Release & IG Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway:
Wane on Harvest Moon
By Amanda Meuwissen
Moonlight Prophecies, Book 3
Cat shifter Luke and rat shifter Preston have had a solid relationship for ten years, but lately, the increasing attacks on their pack and the stress of raising their adopted daughter are highlighting more of their differences than the values they have in common. When they travel to Glenwood to investigate the source of the ancient artifacts tied to the recent violence, tensions in the shifter community—and their relationship—are already running high.
Strangely, this mystery seems tied to the events that brought them together. On their first mission, eighteen-year-old Luke and twenty-one-year-old Preston had to put aside their differences—and back-burner their mutual attraction—to prevent a disaster that would have revealed the existence of shifter kind to humans.
But how does what’s happening now connect to their past? And can they find the answers their pack, their species, and their relationship need to survive?
“Wow, the architecture here is badass!”
Preston followed Luke and Jesse out of the parking garage to better take in the view of downtown Glenwood. They’d driven from Centrus City since there wasn’t a direct train route like from Centrus to Brookdale, and three plane tickets wouldn’t have been worth the short distance.
Glenwood was impressive, with more skyscrapers than either of the other cities and an Old World feel like it might have been a century in the past if not for several more modern buildings. Old stonework with carved designs and even lions or gargoyles peering down at them from several stories up was just as common as reflective glass, and everything had a gray or black look to it that said as soon as the sun set, they might as well be in Transylvania.
“How… gothic,” Preston said, brushing aside the strands of hair that had fallen loose from his disturbed bun, since he’d been the one driving all afternoon.
Jesse didn’t respond. She had her arms crossed in front of her, with shoulders hunched in typical annoyed teenage fashion.
“Come on, you two.” Luke threw an arm across her shoulders. “No being sourpusses while we’re on vacation!” For a werecat, he had the temperament of an overactive puppy, which on a good day, Preston adored, but on a bad, sort of made him wish he could lock Luke in a kennel.
Jesse was more the temperamental type, but instead of an alley cat, she was a tiger, and their very recently adopted daughter.
Preston, or rather, Preston James Rathaway III, wondered what his parents would think of finally having a grandchild only for it to be their gay son having adopted from the cat tribe. They were the epitome of traditionalists, preferring to keep to rat shifter circles. Preston didn’t talk to them anymore, hadn’t in years, but maybe he’d send a Christmas card, just to imagine the look on his mother’s face when she saw him happier than ever with his found family.
Well, “happy” was subjective lately. Ever since Jesse moved into the den, Preston and Luke hadn’t agreed on much of anything, other than this trip, which wasn’t starting off all that great, given Jesse looked like she wanted to crawl back into the car and hide.
“This isn’t exactly a vacation,” Preston reminded them, adjusting his glasses more out of habit than crookedness. “We have official circle business to attend to.”
As Centrus City’s Magister in charge of all things magic related, Preston often took on complicated mysteries of unknown origin, and Luke, the city’s Councilor, who watched over community relations, knew best how to get even the most closed-off pack members to open up. They had been tasked by their Alpha, Bashir “Bash” Bain, to discover where a suspicious set of creation tablets had come from, which depicted the history of shifter-kind. All they knew currently was that the tablets had been sent to Brookdale from a museum in Glenwood, though with no idea who originally donated them.
Solving a mystery together had been how Preston and Luke first got to know each other after taking on their roles in Centrus City’s circle almost a decade ago.
Luke cast Preston a sharp look, and his blue eyes flashed to shifter Stage One. The intensity enhanced his youthful attractiveness, with ginger hair and the hint of strawberry blond highlights, an echo of his tabby-striped cat form. He was shorter in stature, barely five foot eight, and therefore, one of the smallest of their pack’s inner circle, other than Preston, who was five foot six. But while Preston had an average build, Luke had a lankier litheness to him that betrayed his feline heritage.
Which included an occasional burst of temper.
Luke jutted his chin toward Jesse, and Preston had to admit he was the one at fault this time, since Jesse needed support.
“However,” Preston amended, stepping up to Jesse’s other side, “we will also make time to see the sights and… have fun.”
Jesse snorted but allowed a small smile as she leaned against Luke. Her dark hair with its streak of blue contrasted Luke’s ginger as she easily succumbed to his casual physicality.
To any passersby, they probably looked more like siblings than child and parent, but Luke and Preston were technically old enough to have a thirteen-year-old daughter—if they’d had her when they were young teens themselves.
“Buck up, pixie girl,” Luke tried once more to coax her from her funk. “I thought you wanted to visit.”
