Bad Moon Rising – Excerpt

Next Tuesdays sees the release of my new IR shifter novella, Bad Moon Rising, from Phaze!

To celebrate the new release, my first paranormal romance Somebody to Love: A Ghost Story will be going on sale for half price at all retailers–just $1.49! The sale will go for a couple of weeks and if you haven’t picked up a copy yet, I hope you get a chance.

Read on for an excerpt from Bad Moon Rising!

 

Chapter One

The party at Bad Moon
Rising was in full swing. Classic rock blasted over the speakers but was barely
audible over the din of voices and laughter from the bar’s patrons.

Abriella Simone worked
the bar, keeping busy by mixing drinks. Her hooded red cloak hung off her shoulders,
the sash at her neck pulling slightly as she bustled about.

Her coworker, Pam,
stopped at the end of the bar and set her tray on the counter. “A pitcher of
Red and three Porn Stars!”

Like I don’t have enough here. “I’m coming!” Brie said instead of
complaining. She ducked a wadded napkin flying through the air and mixed a
Whiskey Sour for the next guy in line. Stephen was already ringing someone up
at the cash register, at least, so he took care of collecting the money while
she started on the order Pam brought.

The waitress was
tapping her long, manicured black nails on the counter while Abriella filled a
pitcher with beer and then set about mixing up the cocktails. A straw in each
of the glasses and they were good to go; she set everything on the tray and
nodded.

Pam made a face as she
hefted the heavy tray up, rolled her blue eyes, and then plastered on a fake
smile to deliver the drinks.

With a brief break of
no customers for a moment, Brie grabbed a cloth and gave the bar a good
wipe-down, then snatched a dish of peanuts to refill in the staff area. A
glance at the clock revealed it was only eleven-thirty—still a couple of hours
left. At least she was keeping busy.

In the rear of the bar
was the kitchen, and stepping through the door afforded her ears a break as it
dulled the music and voices. Her heels clicked on the tile as she made her way
for the pantry cupboard.

She nearly collided
with a tall, broad figure as he stepped from the backroom, arms stacked high
with bags of tortilla chips. His steps skidded to a halt and half the bags went
flying.

“I’m sorry!” Brie
scrambled to collect some of the fallen bags.

“No problem,” came the
low, easy voice of her boss, Lee Wheeler.

As far as bosses went,
he was great, but she’d had her share of quick to anger tyrants, and she
swiftly gathered the still-sealed packages from the floor as to not abuse his
goodwill.

Lee stacked the bags on
the counter and took the remaining ones from her arms. “Really, no harm.”

“Still. I’m not usually
so klutzy.”

He waved her off. “Busy
night. Everyone’s a bit frazzled.”

That was true. She
hadn’t had time to sit down since she started. Her feet ached in a pair of sexy
Mary Jane heels after being behind the bar for four hours, but the tips slipped
her way for her Little Red Riding Hood getup were totally worth the discomfort.

With no one to run into
this time, she finished her trek for the peanuts from the pantry and snatched
the tin from the top shelf.

“Can you grab the
salsa?” Lee asked.

“Sure thing.” She
stacked two large jars on top of the peanut tins and went to him at the
counter.

Lee had half a dozen
chip bowls set up where he emptied the contents of the bags. Dishes for dips
hung off the sides; he handed her a spoon and nodded to one. “A few scoops of
salsa. Freebies for the crowd.”

And that was why
everyone loved Bad Moon Rising—Lee was generous. She set to scooping out salsa
per his instructions.

“Say, when was your
last break?” he asked.

“Um…during my shift
yesterday.”

His dark eyes moved her
way and he cocked a brow. “You need a break.”

“I’m fine—”

“Break.” He pushed two
chip bowls that were ready her way. “Booth one and booth two—I’ll be bringing
the rest and I can work the bar for a bit. You take thirty to rest. Or dance, have
fun. I promise the boss won’t mind.”

“I dunno, I heard he’s
a bit of a tyrant,” she teased.

His grin was sexy and
easy as he gazed down at her. “Nah, he’s a pussycat. I’m sure he won’t notice
either if Stephen gets you a drink. On the house.”

She scooped up the two
bowls of chips and salsa. “Yes, sir.” Two steps toward the door and she turned
back to him. “Oh, the—”

“I’ll worry about the
peanuts, darlin’. Go take a break.”

Well, she certainly
wasn’t going to argue.

Abriella slipped out of
the kitchen, back into the fray.

Patrons were dressed in
all manner of costumes—lots of cats and mice among the women, which involved leotards,
headbands with ears, and stilettos. Some witches, some ghosts. Among the men
were a dozen pirates, some ninjas, and a few full body monster costumes. Masks
abounded and there were several people she didn’t recognize at all.

She dropped the chips
and salsa off at booth one and two, and then swung around for the bar,
squeezing past patrons so she could order a drink.

Stephen had worked the
longest of any of them at Bad Moon Rising, next to Lee himself, and grinned as
she stepped up to see him. “’Bout time you took a break. What’ll it be?”

“Sex on the Beach,” she
returned and laughed as he raised a brow suggestively.

“Coming right up.”

She turned to face the
crowd while she waited for the drink, her gaze drifting over everyone. Space
was cleared in the center for dancing and people took advantage of it, about
twenty or so of them in a tangled mess of bodies and arms and legs.

Stephen nudged her
shoulder with her drink, which she accepted with thanks. Her lips wrapped
around the straw and she took a long drink, sweet alcohol flooding her taste
buds and rolling down her throat. Prickles ran down her spine, her body coming
alive with awareness as she sensed someone watching her. She scanned the crowd
for someone she recognized.

