Sherrilyn Kenyon: Bad Moon Rising

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Sherrilyn Kenyon Bad Moon Rising
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    Bad Moon Rising
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A stunning and suspenseful new landscape emerges in the thrilling Dark-Hunter world – a world where nothing will ever be the same again… Fang Kattalakis isn't just a wolf. He is the brother of two of the most powerful members of the Omegrion: the ruling council that enforces the laws of the Were-Hunters. And when war erupts among the lycanthropes, sides must be chosen. Enemies are forced into shaky alliances. And when the woman Fang loves is accused of betraying her people, her only hope is that Fang believes in her. Yet in order to save her, Fang must break the law of his people and the faith of his brothers. That breech could very well spell the end of both their races and change their world forever.

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Sherrilyn Kenyon


Bad Moon Rising

Book 26 in the Dark-Hunter series, 2009

Acknowledgments

To my readers, who have taken countless trips with me and who have been begging for Fang’s book for the last five years. Never have I felt closer to the Kattalakis brothers than I did here. I was finally able to speak for Fang and show all the depth of his character and all the beauty of one of my favorite wolves.

To my team at St. Martin’s, which is the best in the world, and especially Monique and Matthew for letting me bend rules and have way too much fun. To Merrilee for all the hard work you do. Holly, who works so wonderfully behind the scenes, taking care of details.

To my friends who are always there when I need them: Kim, Dianna, Loretta, Sheri, and Ed. Thank you, guys, really, for keeping me sane. And to the best staff in the universe, Team Fabulous: Dianna, Erin, Kim, Jacs, Ed, Judy, Marie, Loretta, Sheri, Scott, Bryan, Julia, CiCi, Webbie, Alex, and if I forgot someone, please, please forgive me.

And last, but absolutely never least, my family. To Ken for being my anchor and support through all dark storms and for always being my best friend. My brother for being the best bro any sister ever had. And my boys, who fill my life with laughter and my days with joy. I couldn’t make it through without any of you. Thank you.

THE BEGINNING OF THE WERE-HUNTERS

Long before recorded history there lived a bold king. One who refused to yield before the wills of the Greek gods who commanded him. Like so many before and after, he made the mistake of falling in love with the most beautiful woman in his kingdom. A woman whose very smile was his life’s blood.

Little did he know she bore the darkest of all curses. Because of the actions of her forefathers against the Greek god Apollo more than two thousand years before her birth, her people had been damned to die brutally on their twenty-seventh birthday. It was a secret she kept until the day when she, like all the others of her Apollite kind, began to decay and die.

In only twenty-four hours she went from a beautiful young woman to a crone, then nothing but scattered dust.

Lycaon was devastated by the loss of his love, but worse than that was the haunting knowledge that soon his own sons would join their mother and die every bit as horrifically.

Like her, they would die for something none of them had had a part in.

Unable to bear the injustice, he confronted the gods and told them to screw themselves. He would not stand by and watch his children die. Ever.

That very night, he began using the darkest of magick to splice the genes of his wife’s people with those of the strongest of animals. Wolves, jackals, lions, tigers, panthers, jaguars, cheetahs, bears, hawks, leopards, even a rare dragon-those were his chosen few to be the saviors of his children.

When his experiments were complete, he’d created an entirely new species. No longer human, no longer Apollite nor animal, they were something else entirely.

The experiments turned his two sons into four separate beings. Two creatures who held the hearts of an animal and who lived as an animal by the light of day. And two who held the hearts of a human. By day, human would be their base form.

This was their gift.

And so was born their new curse.

From their mother’s Apollite race, they inherited magick and psychic abilities. From their father’s tampering they would live by day as their base form, either human or animal, and at night they would be able to switch to their alternate form. Man became beast and beast became man.

Under the light of the full moon, when their powers were strongest, not even the laws of time or physics would hold sway over them. From that day forward they would live for centuries, immune from the curse of Apollo.

The gods were not pleased. They demanded the king slaughter all the creatures he’d made. How dare he, a mere mortal, be contentious enough to thwart their will.

But the king refused. “I will not allow my children to suffer for your vanity! You can all die for what I care.”

So while his children were spared their Apollite curse, the gods gave them a new one. None of their species would ever be able to choose a mate of their own free will, only the Fates could assign them that. And there would never be peace between the animal Katagaria and the human Arcadians that the king had created.

Eternal enemies, the two races would become known as Were-Hunters because each would hunt the other. Throughout all time, they would battle and slaughter their own kind-forever suspicious. Forever angry. More than that, they would become the chosen food source of their own cousins, the vampiric Daimons who needed souls to live past their twenty-seventh birthday.

No peace. No succor. Their fate to suffer and to exist in spite of the gods.

Until the day the last two survivors kill each other. That was their prophecy.

And none were to suffer more than those who bore the name of the king’s direct descendants. Those who bore the surname Kattalakis…

CHAPTER ONE

January 2003

Sanctuary, New Orleans


“So that’s the infamous Sanctuary…”

Fang Kattalakis looked up from where he was locking down his sleek Kawasaki Ninja to see Keegan eyeing the triple-story redbrick building across the street.

The pup was just hitting puberty-about thirty years old in human time, but true to their species and his Were-Hunter age, Keegan appeared around the human age of sixteen-which meant he was as excitable as an adolescent. Dressed in black leather to protect him while he rode his motorcycle, Keegan almost dropped his bike in his eagerness to visit the famed sanctuary that was owned by a family of bearweres.

Fang let out a long exasperated breath as he secured his helmet to his backpack. As punishment, he and his brother Vane had been assigned watch duty over Keegan and his twin brother, Craig.

Joy, oh joy. He’d rather have his entrails pulled out through his nostrils-whelp-sitting had never been to his taste. But at least they didn’t have their leader Stefan along on this outing. That would have resulted in all-out bloodshed since Fang had no respect or tolerance for Stefan even on his best day.

And today wasn’t even a “better” day.

The blond pup was all limbs as he started to leave, but Vane caught him by the scruff of his neck.

Keegan went instantly limp, which said it all about his age and inexperience. Even when he’d been a pup, Fang had never surrendered without a fight. It wasn’t in his nature.

Vane released his grip on the kid’s collar. “Don’t leave the pack, whelp. It’s a bad habit to develop. Wait on all of us.”

It was why they were all riding motorcycles. Since “average” young weren’t real good at teleporting until they were around forty or fifty years old, and because whelp powers tended to play havoc with even the strongest when being teleported by another, mundane human transportation was best.

So here they were.

Bored. Agitated. And looking human. What a disgusting combination.

Most of all, Fang was tired.

And since they were training the whelps to socialize and maintain human forms during the light of day…

Sanctuary had seemed the best and safest place to take them outside of camp. At least here if one turned wolf, the bears could hide it. Only the strongest of Katagaria wolves could remain human in daylight. If the pups couldn’t learn to hold their alternate human forms under the power of the sun by the time they turned thirty-five, their leader would order the pack to kill them.

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