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Moonlight by rachel hawthorne pdf

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The first book in bestselling author Rachel Hawthorne's paranormal romance series starring werewolves. From the moment Lucas first saw Rheena, he knew. Books By Rachel Hawthorne Author Of Moonlight - [Free] Books By Rachel Hawthorne. Author Of Moonlight [PDF] [EPUB] Baader, Bernhard. About the Author Other Books by Rachel Hawthorne Credits Cover Copyright About the Publisher P RO L O G U E. Moonlight washed over us, washed over.

Save For Later. God, how could they mistake people for wolves? Or maybe he was just looking for conversation. My parents were going to kill me if they ever found out. Then I heard another howling wolf.

It was what I felt. Something was watching and waiting. But watching whom exactly? And waiting for what? How many steps were left? It had been so stupid to come out without even telling anyone. My parents were going to kill me if they ever found out.

Up ahead, a brightness through the foliage caught my attention. Before I could ask another question, a dozen kids—the other sherpas—leaped out from behind trees. He combed his sandy-blond hair off his brow to reveal his dark-blue eyes. He held up a wrist that sported a watch with numerous dials. A short distance away from Connor was Rafe, with straight black hair that reached his shoulders and eyes a dark brown that bordered on black.

He never said much. I was surprised he was actually counting.

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Her hair, falling past her shoulders, was black and her eyes were deep blue. Or faking it, I realized. Yeah, trying to pull one over on me. How did she get here ahead of us? I wondered. The adopted one. Jack and Terri Asher had taken me in. But then, did any parents totally understand their kids? Happy birthday! Then a bottle rocket shot into the sky and exploded into a burst of red, white, blue, and green. But I was too happy to care.

Besides, I was free from parental restraints this summer. Not even my few friends back home had ever thrown me a surprise party.

Sweet seventeen. Lucas Wilde. His eyes glowed silver in the darkness. As always, he was watching me intently. If anything, he tended to avoid direct contact with me. I tried to keep my feelings buried, but whenever I looked at him they would bubble to the surface and I was certain that he would see in my eyes what I fought so valiantly to control.

His nearness made my heart gallop and my mouth go dry. He was so intense. Still, 14 I often caught him watching me. His words snapped me back to the moment.

She heard you. It almost ruined everything. And be quiet while doing it. His deep voice sent a shiver of pleasure through me. My absurd feelings made me self-conscious. Having his attention focused on me was unnerving, and suddenly I felt silly about my concerns. Lindsey did. So why did he make me nervous? Why did my conversational skills take a hike when he was around? You know how it is. When you try to be quiet, you end up making more noise.

He was the one in charge of our little group. If someone had a problem, he or she could go to Lucas. Whether right or wrong, I suspected that he only respected those who solved their own problems. I had this absurd need to prove myself to him. It was strange but I knew if something had been following us, whatever it had been, Lucas would protect us from it.

He just gave off those vibes. It was probably the reason that, as young as he was, he was given such authority and responsibility. I sat on one and peered over at Lucas. He was tall and in great shape. He wore his T-shirt like a second skin that outlined his muscles.

I had this overwhelming urge to run my hands up those granite arms and across his shoulders. I was pathetic. Least of all Lucas. On the other hand, it was also a relief that he gave me so little direct attention. Nothing was 17 quite as embarrassing as one-sided obsession.

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I chided myself as soon as I thought those words. How silly was that explanation? I never had, never would believe in anything paranormal or supernatural. We were going to escort them to a predetermined spot in the forest. Three of them. We sort of adopted them until they were ready to go out on their own. I should have felt like an outsider, but something about the group made me feel as though I belonged.

Maybe that was the reason I was so comfortable out here. Everyone was the same: Lucas shoved away from the tree. I thanked everyone. Should be, I thought. Rafe was leading the way, with all the other sherpas scattered between him and me—except one.

Lucas was following at the back of our group, right behind me. I had that sense of being watched again. How had he known anything was wrong? I glanced over my shoulder, feeling silly for saying it aloud.

The entrance to the park is too near civilization. Most of the wildlife is farther in. Everyone in our group grew quiet, listening intently as we trudged along. I was acutely aware of Lucas following closely behind me. Not that I could hear him—his footsteps were silent. I felt nervous and excited. I wondered if he thought of me as anything other than the newbie. Or 21 that he was interested in knowing me better.

