Holiday With a Vampire [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Caridad Pineiro
eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: 'TIS THE SEASON TO TAKE A WALK ON THE DARK SIDE ... Silhouette Nocturne is proud to present these two sensual, heartwarming tales of love during the holiday season. True, the heroes may not wear red suits or be very jolly. But tall, dark and handsome, with the unusual power to thrill, can sometimes be the best gift of all. In 'Christmas Cravings' by Maureen Child, a vampire finds himself in need of a miracle, and discovers it on the doorstep of his childhood home in the form of Theresa Franklin. Most women dream of being swept off their feet by a man--not whisked away by a devastatingly handsome vampire. But for Connie Morales in 'Fate Calls' by Caridad Pineiro, Hadrian's tempting kisses make her long to deliver the gift of life to a man who thinks he has no soul...
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Silhouette Nocturne
Fictionwise Release Date: December 2007
14 Reader Ratings:
Grayson Stone felt the dawn coming and knew he couldn't escape it.
He stirred in the snow, his body splayed in the center of a neatly tended yard, and wondered for a second where the hell he was. Then he remembered. A vague echo of a memory danced through his dazed mind. He'd come back to Whisper, Wyoming, as he had every year since his death.
It was the week before Christmas and he'd come here to hide away. To forget. To remember. To lose himself in the serene quiet of what was still a wilderness.
He blinked and focused his eyes on a nearby bush—carefully pruned into the shape of a lopsided elephant—and told himself that the wilderness had done some changing.
But what did it matter? The pounding ache in his head, the lethargy of his body, the creeping sluggishness moving through his system incrementally told him that he didn't have enough time to think these questions through, anyway. He shifted his gaze to the lightening sky. Already, that broad, sweeping expanse was a faint shade of lavender, heralding the coming sun. And while he watched the day begin, he thought about just how long it had been since the last time he'd seen a sunrise.
One hundred and fifty years.
Times had been so different then. Hell, he had been different, then. Alive, for one. And not in danger of combusting in the first rays of dawn.
"Ironic or poetic that I should die here again?" he whispered, just to hear a sound other than the soft sigh of the wind through the bushes. He'd spent most of his undead life far from Wyoming and the memories that haunted this place. And yet, it seemed that Fate had a sense of humor. He'd come home to die a second time.
His skin prickled with the coming of the sun. It felt as though every nerve ending in his body was suddenly electrically charged. He'd seen so much over the years. Done so much. He frowned at that stray thought, then let it go. He was what he was. Too late now to regret the past. And far too late to beg forgiveness of a God who'd written him off a century before. But there would probably be a welcome party in Hell just for him. Grayson closed his eyes, smiled a little and waited for the flash of fire that would consume him.
"Are you all right?" A soft voice, definitely female, filled with concern and just a little fear.
He didn't have to hear her fright. He could smell it. Taste it. Opening his eyes again, though it took a Herculean effort, Grayson stared up at a woman, backlit by the growing light.
She smiled, shook her head until her short brown cap of curls danced and answered her own question. "Of course you're not all right. You're lying in the snow, probably half-frozen and your head's bleeding. Not a good sign at all."
His head was bleeding? Explained the pounding in his skull, but damned if Grayson could remember what had happened to him.
Her scent flavored the air around her. Soap and shampoo and something that was inherently her.
"Well, I can't just leave you lying out here in the snow." She stood, and looked around, as if hoping help would appear. When nothing happened, she glanced back at him and said, "I can get you out of the cold, but no way can I lift you. I probably shouldn't move you at all, but you'll freeze to death here, right?"
She nodded, convinced by her own argument. She glanced around the empty yard, then back to him. "The barn's closer. We'll go there, then figure out how to get you into the house. I can't leave you out here. And don't worry. I'm stronger than I look. I'm pretty sure I can drag you there."
Drag him? He glanced at her and with a single look took in her short, curvy figure. Dressed in a heavy sweater, blue jeans and boots that came almost to her knees, she was a slight woman, nowhere near muscular enough to drag him anywhere.
But she stalwartly grabbed his hands in hers. "Wow, you've been out here a long time. Your hands are like ice."
"Don't," he said, pushing that single word past lips that felt wooden, stiff with both the cold and the coming dawn. He didn't want her help. Didn't want to owe her anything. Safer for her if she just stayed away from him. He was a lost cause, anyway.
"You're right." She dropped his hands, and bent down in the snow beside him. "Look, I'll never be able to drag you. But I could probably help you walk, if you've got it in you. Just lean on me and we'll get you out of the cold."
She pulled him into a sitting position and Grayson, understanding that she was clearly not going to give up on helping him, called on every last ounce of his remaining strength. His body was tired. Fatigue seeped into every cell and bled into his veins.
The dawn crept nearer and every minute that passed brought him closer to oblivion. He'd thought, only moments ago, that he was ready to face it. That he welcomed the end. Now though, he felt the same will to survive that had trapped him in this particular hell a hundred and fifty years ago.
He leaned heavily on the woman and her scent teased him—surrounded him. He heard the rush of blood through her body and the fast gallop of her heart and everything within him hungered. Raw, desperate need formed a knot in his throat and Grayson choked on it.
Copyright © 2007 by Harlequin Books S.A.