I've been hard at work the past couple of months on a new series. This series will focus on the children of Avery and Tristan.
Below is the first chapter of "Red Moon Rising". Red Moon Rising is set twenty-some years after Red Moon and tells the story of Avery and Tristan's son James. This new book will be released on Amazon and Smashwords in January of 2014.
Happy Reading and thank you again for your continued support!
Red Moon Rising
Copyright 2013 Elizabeth Kelly
This book is the copyrighted property of the author, and may not be reproduced, scanned or distributed for commercial or non-commercial purposes. Quotes used in reviews are the exception. No alteration of content is allowed.
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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.
Adult Reading Material
She stumbled through the forest, her body trembling violently and her vision blurred. The sun was setting slowly and she could see her breath in the cold air. She had used her shirt as a bandage but the blood from the wounds on her side had already soaked through it and dark rivers of blood were streaming down her leg.
She was dying. She had managed to kill one of the beasts, more from luck than any kind of skill, but not before it had wounded her mortally. She staggered on anyway. The other two would soon discover their dead brother and it would not take them long to find her. They would smell her blood and track her down. If the gods were merciful she would already be dead before they found her and ripped her body to pieces.
She stopped and leaned against one of the thick trees, the bark scraping against her bare back as she took shallow, gasping breaths. The small dog at her feet whined nervously and pawed at her leg.
“Tia.” Her voice was thick and she coughed weakly, moaning when it made her sides burn. Blood coated her mouth and lips. Her ribs were broken, she was sure of it. She had both heard and felt the crack when the beast threw her against the tree.
She raised her hand and touched her face gingerly. Her battle with the beast had left her face battered and bruised. One eye was swollen shut completely and her lips were bruised and swollen from having her mouth punched. She touched her front teeth experimentally with her tongue, wincing when they wiggled loosely in their sockets. She was surprised they hadn’t been knocked out completely.
“Tia.” She tried again. “When I die, you have to leave me.”
The dog stood and rested its small paws on her shin. It whined again and she smiled at the dog. “Don’t stick around. They’ll kill you if they see you. You have to – “
She coughed again, moaning and crying out with the pain as fresh blood poured from the wounds on her side.
“You have to run away. Find a new family okay?” She whispered.
The dog barked once, shrilly, and she winced. “Hush Tia.”
She made herself push away from the tree. Oddly enough the pain was a little better. It had been replaced by a curious feeling of numbness. She pulled the sodden material of her shirt away from her wound and stared at the blood spurting from the four deep slashes.
“That can’t be good.” She whispered and then laughed weakly. She replaced the drenched material against the wounds, why she bothered she didn’t know, and stared down at the dog.
“Do you hear me Tia? Find a new family. Don’t stay with me.” She stared into Tia’s soft brown eyes and then frowned when the dog cocked its head, stared into the trees, and then turned and bolted away.
“I’m not dead yet damn you.” She muttered. Her heart squeezed painfully. The little dog’s abandonment hurt more than her broken body did but it was for the better. She swiped a shaking hand across her mouth, staring dully at the blood on her fingers, and lurched on.
They would bring her head back and stick it on a pole beside the others. She cringed at the thought that her brother would see it. He had screamed and raged and begged the beasts to allow him to take her place in the hunt. They had laughed and sneered at him. He was too valuable to be used in hunting.
They had stopped laughing when he had attacked and killed one of them with his bare hands. Valuable or not, they would have torn him apart if she had not gotten on her knees and begged Draken to spare his life.
They hadn’t let her say goodbye to him, hadn’t let her hug him and tell him she loved him. The last time she had seen him he had been pinned to the ground, his face red and his muscles straining against his captors as he fought to get to her.
She swallowed thickly, tasting the metallic tang of blood, as tears began to slip down her cheeks. She was suddenly so weary she couldn’t take another single step. She collapsed to the ground, her breath wheezing in and out as her lungs laboured to draw air into them.
