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Authors: Lara Adrian

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Ashes of Midnight

BOOK: Ashes of Midnight
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PRAISE FOR LARA ADRIAN’S
MIDNIGHT BREED SERIES

MIDNIGHT RISING

 

“Fans are in for a treat…. Ms. Adrian has a gift for
drawing her readers deeper and deeper into the
amazing world she creates…. I eagerly await the
next installment of this entertaining series!”
—Fresh Fiction

 

 

“Packed with danger and action, this book
also explores the tumultuous emotions of guilt,
anger, betrayal and forgiveness. Adrian has
hit on an unbeatable story mix.”
—
Romantic Times

 

MIDNIGHT AWAKENING

 

“This is one of the best paranormal series
around. Compelling characters and good
world-building make this a must-read series.”
—Fresh Fiction

 

 

“One of the Top 10 Best Romance Novels of 2007.”
—Selected by the Editors at Amazon.com [http://Amazon.com]

 

 

“Ms. Adrian’s series just gets better and
better….
Midnight Awakening
was exactly what I hoped
it would be, then so much more…. I’m intrigued and
without a doubt completely hooked.”
—Romance Junkies

 

 

“Vengeance is the driving force behind this entry in the
intense Midnight Breed series. Things look bad for the
characters, but for the readers it’s nothing but net!”
—
Romantic Times

 

KISS OF CRIMSON

 

“Vibrant writing heightens the suspense, and hidden
secrets provide many twists. This dark and steamy
tale … is a winner and will have readers eager for the
next Midnight Breed story.”
—
Romance Reviews Today

 

 

“Hot sensuality with emotional drama and high-stakes
danger … [Adrian] ensures that her latest is terrific
supernatural entertainment.”
—
Romantic Times

 

 

“[Adrian] pens hot erotic scenes and vivid action
sequences.” —
Romantic Reader

 

KISS OF MIDNIGHT

 

“Evocative, enticing, erotic. Enter Lara Adrian’s
vampire world and be enchanted!”
—J. R. Ward, bestselling author

 

 

“Kiss of Midnight
is dark, edgy and passionate, an
irresistible vampire romance.”
—
Chicago Tribune

 

 

“Lara Adrian delivers a fast-paced, sexy
romantic suspense that… stands above the
rest. A gripping, sensual love story.”
—
Romance Reader

 

 

“Gritty and dangerous, this terrific launch book
sets up an alternate reality filled with treachery
and loss. The Midnight Breed series is poised
to deliver outstanding supernatural thrills.”
—
Romantic Times

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also by Lara Adrian

KISS OF MIDNIGHT

KISS OF CRIMSON

MIDNIGHT AWAKENING

MIDNIGHT RISING

VEIL OF MIDNIGHT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To the phoenix that lives in all of us:
strong, glorious, indestructible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

 

 

 

With gratitude and appreciation to my editor, Shauna Summers, and everyone on the publishing team at Bantam Dell, and to my agent, Karen Solem. It truly is a joy working with you all!

 

Big hugs to Zazoo, Picky, Gem, Jules, Pebbles, Sly, Rangi, Mandy and the rest of the amazing crew at the Midnight Breed fan forum for all your friendship, love, and support (not to mention the gorgeous eye candy!). You blow me away with everything you do!

 

A debt of thanks to my writer friends Kayla Gray, Patricia Rasey, Elizabeth Boyle, Larissa Ione, Jaci Burton, and Stephanie Tyler for understanding when I need to unplug from the world for often weeks at a time, yet still stand by, ready to pick up right where we left off or jump in with a quick read. You are the best!

 

Last, but never least, thanks and all my love to my husband for giving me the kind of happily-ever-after that many would say could only exist in fiction. Here’s to the next twenty years!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER
One

 

 

BERLIN, GERMANY

 

 

T
he vampire had no idea that death awaited him in the darkness.

 

His senses were overloaded with need, his hands and arms full of a half-dressed redhead who pawed at him with barely restrained lust. Too fevered to notice they weren’t alone in his Darkhaven bedchamber, he willed open the carved double doors and guided his eager, panting prey inside. The woman teetered on a pair of tall heels, laughing as she twisted away from him and wagged a finger in front of her face.

 

“Hans, you fed me too mush champagne,” she slurred, stumbling into the dark room. “My head’s all woozy.”

