A New Orleans ballerina in the 1920s, Neomi Laress had her life cut short by a murderous fiancé. She has haunted her estate, Elancourt, for the past 80 years, desperately seeking contact. Conrad Wroth is a self-loathing vampire mercenary with serious bloodlust. His brothers bring him to Elancourt to try to make him sane again, but he soon gets drawn into Neomi's difficult world, and the two fall for each other. But since Neomi isn't embodied, they can't touch. And that's just one of their problems. The banter of secondary characters, particularly Mariketa the Witch, distinguishes this standard story of an unattainable woman who needs saving and a rageful man who needs taming. (May)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Dark Needs at Night's Edge (Immortals after Dark Series #5)by Kresley Cole
Néomi Laress, a famous ballerina from a/i>/i>/i>
New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Kresley Cole continues her seductive and “devilishly passionate” (RT Book Reviews) Immortals After Dark series with this tale of a vampire shunned by his own kind and a beautiful phantom, bound together by a passion they cannot resist.
Néomi Laress, a famous ballerina from a past century, became a phantom the night she was murdered. Imbued with otherworldly powers but invisible to the living, she haunts her beloved home, scaring away trespassers—until she encounters a ruthless immortal even more terrifying than Néomi herself.
To prevent him from harming others, vampire warrior Conrad Wroth’s brothers imprison him in an abandoned manor. But there, a female only he can see seems determined to drive him further into madness. The exquisite creature torments him with desire, leaving his body racked with lust and his soul torn as he finds himself coveting her for his own.
Yet even if Conrad can win Néomi, evil still surrounds her. Once he returns to the brutality of his past to protect her, will he succumb to the dark needs seething inside him?
Read an Excerpt
Outside Orleans Parish
Stay sane, act normal, he chants to himself as he strides down the rickety pier. On either side of him, water black like tar. Ahead of him, muted light from the bayou tavern. A Lore bar. A lone neon sign flickers over flat skiffs below. Music and laughter carry.
Stay sane...need to dull the rage. Until the endtime.
Inside. "Whiskey." His voice is low, rough from disuse.
The bartender's face falls. Like last night. Others grow skittish. Can they sense that I ache to kill? The whispers around him are like metal on slate to his ragged nerves.
-- "Conrad Wroth, once a warlord...madder than any vampire I've seen in all my centuries."
-- "A killer for hire. If he shows up in your town, then folks from the Lore there'll go missing."
Missing? Unless I want them found.
-- "Heard he drains 'em so savagely...nothing's left of their throats."
So I'm not fastidious.
-- "I heard he eats them."
Distorted rumors. Or is that one true?
Tales of his insanity spreading once more. I've never missed a target -- how insane can I be? He answers himself: Very fucking much so.
Memories clot his mind. His victims' memories taken from their blood toll inside him, their number always growing. Don't know what's real; can't determine what's illusion. Most of the time, he can scarcely understand his own thoughts. He doesn't go a day without seeing some type of hallucination, striking out at shadows around him.
A grenade with the pin pulled, they say. Only a matter of time.
Stay sane...act normal. Glass in hand, he chuckles softly on his way to a dimly lit table in the back. Normal? He's a goddamned vampire in a bar filled with shifters, demons, and the sharp-eared fey. Christmas lights are strung up in the back -- through the eye sockets of human skulls that frame a mirror. In the corner, a demoness lazily strokes her lover's horns, visibly arousing the male. At the bar, an immense werewolf bares his fangs, bowing protectively as he tosses a small redhead behind him.
Can't decide if you should attack, Lykae? That's right. I don't smell of blood. A trick I learned.
The couple leaves, the redhead all but carried out by the Lykae. As they exit, she peers over her shoulder, her eyes like mirrors. Then gone. Out into the night where they belong.
Sit. Back against the wall. He adjusts the sunglasses that shade his red eyes, dirty red eyes. As he scans the room, he resists the urge to rub his palm over the back of his neck. Watched by someone unseen?
But then, I always feel like that.
He swoops up the drink, narrowing his eyes at his steady hand. My mind's decayed, but my sword hand's still true. A ruinous combination.
He takes a liberal swallow. The drink. The whiskey dulls the need to lash out. Not that it has disappeared.
Small things enrage him. An off look. Someone approaching too quickly. Failing to give him a wide enough berth. His fangs sharpen at the slightest provocation. As though a living thing hungers inside me. Ravenous for blood and a throat to tear. Each time he acts on the rage, others' memories blight more of his own.
