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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 ...
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
"Kenyon is the reigning queen of the vampire novel."—Barbara Vey, Publishers Weekly
“An engaging read.”—Entertainment Weekly on Devil May Cry
“Kenyon’s writing is brisk, ironic, sexy, and relentlessly imaginative. These are not your mother’s vampire novels.”—The Boston Globe on Dark Side of the Moon
PRESENT DAY, NEW ORLEANS
"You know, Talon, killing a soul-sucking Daimon without a good fight is like sex without foreplay. A total waste of time and completely un ... satisfying."
Talon grunted at Wulf's words while he sat at a corner table at the Café Du Monde, waiting for his waitress to return with his black chicory coffee and beignets. He had an ancient Saxon coin in his left hand that he rolled between his fingers as he scanned the dark street in front of him and watched the tourists and locals drift by.
Having banished most of his emotions fifteen hundred years ago, there were only three things Talon allowed himself to enjoy anymore: loose women, hot chicory coffee, and phone calls with Wulf.
In that order.
Though to be fair, there were times when Wulf's friendship did mean more to him than a cup of coffee.
Tonight, however, wasn't one of them.
He'd awakened just after dusk to find himself pathetically low on caffeine, and though the theory went that immortals couldn't have addictions, he wouldn't wager on it.
He'd barely taken time to pull on a pair of pants and his leather jacket before he came seeking the goddess Caffeina.
The cold New Orleans night was uncommonly calm. There weren't even many tourists on the street, which was unusual this close to Mardi Gras.
Still, it was prime Daimon season in New Orleans. Soon the vampires would be stalking the tourists and preying on them like an open banquet.
For the moment, though, Talon was glad it was quiet, since it allowed him to deal with Wulf's crisis and feed the one craving that wouldn't wait.
"Spoken like a true Norseman," Talon said into his cell phone. "What you need, my brother, is a mead hall filled with serving wenches and Vikings ready to battle their way into Valhalla."
"Tell me about it," Wulf agreed. "I miss the good old days when Daimons were warriors and combat trained. The ones I found tonight knew nothing about fighting, and I'm sick of the whole 'my gun will solve all' mentality."
"You get shot again?"
"Four times. I swear ... I wish I could get a Daimon up here like Desiderius. I'd love a good down-and-dirty fight for once."
"Careful what you wish for, you just might get it."
"Yeah, I know. But damn. Just once, can't they stop running from us and learn to fight like their ancestors did? I miss the way things used to be."
Talon adjusted his black Ray-Ban Predator sunglasses as he watched a group of women walk past on the street nearby.
Now there was one challenge he could sink his fangs into ...
Under his closed lips, he ran his tongue over his long left canine tooth while he watched a beautiful blond woman dressed in blue. She had a slow, seductive walk that could make even a fifteen-hundred-year-old man feel underage.
He so wanted a piece of that.
Damn Mardi Gras.
If not for the season, he'd be hanging up on Wulf and running after her to fulfill his first comfort.
Duty. How it reeked.
Sighing, he turned his thoughts back to their conversation. "I tell you, what I miss most are the Talpinas."
"What are those?"
Talon cast a wistful look at the women who were quickly drifting out of his line of sight. "That's right, they were before your time. Back in the better part of the Dark Ages, we used to have a clan of Squires whose sole purpose was to take care of our carnal needs."
Talon sucked his breath in appreciatively as he remembered the Talpinas and the comfort they had once provided to him and his Dark-Hunter brethren. "Man, they were great. They knew what we were and they were more than happy to bed us. Hell, the Squires even trained them how to pleasure you."
"What happened to them?"
"About a hundred or so years before you were born, a Dark-Hunter made the mistake of failing cf0in love with his Talpina. Unfortunately for the rest of us, she didn't pass Artemis's test. Artemis was so angry, she stepped in and banished the Talpinas from us, and implemented the oh so wonderful you're-only-supposed-to-sleep-with-them-once rule. As further backlash, Acheron came up with the never-touch-your-Squire law. I tell you, you haven't lived until you've tried to find a decent one-night stand in seventh-century Britain."
