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Authors: Stephanie Julian

Tags: #magic, #shapeshifters, #etruscan, #lucani lovers, #forgotten goddesses

Cat's First Kiss

BOOK: Cat's First Kiss
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Cat’s First Kiss

 

By Stephanie
Julian

 

Cat’s First Kiss
Stephanie Julian
Published by Stephanie Julian
Copyright 2011. Stephanie Julian.
Cover by Stephanie Julian

Smashwords Edition
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook
may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like
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then please return to Amazon and purchase your own copy.

 

Thank you for respecting the
hard work of this author. To obtain permission to excerpt portions
of the text, please contact the author at
[email protected]
All characters in this book are fiction and figments of the
author’s imagination.

 

Beginning

 

“Sweetheart. What are you
doing?”

“Nothing.”

Kyle Rossini stopped in the
doorway to his daughter’s room and watched his beautiful Cat stare
at the ceiling.

She lay on the bed he’d
built for her more than fifteen years ago, when her life had been
so much easier. Today, at nineteen, her life must seem like an
out-of-control carnival ride.

She’d been spending a lot
of time at his house lately, ever since she’d taken the mantle of
power from the previous Etruscan Goddess of the Moon. He still
found it impossible to believe his baby had become a goddess.
Everyone—from her mother and second father to the woman who’d held
the mantle before her—were trying to figure out exactly what that
meant.

No one had come up with an
answer.

But while Cat’s mom,
Margie, and Kyle’s mate, Tamra, worried and fretted and stewed and
tried not to show it, Kyle blocked it all out. He stuffed the
gut-gnawing frustration and fear down deep, until it was nothing
more than a tiny ache somewhere in the middle of his
chest.

He knew it was there but he
also knew he couldn’t fix this for her. He couldn’t make it better.
Hell, he couldn’t even come up with the words to talk about it with
her.

“Since you’re not doing
anything, I need your help.”

She turned, staring at him
with beautiful blue eyes dulled by the turmoil that’d taken over
her life.

“I’m not really in the
mood, Dad.”

It hurt his heart to hear
the strain in her voice. She needed a distraction. And he needed
his daughter.

He crossed his arms over
his chest. “Tough. Get your butt out of bed. Now.”

Her eyes widened. He hadn’t
spoken to her in that tone in years and even then he’d only used it
once or twice. He’d never had to. She’d always been so easy-going,
so sweet-natured. She’d wrapped him around her finger from the
moment of her birth and he never wanted to lose that closeness.
Recently, though, he’d felt like an ocean divided them.

And he’d had
enough.

He saw her bite her lip and
knew she was about to defy him. Then she took a deep breath, and
another, and finally sat up. Long auburn hair draped over her
shoulders and, even in jeans and a plain blue t-shirt, she was
stunning. It was no wonder Tivr, God of the Moon, couldn’t take his
eyes off her. But God or not, if the guy hurt her, Kyle would rip
his heart out. Of course, Ty, being Ty, might just let
him.

For just a second, she
looked like a typical teenager, wary and stubborn. Then he saw the
young woman she was becoming peek out as she stood, shoving all the
turmoil away.

That strength made him so
fucking proud of her.

“You might want to change
into something old. I want to get started on that old
Indian.”

The motorcycle had been
sitting in pieces in his garage for years, since he’d bought it at
auction. He’d been bidding on parts for the Mustang he’d been
rebuilding at the time. His first Mustang, which he’d sold to buy
the Shelby he now owned.

Cat’s gaze narrowed and he
thought she might tell him no or at least ask why he wanted to
start now, considering he hadn’t touched the bike in
years.

When she nodded and dug
into the bottom of her chest for her stained jeans and an ancient
Springsteen shirt she’d appropriated from him years ago, he
breathed a silent sigh of relief and headed out to the
kitchen.

Tam sat at the table,
bright head bent over her books. He leaned over her, brushing the
short hair away from her neck so he could settle his mouth on the
exact spot that made her shiver.

“Hmm.” She turned her head
so she could smile up at him. “I like that. Did you coax her out of
her room?”

He bit her, just a nibble
really, before he straightened then went to the fridge for two
bottles of water and into the cupboard for a bag of Cat’s peanut
M&Ms. “Yeah. We’re gonna work on that old Indian bike. Should
keep us busy for a while.”

Abandoning her books, his
mate followed him into the living room of the house they shared on
the far outskirts of
lucani
den territory. Many
lucani
, the Etruscan werewolves,
lived close together because they enjoyed the company.

He’d lived out here for
years, had enjoyed the solitude. But that’d been before he’d met
Tam and decided single was overrated.

At twenty-five, Tam was
more than fifteen years younger than him and the love of his life.
It didn’t hurt that she lit up whenever she looked at
him.

Like now.

As he settled onto the
couch to wait for Cat, Tam followed him, sinking her knees on
either side of his hips so she was facing him. Her fingers sank
into his hair and she set her mouth over his.

The taste of her still
managed to make his blood boil. Probably always would.

Before she pulled back, she
rubbed her nose against his then retreated far enough to stare into
his eyes. “I love you.”

