If you’re looking for some paranormal romance to start off your weekend, download Connie Flynn’s Shadow of the Moon.
A woman bent on saving a pack of wild wolves crashes during a deadly snowstorm.
A man tormented by a secret he dare not reveal desperately needs her to free him.
Only a ceremony grounded in love can save them both . . .
And it must happen during the SHADOW OF THE MOON.
Whomp. Thump. Thump. The right front wheel scaled the edge of the ditch, jolting the Ranger to a stop.
“Dammit!” Dana Gibbs pressed her lips together, slammed the gears in reverse, and floor-boarded the gas pedal. The wheels spun impotently and she released the gas.
Throwing open the door, she stomped through the mud, dug out a lantern from the rear, and went to inspect the damage. Her back tires sat on a sheet of ice. The front passenger wheel was mired in the ditch.
The lantern splashed light on the underbrush. Birds flapped their wings and flew from dark shadows. Various creatures scurried and squeaked on…the ground. Finding the normality of the sounds reassuring, Dana hurried toward a broken branch, confident she’d soon be out of her predicament.
A howl shattered her serenity. The night creatures instantly hushed and only an undulating echo broke the silence. Dana froze midstep. Her breath misted, creating a heavy fog and the light quivered in her trembling hand.
Battling an urge to dash for the Ranger, Dana made herself creep toward the branch, snatched it up, then raced back to the Ranger.
Wedging the bough beneath the mired wheel, she scrambled inside the cab and applied gentle pressure to the gas pedal. After several tries the Ranger still didn’t budge. As she steadied herself once more try, the terrible wail sounded again. So loud, so close, it seemed just outside the SUV, and in the perimeter of the headlights, a blurred shape moved with superhuman speed.
Dana slammed down on the gas pedal. The Ranger lurched, shuddered, broke loose, and careened back at drag racing speed. She instinctively hit the brakes, all the while knowing it was the wrong thing to do. The Ranger zigzagged, then skidded. Behind, a wall of snow loomed larger and larger in the rear view mirror. Like a great white shark, the wall opened up and sucked in the four-by-four like a minnow until it jerked to a halt against the skeleton of solid earth. Dana flew out of her seat and into the windshield, then rebounded back and slumped like a rag doll.
Who will protect my wolves? Dana wondered as she passed into unconsciousness.
From the shadows of the forest, a pair of gold-green eyes witnessed her misfortune.
Beneath a towering pine stirred a man as huge and solid as the tree trunk that sheltered him. A long wool overcoat hung to his knees over heavy leggings that were tucked into bulky, serviceable boots, and his face was hidden in the abyss of a deep hood, allowing him to melt into the shadows.
What had possessed him to come this close to a major road so early in the evening? He knew better. But he’d heard the screams so often of late, could barely abide them, and a night such as this was made for death. They would be out, seeking lost travelers, and he somehow felt compelled to stop them.
He’d been observing the female, had seen her purposeful and confident movements become first alarmed, then panicked. Was she even now trying to claw her way free like a snared rabbit?Her vehicle had been so fully engulfed by the snowbank that only the hood and grille remained exposed. The night fell into deep stillness, save for the purr of the engine and the whap-whap-whap of the airborne tire. He strained to hear, anticipating what was to come. Soon a rustle arose from the underbrush. A soulful wail followed.
Why did those creatures howl so incessantly?
He calmly turned toward a tangle of brush and thickets. Within the dusky shadows, two sets of watchful eyes glinted red in the light from the woman’s abandoned lantern. He returned their gazes with a hard stare, but they held their ground. Slowly, his lip curled in threat.
“Back off,” he snarled.
The eyes retreated, leaving another squealing rodent in their wake.
He turned his back and sprinted to the road. With one leap, he scaled the ditch, landing nearly fifteen feet away beside the vehicle’s spinning wheel. Over a foot of snow covered the cab. The snow would act as insulation and undoubtedly would keep her warm, but the running engine would soon eat up her oxygen. She was still alive, though, very alive. He could smell her in there, the spicy scent of warm flesh, the tang of hot, rushing blood. Could hear the strong pulse in her veins.
He dug into the snow barehanded, heedless of the scratches he put in the paint, effortlessly deflecting the new chunks dislodged by his movements. When he’d cleared the snow off the driver’s side of the windshield, he leaned over and saw the slumped figure.
Unconscious. This came as no surprise. He’d seen her strike the windshield, seen her forehead turn crimson, knew she probably had a concussion.
Without his help, the others would finish her off before dawn. A guttural protest escaped his lips.
He must walk away. The risk was too great. Yet it had been written. On such a night, a maiden would come.
With a resigned sigh he dug through the remaining snow and opened the door. Blood was clotting in her dark, curly hair and the beginnings of a bruise already stained her forehead, yet he still saw how striking she was. High, well-defined cheekbones. Smooth, golden skin. A slender, well-developed body. A dislodged comb hung in her hair, letting her curls fall forward, which gave her a tumbled, morning-after look.
His heartbeat quickened and he realized then how long it had been since he’d touched a mortal woman. Fingers trembling, he moved a hand toward her fragile throat.
The wound still bled, the fresh blood trickling slowly down her face in tiny streams. He inhaled the tart odor and instantly salivated.
He jerked his hand back.
Do no harm. The ingrained dictum sprang to his mind and lodged there. He tried to dismiss it. Surely it didn’t mean he also had to prevent harm. This wasn’t his doing. How could he be blamed, when the female had foolishly driven down an unmarked dead-end road and bogged her truck?
A trill of laughter traveled through the night. He glanced up, sniffed the air. Was he even now being mocked by his indecision? Watched, to see if he’d leave the unconscious female so they could fulfill their dark needs?
Or worse, far worse, use her to fulfill his own?