Moonlight Kin 1: A Wolf’s Tale
Digital • April 2012
MOONLIGHT KIN 1
ISBN-13: 978-0983909576 (ebook)
ISBN-13: 978-0990445449 (paperback)
Reluctant werewolf hunter, Madie Valois doesn’t believe in werewolves, until she finds true love in the arms of Damon Laroche, the Alpha who’s been sent to kill her.
Madie Valois wants nothing more than to live a normal life, but that won’t happen if her father has his way. He’s determined to make her take over the family “werewolf hunting” business. How do you hunt something that doesn’t exist?
Damon Lorache has been ordered to kill the next Hunter. As Alpha, he’s more than happy to get the chance to avenge his brother’s death. Damon will do whatever it takes to uncover his brother’s murderer, even if that means seducing the enemy, then killing her.
AVAILABLE IN PRINT AND EBOOK!
A smoking hot tale, A WOLF’S TALE, the first book in talented author Jordan Summers’ MOONLIGHT KIN series, is an intriguing, sensual paranormal romance that readers will find hard to put down. In fact, it kept me reading late into the night, avidly turning pages and anxious to see what would happen next. Not only has Gaston ensured that she remains an innocent, Madie herself wants to save herself for the man who will love her. But after spending time with Damon, she is sure he is the man for her. The chemistry between them is instantaneous and explosively hot. Filled with surprising plot twists, sizzling passion, wit, suspense, intrigue, werewolves, bondmates and romance, this fast-paced story is a definite keeper. I look forward to reading the next story in this exciting series, AIDAN’S MATE. In the meantime, do not miss A WOLF’S TALE. Dottie–Romance Junkies
Read an Unedited Excerpt
Note for Readers: This excerpt contains adult content intended for individuals 18 years of age or older.
Damon Phelan Laroche scented his prey as she walked alone down the frost-covered cobblestone street. She smelled of fresh dandelions on a dewy spring morning. Brightness and light. Feminine heat.
Too bad she had to die.
The Lycanian Elders had spoken. The only way to end centuries of violence was to kill the woman, Madeleine Lucine Valois known to all Lycans as The Hunter.
Damon crumpled the photo he carried. He no longer needed it. Now that he had Madeleine’s scent, he could find her anywhere, anytime.
The cool New England breeze brought him more tantalizing information about the doomed woman. Damon shook his head and his brow furrowed. No, that couldn’t be right. He inhaled deeply, convinced that his acute senses had somehow made a mistake.
Damon’s heart began to pound, raging in his ears as he struggled with the astonishing truth.
Blood did not taint her delicate hands.
How could this be?
The answer was it could not.
Werewolf blood may visibly wash off after a kill, but the scent took several months to wear off. Even the slightest drop would be evident to a Lycan. Yet there was no denying what his senses relayed.
He knew Madeleine was the latest werewolf hunter. As the only child in her family, it was her duty to hunt and bear the next generation. She’d inherited the dubious title of Hunter from her aged father, the despised Gaston Valois, who’d inherited it from his father before him and his father before him.
So how had she remained unaffected?
Once again, Damon’s nose sifted the cool night air, sharing intimate details with the natural predator within. Details he wished he wouldn’t have learned.
Madeleine Valois, The Hunter was untouched.
Damon’s mind reeled at the news, while the visceral impact tightened his groin. As Alpha, the pack depended on him to defend and protect them. His seed would bring the next generation into being. As a man, he could not ignore the urge to taste—to conquer, the forbidden.
How could she have reached this age and remain untried? Unclaimed? He had to be mistaken.
Damon took a step back into the darkened alley. Humans made no sense at all. Werewolves never left females unprotected. If the women were attacked, injured or worse, there would be no way of ensuring pure bloodlines and the continuation of the species.
He shook his head. Stupid humans, he thought with a mixture of pity and sorrow. When will they ever learn?
Turning, Damon allowed the comfort of night to embrace him. His eyes were as accustomed to the dark as they were to daylight. He made his way down the narrow alley, past the putrid garbage cans, until he reached the back wall of the New Salford post office.
His muscles bunched beneath his skin as he crouched and then leapt to the roof effortlessly, landing silently on the shingles. His human form was no hindrance to his wolf-enhanced athletic abilities.
Bones popped in his neck, as Damon rolled his head to relieve the tension. It had been a long time since he’d hunted a human. And he’d never hunted a woman. Like hogs, sheep, or cattle, he found no sport in the kill.
This was no ordinary woman, he reminded himself.