He still has enough sanity to stalk his targets -- his brothers. He will mete out retribution to Nikolai and Murdoch Wroth for doing the unspeakable to him. Sebastian, the third brother, was a victim like him, but must be slain -- simply because of what he is.
And my time grows nigh. Like an animal, he recognizes this. He's found them in this mysterious place of swamps and haze and music. He's seen Nikolai and Sebastian with their wives. He might have felt envy that his brothers laugh with them. That they touch them possessively, with wonder in their clear eyes. But hatred drowns out any confusing jealousy.
Offspring will follow. He'll kill their females as well. Destroy them. Destroy myself. Before my enemies catch up with me.
He adjusts the bandage under his shirt on his left arm. The slashed skin beneath it will not heal. Five days ago, he was marked by a dream demon, one who tracks him by this very injury. One who promised that most coveted dream and most dreaded nightmare would follow the mark.
His brows draw together. The hunter will soon become the hunted -- his life is nearing its end.
A whisper of regret. The thing he regrets most. He tries to remember what he covets so dearly. Another's memories bombard him, exploding in his mind. His hand shoots up to clasp his forehead --
Nikolai enters the bar, Murdoch behind him. Their expressions are grave.
They've come to kill me. As he expected. He thought he could draw them out by returning here again and again. He lowers his hand, and his lips ease back from his fangs. The bar empties in a rush.
Then...stillness. His brothers stare at him as if seeing a ghost. Insects clamor outside. Rain draws near and steeps the air. Just as lightning strikes in the distance, Sebastian enters, crossing to stand beside the other two. He's allied with them? This he hadn't expected.
He removes his sunglasses, revealing his red eyes. The eldest, Nikolai, stifles a wince at the sight, but shakes it off and advances. The three seem surprised that he'll stay to engage them, that he hasn't traced away. They are strong and skilled, yet they don't recognize the power he wields, the thing he's become.
He can slaughter them all without blinking, and he'll savor it. They haven't drawn their swords? Then they walk to their doom. Can't keep them waiting.
He lunges from his seat and hurdles the table, knocking Sebastian unconscious with a blow that cracks his skull and sends him flying into the back wall. Before the other two can raise a hand in defense, he snatches them by their throats. One in each tightening hand as they grapple to free themselves. "Three hundred years of this," he hisses. Their struggles do nothing; their shocked expressions satisfy. Squeezing --
Wood creaks behind him. He shoves back and heaves his brothers at a new enemy. Too late; that Lykae's returned and slashes out with flared claws, ripping through his torso. Blood gushes.
He roars with fury and charges the werewolf, dodging claws and teeth with uncanny speed to barrel him to the ground. Just as his hands are about to meet around the Lykae's corded neck, the beast claps something to his right wrist.
A manacle? Clenching harder, he grates out a rasping laugh. "You don't think that will hold me?" Bones begin to pop beneath his palms. The kill is near, and he wants to yell with pleasure.
The werewolf cuffs his left wrist.
What is this? The metal won't bend. Won't break. They goddamned mean to take me alive? He leaps to his feet, tensing to trace. Nothing. Sebastian on the floor, pouring blood from his temple, has him by the ankles.
He kicks Sebastian, connecting squarely with his brother's chest. Ribs crack. He whirls around -- in time to catch the bar rail the Lykae swings at his face.
He staggers but remains on his feet.
"What the fuck is he?" the Lykae bellows, swinging the rail again with all his might.
The brutal hit takes him across his neck. A split second of faltering. Enough for his brothers to tackle him.
He thrashes and bites, snapping his fangs. Can't break free...can't...They attach the manacles at his wrists to another chain. He kicks viciously, stunned when they trap his legs as well.
Choking with rage, he strains against his bonds with all his strength. The metal cleaves his skin to the bone. Nothing.
Caught. He roars, spitting blood at them, dimly hearing them speak.
"I hope you came up with a good place to put him," Sebastian says between ragged breaths.
"I bought a long-abandoned manor," Nikolai grates, "place called Elancourt."
Chills course through him even through his fury; pain erupts from the injury on his arm. A dream. His doom. He can never go to this Elancourt -- knows this with a savage certainty. He's too strong for them to trace him -- there's still time to escape.
If they take him there, they won't take him alive...
Under a clouded nighttime sky, the spirit of Néomi Laress knelt in the drive at the very edge of her property line, gazing hungrily at the newspaper, lying wrapped in wet plastic.
Today the deliveryman -- that capricious fiend -- had missed the drive again, this time tossing the bundle squarely onto the desolate county road.
