Dark of the Moon

Dark of the Moon
Twenties Werewolf/Vampire series  —  Book 2
Harlequin (March 2008)
ISBN-13: 9780373772582  ♦ ISBN-10: 0373772580

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During the heyday of the Clan, New York’s vampire organization of gangsters and bootleggers, Dorian Black was an enforcer for the notorious boss Raoul Boucher. But when the Clan is shattered by violence and betrayal, Dorian abandons his old ways and is prepared to die for his sins … until he saves the life of a brave and determined woman reporter, Gwen Murphy.

Gwen realizes at once that there is something very unusual about Dorian Black. She’s drawn to the haunted suffering in his eyes as well as to his strength and sexual allure. But he hides secrets that lie dangerously close to the ones she is pursuing for the New York Sentinel. Soon human and vampire must join forces and comes to terms with their growing attraction as they battle warring vampire factions and a fanatical cult bent on changing their world forever…

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Dark of the Moon

“Breathe!”

The voice was both harsh and beautiful, like music from another world. It came from very far away, a place out of space and time, and yet it pulled her from the seductive darkness with all the tenderness of a mob enforcer working over some poor schmuck in an alley.

Rough hands turned her over and pummeled her back. A rush of liquid surged into her throat and gushed out of her mouth. She coughed violently, jagged sparks zigzagging through her brain.

“Breathe!”

She gasped. Blessed air flooded her chest. The hands that had shaken and bullied her softened on her arms and lifted her against a warm, firm surface. She heard a heartbeat, slow and steady, felt ridges of muscle under a once-fine broadcloth shirt, smelled a slightly pungent but not unpleasant scent, as if the one who held her had been living in the same clothes for a week.

Still dazed, shivering from a chill dawn wind against wet skin, she let herself be held. It was absurd to feel so safe in the arms of a total stranger, even one who had saved her life. Crazy to feel as if she could stay there forever.

She pushed at her rescuer, muscles still not entirely under her control. He released her and steadied her as she struggled into a sitting position on the weathered wood of the pier.

For the first time she got a good look at his face. It was the devil-angel she’d seen in the river, distorted then by brackish water and her own clouding vision. Now that she could see him more clearly, she still couldn’t decide if he belonged in Heaven or that other place.

His features were those of a young man in his prime, handsome in the truest sense of the word. Bright moonlight picked out planes and angles joined in perfect symmetry. His skin was smooth, free of stubble though everything else about his appearance suggested that he hadn’t seen a razor in several days. His cheekbones were high, his chin firm and a little square, his hair dark and badly in need of a good cut, his brows straight above deeply shadowed eyes.

It was the eyes that captured the attention. Gwen couldn’t make out their color, but that hardly mattered. They simply didn’t belong in the face of a good Samaritan who had probably risked his life to save a stranger, a man in his mid-twenties with at least forty good years ahead of him. They were as dangerous as a storm about to break, as grim as the blood-stained steel of a Thompson’s machine gun. If they’d ever seen a smile, it was in some distant past she could scarcely imagine.

“You saved my life,” she said, her voice emerging as a croak. “Thanks.”

The man cocked his head, his gaze still locked on hers.

She cleared her throat and tugged her drenched glove from her shaking right hand. “I’m Gwen Murphy,” she said, offering the hand. He glanced down, studying her trembling fingers as if he suspected she had some nasty and highly contagious disease. She was about to withdraw her hand when he seized it in the same bulldog grip that had snatched her from a watery grave.

“Dorian,” he said, filling the air with that strange music. “Dorian Black.”

Gwen almost laughed. She recognized the edge of hysteria that lurked beneath her enforced calm and swallowed the laughter. Once she started she might have a hard time stopping. And Mr. Black didn’t look as though he’d appreciate the reaction.

“Mr. Black,” she said, returning his grip as firmly as she could. “I don’t know how you happened to show up right when I needed you, but I’m grateful.”

He dropped her hand and curled his fingers against his thigh. “It was no trouble,” he said, each word clearly enunciated, as if English were a second language painstakingly acquired. “Do you require a doctor?”

She suppressed a shiver. “I’m all right. Just a little cold. And waterlogged.”

Still no smile cracked his sculpted face, but his brows drew down in an expression that might have been concern. He shrugged out of his jacket and draped it over her shoulders. The coat wasn’t entirely clean, but Gwen was grateful for both the warmth and the gesture.

“Thanks,” she said.

Dark of the Moon

He lifted one shoulder in a shrug that betrayed a whole world of discomfort. “How did it happen?” he asked.

The question took Gwen a little by surprise. Black was so taciturn that prying an interview out of him would be worse than pulling teeth. Maybe he wasn’t really interested, but she had to give him points for trying.

“I’m a reporter for the Sentinel,” she said. “I was on the docks investigating a lead when I was jumped by some nasty characters who thought I’d be an easy mark.” She suffered an annoying surge of embarrassment and felt the growing bump on the back of her head. “I wasn’t that easy. When I fought back, one of them hit me over the head and dumped me in the river.”

Black’s eyes narrowed. “Do you usually come to Hell’s Kitchen in the middle of the night?” he asked with subtle menace.

Gwen sat up straighter, squaring her shoulders beneath the oversized jacket. “Certain activities are less conspicuous in the dark,” she said. “I didn’t want to be seen.”

“Someone saw you.”

“But not the ones I was trying to avoid.”

“And who would they be, Miss Murphy?”

Sudden nausea gripped Gwen’s stomach. She swallowed twice. “That’s confidential,” she said. Her ankles wobbled as she struggled to stand. “I think I’d … better call a taxi.”

Black jumped to his feet with an athlete’s grace and caught her arm as she tottered and nearly fell. “You’re in no condition to walk alone, Miss Black. I will escort you to the nearest telephone.”

“Really, I’ll be fine.”

Without answering he pulled her closer to the dry heat of his body and led her a few halting steps. The nausea increased, creeping up into her throat. It had to be a combination of things: the filthy water she’d swallowed, the head injury, the shock of nearly dying. She should be able to for overcome it. She was Eamon Murphy’s daughter, for God’s sake….

Black stopped. “You won’t make it,” he said bluntly.

“Yes, I will. I just need a little more time.”

Her savior looked pointedly toward the city, where rays of sunlight were just beginning to creep between the buildings. “No time,” he muttered, and then raised his voice. “You will come with me.”

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Read the Reviews

“Krinard takes her cue for this vampire suspense novel from classic detective stories by the likes of Mikey Spillane and Eric Ambler. Using her setting well, Krinard tells a great story about a powerful relationship and grips the reader emotionally and intellectually.”

— 4 Stars Romantic Times