Holiday with a Vampire 4

Halfway to Dawn
Nightsiders  —  part of the series
Harlequin (November 13, 2012)
ISBN-13: 9780373885596 ♦ ISBN-10: 0373885598

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Don’t be afraid to snuggle up with these sexy, immortal heroes. They will weave their way into your fantasies and spice up your cold winter nights.

“Halfway to Dawn” by Susan Krinard

Amid a supernatural war between the races, can Fiona, captain of the human special forces, and Kane, a compelling fugitive from the vampire army, risk working together to attain peace on earth?

“The Gift” by Theresa Meyers

All Cullen McCormack wants for Christmas is the missing locket that holds the key to his immortality. But will Angelica, the woman who now flaunts it about her exquisite neck, also claim his vampire heart?

“Bright Star” by Linda Thomas-Sundstrom

Immortal Dylan McCay has vowed to protect the secret origins of his species at all costs—until he meets Savannah, a passionate astronomer on the brink of discovering the elusive Christmas Star….

Read an Excerpt

Halfway to Dawn

It didn’t take long to hunt down the rogues. They hadn’t taken many pains to hide themselves. One of them was laughing, drunk on fresh blood, and the other was drinking from the woman, noisy as a pig at a trough.

“One of ’em musta left,” Alfie whispered, joining Kane behind a low wall of evergreen shrubs. “Even odds.”

Alfie was being optimistic, as he usually was. Freebloods in general were stronger than vassals, just as Bloodlords were more powerful than Freebloods and Bloodmasters superior to Bloodlords in almost every way. It was a hierarchy an Opir ignored at his own peril.

That didn’t mean he and Alfie wouldn’t do their damndest.

The rogue finished his meal and drew back from the woman. Her red hair, once coiled on top of her head, fell in wavy strands over her forehead, and her face was pale as new-fallen snow. Under other circumstances, Kane would have called her beautiful.

But beauty was the last thing on his mind. Very quietly he lifted his gun. Alfie did the same, flashing him a wicked grin. The drunken Freeblood looked up, scanning the shrubbery. His nostrils flared. The woman raised her head, her eyes glazed with pain and exhaustion.

“Ready?” Kane asked.

As one they plunged from behind the shrubs, firing as they attacked. The rogue who had just finished his meal spun around and dodged the bullets as if they were moving in slow motion. He charged Kane, who braced himself for the impact.

Immediately the Freeblood went for his throat. Kane fended off the rogue with all his strength, grabbed the Opir’s shoulder and spun around, flinging the rogue away.

By then Alfie was near the human, and the drunken Freeblood was staggering toward him. As big as he was, Alfie was surprisingly agile. He jumped out of the way and took careful aim. The rogue moved to stand directly in front of the woman.

“Shoot me, and you kill her,” he snarled.

The Opir Kane had temporarily incapacitated attacked again. Driven by the sheer power of rage, Kane grappled with the rogue and threw him to the ground. He drew his knife and drove it into the rogue’s chest, piercing his heart. Then he rolled away and jumped to his feet, instantly taking in the deadly tableau.

“Let’s get out o’ ‘ere,” Alfie said loudly, backing away. “I ain’t gonna die fer no ‘uman.”

Kane knew Alfie’s words were a ploy, and they worked. For a split second the rogue standing in front of the woman was diverted by Alfie’s slight retreat. Kane crossed the distance in two running steps and struck the rogue hard at the base of his neck with the side of his hand, unbalancing the Opir just long enough for Alfie to get off a single shot, precisely aimed to pierce the vampire’s body from the side so the bullet wouldn’t hit the human.

While Alfie made sure the Freeblood was out of commission– permanently–Kane cut the ropes that bound the woman to the tree. She collapsed, and Kane caught her just in time. She was too weak from the loss of blood to stand, even with the solid trunk of the tree behind her.

“You’re all right now,” Kane said, easing her to the ground and kneeling beside her. “They can’t hurt you anymore.”

Her chin lolled on her chest, and Kane thought for a moment that he and Alfie had come too late again. He brushed her thick ginger hair away from her forehead. She opened her eyes, focusing on his face.

She wasn’t capable of fighting, but she gave it her best shot, her expression suddenly fierce and her slender body taut as a bowstring. She tried to speak, but the effort was too great. Kane steadied her with one hand, careful not to touch her more than necessary.

Even so, he felt a shock when he grasped her arm, as if the blood she had lost had been replaced by an electric current. The torn, stained fatigues she wore couldn’t conceal her athletic but very womanly figure. When she looked at him again, her eyes were defiant and lit with strength of purpose even her extreme weakness couldn’t extinguish.

“Who … are you?” she whispered, blinking in the darkness.

Halfway to Dawn

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