Néomi was starving for that paper, desperate for the news, reviews, and commentary that would break up the monotony of her life -- or her eighty-year-long afterlife.
But she couldn't leave the estate to seize it. As a ghost, Néomi could manipulate matter telekinetically, and her power was nearly absolute at Elancourt -- she could rattle all the windows or tear off the roof if she wanted to, and the weather often changed with her emotions -- but not outside the property.
Her beloved home had become her prison, her eternal cell of fifteen acres and a slowly dying manor. Among fate's other curses, each seemingly designed to torture her in personal and specific ways, Néomi could never leave this place.
She didn't know why this was so -- only that it was, and had been since she'd awakened the morning after her murder. She recalled seeing her haunting reflection for the first time. Néomi remembered that exact moment when she'd realized that she'd died -- when she'd first comprehended what she'd become.
A ghost. She'd become something that frightened even her. Something unnatural. Never again to be a lover or friend. Never to be a mother, like she'd always planned after her dancing career. As a storm had boiled outside, she'd silently screamed for hours.
The only thing she could be thankful for was that Louis hadn't been trapped here with her.
She stretched harder. Must...have that...paper!
Néomi wasn't certain why it continued to arrive. A past article had recounted the problems inherent with "recurrent billing of credit cards," and she supposed she was the benefactress of her last tenant's credit card negligence. The delivery could end at any time. Every one was precious.
Eventually she gave up, defeated, sitting back in the weed-ridden drive. Out of habit, she made movements as if she was rubbing her thighs, yet felt nothing.
Néomi could never feel. Never again. She was incorporeal, as substantial as the mist rolling in from the bayou.
Thanks, Louis. Oh, and may you rot in hell -- because surely that's where you went...
Usually, at this point in the newspaper struggle, she'd be battling the urge to tear her hair out, wondering how much longer she could endure this existence, speculating what she'd done to deserve it.
Yes, on the night of her death, she'd refused to die, but this was ridiculous.
But even as desperate as she was for the words, she wasn't as badly off as usual.
Because last night a man had come into her home. A towering, handsome man with grave eyes. He might return this night. He might even move in.
She shouldn't get too excited about the stranger, to have her hopes crushed yet again --
Lights blinded her; the shriek of squealing tires ripped through the quiet of the night.
As a car shot forward onto the gravel, she futilely raised her arms to protect her face and gave a silent cry. It drove straight through her, the engine reverberating like an earthquake when it passed through her head.
The vehicle never slowed as it prowled down the oak-lined drive to Elancourt.
Copyright © 2008 by Kresley Cole
Meet the Author
Kresley Cole is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the electrifying Immortals After Dark paranormal series, the young adult Arcana Chronicles series, the erotic Game Makers series, and five award-winning historical romances. A master’s grad and former athlete, she has traveled over much of the world and draws from those experiences to create her memorable characters and settings. You can learn more about her and her work at KresleyCole.com or Facebook.com/KresleyCole. Sign up for Kresley’s email newsletter to receive the latest book release updates, as well as info about contests and giveaways (KresleyCole.com/Newsletter).
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Murdered in the 1920's a burlesque dancer turned ballerina Néomi Laress inhabits her former home and current haunt, everything is pretty nice and peaceful until four men crash in through her front door one of them a crazed red-eyed madman the others call Conrad. ~ Néomi discovers there are such things as vampires among other Lore beings, and it seems that out of the four only the madman can see her and hear her. The three brothers try to reason with Conrad who will have none of it, swearing he will kill them. ~ Conrad never wanted to be turned vampire by his two brothers, he'd been fighting vampires since he was 13 years-old and to be turned into one is a betrayal like no other and eventually he sank low and killed by draining his victims making him more powerful and more mad - but now stuck in the mansion with a ghost, or possibly his own mad illusion, he begins to gain fraction of sanity when he's around her and her ever clarifying form. Soon he finds himself drawn to her, but he's dead, nothing works, and she's dead so nothing works there either, but the more lucid he becomes the more it seems she could have once been his Bride when she was alive. A Bride who can bring a dead vampire alive, but even if she could do that she'd be still dead. ~ And as half of the Lore is shouting of with his head, he's more dangerous to Néomi than any other thread could be... ~ Kresley Cole is brilliant, these Immortals After Dark novels are a pure joy to read, they are sexy, dark, tempting and full of obstacles to get through to be able to have even a hope of existing together. Dark Needs at Night's Edge is a story of a ghost and blood-crazed vampire falling for each other - now that is something I've never come across before! ~ The characters are compelling and fun, all the previous book characters come back and deepen the story world, and my favorite, Nix, the crazy ever-seeing soothsayer with some lucid some not-so-lucid moment is a hoot to read, I've fallen in love with her character and luckily she's the connection with all the novels so there will be much more of her. ~ What I love about this story is that even though Conrad is the alpha-male, Néomi is the aggressor so to speak she sexually experienced where Conrad is actually not, she's bought her own home in the twenties and remained unmarried and successful, when Conrad has been hacking off heads... It's interesting how she's the power figure of the two, the sane and commanding figure even though he's a foot taller, a big guy and she's a tiny ballet dancer.
