Only her love can heal his broken soul...
Five hundred years ago, facing extinction, a group of powerful witches united to create a pact with the Were to save witch–kind. The pact expelled an ancient evil, known only as the Darkness, that was blocking the Were from their wolves. With the Darkness destroyed, the Packs and their Covens grew strong as they thrived beside each other in their brand–new world.
But the Darkness was not destroyed.
Wiccan Healer–Witch Bronwyn Kincaid wants a quiet life. Her new powers have other ideas. Her increased healing magic and empathy mean she can't ignore the plight of River Collins, a wolf brought up thinking the animal inside him is an evil he must forever suppress. If Bronwyn can't control her powers and help River accept his wolf, the evil Darkness that hunts the Were will use them to destroy those they love.
About the Author
Leisl is a tall red head with an overly large imagination. As a child, she identified strongly with Anne of Green Gables. A voracious
reader and a born performer, it came as no surprise to anyone when she did a double major in English Literature and Drama for her
BA, then went on to a career as an actor, singer and dancer, as well as script writer, stage manager and musical director for cabaret
and theatre restaurants (one of which she co-owned and ran for six years).
After starting a family, Leisl stopped performing and instead, began writing the stories that had been plaguing her dreams. Leisl's
stories have won and placed in many competitions in Australia and the US, including the STALI, Golden Opportunities, Heart of the
West, Linda Howard Award of Excellence, Touch of Magic and many others.
Leisl lives in the leafy suburbs of Melbourne with her two beautiful boys, lovely hubby, overly spunky dogs, Buffy and Skye, and
likes to spend time with family and friends. She is addicted to the Syfy channel, and her shelves are full of fantasy and paranormal
books and scifi DVDs. She sometimes sings in a choir, has worked as a swim teacher, loves to ski, can talk the hind leg off a
donkey and has been President of Romance Writers of Australia from 2014-2017.
To find out more, visit Leisl on her website.
You can also follow Leisl on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.
Read an Excerpt
River sat up, the breath exploding from his lungs as he opened his eyes to the semi-dark of the room he'd been given at the McVale packhouse. Images swam through his mind of Skye calling on moondust, forcing him to change. In the dream, rage swept through him. His hands wrapped around her throat, just like they had on that day so many years ago when they'd turned ten.
'Fuck. Fuck.' He took in a shaky breath, hand passing over his face to wipe the sick sweat away, brushing over the scars that were a constant reminder of that day. Skye hated herself for those scars. But if she hadn't burned him, she'd be dead by his hands — and he could have never have lived with that. He loved her more than anything. She was his twin. The better part of him. Yet with the dream fresh in his mind, his skin tingling with remembered pain, he had trouble remembering that.
He threaded his shaking fingers into his shaggy hair, pressing against his skull, blowing out shallow, fast breaths. His heart felt like an oversized hummingbird trying to tear out of his chest. He ground his fist against it, willing it to slow. It didn't do any good. Swinging his legs over the edge of his bed, he stood up, staggered, caught himself on the wall. His knees gave way and he fell to the floor, knocking over the bedside lamp and upending the table as he went. The noise reverberated through the room.
In the distance he heard a sharp cry, his name called. A door slammed.
Skye was coming. She'd felt him through the twin bond. But he couldn't face her. Not now. Pushing to his feet, shaky, heart still beating frantically, he staggered over to the balcony door and wrenched it open. Night air hit his face, his naked chest, the scent of spring roses a lush caress covered in frost. He breathed it in, the coolness a sharp knife in his throat and nose. He didn't care. The pain was a welcome distraction from the turmoil inside.
He'd tried to choke his sister to death all those years ago and right now, he was afraid he would do it again. His wolf howled and struggled inside him, tearing at him in its frustrated anger. River didn't blame it. It just wanted to be free. But these feelings weren't coming from his wolf. There was another force inside him: ravening, angry and strong. So strong. And it had been getting stronger since he'd woken from his drug-induced stupour.
Skye's tread sounded near the door to his room, Jason's less familiar tread close behind. River put his hands on the balcony and leaped despite the two-story height. He landed hard on the grass below, his knees and ankles protesting the impact. But he couldn't stop to nurse the pain. They were already at his door, calling for him, banging to get in. Ignoring them, he rose from his sprawl and ran towards the park that beckoned at the edge of the garden.
