Taken by Moonlight

By: Violette Dubrinsky


Thoughts like those were swarming her head as she navigated her way down some of the steeper parts of the mountain, and it was because of thoughts like those—in particular, she was debating a shower versus a hot bath—that she didn’t see a raised root. Pitching forward, she grazed her knee against the rocky terrain.

“Shit—fu—ouch!” she muttered as she pushed off of the knee and sat down. This was why she had to get out of here. Pulling her sweats up, she reached into her bag and removed a stack of traveling tissues. Grabbing about half of them, she applied pressure to her bleeding flesh and looked around. Except for her, the trail was deserted. She almost smiled at that. Maybe her sister and the men she’d run into had been the only ones camping last night. It was impossibly cold up there.

After nursing the graze as best she could, she removed the bloody tissue, wrapped it in a ball, and put in back into her bag. Cassie might be the eco-friendly one but she wasn’t about to add to environmental pollution, either. She pressed the rest of the tissues against the gash, and used a spare shoelace to create a temporary bandage.

Vivienne was surprised she was handling the situation so well. She guessed her happiness at leaving the park had overridden any irritation she’d felt through her stay there. Standing, she tested the leg. It was sore and throbbed like a bastard, but she could walk. She continued down the trail, and within the hour, she was sitting in her car as she made her way back to the city.





***




Conall’s morning run had taken him back to the site where he’d left the human female. He’d watched as the others led her to the trail that would take her down the mountain, had seen her fall and hurt her knee. He’d felt a swell of respect as he watched her nurse the wound without throwing a hysterical tantrum. In fact, she lost her smile only when she released her string of curses directly as she fell, but it returned almost immediately. He followed her, lurking behind trees, as she finally descended and made her way over to a silver sedan. She looked back to the mountain, and with a grin and what appeared to be a salute, no doubt good riddance, jumped into her car and drove away.

Even in wolfen form, Conall found himself smiling.





Chapter Two




There was nothing quite like staring at oneself on the evening of one’s birthday, especially when the oneself in question thought she looked quite good. The midnight black, curly mass that was her hair had been blown straight before being flat-ironed into flowing, Pantene-Pro-V perfection. It now touched right below her shoulder blades, and seemed to brush invitingly over the tops of her breasts. A red V-neck tunic shirt exposed a teasing expanse of smooth brown skin before hugging over slender curves. The sleeves of the shirt caught at her elbow so that while tantalizing, it was still conservative. Her long legs sported fitted dark blue jeans, before giving way to a pair of ankle-length, red suede boots with thin, tall heels.

Drew had helped her accessorize, and gold was the accessory of choice. A flat golden bracelet that she’d received from her mother, artistically designed in the shape of a snake with a soft ruby atop its head, adorned her right wrist. Two thin, golden earrings hung from her ears. She’d gone light with her makeup, as usual. A hint of blush, sunset-colored eye shadow, and shiny red gloss.

Vivienne placed her hand on her waist and turned to the side. The jeans certainly flattered her bottom. She almost chuckled at that. Her mother would have said something like that. Evelyn had always said, in her slightly accented voice, that her girls were “beautiful, but could use a few more curves.” Especially Cassie, who was almost rail thin because she was now a strict vegan.

“Jeez, Viv, stop showing off already.”

She turned to face Drew who sat at the edge of her bed, nursing a mock scowl. Her lips kept slanting upward in a smile before she tried to regain control and flatten them.

Vivienne chuckled. Drew Tierney was one of her closest friends. Since freshman year of college, when Vivienne had sat next to the smart but introverted girl in Contemporary Art, the two had been inseparable. They’d only grown closer as the years passed and now Drew was one of her roommates. The other was Max.

“If I’m staring, it’s only because I don’t recognize myself.” She turned to look back into the mirror, and pouted her lips. “You should be a makeup artist on the side. I know people who would pay for this.” Most of them, she worked with. Paralegals, legal assistants, even some lawyers. Gosh, some of those lawyers really, really needed a night out. Maybe a few days of sleep.

Drew chuckled and in the mirror, Vivienne saw her shake her head, causing the micro-braids she wore to fan out about her face. She rolled her dark eyes. “The only reason you’re so surprised about the transformation is because you don’t put any effort into doing it on a daily basis. You’re like me, content to be natural…unless it’s your birthday.”

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