Hunter's Moon (Tales of the Sazi Series #1)

Hunter's Moon (Tales of the Sazi Series #1)

4.2 32
by C. T. Adams, Cathy Clamp
     
 

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HER ONLY OPTION IS DEATH

Sue Quentin has reached the end of her rope-she's desperate, and there's only one way out. Her plan doesn't include falling for Tony, the mysterious hit man she hires. He listens when she speaks and somehow convinces her that maybe her problems aren't entirely insurmountable. He even thinks her little potbelly is sexy. So he's a werewolf&

Overview

HER ONLY OPTION IS DEATH

Sue Quentin has reached the end of her rope-she's desperate, and there's only one way out. Her plan doesn't include falling for Tony, the mysterious hit man she hires. He listens when she speaks and somehow convinces her that maybe her problems aren't entirely insurmountable. He even thinks her little potbelly is sexy. So he's a werewolf—everyone has flaws!

Sue enjoys being coddled by Tony, and, for his part, Tony likes the way Sue moans when he touches her. She begins to think she and Tony might have a shot at a future together, despite his unorthodox profession . . . and even though she doesn't know his real name.

But when Tony's enemies-not all of whom are fully human-decide Sue makes a perfect target, will Tony risk letting his darker side out during the day to save her?

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"I read the book in one sitting. I look forward to the next book in the series, because it has to be the beginning of a series. A world this enjoyable deserves more than one visit. This book has some new twists in the werewolf's tail that were very cool."—Laurell K. Hamilton on Hunter's Moon
Laurell K. Hamilton
I read the book in one sitting. I look forward to the next book in the series, because it has to be the beginning of a series. A world this enjoyable deserves more than one visit. This book has some new twists in the werewolf's tail that were very cool.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780765349132
Publisher:
Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
12/01/2004
Series:
Tales of the Sazi Series, #1
Edition description:
REV
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.81(d)

Read an Excerpt

Hunter's Moon


By Cathy L. Clamp, C. T. Adams, Anna Genoese

Tom Doherty Associates

Copyright © 2003 Cathy L. Clamp and C.T. Adams
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-1016-3


CHAPTER 1

Nick's Tavern is in the worst part of town. The front door opens onto a back alley and the back door dead-ends inside another building. The Fire Code wasn't in effect when the building was built. Nick's has been there that long. My Dad remembers going there after work for a schooner of beer — twenty-four full ounces — and a plate of cheese. A buck bought both in the 40s. It was big enough for lunch for two or dinner for one. They don't do cheese plates anymore. Pity.

One time I went around the back of the building just to see what was on the other side. It's an upholstery shop. Big frigging deal.

Most of the buildings that surround Nick's are vacant now. Multicolored graffiti scars plywood-covered windows. God only knows the last time someone cleaned the trash from the sidewalks.

I'm known as Bob to my clientele. That's not my real name. I'm the kind of person you would expect to find at Nick's. Call me a businessman who works the wrong side of the street. All sorts of people have need of my services: high class, low class, quiet suburban mothers, good church-going men. At one time or another all of them give into their primal instincts and call me. I meet them here at Nick's to talk details.

I'm not a hooker or a drug dealer. Too many risks, not enough money. There are no drug deals at Nick's. You'd get bounced on your ear if you even thought about it.

I'm an assassin. A killer-for-hire. If you have the money, I'll do the job. I like puppies, kids and Christmas, but I don't give a shit about your story — or your problems. I'm the person you call when you want the job done right the first time with no sullying of your name. Yes, I am that good. I apprenticed in the Family.

Oh, there's one other thing I should mention. I'm also a werewolf.

Yeah, I know. Big joke. Ha. Ha. I never believed in "creatures of the night" like vampires, werewolves, or mummies. They're the stuff of schlock movies and Stephen King novels. I'm not.

The door to the bar opened and the figure silhouetted in the doorway almost made me laugh out loud. I stifled the laugh with a snort of air. Then I let my face go blank again. Talk about stereotyping. The woman wore an expensive black pantsuit, odd enough in a low-class part of town. But the part I liked was that she wore a dark wig-and-scarf get-up like something you'd see in the 60s, and huge round black sunglasses. Oh yeah, she'll blend right in with the steel workers and biker babes. Sheesh.

