Hunger

( 16 )

Overview

Love might stand a chance...if they can keep from killing each other.

Holly Spinnaker is a monster. Really. Fangs and all. Never mind the petite figure. Pay no attention to the once-bouncy blonde mane. When Jarvis Winters first encounters...it...he prepares to exterminate freak number one hundred thirty two without a flinch.

Mistake number one: following it back to its lair. Mistake number two: watching and listening to her...it...replay voice ...

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Hunger

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Overview

Love might stand a chance...if they can keep from killing each other.

Holly Spinnaker is a monster. Really. Fangs and all. Never mind the petite figure. Pay no attention to the once-bouncy blonde mane. When Jarvis Winters first encounters...it...he prepares to exterminate freak number one hundred thirty two without a flinch.

Mistake number one: following it back to its lair. Mistake number two: watching and listening to her...it...replay voice mail messages from loving, clueless parents again and again and again. Mistake number three: having an actual conversation with a bloodthirsty fiend.

"Make them see you as a person." Holly remembers the advice from a self-defense class her mother made her take her freshmen year. She couldn't save her own sister, who ended up a pile of ashes at her feet only one month ago. The night they both found out monsters were real. The night her sister embraced the change. And Holly began to fight it.

"Make them see you as a person." Kind of hard when you aren't even sure if you are a person anymore.

Warning: This title is not vampire-lite. There is blood. Sometimes sexy. Sometimes, well, not. There are fangs, fights and even a zombie or two. But most of all there's yearning and burning and aching and angst... It is called HUNGER after all.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Hunger is the best vampire story that I have read so far this year. The climactic scenes at the Raveneaux plantation are eerie, exciting, and revealing in turns. My only regret was that the story had to end.”
~ Maura, Coffee Time Romance
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781605044439
  • Publisher: Samhain Publishing
  • Publication date: 1/1/2010
  • Pages: 242
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The man sagged to the ground like every bone in his body had dissolved when the girl let him go. If she hadn't been less than half the man's size, Jarvis Winters might have been fooled. He might have thought drugs or alcohol had gotten the better of one of the partiers along Belmont Street. He might have thought a little groping in a back alley had ended with someone passing out.

Jarvis wasn't fooled.

He'd had the dance club under surveillance for hours. Long enough to stiffen his shoulders and dim his sight. Still, when the waif exited, followed soon after by a gorilla in jeans, he had known. He'd seen this set up before. Little Miss Victim luring a big bad predator to his turn-about-is-fair-play demise. He wasn't impressed. A killer was a killer. It didn't matter who they chose to kill--or feed upon--as the case may be.

Winters wanted to wait until she moved on before opening the squeaky door of his ancient Ford Fairlane. It took longer than he expected. His hand was frozen on the door handle as she leaned back against the brick wall for a long moment. At more than a hundred yards away, he couldn't see the expression on her face. He didn't need to. He'd seen that satiated look countless times before. Her body would be in an unresponsive swoon. Her face would be slack, way past satisfied. The kind of look every man dreamed his lover would have after a tumble in bed ... except, of course, for the fangs.

Finally, she staggered around the corpse at her feet and made her way out of the alley and down the dark street. Too many busted streetlights made her tiny figure seem hunched and grotesque as it stumbled in and out of shadows. A fitting aurafor a monster.

Jarvis tightened his fingers and wrenched the handle harder than even the stubborn forty-year-old mechanism warranted. The rusty shriek was followed by a thud as he headed after his prey. He hadn't been able to see her face, but he knew what it had looked like. Pure, drunken ecstasy. She would die happy.

* * * *

The woman who was once Holly Spinnaker pulled her feet away from the unconscious man and shuddered against the warm zing arching through her flesh. She wasn't ready to let go, but dying had to be preferable to this mini-death, this loathing of the "life" she now led.

She wiped her hands on the hips of her jeans as she slid along the wall and away from the would-be rapist without so much as tapping him with the toe of her sneaker. The awkwardness of the maneuver caused one elbow to knock and drag against rough brick, but she didn't care. She was as tainted as she needed to be. His blood was in her for God's sake. She wouldn't touch him again.

