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Kiss Me Deadly [Bewitching the Dark Series Book 2] [Secure eReader]
eBook by Michele Hauf

eBook Category: Romance/Fantasy
eBook Description: Death cocktail is what the vampires call a witch's blood. It's poisonous--a drop will destroy a vampire within minutes. Nikolaus Drake is the rare vampire who has survived his first taste. Now he's on the hunt for the witch who almost brought him to his demise--Ravin Crosse. A witch who spends her nights hunting vampire tribes, Ravin has three obligations to fulfill to set her soul free. One of those obligations--crafting a love spell--twists her world upside down when Nikolaus draws the spell from her veins. Natural enemies rarely make the best bedfellows--but is it possible their intentions are really, truly the same? Can Nikolaus's tribal loyalty survive if he surrenders to desires far darker than his own?

eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Silhouette Nocturne
Fictionwise Release Date: September 2007

422 Reader Ratings:
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Chapter 1

Two months ago, a slayer killed Nikolaus Drake.

Not any slayer, but a vigilante witch with death in her eyes. As if acid, her blood ate into his flesh. Felled in an instant, Nikolaus had gasped for breath, and could not find it. His heart had stopped beating.

A vampire isn't supposed to survive the death cocktail—that's what vampires call witch's blood—but, after being hit, Nikolaus had collapsed onto the body of one of his dying cohorts. Crazed by the active decimation of his body, he'd drunk from his friend, racing to take the blood before death's release of the mortal soul made it useless.

The blood had served to restart Nikolaus's heart. He wasn't sure how he'd made it home, or how he'd been able to stop the caustic effects of the death cocktail.

And it didn't matter anymore. Nikolaus had survived. He was now a vampire phoenix, risen from ash and blood. But his injuries had forced him into seclusion, for a witch wound proved a stubborn heal. He still bore scars and could yet feel his left lung wheeze when he exerted himself.

Before being transformed into a vampire, Nikolaus had been a surgeon, a man who had witnessed many people survive incredible odds to recuperate and heal. But yes, sometimes they also died.

Experiencing recovery for himself had changed him. It had fixed a lust for vengeance into the scarred sinews of Nikolaus Drake's soul. He, a man who had always strived for peace, now desired a bloody revenge.

Foremost, Nikolaus could not stand back and do nothing when he knew the witch yet stalked the shadows in search of one more vampire to make ash.

Summer solstice arrived in two weeks. That night, Nikolaus planned to return to tribe Kila.

Yet he could not do that until the anger that had brewed within him for two months was settled. Before the attack, Nikolaus had led tribe Kila and served them well for twenty years. The tribe was wary, but none were safe from the death cocktail—save Nikolaus. He possessed immunity now—the witch could not again harm him—so he would fight for his tribe and destroy the enemy.

One thing could tip the scales and return his mind to the peaceful resolve needed to lead properly.

Tonight, he would kill the witch.

* * *

The witch's name was Ravin Crosse, and she rode a big black street chopper with the word venom curved across the gas tank, and wore more black leather than Nikolaus did. Small, but imposing in her costume, which also included visible weaponry that could annihilate a vampire in less than a minute, the witch walked as if she owned the earth.

She was the only slayer in the Twin Cities area that Nikolaus was aware of.

Not for long.

Nikolaus had located the witch's hideout. She lived at the edge of Minneapolis, but three miles west of him, at the top of a warehouse recently rehabbed for luxury flats. Nice, but not half so spendy as his digs in the Mill district.

He did not give a fig for a witch, her life, or her nasty soul. Let her burn. And he would proudly present her ashes to his men.

He had been observing, at a distance, her comings and goings for the past ten days, the first days since his pseudo-death that he'd felt able to leave his home.

The vampire killer went out three nights a week on the hunt—Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Nikolaus had not witnessed her execute a kill.

His own tribe numbered eleven, and had claimed Minneapolis's inner city as territory against two rival tribes.

There were a few independent vampires, not aligned to any tribe, but they were stealthy and kept to the shadows, and very often, the suburbs and smaller towns in the state.

Minnesota was not a vampire hot spot. This surprised Nikolaus. The state offered a healthy six months of winter, which meant little sunlight and plenty of dark basements in which to hibernate. And a vampire could regulate his body temperature so the below-freezing weather affected him little. A bloodsucker's haven, if you asked him.

Tribe Kila was small, but not stupid. Nikolaus had purposefully kept their location away from New York, Miami or New Orleans, major vampire breeding grounds. The average metropolitan area hosted perhaps a hundred vampires, or less. By no means were they in the majority, let alone a countable minority.

He had prided himself on leading the most civilized tribe in the States. While others, such as Nava, Zmaj and Veles stalked the night, wreaking havoc and creating blood children indiscriminately, Kila strove to keep their bloodlines pure and peaceful. No accidental transformations, no witnesses, no mistakes. That had become Nikolaus's personal mantra.

There were a few incidents to be overlooked, though.

Hell, they were vampires, not tamed lions. The blood hunger was a powerful thing, and not to be ignored or put aside as if it were a habit one could easily break.

They, all vampires, were called the dark. But none in Kila murdered for the sake of taking blood to sustain life.

Over the weeks since the witch's attack, Nikolaus had slowly healed. Initially, Gabriel Rossum, his closest ally, had brought him donors daily. The infusion of warm, mortal blood to his system had been supplemented with a weekly draw from Gabriel.

Vampire blood proved more powerful in the healing process as opposed to mere mortal blood. Flesh had grown over Nikolaus's exposed ribs within three weeks, and slowly the charred skin on his arms and torso began to heal.

Copyright © 2007 by Michele Hauf.

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