Lilly's final adventure as her friends and she face off against a foe with an advantage: they know about Paul's dual life. That puts the group on the wrong foot and two steps behind as they try to piece together the puzzle of their enemy's hidden identity.
To make matters worse, the Helms have left behind some unfinished business, namely in the form of a film production. Rumors swirl around the managers of the film along with what the police discovered in the Helm mansion. They decide to infiltrate the set first in search of the truth, and discover traps and lies.
Those lies lead to their old stomping grounds on the Helm estate, but first they have to meet up with a certain young blogger who may need rescuing. Their adventures lead Lilly to a confrontation with their foe where she comes out worse than dead. Will her new circumstances for her to betray Paul, or can she muster the will to fight for the man she loves, and herself?
Publisher: Crescent Moon Studios, Inc.
Life is full of coincidences, accidents, and lots of fate in-between. Sometimes, though, a man has a plan, and that plan isn’t always on the side of the righteous. Men may be given the same gifts, but take different paths to shape their own future.
Heavy stuff, and none of which entered the mind of Lilly Edmonds and her handsome Moon, the werewolf Paul Lupe, as they lay together beneath a starry sky. An itchy old wool blanket stretched out beneath them on the grass of the manor lawn. A forgotten picnic basket with desserts of all kinds sat forgotten on the other side of Paul.
His right arm lay stretched out across the top of the blanket and his hand rested on Lilly’s shoulder. She was pressed against his side and reveled in the heat of his body against hers, protecting her against the cold bite that lingered in the night air.
Lilly closed her eyes and sighed. Paul drew her closer against him and his chuckle vibrated against her body.
She looked up and offered him a crooked smile. “What was that for?”
“Your sigh,” he mused as he grinned back at her. “I’ve hardly heard one so full of contentment, but with an edge of regret.”
Lilly winced. “I’m still that readable?”
He pressed a kiss on her forehead. “To me, always.”
Lilly lifted her eyes to the dark sky with its endless beauty of stars. “I was just thinking about everything that’s happened with us, or to us. The ghosts, werewolves, ghouls, and angels.” She bit her lip and turned her face away from him. “And then there’s Al losing his eye. . .”
“Al doesn’t hold nearly as much regret over the loss as you,” Paul mused.
Lilly shrugged and his hold on her loosened just slightly. “I know. I just felt. . .I feel like I could have done more to help out.”
He lifted an eyebrow. “Your night vision.”
She sighed. “Not just that. I just don’t know your world.”
“Our world,” he reminded her.
Lilly wrapped her arms around herself and bit her lower lip. “I know, I know, it’s just-” A thought struck her that forced a laugh from her lips. “I just need a manual for this life, that’s all.”
He gaze her a light squeeze. “No life worth living has a manual.”
Lilly snorted. “How come you’re so much better at these words than I am?”
A soft sigh from him wafted over her neck. “I’ve had a great deal to think about concerning my life.”
“Like how to shave after all those full moons?” she teased. “Or how to-
Paul shot up to a seated position at her back and scowled at the woods in front of them. “Quiet.”
Lilly’s face fell and turned her head to look over her shoulder. “Oh come on. That joke wasn’t that-” The tense expression on his face killed any further words on her lips.
She sat up and looked around. Her weak human eyes saw nothing, nor did her keen nose pick up on anything unusual. Paul was of a different mind and eased himself onto his feet in a single silent motion. Lilly moved to follow him, but he grasped her shoulder and pushed her back down.
She scowled up at him and her whispered words floated up to his attentive face. “Whatever it is I’m-” A branch broke in the woods.
Lilly’s pulse quickened as she whipped her head back to the dark trees. Shadows lurked around every tree and under every bush. The faintest flicker of movement revealed itself deep in the woods, and sinking deeper into the trees.
Paul took off after the moving shadow. Lilly scrambled to her feet after him, but his sharp yellow eyes and greater experience gave him a leg up and quicker gait. By the time she stumbled into the trees he was twenty yards ahead of her and the gap was increasing.
