Authors: Renee Jordan
(A Shifter, Supernatural Romance)
Passion Moon 3
Copyright © 2015 by Renee Jordan
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the expressed written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review. Published in the United States of America, 2015
All characters depicted in this work of fiction are over the age of eighteen (18).
Cover Art created by
Edited by Kenneth Bartle
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Table of Contents
Other Steamy Romances
Chapter One: Lost in Dark Woods
“Please! You have to find her!” sobbed the mother. Lisa Murphy's face was puffy and red, tear tracks left behind in the dirt smearing her face.
“We'll find her,” my mate and fiance told the woman. Forrest placed a comforting hand on her shoulder, the strong profile of his face painted in the flashing red and blue lights of the collected emergency vehicles.
“Thank you, Sheriff,” Lisa whispered. She swayed, about to collapse. Vanessa, one of Forrest's deputies, took Lisa by the shoulders and helped the frantic mother to the waiting paramedics.
I looked down at the photo of little Maryanne, a girl of five with a wild mane of tawny hair. She was dressed in jeans and a pink top, a big grin on a face smeared with chocolate syrup and vanilla ice cream.
The lights of a dozen cop cars flashed through the darkening twilight. The sun was finally setting at nearly ten at night, but the heat of the June day lingered. The Summer Solstice was a week away, the official start of summer, but it seemed like Moonrise, Montana was eager to get an early jump on the heat. I should be used to these temperatures. I grew up in the Texas panhandle and spent the last year living in the Florida panhandle—the Texan is the better of the two, no oppressive humidity. But Montana's spring had been cool by day and cold by night.
“Okay,” Forrest growled to his deputies. They all watched with rapt attention like a pack of hounds. Well, to be specific, they were a pack of werewolves, and my Forrest was their Alpha. “Let's split up to search the mountains. Maryanne may be hurt. She's definitely scared. Teams of four. Vanessa, Hank, you're with me and Kotie.”
“Roger, boss,” Vanessa nodded. She had a hungry beauty, like a warrior-woman, complimented by her blonde hair and vibrant, green eyes.
Hank nodded at me. I wasn't part of the Sheriff's department, but my magic would be a big help if the girl was injured or we ran into any other problems. I was a witch. I learned my true powers when I arrived in Moonrise three months ago. A deranged witch named Christian had tried to use me to tap into the power brimming in the Moon Tear Spring. He almost killed me, but Forrest rescued me.
“You ready, Kotie?” Forrest nodded to me, his hazel eyes glinting with gold. The change was near. When he was angry, or in the throes of passion, his wolf rose inside him.
“I am,” I nodded. I tied back my auburn hair with a black scrunchy into a simple ponytail. I wasn't a fancy girl. I liked a nice pair of tight blue jeans—I had a nice, curvy rear that Forrest loved—and loose, cute top. Of course, I had on my red, snakeskin cowboy boots. “Let's rescue the frightened thing.”
Marybeth had wandered away from the local baptist church's day hike. They had hiked up to Rikers Meadow for a picnic. When they realized she was missing, the church's members tried to find her for a few hours while the mother grew more and more desperate. Finally, they gave up and hiked back to civilization to call 911.
This part of the Rocky Mountains was crisscrossed with trails. Marybeth could have wandered far, or if she left the trail, she could have fallen down one of the many gullies. There were also real wolves, bears, and mountain lions prowling the mountains, and even the mountain goats could be dangerous, aggressively charging those that neared. But they usually stayed on the steep slopes nimbly jumping from small perch to small perch in defiance of gravity.
“Let's go,” I said, my stomach twisting.
Forrest nodded and took the lead. He was a big man, broad shouldered, strong arms. And handsome. The first time I saw him had been powerful, taking my breath away. That was partly the imprint, the sort of love-at-first-sight werewolves and other shifters form with their mates, and partly just how handsome he was. Forrest was a powerful man. From his bearing to the way he spoke, Forrest expected people to listen and follow. He kept his pack of wolves in line that way.
Forrest was my rock. He had given me stability for the first time in my life. My childhood wasn't that great. My momma had died of ovarian cancer when I was five, leaving me in the care of my alcoholic, abusive step-father Wayne. He liked to knock me around. The moment I turned eighteen, I was out the door and right into the arms of Burt. At first, Burt seemed like a great guy. He was the lead singer of a rock band. I had fallen for him hard. He took my virginity the night I met him after his band played a set. I had been consumed by lust watching him perform, like he had been singing only for me.
A few months ago, I learned the truth—he cast a spell on me. He was a witch, too, sent to watch me by his master. By the end of our three year relationship, he had kept me locked up in our house in Florida. He beat me to keep me in line. It had taken me months to find the courage to flee. I ended up in Moonrise, Montana.