She was the Hunter and her family was the keeper of the ‘Book of Lycan’. The thought of the information that book held diminished any temptation he might’ve felt, along with any mercy. Somewhere in that weathered tome was a record of his brother Jacque’s death and Damon intended to find it, even if it meant using the woman to do so. Once he had the book in his hands, then he’d carry out Madeleine’s death sentence.
Waves from the cold Atlantic crashed with ferocious fervor against the rocky shore in the distance, echoing off the brick walls of the historic New England buildings. Madeleine’s journey home would take her right past him.
Low clouds hung ghost-like from the night sky, their figures haunting, menacing, and changing with each blast of cool spring air. A foghorn up the coast moaned deep, its lonesome bellow calling out to tiny boats unfortunate enough to be upon the turbulent sea.
Damon’s emotions mirrored the water, swirling dangerously close to the surface like an eddy.
Madeleine paused at the entrance to the alley, tilting her head from side to side, listening. He knew she couldn’t see him from his rooftop vantage point, but Damon had a clear view of her.
Untamed hair cascaded past her shoulders in a silken blanket of gold so pale that it appeared white under the half-moon. Her delicate oval face glowed, illuminating the darkness. Full red lips, the color of ripe apples in fall, practically begged him to kiss them. Her vibrant blue eyes sparkled with intelligence…and uncertainty.
Damon swallowed hard, fighting the unexpected lust that racked his body. He’d been too long without a woman. That was all. It wasn’t her nearness that affected him. The signals of anger and arousal were similar enough to be easily confused. The wires in his body had simply gotten crossed. Damon continued to watch from the safety of the roof.
Madeleine wore oversized clothing, which seemed to swallow her in the darkness. An ill-fitting shawl with bits of scraggly yarn poking out like fuzzy barbed wire cloaked her slender shoulders.
He continued to stare. Trying to see past the image she projected. To Damon’s unfettered eyes, Madeleine’s attempt to hide her form failed miserably. Without thought, he inhaled, breathing in her musky richness. In another week, she’d be in heat.
Need assailed him. Restless and angry, it reached inside and pulled at the very core of his existence. Unaccustomed to the loss of control, Damon growled, annoyed that he had to rein in his baser instincts.
If it weren’t for the book, he’d kill her now and be done with it. But his people were counting on him to get to the truth. The Elders might not care about the ‘Book of Lycan’, but the local pack did. They’d lost too many members to just let it go.
Madeleine shuddered at the sound of his warning growl, her eyes growing wide as she stared into the darkness, searching for its source.
Come to me, Damon willed in an attempt to enthrall her.
The wind gusted, sifting through his hair, before taking tiny bites out of his exposed flesh. Yet Damon barely felt the cold as he basked in the glow of her ethereal beauty.
Madeleine’s eyes glazed and she stepped into the alley. Her footfalls tolled heavy on the cobblestones as she drug her feet forward. Damon could see the struggle from within taking place as he forced her to move toward him. Her will was strong, but his was stronger. A second later Madeleine’s face pinched with pain and a small cry escaped her throat.
The mournful sound shattered Damon’s concentration. His chest seized as her pain lashed out at him.
She blinked twice and shook her head to clear it. Free from his thrall, Madeleine whirled around and hurried down the street, without so much as a backwards glance.
Shocked, surprised, and more than a little intrigued, Damon stared at her retreating form. No one had ever broken from his hypnotic thrall. It was strong and especially effective on women.
But not on Madeleine.
Was it her Hunter instincts that made her so strong or something else?
Damon threw his head back, releasing a wailing howl, which pierced the relative tranquility of the spring night. He heard doors slamming, windows clattering shut, and locks fastening, along with the rapid beat of a fluttering heart.
Madeleine. Her name was a curse and a dream that remained mired in his churning emotions.
He howled once more, for all to hear, claiming his pack, his territory—the woman...to do with as he willed. A smile curved Damon’s mouth before he melted into the shadows.
Soon, he thought.
* * * * *
Madie pulled the corners of her gray woolen shawl together, her fingers numb from the cold. Shivers racked her body as the bone-shattering howl shook her to the core. Her boots clip-clopped on the cobblestone as she picked up her pace.
The fog closed in, swirling around her, so dense that the air seemed to squeeze from her lungs. She didn’t know why she’d had the overwhelming urge to enter the darkened alley. Commonsense told her it was foolish, yet she’d gone anyway, compelled by an unknown force. Her heart skittered in her chest while her stomach coiled in fear.
Madie hurried along the uneven bricks, stumbling when her boot heels caught in the cobble cracks. She righted herself quickly and continued. The muscles in her legs burned and her lungs ached.
