Read Black Moon Online

Authors: Rebecca A. Rogers

Tags: #Teen & Young Adult, #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Fantasy, #Paranormal & Urban

Black Moon (10 page)

BOOK: Black Moon
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A shadow of trouble passes over his face; it’s nothing like I’ve seen before.

“Do you know what they do to me each and every time I help you?” he asks, voice rising. “Do you know what it’s like to go a week without food or water, to be beaten until your bones snap and think you’re going to die?”

I shake my head. Of course I don’t know what it’s like.

“Well, let me fill you in on my family’s love of watching me suffer because of you. It’s exactly like the first time you transition into a werewolf, except with this you remember
. And then you heal faster than humans, so it’s not long before they come back with more people to beat the shit out of you again and again and again.”

Oh God. All this time I wondered what he went through because he challenged his own family. Now I know.

“I’m so sorry. I had no idea.” I hug him, kissing his cheek. He’s reluctant to touch me at first, but then he gives in, squeezing me firmly. We remain embraced for a long time, until we eventually have no choice but to separate. If he stays with me any longer, his family will think he’s conspiring against them.

In parting, he says, “I’ll bring you something if I have the chance. Otherwise—”
figure out how you’re going to escape.

I tug on his arm, preventing him from leaving. “Tell me why I came with you. Here, I mean. Last night. You said you’d explain everything.”

He grunts. “Yeah, I planned on it, but then you decided to test my wild side. To focus—
on getting out of here—
you need to keep that part of you in check.” He pauses, then adds, “Maybe you’ll feel better after you eat and sleep. Tomorrow I’ll tell you everything. Until then, get some rest.”

Chapter Seven

concrete floor isn’t the nicest place to relax, but neither is a room where the walls are molded from excess water leakage, and where rats eat away at God-knows-what all night long. Chew, chew, chew. Munch, munch, munch.

Ben never brought me anything to sleep on, cover up with, or eat, so I’ve sat against this frozen stone wall for hours, freezing my ass off, because apparently the heat doesn’t work down here. Not the best way to detain company; if they want my power, they need to keep my alive first. I’ll be useless to them if I’m dead.

With sunlight beaming through various cracks in the upper walls and a single window, I assess how tough it’ll be to escape from here. I can transform and bust down these borders, but odds are, they’re reinforced. And since there isn’t enough room for me to fit through the gap, I’ll have to work out another method.

I don’t have time to consider my getaway as the door upstairs swings open, slamming against the wall with a flat

!” shouts Ethan, leisurely taking each step down the landing. “Brought you something special.”

I’m so excited to have food that I forget who I’m dealing with. Before I have a chance to ask what it is, he chucks a boiling cup of coffee at me, scalding my face, neck and arms. I cry out, quickly trying to remove the hot substance from my body before it causes blisters.

Ethan laughs with intent, bending over at the waist, unable to restrain himself. “Funniest damn thing I’ve seen in a while. Payback’s a bitch, isn’t it?” He turns then, leaving.

One thing I’ve missed the past few months has made its comeback.

Adrenaline. Screaming loud and proud underneath my skin. Fighting its way through my blood and pulsing inside my skull. A few months ago, I wasn’t a werewolf. I didn’t have raging strength or a colossus appetite or the ability to sense someone’s emotions. I was normal and still kicked ass.

So now, when I glare at Ethan, all I see is a black channel around my line of sight, and my body changes on its own. My limbs and features lengthen and bow, fur grows like a second skin, and I’m on all fours before I recognize what’s happened. I growl at him through my newly-enlarged, razor-sharp teeth, just to see the look on his face, just to see if I can scare him senseless.

God, this feels good.

In response, though, he changes, countering me. I back away from the stairs, allowing him space, and the time to come down to ground level. We square off, one on each side of the room. Although his build is heavier than mine, I have no doubt that I can take him. I won before, so who’s to say I can’t do it again?

Ethan makes the first move during my moment of thought. He bounds across the enclosed area with two giant leaps, teeth aiming for my throat. I skid out of his path, off to the side, just narrowly missing him. He snaps and growls, lips raised, a thin layer of foam coating his lower jowls. But he doesn’t budge from the same spot, like he’s waiting for me to continue the fight. With no way of communicating, we don’t have speech or vacant threats. This is an entirely new level of combat.

Honoring his request, I launch myself at him. I’m not sure which way is up or down; all I know is that Ethan’s incisors penetrate my skin repeatedly. Even the tiny nips sting. Just as I’m about to give up, I spin around before he can catch me, biting into the flesh just above his shoulders. He releases a drawn-out yelp, but rolls over so that his backside is lying on top of my snout. I have no alternative but to release him, as my hold on his skin has weakened. While I attempt to regain my footing, he staggers to one corner of the room, turns around, and then barrels into my side, knocking me over and pinning me to the cold, dingy floor with one monster paw digging into my coat. He silences me by a single snarl expelled from his chops.

Cameron and Ben, followed by their parents, rush through the doorway above us, all staring at the commotion below.

