Marked by Moonlight by Sharie Kohler - Romance>Paranormal/Horror
She doesn't know what bit her...
Seemingly overnight, Claire Morgan has transformed: the normally mousy schoolteacher is now bold, and her behavior is truly wild. Her eyes gleam silver. Suddenly she's a self-confident femme fatale with a libido that just won't quit. After an impulsive makeover, she's even...dare she say it?...sexy. Is Claire going insane?
Then brutally handsome stranger Gideon March tells her she was bitten by a werewolf, and Claire figures he's the insane one. Sure, she was attacked by a nasty dog in a back alley, but this guy stalking her says he's a member of an underground society of lycan hunters -- and his mission is to kill her immediately.
When Claire finally realizes she really is a lycan, there's no turning back -- because by now Claire and Gideon are bound by a hungry passion. If they can't break the curse by the next full moon, Claire's soul will be lost forever and Gideon will be forced to terminate his prey -- a woman dangerously close to devouring him, heart and soul.
Beware the silent dog.
--Man's Best Friend: An Essential Guide to Dogs
Stepping out of her car, Claire Morgan sniffed the smog-laden air warily.Locking her door, she faced the run-down apartment building and sighed. Brushing the salt of French fries off of her slacks--evidence of her weak-willed drive-through detour--she eyed the gray building made all the more uglyby painted-on shutters framing every window. Even armed with her city map, ithad taken her over an hour to find it. Apparently in this neighborhood, whenstreet signs went missing, no one bothered to replace them.
Distracted, she failed to notice two adolescents on skateboards launching themselves down the center of the street in her path. One of the skatersclipped her hip, nearly knocking her to the pavement.
"Hey!" she cried.
One of the youths turned back and flicked her an obscene gesture.
"What am I doing here?" she muttered, shaking her head.
But she knew the answer to that question even as she asked it.
She was here for Lenny.
By all accounts, Lenny Alvarez had been a lost cause. Seventeen, repeating hissophomore year, he'd originally sat in the back of the class with his head down, buried in his arms. Gradually, as the year progressed, he'd startedpaying attention, even staying after class so she could tutor him for his SAT,which he was scheduled to take tomorrow. It was the one test he couldn't miss;he would be there if she had to drive him to school herself.
Squaring her shoulders, she faced Lenny's apartment building. A radio played in the distance. The Tejano music that echoed off the row of apartmentbuildings lining the block had a liveliness that contrasted with the eeriestillness of the neighborhood. Sweat dampened her nape and she lifted the hairoff her neck to let the faint breeze cool her skin.
Normally, she would be popping in a movie right about now, a plate of pizza onher lap like most Friday nights. A Saturday of grading papers would follow, andthen a Sunday of church and dinner with the parents. She shrugged one shoulder.A break from routine wouldn't hurt.
And this was Lenny.
Stepping onto the sidewalk, she prayed she wouldn't have to confront Lenny'sdrunken foster father.
A dog hurled itself, spitting and growling, against the filth-encrusted screenof a ground-floor apartment. Jumping back, she dubiously eyed the tiny screwsholding the screen in place--the only thing preventing the animal from maulingher.
Gripping the iron railing with a clammy palm, she fled up the stairs, doing her best to ignore the sudden memory of her cousin's mastiff attacking her when she was only eight.
The barking grew fainter as she neared the door of apartment 212. The sound of a television blared through the steel-framed door. She rapped on the door. Noanswer. She tried again, harder this time.
Suddenly a hard voice demanded, "What do you want?"
Claire spun around, clutching the stinging knuckles of her hand. An elderlywoman with sagging jowls and deeply carved wrinkles peered from a crackeddoor across the way.
"I'm looking for Lenny. The boy who lives here. Do you know him?"
Small, piercing eyes studied her above the sagging chain lock. "You a socialworker?" Before Claire could answer, the woman rushed forth with, "Cause youshould've taken that boy away a long time ago."
"I'm not a social worker." Claire shook her head vigorously. "I'm his English teacher."
The old woman snorted. "What kinda teacher makes house calls?"
"He's been absent three days." Three days. And Lenny never missed class."I'm worried. Tomorrow's his SAT, and I want to make sure he's there." Clairedidn't voice her...