Here we had an opportunity to talk, and yet we both remained silent. At the far end of the trail, more light began to seep through the tree cover. I was grateful that everyone picked up the pace. Finally, we broke through the woods into the village. I released a nervous chuckle. But Lucas hesitated. He looked as though he wanted to say something else.

Instead, he shoved his hands into the pockets of his jeans and walked off. Lindsey, Brittany, and I went to our cabin. So what did you wish for? It haunted me now as I remembered the words that had run through my mind with such conviction. I wish Lucas would kiss me. I was small, a kid. Tears ran down my face. I was trembling. They were out there. Bad things were out there. So I hid in the dark. Then I saw the light, coming closer and closer. I hit something and screamed again.

The lamp on the table beside my bed came on. It was still dark outside. Lindsey was standing between my bed and hers, a look of horror on her face. I swiped away my tears.

My parents. I was relieved by her acceptance of my need not to explain. Lindsey sat on my bed, took me in her arms, and held me tightly.

She knew my story. Brittany nodded. Sherpas stick together. Lindsey moved to her bed. The really strange thing was this unexplained fear that I was experiencing lately. Lindsey turned off the light, and I snuggled beneath the blankets.

I wished I understood what was bothering me. Part of me wondered if it was somehow tied to what had happened to my parents. Was something in my subconscious on the verge of breaking free? And if it did, how would my life change? The next morning when I woke up, the lingering effects of the dream were still haunting me.

I forced myself to concentrate on something else. Instead, I felt like the same old me. Faint light was visible through the curtain. Dawn was well on its way to arriving. I was about to embark on my maiden adventure of the summer. This initial excursion would be my test. I reached over and turned on the lamp. Lindsey groaned and stuck her head under the pillow, mumbling something that sounded like Go away. It looks like any other small town in America.

Connor, Rafe, and Lucas left for college this past year. Lindsey and I have one more year in high school. But there was more to it. Where was my shrink when I needed him? She was really toned. I found it a little intimidating. I hoped that hauling a pack and hiking all summer would add some muscle to my shape. I moved to the edge of the bed. You aced all the training.

I know things can get hairy out in the real world. He sort of scares me. All the guys feel like they have something to prove. When they were young, their dads were sherpas. Maybe she feels like she has something to prove, too. Her long, dark 29 hair was pulled back severely into a tight braid. She was wearing cargo shorts, boots, and a red tank. She looked at her watch. I wanted to take my time with the shower, keeping the water as hot as I could stand it, because I knew it would be my last one for many days.

But I was pressed for time. No makeup would be needed on the trail, although I did use sunscreen—to try to keep my freckles at a minimum—and mascara.

My eyelashes are a faint red, and without a touch of mascara they are barely visible. I slipped on my cargo pants, boots, and a thin tank top.

Dark Guardian #1: Moonlight

Over the tank, I zipped a snug hoodie. I tied a bandana over my wild red hair. It was a circle of knots and twisted strands. Someone had once told me that it was a Celtic symbol for guardian.

It seemed appropriate. It had belonged to my mother, and sometimes it made me feel as though she was watching over me. When I stepped out of the bathroom, Brittany was gone and Lindsey was dressed in cargo shorts and a spaghettistrap tank.

She helped me adjust my pack onto my back and shoulders. I can carry my own stuff. Sherpas carried a lot of your stuff last summer, so you might not be used to all the weight. And not to miss my adoptive parents. It was hard, though. My adoptive parents had always treated me like I was their birth kid. But it was my nature to have strong emotions about things, at least according to my shrink. It was the reason that I was still coping with the senseless death of my parents.

I shivered as I stepped out of the cabin into the cool dawn air. The campers and guides were gathered in the center of the small village. The village was nestled just inside the national park.

It was the last chance to stock up before heading out. Excitement—and a little bit of nervousness—thrummed 31 through my veins. Lindsey shut the cabin door behind me and knocked her shoulder against mine.

You ready? Keane, his son, and several grad students would be hiking into the wilderness. Six sherpas would be traveling with them. That was a lot for such a small group, but Dr. Having someone to cover my back sounded like a great idea. One guy stepped away from the group. Lindsey just gave me a questioning raise of her eyebrow and continued on while I stopped to talk with Mason. He was not only one of Dr. He was really cute. His darkbrown hair fell over his brow and covered his left eye.

