See how it all began…
Have you ever wanted to know what it's like to be immortal? To journey through the night stalking the evil that preys on humans? To have unlimited wealth, unlimited power?
That is my existence, and it is dark and dangerous. I play hero to thousands, but am known to none. And I love every minute of it.
Or so I thought until one night when I woke up handcuffed to my worst nightmare: an accountant. She's smart, sexy, witty, and wants nothing to do with the paranormal.
My attraction to Amanda Devereaux goes against everything I stand for. Not to mention the last time I fell in love it cost me not only my human life, but also my very soul. Now I find myself wanting to believe that love and loyalty do exist.
Even more disturbing, I find myself wondering if there's any way a woman can love a man whose battle scars run deep, and whose heart was damaged by a betrayal so savage that he's not sure it will ever beat again.
Kyrian of Thrace
Life is great for me. I have my chicory coffee, my warm beignets, and my best friend on the cell phone. Once the sun goes down, I am the baddest thing prowling the night: I command the elements, and I know no fear. For centuries, I've protected the innocent and watched over the mankind, making sure they are safe in a world where nothing is ever certain. All I want in return is a hot babe in a red dress, who wants nothing more from me then one night.
Instead, I get a runaway Mardi Gras float that tries to turn me into roadkill and a beautiful woman who saves my life but can't remember where she put my pants. Flamboyant and extravagant, Sunshine Runningwolf should be the perfect woman for me. She wants nothing past tonight, no ties, no long-term commitments.
But every time I look at her, I start yearning for dreams that I buried centuries ago. With her unconventional ways and ability to baffle me, Sunshine is the one person I find myself needing. But for me to love her would mean her death. I am cursed never to know peace or happiness—not so long as my enemy waits in the night to destroy us both.
—Talon of the Morrigantes
ZAREK'S POINT OF VIEW:
Dark-Hunter: A soulless guardian who stands between mankind and those who would see mankind destroyed. Yeah, right. The only part of that Code of Honor I got was eternity and solitude.
Insanity: A condition many say I suffer from after being alone for so long. But I don't suffer from my insanity I enjoy every minute of it.
Trust: I can't trust anyone...not even myself. The only thing I trust in is my ability to do the wrong thing in any situation and to put a hurt on anyone who gets in my way.
Truth: I endured a lifetime as a Roman slave, and 900 years as an exiled Dark-Hunter. Now I'm tired of enduring. I want the truth about what happened the night I was exiled—I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Astrid (Grekk, meaning star): An exceptional woman who can see straight to the truth. Brave and strong, she is a point of light in the darkness. She touches me and I tremble. She smiles and my cold heart shatters.
Zarek: They say even the most damned man can be forgiven. I never believed that until the night Astrid opened her door to me and made this feral beast want to be human again. Made me want to love and be loved. But how can an ex-slave whose soul is owned by a Greek goddess ever dream of touching, let alone holding, a fiery star?
What do you get when you have one immortal Viking warrior no one can remember five minutes after he leaves their presence, a princess on the run for her life, and one seriously annoyed demigod? Basically, you get my life.
It started out simple enough. One night I went to save a woman in trouble. The next thing I knew, the doorway to hell had opened and out stepped Daimons--vampires the likes of which I'd never seen before. Led by the son of Apollo, they are out to end the curse that has banished them all to darkness. The only problem with that is they have to kill Cassandra Peters to do it and if she dies, so dies the sun, the earth and all who dwell here. Life's just a bowl full of cherries, ain't it?
Brought together by fate, it's now my job to protect a daughter of the very race I have been hunting for centuries. Neither of us dares to trust the other. But she is the only one who remembers me... More than that, with her courage and strength, she is the only one who has ever touched a heart that I thought had died centuries ago.
The only way for a Dark-Hunter to regain his soul is through the love of a woman. But what happens when that woman isn't exactly human?
Susan Michaels was once the hottest reporter on the Beltway Beat until a major scandal ruined her life and left her writing stories about alien babies and Elvis sightings. Life as she once knew it is over, or so she thinks, but then she gets a lead on a story that could salvage her extinct career. She heads to the local animal shelter, expecting a hot news tip, which she gets in the form of a major police cover-up… for a ring of soul-sucking vampires out to take over Seattle. So much for saving her credibility.
And if that isn't bad enough, she gets talked into adopting a cat and finds she's allergic to it. A cat that turns out to be a shapeshifter who claims to be an immortal vampire slayer on the prowl for the same corrupt cops. Her first thought: seek professional help.
But as Susan's drawn into Ravyn's dark and dangerous world, she comes to realize that there's a lot more at stake than just her defunct career. Now it's no longer a question of bringing the truth to her readers; it's a matter of saving their very lives and souls.
