In the Light of the Moon
A shifter with no control…
As a panther shifter stripped of her control Kassity has no choice but to be a killer for Lucius. Obeying the vampire was simply her way of life. Until Jaxon comes to town, bring trouble with him. When she recognizes Jaxon as her fated mate, Kassity must deal with betrayal, secrets and Lucius in order to be with him.
A war rages on…
Jaxon must decide who he is fighting for and against. What started as a simple job turns into a complicated game of hearts when he meets Kassity, the woman he thought he was rescuing.
But not everything is as it seems in Lucius’ territory…
(FREE in ebook)
Kass ran her hand against one of the evergreen trees that dominated Lucius’ mountain side property. Snow still dusted the peaks above the tree line, forming a nice white cap. The sounds of wild life running about around the land graced her ears and called to her panther, but she was forbidden from shifting. Some type of metaphysical block had been placed so she could feel her panther but not call it to the surface herself, the beast even leaned against it, fought against it, but nothing worked. She cursed Lucius and took a deep breath. Cold mountain air cleared her lungs, easing her anger as the crisp smell of spring leaves and another panther filled her senses. Her heart skipped a beat. Impossible. With another breath she knew there was no mistaking the scent.
Footsteps echoed behind her, she spun in time to see a blur fly towards her and knock her to the ground. Air rushed from her lungs, but she managed to recover and rolled. Pinning the stranger to the ground with a hand to his throat, she met his gaze, sky blue eyes set in a soft face. The almost-too-delicate-for-a-male jaw line was sun kissed, and that amazing tan continued to the chiseled line of his abs and the delicious view disappeared into a pair of faded blue jeans. Kass licked her lips as the idea of tracing her tongue up his chest crossed her mind.
“Hey princess, eyes are up here.” He grumbled, putting an arm between them and pushing her off.
She didn’t fight him as she backed off and raised her eyes to meet his again. Now his shaggy light brown hair, a tad too dark to call blond, shadowed them, making the blue look darker. The panther in her urged Kass to nuzzle the stranger in front of her as they recognized the scent. “You’re a panther.”
“Just like you.” He nodded giving her a slow, sexy grin that showed just a hint of teeth with enough attitude to make a woman melt. “Do you pin every cat you meet to the ground?”
She snorted and looked away, toying with a strand of her hair. “Only the ones who pounce me first.”
He sat up and leaned in close to her. “I was just excited to see a female cat. Lucius said that there were none.”
Her cat tried to rush to the surface and caused Kass to stiffen as it hit the block in her. “He apparently had no intentions of us meeting, because he never mentioned you either.”
“I’m Jaxon.” He leaned in and nuzzled her neck in a classic greeting. She sighed against him, taking in his scent and missing the type of contact he offered.
She returned the greeting, rubbing against him, “Kassity.” The longer she touched him the more her beast hesitated against the block in her, calming and edging back to wherever it hid inside her.
“My beast rises to your touch.” He whispered with his lips against her cheek.
Heat tinted her face red. “And yours calms mine.” Panic crept up on her as she struggled to breathe, his scent overwhelming her. She scooted away from him, the wet grass soaking through her pants. He crawled towards her the muscles in his arms moving like liquid grace. He peered up at her through his shaggy hair.
She expected to see hurt in his eyes, but they were narrow and calculating how to get what he wanted. Her. She froze when she felt her beast collide with the block inside her, knowing that it was Jax’s beast that called to her. Clenching her fists, she fought against the instinct to call to him and his cry of need. As she closed her eyes, she tried to find her fading connection with the cat inside her, tried to control and channel it. The want to run in fear of the male overcame the beast and tried to force its way out.
Kass’ jaw tightened as he moved closer. He straddled her legs and kissed her. Parting her lips with his tongue caused her cat to hesitate. Her body tightened in all the right places as she melted into the kiss and allowed him access to her mouth. She pulled her legs under her to get closer to him. He moved so he knelt in front of her and cradled her face with his big hands. Her beast settled against the block, content with the connection.
The tingling of happiness broke when their lips were ripped apart. Kass opened her eyes just in time to see Lucius throw Jaxon a few yards away. Kass swallowed and backed away from the vampire while Jaxon let out an inhuman snarl, but remained where he was.
Lucius glared at him. “Stand down cat, she isn’t yours.”
“That’s not your choice.” Jaxon stood. “If our beasts-“
“Your beasts will not be meeting again.” Lucius spun to Kass. “Room. Now.”
She opened her mouth to protest, but when she met the narrow pure black eyes of Lucius she thought better. She stole one last look at the male panther before running back to the mansion.
Dance In the Moonlight
Renee’s life had been normal until the shadows reappeared and the legendary stone was sent to her. As the arrival drags her further into the paranormal world, the last thing Renee expects is to be swept off her feet by a brooding werewolf.
Yet Coran captures her heart and attention. Small problem—he doesn’t want a mate. Coran still suffers from the loss of his first mate, but when Renee is attacked by shifters he is forced to protect her at all costs. Things heat up when he realizes fate has wickedly granted him a second chance at love. With the war causing the body count to rise, now is not the ideal time to find a mate.
