The third entry in Sparks's contemporary vampire series, following the kicky Vamps and the City, raises the stakes—in more way than one—as a vampire hunter unwittingly pushes the vamp underworld to the verge of war. CIA "Stake-Out" agent Emma Watson takes her job personally, having lost her parents to vampires six years earlier. Ambushing vamps in New York City's Central Park, Emma neither suspects nor particularly cares that there are, in fact, two vampire factions: one evil, bent on destroying humanity, and the other good, having eschewed people blood for a synthetic substitute. One of the good guys, Scottish vamp Angus McKay, has been assigned to stop her nightly patrols, but instead finds himself falling in love. Soon Emma's deep-rooted beliefs are coming unmoored: undeniably attracted to Angus, she can't bear the thought of loving—or even trusting—a vampire, but she's left without a choice when Angus's ex-lover decides to capture them both as a gift to her evil overlord. Sparks's plot, though it lacks the satirical snap of her previous vamp novels, serves the romance between Angus and Emma well. Though it should please her fans, Sparks's latest probably won't win her any new readers in a market saturated with vampire-human love stories. (Apr.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Be Still My Vampire Heart (Love at Stake Series #3)by Kerrelyn Sparks
If it was still beating. Angus MacKay has been undead for almost five hundred years and it's not often something, or someone, surprises him. Until Emma Wallace. The sight of this luscious agent from the CIA's elite Stake-Out team was enough to stop Angus in his tracks. But then he discovers that she's a vampire slayer, intent on killing the "monsters" who killed… See more details below
If it was still beating. Angus MacKay has been undead for almost five hundred years and it's not often something, or someone, surprises him. Until Emma Wallace. The sight of this luscious agent from the CIA's elite Stake-Out team was enough to stop Angus in his tracks. But then he discovers that she's a vampire slayer, intent on killing the "monsters" who killed her parents. And it's Angus's job to stop her.
The only good vampire is a dead vampire. It's been Emma's motto since she committed her life to the destruction of these things. Now Angus MacKay wants to convince her differently.
Sure, he's a sexy Highland warrior who seems to have stepped off the cover of a romance novel, complete with brogue, kilt, and sword, but he's also one of them. And it's her job to kill him.
The war is on, but will it end in the destruction of one or both of them . . . or in total surrender to a passion for the ages?
Read an ExcerptBe Still My Vampire Heart
By Kerrelyn Sparks Avon Copyright © 2007 Kerrelyn Sparks
All right reserved.
Chapter One After four hundred and ninety-three years of teleporting from one place to another, Angus MacKay still felt an urge to peek under his kilt to ensure everything had arrived in fine working condition. There were some areas where a man, vampire or not, would hate to find himself shortchanged. He resisted, though, since he wasn't alone. He'd just materialized in Roman Draganesti's office at Romatech Industries, and the former monk was sitting behind his desk, watching him calmly.
Angus swung his claymore off his back. "All right, old friend, who can I kill for ye tonight?"
Roman chuckled. "Always ready for action. Thank God you never change."
Angus winced inwardly. He'd only been kidding. "Ye ... do want me to kill someone?"
"Hopefully not. I think a good scare will be enough."
"Ah." From the corner of his eye, Angus saw the door open. "You couldna have Connor do the scaring? He's a verra frightful-looking man."
"I heard that." Connor entered the room, carrying a folder.
Grinning, Angus took a seat and lay the sheath containing his favorite claymore across his lap. "So what's the problem?"
"The slayer is at it again. A vampire was murdered last night in Central Park," Roman explained. "A Russian Malcontent."
"Och, that's good." Angus nodded. One less Malcontent to worry about. Those bloody vampires refused to modernize and drink the synthetic blood manufactured at Romatech.
"No, it's bad," Roman countered. "Katya Miniskaya just called and accused us of the murder."
At the sound of her name, Angus's grip tightened around the leather sheath. He kept his face blank. "I'm surprised she's still coven master."
Connor sat in the chair next to Angus. "She's vicious enough for it. I heard some of the Russian men complained about having a female master, and they dinna live through the night."
