Crescent Moon (Chapter 25)

Deciding to confront Adam Ruelle and actually finding him were two different things. He wasn't conveniently waiting for me in the living room of my rented abode. Of course, as previously noted, it was daytime.

I headed into the swamp, reversing the map he'd once drawn to lead me from shack to mansion. He wasn't there, either. Where did he go when the sun shone?

I was tempted to use his shower. Never had gotten to check out Cassandra's. But the idea of Adam arriving while I was naked and streaming wet stopped me, despite the grimy-grainy feeling of my skin and hair. How could I confront him with any sort of bravado fresh from a shower?

I couldn't. So I wandered around his three-room shack, knife in hand, as I searched for clues. They weren't any more available than he was.

Food, soap, clothes – the essentials – but there wasn't a single scrap of the paraphernalia of daily life. No books. No papers. No bills, no checks, no MasterCard. If he lived here, where was his stuff?

The more I looked around, the more annoyed I became. There had to be something that would mark this as Adam Ruelle's place.

Though I knew it was wrong, I went through everything. Every drawer, every shelf, every closet, even the medicine cabinet. I found nothing out of the ordinary. Not even a stray doggie biscuit or a bill from the local veterinarian.

I lost track of time, or maybe the sun faded more quickly in the swamp, because when I pulled my head from under the sink, dusk had descended.

Outside, a long, low howl began in the distance. Just one. But one was enough to make me want to run all the way home. '

To Boston.

"Wuss," I muttered. "You promised Simon you'd prove him right, but the first time you actually have a chance to discover something out of this world, you want to run home to Mommy."

As if Katherine O' Malley would ever answer to such a crass monicker as Mommy. I'd been instructed to call her Kate the instant I'd grown a half an inch taller than her. Being me, I'd continued to refer to her as Ma whenever the opportunity arose.

I crept to the front window and peered at the steadily falling night The cypress trees blotted out the last of the sun. The sky was both bright blue and bloodred – stunning and scary in one. Just like Adam.

My fingers curled around the knife. Staring at it, I frowned. I couldn't kill him. I needed him alive. Which might be tough.

"Maybe I should – "


My head went up. He was already inside the room. Fully clothed in loose dark pants, boots, and a black T-shirt, so at least I didn't have to deal with the mind-numbing sight of too much bare, bronzed skin.

What I'd been going to say was wait for the cage and the tranquilizer gun. Glad I hadn't mentioned those out loud.

"Go," I finished on a whisper.

His lips turned up just a little. "Stay instead, cher."

He was so damn gorgeous, he couldn't be human.

I slid the hand that held the knife behind my thigh as he crossed the room. I let him get close, put his arm around my waist, press that great body and beautiful mouth against mine. We even did the tongue tango for several seconds. Hey, if I had to kill him, I should at least make sure he died happy. I yanked off his shirt.

Then, while he was nuzzling my neck and stroking my breasts, growing hard against my stomach, making me almost forget one little problem, I brought the knife up fast

I couldn't stab him. I didn't have it in me. Instead, I pressed the silver against his skin.

He shoved me away with a hiss, and my heart seemed to stop. I stared at his arm, expecting smoke, finding none.

Hell, I was going to have to try again. I tightened my grip, and he kicked my hand. I didn't even see it coming. The knife flew. He grabbed my wrist and twisted it behind my back.

"What de hell?" he growled. "You crazy?"

He tugged a little tighter, and agony shot through my shoulder.

"Are you the loup-garou?" I blurted.

He released me so fast, I fell to my knees, peering at him through the tangle of my hair. He stared back with no expression whatsoever.

"I am not," he said.

"I'm supposed to take your word for it?"

"You asked. I answered."

"The knife was silver. You flinched."

"It was a knife, Diana. You think I'd let you stick me and see if I exploded?"

My eyes narrowed. "How did you know silver makes a werewolf explode?"

He swore in French, then stalked to where the knife had fallen, picked it up, and pressed the blade against his bare chest

Nothing happened.

With a practiced movement, he flipped the thing into the air, caught the sharp end, and offered me the handle. Climbing to my feet, I took the weapon but set it on a table.

"Everyone knows silver and werewolves do not mix," he said.


"Everyone around here."

I fidgeted, uncertain what to do or say next.

"You have more questions. Ask."

"Is your family cursed?"

He shrugged. "Some say we are."

"Was your ancestor cursed to run as a wolf under the crescent moon?"

Adam's blue eyes, the eyes of the wolf in my dream, my premonition, my harsh parting from reality, met mine.

"No," he answered.

I tried to determine if he was telling me the truth, but I couldn't I might have shared more with this man than I'd shared with any other except my husband, but I didn't know him. I couldn't trust him.

"Ruelle means famous wolf," I blurted.

"Just like Diana means moon goddess." He tilted his head, and his hair slid across one eye. "Maybe I should wonder about you and de silver, hmm?"

He picked up the knife, and a nicker of fear raced through me. Why hi hell had I put the thing down?

"Come here." He beckoned with the blade.

I shook my head and backed away.

"Never run, cher. Wolves like to chase."

"This isn't funny, Adam."

He wasn't laughing. Neither was I. But we were both breaming pretty hard. A lot of eye contact. Stalk. Retreat

My shoulders hit the wall. His lips lifted just a little.

I wasn't sure if I was scared spitless or aroused beyond redemption. Maybe both.

He stepped in close, crowding me with his body, bumping me with his erection. I couldn't move. Did I want to?

For an instant I struggled, but that only made us fit together even better. I was more rubbing than fighting against him. When I stilled, so did he.

"Don't" I whispered.

His gaze on my breasts, which strained against the tank top I'd worn to offset the heat he lifted his eyes to mine as he lowered the knife to the neck of the shirt.

With one deft movement he split the material. The cotton fell away, hanging uselessly from my shoulders as damp ah* trickled across my chest. My nipples puckered inside my plain white bra.

"Don't what?" he murmured, pressing the cool silver blade to my heated skin.


"Is it don't?" He lifted the knife, careful not to nick me, and caught the tip in the wisp of material holding the two A cups together. "Or is it stop?"

He was very good with the weapon. He'd no doubt had secret commando training, though I doubted he'd ever used a knife in quite this way. Then again, maybe he had. Maybe he did this all the time, with all the girls.

I gave a mental wince at the thought of other women, which was foolish. This was about sex, not love, and that was how we both wanted it.

I stared into his face, and I saw nothing but a man who desired me as much as I desired him. My suspicions proved groundless, my accusations now seemed foolish.

"Don't stop," I said.

He flicked the knife and my bra snapped open. If I'd had any breasts to speak of, they'd have whapped him in the chest As it was, they slid along his bare skin, the sensation better than an ice-cream cone in the middle of July. Both relief and desire, sweetness and sin.

I wrapped my fingers in his hair tight enough to make him grunt as I tugged his mouth to mine.

And the knife clattered to the floor.