My client had arrived — and she was early. No big deal. We'd only set the appointment a few hours ago. I hadn't even unpacked from my last job. The quicker we finished, the better I'd like it.

The woman in the doorway was forced to take off the sunglasses to look around the darkened bar. I got a look at her face. Nothing special. Deep, green eyes looked out from a relatively plain face. She stood about 5'5". I felt like I recognized her, but she was like me — a blender. She could probably get dolled up and look pretty but she would never be stunning. She was a woman that a man would fall in love with for her mind or personality. Or maybe her body, which was on the good side of average. She was probably a size ten — Maybe a twelve. She carried it well and comfortably. The suit spoke of money. Good. She could probably afford me. The rest of the get-up spoke of nerves.

She scanned the bar, looking for someone she had never met. You can't mistake the look. The person just stands there, hoping that someone will wave or pick them out. I let her feel uncomfortable for a moment, just long enough to size her up. She wasn't a plant or a cop. Nobody can fake that level of nervousness. She wasn't wringing her hands, but close.

I was sitting in the back booth — my usual table. I looked around the bar while I counted slowly to ten. It's a comfortable, familiar place. A Family hang-out. See, it hasn't been too long since the Mob ran this town. Nick's was one of the neutral taverns. Not upper-class. Nick didn't run "no hoitsytoitsy gentlemen's club." His words, not mine. Nick's son Jocko runs the place now. Yeah, really. Nick actually named him Jocko. Poor guy.

The bar looks old. Not elegant old, just old. Dark wood covers the floors and walls and surrounds a real marble-topped bar. Remnants of old sweat and stale cigarette smoke cling to every surface. You can't see through the nicotine haze on the windows. Jocko doesn't do windows.

I finished counting, raised my hand, and caught her eye. She walked toward me, both hands clutching her purse like someone was going to lift it. A pleasant jingling reached my ears. Jewelry of some sort. When she reached the booth she looked at me, surprised. Apparently I wasn't what she expected.

I don't wear an eyepatch or have a swarthy mustache. I even have all of my teeth. I look absolutely ordinary. Collar-length black hair, blue-grey eyes the color of gun metal, and a build that shows I work out but not to excess. I was dressed in a blue cotton long-sleeved business shirt with the sleeves rolled up, grey slacks and black sneakers that look like dress shoes as long as I keep them polished. The jacket that matched the slacks was folded on the bench next to me. I look like I could be a lawyer, a writer, or a mechanic. I don't look like someone that would as soon shoot you as look at you. That's the idea. I gave her my best mercenary look; cold, uncaring. I wouldn't want her to think that I was just some guy hitting on her. She looked away, rattled.

Her scent blew me away. I notice smells more since the change. Nice term — "change". Her scent was stronger than it should be, but not perfume. This was just her. The woman smelled sweet and musky, with overtones of something tangy. I learned from Babs that means she's afraid. Fear reminds me, although Babs said I'm nuts, of hot and sour soup. Every emotion has its own particular scent. And lies! When someone lies, it smells like black pepper. I don't mind; it helps me interview clients.

Most scents are soft and not particularly noticeable. They rise off a person's skin like ghostly presences, only to disappear into unseen breezes. I have to concentrate to catch a person's real scent.

My client slid into the opposite side of the booth. I didn't stand. She didn't expect me to. Good thing. She sat with her back to the room. Another good indication that she wasn't a cop. Cops, like crooks, have a thing about having a wall at their back. Nobody can hit you from behind or pull your own gun on you.

"Um," she began when I just stared at her without saying anything. "Are you Bob?"

I nodded but still made no sound. It unnerved her and amused me. She was having a hard time looking at my face, whereas I looked straight into her eyes.

"I'm hoping you might be able to help me," she tried again. It required no comment, so I didn't make one.

My nose tingled. The client smelled like blood; like prey. But that's true of most people. Especially near the full moon. I never used to think much about the moon phases. Now I plan my life by them.