"Aye, she can be verra vicious." Angus felt Roman's sympathetic gaze on him and looked away. The monk knew too much. Fortunately, any transgressions he'd confessed to his old friend were held in strictest confidence.
"Katya's threatening us," Connor continued. "If anyone else in her coven is slain, she'll declare war on us."
"Bugger," Angus muttered. "So who is the slayer? He may be causing trouble, but he deserves a medal." He looked at his employee.
Connor snorted. "I dinna do it, and neither did my men. Ye pay us to protect Roman, his wife, his home, and his business, and there's only three of us for the job. We doona have time to wander about Central Park."
Angus nodded. As owner of MacKay Security and Investigation, he provided protection for a number of important coven masters like Roman. He'd recently reassigned five of Connor's men. "I'm sorry to leave ye shorthanded, but I need every available man in the field. 'Tis imperative we locate Casimir before he ..."
Angus didn't want to say the words. Hell, he didn't even want to think them. For three hundred years, they'd believed the world's most evil vampire was dead, only to discover he was still lurking about and still intent on murder and destruction.
"Any luck finding him?" Roman asked.
"Nay. Nothing but false leads." Angus drummed his fingers on the leather sheath in his lap. "So do ye have any idea who the slayer is? Could he be the same one who killed a few Malcontents last summer?"
"We believe so." Roman sat forward, leaning on his elbows. "Connor thinks he's working for the CIA."
Angus blinked. "A mortal killing vampires? 'Tis highly unlikely."
"We think it's one of the Stake-Out team." Connor tapped the folder he was carrying. Written in bold letters across the front was Stake-Out Team.
There was an awkward pause, since they all knew the leader of the Stake-Out team was Roman's mortal father-in-law.
Angus cleared his throat. "Ye think Shanna's father is the slayer? No offense to yer wife, Roman, but I wouldna mind scaring the shit out of Sean Whelan."
Roman sighed. "He is a ... nuisance."
Angus agreed, though he would have used more colorful language. "How many did the slayer kill last summer?"
"Three," Connor answered.
Angus narrowed his eyes. "Why did he stop for a while, then start killing again?"
"Since the beginning of March, two mortals have been killed in Central Park, their throats slashed," Roman explained.
"To cover up bite marks," Angus concluded. It was an old vampire trick. "So the Malcontents started this, and the slayer is exacting revenge."
"Yes," Roman agreed. "After those mortals were murdered, I threatened to run Katya and her coven out of the country. So it's logical for her to assume we're the ones retaliating."
"Aye. No one would ever believe a mortal capable of killing a vampire." Angus frowned. This was lousy timing. He didn't have time to go hunting for some mortal slayer, not when Casimir was growing his army by transforming criminals and murderers into vampires. The evil vampires needed to be stopped before they outnumbered the good Vamps and another war erupted. No doubt that was exactly why the Malcontents were stirring up trouble at this time. They wanted to distract Angus and his employees from their true purpose.
"Hi, guys!" The door swung open, and Gregori strode inside. "What's up?" His grin faded as he studied everyone's faces. "Sheesh, you look like you've been to a funeral. What happened, MacKay? Did you get a run in your fancy knee socks?"
"They're called hose," Angus grumbled.
Gregori snorted. "Oh, that's manly. Wait, I know what happened. You put your kilt on backwards and when you sat down, ouch! Your little sword-shaped kilt pin poked you in the ass."
Angus arched an eyebrow at Gregori, then glanced at Connor. "How can it be that ye havena killed this one?"
Gregori blinked. "Excuse me?"
Roman chuckled as he fumbled in a desk drawer. "Play nice while I'm gone."
"Ye're leaving?" Angus asked.
"I'm going to Shanna's doctor appointment with her." He set a bottle of reddish-amber liquid onto the desk. It boasted a shiny gold label that said Blissky. "This is for you, Angus. We start selling it next week."
Excerpted from Be Still My Vampire Heart by Kerrelyn Sparks Copyright © 2007 by Kerrelyn Sparks. Excerpted by permission.
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