Still, Lilly soldiered on and swatted away every offending branch and bush that clawed and tugged at her clothes. She stumbled out of a particularly thorny situation with a rosebush before coming to a stop in a small clearing. The chill night air wrapped around her and made her shiver. She wrapped her arms around herself and twisted her head to and fro. Paul was gone. The shadow had vanished. There was only her and the pounding of her heart.
And the hairs on the back of her neck, which had suddenly shot straight up.
Lilly tensed and her eyes widened. She could feel. . .something out there. It was watching and waiting. Every fiber of her being shouted at her to run, but she stamped out the primal urge to flee before the hunter.
Because that’s what she was now, wasn’t it? The prey. Perhaps it was her werewolf instincts kicking in, but she now realized she had stumbled into the den of a creature far more capable than herself. Lilly’s eyes flitted about the darkness that surrounded her. The clearing around her wasn’t an opening, it was a trap.
A stick broke just behind her. Lilly inwardly screamed at her body to turn around, but she could only stand there shivering. A warm breath wafted over the taught flesh on the back of her neck. The stale scent of stale blood penetrated her delicate nostrils. Whatever was behind her had killed. She shut her eyes against the images of herself being torn apart by this unknown hunter.
A terrible roar echoed out of- the trees. The breath behind her stopped, frozen as her own breathing. Footsteps pounded, but they moved away from her. Lilly’s body sank into a weary relief. She spun around to face her attacker, but only glimpsed a shadow disappearing into the trees.
Lilly slumped to her knees as Paul leapt out of the woods and landed on all fours beside her. His yellow eyes glowed brightly in the dim light as he wrapped his arms around her and drew her against his chest. She grasped the front of his coat with shivering hands and took a deep, shuddering breath.
Paul’s low, almost growling voice whispered to her. “What did you see?”
Lilly shook her head. “N-nothing, but it. . .it was behind me.” She shut her eyes and shivered.
“I’m taking you home.” Paul lifted her into his arms and stood.
Lilly tightened her grip on his coat and frowned up at him. “You’re not going back out there alone.”
Paul tilted his head back and sniffed the air before he furrowed his brow. “I can no longer smell the intruder.”
Her attention perked up as the fear faded. “Did you see them?”
He turned his face away and frowned. “No. They were too quick.”
Lilly’s apprehension returned and her mouth slightly opened. “What kind of person could be faster than you?”
“One very adept at sneaking around,” he mused as he trotted into the darkness.
Lilly dared to look around, but nothing came to her weak eyes. Paul’s quick steps soon carried her to the house and their forgotten picnic. There was also Al standing beside the blanket. He still wore the eye patch from their last adventure and his head was slightly turned so his remaining eye fell on them. His arms were crossed, but Lilly noticed his phone clasped in one hand.
“Can’t you two stay still for even a few minutes?” Al scolded them.
“It couldn’t be avoided,” Paul replied as he picked up the picnic basket.
“Well, while you two were chasing squirrels I was on the phone with Persistent Pain-In-the-Ass.” Al received a pair of blank looks and rolled his eyes. “Taylor Pippin? That blogger that annoyed us that one time? The one who has really bad taste in men?”
Paul draped the picnic blanket over the arm that clasped the basket and turned to Al with a pensive expression. “We have more important matters to handle.”
Al’s frown deepened. “What’s more important than the press wanting to talk-”
“There was an intruder.”
Al paused and arched an eyebrow. “Are you sure?” Paul stared at his agent without blinking. Al sighed and held up a hand. “Forget I asked. Who was it, anyway?”
“I don’t know.”
Al frowned. “What do you mean? Didn’t you catch them?”
“No,” Paul replied as he turned to face the woods. “They kept ample distance from me so that I was forced to follow their scent. Even that disappeared.”
A dark cloud passed over Al’s brow. “So what exactly did you smell that could be that fast?”