Bare feet pounded on the hard ground. Stones and twigs dug into his soles. He didn't care. Had to get away. He couldn't face her. Not with those images swirling in his head. Not when his hands itched to wrap around flesh, crushing the life within. He was cursed. An animal made rabid because it was caught in a trap, unable to get free.
His wolf snarled at the other thing inside him, lashed with a claw that felt like it was ripping open his chest. He cried out, clutched at his ribs. He knew the sensation of being torn from throat to stomach wasn't real, but Gods, it felt like it was. In his mind, his wolf was real. But he was the only one his wolf was real to. Nobody else had seen it for nineteen years, even though it had been howling and crying for attention, lashing out as its needs were ignored. Kept down by the drugs his grandmother fed him and ignored by his twin who blocked him off from their bond and shut from her mind all memory of their past that could have told her who he truly was.
That had changed in the last few days. She knew now. The spell woven around her, which had blocked her powers and memories, was gone. But she still didn't remember everything. Much of what had happened before the accident was still locked away in her mind because of the trauma of losing their parents.
He would have liked to have blocked it out, too. But that moment lived large in his mind. It fed the angry thing inside him, trapping his wolf as if he was still on the drugs his grandmother had given him. The anger stood between them. An ugly monstrous thing. A Beast. He'd seen his reflection in a mirror the night before as Adam had carried him through the portal before he'd passed out. The sight had driven an agony of shame through him and his wolf.
Neither man nor wolf, it was a half thing.
He couldn't be that. His wolf couldn't be that. It was beautiful, its nature gentle and fun-loving. It gloried in the beauty all around, especially at home outside, with the heavy scents of freshly turned earth and the fresh green scents of plants, the sweet honey of pollen.
That's who his wolf was. Who he was. Not this snarling angry thing, a thing made out of the fractured, tortured parts of himself and his wolf. That part had formed into a whole and it wanted to rip. To tear. To kill.
And it wanted out. Now.
His hands started to shift. Not the glorious, melting shift of the full change. This was agony, the bones crunching, ligaments popping as they reshaped themselves into claws. He came to a halt, half bent over, hands pressed to his middle, willing it to stop. But the tearing pain didn't stop. His heart beat faster. His breath hitched in his throat. Fear. The thick sour taste of it in his mouth. No. He couldn't half change. Not out here. Not feeling like this. He knew he wouldn't have control over his actions if he did. He remembered what it had felt like when he'd changed in the cave, although his rage and need for blood had a focus then — Morrigan and her puppet, Alfrere Juneau. Alfrere had died at Jason's hand before the dark warlock could rape Skye as part of the ritual to separate her from her powers and break the bond between witch and Were. But Morrigan ...
She was still out there. He wanted to slash her jugular open with his teeth, shove his claws into her chest, tear her heart from her body and bathe in her blood. He wanted ...
River shook his head, trying to rid himself of the horrifying thoughts assaulting his mind. Killing anyone, even someone as deserving of death as Morrigan, went against everything he believed in. And he knew his wolf agreed. Lifting his head, he howled his defiance at the moon.
Oh Gods! The moon. The waning moon. The last day of the full moon cycle. The Beast surged forward at the beckoning of the moon. Violence threaded through River's thoughts. No! He shook his head, gritted his teeth and pushed back the ugly, seething thoughts. He had to go back. No matter his need to be alone, he needed to return to Jason and tell his Alpha to lock him up.
Freedom — the one thing he and his wolf had always craved — slipped from his grasping hand again. He might be free of the drugs, but he was still caged by his cursed nature.
Claws clenched, he turned and ran back towards the house, trying to ignore the snarl of rage from the Beast. It took everything in him to fight it. The Beast kept pushing forward, make him change direction. To hunt. To kill. To feel the warm rush of blood as it sunk its teeth into flesh.
The Beast snarled again and River felt the muscles of his face pulling, elongating, bones groaning under the pressure as he fought the change. Fought for control of his body. The waning moon glowed down on him, making a mockery of his efforts to wrestle with centuries of conditioning.
'River.' River's head snapped up. Skye. She was calling to him, still some distance away, but her voice was clear to his Were hearing. 'River. Come home.'
The image from his memory-dream snapped into his mind and he stopped. His wolf howled as the Beast pushed it aside, the ferociousness of its hatred overriding the love River and his wolf felt for his sister.
She could have helped before it was too late, but she never did. She never listened.