Not here, of course. But Dad and I have gone through other national forests. And my grad school advisor. Later tonight.

Except that he was cute and seemed friendly. He had eyes the color of clover. With his tawny skin and dark hair, they really stood out.

No one had ever called me City Girl. Maybe it was because I recognized the voice. Or maybe it was simply the nearness of it. To be singled out irritated but thrilled me at the same time. I worked to get all my emotions under control while I slowly turned to face Lucas. And why do I have to hike with you? It was twice the size of mine. I would have been bent over, but he stood straight as though it was nothing.

His hair was straight and lanky, but the variety of colors made it look anything except boring. His silver eyes 34 held a challenge. He could easily declare me too much trouble and leave me here. I had a problem with authority, obviously. I gave him a sarcastic salute. I touched it.

It belonged to my mom. His gaze dropped to my lips as though maybe he was thinking the same thing I was. Then he gave Mason an unfriendly once-over. The dislike was shimmering off him in waves. Maybe it was the whole getting-backto-nature thing.

I heard he found a family that got lost last summer when no one else could. Something about the guy seems off. Mason snapped his head around and gave me a strange smile. I was out walking. Saw the party. Open it. Inside was a braided leather bracelet. I like it. He appeared even more embarrassed. Most of it is camping stuff and cheap souvenirs. We were pretty much limited to group outings, but still we could have some fun. Day one and I was already confused about a lot of things: The question was: Did I want safe?

I smelled him. That was my favorite part of backwoods hiking—going where no one had gone before. It was always an adventure, with a surprise around every corner. And right now, the biggest surprise was Lucas and how much I enjoyed watching his movements. I knew he was attending a university somewhere and had just returned to work for the summer, but that was about it.

I did know he was in amazing shape. The path was at an incline and the rugged forest terrain was mountainous. While no one had made me feel like I was an outsider, I knew the truth: I was.

I felt a strange mixture of admiration and jealousy. I had no idea why I cared, but I wanted to be his equal, wanted him to be impressed with my stamina. Wanted him to be impressed with me. The path widened just a bit. He slowed his stride until we were walking side by side.

He shifted his silver gaze over to me. Lucas moved with a swiftness that astounded me, catching me and steadying me before I fell beneath the weight of my pack. His large, warm hands gripped my arms. He released his hold on me, stepped away, and shucked off his backpack with the ease of someone removing a jacket.

He leaned it up against a tree. I worked my way out of mine and did the same. Okay, Mr. I-can-leave-you-all-in-the-dust, I thought. Be that way. Keane said. His hair was dark, peppered with white. He helped them get the crate safely to the ground. Keane smiled in a way that reminded me of my therapist when he was letting me know that he knew things my feeble mind would never dream of. I had no idea what the park charged for the use of sherpas.

I only knew that I was paid minimum wage.

The thought was that our real reward was being able to spend our summer in the wilds. The other grad students—David, Jon, and Monique— sat together in a cluster, while the sherpas mingled together. David and Jon seemed a little old to be grad students. I thought they were probably close to thirty. Monique was supermodel-lithe and lovely.

Considering Dr. I dug a water bottle out of my backpack and sat beside Mason. He was picking at his thumbnail. It keeps catching on things. I put it back into my pack. Then he peered over at me. Has papers and everything to prove it. Is he from around here?

I mean, I think he goes to college somewhere else but he grew up around here. On the one hand, he was incredibly hot. On the other hand, he was older and seemed way more experienced than I was. The truth was, he intimidated me a little. This place is practically near Canada. What made you decide to work so far from home? Besides, I was still having some residual creepy feelings from the nightmare. Maybe I needed to unburden, and Mason seemed like a nice guy, someone who was interested in me anyway.

The kids at my school tended to think if anyone went to a psychiatrist, she was on the verge of going on a killing spree, so I never talked about it with anyone.

At home I was much more closed off within myself than I was here in the wild. I felt more at home here than I did in Dallas.

Suddenly I felt a need to connect with someone on a level I never had reached before. My therapist says I need to embrace this forest in order to get past them dying here.

Already I regretted opening up to him. Forget I mentioned it. How were they killed? Wild animals? Then who knows? With email and text messaging, long-distance relationships can work.

Or I thought I was. And why did I nearly come out of my skin when I saw Lucas leaning against a tree watching me? What was with this guy and his constant lurking at the edge of the group? And why in the world was I wondering what sort of possibilities he might hold? I was still close enough to the village that he might send me back if I staged a mutiny.