People didn't used to smell like food. Some days it pisses me off. But I didn't get a choice in the matter. A hit went bad. The woman I was stalking stalked me back. I wasn't prepared for a being with superhuman speed and strength. She ripped my throat out of my body and left me for dead. I should have died. She said so later. Guess I was too damn stubborn to die.

The wash of emotions from the client overpowered my nose. I could handle the fear and the blood. I was used to them. I don't meet with clients until after I've had a large rare steak for lunch. But this lady smelled of heat and sex. Heat, not sun — heat and something that I couldn't place that reminded me of a forest. Warm, dewy, sweet, salty. It was a safe, comforting smell unlike anything I've ever been in contact with. It was a smell that I wanted to soak into my pores. Breathe in, roll in. I had to blink and sneeze to clear my senses. Then I returned to staring quietly at her.

She couldn't meet my eyes but kept scanning the room. Her fingers tapped restlessly on the table, then on her lap, then on the table again while she bit at her lips as if looking for something to say or do. The hot and sour smell of fear, the burnt metal of frustration overwhelmed me as if they were my own. That was new. My muscles tensed against my will. Suddenly she stopped fidgeting, took a deep breath and looked right at me.

"Would you please say something?" she asked in frustration. "I'm drowning here."

That won her a quick smile. "Would you like something to drink? It's not much cooler in here than outside. That dark suit has to be hot."

She looked at her outfit and had the good grace to blush. "It's a little trite, isn't it? I didn't even think about the heat. I was trying to be inconspicuous." She smiled a bit as if she felt my amusement the way I was feeling her emotions, but she smelled embarrassed. A dry smell, like heat rising off desert sand, mixed with other things I didn't recognize yet. I don't know a lot of the emotions yet. Babs told me that I'd get the hang of identifying them. I'm in no hurry.

I didn't believe it at first. Didn't want to. But Babs followed me around for three days, and taped me with a camcorder. I avoided her like I avoid everyone, but she filmed enough to prove that she was telling the truth. Babs was a sadistic bitch about it, too. She made sure she immortalized all of the most embarrassing moments of a dog in living color. Pissed me off. I stopped returning her calls after that.

"I don't exactly blend in, do I?" The words brought me out of my musing.

Lying to save her feelings would be diplomatic, but I try to save lies for important things. "Not really."

I raised my hand to signal Jocko. He moved out from behind the bar, wiping his meaty hands on a snow white bar rag. Jocko's a big 6'8". He looks beefy but it's mostly muscle — he was a pro wrestler for a few years. Jocko wears his waist-length black hair in a ponytail because of state health regs. A scar cuts his left eyebrow in half. He's second-generation Italian but he looks Native-American because of the hair.

Jocko smells like bad habits. Whiskey and cigarettes and sweat. He walked slowly toward the table — almost lethargically. Jocko moves slow because he threw his back out in the ring years ago and since there isn't any worker's comp insurance in wrestling he came home to run the family business. But he's hardly a cripple. Jocko can still throw a man through the front window if he puts his mind to it. Everybody knows it. Like me, he doesn't talk much. He just stood at the table waiting for our order.

"Draft for me." I turned to the client with a questioning look.

"Um — rum and Coke, I guess." Jocko started to walk away. She raised her voice a little bit to add, "Captain Morgan, please." He nodded without turning or stopping. "And Diet?" a little louder still. Anyone that didn't know Jocko would presume he hadn't heard her. I knew he heard her and that he was chuckling softly under his breath. The mild orange smell of amusement drifted to me. A rum and Coke is not the same thing at all as a Morgan and Diet. Not to a bartender.

She glanced at me. "Do you think he heard me?"

"He heard. Now, what can I do for you?"

"I want you to kill someone," she said calmly. "I can afford to pay whatever the cost."

Well, that was direct! I shut my mouth again, closed my eyes and reached my hand up to rub the bridge of my nose. It eased the tension behind my eyes.

"Is something wrong?"