Her gaze snagged that
of a man across the room.

He stood a head over
most the people there. A black T-shirt and a black jacket were stretched over
broad shoulders and a muscled torso. Dark hair was loose and nearly to his
shoulders, looking silky to the touch. A wolf mask hid his face, however,
blocking all features but his eyes from view.

He was most definitely
looking at her, though.

She’d seen him earlier,
across the room standing outside the crowd. He’d been holding a beer then
though she didn’t remember him coming up to order it, and it was gone now. She
didn’t think he was there with anyone. Though tempted to wave in case she knew
him, instead she averted her eyes.

A shiver ran through
her despite the heat from the room and the alcohol flushing her face with warm
blood. She took another long sip of her drink and debated. She was social,
sure, but not that forward of a girl—she didn’t run up to
strangers in masks and make small talk. No, she was used to being friendly as
part of her job—patrons bought more drinks if they had a nice girl with a
sympathetic ear—but outside of work she kept to herself, went on nice normal
dates.

Still, something buzzed
under her skin, sliding down her spine and spreading warmth through her veins.
The point of Bad Moon Rising’s monthly full moon costume party was to be
someone else, wasn’t it?

And she was dressed the
part. She wore a black corset, red and black short skirt, and then the red
satin cloak that came to mid-thigh. Ruby red lipstick, her black hair long and
loose, and dramatic eye shadow completed the look. She managed to out-vamp Pam
that evening, which was no small feat considering she was dressed like a
vampire stripper.

And Little Red Riding Hood can’t very well
ignore the big bad wolf, now can she?

Abriella drained the
rest of her drink. She had another twenty minutes before she had to head back
to the bar. The least she could do was have some fun, maybe dance a little.
Perhaps Mr. Wolf would stroll over and say hi.

She left the safety of
the bar and strolled for the dance floor, a happy buzz settling in her veins. Dancers
were in loose groups, swaying to Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks”, and she
shifted toward a few people she recognized. Her neighbor, twenty-something Laverne,
was dressed as a pixie, her wings shimmering and a smattering of glitter shone
across her skin. Laverne waved and Abriella made her way over. At least she’d
have some company while making eyes at Mr. Wolf.

She wove through the
crowd, squeezing between couples. The slow, sensual beat of the music thrummed
in her bones and she swayed her hips, tipped her head back, enjoying being lost
for a moment and away from slinging drinks and playing nice with the drunks.

Heat warmed her back,
the undeniable feeling of someone behind her. A smile curved her lips before
she opened her eyes, sensing his hand on her hip before she felt it.

Mr. Wolf was at her
back, moving with her in a sensual dance. She shuddered, feeling his possessive
grip, and turned her head to look up at him. Even with her heels, he stood more
than a head over her. Brown eyes looked backed from behind the mask, smoky with
desire. Her heart tripped up just staring at him and she was very aware of her
exposed cleavage displayed by the corset. A blush worked across her dark skin,
rolling from her cheeks down her neck straight to the top of her breasts.

“Why, Mr. Wolf, what
big eyes you have,” she said in a breathy voice.

“The better to see you
with, Red,” he returned, his grip on her hip tightening.

She inched back,
pressed right up against him. Laverne was in her peripheral vision, and though
she expected a stare, her neighbor didn’t pay any attention. In fact, Little
Red Riding Hood and her Big Bad Wolf could’ve been in the middle of the forest
all alone for all anyone else in the bar noticed, and she rather liked it.

Out of character for
her, maybe, but Brie had spent much of her life being normal and safe, and this
was merely a dance, after all. She snuggled right into him, her hips still swaying.
His other hand touched her shoulder, pulling back the cloak to expose her bare
skin and trail his fingers along there. She shivered, tingles of pleasure
running through her skin. Her head tilted to the side, neck exposed and
vulnerable, and if he hadn’t worn the mask she wondered if his lips would
descend and press a kiss to her fevered flesh.

But he didn’t remove
the mask, instead keeping up his werewolf alter ego. Brie turned to face him,
still locked close to him, her hands sliding up his torso to rest on his chest.
He drew in a breath, his heart thudding beneath her fingertips, and she loved
the idea that beneath the dominant exterior this Mr. Wolf was as thrilled at
her touch as she was with his.

She studied the mask
and tried to picture the man behind it. Small town, she knew nearly
everyone—surely he was someone who came in here often or at least lived in the
area. But if she knew him, she couldn’t place him.

Too soon the song
ended. She was prepared to continue but he slowed to a stop even as the next
tune began.

“Have grandmothers to
abduct and eat?” she asked.

His hand folded over
hers, sending electric shivers through her body. “Maybe I’ll see you again if you
go walking the woods, Red.” He lifted his mask just slightly, enough for her to
catch a strong, square jaw and full lips, but that was all. He pressed a warm
kiss to her knuckles, then let her hand drop again. With a little nod, he
backed up and slipped into the crowd.

Though she tried to
peer past the others, she couldn’t see where he went. Her shoulders sank and
she let out a sigh. Well, she had fun for a little while. Maybe she’d grab
another drink before her break ended.
About Asha King

Asha King likes good-looking men and hot books, and often strives to combine the two in contemporary, paranormal, and suspenseful romantic stories. She lives in the exotic land of Alberta, Canada, where she doesn’t ride a polar bear to work but does drink vast amounts of locally brewed beer and watches hockey.

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