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Mountain Moonlight

Jaci Burton


  An Ellora's Cave Publication, January 2005

  Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.

  1337 Commerce Drive, #13

  Stow, OH 44224

  ISBN MS Reader (LIT) ISBN # 1-4199-0113-3

  Other available formats (no ISBNs are assigned):

  Adobe (PDF), Rocketbook (RB), Mobipocket (PRC) & HTML


  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This book may not be reproduced in whole or in part without permission.

  This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. They are productions of the authors' imagination and used fictitiously.

  Edited by Briana St. James.

  Cover art by Syneca.


  The following material contains graphic sexual content meant for mature readers. Mountain Moonlight has been rated E-rotic by a minimum of three independent reviewers.

  Ellora's Cave Publishing offers three levels of RomanticaTM reading entertainment: S (Sensuous), E (E-rotic), and X (X-treme).

  S-ensuous love scenes are explicit and leave nothing to the imagination.

  E-rotic love scenes are explicit, leave nothing to the imagination, and are high in volume per the overall word count. In addition, some E-rated titles might contain fantasy material that some readers find objectionable, such as bondage, submission, same sex encounters, forced seductions, and so forth. E-rated titles are the most graphic titles we carry; it is common, for instance, for an author to use words such as "fucking", "cock", "pussy", and such within their work of literature.

  X-treme titles differ from E-rated titles only in plot premise and storyline execution. Unlike E-rated titles, stories designated with the letter X tend to contain controversial subject matter not for the faint of heart.

  Devlin Dynasty:

  Mountain Moonlight

  Jaci Burton


  To Charlie, my alpha male, for giving me the kind of love that I thought only existed in fiction.

  Author's Note

  The Carpathian Mountains are one of Europe's largest mountain areas. Arching across seven countries in Central Europe, from Austria to Ukraine and down to Romania, the Carpathians are home to some 16 to 18 million people and key refuge for Europe's largest populations of large carnivores such as brown bear, wolf and lynx.

  Though MOUNTAIN MOONLIGHT is a work of fiction, the plight of wolves in the Carpathian mountain regions is fact. The Carpathian Mountains are the last refuge for wolves in Europe. Though much has been done to protect the remaining wolves in Central Europe, they are still endangered. Wolves know no borders, and crossing from one country to another places them in potentially perilous situations. Despite improvements made in protecting the wolf population of the Carpathians, they are still hunted in many countries.

  Fortunately, many conservation organizations exist worldwide to protect the endangered wolf population, including World Wildlife Federation ( and National Wildlife Federation (

  Chapter One

  Vlasov, Romania

  The private car stopped in front of the Hotel Vlasov, the only modern hotel in a village that looked like something out of the past. Quaint medieval buildings were interspersed around a twin-towered, modern luxury hotel, a coming together of old and new all nestled in the tiny town situated at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains.

  Conner Devlin sighed and shrugged his shoulders, tension knotting every muscle in his body. What a long damn flight followed by an equally lengthy car ride. If he didn't see the cramped confines of an airplane or vehicle for the next year, he'd be a happy man.

  "'Bout damn time we got here."

  Conner stretched, nodding at his brother, Noah. "I'm sick of travel."


  Hopefully they'd get their business out of the way fast so he could get back home.

  The hotel was small, yet elegantly furnished with a Russian flair. Ornate wall hangings decorated the lobby, a combination of both modern and old-world with opulent gold-toned chairs sitting alongside chrome and glass tables.

  The floor was beige and cream marble, slick and polished to a gleaming shine. Fading sunlight filtered in from the floor-to-ceiling windows, showcasing a dynamic view of the Carpathians.

  By the time they checked in, the need to stretch out and run was like a fire burning inside him. He'd definitely need a trek into the nearby woods tonight.

  But now the sun shone just above the tip of the mountains, its rays slicing through the clouds and reflecting off the green hillsides. He gazed up at the Carpathians. Somewhere up there was Braslieu castle. And within the property the Braslieu family owned were his kin.

  Distant kin, but blood nonetheless. And Devlins protected their own. Otherwise he'd have never made this hellish trip.

  He wrinkled his nose and blew out a tired breath.

  Why did he have to come to Romania? Why couldn't one of his staff have done this instead? Christ, he'd drawn the short straw on this one.

  His parents said he was needed here, that his research and development expertise made him the prime candidate to set up and manage the wildlife preserve.

  Yeah, yeah, yeah. Still...Romania?

  "Don't look so happy," Noah deadpanned.

  Conner rolled his eyes, both annoyed and glad that his brother had come with him. At only a year apart in age, they had been friends more than brothers--tight, sharing everything, including their women on occasion. And also sparring on a regular basis, a pastime they both enjoyed way more than they'd ever admit. "What's there to be happy about? I haven't even been here an hour and I'm ready to go home."

  "That's because you miss the women."

  Ignoring Noah's smirk, Conner shrugged. "I can get women anywhere. I just hate international travel."

  "And you miss the women."

  This time Conner laughed. "Yeah, I miss the women."

