As a shifter, Mark Guitron is uniquely equipped to search for the devil beast, El Chupacabra, and stop the horrible killings. Hunting one night by moonlight, he spots another wolf whose aura tells him she is also a shifter. When he's visited by an erotic vision of her in human form, he knows he must find her and make her his own.
Chloe Hanson is searching for a friend she's convinced is a victim of the devil beast. When she meets Mark, she feels a primal tug that tells her they are meant to be together. As they join forces in the hunt, they soon learn that sex between them feeds a need, rather than slaking it. The multiple orgasms barely satisfy their lust for each other, and as they draw closer to their prey, their fiercest coupling is yet to come.
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November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Lust by Moonlight by Desiree Holt
"Hey, I've only been here for two nights." Mark chuckled into the sat phone. "Give me a break, okay?"
"Just checking." Ric Garza's voice held just a trace of humor. "So how did you find things there? About the same?"
"Nothing ever changes down here," Mark told him. "Still a lot of 'coyotes' bringing illegals across the Rio Grande and the narcotraficantes are still running drugs. Otherwise, what else could be going on in a county that has a total population of less than fourteen thousand?"
"You tell me? You're the one who lived there all those years."
Mark sighed. "I know. I just enjoyed the peace and quiet. Don't get many gangbangers or drive-bys down this way."
"So, tell me. Any talk in town about the beast? And hint of an appearance?"
"No." Mark sighed. "But you and I both know that doesn't mean anything. By the time we hear about it, the first killing has already taken place."
"You going out again tonight?" Ric wanted to know.
"In just a little while. I'll let you know if I find anything. Pick up any trace."
"All right. I'll talk to you in the morning."
Mark Guitron clicked off and placed the phone on the kitchen counter. Glancing out the window over the sink, he saw that twilight had already morphed into night. Another hour and it would be full dark, time for him to prowl. He busied himself at his laptop while he waited, pulling up again the latest news stories on El Chupacabra and trying to find some hint of the beast's path of destruction. Finally, by ten o'clock he was ready. Stripping off his clothes and leaving them folded on his bed, he opened the back door, walked onto the tiny porch and willed his body to shift.
As always he felt the bones elongate, the muscles stretch, his nose morph into the classic snout of the wolf. The fine smattering of dark hair on his body thickened and turned into a rich pelt and his canine teeth became biting tools with sharpened points. In seconds he was wolf, lifting his head to scent the air. Quietly he padded down the stairs, inhaled the night air again, and took off across the rocky ground and down into the first of many arroyos.
The moon had just cleared the tops of the trees and hung like a silver ball in the sky. The air was clear tonight, not a hint of a cloud, and stars hung like brilliants around the lunar globe. The loamy soil over its base of natural caliche lay like a carpet on the ground, populated by thorny shrubs that thrived in the arid environment. Zapata County, located in the Balcones Escarpment, was in the area that divided East and West Texas. It nestled along the Mexican border seeking invisibility in the ongoing border drug wars.
Mark had grown up here, in this sparsely populated area, his parents scratching out a living in the natural gas industry, the county's main economic product. A football scholarship took him through four years at Texas A&M University and a degree in criminal justice. He'd been a decorated deputy in the Zapata County Sheriff's Office until the call had come from Craig Stafford. He'd been reeling from the death of his closest friend, killed by the Chupacabra, a beast that many refused to acknowledge, that others denigrated, but that all feared.
Now he was back in the area he knew so well, roaming it as the wolf.
The devil beast had gone from Texas to Florida but deep in his belly Mark sensed it was headed back here. To finish things. Finish the cycle.
Its pattern was always three kills before moving on, but in Maverick County it had been held to two because Mark and Jonah had chased it away by zeroing in on another predator. Similar, but not the same. Not only had the autopsy proven that, but there had been more killings.
Mark was the one who had suggested returning to the Texas border area because the devil beast hadn't completed its pattern there. Three kills, then move on. But it had been interrupted before the third one. Its rage would be great and its bloodlust high. It would want to leave its stamp on that area.