The Circle is becoming desperate and something has Lucius worried which means trouble for his followers. It’s a dance between danger and fate in this second installment of the Dark War Chronicles.
Renee downed another drink from her housemate. Another whiskey down after an hour of drinking games made the room spin around her. Danielle laughed and grabbed Renee’s wrist. “Okay birthday girl, I think you’ve had enough.”
Renee shook her head. “Nooo, I need more. Rum. Where is the rum?” She stood and tried to get to the kitchen, but Danielle held her back.
“It’s gone.” Someone else in the house cried out.
“Why is the rum always gone?” Renee asked, feigning a pirate voice. She giggled as she headed towards the kitchen, escaping Danielle’s clutch. She searched through the bottles but froze when a person she didn’t know passed on the other side of the counter. Swearing, she saw an animal waver behind him, just like she had with Coran at the bar. Then she blamed it on being stressed. Now she blamed it on being drunk. Placing her shot glass on the counter, she drew in a couple deep breaths and closed her eyes. When she opened them the room stopped spinning and the man with the shadow was no longer in the room.
“You okay?” Danielle’s voice made Renee jump.
Nodding, she pulled away from her friend. “I just need some fresh air.” She grinned.
Danielle motioned to the door. “You know where the door is, use it.”
Renee stumbled outside and took a deep breath, closing her eyes again. The heat from the day still clung to the air and thoughts from the chase the night before returned to her. Footsteps still echoed in her head, reminding her of the men who chased her. Her eyes flew open when someone grabbed her wrist. Stumbling, her heart pounded as she shoved at the stranger, frantically slapping him with her other free hand, trying to get them to let go. Drinking made her more clumsy than normal, but she tried to pry the man’s hand off her. The world spun around her as she struggled with the stranger. The man’s grip bruised her arm as he pulled her off her stumbling feet. Renee crashed to the ground taking her attacker with her. He landed next to her with a yell and two other men came running. Her eyes widened when she could see the other forms — a wolf, a big cat of some sort, and a bear. A scream bubbled up in her throat, but one of the other men clapped a hand over her mouth. She tried to kick, but her alcohol-laden system moved too slowly to surprise him.
“Shut it, you little bitch.”
An accent she couldn’t place tinged his voice. She thrashed against the man, her mind racing through the worse possible scenarios.
Within a moment the man disappeared, yanked away from her. Renee glanced up, surprised filling her hazy brain when she recognized the hunky bartender. Coran held an attacker in the air by the shirt collar, a foot off the ground. She couldn’t believe it, exactly what kind of bartender was this guy? Coran smirked at her and in that moment the image of the wolf flickered behind him, snarling. She swallowed and gave him a shy wave.
He set the man down. “I suggest you run before I rip your head off.”
The man quickly nodded in agreement and he and his comrades took off. Coran turned back to Renee and held a hand out to her. “What was that all about?” he asked as he pulled her up. She stumbled into him. “Are you drunk?”
“Beats hot milk and butter.” She grinned before turning in the direction the attackers ran off in. “Those butt faced miscreants.”
Coran laughed and put an arm around her trying to lead her back to the house. “That’s a new one.”
Renee leaned into him, using him for balance. Here she was drunk and about to screw up a chance with the hot bartender…again. “I don’t want to go back in there.” Her mind flashed to all the images flickering behind people and tears formed in her eyes. She was tired of these forms reappearing. She swore that time of her life was over.
“What? Why? It looks like a fun party.” He turned to her and tilted her chin up to meet her eyes. “Are you crying?”
She sniffled, trying to keep the little drops from falling. “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to…gosh darn it! I’ll leave if I want to.”
“I’m so going to be dead for this.” He grumbled and picked her up, cradling her against his chest. “How drunk are you?”
“You’re only going to be mostly dead.” She laid her head against his chest. “And I’m not as think as you drunk I am.” She could feel his chest rumble with laughter as he started to walk away from the house. He tucked her into the passenger side of his truck, buckled her in and kissed her forehead.
“To the bat cave,” she muttered and pointed out the windshield.
He got in on the other side, chuckling as he started the truck. “Something like that, sweetheart.”
On Torn Wings
Danielle is on a mission to take down a killer, when all signs point to vampire she recruits Orion to help. Bribing him with information on the Fae Queen who stole his crown takes her further into the supernatural world than she wanted. Working side by side, they start to realize there is more there than a forced work relationship, but Orion is still pining over the disappearance of Tegan.
A missing human
Tegan’s kidnapping is taking a toll on the whole territory, Lucius is losing his sanity and the war has taken a turn for the worst. Fed up with the chaos Orion seeks to escape the territory, but other than death there’s only one other option —taking back his crown. After centuries of working under the vampire Danielle offers him the chance and ability to take his rightful place.
The sun was rising as Orion left the club. He had changed from his stage clothes into his regular torn jeans and t-shirt. He wandered to the coffee shop and saw the man there again. Shaking his head, he realized who he was now. Kaden. Jaxon had mentioned meeting the demon here when he took the job to find the stone. He inclined his head to the demon, before continuing in to get coffee. He intended to enjoy the cup outside in the sun before going home and sleeping.
