Bloodline [NOOK Book]

Overview




Lilith awakens cold, naked and alone, knowing nothing—not even who she is—except that she has to run, run for her life…because someone is after her.

When Ethan discovers the terrified woman hiding on his ranch, he knows immediately not only who she is, but what. He's never forgotten her, not in all the time since he escaped their joint prison, a clandestine CIA facility where humans are bred into vampires willing to kill on command. He ...
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Bloodline

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Overview




Lilith awakens cold, naked and alone, knowing nothing—not even who she is—except that she has to run, run for her life…because someone is after her.

When Ethan discovers the terrified woman hiding on his ranch, he knows immediately not only who she is, but what. He's never forgotten her, not in all the time since he escaped their joint prison, a clandestine CIA facility where humans are bred into vampires willing to kill on command. He refused to accept that fate, and since he won his freedom he's become a legend to those he left behind. With her own escape, Lilith has become a legend, too, and now—together—they have no choice but to fight those who would become a legend by killing one.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781460307625
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 11/15/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 74,870
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

RITA Award winning, New York Times bestselling author Maggie Shayne has published over 50 novels, including mini-series Wings in the Night (vampires), Secrets of Shadow Falls (suspense) and The Portal (witchcraft). A Wiccan High Priestess, tarot reader, advice columnist and former soap opera writer, Maggie lives in Cortland County, NY, with soulmate Lance and their furry family.

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Read an Excerpt


Bloodline


By Maggie Shayne
Mira
Copyright © 2009

Maggie Shayne
All right reserved.



ISBN: 9780778326182


My first thought upon waking was that maybe I was dead. It wasn't until much later that I realized how accurate that initial, intuitive and seemingly irrational notion was. It popped into my consciousness as soon as consciousness itself appeared. It made no sense. It was based upon no reason. It was just there.

I must be dead.

And just as quickly as it had come, the thought was gone again.

I wasn't dead. I was cold. But it was an odd kind of cold, because it didn't make me shiver or feel uncomfortable, it was just an awareness of the fact. I was cold. And I was wet, too.

I opened my eyes slowly and blinked to wipe away the blur of sleep, for I must have been asleep. It was dark. Newborn darkness, though. It had that sense to it, though I wasn't sure at that moment how it was I could sense newborn darkness from any other kind. It wasn't something I would have thought came naturally to ordinary people. And it was certainly nothing I'd ever noticed before.

Or had I?

Oddly, I didn't remember, but I dismissed the slightly queasy feeling that notion brought to my stomach and focused instead on my surroundings. The immediate ones first. Beneath me, dirt. Solid packed, damp, but not muddy. A few scraggly patches of crabgrass and dandelions struggling for survival here and there, and looking proud of their triumph in such inhospitable conditions. All right, then. I was on the ground. Notflat ground, but a hillside that sloped precariously downward to a stretch of pavement at the bottom. And on the other side of that pavement, another patch of ground, sloping upward—a mirror image of the one on which I lay. And above them both…a ceiling?

A bridge.

I was on the sloping ground beneath a bridge.

On either side of the bridge, rain poured from heaven's open spigot, soaking the road at the bottom, except for the part of it that was sheltered.

Why, I wondered, am I lying outdoors, on the ground, under a bridge, in the rain, at night?

Naked.

Refocusing my attention on the things in closest proximity, I noted the damp sheet of cardboard that lay over me, like a makeshift blanket, and noted further that, aside from that, I wore nothing. It had that wet-cardboard smell to it, and as I flipped it off my body, I thought my skin did, as well.

I started to shake. Not from the cold, because the cold didn't bother me and that had me worried. Maybe my nerves weren't working just right, but at any rate, I was scared and I could feel panic creeping like ice water through my veins. I closed my eyes, firmed my spine, held my breath, then told myself, "Easy. Just take it easy. Just take it easy and figure this out. It can't be all that difficult to figure this out."

