Moonlight Kin 4: Tristan
MOONLIGHT KIN 4
PRINT ISBN: 978-1-942237020
EBOOK ISBN: 978-1-942237013
Armed with a lodestone and a magical sword, Lycanian enforcer Tristan Chevalier is on the trail of a Darkling, who’s already killed a werewolf and a human female. He knows where it’s going and who the Darkling is after, so he needs to reach her first. When he finds Isabel MacDougal, Tristan believes he’s discovered the perfect bait to draw his enemy out.
Isabel “Izzy” MacDougal has always known monsters were real. She spent her childhood hiding her psychic abilities until they nearly drove her mad. When she runs into Tristan, Izzy believes the giant arctic werewolf is the one who’s been hunting her and that her life is over. But for Tristan Chevalier and Izzy MacDougal life isn’t over—the cat and mouse game is just beginning.
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Note for Readers: This book contains adult content intended for mature individuals.
In New Orleans you’d better like your sushi deep-fried and your saxophone dipped in a coating of bluesy jazz, or you wouldn’t survive long in the Big Easy.
Music rang out through the Jackson Square courtyard as street musicians turned up the volume and charm to compete for tourist dollars. Tonight the jazzy band at the end of the square attempted to lure their crowd away from a lone trumpet player and a violinist.
Along with the musicians, tarot and palm readers had already set up their tables, staggering them just enough to give the pretense of privacy.
Isabel “Izzy” MacDougal did a quick head count. There were ten total. Her table would make eleven and that was just counting the ones in Jackson Square. Others would be set up along the side streets near Bourbon St., hoping to catch the stray drunk ready to part with their hard earned cash.
Izzy scanned the crowd as she unfolded her small card table and spread her purple shawl on top of it. She spotted her friend Everly Watts a few tables over. Everly was a short, dark-haired Goth who resembled an anemic vampire. Most nights she could be found at The Dungeon with all the other Goths and vampire wannabes in town. The pancake makeup disguised her sensitive nature and fierce intelligence, but nothing could hide her street smarts. Everly waved, then went back to reading the woman seated across from her.
Not even dusk yet and the French Quarter in New Orleans was already bursting at the seams with sunburned tourists and crafty pickpockets.
Isabel finished setting up and took a seat. She kept her expression open, which was hard to do when she was continuously bombarded by impressions from the growing crowd. Unlike some of the others situated around the square, Izzy had a true gift of Sight.
She snorted. Some gift.
Though her abilities had been the reason she and Everly had hit it off. Everly understood what Izzy was going through because she saw monsters, too.
Instead of growing up in a loving household like Isabel, Everly had been kicked out of her home when her “gifts” arrived. According to the petite Goth, she’d been living on her own ever since. She survived by taking on menial jobs and never staying in one place for too long.
Izzy shuffled her tarot cards and smiled at a passing group of women who appeared to be part of a conference if their nametags were to be believed.
“Would you like to know what your future holds, ladies?” she asked.
One of the women giggled, but the ash blonde stopped to chat. “Can you tell me if I’m going to meet someone soon?” she asked.
“Sure,” Izzy said. “Take a seat.”
The woman’s hand clasped the back of the folding chair as she pulled it out to sit down.
“Lisa, you’re not really going to waste your money on that crap, are you?” her friend asked.
The blonde looked back at Izzy. This time there was uncertainty in her green eyes. Before she could get up, Isabel flipped the first card over.
“He has dark hair,” she said.
The woman scooted forward on her seat. “Really?”
“Yes,” Izzy said. “And he’s tall.”
“Is his name Mike?” Lisa asked, peering into the cards in search of answers.
Izzy closed her eyes and concentrated. She saw the dark-haired man in her vision drop down to one knee in front of the blonde woman.
“I see him proposing,” she said. “It’s quite a ring.”
Lisa squealed. “Oh my god! When?”
Izzy examined her vision. The leaves on the trees around the couple were orange and red, but no limbs were bare. “The fall,” she said, opening her eyes. “He’ll propose in the fall.”
The woman whipped her head around to look at her friends. “Did you hear that? Mike is going to propose to me in the fall.”
The skeptic among them simply shook her head in exasperation. “Mike’s a jerk,” she muttered.
Izzy turned her attention away from the cards and stared at the woman. Her aura was dark, nearly black in some places. Isabel looked deeper, trying to peer past the outer layer so she could see what was causing her pain.
A red-haired man appeared in her mind, then quickly faded into a tombstone with the name Thomas carved into its gray rigid face.
“I’m sorry about Thomas,” Izzy said. “He really loved you.”
The woman’s face went from red to white, as the blood drained out of her cheeks. “How did you know about him?” she whispered.
Izzy simply shrugged. She couldn’t begin to explain where her “gift” came from and certainly not to someone who wasn’t ready to listen.
“Think she’s still a fraud?” Lisa asked as she plucked several bills out of her wallet and laid them on the table.
“Let’s go,” the skeptic said. “I need a drink.”
Izzy watched them get swallowed by the crowd. More people approached her. She got ten more readings done before her head threatened to explode. This was what happened every night. She could only read for so long before her “gift” exerted too much pressure and her body gave out.
She was packing her things, when the first inkling of unease struck. Izzy casually scanned the crowd, but no one seemed overly interested in her. She finished gathering her fortune-telling tools and shoved them into her backpack.
Izzy folded her table and chairs, then took them over to Everly. “Can you keep these for me until tomorrow?” Izzy asked.