“I did. I just haven’t been back here since….”
Since her parents died.
A car accident over a year ago had claimed both their lives while she was at school, and since she had no other living relatives, she’d ended up at Glenwood’s Shelter—the place in each city where shifters without any other place to go or who couldn’t control their shifts were allowed to live under pack protection. As Preston understood it, Jesse had asked to be transferred to Centrus City after the first month.
“I really wanted to get away back then,” she continued, “but I was missing home and thought… I don’t know.” She rested her head more snugly against Luke’s shoulder. “You were always from Centrus, right?”
“Born and bred.”
“What happened to your parents?”
Preston watched a thin smile overtake Luke’s expression. Neither of them talked about their families, and for good reason—they weren’t nice stories.
“I don’t really remember them,” Luke said. “I was a lot younger than you when I ended up at the Shelter. I’m sure having memories of your parents makes things tough, but it’s also good to have them, right?”
Jesse hesitated but eventually said, “Yeah, I guess. What about you?” She glanced at Preston. “You never lived in the Shelter.”
“No. My family is alive, but trust me, having no memories of them would be better. Come on.” Preston indicated the hotel behind them, where they would be staying while they were in town. “If we want to get to any vacationing, we need to handle our assignment first.”
He headed in that direction, but slowly to allow Jesse and Luke to catch up. Preston wasn’t as physically affectionate as Luke, but although Luke had always been understanding of that where it concerned him, he kept passing disapproving glances at Preston for holding back with Jesse—like now.
Swallowing a sigh, Preston reached out to gently squeeze Jesse’s shoulder.
She smiled and briefly leaned into his side like she had Luke’s.
Preston hated when Luke was right, especially when he looked so smug afterward.
“Why didn’t you bring Basil and Dr. Dawson?” Jesse asked.
Those were Preston’s most treasured rat companions, who were family as much as pets. Rodents he had a connection with tended to live longer, but even then, they rarely lasted more than five to ten years max. Before Basil and Dawson, he’d had a different set of rat friends.
“Hotels tend to frown on that,” he said, and Jesse snorted.
The hotel in question was as gothic as the other buildings on this block, refurbished but not too outlandish, providing both sensibility and a show of wealth from Glenwood’s circle, since they would be footing the bill. Inside the high-ceilinged lobby, waiting for them, was Glenwood’s Alpha, Kate Romero, and her Second—
“Jude!” Luke exclaimed, neglecting any sense of decorum as he bounded toward their old friend and embraced him by practically leaping into his arms.
Jude Marley was a fox shifter, which technically put him in the wolf tribe with Kate, though it was rare for a wolf-run city to let foxes be so high ranking—aside from Bash’s circle in Centrus, which was a mix of almost every tribe.
Jude easily encompassed Luke in a hug, being nearly a head taller than him, with long ginger hair, a shade lighter than Luke’s, amber eyes, and a trim beard.
“Hey there, Kitten!” Jude exclaimed just as jubilantly.
To Kate’s credit, she didn’t look at all put out by the casual display. She too was a young Alpha, since all Alphas in the three major cities had been replaced within the last decade or so—Glenwood’s, Kate’s father, who passed away, Brookdale’s, who retired and left things to Jeffrey “Jay” Russell, and Centrus City’s, Bash’s father, who Bash personally killed to usurp.
Kate had the sort of biker-chick look that reminded Preston of fellow circle members back home, Deanna and Siobhan. She had a darker complexion, with a dark shorter hairstyle, not quite shaved on the sides like common fashion, but still longer on top like a 90s teen boy heartthrob. While taller and trim like an androgenous model, there was no doubt by the way she held herself that she could clobber anyone who foolishly tried to pick a fight.
“Wow,” Jesse muttered as they approached at a slower pace. “I forgot the hotness factor.”
“For which one?” Preston asked.
“Both. Definitely both.”
That brought a smile to Preston’s face that he fought to not let crumble into a sneer. Kids sure had it different these days, more allowed to explore what and who, if anyone, they were attracted to. Not to say it was easy, but he did envy them sometimes.
“Jude.” Preston nodded and shook the fox’s hand once his mate was no longer attached to him. “Madame Alpha.”
“Kate’s fine,” she said, shaking Preston’s hand next. “It’s good to meet you, Mr. Rathaway. And Mr.….” She frowned, not knowing Luke’s surname, which was common.
“Legally it’s Smith, since I don’t know what it actually was.” Luke shrugged. Smith or Jones were common choices for orphans at the Shelter when forging paperwork. “But if you’re Kate, then we’re just Luke and Preston.”