She was cold and so very tired. Her eyes slipped shut and she pictured her brother’s face - his strong jaw and clear blue eyes. His eyes had once danced with laughter but it had been many months since there had been anything but anger and sorrow in them.
There was snuffling beside her and a warm, wet tongue licked her forehead. She forced her one good eye open and stared at the small dog.
“Tia.” She whispered.
Tia whimpered softly and looked behind her. The dying woman followed the dog’s gaze, squinting at the two figures behind the dog. Dread filled her body. They had found her.
One of them crouched beside her and she realized with a faint thread of relief that it was not one of the beasts. The man was as big as her brother, his shoulders broad and heavily muscled. His eyes were a dark brown, they looked nearly black in the dim light, and his hair was a rich, dark red.
The second figure knelt beside him, he was blonde and blue eyed, and almost as big as the redhead. Even with only one eye working properly, she could see the horror and disgust on his face.
“Gods be damned James. What happened to her?”
The redhead grunted. “I don’t know Nicky.”
He leaned further over her. “What is your name girl?”
She ignored his question and with the last of her strength reached up and brushed his face with her bloody fingers. “Tia. Please help her – “
A sudden, stabbing pain shot through her chest and she screamed hoarsely. Darkness crept across her vision and the last thing she saw before it overtook her, was the redhead reaching for her.
* * *
The thumping in her head was loud and irritating. With her eyes closed, she reached up and massaged at her temple. It didn’t help. The thumping continued - a solid constant beat that demanded her attention.
She wanted to ignore it. Her side hurt and her head hurt and she was exhausted. She wanted to drift back into sleep but the thumping wouldn’t allow it. She frowned. Her bed was moving. Only a little but it was definitely moving.
She forced her eyelids up and her mouth dropped open with surprise. Her bed wasn’t a bed at all but a human being. She was sprawled across the body of a man twice her size. Moving carefully she lifted her head from his chest. The thumping stopped and she realized that it was the solid beat of his heart she had been hearing.
Not daring to move anything but her head she looked around. She was in a tent; cold sunlight was filtering through its walls and although she could see her breath, she wasn’t the least bit chilled. The man beneath her radiated heat; it surrounded her entire body and –
She realized with sudden horror that she was completely naked and the gods help her – so was the man underneath her. She froze, her pulse thudding and her eyes widening as she stared at the man’s broad chest. It was covered in a layer of reddish-brown hair and despite the cold weather, he was deeply tanned. His chest was rising and falling evenly and she risked a glance at his face. He was sleeping soundly and she studied his face carefully. He had a broad nose and wide cheekbones and freckles covered his tanned cheeks.
He looked to be around her age and he was a handsome man, she decided. He was also huge. Her small frame fit neatly on top of him with room to spare. He would be at least a foot and a half taller than her, her feet barely reached his knees. If she –
For the gods sake – what are you doing? In case you’ve forgotten, the man is very naked and very much a stranger. Get your naked self off of him and get out of his tent before he wakes.
She decided that was excellent advice. Moving slowly, she slithered off his body onto the blanket beside him. He snorted, his hands twitching by his sides, but didn’t wake. She almost screamed out loud when a cold nose poked into her back. She twisted her head, flinching at the pain in her face, and stared into the face of the small dog.
“Tia!” She breathed softly and the dog licked her face, her entire body wiggling.
“Hush Tia.” She said quietly before turning back to the man beside her. She started to slide out from under the blankets that covered them and then paused, reaching for the edge of it.
What are you doing? Have you gone mad? What do you think he’ll do if he catches you staring at his naked body? Her mind moaned at her.
She ignored the voice and lifted the blanket a little. In all of her nineteen years she had never once seen what was between a man’s legs and curiosity was winning out over her fear. She lifted the blanket higher, squinting to see in the dim light below it. Before she could fully see what was between his legs, he muttered thickly and turned away from her. She stared at his naked back and ass for a moment before scooting out gingerly from under the blankets. Away from the heat of his body, the cool air brought goose bumps to her skin and she began to shiver. Her clothes were nowhere to be seen but his were piled neatly on the ground and she picked out his shirt and slipped into it. The material was cold but soft and it fell past her knees. Tia scratched at her legs and she reached down and petted the small dog, wincing at the pain in her side.
