Under the Moon (Goddesses Rising) - By Natalie J. Damschroder Page 0,1

something under his breath. “Why? The moon is barely waning gibbous.”

“I don’t know. The signal dropped.” She worried her lower lip. Stay close to Sam. Why? The order was protective—and after all, Nick was her protector, so that was his default mode—but what did she need protection from? She rubbed her right forearm, the phantom ache a reminder of the first time Nick had been assigned to her, that “goddess” wasn’t a synonym for “invincible.”

Sam sighed. “When is he getting here?”

“I don’t know that, either.” She rested her head on her hand, her elbow on a pile of folders on her worn oak desktop. The full moon would completely wane by tomorrow, taking most of her power with it, so she’d worked steadily for the last week, using mostly telekinesis and her healing ability to help her clients. She hadn’t slept enough to balance the depletion of her normal energy, and her sluggish brain resisted the apprehension buzzing in her now.

“We’ll have to wait until he shows up, I guess.” She shook off the mental fuzzies and focused on Sam. He watched her, longing mixing with concern in his light brown eyes.

“How long did you sleep?” he asked.

She stifled a yawn. “Seven hours, six minutes.”

He shook his head. “That’s not enough.”

“Gonna have to be. It sounds like we have a full house tonight.”

“It’s busy for a Tuesday,” he acknowledged. Murmurs and laughter mixed with the jukebox music filtering in from the main room. It was still early, too.

“Bets and Katie are both sick, so they probably need us out there.” She stood and stretched, closing her eyes briefly and arching with her arms high. He didn’t answer. “Sam?” She caught him staring at the stretch of skin bared by her sweatshirt and tugged it over the waistband of her jeans. Heat seeped through her, dragging tingles in its wake. Did he notice her skin flush?

He gave himself a little shake and pulled his gaze away. “Yeah. Yeah, I guess.” But he scowled.

Quinn propped her hands on her hips. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.” He sat up and shifted papers on his desk, but she knew it wasn’t “nothing.”

“Sam.”

He sighed. “We need to talk. You’ve put me off all week, and now we’ve got Nick…”

Shit. She had hoped Nick coming early would put an end to this debate. She dragged her cotton apron off the back of her chair and busied herself tying it. “I’d better get to work.”

But Sam didn’t get up. His voice was low and deep when he said, “Why didn’t you come to me?”

Her hands stilled, and she avoided his steady gaze by checking for her order pad and pen. “You know why.”

“I’m still here.” He stood and came around the desk, and she couldn’t help but look at him now. He dwarfed her, filling her vision, his scent flooding her senses, feeding the grinding need she’d battled for weeks. She kept her lids shuttered so he couldn’t see the inevitable dilation of her pupils and take the reaction the wrong way. Her moon lust knew what Sam could give her, her body giving a Pavlovian response to his nearness.

Tapping her power source had a price. As energy flowed through her, it depleted her resources like exercise depleted an athlete. Instead of needing water and vitamins to balance her body, Quinn needed sex. She’d never understood why, but her body had always been recharged by that primal connection to another human being. She hadn’t had that for three months now, and the longer she resisted, the more difficult it got.

So Sam’s long legs, ridged stomach, and broad chest all called to her. Quinn’s hands flexed, anticipating the silk of his shaggy hair bunched in them. Only a few minutes, a voice whispered in her head. That’s all it will take. For balance. A moment of thought, of remembering the heat between them, was enough to make her crave it again. Her mouth watered as she watched Sam’s long-fingered hand track up his chest and around the back of his neck, a move she knew was calculated.

That didn’t matter. She took a step toward him, then forced herself to stop. She’d told Sam three months ago that she wouldn’t use him anymore and had held fast to the decision no matter how willing he was. It had been six years since she’d first had sex with him, and she’d only recently understood the damage they were doing to each other. Sam didn’t believe she could stop, but she had fought the

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