I grabbed my backpack, shrugged it on, and trudged over to him. What does it matter to you? Mason is all bark and no bite. Stick with me for a while longer. Did he not know my history? Why did he care anyway? Because I was the newbie? Or was there more to it? And why did I want there to be more?

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I considered arguing further, but everyone had gathered around and I was the holdup. I shrugged—as much as I was able to shrug with a two-ton backpack on my shoulders. The rest of our day had gone pretty much like that morning: It had 50 been dusk by then. Now it was night and we were toasting marshmallows. Wolves he was convinced were, in reality, werewolves. He believed this particular national forest was their hunting ground, where they hid away from the real world.

Keane asked now, in answer to my question. He was sitting on a little folding stool, looking very professorial. All he needed was a red bow tie. Legends are rooted in fact. Keane could be onto something here. There was a guy in my dorm that could have been a werewolf. He never shaved, cut his hair, or bathed. It was hard to call him human. Apparently none of us were taking his theories seriously. That werewolves exist and they inhabit this forest? He was sitting on a 51 log beside me.

He was very particular about his marshmallows, toasting them slowly and carefully to a golden brown. Tonight I was so tired that I had none at all. Connor and Lindsey chuckled at my theatrical display. A werewolf bites you and then you become one? Like in X-Men?

Keane insisted. Maybe we all started out as werewolves. Lucas was the last one I thought would swallow this ridiculous notion of werewolves. He winked at me and my heart gave a little tug. When he did, his stick took 53 a dip and his gooey marshmallow landed in the dirt. All that work for nothing, maybe. A person who turns into a beast. Do I truly believe it exists? No, of course not, but I like to be open-minded enough to leave room for the possibility. Keane assured Lucas.

Rafe, make sure everything is secure for the night. Chuckling, he shook his head. There on his calf was a horrible scar. Keane said, his voice echoing a sense of pride. Mason snorted. Demons from hell. I like canines. It was silly anyway. It was, after all, only make-believe. Mason offered me his lightly browned marshmallow. I popped it into my mouth. It was heavenly. I smiled at him. He smiled back. And he was safe. After Brittany, Lindsey, and I got into our tent, Brittany stretched out on her sleeping bag, rolled over, and went to sleep without a word.

I quirked an eyebrow at Lindsey. She shrugged. Lindsey turned out our main lantern and turned on a small penlight. It cast a ghostly glow. I mean, I like him. Lindsey settled down into her bag. I stared at the tent ceiling. Lindsey wanted the penlight on to serve as our nightlight. In some ways, she was far more accepting than my therapist. Maybe because I sensed that she had her own issues.

She was snoring now. It was wolves. Long enough to have been around when my original parents and I had come camping that long-ago summer. Had those hunters seen them? Were we hiking now near where the wolves had been, near where my parents had died? Besides, no one had seemed to remember where it had happened. Or so they had said. Maybe they were afraid the trauma would be too much for me.

Had we been running from wolves? But Lucas had said they never attacked people, so my strange musings made no sense. What had really happened that day? I threw back the top of the sleeping bag and sat up. I suddenly felt as though I had to get out of the tent. As quietly as I could, I unzipped the tent opening and slipped outside.

A couple of lanterns had been left on, but no one was 59 around. I just wanted. Face your fears, Dr. Brandon had urged me. It would be a lot easier to do if I knew exactly what those fears were. I just had a sense that something momentous was on the horizon, that I was poised on the edge of change. I skirted around the side of the tent and headed into the forest. They were nearby, near one of the other tents. I knew it was none of my business, but I crept closer.

It was Mason. You did just as much damage as I did. Why does he keep disappearing, every time we stop to rest? What were they saying? That they thought the sherpas were werewolves? That Lucas was a werewolf? The whole idea of people morphing into animals was ludicrous, but the thought of anyone truly believing it was frightening. I thought about all the equipment they were carrying. Was there a cage inside that large crate? Were they going to try to capture a wolf?

And when they realized the wolf was just a wolf. As quietly and cautiously as possible, I crept toward the trees. Although where was the real harm? People searched the skies for UFOs. Others invested in fancy equipment to detect the existence of ghosts.

It provided a reassuring light, but strangely I was as comforted by the trees surrounding me as by anything else. I heard the leaves rustling in the breeze almost like a lullaby.