There's a certain code in my profession. The client doesn't actually ask and I don't actually admit what I do for a living. It's just sort of understood. Money is discussed but only because both parties know what transaction is being, well, transacted.

I lowered my voice. "I would appreciate it if you could be a little more discreet about our business here."

That stopped her cold. She suddenly realized what she had said, and that she had said it in a normal tone, in a place of business. Her face flushed and her jaw worked noiselessly. The blend from the combination of emotions made me giddy.

"That was stupid, wasn't it?"

"Well, that sort of depends whether you want to spend the next twenty or so years in prison. It's called 'accessory before the fact'."

She shrugged. "Actually, for the job I'm proposing, I'd never see the inside of a prison."

"That might be a little overconfident," I replied, "There's always the chance of getting a very good investigator. I always make it clear to clients that there is risk involved. I'm good. I'm very good. But there is always a risk."

She shook her head. "You couldn't know since I haven't explained. But it's not an issue."

I believed her and I didn't know why. No black pepper smell of deceit, maybe. I shrugged my shoulders. "Fine. You've been warned." I drew a breath and began my list of conditions. "I'll need the name of the mark, a photograph, and home and work addresses. I work alone. I will choose the time and place of the job. Not you. If you want it public, I'll pick the time. You can pick the method if you want. If you don't specify, it could be by a variety of methods. I vary them to fit the situation and the mark. I don't do extras like rape or torture for the same money. There will be an additional charge for that kind of thing."

She listened intently and without comment. When I mentioned rape and torture, she grimaced slightly. I could feel her disapproval beat at me like heat from a furnace. I shook off the feeling and proceeded on.

"If the mark meets his end without my assistance, there are no refunds. I require payment in advance. Cash only, small bills. If the money is marked or traceable you will forfeit your life at a future time of my choosing. Don't presume that I can't find you. I can."

She nodded, as if she had heard my speech a million times. She leaned forward, eyes intent on my face — focused. Good. I like it when people listen.

Jocko arrived with the drinks so I stopped speaking. He put them on the table, then looked at me. "That'll be four-fifty."

I motioned for him to ask the lady. He turned his attention to her and she opened her little purse quickly. She extracted a ten dollar bill and held it out to him. "Keep it."

Jocko pursed his lips in approval and moved off silently.

"Go on," she said.

I tried to remember where I left off. I hate to get interrupted midstream. "If the police somehow get wind of me through you, I will make sure that you never live to testify. If there are family members involved and they get in the way, I will remove them. I don't charge for removal of witnesses. That's for my benefit, not yours. However, if there are potential witnesses that you do not wish removed, make sure they are kept out of the line of fire until after the job is complete. I won't be held responsible for mistaken identity, so if the photograph is not absolutely clear, or up-to-date, there could be a mistake."

The client sipped her drink as I spoke. It's a long spiel. Now's the only time I ask questions like whether she needed proof that the job had been accomplished. She smiled. "No, I think I'll know." That meant that it was someone close to her; possibly a husband or boyfriend. Her amusement smelled sweeter, more like tangerines than oranges.

When I finished, my beer was almost gone. "Do you have any questions?" I asked.

She had a mouthful of complimentary peanuts and she didn't respond immediately. Jocko puts out peanuts to increase drink sales. It works, so I don't indulge.

"No," she said when she'd swallowed, "That about covers it. When do I have to get the cash to you? And how much?"

"How much depends on who. Public figure or private? Who is the mark?"

She spread her hands out, showing her chest to perfection. It was a nice view but, "I don't understand."

"I'm the target. The mark. Whatever."

I raised my eyebrows. "Excuse me?"

"I'm hiring you to kill me. The time and place don't matter. But soon. How much will it cost?"

