." The ancient yet formal words of binding slipped hastily off his tongue, his voice little more than a hoarse whisper. "Let your body join with mine and rejoice in the power of the divine light."

He slid the gown from her shoulders and let it fall to the ground. Her skin was pale gold silk and glowed softly in the darkness. Her breathing was quick, sharp, every intake seeming to shudder through her entire body.

He pushed her back until she was trapped between the wall of the pavilion and him. The heat of her washed across his senses, and the wild beat of her heart was a siren’s song that fueled his urgency to greater heights. It was all he could do to simply stand there, his body pressed hard against hers, seeking and yet not entering.

"This night," he continued raggedly. "And the remaining nights of this phase."

An odd mix of apprehension and elation ran through her eyes. She took a deep breath, then released it in a shudder. "This night," she whispered. "And the remaining nights."

Mine. With savage exaltation he surged into her. Groaned in bliss as her muscles contracted against him. God, was there a sweeter sensation on this earth? He slid his hands down her hips and cupped her buttocks. "Wrap your legs around me."

His demand was little more than a growl, but she seemed to understand him. Her legs wrapped around his waist, and her arms slipped around his neck. His movements became hard, fast. Hot flesh slapped against hot flesh. There was nothing gentle about this mating. Couldn’t be, with the heat of the moon riding them both so fiercely. Gentleness would come later, once the initial urgency had gone.

He claimed her mouth, kissing her ferociously. Passionately. Their tongues dueled, explored, the rhythm echoing the thrusting of his hips.

The red tide rose, becoming a wall of pleasure he could not deny. His movements quickened. Deepened. Her gasps reached a second crescendo, and her cries echoed across the silence as her body bucked against his. He came—a hot, torrential release whose force tore a shout from his lips and sent his body rigid.

He couldn’t say how long they stood there like that, bodies locked together, the night air gradually cooling their fever-kissed skin. It could have been minutes, or it could have been hours.

It could have lasted an eternity, and he wouldn’t have cared.

He breathed in the scent of her—the sweet flowery tang of jasmine mingled with the more evocative musk of femininity and sex. He couldn’t remember a time when he’d felt more satisfied, more fulfilled. And yet there was so much more to come. This delicate beauty had agreed to be his, not only tonight, but for the remainder of the week. They had the time to explore each other more fully. It was a thought that sent a jolt of primitive pleasure coursing through his veins.

He kissed the pulse point in her neck. Felt the still erratic flutter under his lips.

"Do you have a name?"

It was a question he had no right to ask. No names, no faces. Those were the rules set by his ancestors long ago, rules he’d abided by up until now. But if she was new to this place, she might not be aware of them. There was something about this woman that intrigued him in a way no other had, and he had no intention of simply letting her walk away in the morning without some means of finding her should she decide not to return. Not after he’d sampled the delights she had to offer.

Tension crept through her limbs. She was still trembling, but he couldn’t say whether its cause was his closeness or something else.

"Neva." Her breath whispered past his ear, a heated touch that stirred barely sated embers. "Yours?"

"Duncan."

She unwrapped her legs from his waist, and he carefully lowered her to the ground. Though her gaze met his without qualms, the rush of color through her pale cheeks suggested she was not as bold as she was making out.

She tucked silken wisps of gold behind her ears. "Do you come here often?"

"Not recently. You?"

"My first time." Reluctance filled her voice, and the red bloom in her cheeks grew. "I wasn’t sure if I was doing the right thing or not."

He was glad she’d taken the chance. Glad it was he who’d heard her wistful thoughts. He touched a hand to her cheek. "And now?"

A smile teased her lips. "I’m more uncertain than ever."

"Then I shall endeavor to prove your decision to come here was no mistake." He leaned forward, needing to taste her again.

Her eyes widened slightly, and her uncertainty surged, crowding his mind. Despite her promises, she still wasn’t sure about him. Not that it really mattered now. While it was a female’s right to pick and choose as she pleased, once she had said yes to mating, the male had the right to enforce it. And he would do so, if that’s what it took to keep her by his side these next few nights.

Her mouth was warm and sweet under his, and as the kiss deepened, the moon’s heat began to burn through his veins again. But this time, he would take his time, pleasure her more fully.

A howl sang through the night, the cry of a wolf in trouble. But not just any wolf. His brother.

What? He broke off the kiss and stepped back. The night was silent for several seconds, then the howl came again. A long, demanding note.

René was either out of range, or simply too angry to hear any mind contact.

"Trouble?" She rubbed her arms, her eyes haunted, sad.

He touched a hand to her cheek and wondered what she sensed. Even though he could feel only anger, the golden wolves were powerful telepaths. She was probably picking up a whole lot more than he—but she wasn’t from his tribe. He had no right, no desire, to involve her in any way. Even when it came to something as simple as a question.

"I’m afraid so. Will you wait here, or would you prefer to go to my rooms?"

She hesitated, and her reluctance washed around him. She didn’t want to face the moon-hungry pack again, and of that he was fiercely glad. He wasn’t in the mood to fight tonight, though he would if another tried to usurp his claim on her.

"Here."

He touched her lips, outlining their kiss-swollen sweetness. "I won’t be long."

She nodded, her gaze searching his, green depths filled with uncertain wariness. "Be careful."

He raised an eyebrow, but again restrained the urge to ask what she sensed and called instead to the wildness within him. His body became liquid, flowing from one shape to another, then he was on all fours and running through the trees.

He found René just outside the main gates. At his brother’s feet lay the mangled, bloody remains of what once had been a woman.

Excerpt from Beneath a Rising Moon by Keri Arthur
All rights reserved by publisher and author

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