He grinned, the tension in
his body loosening simply from her proximity. “And you are so gonna
pay for this teasing tonight.”

Her pretty blue eyes lit up
and her mouth tipped at the corners. “I look forward to
it.”

“Love you.”

Her smile spread. “Good
thing, because you’re never getting rid of me.”

“I never want to lose you,
babe.”

He almost had a couple
years ago and that would’ve sent him over the edge.

A slight noise from the
hall caught his better-than-human hearing and he turned to find Cat
staring at them from the doorway to her room.

She wouldn’t have hesitated
to interrupt them only a few months ago. Before, she wouldn’t have
hesitated to tease them.

So much had
changed.

Tam followed his gaze and
smiled at his daughter. “Hey, Cat. I thought I’d make burgers for
dinner. Okay with you?”

Tam squirmed off his lap
and headed for his daughter. Only six years separated the woman he
loved from the daughter he adored. Less than the gap that separated
him and Tam. That age difference had almost made him give up his
mate. Damn good thing he hadn’t.

Cat nodded, her lips
curving in a way that was as close to a smile as she got these
days. “Sure.”

“You want to give me a hand
when you’re finished helping your dad?”

“Absolutely.”

Kyle wanted to sigh. Cat
loved to cook. At least, she had before…

He stifled a sigh. You know
what? Fuck this. They couldn’t change what had happened. They had
no idea what was coming. They could only move forward day by day.
And if the day came when Cat needed to be in the middle of whatever
the hell was brewing, well, Kyle would still stand in front of
her.

“Come on, Cat. Let’s get
this started.”

* * * * *

Tivr, Etruscan God of the
Moon, Lord of the Silver Light, walked up the stairs to Kyle’s
front door.

He debated scratching at
the wood, considering he didn’t have hands at the moment then
snarled at the idea. He wasn’t a dog. He was a God, the son of a
Goddess. He could command shadows to do his bidding, cause powerful
men to cower in his presence and was worshipped by an entire
race.

And here he sat on his
haunches, wondering if the girl would be happy to see him, if she’d
missed him, or if he should fade back into the shadows, like he’d
been doing for the past month.

Tinia’s teat, he was
fucking pathetic.

Even his brother Caeles had
stopped ragging him lately.

All because of one teenage
girl. Who now held the title and power of the Goddess of the
Moon.

Right after Cat had taken
his mother’s powers, he’d wanted to wrap her in cotton and cover
that in bulletproof Kevlar, then take her to his home and lock her
inside so no one could hurt her. Ever.

He hadn’t been stupid
enough to do it. Kyle and Dan, Cat’s dads, might have approved of
his plan in theory but there was no way they would’ve left Cat
alone with him.

Even though he’d known she
was meant to be his. Had known since she’d been a baby. Which is
why, when she’d become a teenager, he’d stayed as far away from her
as he could.

There were dark forces in
the world that would have no problem hurting a teenage girl to
force what they wanted from a God.

And he would give anything
to save her.

But a week or so after the
power transfer, Cat had begun to withdraw. From him. From everyone.
But mostly from him.

And he fucking hated it. So
he’d spent a lot of time skulking around the forest outside Kyle’s
home, watching over her as best he could.

He swore he’d suffered
literal withdrawal symptoms, which was absolutely
moronic.

So he’d decided today, he
was going to talk to her.

Instead of pawing at the
front door, he walked around to the back of the house, pressed the
lock on the specially built swinging door next to the regular door
and stepped into the kitchen.

Tam sat at the table, books
and paper spread out all over the surface.

She looked up, eyes
widening when she realized it wasn’t Kyle or Cat.

“Tivr.” Though she was
descended from the Etruscan magical civilization, only miniscule
amounts of power remained in her blood. She hadn’t even known there
was magic in the world until she’d met Kyle and Cat.

But she’d been living with
the Etruscans long enough to pick up their habits. Tam stood and
dipped her head though her smile remained. “How are
you?”

“I’m fine, Tam. How’s
everything here?”

Tam shook her head, her
expression transforming from welcome to bemusement. Yeah, he knew
it was freaky for a wolf to talk but most people got used to
it…after awhile.

“It’s…going.” Her
hesitation and the fact that her smile turned bittersweet made his
heart pound painfully in his chest.

He growled and Tam winced,
though he didn’t think he’d scared her.

“You haven’t been around
for a few weeks.” Tam sank back into her chair, not afraid to meet
his gaze. “I think she missed you, Ty.”

Was that an accusation? If
it was, he deserved it. “I thought she needed some time. To come to
grips with everything.”

Tam nodded. “Yeah, that’s
what we thought too. But I’m beginning to think maybe what she
really needed was someone to push her. She’s always seemed so
self-contained, you know. So strong. I’m beginning to feel like we
left her adrift to deal with this on her own.”

Yeah, and that should’ve
never happened. He shouldn’t have
let
it happen. “You know Kyle is a
lucky son-of-a-bitch, right?”

Her smile widened. “And you
are needed much more than you know.”

Shock held him place for
several seconds. How she’d managed to nail his angst so precisely,
he didn’t know. Tam was a nurse and a damn good one but sometimes
he thought she had super-hero mind-reading abilities.

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