'She couldn't,' River gritted out, trying to fight the hatred that was the Beast. 'She was under a spell.'
The Beast snarled, its contempt sliding into River like a saw-toothed knife.
'River! Please. Let us help.'
The snarling was cut off by a choked laugh. Help? Now she wanted to help? It was too late to help him. Didn't she realise that? Didn't she know?
'Please, River. Don't cut me out. Not when we've just got our twin bond back.'
He heard her feet now, pounding on the ground. Others were with her. Were in human and wolf form.
No! He couldn't see Skye when he longed to choke the breath from her. He began to run, the Beast pushing painfully at his flesh, longing to dance in the light of the moon. River gritted his jaw until it ached, curled his talons into his hands until they cut his flesh. He couldn't change. He wouldn't.
Flesh. Blood. The perfume of sweat-scented skin. The panted breaths of a jogger. Sneaker-clad feet beating a rhythm on the path to his right, an even more enticing rhythm fluttering behind the sound-heartbeat. The Beast stilled inside him, then with a howl, burst through his skin.
River fell. Skin tore on his knees and hands as he hit the earth. The stinging pain was nothing compared to the agony of his limbs and ligaments stretching. Hair sprouted from his skin, his face pushed out, lips thinned, teeth turned into razor-sharp fangs. He couldn't make a sound; the agony stole his breath, choking him.
Then it stopped.
He drew in a deep shuddering breath. The wolf in his mind pushed for prominence.
But it couldn't get out. The Beast was in the way. The Beast scented the prey. Its nose twitched as it drank in the mouth-watering scents. Before River could protest, the Beast was in his limbs and he was off.
The jogger was nearby. Musky cologne over sweat: a man. Faint music tinkled in the air from the jogger's earbuds. The sound and scent guided him to his prey.
Just up ahead.
He could see him now, the straight line of his back, the muscles of his legs and arms, sweat glistening in the moonlight. Warm. He could almost taste the heat of exertion on those muscles. Delicious-salted meat.
The wolf took prey from behind, quick and clean. But the Beast wanted to skirt around, to be seen, leaping as terror shot through the prey, adrenaline surging, making the blood so very sweet as teeth sank into shoulder and neck, tearing out the jugular. It wasn't Morrigan, but it would do for now. It would lap of this blood tonight. It would taste good. With a low growl, it drew closer.
Jason tackled him to the ground.
The Beast rolled with the impact, disentangling itself from the giant silver and gold wolf, and found its feet, coming up into a half crouch with a snarl.
The sound of the runner's feet slapping the hard path disappeared over the rise. The Beast turned. It couldn't let the prey get away. It was hungry. It needed to feast as it hadn't been able to feast for years.
The gold and silver wolf crouched, ready to spring again.
The Beast growled. Lips pulled away from fangs, claw swiping. The gold and silver wolf, the Alpha, sprang aside.
That voice reverberated in its head again, pulling at the man inside the Beast. It tried to shake off the command's influence. Now that the Alpha was no longer standing in the way, the Beast could see that the runner had almost disappeared, the music channelled through the earbuds making him oblivious to death stalking so close behind. The prey wasn't going to get away. The Beast leapt up the path.
Those half parts that made the Beast, man and wolf, wanted to obey.
'River. I command you. Stop.'
Muscles spasmed, quivered. But the Alpha command didn't have the influence it would normally have on a Were. The Beast was not truly Were. It could fight it, if only it could hold on. But the man and wolf inside were fighting too, spurred on by the Alpha command and the twin bond. Its movements slowed under their combined force. The Beast howled. The prey was getting away! It tore at the fetters of the bond, struggling free, leapt forward towards the warm flesh a hundred metres ahead of him.
Every muscle quivered at the sound of that sweet voice; the only voice with the capability of stopping the man and wolf in their tracks. The shock of it stopped the Beast too.
River surged forward, enough to grasp a little control. Breath tight in his chest, in his throat, he turned to face the source of that voice.
Bronwyn emerged from the woods at the base of the rise, panting hard, with Skye, equally breathless, at her side.
'River, please.' His sister. He growled. Bronwyn raised her hand, stepping in front of Skye.
'Bron, no. He's not himself. He might hurt you.' Skye reached out, grabbing Bronwyn's arm.
River quivered with rage that someone else would put their hands on Bronwyn. She was his. Snarling, he snapped his teeth together, his muscles bunched to leap.
