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Vicus Luna

Author(s): Jessica Coulter Smith

The town of Windsor, Georgia lives in fear of the Vicus Luna, the local werewolf pack. Each month the pack comes out and abducts a woman, someone to do their bidding, little more than a slave. It's on one of these nights that Cady Whitmore finds herself cornered by the Vicus Luna. Terrified, she faces three werewolves who wish to claim her as their own. When the alpha decides to claim her, Cady is horrified. From what she's heard, the alpha is a womanizing, chauvanistic, cruel man... When Marshall drags her off to a secluded cabin, she worries for her safety and her life.

As Cady struggles with many challenges thrown her way, she finds herself caught in a difficult spot. While Marshall may not love her, he isn't ready to let her go. Marshall's friend and fellow pack member, Brendan, knows that Cady is special and will stop at nothing to make sure she's safe.

In the end, the best werewolf will win...

 
Excerpt
UNPROOFED EXCERPT

Prologue
An upside down, backwards little town exists in the middle of southern Georgia; population 300. In the town of Windsor, everything you know to be a reality in the rest of the world is turned inside out. Werewolves are real and are a part of society, whether society wants them to be or not. What’s more, their pack is allowed to do as they please, regardless of what that means. The townspeople and its leaders are frightened of the werewolves, enough that if a girl goes missing here or there its over-looked, swept under the rug so to speak, simply accepted as part of life. If your daughter, granddaughter, or girlfriend goes missing, you know she’s part of the pack now, lost to you forever, no longer a normal citizen, but a possession – property of the Vicus Luna, or Half-Moon as the pack is called.
Once per month, when the moon hangs heavy in the sky, the Vicus Luna hunt the streets, looking for another female to add to their group, uncaring of the age of their next victim. As the hum of motorcycles is heard throughout the city, the citizens of Windsor keep to their homes, protecting their female family members. None wish to cross the Vicus Luna, known to be vicious when necessary and easily provoked; the pack is feared.
It is on such a night that our tale begins…

PART ONE
A new way of life...

Chapter One

Cady Whitmore sat at the kitchen table, staring at her homework, yet not really seeing the pages in front of her. Her brother, Jamie, had insisted she stay nearby and attend the local community college. It had been the one time they had fought. Cady had wanted to escape the town of Windsor. She hated small towns and the small minds they bred. She wanted to spread her wings, explore a little, and see what the rest of the world was like. She knew that other towns didn’t know about werewolves much less let them run rampant. There had to be a more peaceful place, a place she could gladly call home.
Cady sighed. Looking out the window, she saw the sun was starting to set, which meant her brother would be going to work soon. The town ran a club for the werewolves called the Sunset Club, open from sunset to sunrise. The pay wasn’t stellar, but it allowed them to live comfortably. Their home was small, the furniture old, but it was home just the same.
Jamie walked through the kitchen door, dressed in his standard uniform of black jeans and a white t-shirt with “Sunset Club” blazoned across the chest.
“Did you have a good day at school?” he asked, heading toward the refrigerator.
“Yes, my classes were fine,” she answered, not really looking at him.
“Why don’t you work on your homework while I cook dinner,” he suggested.
Cady shrugged, gathered her books and went to her room. As she closed the door, she tossed her books onto her bed. She was taking a College Algebra class that was killing her and a Literature class that she loved, along with two other general education requirements. She had a full load, but it wasn’t as bad as she had thought it would be. Her classes were longer than her high school classes had been, but she only went twice a week so she had plenty of time to do homework and study.
Opening her math book, she stared at the page. Math had never been her best subject and the college version certainly wasn’t any easier. After reading through the chapter twice, her head was hurting and she didn’t understand it any better than she had before.
Closing the book, she heard her brother yell for her from the kitchen.
As she stepped into the kitchen, she noticed there was only one plate on the table.
“Aren’t you staying to eat?” she asked.
Jamie shook his head. “I have to get to work. Promise me that you’ll stay home tonight.”
“I have to go to Heather’s in an hour,” she answered.
“Why? You know you need to be inside tonight of all nights,” he responded, a slight tinge of anger in his voice.
“Because if I don’t go to Heather’s I’m going to fail my math class,” she answered tersely.
Jamie sighed, defeated. “Alright, but promise that you’ll be careful! Get Heather or her brother to drive you back home. And make sure you’re home by nine o’clock! Maybe the Vicus Luna won’t be out before then.”
“I will,” Cady promised.
Jamie nodded. “I’ll see you when I get home.”