“You obviously already know my Second,” she said.
“For almost, what, ten years now?” Luke finally remembered his manners and shook Kate’s hand too. “Man, are we getting old!”
“I’d argue,” Jude said, assessing Jesse between them, “but I never expected you two to adopt. Nice to see you again, Jesse. I’m glad Centrus led you to a good home—though I don’t know if I can truly vouch for these two.” He winked.
The way she averted her eyes without the usual snarky comment said plenty about how attractive she found him. “They’re not so bad.”
“How are you, Miss Kane?” Kate asked. “Or is it something new now?”
“Please,” Jesse scoffed, “and let them force a hyphen on me? So lame.”
Preston would have teased they’d do it anyway for that comment alone if he didn’t remember having the same holier-than-thou attitude about being “cool” at her age.
“Hey, man, how’s your sister?” Luke asked with a smack to Jude’s arm.
A squeal was heard before heeled feet bounded toward them with audible warning clicks.
“Ask yourself,” Jude said and knowingly stepped aside to grant entry for Jordana Marley, who leapt into Luke’s arms even more raucously than Luke had leapt into Jude’s.
“Kitten!” she cried. “Oh my God, you look amazing!”
The jaw-drop from Jesse proved she hadn’t yet met Jude’s sister, who had identical coloring to her brother, including waist-long ginger hair. If Jude was basic casual, and Kate a biker chick, then Jordana was the odd one out, as if she’d stepped from the screen of any Real Housewives episode, though without the excess makeup or blatant fakeness.
Not that Preston had ever watched any of that—willingly.
“Hey, foxy woman, I was hoping we’d see you!” Luke greeted.
Unlike Jude, who’d respected Preston’s self-imposed bubble, Jordana glomped onto him next. “And Fievel! Your hair is getting so long! You should totally wear it down—”
Preston swatted her from pulling loose the tie from inside his tangled bun. “Oh no. You can fuss when I don’t have hours’ worth of car ride on me.”
She pouted at the denial but didn’t try again. “And this must be Jesse. Look at you!” She rebounded, pulling Jesse in for a slightly less resistant hug than Preston and was even allowed a near immediate twirl of her fingers through Jesse’s blue streak. “Rocking the badass punk look like my Kate, huh? You are too precious.”
Jesse’s understandable shock from meeting the whirlwind that was Jordana was likely to blame for her once again not throwing up defenses—or because Jordana was a literal bombshell. “Are you part of the Glenwood circle too?” Jesse asked.
Jordana flew to the other side of their tight gathering and affixed herself to Kate. “Only as mate and whisperer in ears on occasion. Glenwood pack dynamic sort of frowns on mated pairs both being in the circle. Unlike Centrus City’s blatant nepotism,” she added in mock-whisper.
“Hey!” Luke defended. “Bash chose us for our roles before we mated.”
“And that lasted all of a few days, if I remember.”
“That was a long time ago,” Preston said.
“Yeah, you two weren’t even legit back then.” Luke nudged Jude, indicating the… profession the two had had when they first met them.
“Like any of us are wholly legit now.” Jude chuckled back.
Being professional thieves was a bit different from mob-like business dealings, but not by much.
Jesse’s curious glances between them would likely demand explanations later, but for now, Preston was glad to have Kate as another voice of reason.
“Let’s continue this away from prying ears,” she said, placing a hand on Jordana’s that was curled around her arm. “We’ll treat you to a late dinner and fill you in. Your things?”
“Still in the car,” Preston said. “We figured we’d grab everything after we checked in.”
“Then let’s get you settled. We have a lot to tell you.”
Enter the Giveaway:
To celebrate the release of Wane on Harvest Moon, Amanda is giving you a chance to win an e-set of the Moonlight Prophecies Series so far, which includes By the Red Moonlight, Blue Moon Rising, and Wane on Harvest Moon.
Direct Link: https://bit.ly/WoHM_Giveaway
About the Author:
Amanda Meuwissen is a bisexual author with a primary focus on M/M romance. As the author of LGBT Fantasy #1 Best Seller, Coming Up for Air, paranormal romance trilogy, The Incubus Saga, and several other titles through various publishers, Amanda regularly attends local comic conventions for fun and to meet with fans, where she will often be seen in costume as one of her favorite fictional characters. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with her husband, John, and their cat, Helga.
Connect with Amanda:
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAmandaMeuwissen
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/AmandaMeuwissenBooks