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Authors: Stephanie Julian

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Edge of Moonlight

BOOK: Edge of Moonlight
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Edge of Moonlight

Stephanie Julian

Book three in the Lucani Lovers series.

Etruscan wolf shifter Kaine Giliati has longed for John Simmons since he willingly agreed to wipe all memory of her from his mind. The pain in her heart is only magnified by terror—the ability to call her wolf appears to have deserted her, as well.

For months after he and his sister escaped a crazed kidnapper, John has been dreaming about a beautiful woman he’s never met but who seems so familiar. A woman he’s shocked to find in a dark bar one night. A woman who agrees to come back to his apartment for raw, passionate sex.

One erotic, stolen night reopens old wounds, uncovers buried memories and sets Kaine and John on a path filled with danger, magic and potential heartbreak.

An Ellora’s Cave Romantica Publication

www.ellorascave.com

Edge of Moonlight

ISBN 9781419927911

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Edge of Moonlight Copyright 2010 Stephanie Julian

Edited by Grace Bradley

Cover art by Syneca

Electronic book publication May 2010

The terms Romantica® and Quickies® are registered trademarks of Ellora’s Cave Publishing.

With the exception of quotes used in reviews, this book may not be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any means existing without written permission from the publisher, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.® 1056 Home Avenue, Akron OH 44310-3502.

Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be scanned, uploaded or distributed via the Internet or any other means, electronic or print, without the publisher’s permission. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000. (http://www.fbi.gov/ipr/). Please purchase only authorized electronic or print editions and do not participate in or encourage the electronic piracy of copyrighted material. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.

EDGE OF MOONLIGHT

Stephanie Julian

Trademarks Acknowledgement

The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction:

Chuck Taylor: Converse Inc.

Dodge Dart: DaimlerChrysler Corp.

Flyers: Philadelphia Flyers Limited Partnership

HGTV: Scripps Networks

Jack Daniel’s: Jack Daniel’s Properties Inc.

Jeep: DaimlerChrysler Corp.

Syfy Channel: Universal City Studios

Glossary

Arus
: magical power inherent in the
Fata
and
Enu
, races of Etruscan descent
Boschetta
: Etruscan coven, traditionally comprised of thirteen
streghe
Candela
: Etruscan sprite, tiny magical beings with wings and a certain glow about them

Decurio
: legion rank of commander

Eteri
(pl.
eteri
): Etruscan for foreigner, used to describe regular humans without magic

Enu
: humans of magical Etruscan descent

Fata
: elemental beings of magical Etruscan descent
Folletta
(pl.
folletti
): Etruscan female fairy
Linchetto
(pl.
linchetti
): Etruscan night elf
Malandante
: descended from the Etruscans but born with a bent toward evil, with a taste for power and wealth

Praenuntio
: Goddess Gift of foresight

Pugio
: a Roman dagger

Quercioli
: the offspring of a
folletta
and a
linchetto
, always female
Salbinelli
: Etruscan satyr

Sicari
(pl:
sicarii
): assassin

Silvani
: one of the three original Etruscan
Fata
; always female, protectors of fields and forests

Speculator
: spy

Strega
(pl.
streghe
): Etruscan witch

Versipellis
(pl.
versipelli
): literally “skin shifter”—shapeshifters including Etruscan
Lucani
(wolves), Norse
Berkserkir
(bears) and French
loup garou
(wolves)
Chapter One

“Kaine, are you okay?”

Coming back to consciousness with a start, Kaine Giliati bolted upright, her heart pounding not only from being startled but from the dream.

In her mind’s eye, she still saw him. Glass-green eyes ringed in topaz, sharp cheekbones, strong jaw. An intensely masculine face framed by short, dark brown hair clipped close to the skull.

He’d been bending closer, nearly to her lips…

Blinking, Kaine registered the sight of Tira Belludi’s concerned face staring down at her.

Shit.
Shit
. She’d fallen asleep on the couch in the living room of the home she shared with three of the people she trusted most in her life. Three people who cared about her, worried about her.

She saw the worry in Tira’s eyes now, in the way she bit her bottom lip.

Worried because Kaine had been dreaming.

When she dreamed, she dreamed of him.

And longed for what she couldn’t have.

“Yeah, I’m fine, Ti. Really.” Maybe if she said it enough, it’d be true. “I’m fine.

What’s wrong?”

Tira shook her head slowly. “Nothing’s wrong. I just…thought you called out. Were you…” Tira huffed, as though exasperated by trying to talk about the subject no one would broach.

Kaine didn’t blame her, not one bit. “I’m sorry. I don’t mean to worry you.” And that was the absolute truth. “But I don’t know what I was dreaming about.” And that was a big lie.
Huge
lie.

Which Tira knew. Her hands went to her hips and her mouth flattened into that line she got when one of her men tried to pull something over on her. Tira might look like a sweet little blonde cupcake but she had a backbone that was fast becoming steel-plated.

Kaine thought that was great. Really. Tira needed it to put up with the two men in her life who also happened to be Kaine’s partners, Nic Rocca and Duke Ducati. Kaine knew from working with the men how overbearing they could be. How protective.