Wulf snorted. "That's never been my problem."
"Yeah, I know. I envy you that. While the rest of us have to pull ourselves back from our lovers lest we betray our existence, you get to cut loose without fear."
"Believe me, Talon, it's not all it's cracked up to be. You live alone by choice. Do you have any idea how frustrating it is to have no one remember you five minutes after you leave them?"
Wulf expelled a long, tired breath. "Christopher's mother has come over here three times in the last week alone just so she can meet the person he works for. I've known her for what? Thirty years? And let's not forget that time sixteen years ago when I came home and she called the cops on me because she thought I had broken into my own house."
Talon grimaced at the pain in Wulf's voice. It reminded him why he no longer allowed himself to feel anything except physical pleasure.
Emotions served no purpose in life and he was much better off without them.
"I'm sorry, little brother," he said to Wulf. "At least you have us, and your Squire, who can remember you."
"Yeah, I know. Thank the gods for modern technology. Otherwise I'd go insane."
Talon shifted in his fold-up chair. "Not to change the subject, but did you see who Artemis relocated to New Orleans to take Kyrian's place?"
"I heard it was Valerius," Wulf said in disbelief. "What was Artemis thinking?"
"I have no idea."
"Does Kyrian know?" Wulf asked.
"For an obvious reason, Acheron and I decided not to tell him that the grandson and spitting image of the man who crucified him and destroyed his family was being moved into the city just down the street from his house. Unfortunately, though, I'm sure he'll find out sooner or later."
"Man, human or not, Kyrian will kill him if they ever cross paths-not something you need to cope with this time of year."
"Tell me about it."
"So, who got Mardi Gras duty this year?" Wulf asked.
Talon dropped the coin in his hand as he thought about the ancient Greco-Roman slave who would be temporarily moved into the city tomorrow to help combat the Daimon explosion that occurred every year at this time. Zarek was a known Feeder who preyed on human blood. He was unstable at best, psychotic at worst. No one trusted him.
And it was just Talon's luck to have Zarek here, especially since he'd been hoping for a Dark-Huntress to come visit. It might drain his powers to be in the presence of another Dark-Hunter, but he would still rather have an attractive woman to look at than deal with Zarek's psychosis.
Besides, for what he had in mind, he and a Huntress didn't need their Dark-Hunter powers anyway ...
"They're importing Zarek."
Wulf cursed. "I didn't think Acheron would ever let him leave Alaska."
"Yeah, I know, but word came from Artemis herself that she wanted him here. Looks like we're having a psycho reunion this week ... Oh wait, it's Mardi Gras. Dull."
Wulf laughed again.
At last the waitress brought his coffee and a small plate of three beignets that were heavily covered with powdered sugar. Talon sighed appreciatively.
"Coffee arrived?" Wulf asked.
Talon took a whiff of his coffee, set it aside, and reached for a beignet. He'd barely touched the pastry when he saw something across the street, on the right side of Jackson Square down the Pedestrian Mall. "Ah, man."
"Friggin' Fabio alert."
"Hey, you're not too far from the mark either, blondie."
"Bite me, Viking."
Peeved by the timing, Talon watched the group of four Daimons stalking the night. Tall and golden blonde Daimons who possessed the godlike beauty of their race. They strutted around like punkish peacocks, drunk on their own power as they scoped out tourists to kill.
By nature, Daimons were cowards. They only stood their ground and fought against Dark-Hunters when they were in groups and only then as a last resort. Because they were so much stronger than humans, they preyed openly on them, but let a Dark-Hunter near them and they ran for cover.
There had been a time once when it wasn't like that. But the younger generations were more careful than their ancestors. They weren't as well trained or as resourceful.
However, they were ten times cockier.
Talon narrowed his eyes. "You know, if I were a negative person, I would be seriously annoyed right now."
"You sound annoyed to me."
"No, this isn't annoyed. This is mild perturbance. Besides, you should see these guys." Talon dropped his Celtic accent as he invented a conversation for the Daimons. He raised his voice to an unnaturally high level. "Hey, Gorgeous George, I think I smell a Dark-Hunter."