I found my true strength here. When Burt came to claim me, he didn't find the same scared woman. I fought him. But his dying words still haunted me. Someone wanted me protected and guarded, and that someone may be my father. Not Wayne, but my real father. The man my momma ached for every day I can remember. They had a one night stand. “Your father, he was a traveler, Dakota, a roamer,” my momma would always whisper to me. “A fiery passion was in his loins, driving his restless nature. I only knew him one night, but I'll remember that night until the day I die. We loved each other mighty fierce beneath the stars.”
Burt's words troubled me. Had my father set this abusive asshole to watch over me? What did he want with me?
My tattoo prickled. I rubbed at my lower back. It was a tramp stamp—I hate that word, but that was what it was—of a heart wrapped in green, thorny vines. It was my totem, allowing me to channel my magic and control the spirits that existed in everything. The spirits danced through the world around us. I barely noticed them anymore. They faded into the background unless I concentrated. Cloudy Air spirits zipped along with the winds, golden-hearted Love spirits dance around Forrest and me, green Life spirits clung to the plants like glowing bugs, and pebble-like Earth spirits rolled around on the trail.
I think my father gave me the tattoo. I couldn't remember much about the night I got it. I was drunk and stumbling along with Burt—this was before he turned into an abusive asshole—and he suggested I get it. The tattoo artist had green eyes, like mine. My momma always said I had my father's eyes. The tattoo artist had to be a witch. A totem was more than a tattoo, it was imbued with magical spirits.
So why was it prickling right now? I looked around, peering out at the woods. My totem prickled when someone used magic nearby. “Is there anyone near us, Forrest?”
My mate turned as I peered into the pine trees growing up and down the slope. “I don't smell anyone. Hank, Vanessa?”
Hank shrugged. He was a tall, lean man with rust-red hair and green eyes that seemed to glow in the waxing moon's light. “Just a deer.”
“I'm not smelling anything, boss.”
I frowned, rubbing at my tattoo.
“Check out the brush,” Forrest growled.
I smiled at my mate. He trusted me. I peered at the woods, trying to think of a spell that would help. One came to my mind. “Spirits of flesh, reveal all the mammals to my sight!”
The energy surged out through my totem. The greenish motes clinging to the plants surged to me. They spun about me in a dance, trailing emerald dust before they exploded out in every direction. One struck Forrest, and he glowed green. He gave a snort, staring at his hand as the phosphorescent glow radiated from his fingers. More balls zipped up into the trees revealing squirrels. Hank and Vanessa were illuminated as they searched through the brush. Thanks to the magic, the glows were visible through brush and rocks. A few rodents and rabbits were in their burrows, and a deer and her fawn moved down a game trail from us. More and more animals appeared in a radiating circle, but there were no other humans within a quarter mile.
“I'm not smelling anything, boss!” Vanessa hollered as she scrambled back up the slope to the trail.
“Maybe I'm just jumpy,” I muttered. The itch had faded.
“Keep a sharp eye out,” Forrest ordered before turning to me. He brushed back a loose strand of my hair. “You're not jumpy.”
I took his hand and moved it to my lips, kissing his palm. He was a great guy. Supportive and loving. I couldn't wait for our wedding. Just a week away. I would be a summer bride, married on the solstice to this wonderful wolf.
We continued on. I kept scanning the dark woods. The sun had set, so I cast a spell to let me see in the dark. Forrest and his deputies didn't need it. Their eyes almost glowed as they reflected the moonlight.
Not long after, we reached the meadow's edge. There were a few of the church members still here, shining their flashlights about and calling Maryanne's name. Forrest spoke to them for a few minutes, making sure they were fine to stay the night. The heat of the day dissipated, replaced by a growing chill. Even in summer, it could get cold up in the mountains, and technically it was still spring.
“Boss, I have a scent,” Vanessa shouted. She and Hank had been circling the meadow. “It's going off into the brush over here. Could be a child's. I see some small footprints.”
“Godspeed,” Reverend Marshal said, an older man with graying hair. I didn't recognize him until he spoke. Forrest and I were getting married at his church, Moonrise First Baptist. “The Lord willing, find the girl.”
“We will, Reverend,” I nodded at him.
The Reverend was in the know about Forrest and me. Well, everyone in Moonrise was in the know about shifters and witches. The town seemed to attract them. It was remote, in the wilderness away from the progress of civilization. Shifters were of both worlds, living in the communities of men but craving the solace of nature. And witches, well, we were drawn by the Moon Tear Spring. Its power seemed to call across the world. It was special. Three ley lines terminated there, and its power had been gathering for centuries.