Standing sentry, like gravestones in a cemetery, a few parked cars dotted the sides of the street. Their daytime occupants now tucked safely into bed. Where she should’ve been hours ago. Long threatening shadows spread out from every storefront. Welcoming in the daylight, the historic Massachusetts’s buildings appeared menacing in the darkness. She rushed on.
The howl pierced the cloudy sky again, its mournful sound speaking to something deep within her. Madie’s steps faltered as she fought the urge to answer.
How was she supposed to do that? Throw her head back and howl? The thought was ridiculous and a nervous giggle escaped before she could stop it.
It’s just a dog. Keep going. It probably wants inside.
The hair on her nape stood on end and her skin prickled. A tingle started at her toes and worked its way up her body. Papa had described that sensation many times when he hunted. Madie glanced over her shoulder, bracing for an attack.
It never came.
Nothing was there.
“Told you it was a dog,” she mumbled to herself.
She forced down the anxiety that threatened to lock her muscles and hurried along the frost slick road. The exertion caused puffs of breath to form eerie circles in the cool night air. Her feet and her hands ached from the numbness.
One more block to go.
Something that sounded suspiciously like claws raking stone came from her left. Fear quickly turned to terror. Why had she gone to the midnight horror show? She wished now that she had sided with the town council when they’d suggested more lights on this end of Milford Street. Why hadn’t she driven to the movies? The cold punched at her lungs, snatching her breath away.
The bright yellow door to her apartment shone like a beacon up ahead. Unconcerned with how it might look to anyone watching, Madie sprinted toward home. She grabbed her purse off her shoulder and plunged her frozen hand inside, ignoring the pain in her fingertips as she searched desperately for her keys. Her hand closed around the familiar heart-shaped keychain. Triumphant, she snatched the keys, then promptly dropped them onto her stoop.
Her actions mirrored every slasher movie she’d ever seen, including the ones tonight. Desperation clawed at Madie as she bent down to pick her keys up. Whatever was in the alleyway felt closer.
“Open, open, open,” she commanded. Her fingers trembled as she shoved the key into the lock and turned it. With a soft click, the door opened.
“Thank goodness,” she muttered as she rushed inside.
The interior of her apartment was dark. Darker than it had been outside. Madie’s heart thudded in her chest, beating double time against her ribcage. She listened for anything out of place. Silence met her.
Did that mean she was alone?
The scrape of stone came again. Madie slammed and locked the door behind her, then threw her back against the wooden structure for good measure. She’d take her chances.
Despite the deadbolt, Madie knew in her bones that whatever was outside could get in if it truly wanted to. She rubbed her hands along her arms, fighting a shiver that had nothing to do with the cold.
She pushed away from the door and flipped on all the lights. Madie checked all the prime monster-hiding areas, behind her yellow throw-covered couch, in the closet, the shower, and under the bed. Grateful for once that her apartment wasn’t spacious.
Handpicked for its coziness, this dwelling stood for so much—college, future dreams, and true freedom. It might be small, but it was home…at least until she graduated.
Madie walked across her modest parlor into the kitchenette. A cup of green tea would banish the last of the cold and steady her frayed nerves.
Holding the mug with both hands, she blew on the surface of the hot liquid, inhaling the pungent musty odor as she debated whether to phone her father. They’d been close at one time. Well as close as a father, who’d wanted a son, could be to his only child. But those days were long gone. They’d died the same day her mother passed.
The warmth of the mug chased the last of the chill from her hands, but couldn’t penetrate the bone-deep fear. The howl kept forcing its way into her thoughts. She remembered childhood stories passed down by Papa about two-legged wolves that walked upright. Said to look human, the creatures could stand beside you, enthrall with a single thought, and you wouldn’t know the truth until they ripped your heart out.
At the time, Madie had dismissed the stories as nonsense, thinking Papa had obviously read one too many fairytales. Yet, there was no mistaking the howl. It had been a wolf. Hadn’t it? She knew wolves didn’t come near the city. In fact, other than Wolf Hollow in nearby Ipswich, they were extinct to the area.
Something else lurked in the darkness tonight.
A shiver tickled her spine and traveled all the way to her toes. Madie took a sip of tea, praying the warm elixir would ease some of her tension. “You’ve just watched one too many movies. Let it go.”
She shook her head and finished the contents of the cup. She wouldn’t call. There was no sense feeding Papa’s delusions. They were already bad enough and were growing worse by the day.
Madie put the cup in the sink, then headed upstairs to bed. “No more midnight horror movies for you. Next you’ll start believing that werewolves are real and the grotesques on the courthouse come to life.”
Even as she said the words, Madie walked unerringly to the corner of her bedroom and picked up her baseball bat. The weight of the heavy wooden club in her hand calmed her instantly.
Better safe than dead.
* * * * *