His eyes scanned over the crowd, but there was no Tegan. His heart dropped at that, what he would give for her just to walk in and get her coffee like normal. He sat down and sipped his coffee, growling when a shadow came over him. “What?” He met the gaze of Danielle who blinked at him a few times.
“Grumpy without your morning coffee, are ya?” She put her hands on her hips. “Really Orion, I just came to tell you that we have a surviving victim.”
He nearly jumped out of his chair, but forced himself to remain calm. “A surviving one, are they conscious?”
“No, not yet, but her vitals are stable. I was hoping you’d come to headquarters and see her. Look at the bite again, maybe talk to her if she wakes up. I did some research, but I wasn’t able to find anything.” She sat down across from him. “I’m at a loss, Orion, the Elder Masters keep giving me these assignments that seem impossible. This is one of those. It’s like they want to peg Lucius with this.”
Something in her eyes made him want to console her, reach out and kiss her and whisper calming words to her. He couldn’t figure out if it was the desperation in her voice, or the pleading in those big blue eyes, but something drew him to her. He glanced at her red lips. They almost had a pout to them, perfectly kissable, but he needed to focus. He jerked his gaze away from her mouth and reminded himself not think with his lower head. “Do you have anyone there you can trust?”
“Possibly Joey, but I don’t know enough about him to confide what I think. That being said, I’m hoping no one asks any questions about you being there.”
“I didn’t agree to go,” He muttered and sipped his coffee. “The idea of being stuck in Hunter’s HQ with a victim makes me queasy.”
She snorted and tucked her hair behind her ear. “It’s not like I’m going to lock you in there and I’m sure you can just poof yourself out of there, dusty.”
He glared at her over his coffee. “Did you just call me ‘dusty’? Like fairy dust? Seriously?”
“Would you prefer Tinker Bell?”
No, no he wouldn’t. She smiled and the sun caught her eyes. He wondered where the flirting came from. “Okay, let’s get this over with. I want to sleep at some point.”
“Work all night? Or were you out working for Lucius?”
“I was at the club, there’s not a whole lot that I can do for Lucius right now. Not unless I want to open a vein.” He stood and stretched, a quick look at the human and then he would be able to go home and sleep.
She stood with him, “I’ll drive us, it’ll be easier to get you in if you’re riding with me. Less questions, less security, and please tell me you aren’t carrying weapons.”
“Not in this realm. I can summon them if I so choose, but I promise that I won’t do that. I won’t put your rank in danger, Danielle, I know the society means the world to you.”
She bit her lip and turned away from him. “The society is the only family I have that understands my hate for the blood suckers.”
“You have living family then?” he asked lightly as he followed her.
“Yeah, a mother and father, I’m an only child and when my attack happened they thought I was crazy. They think that the Hunting Society is a military branch that allows me to use special skills and they provide everything I need to stay sane.”
Orion nodded. “But at least you have them, it’s a lonely world without family.”
“Family isn’t always blood.”
He recalled saying something similar to Renee when she first came around. “Yeah I know, but it seems to me that my family is falling apart.”
“Do you keep in contact much with the Fae world?” She pulled out her keys and unlocked a shiny black SUV with tinted windows.
Orion raised a brow. “Standard issue?”
“Yep, though I chose the color.” She laughed. “Most of us prefer black, we’ve got one smart ass at this HQ who has a lime green one. You can spot him a mile away.” She shook her head as she climbed in.
Pulling himself into the passenger side, he looked at the sleek leather interior. “They don’t skimp on the details, eh?”
“They treat us well, as they should, but we’re also only partially funded by the government, a lot of our money comes from syndicates that like to remain anonymous.” She started the vehicle and drove out of the parking lot.
He watched the cars go by and didn’t speak until they got on the highway, “I should be honored that you’re taking me to headquarters.”
“Yes, because not many outsiders see it, but I trust you. I don’t know why, because you work for Lucius, but I trust you.”
A.L. Kessler is a paranormal romance and steampunk author residing in Colorado Springs. Since she was a teenager she’s loved weaving stories and spinning tales. When she’s not at the beck-and-call of the Lord and Lady of the House, two black cats by the names of Jynx and Sophie, training a playful puppy named Zelda, playing with her daughter, or killing creepers and mining all the things with her husband of 4 years, she’s either reading, participating in NaNoWriMo, or writing in her Blog Writing Rambles.
In the Light of the Moon (DWC #1) Novel
The Touch of Night (DWC #0.5) Note: This short story is not required to read to understand the overall arc of the story.
In the Light of the Moon (DWC #1) Kassity’s & Jaxon’s Book
Dance in the Moonlight (DWC #2) Renee’s & Coran’s Book
On Torn Wings (DWC #3) Orion’s & Dani’s Book
Past Demons (DWC #4) Tegan’s Book, Due out Feb 2015
Author Profile: bit.ly/fbalkessler
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Series Like Page: https://www.facebook.com/darkwarchronicles
In the Light of the Moon: bit.ly/lightgr
Dance in the Moonlight: http://bit.ly/1e2PeNr
On Torn Wings: bit.ly/torngr