Authors: Eileen Wilks
PRAISE FOR EILEEN WILKS’S NOVELS OF THE LUPI
“Grabs you on the first page and never lets go. Strong characters, believable world building, and terrific storytelling . . . I really, really loved this book.”
—Patricia Briggs, #1
New York Times
“As intense as it is sophisticated, a wonderful novel of strange magic, fantastic realms, and murderous vengeance that blend together to test the limits of fate-bound lovers.”
New York Times
bestselling author of the Darkyn series
“Full of intrigue, danger, and romance.”
“An intense and suspenseful tale . . . A must-read . . . Eileen Wilks is a truly gifted writer.”
“The richness of Wilks’s world is really enhanced by the wonderful depth of her character development.”
RT Book Reviews
“An engaging paranormal tale full of action and adventure that should not be missed!”
—Romance Reviews Today
“Held me enthralled and kept me glued to my seat.”
—Errant Dreams Reviews
“Fabulous . . . The plot just sucked me in and didn’t let me go until the end . . . Another great addition to the World of Lupi series.”
“Intriguing . . . A masterful pen and sharp wit hone this third book in the Moon Children series into a work of art. Enjoy!”
—A Romance Review
“Quite enjoyable . . . with plenty of danger and intrigue.”
—The Green Man Review
Books by Eileen Wilks
(with Jayne Ann Krentz writing as Jayne Castle, Julie Beard, and Lori Foster)
(with Christine Feehan, Katherine Sutcliffe, and Fiona Brand)
(with Laurell K. Hamilton, MaryJanice Davidson, and Rebecca York)
ON THE PROWL
(with Patricia Briggs, Karen Chance, and Sunny)
(with Karen Chance, Marjorie M. Liu, and Yasmine Galenorn)
TIED WITH A BOW
(with Lora Leigh, Virginia Kantra, and Kimberly Frost)
An imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014
A Berkley Sensation Book / published by arrangement with the author
Copyright © 2015 by Eileen Wilks.
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eBook ISBN: 978-1-101-60393-2
Berkley Sensation mass-market edition / November 2015
Cover art by Tony Mauro.
Cover design by George Long.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
I’d like to thank Richard Manning for helping me get the weaponry right. Any mistakes that remain are, I assure you, entirely my own.
guards came as a shock.
Demi knew about the alarm system and exterior lights. Those had been in use when she lived in the big farmhouse. She knew about the perimeter alarm they’d added, too, having checked the updated schematics through her back door. No problem. There wasn’t a tech system yet invented that she couldn’t subvert, given enough time. She’d crossed the perimeter with no problems.
Maybe she’d been cocky. No, definitely she’d been cocky. Tech wasn’t the only way to keep people out.
Or to keep them in.
She pressed her back against the big oak as if she could get it to soak her up if she pushed hard enough. Her heart pounded. Her mouth was dry. Nausea stirred in her gut. She didn’t deal well with surprises, even the happy sort. This one was not happy. Her mind was a whirlwind, thoughts shooting off in all directions like accidental fireworks. Her fingers began moving in an automatic pattern, fingering an imaginary flute.
Sensei said once that her mind was her biggest friend and her most terrible enemy. Sensei could say stuff like that and no one laughed at him. It wasn’t just because he was right, either. You could be right and people would still laugh at you or get mad. She understood the getting mad. It’s like Mama used to say: people don’t like to feel stupid, and sometimes if you’re right, it means they’re wrong, or else just you being right makes them feel dumb, and that makes them mad. She knew how that felt. She didn’t understand the laughing, but it always made her feel stupid.
She missed Mama so much.
The tree refused to absorb her. Her fingers kept moving repetitively. Gradually her mind calmed down enough to be useful. The situation wasn’t what she’d expected. She needed to evaluate it before deciding what to do.
Demi was in a small copse of trees about a hundred yards from the rambling farmhouse. There was some cover between her and her goal—a dip in the grassy meadow that she knew from experience would conceal her as long as she crouched low. That would take her to the barn, which would block her from view of the house as the dip petered out. She’d planned to slip inside the barn, climb to the hay loft, then out the window at the back and into the big elm. From the elm she’d go to the roof of the detached garage; from there to the patio. The motion sensor aimed at the patio was tied into the security system, so that wasn’t a problem. She was already hacked into it.
She couldn’t hack into eyeballs or the brains and bodies that went with them. The guards had been wearing camo, as if they were soldiers. Maybe they were. Mr. Smith could probably get soldiers if he wanted some.
Why would he want soldiers? What was going on?
She drew a shaky breath. That’s what she was here to find out, wasn’t it?
The knot of determination in her chest tightened. She wasn’t giving up. Nicky was in there. She was ninety percent sure he was. If she was right, all kinds of things she’d thought true were fake and false, lies created to get her to help them do . . . whatever dreadful thing they were doing. Because you didn’t lie in order to get people to do wonderful things, did you?