"Oh no, Dick," he said, dropping his voice two octaves, "don't be a dick. There's no Dark-Hunter here."
Talon returned to his falsetto. "I dunno ..."
"Wait," Talon said, again in the deep voice. "I smell tourist. Tourist with big ... strong soul."
"Would you stop?"
"Talk about inkblots," Talon said, using the derogatory term Dark-Hunters had for Daimons. It stemmed from the strange black mark that all Daimons developed on their chests when they crossed over from being simple Apollites to human slayers. "Damn, all I wanted was a drink of coffee and one little beignet."
Talon glanced wistfully at his drink as he debated what should take priority. "Coffee ... Daimons ... Coffee ... Daimons ..."
"I think in this case the Daimons better win."
"Yeah, but it's chicory coffee."
Wulf clucked his tongue. "Talon wanting to be toasted by Acheron for failure to protect humans."
"I know," he said with a disgusted sigh. "Let me go expire them. Talk to you later."
Talon stood up, zipped his phone into the pocket of his motorcycle jacket, and stared longingly at his beignets.
Oh, the Daimons would pay for this.
Taking a quick drink of coffee that scalded his tongue, he skirted through the tables and made his way toward the vampires, who were stalking toward the Presbytere building.
His Dark-Hunter senses alert, Talon headed to the opposite side of the square. He would head them off and make sure they paid for their soul-stealing ways.
And for his uneaten beignets.
It was one of those nights. The kind that made Sunshine Runningwolf wonder why she bothered leaving her loft.
"How many times can a person get lost in a city where she's lived the whole of her life?"
The number seemed to be infinite.
Of course, it would help if she could stay focused, but she had the attention span of a sick flea.
No, actually she had the attention span of an artist who seldom stayed focused on the here and now. Like an out-of-control slingshot, her thoughts drifted from one topic to the next and then back again. Her mind was constantly wandering and sifting through new ideas and techniques-the novelty of the world around her and how best to capture it.
To her there was beauty everywhere and in every little thing. It was her job to show that beauty to others.
And that neat building they were constructing, two or three, maybe four streets over, had distracted her and got her thinking up new designs for her pottery as she wandered through the French Quarter toward her favorite coffeehouse on St. Anne.
Not that she drank that noxious stuff. She hated it. But the retro-beatnik Coffee Stain had nice artwork on the walls and her friends seemed partial to drinking gallons of the tar-liquid.
Tonight she and Trina were going to go over ...
Her mind flashed back to the building.
Pulling out her sketchbook, she made a few more notes and turned to her right, down a small alley.
She took two steps, and ran into a wall.
Only it wasn't a wall, she realized, as two arms wrapped around her to keep her from stumbling.
Looking up, she froze.
0Ay, Caramba! She stared into a face so well formed that she doubted even a Greek sculptor could do justice to it.
His wheat-colored hair seemed to glow in the night and the planes of his face ...
Perfect. Simply perfect. Totally symmetrical. Wow.
Without thinking, she reached up, grabbed his chin and turned his face to see it from different angles.
No, not an optical illusion. No matter the angle, his features were perfection incarnate.
Wow, again. Absolutely flawless.
She needed to sketch this.
No. Oils. Oils would be better.
"Are you all right?" he asked.
"I'm fine," she said. "I'm sorry. I didn't see you standing there. But do you know your face is pure eurythmy?"
He gave her a tight-lipped smile as he patted the shoulder of her red cape. "Yes, I do. And do you know, Little Red Riding Hood, the Big Bad Wolf is out tonight and he's hungry?"
What was that?
She was talking about art and he ...
The thought faded as she realized the man wasn't alone.
There were four more men and one woman. All insanely beautiful. And all six eyed her as if she were a tasty morsel.
Her throat went dry.
Sunshine took a step back as every sense in her body told her to run.
They moved in even closer, penning her between them.
"Now, now, Little Red Riding Hood," the first one said. "You don't want to be leaving so soon, do you?"
"Um, yes," she said, preparing to fight. Little did they know, a woman who made it her habit to date mean biker types was more than able to deliver a swift kick when she needed it. "I think it would be a really good idea."