Ravyn's life was shattered over four hundred years ago, when he mistakenly trusted the wrong human with the truth of his existence. He lost his family, his honor, and his life. Now, in order to save the people of Seattle, he's forced to confront that nightmare all over again, and to trust another woman with the secret that could destroy him.
In the world of the Dark-Hunters, life is always dangerous. But never more so than now, when a very human woman can shatter their entire world with just one story. The only question is… will she?
Two enemy Were-Panthers discover that fate has destined they become lovers. Pandora must learn to trust Dante's foreign nature. But as she slowly succumbs to the truest passion she has ever known, dark forces have already set out to reclaim her...
Hail, Glorious Reader:
I was born the noble son of a legendary Roman senator. I walked through the ancient world as a general, admired and supreme until a brutal betrayal caused me to bargain my soul. Now I'm an immortal Dark-Hunter, bound to protect mankind from the evil scourge that haunts it. Over the centuries, I've seen many frightening things: plagues, pestilence, disco music...
And now Tabitha Devereaux. A human, she has trained herself to fight vampires every bit as capably as any Dark-Hunter. Idiosyncratic and off-beat, she is my personal bane—and yet she beguiles me. There are only two small problems. She happens to be the twin of my mortal enemy's wife. More than that, Tabitha and her sister are being stalked by a power that will not rest until everyone she holds dear is dead.
Unlike my Dark-Hunter brethren, I rely on no one but myself. They spurned me and I turned my back on them. But the only way to save Tabitha and her family is to find some way to bridge a two-thousand-year-old feud.
They say opposites attract, but can they stay together when even the Fates conspire to keep them apart? Then again, the Fates have never dealt with the likes of Tabitha Devereaux before. They're going to be in for quite a fight...
— Valerius Magnus
It's a predator eat predator world for the Were-Hunters. Danger haunts any given day. There is no one to trust. No one to love. Not if they want to live...
An orphan with no clan that will claim him, Wren Tigarian grew to adulthood under the close scrutiny and mistrust of those around him. A forbidden blend of two animals—snow leopard and white tiger—Wren has never listened to anyone when there was something he wanted. Now he wants Marguerite.
Marguerite D'Aubert Goudeau is the daughter of a prominent U.S. Senator who hates the socialite life she's forced to live. Like her mother before her, she has strong Cajun roots that her father doesn't understand. Still, she has no choice but to try and conform to a world where she feels like an outsider. But the world of rich and powerful humans is never to meet the world of the Were-Hunters who exist side by side with them, unseen, unknown, undetected. To break this law is to call down a wrath of the highest order.
In order to have Marguerite, Wren must fight not just the humans who will never accept his animal nature, but the Were-Hunters who want him dead for endangering their world. It's a race against time and magic without boundary that could cost Marguerite and Wren not just their lives, but their very souls...
In the ethereal world of dreams, there are champions who fight to protect the dreamer and there are demons who prey on them...
Arik is such a predator. Condemned by the gods to live eternity without emotions, Arik can only feel when he's in the dreams of others. For thousands of years, he's drifted through the human unconscious, searching for sensation. Now he's finally found a dreamer whose vivid mind can fill his emptiness.
Dr. Megeara Kafieri watched her father ruin himself and his reputation as he searched to prove Atlantis was real. Her deathbed promise to him to salvage his reputation has now brought her to Greece where she intends to prove once and for all that the fabled island is right where her father said it was. But frustration and bad luck dog her every step. Especially the day they find a stranger floating in the sea. His is a face she's seen many times.... in her dreams.
What she doesn't know is that Arik holds more than the ancient secrets that can help her find the mythical isle of Atlantis. He has made a pact with the god Hades: In exchange for two weeks as a mortal man, he must return to Olympus with a human soul. Megeara's soul.
With a secret society out to ruin her expedition, and mysterious accidents that keep threatening her life, Megeara refuses to quit. She knows she's getting closer to Atlantis and as she does, she stumbles onto the truth of what Arik really is.
For Arik his quest is no longer simple. No human can know of a Dream-Hunter's existence. His dream of being mortal has quickly turned into his own nightmare and the only way to save himself will be to sacrifice the very thing he wanted to be human for. The only question is, will he?
This is a special thank you to readers for all the great years. It's a small story about Nick's homecoming to New Orleans after his mother's death and after Katrina.
I knew from the beginning what was going to happen to Nick. I wanted the reader to see the birth of a Dark-Hunter, only to have it with a twist. And even though I knew what was going to happen, I still cried when I wrote the scene.
Ever think Scrooge had it right before the ghosts ruined his life? Meet Aidan O'Conner.
At one time he was a world-renowned celebrity who gave freely of himself and his money without wanting anything in return...until those around him took without asking. Now Aidan wants nothing of the world—or anyone who's a part of it.
When a stranger appears at his doorstep, Aidan knows he's seen her before…in his dreams.
