In the Light of the Moon (Dark War Chronicles)

 

In the Light of the Moon

A.L. Kessler

Copyright ©
2013 A.L. Kessler

All rights
reserved

 
 
 

To Jamie, you keep me going.

Dream big.

 
 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

 

Thank you to those who helped this become a reality and dealing
with my crazy demands. I love you all.

Minion, thank you for keeping me level headed and believing in
me. Tiffany, thank you for jumping in and saving my sanity. Beta readers, I
wouldn’t be here without you either. As always thank you to Jamie Wilson for my
beautiful covers and designs. Maria, you did an awesome job entertaining Alice
when it came to crunch time, thank you! And to my dearest husband, who made
me make a choice and stick to it.

 
 

Table of
Contents

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Epilogue

 

Chapter One
 

Her body shook from side to side as a panicked
voice growled at her. “Kassity, wake up.”

Kassity’s eyes shot open as she recognized the voice. Her gaze met with
Josh’s black eyes as he shook her again. “You need to run.”

The confusion didn’t help push through the drowsiness. She rubbed her
eyes trying to focus. “What?” She sat up and her body protested a little. The
muscles in her back tightened and her bones seemed to creak as she recalled
losing a fight against Lucius.
 
“Where are we?” She sniffed the air and then she glared at him. “Mae’s?”
The name trickled out of her lips as a growl. As her heart pounded against her
chest, she couldn’t fathom why he would have brought them here.

He gave a subtle nod and then his eyes shot to the door. “Lucius is
coming. Go.”
 
He moved away from the
couch, giving her room to stand up.

She stretched her stiff body; to her surprise everything seemed to be
in working order and energy coursed through her. “How long have I been
unconscious?” She could sense his panic, but she couldn’t rush off without
knowing the entire situation.

“Almost twenty four hours, it’s close to dawn.”

“I need food.” Her stomach rumbled as it always did after shifting.

“Go, please.” Josh shoved her towards the back of the house.

“What about you?”

“I’ll find you. Promise.”

She knew he would keep his promise to her. He always did. Lucius’ power
crashed over her and sent tingles down her spine.
 
She gave him a quick hug before running
out the back door.

A familiar rumble started in her body, a beast feeding from her panic
and wanting out. She could taste freedom, they both could. She slinked into the
shadows of an alley, pulling on the panic and feeding it inwards, stroking and
coaxing the beast to come out. Snapping and wet sounds filled the night, fur
covered her human skin as her body bowed to all fours, her hands and feet
turning to powerful paws with claws. There would be no more master. Tonight she
would have her freedom.
 

 

Jaxon tapped his fingers against the table.
He agreed to meet his client here and see what they had to offer. The little
bell on the cafe door rang as a towering man walked in and caused the attending
waitress to look up.

“Welcome, take a seat and I’ll be with ya in a moment…” The words died
in her throat when the man pegged her with a stare and then moved to Jax’s
table.

Jax stood and extended his hand to the man. “You must be Quinn.” The
moment the other man’s hand met his, energy shot up Jax’s arm and through him,
letting him know that his client was also a shifter.

“I am.” The man sat across from Jax. “I’ve heard good things about you,
Jaxon, they say you are the best tracker in the states.”

Jax sat back down and shrugged one shoulder. “High praise. What can I
do for you?”

“My daughter’s been kidnapped and I want her home.” Quinn crossed his
arms and met Jax’s eyes. “She was taken from our clan’s territory by a
vampire.”

Jax leaned back and watched the man. Quinn’s breathing never hitched,
his pulse didn’t stutter, and no nervous tick showed, all the usual signs of
lying were absent. “What clan do you belong to?”

“The Black Moon Clan.”

A ping of realization went through Jax. The stories of the Black Moon
Clan were told even in Europe. The members of the last panther clan in North
America, rumor said they had gone insane. He raised his brows. “Interesting. Do
you have any leads on where she might be? You said she was taken by a vampire.”

“She was, one named Josh. He lived at the edge of our territory for a
while, but disappeared with her. My sons have caught her scent outside of
Lucius’ territory, but that is as much as we know. We hope to move in, but we need
to know what the situation is.”

“And that’s where I come in? Locate her and what? Bring her back here?”

Quinn shook his head. “I’ll have my sons in the territory after you go
in. You get Kassity to them, and they’ll handle it from there.”

“I want half the money up front. I’ve got friends in Lucius’ territory,
but it’s going to be a bitch to get in there.”

“Name your price.” Quinn said as a grin appeared on his face.

“Two million,” Jax steepled his fingers as he waited for a reaction
from Quinn.

The other main just raised a brow. “Steep price. A half a mil should be
plenty.”

“You are sending me into vampire territory during a war. One point five
mil.” Jax lowered his hands and met Quinn’s gaze. “As a rogue I’ll draw
suspicion and my chances of being killed on sight are high.”

Quinn snarled his eyes flashing to yellow. “A million and no more.”

Jax kept his face blank as he considered the price. A million would be
enough to allow him a nice lifestyle, assuming he didn’t die the moment he
stepped into Lucius territory. “Deal.”