Nodding in response to my own advice, I opened my eyes again, and this time I looked down at my own body. I was long, and I was thin. Perhaps athletic, I thought, and it scared me that I didn't know if that was true or not. Maybe I was just sickly. Although I didn't feel sickly. And my body seemed more lean than skinny.

In fact, I felt…

Strong.

I opened my hands to see if they worked, then closed them again. I studied my slender arms, lengthy legs, small waist and hips nearly the same size, and my compact, round little breasts, as if I'd never seen them before. And then I noticed a lock of hair hanging over my shoulder, and I grasped it, lifting it to look and feel and smell it.

It was copper in color, the kind of hair they call auburn, I thought, and it was curly and long, long, long, just like the rest of me. But also like the rest of me, I had the feeling I'd never seen it before.

I stood up to see how long my hair was, and also to move around a bit. Maybe if I woke up more thoroughly, this fog in my head would clear and I would know who I was and what I was doing here in the middle of nowhere on the cusp of night, naked and alone.

So I stood there, noticing that my hair reached to the tops of my hipbones, until a sound jerked my attention away from it. Something running, scampering off in the distance. My head snapped toward the sound fast, and I felt my nose wrinkling and realized I was scenting the moist air. My eyes narrowed, and my mind thought, Rabbit. And then I saw it, scurrying from one clump of brush to the next, far in the distance. Perhaps as much as a half mile from me.

There was no possible way I could see a rabbit a half mile away in the dark, in the rain, much less identify it by smell.

And yet I had, and I realized, as my senses came to life one by one, that I could hear many things and smell even more—the flitting of a little bird's wings and the scent of the leaves in his nest, the hushed flight of a moth and the smell of the fine powder on his body, the bubbling of a stream somewhere beyond sight and the smell of its water and even the fish that lived in its depths. I smelled autumn. There were decaying leaves, their aroma so pungent and wonderful and evocative that it overwhelmed almost everything else. It was comforting, that scent. I heard the sound of cars that had not yet come close enough to see, and I could smell their exhaust.

My brows drew together, and I pressed my fingertips to my forehead. "What am I?" I whispered.

Lights came into view then. Headlights, as a vehicle rolled closer and closer on the road below. I started to move carefully down the hill. My feet seemed extremely sensitive to every pebble, and I sucked air through my teeth, tasting everything it carried in its breath, but I hurried all the same.

I stopped halfway down just as the car rolled under the bridge, and I heard the brakes engage as the vehicle came to an abrupt stop, still ten feet from where I stood.

I didn't move toward it. I just stood there, naked and waiting. There was something tingling up the back of my neck that felt like unease. Like a warning.

The car was black. Big and black. An SUV, I thought. An expensive one. My eyes slid toward the manufacturer's logo on the front of the thing, and I saw laurel leaves encircling a shield, with blocks of color on its face. I thought I should remember it, though I wasn't certain why. As I stared, unsure whether to move closer or turn away, the driver's-side window, which was deeply tinted, moved downward just a little. A man's voice said, "Get in."

The chill along my nape turned icy. I shivered, and everything in me went tense and tight. I felt as if I were coiling up inside myself in preparation for flight, though I didn't know why I should feel the urge to run. I ignored the impulse, but still I didn't move.

And then, through the tiny gap in that window, I saw the black barrel of a gun, pointing right at my head, and the voice was cold this time. "I said get in."

The spring that had been coiling up inside me released all at once. My body sprang into motion as if propelled by some outside force. I turned, I lunged, I leapt, soaring from the embankment to the pavement beyond the bridge, behind the car, where the rain was pounding down. Barely had my feet settled on the macadam before I was moving again. I accelerated into a dead run, the speed of which astounded me.

I heard tires spinning behind me, and then gunshots, three of them, so loud I thought my eardrums had split, but no pain came with those shots. The bullets, though certainly fired at me, had missed their mark. And when I dared to glance over my shoulder, I saw those headlights falling farther and farther behind me as I ran.