Born on Olympus as a goddess, Leta knows nothing of the human world. But a ruthless enemy has driven her from the world of dreams and into the home of the only man who can help her: Aidan. Her immortal powers are derived from human emotions—and his anger is just the fuel she needs to defend herself…
One cold winter's night will change their lives forever…
Trapped together in a brutal winter storm, Aidan and Leta must turn to the only power capable of saving them—or destroying them both: trust.
Sin, an ancient Sumerian god, was one of the most powerful among his pantheon—until the night Artemis robbed him of his godhood and left him one step from death....
For millennia, the ex-god turned Dark-Hunter Sin has sought to regain his powers and take revenge on Artemis. But now he has bigger fish—or in this case, demons—to fry. The lethal gallu that were buried by his pantheon are stirring, and they are hungry for human flesh. Their goal: to destroy mankind. Sin is the only one who can stop them...if a certain woman doesn't kill him first.
Enemies have always made strange bedfellows, but never more so than when the fate of the world hangs in the balance. Now a man who only knows betrayal must trust the one person most likely to hand him to the demons. Artemis may have stolen his godhood, but this one has stolen his heart. The only question is: Will she keep it...or feed it to those who want him dead?
Этот рассказ был напечатан в конце книги Upon the Midnight Clear (2007, люб. перевод — «В полночном свете»). В нем мы встречаемся со многими героями, полюбившимися нам по предыдущим книгам серии про Темных Охотников. Рассказ в некотором смысле предваряет сразу несколько уже вышедших произведений: книги про всесильного Ашерона и про Эйми Пелтье и Фэнга Катталакиса, а также повестушку про Фьюри Катталакиса.
Кроме вышеуказанных героев в рассказе присутствуют:
— Папа Мишка, Рен, Мэгги, Вейн, Брайд…
— Кириан, Аманда, Табита, Валериус, Тэлон, Саншайн, клан Деверо…
— Ник, Страйкер, Сатара…
— Сими, Зирена, Алексион, Дэнджер, Стикс, Уриан…
— Арти, Кэт, Син…
И все это на 10 страничках. В общем, грех было не перевести.
Hades doesn't often give second chances.
Xypher has one month on Earth as a human to redeem himself through one good deed or be condemned to eternal torture in Tartarus. But there's one catch: the only way he can feel emotions is through the dreams of others, a punishment the gods inflicted upon him before he received his death sentence.
Until one lonely night in the morgue…
Simone Dubois is a coroner with a real knack for the job. Those who are wrongfully killed appear to her, and help her find the evidence the police need to convict their killers. But when on of the dead gets up from her table and walks away, it stops her cold.
Now the fate of the world hangs in her hands…
It was bad enough when just the dead relied on her. Now there's the seductive Dream-Hunter Xypher, who needs Simone's help in tracking down a Dimme demon out to literally devour the human race. The fate of mankind is at stake—and so is her heart…
Live fast, fight hard and if you have to die then take as many of your enemies with you as you can. That is the Amazon credo and it was one Samia lived and died by. Now in contemporary New Orleans, the immortal Amazon warrior is about to learn that theres a worse evil coming to slaughter mankind than shes ever faced before.
Shapeshifter Dev Peltier has stood guard at the front of Sanctuary for almost two hundred years and in that time, hes seen it all. Or so he thought. Now their enemies have discovered a new source of power- one that makes a mockery of anything faced to date.
The war is on and Dev and Sam are guarding ground zero. But in order to win, they will have to break the most cardinal of all rules and pray it doesn't unravel the universe as we know it.
While the world carries on unawares, Stryker, who leads an army of demons and vampires, is plotting an all out onslaught against his enemies--which, unfortunately for us, includes the entire human race. To avenge his sister, Stryker prepares to annihilate the Dark-Hunters. But things go awry when his oldest enemy returns. Enter his ex-wife. Zephyra. Just when he thought nothing could stop him, he's now embroiled in a centuries old war with a shrew who gives new meaning to pain.
We are the Dolophoni. Diligent. Vigilant. Fierce and inescapable. Servants of the Furies, we are the right hand of justice and no one stands before us.
The son of Warcraft and Hate, Cratus spent eternity battling for the ancient gods who birthed him. He was death to any who crossed him. Until the day he laid down his arms and was banished into exile.
Now an ancient enemy has been unleashed and our dreams are his chosen battlefield. The only hope we have is the one god who swears he will never fight again.
As a Dream-Hunter, Delphine has spent eternity protecting mankind from the predators who prey on our unconscious state. But now that her allies have been turned, she knows in order to survive, the Dream-Hunters need a new leader. Someone who can train them to fight their new enemies. Cratus is her only hope. But she is a bitter reminder of why he chose to lay down his arms.
Time is running out and if she can't win him to her cause, mankind will be slaughtered and the world we know will soon cease to exist.