For a crazy moment, I thought I could hear my mother singing. Lucas was standing beside me. How had he arrived so quietly? I pressed my hand to my chest, where my rapidly pounding heart was threatening to crack a rib. I narrowed my eyes at him. What was keeping you awake? We were told why you were here. Must have been hard coming back here. Just walking. I can keep an eye out, keep you safe.

When 63 you grow up in Tarrant, the national forest is your playground. I just need to wander for a while. It was actually kind of nice just having him there, not needing to keep up a conversation or anything. It was strange, but as we walked along, I was able to smell the unique scent of his skin. It was an earthy smell like the woods around us. It was pleasant, powerful, and sexy.

He was barefoot. Connor, Rafe, and I used to play war games with the other kids. The only way to win was to be able to sneak up on people undetected. No point in playing if your goal is to lose. But still I felt him watching me.

He had an idea about mine. I wanted us on even ground. I sighed heavily. I remember the echo of the gunshots. They were so loud. And then my parents were dead. Last year it was like I was inside a bubble, trying to insulate myself from the past. I released a short burst of embarrassed laughter.

I love these woods. You must hate them. In an odd way, it made me think better of him for not trying to say something, because anything would have been trite. I get these nightmares. It was incredibly soothing.

Even in the darkness, his eyes held mine. But just barely. The tail end of dusk. Light enough to see, but not to see everything. No, they would have taken me in. I shook my head. What did your parents want to show you?

I was scared about something. Had me shaking in my hiking boots. He had an incredibly sexy grin. Keane and Mason. You truly believe all that stuff, too? You get to know the animals. Not only that—I desperately wanted him to. A sudden howling in the distance made us both go still. It was a lonely sound. For some strange reason, it made me think of an animal in mourning. I nodded. Soon, I could see the dim lights of our campsite. Why was it safe for him and not for me? Then I heard another howling wolf.

This one was much closer, so close that I could have sworn it was just outside our tent. I thought I should have been afraid. Everyone struggled a little more. Everyone except the sherpas. At one point, Lucas suggested that Connor and Rafe carry the crate, but Tyler and Ethan insisted they could take care of it.

For what? In the light of day, I felt silly saying it. I think they really believe werewolves are out here. At Halloween, we always have a haunted forest to raise funds for animal shelters. Some of our costumes are really cool and realistic. It just makes me a little wary of them. And rumors like this bring people to the park. I adjusted the weight of my pack on my shoulders. I was proud of the fact that I was able to keep up with everyone. Rafe was the last one on the trail, making sure that no one got left behind.

Does he do the whole haunted forest thing? Are you interested in him? Seems like we should know things about each other. I was hoping that Brittany was teasing about Truth or Dare. There was a lot I wanted to know, but not a lot I wanted to share. Nor did Dr. Keane or Mason mention werewolves. Later that night as Brittany and I were in the tent getting ready for bed, Lindsey slipped inside with an air of excitement. I brushed out my hair and left it loose to curl wildly around my shoulders.

Then I began scrounging through my backpack for my emerald-green halter top. Lindsey peered out the tent opening. Keane tonight? Go to bed already. Her shining black hair hung past her shoulders. You never said anything.

It seemed we all wanted to attract a little attention tonight. They glared at each other. Maybe because Brittany woke up early every morning and went through a rigorous strengthening routine.

So can we be cool about it until this trip is over? This explained a lot. I wondered if Brittany liked Connor. I slipped on my green halter and some white shorts.

In a way, I sympathized with Lindsey. I wished I had some sexy sandals to wear, but all I had were my hiking boots. But looking in the small mirror that I had, I was pleased with the way everything looked.

Keane is gone. Each of the grad students, including Monique, was carrying a six-pack of beer. When we got far enough from camp that Dr. It had been enough to make me curious, but that was when we were in the safety of the village. Trust me. Was she dodging my question? It sure seemed like it. I glanced around suspiciously. Is the male of the species involved? As far as I was concerned, my caution was well earned.

When I was five, my mom and dad were killed in these very woods. My adoptive parents had brought me here last summer to help me get over the trauma, which was probably a few years too late to really do any good. Yeah, supposedly I had emotional problems.

So I was in therapy, spending a wasted hour each week with a shrink named Dr. Brandon, whose Yoda-like pronouncements— face your fears, you must —irritated more than helped me.

