Werewolves, dragons and werecats have gone missing. Working undercover, Jackson Graham of the Paranormal Crime Unit has infiltrated a group trafficking in shifters and he's on the brink of taking down the criminal network. During a short respite in the case, he visits his pack and runs into Grace. He's been secretly in love with Grace for years, but this she-wolf is destined to mate with his cousin, York.
But Grace has other plans. She's refused to run beneath the Claiming Moon with York, and Jackson is the wolf she wants.
They share one night of passion, but must part ways. Jackson is in the middle of an undercover operation and Grace, an investigative reporter for an online paper, is intent on solving the mystery of the missing shifters.
When Jackson and Grace's paths cross again, he's the buyer and she's the contraband.
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Excerpt for Claiming Moon
Jackson threaded his way through the celebrating throng, stopping briefly to say hello to old friends. The demands of his chosen career limited his visits home. As time passed, Jackson felt his connection to the pack fading. His childhood friends were mated and producing offspring, and while Jackson was proud of his job, the details of his undercover work weren't meant to be shared and criminal activity wasn't a great subject for the dinner table. At the crowded bar, he ordered two scotch-on-the-rocks. He'd allow himself one drink and a cigar before leaving.
His nostrils flared, a scent memory flashing through him. Despite the size of the crowd, Jackson knew who stood beside him. His heart twisted. Jackson turned, his gaze locking with hers, green eyes that had the ability to bring him to his knees. Thankfully, Grace Kritt had no idea she held that power. "Grace."
In a flash he noticed she'd cut her honey-colored hair to shoulder length and she'd lost weight. Not much, but she had the look of someone suffering from a lack of sleep. An investigative reporter, Grace must be chasing a story. She smiled at him, her face lighting up as a fire ignited deep inside him.
"I heard you were home," she said, her voice low and soft. "I crashed the party to make sure it wasn't a rumor."
His gaze slid over her arresting face, pausing on her lush lips. One stolen night beneath the moon when he was eighteen had hooked him. Grace was the she-wolf he'd wanted that moonlit night and nothing had changed in the last decade. Jackson wasn't sure what that said about him, but after all these years he was still crazy about Grace. Perhaps the desire remained simply because she'd been unobtainable.
Jackson had been told by a couple of women that he had issues with commitment, but then no one else had made him feel like Grace did. She had the ability to make him laugh and make him feel like fire was licking his veins. They could talk for hours or remain in one another's company barely speaking a word. Just looking at her made his heart pound, but Grace belonged to his cousin, York.
"Crash Saldon's party? Impossible, you're practically a Graham."
Her voice dropped. "Things have changed."
What could have possibly changed? Grace and his cousin York had been matched by their parents from the time they were children. The day following that warm summer night Jackson and Grace had made love in the soft meadow grass beneath a full moon, his cousin York had met with the elders. Since York and Grace were expected to mate, the elders gave their approval and the whole pack celebrated the announcement. Jackson had two choices: challenge York and cause havoc within the Graham clan, or forever hold his peace. Would he spend the rest of his life regretting the fact that he done the honorable thing?
"Whatever the problem is, York loves you."
"I know he does," Grace said. "Sometimes you can't meet the expectations of others."
Out of respect for his family, Jackson had never voiced his feelings. A challenge would have split his extended family apart. Leaving home two days later for college had been Jackson's salvation. In his senior year of college, he'd found his calling. The day after graduation he'd taken his oath as an agent for the Federal Paranormal Criminal Unit, a task force that recognized and used his shifter skills.
The job kept him on the move and he visited the pack only once or twice a year, but he and Grace remained friends. Jackson survived the months apart, but the short hours when their paths crossed were blissful torment.
"What can I do? How can I help?"
"I have a favor to ask. Two actually."
"Anything," Jackson said as the bartender delivered the drinks.
"Is one of these for Saldon?" Grace asked, picking up a glass.
"He's waiting outside."
"I'll go with you and wish him a happy birthday."
Jackson grabbed his scotch and stepped back from the bar, allowing Grace to precede him. Her head held high, Grace walked straight to the doors leading to the deck. His gaze slid over her slender frame. She wore a black-and-white patterned blouse and a black skirt with sensible black pumps. No matter her footwear, Grace had fabulous legs. He dragged his gaze away from her mesmerizing limbs and greeted several family members. He noticed no one spoke to Grace and several family members glared at her as she passed. What the hell was going on? The family loved Grace.
When Jackson gave his relatives a questioning look, they quickly turned away.
Jackson stayed right on Grace's heels until they were outside. "What was that all about?"