In 1927 in New Orleans Neomi Laress was a highly regarded ballerina when she was murdered by her former fiancé Louis Robicheaux. However, she never moved on instead she has haunted her newly restored estate Elancourt, for the eight decades since he killed her.---------- Vampire Conrad Wroth hates himself for his inability to control his need for blood. Worried about him, his brothers take him to Elancourt to keep him away from people while hoping he will regain his sanity. However, when he meets the shadowy phantom haunting the estate, he wants to help her, but has no idea how as he cannot even touch her. As they fall in love, Conrad notices his rage and torment has abated andhe prays for a miracle he turns to paranormal expert Mariketa the Witch to provide the means to achieve his objective.----------- The Cole mythos (See Immortals After Dark tales such as NO REST FOR WICKED and A HUNGER LIKE NO OTHER) continues to be one of the best romantic fantasy environs for sub-genre fans. The latest is a terrific star-crossed romantic fantasy between a vampire and a ghost they share in common love and a lust for life though both are not mortally alive. His caring brother and Mariketa add depth to a wonderful tale of a ghost who learns love is so much better on the soul than revenge and an angry vampire who learns love is so much better for the soul than uncontrollable rage. This is another winner from an author who keeps writing super romantic fantasy.----------- Harriet Klausner
All the obstacles they had to overcome was a twist to the usually predictable stories...i loved it! I loved their humor as well. Great read!
Fantastic...i read this book so fast that i will have to read it again.
Another great addition to the series! Loved it! It was definitely a change of pace for the earlier books but I truly enjoyed all the differences and the return of known characters.
All I have say is WOW.
This book was a good read and very entertaining. There was more plot than sex scenes. I really enjoyed the dialogue between the main characters. Their conversations were hilarious at times. My only complaint is the ending was kinda rushed. It all happens in the last 5 pages. Overall I reccomend this book. I think this book is a great addition to the IAD series!
This book was great. I wasn't really expecting to read about Conrad so soon or at all. But here it is. This was definitely something different, a breath of fresh air after reading the 5 previous books. Definitely worth it.
I love this entire series. Actually, I love every one of Kresley Cole's books. They're amazing. I think that she writes amazing paranormal romances. The good thing about her books is that even though it's a part of a series, the books don't necessarily have to be read in order (although it helps.) This particular book deals with tells the tale of a vampire on the wrong side of a war, falling in love with the ghost of a murdered dancer from I think the 20's. The connection that the two have even through death is perfectly written and Cole uses her past characters very well without having them dominate the storyline. Plus, towards the end of the book Cole leaves a little hint as to what her next book will be about. I highly highly highly recommend this book!
I love the way Kresley Cole writes, each book are different and interesting. I find myself reading the book more than once. I can't even choose a favorite book in the series because all of them are wonderful! This book is funny and sexy. If you don't read this then you're missing out on great stories
I've never read anything that had to do w/ a ghost as a main character. Though I thought this would not be very good and just a way to get to read bout Conrad I read it. Well I must say that this is my fav in the series! I was so enthralled in this book from the very first page on! I just couldn't get enough. An poor Conrad he was so freaked bout the old Nola Victorian home. But it completely works out in his favor. I was so excited for Neomi when she was finally able to talk to someone after 80 yrs of not bein able to. This is an awesome book that I will read again and again! I'm super excited that I got to read Conrad's book and canna believe how much I thouroughly enjoyed this book. I will continue to read her books. I'm reading Cade's now! My sis says its her fav so we'll see. Must read if you've read the first 3 of the IAD series!!
Wow! Another great book by Kresly Cole featuring another Wroth brother. I love her writing style. She puts everything into her book to make it so breat taking, emotional, so hot and tempting, ect! Everything a woman can ask for in a perfect mate is written in these Immortals After Dark Series. I love them!!