'No. He's there. Can't you feel him?' Bronwyn moved beyond Skye's reach. 'River, please, let me help.'
He quivered in place, confused. His Bronwyn wanted to help. He knew she was his. Had known it the moment he opened his eyes and saw her standing there looking down at him the night before. It was a knowing that sank its claws deep into his soul, and no matter how much he longed to deny it, it wouldn't shake free.
She belonged to him. Yet she could never belong to him.
He looked down at his clawed hands, the fur standing erect on his arms. He wasn't whole. He was dangerous. And yet she was here, walking towards him, compassion in her eyes despite the fear he could smell on her, the fear he could hear in the fast-paced patter of her heart, her short, sharp breaths as she tried to calm her breathing after her desperate run.
'Don't come near me,' he growled. 'I might hurt you.'
'You didn't hurt me last night. You won't hurt me now,' she said, moving closer. 'Let us help.'
'Yes, River. Let us help.' The Alpha voice suddenly had more sway, backed up with the plea of the woman who would have been his mate if Morrigan and her rogue Coven hadn't intervened in his life. A growl burst to life in his throat, but the blood-slavering viciousness of before was gone.
'It's working, Jason. Keep doing whatever you're doing.'
'That's right, River. Just back down and let us help.'
River almost choked on a laugh. They thought Jason's Alpha command was making the difference. They were wrong. Bronwyn had almost reached him. A black wolf appeared at her side, pushing in front of her. She reached out to pat his head. 'It's okay, Adam. River won't hurt me.'
Adam's wolf nudged at her leg.
River snarled at the black wolf. He didn't like how close it was to Bronwyn. Didn't like the way she touched Adam, that gentle stroke across ruffled fur that spoke of familiarity, friendship ... love?
The thought was a jagged tear in his heart. He gasped out a pained breath.
'He's hurting. Jason, quick.' Bronwyn turned to wave the gold and silver wolf forward.
'I can see it. The damage to his aura is worse in this form than in his human one. It's covered in darkness.'
There was a shower of golden-rainbow glow and then Jason stood before him. Bronwyn didn't spare his nakedness a second glance as she grabbed his hand and pulled him forward. 'I need you to touch River.'
'Can you force him to change?'
She nodded at Skye's question. 'I can, like I did last night. But I couldn't do it without help. That darkness in his aura fights me. Healing him through pack-touch was the only thing that worked last night. I think it's the only thing that will work now.'
Jason nodded and let her guide him. Skye appeared just beyond his shoulder.
River couldn't look at her. He no longer wished to hurt her, but he was ashamed of how he had felt and was so terribly afraid she would be able to read those thoughts from his mind.
'Oh, River,' Skye whispered, her voice trembling.
'Don't,' he managed through a throat raw with banked violence. He stood tall, towering over even his Alpha in this form, his moonlit shadow cast long on the ground, a grotesque melding of beast and man. He closed his eyes against the sight and said, 'Help.'
Jason's warm hand splayed over his chest. His wolf surged forward, writhing under the exquisite rightness of his Alpha's touch. But there was another touch it longed for more.
Bronwyn reached to place her hand next to Jason's. The Beast snarled. She recoiled as if she'd been burned.
'Bron? Are you all right?' Skye grabbed Bronwyn's shoulder, but she shrugged from the touch.
Excerpted from "Moon Bound"
Copyright © 2018 Leisl Leighton.
Excerpted by permission of Harlequin Enterprises (Australia) Pty Ltd..
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
My Thoughts - 4 out of 5 Unicorns - I really liked it!!! ***I choose what I read and review based on what intrigues me!! Yes, I got a review copy of this book, but no one tells me what to think, feel, or write about any book! I did buy this book. This is the 2nd book in the series, and it is for adults only due to the violence and steamy content. I think you really should read the books in order to understand the ins and outs of this world and the history. This is River’s and Bron’s story! I’m glad he prevailed against the Darkness. I am really found of both River and Bron, and they both fit together. I love how artistic he is with his gardens and making them stars for whoever he makes them for. Bron always gives her all to those in her care. She doubts herself, and this causes some trouble until she gets some help. I really enjoyed this story, and can’t wait to read the next story to see what happens next! I recommend this unique Were-world to any paranormal fan who love shifters and magic mixed with mate love! I wonder who’s story is next!!