He reached for her.
Out of nowhere a circular something whizzed past her face, grazing his outstretched arm. The man cursed as he pulled his bleeding arm to his chest. The thing ricocheted like Xena's chakram, and returned to the opening of the alley where a shadow caught it.
Sunshine gaped at the outline of a man. Dressed all in black, he stood with his legs apart in a warrior's stance while his weapon gleamed wickedly in the dim light.
Even though she could see nothing of his face, his ever-changing aura was mammoth, giving him a presence that was as startling as it was powerful.
This new stranger was dangerous.
A lethal shadow just waiting to strike.
He stood in silence, looking at her attackers, the weapon held nonchalantly, yet somehow threateningly, in his left hand.
Then, total chaos broke out as the men who surrounded her rushed the newcomer ...
Talon fingered the release for his srad and folded its three blades into a single dagger.
Copyright © 2003 by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Posted August 3, 2010
I love this series but If you have an Nook you cant get this one so what has made me mad is they sell Nook and on series they dont have all the books for Nook so what do you do you download one to nook than the next you have to buy the book --- so what the use of getting the nook if you cant get the whole series on it? But Sony has it and kimbel So fix this for this great series or fix it where you can buy ebooks from other book stores.
6 out of 16 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 15, 2010
Posted July 5, 2003
I really enjoyed her previous books (Fantasy Lover and Night Pleasures) so I practically tore this book from the shelves when it came out. But then I regained my control and decided to pay for it. The story goes that Talon, another cool Dark-Hunter, had everything he loved taken away from him. In return for vengeance, he sold his soul to the goddess Artemis and became an immortal, powerful being called a Dark-Hunter. Zoom to the present and you have evil brewing in New Orleans. He's there, living the 'high' life of a DH until he gets hit by a float and lands in the arms of Sunshine Runningwolf. Their relationship from then on seems purely based on lust. Sunshine's mindframe: 'He's so hot! He makes me scream after we make love. I know I love him.' Talon's minframe: 'She's beautiful and has a great body and I've never had so much sex before. I am so in love with her.' Okay, so that's all there really is between them, but all is forgiven because there's a great story behind them that I zip through pages. And the introduction of new characters who will have their own stories later on will guarantee to keep me reading. Especially Zarek and Acheron-- those two will definitely keep me glued to this series! I am especially fond of good ol' Ash-if only men like him really existed...
6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 5, 2006
As part of the Dark-Hunter series, this one lives up to its expectations: the tortured hero, the woman who feels bad for him, people feeling sorry for themselves, and millions of characters that have you listing off names just to keep up. But somewhere in that, there's a story of Talon, an Celt who became a Dark-Hunter after his wife died giving birth to his stillborn son and his sister was killed before his eyes. Flash forward to the present and Talon is in New Orleans, eating beignets, drinking coffee, and doing the naked pretzel with any willing girl. Then he's hit by a Mardi Gras float and meets Sunshine Runningwolf, a painter who's brain scatters faster than kids on bath day. These two find mutual attraction, sleep together for a whole day, depart but come back together after... something happens. I don't know what, and that's pretty sad considering I soak things up like a sponge. There's some mention of the god Dionysus and some other Celtic god, Sunshine's the incarnation of Talon's long dead wife, more sex, Dark-Hunters picking on other Dark-Hunters... that's really it. If anything, I'd say read the books for Acheron and Nick, they make it worthwhile.
5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 21, 2012
Night Embrace was another great addition to the Dark-Hunters series! Was there ever a doubt though? No way, this is DH that we're talking about here people!
Talon and Sunshine have an instant chemistry that blazes but the roles are a bit reversed here, which when an author switches up the norm in romances is always a nice touch.
Sunshine really stole the show in Night Embrace I thought; she was funny, quirky and a free spirit. I loved her attitude and sense of the world. She handled the warrior, Talon, well and they really made a most excellent match. Talon himself was definitely drool-worthy and even though he suffered a big loss I loved his fun attitude. He didn't see Sunshine as a complete ditz either for her forgetfulness and instead treasured her uniqueness.