 

“It will pass.” The German vampire’s words were
sluggish, too, though not from the alcohol that had inebriated his unsuspecting American companion. His fangs were no doubt filling his mouth, saliva flooding over his tongue in anticipation of feeding.

 

He tracked her with deliberate movements as he closed the doors behind him and prowled toward her. His eyes glowed like embers, transforming from their natural color to something otherworldly. Although the woman seemed oblivious to the change coming over him, the vampire held his head low as he approached her, careful to conceal the telling heat of his bloodthirsty gaze. Except for that shuttered amber glow and the dim twinkle of stars outside the tall windows overlooking the Darkhaven estate’s private grounds, there was no light in the room. Then again, being one of the Breed, he could see well enough without it.

 

So could the one who came to kill him.

 

Enveloped in shadows across the large chamber, a dark gaze watched as the vampire grabbed his blood Host from behind and got down to business. The first pungent copper whiff of the human’s pierced vein made the observer’s fangs erupt from his gums in reflexive response. He hungered, too, more urgently than he wanted to admit, but he had come here for a greater purpose than to serve his own base needs.

 

He had come for vengeance.

 

For justice.

 

It was that overriding mission that held Andreas Reichen’s feet firmly to the floor as the other vampire drank greedily, blindly, across the room. He waited, patient only because he knew this male’s death would bring him one step closer to fulfilling the vow he’d made some twelve weeks ago … the night his world had disintegrated into a pile of ash and rubble.

 

Reichen’s restraint was held on a threadbare leash. Inside he churned with the heat of his anger. His bones felt like hot iron rods beneath his skin. His blood raced through his body, liquid fire that seared him from scalp to heels. Every muscle and cell within him screamed for retribution—screamed it with a fury that bordered on nuclear meltdown.

 

Not here
, he warned himself.
Not that
.

 

The price would be steep if he gave in to the full mea sure of his rage, and by God, this son of a bitch wasn’t worth it.

 

Reichen held that explosive part of himself at bay, but the effort came a fraction of a second too late. The fire in him was already swelling, burning through the fragile tethers of his self-control…

 

The other vampire suddenly lifted his head from where he’d been feeding at the woman’s neck. He drew in a sharp breath through his nose, then grunted, animalistic… alarmed. “Someone is here.”

 

“What’d you say?” she murmured, still drowsy from his bite as he sealed her wound with his tongue then shoved her away from him. She staggered forward, huffing a couple of choice curses under her breath. The instant her sluggish gaze lit on Reichen, a scream ripped from her throat. “Oh, my God!”

 

Feeling his eyes smoldering with the amber fire of his rage, his fangs tearing through his gums in readiness of the fight to come, Reichen took a single step out of the shadows.

 

The woman screamed again, hysteria rising in her wild, panicked eyes. She looked to her companion for protection, but the vampire had no further use of her. With a callous sweep of his hand, he knocked her out of his way
and stalked forward. The blow sent her careening to the floor.

 

“Hans!” she cried. “Oh, God—what’s going on?”

 

Hissing, the vampire faced his unexpected intruder and crouched into an attack stance. Reichen had only a moment to cast a quick glance at the confused, terrified human.

 

“Get out of here.” He sent a mental command that unlocked the bedchamber’s doors and swung them open. “Leave, female. Now!”

 

As she scrambled up from the polished marble beneath her and escaped the room, the Darkhaven vampire leapt into the air in a single, fluid arc of motion. Before his feet could touch down, Reichen launched himself at the bastard.

 

Their bodies collided, the explosion of Reichen’s forward momentum propelling both of them across the width of the chamber. Fangs huge and gnashing, fierce amber eyes locked on each other in the deadliest kind of malice, together they crashed like a wrecking ball into the far wall.

 

Bones cracked with the impact, but it wasn’t enough for Reichen.

 

Not nearly enough.

 

He threw the struggling, furious Breed male to the floor and pinned him there, one knee crushing his throat.

 

“Ignorant fool!” roared the vampire, arrogant despite his pain. “Have you any idea who I am?”

 

“I know who you are—Enforcement Agent Hans Friedrich Waldemar.” Reichen bared his teeth and fangs in a profanity of a smile as he glared down at him. “Don’t tell me you have already forgotten who I am.”
BOOK: Ashes of Midnight
9.08Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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