“What the hell is going on down here?” yells Mr. Conway, bounding down the stairs behind Cameron and Ben. He pushes aside his two sons to gawk at the third, who has yet to forfeit his hold over me. “I leave you with one damn task and you can’t even do that correctly?” Mr. Conway glares at Ethan for a matter of minutes. Everyone else in the room bows their heads, and I wonder if they’re communicating, if Ethan is receiving a mental smack down from his father. He should’ve just given me the food instead of making everything so difficult.

Finally relocating from his stance over me, Ethan morphs back into his human form. Clothes appear as if they were never torn from his body, and I can only guess magic is being used. Never mind the fact that
have to turn back into my other half, leaving myself exposed.

“Sorry,” mumbles Ethan.

” Mr. Conway’s terse voice makes me wince. “
not good enough. No more.” He shakes his head, waving one hand back and forth in the air to match the movement. “No more tasks for you. If you can’t complete something as simple as this without putting her life in danger, then you’re useless. How many times have we gone over the plan, Ethan? We have to keep her
until she comes into her power, then you two can scrap all you want.”

“I wasn’t planning on killing her, just keeping her in check.” Ethan’s excuse for attacking me with breakfast is pathetic, really. All he wanted was revenge.

Mr. Conway reaches Ethan in three long strides, which brings them nose to nose. “You know what
wants us to do,” he hisses. “We can’t go against his will. Think of the repercussions for all involved if that takes place.”

Ethan drops his head like the others. “I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.”

His father doesn’t reply, except with his finger pointed toward the stairs. Ethan follows that imaginary line and disappears into the house above.

“Benjamin, see to it she’s taken care of,” says Mr. Conway. The rest trail him beyond the basement. Cameron scowls at me before vanishing with the others.

“Are you okay?” Ben asks, crouching. He examines my wounds, lightly running his fingers over certain marks. I recoil every time he touches me. “C’mon. Let’s clean you up.” He stands, waiting for me to follow. I’ve been lying here, inert, since Ethan knocked me over.

Listening to him, I roll onto all fours. Sparks travel through my essence and numb me throughout. Tingling courses from my fingertips to my shoulders, and from my toes to my head, as the effect of being a werewolf wears off. Just as Ethan magically outfitted himself, the same happens to me.

I gawk at the creation. “How does this work?”

Ben clears his throat. “Um, if I want to craft or remove clothing, I have the ability.”

“One of the Conway spells?”

“Something like that.”

I smirk. “So, what you’re saying is clothing’s optional when we’re together.”

His cheeks radiate a fiery red. I’ve never seen him blush before. Then, salvaging his composure, he retorts, “Only if you want it to be. I mean, I can remove what you’re wearing now, if that’s a problem.”

I shake my head. “Nope, no problem at all.”

He lifts one eyebrow. “You sure? Because I—”

“Promise. It’s fine, really.” I nod to show him I’m serious, and hopefully he’ll believe me. I don’t want to imagine what our meetings will be like if I’m naked. How humiliating!

“Okay,” he says, but doesn’t sound certain. “I’ll run upstairs and grab some washcloths. Stay put.”

Like I can go anywhere else . . .

While waiting for his return, I think about how the hell I’m ever going to escape here, and how my friends and family better think of something quickly. I can’t spend another night in this Godforsaken prison.


“So, storytelling time!” I wiggle my fingers in the air. Ben gapes at me like I’ve completely lost my intellectual capability. Maybe I have. This dark place will do that to anybody, I’m sure.

“Take off your shirt,” he orders instead.

—what?” I stammer. Surely, I misunderstood him.

“Take. It. Off.” When I don’t move, he huffs. “I can’t treat your injuries if there’s no way to get to them. Either take it off or I’ll force it to disappear. Pick one.”

Oh, no, no, no. This isn’t happening. I’m not about to show him the goods—not when anyone can barge in and see me!

“You can stop the psychological wrestling and just do it,” he says. “It’s not like I haven’t seen them before.”



I just . . . I can’t even . . .

“Not yours. Ali’s,” he amends. “They’re pretty the same everywhere, just different sizes.”

Oh my God.
Stop it!
I use my inner voice to communicate with him because my real voice would totally falter.

His façade cracks, revealing his gorgeous
in a spacious grin. “What’s wrong, Candra? I thought you liked teasing. Oh, wait—just dishing it out, not the taking part, right?”

You are insane. Only crazy people would be having this conversation right now!

Then call me crazy, but I’m serious. Remove your shirt.

I pace back and forth debating whether this is right or wrong. My cuts do hurt, and they could potentially become infected if I remain in this grubby basement and don’t heal quickly enough. Ah, screw it!


Turning my back toward him, I strip off my shirt, leaving myself half-undressed. He strolls up behind me and lightly presses a cloth to my gashes.

“Does that hurt?” he asks, low and gruff.

“No,” I squeak, “not at all.”

An awkward hush fills the air. I don’t know what to say to him. I’m furious and embarrassed and wondering if he’s purposely doing this to me.

BOOK: Black Moon
6.17Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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