That didn't make any sense at all. The car was chasing me, speeding after me along the same stretch of road. And I was on foot, running through the pouring rain. And yet I was pulling away.

Almost as an afterthought, I veered left, away from the pavement, and sped over uneven terrain, through an open field that was lush with grass and far easier on my tender feet. I ran until the car was long out of sight, and then I kept on running, because there was an ecstatic rush to it that I couldn't understand.

I leapt over boulders and limbs that appeared in my path. I jumped over the stream I'd heard from so far away, expecting to land somewhere in the middle of it, but clearing it instead. I ran alongside a doe that I startled, and while she flared her nostrils and bounded away with her white tail flying its warning, I passed her, and kept on going.

God, what was this? How was this possible?

Finally, when I began to tire at last, I stopped and again tried to take stock of who and what I was, but I found nothing there.

Tabula rasa. The phrase echoed in my mind. Blank slate. It was as if whatever I had known or been before had been erased.

So instead of searching within me for answers, I took a look at my surroundings, because I would need, I thought, food and shelter and probably some clothing, if I hoped to survive long enough to figure out anything more. Those were the immediate requirements. And they were easier to face than the emptiness inside my mind. Thinking on that brought me to the edge of panic, and I had the feeling that, should I give in to it, I might never return.

I had run into a stand of forest, a woody little paradise, its floor lined with fallen leaves, and its trees awash in russet and scarlet and gold. I walked through it now, following my senses to its edge, where I could look out and see what lay beyond.

Another stretch of pavement, curving into what appeared to be a small town. I saw a tall pointed church steeple. I saw several oversize barns, and lots of little houses. They were clustered together in some places, farther apart in others. Smoke wafted from chimneys, and I smelled the wood burning, and the oil, too. But my eyes fell on one place in particular, a place well beyond a cluster of homes. I didn't know why. It was far away in the distance. A red house with white shutters. It had a red barn and a lot of green land around it, all of it enclosed by white wooden fences.

And then a flash in my mind. A man, kissing me. Unfamiliar, powerful, wonderful feelings rushing through my body. Lips on mine. My hands tangling in dark hair.

And then it was gone. Gone, just that fast.

I wanted it back. I wanted more of it. But it had receded into the deep black waters inside my mind.

Sighing in disappointment, I returned my attention to that little red farmhouse. It was that place that drew my attention, though I had no idea why. Another place would have been far easier to reach. That one, the one that caught hold of me and held me in its grip, was well past the rest of the town, situated on a hillside and only visible from here because of the angle at which I stood. The town itself was close at hand. That place… that place was miles from me. Isolated. Lonely.

Calling out to me.

I had to go. And I had no idea why I was so compelled.

Yet, I rationalized, I'd had no idea why I'd felt a sense of panic when that car had stopped. And that feeling had proven accurate. So common sense dictated I should pay attention to my feelings. If my senses were somehow heightened beyond normal—which certainly seemed to be the case, since I could see and hear and smell things I shouldn't be able to—and if my physical speed was also magnified—which it clearly was, since I had outrun a deer and a Cadillac…

Yes. A Cadillac Escalade. That was what that car had been. I smiled a little, slightly gratified to think tiny things were coming back to me.

But the point was, if all these other senses and strengths were somehow heightened, then maybe my intuitions were sharper than usual, as well. Though I couldn't, just then, have said what "usual" might have been for me.

I would, I decided, trust my intuitions. I would go to that red farmhouse—no, I would go to its barn, which would be safer. That would be my shelter for the moment. And from there I would plan my next move.

So I walked down the slight grassy incline, away from the autumnal beauty of the woods, to the curving country road, and then, keeping to the softest part of the shoulder, I began walking, naked, toward that tiny town. And as I walked, I began to feel aware of a demanding, urgent hunger unlike any I had ever known before.

21 Years Ago

Serena blinked the drug-induced haze from her head and glanced up at the man in the white lab coat, with the stethoscope around his neck. He wasn't looking at her, but at her chart.

