Moon Lust

Moon Lust by Sherri L. King

Book: Moon Lust by Sherri L. King Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sherri L. King
Prologue
     
    Full Moon
     
    Today was her birthday. As of 9:20 a.m she was no less than 32 year s old. Brianna sighed, sending a puff of steam out into the frigid air. So why am I out here, in the middle of the Ural Mountains, listening to a tour guide drone on and on about old growth forests in Russia?
    Because she’d made a promise to a dying man, that’s why. Her eccentric though much beloved Uncle Alexi had always wanted to revisit the land of his birth but had never had the chance. After the death of her parents Uncle Alexi had raised her like a daughter. So for years he’d been too busy caring for her and overseeing his international forestry conservation projects to take the time for himself. As time wore on, Brianna had grown up and helped him in his conservation efforts…but he’d never found the time to get away.
    He’d asked her to go in his stead.
    “You must see the mountains and forests, Bri. Promise me you will go when I am gone. They are so beautiful the angels weep with envy. I want you to see them. Perhaps you will weep too, eh?” He tried to chuckle, but his body had been too weak with the cancer. He’d died that very day, but only after she’d vowed to visit his homeland.
    Uncle Alexi had been right about the Middle Ural region—it was breathtaking. The air, though cold, was crisp and clean—so clear that one could see for miles in the higher regions. It was humbling to stand among the dense forest of trees as she was now, but it was also… spooky .
    Brianna wasn’t sure why the beautiful landscape should inspire such an uncomfortable fear within her—but there it was. She felt nervous, edgy. Hunted . As odd as it would sound to anyone else who knew her, she’d felt this way for two days now. Ever since she and the thirteen other people in her group—tourists, students, guides—had entered a particularly dense region of old growth forest.
    For two days, she’d felt stalked by some unnamed fear. She could almost swear that if she turned at just the right moment she’d see a monster bearing down on her. Not even the beauty of the land and wildlife could take her mind away from that awful, hunted feeling.
    It didn’t help that every hour or so she caught a glimpse of something in the forest out of the corner of her eye. Like now, when something low and swift darted between the trees, obscured by the dense vegetation…
    She bit her lip. Her guides had mentioned that the area was teeming with wildlife—especially foxes and wolves. Brianna found herself hoping that the shadows she so frequently saw between the trees were just the curious forest inhabitants and not the monsters of her imagination.
    She blinked. “You’re losing it,” she murmured to herself. “There are no such things as monsters.”
    Realizing that she’d lagged behind the group while lost in her thoughts, she hurried to catch up. She yelped as she tripped, failing to notice a protruding root in the ground. Stumbling, she was unable to regain her footing. Loose sediments gave way as she tottered, sending her skidding.
    “Ouch!”
    Brianna fell off the path, gasping as she watched herself uncontrollably race down the face of a steep ravine. “Oh god!”
    Her eyes widened as a piercing howl rose up into the sky. Crying out as her head struck a rock, she quickly surrendered to black unconsciousness.

Chapter One
     
    Waning Moon
     
    “Drink this, Brianna, it will help warm you.” The voice was dark and far away. The words were English, but the accent was thick and Russian. Brianna struggled to open her eyes, and the light that penetrated through the slit she managed sent shards of glass splintering through her mind. She felt a cup pressed to her mouth, and a warm, comforting liquid trickled down her throat.
    Too soon the warm drink was taken away, and a hand came to smooth the hair away from her brow. Her body was sore, and it was difficult to use her arms and legs. It took several seconds for her to realize that it

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