The Night Seekers had all debated whether it would return to Maverick County or move on. Both Mark and Jonah had insisted it wouldn't go back to the place where it had nearly been killed but would find someplace close by. Zapata County, with its vast stretches of land and sparse population was an ideal spot for the Chupacabra killing ground.
Mark had kept his little house outside the town of Zapata. What the hell, it was all paid for. And so he'd opened it up, laid in some provisions and each night shifted to go hunting. Now in his wolf form he padded along in the moonlight, listening to the calls of the night birds. He used his highly developed sense of smell to search for traces of the Chupacabra, especially any lingering hint of the aroma of turpentine that he and Jonah had found at the killing site in Maverick County, but he only caught the scent of the wild animals.
Still, his plan was to keep searching every night, widening the area each time he went out. In his gut he knew the devil beast would come here to finish his task. Knew it with a certainty. And he would be here, waiting for it.
It was a night just like this one when he'd found the body of his closest friend, Rob Greico. He'd just come off patrol as a Deputy Sheriff and was swinging by Rob's house for a late beer. Like Mark, Rob lived in a fairly isolated area of the county. He'd driven down the long caliche drive from the two-lane highway, ready to kick back and suck on a brew. All the lights had been on at Rob's house, but when Mark knocked no one answered. Nor did he find anyone when he walked through the house. The television was blaring but no Rob. Nothing.
Until he reached the barn. What he'd thought was a pile of rags turned out to be Rob's mutilated body. Mark had walked away from the site and vomited before finally going back to take a closer look. He'd never get the horror of that night out of his mind. Fang marks on his throat. His body drained of blood. His stomach ripped open and his intestines hanging out.
No one should have to die like that. And he'd vowed that moment not to stop until he'd hunted and killed the devil beast.
The problem with hunting El Chupacabra was people were so scared of the legend they wouldn't acknowledge it. Or else they discounted it as an old wives' tale. His boss had finally demanded that he take some leave time and right about then Craig Stafford had contacted him about Night Seekers.
He truly hoped this wasn't going to be a waste of time on his part. The animal--or whatever it was--needed to be caught and killed before it wreaked any more havoc. The most disturbing thought was the indication that someone might be crossbreeding and trying to reproduce this evil hybrid of nature. Whoever that was had to be found and stopped.
Mark paused at the top of a rocky knoll, lifting his snout. A strange scent caught at his nostrils, and he turned his head.
Every muscle in his body went rigid. Wolves were not endemic to Zapata County. Indeed, wolves were all but extinct everywhere in Texas, disappearing slowly over the years. While neighboring states had reintroduced the gray wolf to the wild, Texas still lagged behind. Which was why Mark was always careful when running to do it at night and pick a spot without human habitation.
So where did this other wolf come from? Was it one of the rare red wolves he'd read about inhabiting the area? He didn't even know if their existence here was a fact, or just a legend like El Chupacabra. And why would it be here, anyway, since its habitat was the marshland between Houston and Beaumont?
Moving rapidly into a small cluster of trees, he shifted and used the thickest tree to conceal himself. Peering around the trunk, he spotted the other wolf still standing in the same place. It turned its head in Mark's direction and he could have sworn that even at this distance the animal saw him. He held his breath. If it was truly a wolf in the wild, it would smell him and possibly attack.
But the strangest thing happened. The air around the animal shimmered and in seconds where the wolf had stood was a woman whose amazing body was outlined by the moonlight. He could tell she was tall, with long hair of some dark color that streamed down her back, and as she lifted her arms she brought magnificent breasts into relief.
His cock stood immediately at attention, hardening and swelling. He started to move out of his hiding place, then thought better of it. She turned her head in his direction for the briefest of moments, then the air shimmered again and the wolf was back.
He stood unmoving, watching, until the other animal loped of into a stand of trees and disappeared from sight. This was not good. If there was another shifter in the area, Night Seekers really needed to know about it. He'd have to do some real digging to find out about the wolf, and do it without raising any suspicions.
Taking one last look, he turned and trotted off to his house.