"Where's my baby? Can I see her now?" Then she smiled a little, through the fog. God, they must have given her a lot of drugs, she thought. "I'm already saying 'her,' when I don't even know for sure, but I expected her to be a girl. Was she? Is she perfect and wonderful? How much did she weigh? Why haven't the nurses brought her in to me yet?"

The doctor lowered the chart, replaced it on its hook at the foot of the bed, and then he came closer and reached down to pat her hand. Not hold it, just pat it. He wasn't smiling.

Something clenched tight in the pit of Serena's stomach. And suddenly she didn't want to hear what he was going to say.

"It was a girl, yes. But… I'm very sorry, Serena. Your baby was stillborn."

A sledgehammer hit her squarely in the chest. She fell back against the pillows as every whisper of breath was driven from her lungs. Her hand clutched her chest, because she couldn't seem to draw more air back in. And then the doctor pressed his icy hand to the nape of her neck, pushing her head forward.

"Put your head down and breathe. Just breathe." He hit a button on the wall behind the bed and snapped, "A little help in here," then yanked something from his pocket, snapped it and held it underneath Serena's nose.

Continues...



Excerpted from Bloodline by Maggie Shayne Copyright © 2009 by Maggie Shayne. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 39 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(14)

4 Star

(8)

3 Star

(9)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 39 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    This is a superb romantic fantasy thriller

    When Lilith awakens, she feels confused as to where she is, how she got there, and why she is nude. Although it is cold at dusk, she feels no discomfort except for her emotional bewilderment. Somehow she knows to walk to Ethan's nearby ranch though she has no idea why that feels right or how she knows the property is near.-----------------

    Ethan, who was falling in love with her when they were prisoners, informs Lilith that she like him is a vampire trained by the top secret CIA Division of Paranormal Investigations as a killing operative. Also like him, she escaped from the Farm, the DPI's top-secret facility. DPI brass wants both brought in from the cold while Lilith feels an obsessive need to free others from the Farm.------------------

    This is a superb romantic fantasy thriller starring two likable legendary escapees struggling to survive as anyone who kills either of them becomes an instant legend and anyone who brings one of them in from the cold to the CIA owns the "farm". The story line is fast-paced, but driven by the lead couple who knows the danger they confront especially if they try to assault the Farm. Maggie Shayne's fans will relish this fun fantasy thriller as Lilith and Ethan fall in love while taking the fight to the DPI.-----------------------

    Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2013

    Savannah go to

    Incomplete and find the book called incomplete text

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  • Posted July 13, 2012

    The only complaint I could have with this book is that it ended

    The only complaint I could have with this book is that it ended so abruptly. I wanted more with these characters but was still satisfied with the story line. It stays true to all the other books in this series and is yet another enjoyable work by Maggie Shayne

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  • Posted December 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Oh Yeah

    I maybe a little biased because I love everything Maggie Shayne writes, so this book is no different. I have read something else similar to this story however. I think a lot of paranormal storylines are not so different but what makes one outweigh another is how the author creates the characters. This book is certainly one of those. This is going to be a great new series.

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  • Posted September 3, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Not super impressed

    I have read a lot of Maggie's books, and normally really like them. Not so much with this book. I feel like I'm at a tennis match. There is a lot of character bouncing. The story, sure goes with the series, but not really. just kinda weird. I won't give up, but not real anxious for the next one.

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  • Posted July 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great book

    this is a good book that goes great with the others in this series. sometimes you wait for your favorite character that makes a brief preview in another book to have his own story

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  • Posted June 29, 2009

    Bloodline

    I do like Maggie Shayne's writing style. Enjoy most of her books.

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  • Posted May 20, 2009

    Bloodline falls short

    Good idea for a plot, but the characters are stiff and boring. The book plowed on through a few plot twist that would have been exciting had the characters been more real. It's good for a quick read, but wait until it's on sale!

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    Posted August 28, 2009

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    Posted May 9, 2009

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    Posted December 27, 2009

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