Night Embrace had plenty of action of course, a fast-paced plot and a nice little twist at the end. I can't wait to see what happens next in the world of the Dark Hunters!
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 3, 2010
I Also Recommend:
Fantastic book. Read Fantasy Lover off the cuff, then Acheron which was fabulous - this one is part of the journey of Acheron and all the people he meets on the way. Love getting background to I book I stumble on even if its out of order. Now I want to read/hear all the stories. If you want a new twist to the vampire/werewolve thing (which I was not looking for - said it was aboutt he Gods that what grabbed my attention), this puts a new spin on that but also encompasses the Greek Gods, the Gods of Atlantis, even the old Celtic legends of Morrigan and Bran. Can't wait to read the other 15-18 books.
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 25, 2008
What kind of a story is? There was too many characters to think about!!! The plot is VERY random as well as messy. I liked it but this is not on my favorite list. It didn't impress me as much.
2 out of 9 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 3, 2005
For better or worse, what I got wasn't at all what I expected after reading about this book here on bn. If I were more impatient the beginning may have soured me on the whole thing since there were so many characters mentioned that it made me regret having gotten it without realizing this was a part of a series. It doesn't stand alone as well as other series I've read. That being said a little less than a quarter of the way through I remembered why I was intrigued. It is plenty steamy and that fact somewhat made up for the underdeveloped secondary characters and the lack of depth in the relationship between Talon and Sunshine. It¿s just presumed that as long as their soul mates and have the hots for each other that tgeir relationship needs no further development. There were just too many characters to absorb for one book. I'd hope that the other books in the series expanded on the characters but I can't say I'm inspired to read any of them.
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 15, 2012
Posted June 29, 2012
I loved it .... all the characters were well introduced and the story keeps getting better as you read. Great love...never dies.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 29, 2014
"I missed you too, darling." He kissed her deeply smiling and their kids." Ive got something to rell you too." He frowned ndd held her close." Ivee enlisted in the American Army."Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
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Posted October 31, 2013
I didn't want to get hooked on another series, but I'm hooked! This is a good series with a different twist on sci-fi/greek mythology/romance. Love the story idea, the characters are interesting, and the ongoing story with characters that are developing.
I can't wait to find out more about Ash- he's my favorite so far. Although Sunshine & Talon were pretty hit and steamy!
Looking forward to the next one....
Posted October 18, 2013
I love how when someone says "You can't love this person; you will never find happiness and you will
never know pleasure of being with another."
And then that person goes right on and falls in love with the one he shouldn't! Just another Romeo with
another Juliet. It is nice that Juliet loves Romeo back but when people and certain Gods try to get in the
way of their destiny (once again) it just cuts me to the quick!
When a gorgeous, dangerous, hunk of a man comes and saves your life only to get hit by a Mardi
Gras boat doing it, you feel like you need to do something for him in favor. Kissing him would do.
Especially when HE kisses you first. Sunshine has always been adventurous, and sees the whole
biker crowd like it's nobodies business, but when kissed by Talon, and having "adult conversations"
with him that lasts 4 HOURS!!!!! then yes, you can probably say she has a problem.
And apparently so does he. For someone who doesn't want relationships and tries to hold his emotions in,
Talon is doing a horrible job as a Dark-Hunter ("A soulless guardian who stands between mankind and
those who would see mankind destroyed.") when he meets up Sunshine.
What neither one knows is that they were destined to be together....in this lifetime and the last time as well!!!
A a whole new twist in the reincarnated and such!
Posted October 8, 2013
All of the books in this series were so awesome I love the characters and the stories! Heroes are to die for!Just the saddest things happen to the best of them but they always shine in the end!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 1, 2013
I like this series... however it does bounce of different directions into different series spin offs. It would be nice to know which book to read in between so you don't have to go hmm how did that happen. Still a good series.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 21, 2013
Sunshine's forgetfull, speak your mind personality was just perfect. She was a hoot. Talon was a typical tortured dark hunter that you can't not help to love. The continuing development of the dark hunter world is growing more complex and full of interesting and unique characters.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.