***

An hour later, Cady slowly made her way to Heather’s house. She was only a block away when she spotted a member of Vicus Luna. She paused, knowing she couldn’t outrun him. Deciding to act nonchalant, she continued walking. She had only taken a few steps when she spotted a few more members of the pack.
Her heart was racing, her palms were starting to sweat, and she could feel her breath coming out short and frantic. Maybe if she stopped and talked to them, they would let her pass.
“What do you want?” she called out in a voice that didn’t quite sound like her own.
“Not much. Just you,” one of them answered with a smug smile.
“Why me?” she asked, her voice coming out in a near whisper her fear having taken over.
“Because you’re the only one walking around tonight. Any other questions?” one of the asked, eyeing her up and down.
“What are you going to do with me?” Cady asked, not entirely sure she wanted the answer.
She had heard rumors of what happened to the girls and young women who were taken, but her brother wouldn’t let anyone talk about Vicus Luna around her. Looking back, she wished he had. It might have better prepared her for this very moment.
“That’s not something I’m going to answer, not yet anyway.” He looked over at another pack member, “David, why don’t you take her back to the house.”
Cady watched as the one called David strode forward. Average height and build with short spiky brown hair and gray eyes lent him a softer look than the rest of the group. He didn’t seem to have that same hard edge as the others.
“You’re smart not to put up a fight,” he said. “I know you’re probably scared, but you shouldn’t be. No one is going to hurt you.”
“How do I know that?” Cady asked. “How do I know that you plan on keeping me alive? Or that I’ll ever see my brother again?”
“You don’t. You just have to trust me,” David answered. “All we really want is to make the townspeople pay. For so long they felt they were superior to us, not allowing their daughters to date us; not giving us jobs or letting us rent homes from them. We’re different and they feared us without cause; ostracizing anyone who belonged to a werewolf family, whether they could shift or not. Now they don’t have a choice, they have to accept us. The snobs have to face the fact that their daughter’s belong to us now.”
“I know that’s how this whole thing started, but why me? I’m not like them. I don’t have money or a big house. I’m just average,” she replied. If they had wanted a spoiled little rich girl, they definitely had the wrong person. She only hoped that would work in her favor.
David shook his head. “That isn’t going to work. Have you looked around and seen this neighborhood?” he asked, spreading his hands and looking around at the large homes.
“But I don’t live around here,” Cady insisted.
David snorted. “Yeah right; your dad is probably a doctor or something.”
Quietly, Cady replied, “My parents are dead.”
David looked at her with new eyes. “Maybe you’re not one of them after all. Sorry to hear about your parents.”
He motioned for her to start walking. They walked in silence until they reached the other side of town, the poorer side. When they stopped in front of a small set of townhouses, Cady took in her surroundings.
“Home sweet home,” David said, climbing the steps to the townhouse directly in front of them.
“All of you live here?” she asked, wondering how they all fit. The pack had to have at least fifteen members, not including the girls they had taken.
“We share rooms. Each townhouse has three bedrooms, except the one on the end, it has four,” David said as they approached the front door.
“Isn’t sharing a room a little hard sometimes?” Cady asked.
David shrugged. “Five in each house; the girls get a room and the guys share two and three to a room. It isn’t that bad.”
“What about the fourth house?” Cady asked, indicating the larger one on the end.
“That’s where Marshall and his brothers live. A friend of theirs has the fourth room. Other than that, it’s off limits – except to the women they take their beds for the night,” he answered.
David could tell that Cady was a little surprised. If the thought of women hopping in and out of the beds of the Creed brothers shocked her, she must have led a fairly sheltered life.
He pushed open the door and ushered Cady inside. They were instantly greeted by all of the pack members, who had gathered to check out the newest addition to their numbers.
“Hey, what did you find tonight?” one of the guys asked, eyeing her openly.
Cady tried not to shiver in revulsion. The look he was giving her made her skin crawl.
“Hands off, Chris,” David said. “You know that Marshall decides who gets the new additions.”
“Maybe I don’t want to wait on Marshall to decide,” Chris countered, his jaw set at a stubborn angle.
“Give it up, Chris. You’re too drunk to realize what you’re saying. Go back over to Cheri. She’s looking rather upset with you,” David said with a pointed look at a woman in the corner.
Chris didn’t need any further prompting. Not wanting to upset the only woman in the pack that actually tolerated him, he slunk back over to the corner.
“Thank you,” Cady whispered to David.
“For what? I only reminded Chris that Marshall would be angry with him,” he replied.
Cady was appalled. “You mean someone is actually going to give me away like cattle, like a possession?”
“Pretty much,” David answered. “Don’t worry, you’ll get used to the way things are handled around here.”
“What if I don’t?” she asked.
David rubbed the back of his neck. “Then you pray that Marshall doesn’t find out. The last thing you want to see is that man highly pissed off.”
Cady chewed on her bottom lip for a minute. “You’ve mentioned Marshall a few times. Who is he?”
David looked down at her in stunned silence. “How can you possibly not know who Marshall is? Everyone in town knows him by reputation if nothing else.”
“I usually keep to myself. So, who is he?” she asked again, hoping for an answer this time.
“The leader of our pack,” David answered.
He turned slightly away from her, not wanting to answer any more questions. She wasn’t what he had expected. All of the others had been stuck up and snobby when they had been abducted. But not Cady; no, she was inquisitive more than anything else. Sure, she had showed a little fear in the beginning, but she didn’t seem quite as tense anymore.
It seemed like they waited for hours for the pack’s leader, the alpha, to return. Cady became tired and curled in a chair. Just as her eyes were closing, she heard the door open and close with a bang.
“Where is she?” a deep voice asked.