Everly’s back stiffened and she frowned. “Sure,” she said, scanning the faces around them.
“It’s okay,” Izzy said. She knew whatever was out there didn’t know about Everly—at least not yet. “I’m going to head out. Catch you later.”
Everly nodded, but she didn’t relax.
Izzy hurried through the crowd, cutting along Pere Antoine’s alley before hanging a left toward St. Peter Street. She glanced up and down the sidewalk, then ducked into Yo Mama’s Bar and Grill.
The bearded doorman greeted her with a friendly smile. Izzy grinned back, then bounded up the stairs where her friend Heather was bartending.
A red light illuminated the small space. Two couches, a couple of long tables, dancing statues, and a small bar filled the room. Classic rock from an old jukebox blared out of speakers mounted in the ceiling. The place reminded her of a bordello, but it had amazing hamburgers.
Izzy’s stomach growled. She wished she had time to order one, but she needed to use Heather’s phone, then get back to her apartment on Dumaine Street.
Heather had just popped the cap off a long-neck, when she spotted Izzy. She smiled, then without saying a word, she grabbed her cell phone and tossed it to her. Izzy caught it easily, mouthed the word “thanks”, and quickly called her sister, Mindy.
She didn’t want to alarm sister, but Izzy needed to let Mindy know that someone was following her and she might have to lay low for a while. It would hurt to be out of touch with her sister, but Izzy didn’t have much choice. The darkness she’d sensed in Breakbend, Oregon was now here and getting closer. She’d felt its presence growing and it terrified her.
Izzy finished up her call and handed the phone back to Heather. “Thanks,” she said.
“Anytime,” Heather said. “Catch you later?”
She shook her head. “Not tonight. I have a headache.” Izzy rubbed her temples for emphasis.
“Catch you next time,” Heather said, then moved onto a waiting customer.
Isabel hurried down the stairs, but stopped before she stepped out onto the sidewalk. The doorman was watching her, but didn’t say anything since this wasn’t exactly anything new from her.
“It’s all clear,” he said.
“Thanks.” Izzy slipped out the door and headed toward Bourbon. She’d just passed Royal Street, when the sensation of being watched returned.
Izzy glanced over her shoulder, but didn’t see anyone. There was nothing out of the ordinary. Ordinary being a relative term in the French Quarter. There was nothing around that should alarm her, but Izzy knew he was there.
She felt him.
She wound her way through the heavy crowd, hoping to lose her pursuer on raucous Bourbon St. When she got the chance, Izzy turned down Dumaine Street. The crowd was thinning now. She could see the beginnings of Louis Armstrong Park in the distance. The trees swayed as the sun sank and darkness took over.
This was their time. The time when they were the most comfortable. The time when the real monsters came out.
Izzy hurried along the uneven sidewalks. She could still hear music coming from Bourbon Street. The jumble of sounds and collision of smells should’ve comforted her, but Izzy knew she was alone.
She tripped over a raised concrete slab. Her hands clasped the wrought iron fence that ran along the front of one of the old gentrified homes and kept her from falling. The metal felt good in her hand. It was cool. It was hard. It was real—as real as the heavy footsteps coming up fast behind her. Izzy pushed away from the fence and hurried on.
Her heart was pounding so hard she could barely hear herself think. Izzy turned to get a look at who was approaching and collided with a wall. It wasn’t until she turned her head that she realized it wasn’t a wall. It was a man’s hard chest.
Strong hands grasped her arms whether to keep her from falling or prevent her from leaving she didn’t know. Izzy looked up. Her gaze collided with a pair of mercury colored eyes and she shivered, despite his handsome face.
Her body went from hot to cold to hot again. Staring in his eyes was like staring into the face of the Arctic. His white blond hair and stern expression was as unforgiving as the harsh tundra.
As Izzy watched, the image of a white wolf appeared over his human features. She felt the blood drain from her cheeks. “Let me go,” she said.
He didn’t release her. Instead, the man’s grip tightened. “You’re being hunted,” he said.
She knew that. Izzy had known that for days. The odd part was that he announced it like he wasn’t the one hunting her.
The man was the biggest monster she’d ever seen. He seemed unnaturally large for a werewolf and that was saying something, since they tended to be massive.
“Let me go or I’m going to scream,” Izzy said.
“This is the French Quarter,” he said. “No one will notice.” His sensual lips tilted into a smirk.
Izzy wanted to knock that smirk right off his face.
As if reading her mind, his smile vanished. “If you don’t come with me, you’re going to die.”
Despite the ominous and rather clichéd warning, Isabel had no intention of going anywhere with him. He was one of them. She’d seen his true form. She would be safer locked in a cage with a half-starved polar bear. Everything about this man screamed that he was dangerous.
A trashcan lid banged at the end of the street. They both turned to see what had caused the noise. Izzy took his momentary distraction as a chance to get away. She twisted out of his hold and took off running.
She didn’t get far. He was on her before she’d made it twenty whole feet. Given his tremendous height and long legs it wasn’t really a surprise, but she’d had to try.
This time when he looked at her, he was scowling. He might be angry, but he was still fully aware of their surroundings. “If you don’t come with me willingly, I’m going to pick you up and carry you.”
Izzy took a step back. “You wouldn’t dare.”
Before the words even finished coming out of her mouth, the man hoisted her over his shoulder and took off running down the street. The sudden move jarred Izzy’s ribs, driving the air from her lungs. It would serve him right if she threw up on him.
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