  Ah, the good life. He'd sure as hell miss it once he was forced to settle down, which hopefully wouldn't be anytime soon. Despite the fact his parents seemed hell-bent on sending every one of their offspring to different parts of the world in order to expand the pack, he'd been spared so far. Maybe it was his sister Chantal's turn now. His two older brothers, Jason and Max, had already been assigned to new locations. They'd also managed to find mates. Conner wasn't anywhere near ready to find a mate, and he knew damn well Noah was even less ready.

  At least Noah had been sent to accompany him and provide protection. Besides, who better to do the tracking of the pack than Noah? It was his specialty and he was one of the best.

  The bell captain brought their luggage by, indicating in stilted English that he'd be taking it to their rooms. Thank God a few people spoke English here.

  A week to rest and check out the area would be nice. Not gonna happen, but would have been nice. They had to get started right away. Before the government intervened and they lost control of the pack.

  "What time are we meeting Katya?" Noah asked.

  "Seven tonight."

  "What's her function in this deal?"

  "She's the business manager for the Braslieu holdings and she'll be working with us to set up the preserve."

  "Guess we should get unpacked and cleaned up, then," Noah grumbled, showing about as much enthusiasm for this project as Conner.

  They had booked private cottages instead of the main building. Conner hated hotels. There was never any privacy. If he had to be here, at least he could have something that resembled a private apartment. The cottages were only a short walk from the hotel entrance, down a well-lit path into the forested area.

  Now this was more like it. Though the
pale stone cottages were nestled fairly close together, they were still separate dwellings. He slipped his key into the lock and stepped inside, flipping on the light and taking a look around.

  Not bad. There was a living area complete with a desk where he could work, a kitchen and a separate, closed-off bedroom with a large bath. The bed was king-sized, thank God. Nothing like trying to fit his six-foot-two frame into a tiny double bed like a lot of hotels provided. He hated when his feet hung off the bed. And the bedroom had French doors leading out to a small terrace, complete with table, chairs and a spectacular view of the mountains. The moon rose opposite the mountains, and Conner immediately fell its pull.

  Too bad he didn't have time to go for a run like he'd wanted to. But as he glanced at his watch he realized he didn't have much time to get ready before meeting Katya.

  After he'd showered and dressed, he felt at least a little refreshed. Hopefully he'd be able to carry on a lucid conversation now, despite the jet lag. He left the cottage and met Noah coming out his door.

  "Where?" Noah asked.

  "Her cottage. She left the number with the front desk." Katya's cottage was behind his so it only took them a few seconds. He knocked and waited.

  A distinctly female voice answered in rapid Romanian. Shortly the door swung open to a gorgeous vision.

  Well, hell. Hadn't expected to be gut-punched in reaction, but that's exactly how he felt. An instantaneous, combustible response to the woman standing there.

  Dressed in tight tan pants, brown suede boots and a full-length sweater, she was the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen. Creamy skin, silky black hair and eyes the color of rich brandy. Luscious, like the primal forests he loved, she had a wild look about her, encased within pristine beauty. She had a classic hourglass figure--perfect, full breasts, small waist and curvy hips, all leading down to very long legs.

  Damn she was hot. And for some reason he'd expected a middle-aged, all business type of woman.

  She licked her lips and arched her brow, her gaze lingering longer than he'd expected it to.

  Eye contact with her was electric.

  He inhaled, picking up her scent, a mixture of wildflowers and--

  Lupine. Katya was lupine. His pulse kicked into gear and the change could have easily overtaken him as animal lust took over. If he hadn't practiced tamping down the urges for years, she'd be faced with one very horny werewolf right now.

  "You are the Devlins, I presume?"

  She welcomed them with a smile. Damn, that smile did something to his dick. The tiredness left his body now that she had his cock's full attention

  Somehow managing to find his voice, he held out his hand. "Conner Devlin. This is my brother, Noah."

  She nodded and shook both their hands. The contact with her skin was electrifying. When she pulled her hand away in a hurry, he knew she felt it, too.

  "Come in."

  Katya's voice was dark and rich, just like her beautiful eyes. She directed them to the chairs in the living room. "Something to drink? Brandy, perhaps?"

  He nodded and she turned toward the kitchen, saying something in Romanian. In a few moments a tall blonde carried in a silver tray. The woman wore skin-tight leather pants and a low-cut red sweater. She was tall, reed-thin and absolutely gorgeous.

  Conner sensed Noah's reaction. Hell, if he wasn't so mesmerized by Katya he'd probably have the same thoughts running through his head right now that Noah had. That blonde was edible.

  "This is Elena, my cousin," Katya said. Elena nodded, her gaze lingering on Noah. Blue eyes darkened and she licked her lips, not even making an attempt to hide her lust.

  Lucky Noah. Conner didn't even have to wager that his brother would get laid tonight.

  A man stepped out of the kitchen. About his height, rugged-looking and burly, he looked a lot like a prizefighter. His nose was wide and slightly crooked and he had a menacing stare that any normal male would be wary of.

  "This is Peter," Katya said.

  Peter nodded and slipped into a spot on the sofa next to Katya. Conner noticed how Katya inched away from Peter. He also noticed the glare Peter gave her.