Quinn stood. “I’ll have one of my boys drop the money off to you
tomorrow night.” The male left without another word and Jax leaned back in his
chair. After a few minutes of planning he pulled out his phone to call one of
his contacts in Lucius’ territory.
 
“Kaden, how nice of you to actually answer the phone. I need to know
what’s going on in the territory.”

 
 
Chapter Two
 

One
paw in front of the other. She forced herself to concentrate so she could stay
in control, she couldn’t let the panther take over, she needed to stay herself.
Her tail flickered back and forth as she paced the cold cage. Each path taking
her to the solid bars cast in silver. The box closed her in, teasing her
delicate skin, singeing it as her fur brushed against the metal. The beast
pushed against her and thoughts of blood filled her mind as images of flesh
dragged her human mind down letting the beast reign free.

 

Kass’ eyes fluttered open and she cringed as the soreness of a forced
shift settled over her body. She had managed to be free for a week, but she ran
that entire time. Then he caught up to her. She growled as the memories flooded
her mind. Her body remembered the power that pulsed through her, pulling up the
beast and the pain of a forced shift when Lucius found her.

 
She sat up slowly, bracing
her arms under her to insure she’d stay vertical. Her heart echoed through her
head, making it pound. Her stomach churned as the room spun and her body shook.
She let out a curse as she laid back down, feeling the cold concrete against
her cheek.
Bastard didn’t even have the
decency to put me in my own bed.

“That’s because you don’t deserve such a luxury right now.” His voice
slid through her body like silk and sent a chill through her. Brushing against
the beast inside her, making it stir. Recognizing him as master.

She threw an arm over her eyes and huffed. “How did you find me?”

“It wasn’t hard, Kassity. You ran from Mae’s house. I simply had
another shifter track you from there. You know better than to run from me.”

She swore she felt the burn of a silver collar around her neck as the
panic of being punished ran through her. Her body cramped at remembering
sitting at his feet in front of other vampires, trapped in her animal form. She
moved her arm and nailed him with a cold look. “Where’s Josh?”

“Dead.”

“He’s a vampire, of course he’s dead. Where is he? You normally make
him clean up my messes.” She paused and rolled over to give Lucius her full
attention. When he didn’t answer her, a sinking feeling claimed her stomach.
“You killed him. You truly killed him?”
 
The anger fed the already stirring beast and Kass called on instinct.
Her jaw locked as her hands formed into claws and she swiped at him.

He moved too fast for her human eyes to follow, snatching her wrist and
using the momentum to twist her arm behind her back and shove her down on her
knees. “He served out his purpose and I could not have him ruining my plans.”

Her dyed red hair fell in waves and spilled over her naked breasts as
she held her head down. She forced her breathing to even out and her muscles to
relax. She knew her beast would take over if she did not control her anger and
then he’d have full control. Tears started to form in her eyes, grief swiftly
over riding the anger. “You didn’t have to kill him.” Josh acted as a buffer
between her and Lucius and kept her in Lucius’ good graces. He rescued her from
her family and did everything he could to keep Kass safe. Her chest tightened
when she imagined never seeing him again.

“He wasn’t really your family Kass, he adopted you to save you.” Lucius
pulled her up and tucked her hair behind her ear. He placed his hands on her
bare shoulders. “Now you have nothing left. You have no choice but to stay
here.”

The power in his voice left a cold trail in her head and through her
veins, her body relaxing at his touch. Her eyes fluttered shut. “I had no
choice to begin with.” She tried to fight the helpless feeling that started to
spread. Something in her mind seemed to click into place, but she couldn’t
place the sensation.

“That is true, but remember why you and Josh came to me. To be safe, to
live-“

“To get away from my family.” She swallowed and pulled away. The moment
his hands left her, the anger started raging through her again. Her body hummed
and tingled with the want to change, but she felt a block. Snarling she realized
he’d placed that block. She spun giving the vampire her back. “So you killed
Josh, now what?” Clenching her fists she tried to coax the beast in her to calm
down, but the block between them seemed to prevent it.

“We continue with the plan.”

“I don’t like the plan.” She placed her hand against the concrete gray
wall, her fingers tracing claw marks she’d left while in panther form. The room
acted as her prison, with no windows for escape and a mattress on the floor
that she called a bed.

“It doesn’t matter what you like.” His voice held a harsh edge. “The
human society thinks you are dead, their government believes that the
panther-lycan strand is almost extinct. It is the perfect cover.”

Kass closed her eyes and leaned her head against the wall. “I don’t
want to kill any more.”

“Then I will simply force your hand as I have been.” He laughed and his
energy crackled in the air, striking against her skin, calling to her panther.
She groaned as the aches in her body became more pronounced, the pressure she felt
before grew, pushing her to the brink. She could have sworn that she felt fur
brush the inside of her body as her panther tried to shove past the block.

Other books

Night Bird's Reign by Holly Taylor
Ziggy by Ellen Miles
Interdict by Viola Grace
Read and Buried by Erika Chase
Still With Me by Thierry Cohen
Fox River by Emilie Richards