Under the Moon (Goddesses Rising) - By Natalie J. Damschroder

Under the Moon

Goddesses Rising

Book One

Natalie J. Damschroder

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

Copyright © 2011 by Natalie J. Damschroder. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce, distribute, or transmit in any form or by any means. For information regarding subsidiary rights, please contact the Publisher.

Entangled Publishing, LLC

2614 South Timberline Road

Suite 109

Fort Collins, CO 80525

Visit our website at www.entangledpublishing.com.

Edited by Kerri-Leigh Grady

Cover design by Hot Damn Designs

Ebook ISBN 978-1-937044-54-1

Print ISBN 978-1-937044-55-8

Manufactured in the United States of America

First Edition December 2011

The author acknowledges the copyrighted or trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction: AC/DC, American Medical Association, Band-Aids, Boston Landing, Camaro, Charger, Crocs, Daddy Warbucks, Dean Koontz, Dumpster, Fairfield Inn, Fairfield University, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Formica, Henley, Hoyer, Ibuprofen, J. Crew, Jetway, Lexus, Metallica, Metro Cab, Mustang, NFL Network, Ohio State University, Plexiglas, Prius, Romance Writers of America, Samuel Adams Beer, Sarett Nature Center, Taser, Taurus, Toyota, Vulcan, Walmart, Westminster, X-Men.

This book is dedicated to Jim, who taught me what falling in love was all about in the first place, and made sure I never

had to face the despair of hard choices.

Chapter One

Society views goddesses the same way they view psychics—most people don’t believe in us, and since there are only about a hundred goddesses in the United States, skeptics rarely have occasion to be proven wrong. Some people have open minds but still no reason to seek to use a goddess’s talents. If you choose a public career as a goddess, you join in the responsibility for image maintenance. Help us keep public opinion positive.

—The Society for Goddess Education and Defense, Public Relations Handbook

When Quinn Caldwell’s cell phone rang, she assumed one of her clients needed an appointment or a Society member had a question about next week’s annual meeting. It took her a second to pull her attention from the paperwork on her desk, another three to register the name on the screen.

Nick Jarrett.

Her spark of joy at seeing his name quickly changed to concern. He wouldn’t be calling for anything good. Quinn plugged her ear against the noise from the bar outside her office door, held her breath, and flipped open the phone. “Nick?”

“Quinn.” The rumble of his vintage Charger’s engine harmonized with Nick’s voice. “Service isn’t good out here so just listen.”

She knew it. “What’s wrong?”

“We have a problem. I’m coming early. I’ll explain when I get there. I won’t have a very good cell signal most of the time. I’m at least a day away, so stay close to Sam, and don’t…” His voice cut in and out before disappearing altogether.

Quinn’s skin prickled. She closed the phone, frowning. Nick never came until at least the week before new moon, when she was most vulnerable. In the fifteen years of their relationship, he’d never come a whole week early.

Something big had to be happening.

Quinn was the only goddess whose power source was the full moon, which meant she was only fully able to use her abilities for the seven days around it. As the month waned, she grew more “normal” until the new-moon period, when she had no ability to tap the power. That was when Nick appeared. Never now.

“Who was that?” Sam’s solid, warm hand landed on her shoulder, and he dropped a pile of papers on the desk in front of her. Quinn blinked at the shift from the surreal nature of the phone call to the mundane clutter of her narrow office at the back of Under the Moon, the central-Ohio bar she’d inherited from her father. It was her main business, a connection to the parents who died within months of each other twelve years ago, leaving her without any real family. It also kept her connected to the public between power cycles. The goddesses who made a living with their abilities mostly relied on word of mouth to find clients, and Quinn’s bar, centrally located for locals and travelers, had enough people channeling through it to give her customers for both businesses.

“Nobody,” she said, still lost in thought. She shook off the fog. “I mean, Nick.”

Sam’s eyebrows disappeared under his dark, shaggy bangs. He crossed to his smaller but far more organized desk near the office door. His chair squeaked when he dropped into it. “Nick called you?”

“Yeah. He’s coming early.”

“Great.” Sam glowered and mumbled

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