But Kaine didn’t like when Tira turned that steel-plating her way.

“All right.” Tira crossed her arms over her chest, her tone firm. “This has gone on long enough. You need to talk to someone. I’m here. The guys aren’t. Please, Kaine.

We’re worried about you. You haven’t been yourself. Believe me, it’ll be better if you do talk about it.”

No, Kaine was pretty sure it wouldn’t get any better if she talked about her problems. Because unlike Tira, who’d spent eight years separated from the men she loved and who loved her by her own design, Kaine’s separation wasn’t willing. Not on her part, anyway.

What was worse, the man didn’t even know she existed. At least, not anymore.

So, yes, Kaine was pretty sure she didn’t want to talk. She hadn’t wanted to talk since that day a week ago when her commanding legion officer, Kyle Rossini, and his former partner, Dan Ferrante, had loaded two unconscious
eteri
in their car and driven them away.

“I’m fine.”

Tira shook her head. “No, you’re not.” Moving to the front of the couch, she sat on the cushion beside Kaine. Tira didn’t touch her and for that, Kaine was grateful. As a
strega
, an Etruscan witch, Tira had inherited her mother’s Goddess Gift of
praenuntio
.

That gift allowed her to see the future through skin-on-skin contact.

Kaine didn’t want to know what her future held. She already knew what it
didn’t
.

“I know you’ve been crying even though you try to hide it,” Tira said. “The guys can’t see the signs but I can. I know you’re not sleeping well. And…I know you miss him.”

Kaine dropped her gaze to stare at her hands, clenched into fists on her lap. With a conscious effort, she forced them to relax.

“Miss” was too tame to describe how she felt.

Vaffanculo
, she’d only known John a couple of days. How could he—

“Kaine,” Tira’s voice snuck in under the wall of ice she was trying to erect against her emotions. “Just say it.”

Her lips started to tremble but she bit them. Hard. The weight on her chest grew heavier. She felt like heated emotion was being forced through her entire body until finally she couldn’t contain it anymore.

She opened her mouth to speak but the tears rolling down her cheeks must have released the floodgates. She sobbed. The sound frightened her because she never cried.

Not since she’d been a kid.

Now hard sobs racked her body, making her feel horrible.

She wanted to curl into a ball and fade away until she didn’t hurt anymore.

Gentle hands settled on her shoulders, guiding her down until she rested her head on Tira’s denim-covered thigh as Kaine poured out her heart in her tears.

Outside, she heard the howl of the late February wind and thought how much it sounded like a wolf in pain.

* * * * *

“Hey, don’t you have that job interview today?”

John Simmons set aside the classified section of the local paper and let his gaze scan his sister instead.

Standing beside the small kitchen table, Evangeline looked tired. Her pale gray eyes held shadows and her cheeks looked hollow. At five-one and a hundred and five pounds soaking wet, Evie had always reminded John of a pixie, pretty and delicate.

Someone to be shielded and protected.

Fucked up that job requirement, didn’t you?

Anger and frustration bubbled in his gut but he forced it back, hopefully without alerting Evie to its presence. “How’d you sleep, brat?” She shrugged one too-slim shoulder before moving to the kitchen in their apartment in downtown Reading. Not hers. Not his.
Their
apartment. “Not too bad. No dreams last night so that’s an improvement.”

Yeah, it was. Although he couldn’t say the same.

He had dreamed last night, the one he’d had every night for the past two weeks.

It always started the same way.

With the debilitating horror of discovering his sister had been kidnapped.

That was no dream. That had actually happened two weeks ago but the dream made him relive it again and again.

Then bits and pieces of his life flashed by, like a montage from a movie. The day he’d signed onto the Navy. The moment he’d received his Budweiser. Then the realization that his sister had missed her weekly call. And that he hadn’t noticed until three days had passed.

That hadn’t been a dream either.

He’d requested emergency leave and hopped the next flight back to Philadelphia before renting a car for the drive to Reading. He’d gone to her former apartment. He remembered opening the door, seeing the mess then being overpowered and waking in a cell with no windows.

Drugs had kept him docile while they’d done blood tests. His captors had never spoken to him or asked him questions. It’d been surreal, like he’d been thrown into a movie, one he’d never auditioned for.

They’d fed him, given him water but they’d never released him from the cage. Then one day, he’d read the lips of his captors and discovered the address where they were keeping Evie.

He’d escaped somehow. That part was fuzzy in the dreams, though when he was awake, he remembered exactly what had happened. His kidnappers had drugged him and left him there to die. But he’d managed to crawl out of the cell and out of the house.

Managed to remember where they’d been keeping his sister and he’d gone to save her.

Alone.

He remembered fighting the kidnappers who finally ran off, leaving him and Evie to bolt in the opposite direction.

But then the dream got weird because the woman appeared. A woman he didn’t remember ever meeting.

An exotically beautiful woman with huge, dark brown eyes, a full mouth and a shaggy mass of hair that ranged from shades of gray to brown to gold. Sleek and lightly muscled with small breasts and no hips.

BOOK: Edge of Moonlight
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