  Interesting. Lovers, maybe? That thought irritated him, though he didn't know why. What difference did it make to him if Katya and Peter were fucking?

  "I want to thank you both for coming in answer to our request for funding from the Devlin Foundation," Katya started. "It means a great deal to us that you are willing to assist us with setting up the wolf preserve."

  "Your application and information were very enlightening," Conner said. "The Devlins had no idea that Carpathian wolves were in such danger."

  Katya nodded. "It's not highly publicized. The government would like all the animal rights organizations to think they have a wolf-friendly policy, but the hunting organizations here have much influence over our government. It's imperative that we protect the wolves from them."

  "Then I look forward to surveying the Braslieu estate. As we explained in our letter, we never make a final decision without a site inspection. That's primarily why we're here. We want to make sure the Devlin Foundation money is spent wisely and on valid causes."

  "Of course."

  She studied him, cocking her head to the side, her gaze traveling along his body. His jeans tightened as his cock came to life. When she inhaled, her breasts pressed against her sweater, her nipples outlined against the fabric.

  A sudden urge to lift her sweater and press his mouth to those pebbled buds made the room much warmer.

  Focus on business. You're not here to fuck her.

  "What is your capacity with the Braslieu family?" he asked, noticing Elena and Peter's gazes flit to Katya as soon as he asked the question.

  "I manage all business affairs for the family. As you are aware, the Braslieu castle is one of the oldest in Romania, with a rich history. However, the...principal family members are rather reclusive. They prefer business transactions occur using an intermediary. That's where I come in. I handle everything dealing with people outside the royal family."

  So if Katya was lupine, did that mean the entire Braslieu population was, too? Despite extensive research, he couldn't find out much about the family other than there was a king and queen. It was like they were shrouded in some huge mystery and nobody was talking.

  "We'd like to meet the royal family."

  Katya shook her head. "Not possible. They do not meet with outsiders."

  His first thought was to object. But he had to remember that he wasn't in Boston now and the rules of the game were different. He had to respect the family's need for privacy. And as long as Katya held some kind of power of attorney or authority to make business decisions for the family, that would have to suffice. "Very well. I don't like the idea of not meeting the king and queen, but I'll abide by their wishes. What are your plans for our visit?"

  Katya exhaled, glad the first meeting went so smoothly. "We'll go over paperwork and funding for the next couple days. Then, if all that meets with your approval, we'll take you to the castle for a tour."

  Conner nodded. "Sounds fine." He stood, nodded at Peter and Elena, then shook her hand. Heat shot through her body, a warm ache settling between her legs. She resisted the urge to squeeze her thighs together, wishing she were alone right now. The sudden urge to come had her legs trembling.

  After the Devlins left, she looked to Elena and Peter. "I need to get some rest. I have a headache." Her comment was mainly for Peter and Elena would know that. The last thing she needed right now was him hanging around trying to convince her how great he was in bed. Grudgingly, he walked out.

  Katya shut and bolted the door, finally letting out the breath she'd been holding. Frankly, she'd expected the Devlins to put up more of a fight over not meeting the royal family. Since it was Braslieu land the reserve would be built on, she'd was sure they'd insist.

  Conner Devlin surprised her. In more ways than just readily agreeing to abide by family wishes. She hadn't expected to open the door to
two breathtakingly handsome men. Men who exuded power and arrogance, whose lupine scent shocked her system into awakening for the first time in...

  ...ever, actually. She'd never felt a lupine sexual connection with a male before, even though she'd lived among them her entire life. Which was one of the reasons she remained a virgin, though not the most important reason. That had to do with power and control. A control she wouldn't give up to just any man. Only to her life mate--the first and only man she would share her body with.

  She had thought by the time she reached her mid-twenties she'd have mated. Elena told her she was too picky. Katya felt Elena wasn't picky enough. But Elena didn't have as much at stake as Katya did. Giving up her virginity meant so much more than just simple desire and release. There were political ramifications to her choice of a mate. Many of the pack had attempted to seduce her. All had failed.

  One refused to give up. Peter.

  Which was his problem, not hers. She'd told Peter on more than one occasion they would never be mated. Peter just had a problem with taking no for an answer, convinced she'd someday change her mind about him.

  Not likely. Peter's arrogance wasn't borne of confidence. He had a high opinion of himself and wore his conceit like a valued prize, thinking women would drop their panties for him every time he blinked his chocolate brown eyes in their direction.

  Maybe other women, but never her. She felt nothing for him and the sooner he accepted that, the better.

  Katya wouldn't mate with anyone she didn't choose herself. And she didn't make that choice lightly. To rule beside her would require a strong mate, one who could take care of all the people of Braslieu. She'd yet to find a man like that. No one had ever stirred her mind, her heart and her body.

  She shook off her thoughts and forced herself to focus on the project at hand. Now that the initial meeting was over, she had time to settle back and figure out how to handle the Devlins.

  They could never find out about her and what role she actually played in the Braslieu family. That would have to remain a mystery, as it was to everyone outside the pack. Royalty were treated differently than common people. She hated that, which was why no one outside the castle knew who she was.