***

Marshall surveyed the room, looking for the newest addition to his pack. He was anxious to get this part of the evening out of the way. Once he had their latest acquisition settled, he could go about his business. It had been a long day and all he wanted was a drink and a willing woman.
“She’s right here, Marshall,” said David, pulling Cady to her feet and ushering her forward.
Cady stopped a few feet away from the large man facing her. Her mouth ran dry in both awe and fear. The alpha of the Vicus Luna was the tallest man she’d ever been around, standing easily at six-foot-four inches tall. His muscular shoulders and thick upper arms filled out his t-shirt; the material clung like a second skin, accenting his chest and washboard abs.
She eyed him uncertainly, not sure what to expect. Chancing a look at his face, her breath caught. His dark brown hair fell over his forehead just above his dark eyebrows; his eyes were a dark mossy green and his nose was straight. Full lips rested above a firm, square jaw. Overall, Cady had to admit she hadn’t seen a better looking man in all of her nineteen years. If she had to guess, she’d put his age around twenty-three or twenty-four.
Marshall quickly looked her over, taking in her slim form and petite stature. Her long chestnut hair fell to the middle of her back in waves. Eyes the color of chocolate stared at him uncertainly. Her nose was small and dainty, above full sensuous lips, all set in an elfin face. She was easily the most beautiful woman they’d managed to snag thus far.
“I’m going to do things a little differently this time,” he announced, looking around the room. “Anyone interested in claiming her should step forward.”
Marshall wasn’t sure what had made him utter the words. Something about her brought out a protective streak in him. She may not be able to choose who she wanted outright, but he could narrow the field down a little and then give her a choice. Something told him he would feel guilty if he just gave her to a random guy.
His brothers, Paul and Robin, stepped forward, as well as their long-time friend, Brendan. Marshall wasn’t entirely surprised, but he was a little dismayed. It would be hard having her in the same house with him on a regular basis. He had hoped someone else would step forward.
“Only three?” he asked the room.
Marshall sighed. Turning toward Cady, he motioned for her to step forward. “I guess I should at least get a good look at you before passing you off to someone. Come here.”
Cady hesitated a moment, but felt a push from behind, sending her sprawling against Marshall. The collision with his hard body nearly knocked the breath out of her.
Reaching out to steady her, Marshall couldn’t help but notice how fragile and soft she felt. Her full breasts pressed against him and he immediately felt himself grow hard. He wasn’t use to having such a sudden reaction to a female and it took him by surprise.
Setting her back on her feet, he backed up a step. He looked down at her, letting his eyes travel from her head to her toes and back again. He had to admit she was delicious. Marshall wondered what she would taste like, what she would feel like lying under him.
“You’re awfully pretty. What’s your name?” he asked in a husky voice.
“Cady,” she replied softly.
“So, Cady, which of these guys would you prefer?” he asked.
“I don’t want to belong to anyone. I just want to go home,” she answered.
Cady wished that she had listened to Jamie. If she had, she would be curled up in her warm bed this very moment. She wouldn’t be forced to choose a random guy she’d never met and knew nothing about. It was almost as bad as if he had auctioned her off. She felt like a hooker being pimped out.
“Going home isn’t an option. If you don’t select one of these guys, then I’ll pick for you,” Marshall replied.
Cady didn’t need any further prompting; she knew without a doubt that he meant what he said. She slowly walked over to the guys and looked at each of them. None of them were bad looking, but she still wasn’t sure how she could pick one of them. How could you choose a complete stranger? They all had an edge to them, a feral gleam in their eyes. Being part of Vicus Luna meant they were hard and possibly violent. If she chose wrong, it could mean her life. How could she possibly make such a decision at the drop of a hat?