Alarms started ringing in my head. "There are a lot less expensive ways to do yourself in,"


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Hunter's Moon by Cathy L. Clamp, C. T. Adams, Anna Genoese. Copyright © 2003 Cathy L. Clamp and C.T. Adams. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are saying about this

Laurell K. Hamilton
I read the book in one sitting. I look forward to the next book in the series, because it has to be the beginning of a series. A world this enjoyable deserves more than one visit. This book has some new twists in the werewolf's tail that were very cool.
From the Publisher
"I read the book in one sitting. I look forward to the next book in the series, because it has to be the beginning of a series. A world this enjoyable deserves more than one visit. This book has some new twists in the werewolf's tail that were very cool."—Laurell K. Hamilton on Hunter's Moon

Meet the Author

Cathy Clamp was 35 when the fiction writing bug bit her. Although always a competent legal and technical writer, the idea muse ignored her completely. It wasn't until she met future friend and partner Cie Adams that things began to click. Her friend's brain was the idea muse's nesting site! Cie was blessed (or some would say cursed) with one or more full book plots a day! Cathy quickly realized where her bread was buttered. She did learn she possessed a skill in writing romance and action scenes, while her partner concocted storylines and richly diverse characters. Within 18 months of the start of their partnership, they had written five books, and now have two accepted for publication! Cathy lives outside of Brady, TX, with her husband, Don, (also a brilliantly gifted idea man for suspense and espionage) and their four dogs.

C.T. Adams happily resides in Texas with a teenage son and pet cats. Office work provided a living while she pursued the goal of becoming a novelist. Forming the partnership with Cathy was the catalyst that led to publication. Cie provides a wildly vivid imagination, while Cathy's brilliant execution (pun intended, she writes vicious action scenes), editing, and business acumen gives the partnership the impetus to get writing projects off of the "drawing board" and into the hands of the readers. The partners have two books currently accepted for publication. They look forward to a long and happy collaborative relationship, having plans for two multi-book series and several individual works on their way to completion.

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Hunter's Moon (Tales of the Sazi Series #1) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am happy to say the book was refreshing from the normal.. I think the other reader is right in saying Sue is a little clingy but that sets the way for how Tony acts and responds to her.. I look forward to the next one.. I am also happy to say I liked the ending.. Some book leave you in an Awe state and this one left a smile on my face.. It was a great Plot twist..
Guest More than 1 year ago
While the concept of the story is great, I find myself disliking Sue. She is just to clingy and the idea that anyone even with the sparks flying would just give up their life is insane. It's too big of a leap too soon in my opion. Other than that minor detail I like the book. The male point of view is nice for a change - although at time it seems obvious it's a female author.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Mob hit man Tony Giodone, who also free-lances, meets a client Suzi Quentin at Nick's Tavern. She wants to hire him to kill her as she no longer can stand her life, but is unable to commit suicide. She explains that her mother and her sisters treat her with contempt and are destroying any relationships she fosters. Tony is stunned by her solution, but also finds himself attracted to her with ferocity like nothing he ever felt before even when he was bitten and changed into a werewolf. ............................ Tony is unable to do the deed, something he has always been able to do for a fee. Instead he wants to protect Sue, who he considers his lifemate and is willing to kill her abusive family for harming her. While he persuades Sue that she has a reason to live as his mate, they must face evil stronger than vile nasty human females while Tony is becoming acquainted with his furrier side........................... HUNTER¿S MOON is a strange tongue in cheek paranormal romantic suspense that readers will cherish. The interesting story line is unique because of Tony¿s occupation making him a werewolf antiheroic version of The Greatest American Hero. Besides a werewolf Mafia hit man and a victimized suicidal lead female, the rest of the characters are as wacky and weird as a South Florida who-done-it. Cathy Clamp and C. T. Adams need to bring back Tony and Suzi in future satirical good vs. evil adventures while he learns more about his hairier essence.................... Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really had to dabate 3 or 4 stars here. I think i am going to like the series as a whole and i love the concept of the sazi, but... I cant stand Sue! She is spineless and i almost wish Tony would have knocked her off in book one so he coultance thatd find someone worth him. Sue is pretty prominent in this book but seems a little less so in the next. I would almost recommend skipping this one and going to book two but you would miss some of Tony's substance that way
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Horrible characters and bad plot. Don't waste your time and money on this book.
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C3_1991 More than 1 year ago
I paranormal romance from the guy's point of view. Brilliant!
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