She frowned. Lying in the redhead’s bed she had felt tired but there had been only a dull ache in her side and her face. Now, sharp pain was radiating from her side into her back and her face was throbbing dully. She touched her face gingerly, noticing for the first time that she could see out of both eyes. The one that had been puffed shut was tender and sore but not swollen the way it had been before. She pressed her tongue against her front teeth. They didn’t move and she frowned a little. They had been loose last night, she was sure of it.
The evening came flooding back to her. Her fight with the beast, the agonizing pain in her side and back when he had thrown her against the tree. She paled and reached for the hem of the shirt, lifting it up and studying her side carefully.
It was swollen and bruised and she could see four barely-scabbed over cuts where the beast had swiped her with his long claws. She blinked in astonishment. Last night they had been wide, gaping slashes with blood pouring from them.
She looked down at her dog. “What’s happening to me Tia?” She whispered fearfully as she dropped the shirt.
She decided that for the moment she didn’t care. What mattered was getting out of here before he woke up. Her side was burning and throbbing and she would have to move slowly. She needed to put as much space between her and the stranger as possible.
“Come Tia.” She whispered. Her eye fell on the sword lying next to his pants. She hesitated and then picked it up. It was heavy and it hurt her side to hold it but she would take it anyway.
She screamed breathlessly and whirled around. The cuts on her side split open and she could feel blood dripping down her side as she lifted the man’s sword and held it in front of her.
The redhead was sitting up in his nest of blankets. He yawned and suddenly stood and her eyes dropped automatically. She flushed scarlet at the sight of his penis. It was partially erect and as big as the rest of him.
He walked towards her and she stumbled back, holding the handle of the sword tightly in her hand and giving him a warning look. He ignored it and reached for his pants, slipping into them and smiling a little at the redness of her cheeks.
“Do you know how to use that?” He pointed to the sword in her hand.
“Yes.” She lied.
He reached out with terrifying quickness and knocked the sword from her hand. It clattered to the ground, barely missing her bare toes, and he picked it up quickly. He held it out to her, handle-first and grinned at her.
She glared at him and snatched it from him. Her sudden movement ripped open the barely-healed cuts on her side even more and she fought back the wave of nausea that went through her as she felt the blood soaking into his shirt. She swayed a little and he frowned.
“You’re not fully healed yet.” He held out his hand. “Come to me.”
She scowled and backed away towards the opening of the tent.
“Do not be frightened of me little one. I only wish to help you.”
“Stay away from me!” She spat at him.
“Tia - that is your name is it not?”
She frowned in confusion at him as the dog at her feet perked its ears up and then ran to the man. She stopped in front of him, her tail wagging happily and as the man reached down, rolled on to her back.
He rubbed the dog’s belly and the woman made a low moan of dismay. She whistled softly and the dog, after licking the redhead’s hand, bounced to her feet and ran back to her.
“We’re leaving. If you try and stop me, I’ll kill you.” She whispered.
She backed out of the tent. The man made no attempt to follow her as she stepped into the cold morning air. She trembled violently and pressed her hand against her side. It was getting hard to breathe again and she felt weak and faint.
She took a deep breath and turned to flee into the forest. A blonde man, his expression amused, was standing behind her.
“Good morning.” He stared at the sword in her hand. “Are you planning on hunting for our breakfast?”
She lunged at him, lifting the sword and jabbing it at him weakly. He sidestepped her easily and she tumbled to the ground, crying out at the bolt of pain that went through her side. Dimly she could hear Tia barking and the blonde man cursing and then the redhead’s face was over hers and he was staring at her gravely.
“Stay away from me.” She whispered weakly as he plucked the sword from her limp hand.
“We won’t harm you little one.” The man said as she fainted again.