Marshall watched her, watched the various emotions creeping across her face. He knew she felt frustrated and scared, but she was holding up pretty well. All of the others had broken down by this point and were crying, but not Cady. She had an inner strength that would serve her well in their pack.
“Time’s up,” he told her softly.
She turned to him with wide eyes. “But… I don’t know any of them. How can I make a choice when they’re all strangers to me?”
Marshall shrugged. “Not my problem, honey.”
Cady looked from him to the three guys and back again. “I can’t choose.”
Marshall wiped a hand across his jaw. Maybe he should just claim her for himself and be done with it. Whether he liked to admit it or not, she appealed to him. Her small frame barely reached his chest. While he typically went for taller women, her petite stature made him feel protective. It was a novelty for him, one that might be worth exploring.
Mate… the word whispered across his mind. His gaze sharpened on her. Was it possible? Was she his mate? It wasn’t often that a werewolf found his mate. An alpha could only sire another alpha if his wife was his true mate. Marshall’s parents had been fortunate to find each other. Or maybe not so fortunate… when his father had died, his mother had slowly lost her mind, spiraling into a state of despair. It had only been a few months later that she had decided to join him, leaving her teenage sons alone.
Marshall slowly circled her, taking in every strand of hair, every freckly sprinkled across her nose, the very scent of her. Mate… the word slid through his mind again, more insistent this time.
“Or perhaps instead of having you choose, I should just claim you for myself,” he told her quietly.
If possible, her eyes widened even more. He wasn’t sure if that was a good sign or a bad one. Either way, there was no backing down now. Regardless of what happened, she would be his. He couldn’t wait to feel her soft skin sliding against his; feel her moist heat as he buried himself in her body.
“What?” she asked softly. “But I thought…” her voice trailed off and she glanced over her shoulder at the three guys still waiting on her decision.
“You said you couldn’t choose. When I said I would choose for you, I didn’t specify that it would be one of those three.”
Cady swallowed, feeling truly afraid for the first time. There was something different about Marshall. It wasn’t just that he was the biggest guy she’d ever met, but there was something wild and untamed about him. It both excited and terrified her. She knew that being with him would change her, but she wasn’t sure how long their time together would last. She doubted the alpha would be happy with one woman for the rest of his life. What would happen to her when he tired of her?
Marshall took a step closer to her, mere inches separating them. “You don’t have a problem with that, do you?”
She shook her head, remembering what David had said about the man’s temper. The last thing she needed to do was make him angry. Would he hit her? If she made him mad enough, would he kill her? Her heart thumped against her ribs. She tried to steady her nerves, knowing that to show fear would be a grave mistake. If she was timid around the alpha, he would never respect her.
Turning to face the room, Marshall announced, “I’ve decided to take this one for myself. Sorry guys, but the show is over.”
Marshall fought a grin when he heard one of his brothers growl. It gave him great pleasure to thwart them at every turn. His parents had called it sibling rivalry, but it wasn’t. He simply enjoyed rubbing their noses in the fact that he was in charge – they had no power over their lives except what he allowed.

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Genre: Paranormal
Date Published: 12/02/2009
Publisher: JCS Books

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