Book 3 in the Devlin Dynasty series.
Conner Devlin has traveled to Romania to review a request for funding of a wildlife preserve. There, he meets Katya, an enigmatic beauty whose lupine sexuality captures him in more ways than one.
Katya only wanted to set up a preserve for the wolves, not mate with the brash American, Conner Devlin. But a cataclysmic event forces the two of them together.
Under a compelling full moon, their primal needs lead to explosive passion high in the Carpathian Mountains.
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July 29, 2005
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Excerpt from Mountain Moonlight by Jaci Burton
"There's nothing like the moon, is there?"
In the split second before Conner had spoken, Katya sensed him behind her, so his voice didn't surprise her. But she couldn't allow her mind and body to wander in thoughts of him. Conner Devlin was already a distraction she couldn't afford.
She turned and nodded. "Yes, the moon is very special."
Did he know about her as she knew about him? She wouldn't volunteer the information, preferring instead for him to mention it. After all, not every lupine had developed the ability to discern a human shifter.
"What are you doing out here?" she asked.
He shrugged. "I was going to ask you the same thing."
"I'm restless when away from home."
"I understand that sentiment completely."
They stared at the moon together for awhile, wrapped in a silence that should have been uncomfortable, but wasn't.
"So tell me, Katya, how is it that you speak such fluent English?"
"I went to college in America."
He arched a brow. "Really? Where?"
"University of New York."
"Biology. And you?"
"Did my undergrad and graduate work at Boston University. Business."
"I see. A good education for your job, then."
"You could say that."
"Do you travel often on behalf of the Devlin Foundation?"
"I do the occasional site visit, but my staff usually handles those."
"Then why are you and your brother here instead of your staff?"
"The Devlins thought it an important enough venture that the principals should be here to oversee."
Was that good or bad? "So you're the decision maker, the most important of the Devlins."
His lips curled in a smile that was both compelling and dangerous. "You could say that. I'll be the one making the final decision on funding your refuge."
His confident arrogance should have irritated her. Instead, she admired it. She'd never found followers to be particularly appealing, yet had never seen an alpha leader in action before.
Except her father. And that had been a long time ago.
There was nothing wrong in fighting for what you really wanted. It was the way of her people, and it was her way. She'd done battle and taken her war to protect the wolves to the very edge many times. Giving up had never been an option.
"Do you have a family, Katya? Husband, children?"
Family. Her throat constricted and she pushed the memories aside. "No. My parents are both dead. I have no husband. Although I have a rather large...extended family. And you?"
"My parents live in Boston. I have three brothers, a sister and a lot of extended family members here and there."
"That must be nice."
"I take it you have no siblings, then?"
"No. None at all." Loneliness surrounded her, the memories thickening like the evening fog. Conner moved in front of her, forcing her gaze away from the mountains onto him. His eyes were like the sky in the winter. Crisp, cool, and utterly mesmerizing.
Her mind screamed danger, her body warmed so fast and so hot she wanted to remove her coat and let the cold air slap some sense into her. This physical reaction to Conner was unnerving and unexpected. She had to keep her distance from him. "I think we've talked enough tonight. I'm very tired."
She turned to walk away, but his hand shot out and grasped her upper arm. Heat burned through her coat and layers of clothing. Unfamiliar urges washed over her. Arousal, desire, want. The need to mate had never reared up before, but primal urges pummeled her.
Why now, and why with this man?
"You're a woman of great mystery, Katya. I like that."
Her throat went dry and she struggled to swallow past the lump forming there. She had no experience with men, didn't really know how to handle a sexual attraction that had materialized out of nowhere. He stood so close to her that if she inhaled deeply her breasts would brush his chest.
The thought of rubbing her nipples against his naked chest nearly sent her to her knees. She fought to still the trembling of her limbs. A deep need to feel the contact of skin against skin, fur against fur, enveloped her. She began to perspire, suddenly too hot for all the clothing she wore.
"I love uncovering a mystery. How about you?"
She searched for words, anything to break the spell he'd woven over her normal sensibilities. "Mysteries can be dangerous."
He nodded and pulled her closer, wrapping his arms around her waist and drawing her against his body. "I like dangerous. Do you like dangerous, Katya?"
Her body screamed yes. She wanted danger, wanted to strip off her clothing and run as far and fast as she could, hoping that Conner would give chase.
She wanted the challenge, and the reward at the end.
She wanted him.
Desires like that could be perilous. "There's no place for danger in my life, Conner. We have a business relationship and we should keep it at that."
He paused, his hold on her loosening. But then he shook his head, smiled and said, "I don't think I want to. Do you really want to keep your distance from me, Katya?"
With utter fascination she watched his mouth draw ever closer to hers.
By the time his breath caressed her cheek, her lips had parted and she was ready for him. When his mouth descended gently but firmly over hers, her world shattered in a million pieces. His tongue parted the seam of her lips and slipped inside, gently probing. She sighed, shivered and melted in his arms.