She stumbled when she was finally in the clear. The blood had gone straight to her head like too many glasses of sparkling champagne on New Year's Eve. The memory of that cool, bubbly sweetness mocked her. She pushed it away, but she knew the analogy would stay with her. When she finally made it home and her bed spun beneath her, she would think of it. When she woke tomorrow night with a head-thumping, soul-splitting hangover, the sick analogy would be there to haunt her.

She didn't know she might not live to see tomorrow. She was too new. Too inexperienced. As she made her way across town, dizzy and weaving, she didn't notice a man following her. She didn't realize she'd been zeroed in on as prey for the second time that night.

The voice mail light was blinking when she finally managed to get the key in the lock and open the door to her loft. She walked by the phone, straight to the kitchen where she doused her hands with orange antibacterial dishwashing liquid and scrubbed her face and hair and arms and hands in a disinfecting frenzy. Suds-filled water splattered the floor and the countertop and dripped into her eyes.

She pushed her hair back and stood dripping and shivering and quaking in the dim shadows of a home that had seen happier times.

The light still blinked. It beckoned her and she moved away from the sink toward it. Habit, despair, longing--all propelled her forward. Her shoes left damp footprints all along the deep rose-colored carpet that was actually a pale shade of mauve when the sun gleamed through the bank of high windows above her. She hadn't seen that bright pastel hue in over a month.

With a cold, damp finger, she reached for the button. Even in the dark she found its worn rubber pad. Habit or, heaven forbid, her coordination and night vision were better, aided by the fresh blood in her veins.

A slightly breathless voice filled the room at high volume as it filled her heart with pain.

"Holly? You there? Pick up ... Well, guess I didn't catch you. Hope you have fun at the concert--"

"But not too much fun," a different voice interrupted her mother's, deep and male, full of humor and fatherly concern.

"John, stop it," her mother protested with a laugh.

Holly could imagine the loving push Elizabeth Spinnaker would have given her husband. She could close her eyes and see the playful way her parents had always interacted with each other.

"Listen, Holly ... call me tomorrow and tell me all about it."

"And don't let Jayne talk you into anything stupid." Another interruption from her dad was followed by a less playful admonition from her mother. Then, the last words of the last normal message she would ever receive from her parents echoed through the dark empty room. "We'll see you next week for Christmas." That from her mother. "Be careful." That from her father. And then, they were gone.

She didn't replay the four following messages. She didn't want to hear their concern as it grew into terror when they realized their only daughters had disappeared without a trace. Instead, she pressed the button to replay the normal message. Again and again and again. She knew it would wear out one night, but she stood shivering and compulsively torturing herself with one replay after another.

* * * *

Jarvis listened from a dark corner. It wasn't smart, but he listened. Better to have made the kill quickly after slipping through the unlocked window. Every one of them had been human at one time. It was the nature of the beast. You took that knowledge and you buried it or you couldn't do the job. He should have attacked during her odd dishwashing-liquid ablutions. It would have been quick, easy and painless ... for him anyway. Vampires didn't go quick, easy or painless, but it was better to catch them by surprise. It saved a lot of wear and tear on his part.

He had watched, mesmerized by her frenzied washing. Then, he'd been caught off-guard by the sound of disembodied voices floating up from the answering machine. Her parents? For the whole long year from hell he'd managed to avoid empathy. Now it punched him right in the gut, leaving him nauseated and slightly out of breath.

She was a waif. That hadn't been an act. He could finally see her in the greenish glow from the machine that held her transfixed. He could see the runway-model quality to her hollow cheeks and the bones of her delicate wrists. Less than half an hour ago she'd dropped a man who weighed a good fifty pounds more than he did. He stiffened as his brain gave his heart that much-needed reminder.

She was pitiful. And her compulsive washing and repetitive playing of the message on the machine made her seem desperately human. But she wasn't. She was a monster. And she had to die

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