Truly, I would have rather spent time with a dentist. Maybe I was only kidding myself to think that I was brave enough to face the elements of the wild, day after day. Although what was I really afraid of?

Thanks to those hunters, snarling, growling wolves regularly inhabited my dreams, resulting in many restless nights and frequent bouts of screaming in my sleep. Hence the therapy to get at the root of my nightmares. Brandon theorized that it was my subconscious trying to justify how two idiots could have shot my parents and then, with straight faces, tell authorities, They were wolves. Swear to God, they were. They were gonna eat that little girl.

That little girl, of course, had been me. Everything that had happened on that long-ago afternoon was a blur. Everything except my parents lying dead on the forest floor.

Behind me, brush crackled. I paused midstep. The hairs on my nape prickled. I slid my hand beneath the curtain of my red hair and rubbed my neck. A shiver went through me and goose bumps erupted over my arms. Did I want to face it? She glanced around. Could be an owl checking out a tasty morsel—or that late-night snack scampering away. That was way deep in the wilderness.

In a few areas you can still get cell phone reception. She tugged my hand. I followed, but stayed alert. There was something. I was certain of it.

Not an owl or a rodent. Not anything in the trees, not anything tiny. Something that stalked its prey. A shudder rippled through me. Why had I thought that? But it was true. It was what I felt.

Something was watching and waiting. But watching whom exactly? And waiting for what? How many steps were left? It had been so stupid to come out without even telling anyone.

My parents were going to kill me if they ever found out. It was my first time away from them, and my adoptive mom had lectured me ad nauseam about being careful. We stepped between the trees and into a clearing, illuminated by a campfire.

Before I could ask another question, a dozen kids—the other sherpas—leaped out from behind trees. Happy birthday! My heart nearly stopped. Connor asked. He combed his sandy-blond hair off his brow to reveal his dark-blue eyes. He held up a wrist that sported a watch with numerous dials. In ten seconds, nine, eight—. The others joined in the countdown.

I could see them clearly, standing in front of the fire. A short distance away from Connor was Rafe, with straight black hair that reached his shoulders and eyes a dark brown that bordered on black. He never said much. I was surprised he was actually counting.

Beside him, Brittany looked almost like his twin. Her hair, falling past her shoulders, was black and her eyes were deep blue. Or faking it, I realized. Yeah, trying to pull one over on me.

How did she get here ahead of us? I wondered. The adopted one. Jack and Terri Asher had taken me in. But then, did any parents totally understand their kids? Connor moved around to the other side of the fire and crouched. A flame flared. Then a bottle rocket shot into the sky and exploded into a burst of red, white, blue, and green. I was pretty sure that fireworks in a national forest were illegal.

But I was too happy to care. Besides, I was free from parental restraints this summer. I wanted to finally test misbehavior boundaries. I was so touched. Not even my few friends back home had ever thrown me a surprise party. Brittany extended a tray that held seventeen store-bought cupcakes, a candle in each one casting its yellow glow. I love cupcakes, I said, especially the prepackaged, made-by-the-millions kind with the cream-filled center.

His eyes glowed silver in the darkness. As always, he was watching me intently. Lucas terrified me. What I felt for him terrified me. This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue? Upload Sign In Join. Save For Later. Create a List. Dark Guardian 1: Moonlight by Rachel Hawthorne.

Summary The first book in bestselling author Rachel Hawthorne's paranormal romance series starring werewolves. Read on the Scribd mobile app Download the free Scribd mobile app to read anytime, anywhere. HarperTeen Released: Mar 3, ISBN: That our relationship would shift— My mind stuttered with the enormity of such a simple word.

What was I afraid of? It was only a kiss. Did he understand how momentous it would be if— He dipped his head down. His lips were almost touching mine. Kayla, he murmured invitingly, and his warm breath caressed my cheek. He turned his back on me and began striding with purpose toward the wolves. I screamed after him.

But it was too late. He leaped into the air— By the time he hit the ground, he was a wolf. I started running toward him…. And now I, Kayla Madison, was about to become one. ONE Less than two weeks earlier… Fear. Off to the side where the trees and brush were thickest, I heard a rustling noise.

Wait up. What was that? I whispered harshly. I thought I heard something, I told her. Like what? Like footsteps? Lindsey asked. What about that cougar you chased off last summer? I asked.