I have just joined Ms. Cole's already major fan club. I love the connection of a strong female lead, and a male that is comfortable and accepting of that in his "life mate". The sexual stimuli between the characters is something we all look for, and few find. I look forward to possibilities that are open to Ms. Cole for future exploration. Gypsy
Dark Needs At Night's Edge is the fourth novel in the Immortals After Dark series. This book is the story of Neomi, an incorporeal ghost, and Conrad, a blood-crazed killer vampire. Conrad is a strong and powerful vampire yet he has been driven mad by his bloodlust and must fight to regain his sanity. He is also the brother of Nickoli and Sebastian, and the perfect romance hero, strong and sexy yet vulnerable. Néomi is a ghost with a lust for life. Her short mortal life was joyfully spent in the pursuit of fun and happiness. Conrad has known nothing of joy or fun - his mortal life was brutally hard and his immortal life even harder. Néomi has her work cut out when it comes to bringing fun back into Conrad's existence. The novel sees Conrad and Néomi thrown together when Conrad's vampire brothers imprison him in Néomi's home. They leave him there to go cold turkey on his blood addiction in the hopes that this will help him regain his sanity. Conrad is the first person in all of the eighty years Néomi has been a ghost who is actually able to see her. Once she manages to convince Conrad that she isn't just another crazy hallucination she begins to keep him company and helps him to master his rage and bloodlust with her lively yet calming presence. This time spent together allows their relationship and characters to develop without too many distractions. A word of caution though - the fast pacing of this novel makes it nearly impossible to put down once you start reading it. I didn't want to put it down and look forward to their appearance in the coming novels. I would definitely recommend this book!
I loved this story of Conrad and Neomi!! I couldn't put it down, and I love the series, but this is one of my faves.
I love a story that has all the must haves that this one has. 1. A sexy man that has issues 2. A strong women to heal these issues 3. Hot, lusty desire that keeps the pages turning. A perfect love story is not nearly as good as one that takes work. You know right up front that Neomi and Conrad have problems because of the bloodlust and the ghost thing, but leave it to Kresley Cole to make it work. Can't wait to read #5!!!
I love this whole series and I was not disappointed when I read this book. Dark Needs at Nights Edge started off fast and was a great story start to finish with plenty romance and some suspense as well. I highly recommend this book and the rest of Cole's Immortals After Dark series.
I just finished the book ! it was good to mee brcause it was an unusal book they had obstacles in their way for them to be together, she was always dieing and the coming back to life ! but i really liked it !! i love all the books in the series !! i recomened to anybody who wants read a good romance and funny book !!
I really enjoyed this book as well as the other Immortals After Dark Books. This book had a unique twist with the characters.
LOVE this series! Fantastic Writer! I cannot put this book series down! Escape into a sizzling romance...thrilling & sensual throughout the books. The Heroes are Masculine and Amazing!
I have recently started to read Kresley Cole books and did not find this book nearly as page turning as her previous titles. I was disappointed due to not much happening until page 200 or so.
I have become a fan of Kresley Coles so I encourage romance fans to read her books...esp her 3 historical books. This 'immortal' book, like her others was great and I was really captivated by the unique story line. Kudos to Kresley!
My hat is off to Mrs. Cole. She writtes some of the most amazing stories that keeps me wanting more. This book is like her other books when it comes to holding your attention from the very start and falling in love with every character. You wont be finished with the book when you already start wanting the next book. Each book and story is unique in it's on way and leaves you wanting to know what is going to happen next. I had the book finished in one day. I was trying to pace myself for her book that comes out next week but got too caught up in the story and couldn't put it down. She is an amazing writter and you wont go wrong with buying the whole series. I envy the people who come into this series later due to they don't have to wait for the books to be written.
Kresley Cole is in the 'Hot Zone' her books are awesome. I love a book where the men or men and the women love them for it! I tried to pace myself so that I could enjoy it slowly, but finished the book in two days. So, I'll start over and read it again and again.
Another fast-paced hit from Krelsey Cole! I couldn't put this one down. This story is about Conrad Wroth, brother to Sebastian Wroth from 'No Rest for the Wicked'. He's a crazed vampire who is teetering on the edge of insanity locked in a mansion by his three brothers. He sees a ghost that no one else can see and it happens to be a lonely female. I liked the storyline as it was a bit different being that she's a ghost and not just a 'human' as some authors do. I also like the inclusion of other characters from previous stories in this book, which Krelsey tends to do, and does it well too. It 'keeps it real'. I also thought it extremely funny that Mike Roth from 'Dirty Jobs' is the love interest of Nix! I laughed out loud when I read that! I love this series! It's sexy, funny and fast-paced. If you haven't read the other books, I suggest you go back and do so. You won't be sorry!