Under the Moonby Natalie J. Damschroder Chapter One (part 4 of 7) He sobered. “Quinn…”
“No, Sam.” She made an effort to keep her voice steady. “You deserve a chance to find someone right for you. But that’s not the main issue.” She sighed. “It’s time.”
She didn’t want to talk about the way he’d been watching her. She recognized something in him that she’d buried deep inside herself, didn’t even acknowledge anymore. The belief that there was nothing else out there that could give him what he was missing. She’d tried to fill a hole in herself with Sam, using the moon lust as an excuse, not realizing it or seeing that she was creating a matching hole in him. And now she couldn’t believe she’d been so blind and selfish.
“I don’t get it.” He spread his arms wide. “I’m not looking for someone else!”
“That’s the problem!” she shot back. “I’m holding you back from finding something real and lasting. A relationship with a woman who won’t relegate you to one week every month, for one thing.”
A muscle in his jaw twitched. “You need me.”
He meant it in a general sense, but it resonated physically. Need of the more carnal variety pulsed in half a dozen places. Quinn clenched her thighs, shifted her folded arms, and fought the impulse to reassure him. She’d told him the first week he worked for her that she would never lie to him. If she said she didn’t need him, he’d recognize the deception, and that would hurt him more than not being needed would.
“I’m not going to die if I don’t have sex,” she said instead. “I’ve managed three months already.”
“Yeah, and it took its toll. You had to work harder to do the same things this month, didn’t you?”
“No.” That wasn’t a lie, but it wasn’t completely true, either. When Sam raised his eyebrows, she said, “I got tired faster. But I need more sleep, that’s all. I should be able to manage this another way.” Frustrated, she pulled the bar towel off her shoulder and slapped it on the tabletop behind her.
“You’ve tried,” Sam said. “You told me so, back when you first hired me. It never worked, and the need grew. So why do you think it will be different now?”
“Because I’m older.”
“And more powerful. Wouldn’t that make the need worse?”
Damn him, he had an answer for everything. “I’ll find someone else.” Her gut twisted. The consequence of her heritage would be much easier to deal with if she didn’t care whom she slept with, but she always had. As much as it balanced her physically, sex with strangers or acquaintances left her more emotionally bereft, especially after her parents died.
Then came Sam. He’d filled so many holes in her life. Business manager, friend, family. Quinn knew that if she let him, he’d take that even further, marry her and raise children with her, and as blissful as the fantasy was, it would never be as perfect as he wanted it to be. She couldn’t love him the way he deserved to be loved.
“Who else?” He spread his hands and looked around. “Where are you going to find a guy like me? Available whenever you need him, able to take what you give—and give what you demand—and be safe? Not in here, I’ll tell you that much.”
Quinn didn’t respond. He was right. She’d tried before. She’d figured one-night stands were every guy’s dream, so it would be easy. But too much got in the way. Locals wanted her to do it on their schedule. Basic standards, like avoiding disease and not having sex with attached men, were impossible if she targeted travelers. Most of all, though, was the compulsion that grew as she got older and used more power. The sexual need for mental and physical balance wasn’t something she could rein in once unleashed. Sam was the only man who had managed to withstand the intensity long-term. The only one who hadn’t called her a freak.
Sam sprawled in his chair in front of her, his long legs so close, the frayed cuff of his jeans brushed her ankle. To keep from moving away, she gripped the edge of the table until her knuckles cracked. Retreat would be an admission that she couldn’t handle it. “I’ve managed fine so far.”
“Have you?” He held out a hand, a knowing in his eyes that she couldn’t refute. The moon had risen hours ago, close enough to last quarter that she could do only the smallest tasks, but it fed her passion.
Their power gives them strength…and makes them targets.
Quinn Caldwell is the epitome of a modern goddess. Her power source is the moon, her abilities restricted only by physical resources and lunar phase. She runs a consulting business and her father’s bar, serves on the board of the ancient Society for Goddess Education and Defense, and yearns for Nick Jarrett, professional goddess protector and the soul mate she can never have.
But someone has developed the rare and difficult ability to drain a goddess of her powers, and Quinn is a target. With the world thinking Nick has gone rogue (whatever that means) and that Quinn is influenced by “family ties” she didn’t know she had, keeping themselves safe while working to find the enemy proves harder each day.
But not as hard as denying their hearts…
Look for Heavy Metal, Book 2 in the Goddesses Rising series, in March 2013!
Natalie J. Damschroder grew up in Massachusetts, and loves the New England Patriots more than anything. (Except her family. And writing and reading. And popcorn.) When she’s not writing romantic adventure for Carina Press and paranormal romance for Entangled Publishing, she does freelance editing and works part time as a chiropractic assistant. She and her husband have two daughters they’ve dubbed “the anti-teenagers,” one of whom is also a novelist. (The other one prefers math. Smart kid. Practical.)
So, there are TWO giveaway today because Entangled Publishing and Natalie are awesome!
1) eBook Copy of Under The Moon
2) A Goddess Box of Goodies!