Sexiest Vampire Alive (Love at Stake Series #11)

Sexiest Vampire Alive (Love at Stake Series #11)

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by Kerrelyn Sparks

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Who’s the Sexiest Vampire Alive? Without a doubt, it’s undead playboy Gregori Holstein, the dashing immortal hero of this wity, charming, and super-hot paranormal romance winner from New York Times bestseller Kerrelyn Sparks. Another fabulous entry in her Love at Stake series—which author Lynsay Sands, creator of the popularSee more details below


Who’s the Sexiest Vampire Alive? Without a doubt, it’s undead playboy Gregori Holstein, the dashing immortal hero of this wity, charming, and super-hot paranormal romance winner from New York Times bestseller Kerrelyn Sparks. Another fabulous entry in her Love at Stake series—which author Lynsay Sands, creator of the popular Argeneau vampire family novels, has called, “an absolute delight”—the Sexiest Vampire Alive has met his match, and she’s the beautiful, brave, and brainy daughter of the President of the United States, whom Gregori must accompany on a dangerous secret mission to China. Kerrelyn Sparks does vampire romance to perfection, which is why she is up there at the very top with the other paranormal superstars, like Sands, Katie MacAlister, and Mary Janice Davidson.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Love at Stake Series , #11
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The Sexiest Vampire Alive

By Kerrelyn Sparks


Copyright © 2011 Kerrelyn Sparks
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061958052

Chapter One

Simone tore the man's shirt open and skimmed her
hand down his smooth, hairless chest and rippled abs.
"I have a hunger that cannot be denied," she
murmured in her husky French accent.
The man turned his chiseled jaw to expose his neck.
"Take me. My body, my blood—I'm all yours."
She trailed a finger along his carotid artery, then
suddenly shoved him away. "No! I can no longer bear it!"
With a dramatic swish of her pink silk negligee, she
rose to her feet. The voluminous skirt swirled around
her long legs, allowing a peek at her matching pink
She lifted a pale hand to her brow. "What is a vampire
to do? For so many years I have endured the same
taste. How I long for something different!"
She moved forward, lowering her hand with a
graceful flutter. "I need something new, something
rich, robust, and sophisticat— Ack!" She tripped on
her nightgown and fell flat on her face.
"Cut!" The director cursed under his breath, then
leaned toward Gregori and whispered, "Are you sure
we have to use her?"
Gregori hid his frustration, like he normally did, and
gave Gordon an encouraging smile. "She'll be fine.
She's the most famous model in the vampire world."
"Yeah, you've mentioned that about five times. But
she can't act. Hell, she can't even walk."
Gregori's smile faltered slightly as he inwardly
winced. He thought he'd scored a coup, convincing
the famous Simone to star in his commercial introducing
the latest creation in Vampire Fusion Cuisine, Blardonnay.
But after three hours of shooting, there wasn't
a single successful take.
The director and film crew at the Digital Vampire
Network in Brooklyn had already polished off the
crate of twenty-four bottles he'd brought as a gift. The
mixture of synthetic blood and Chardonnay was no
longer strong enough for the director. Gordon tipped
back a bottle of Blissky, then gave Gregori a sour look.
"The sun will rise in about ninety minutes," he muttered.
"I'm calling it quits before my tortured crew
runs outside to fry themselves in a blaze of glory."
"It's not that bad," Gregori assured him. "With some
careful editing, we'll have—" Zip. "You'll still get paid
for your time."
Gordon snorted and took another swig of Blissky.
Gregori adjusted his tie while he considered his
options. He was the one who would have to answer to his
boss for spending a small fortune on a commercial that
wasn't happening. It wouldn't help matters if he criticized
Simone. She might look frail and delicate, but,
enraged, she could inflict a massive amount of damage
with her superior vampire strength.
There was the time she'd destroyed a dance club in
Manhattan when no one had recognized her. Gregori
had used a huge amount of vampire mind control to
wipe the memory of every terrified mortal who had
witnessed her temper tantrum. Unfortunately he
hadn't been around to clean up when a paparazzo
in Paris had snapped her photo without her permission.
She'd tossed the photographer clear across the
Champs Élysées. Le Figaro had speculated that her odd
display of strength meant she was high on PCP. She'd
retaliated the next night by ripping a street lamp out
of the sidewalk and crashing it through the newspaper
office's plate glass window. Somehow, she thought
she'd proved them wrong.
He adjusted his cuff links as he resigned himself to
the only logical course of action: playing the role of the
kind and sympathetic friend, otherwise known as major
suck-up. Sheesh, the stuff he had to do for his job.
He stepped onto the set, which consisted of thick
ivory carpet and an ivory satin settee. The male model
sat sprawled on the settee, not even attempting to help
Simone, who remained tangled in her negligee, wallowing
on the carpet like a nearly starved, beached
"Simone, sweetheart, are you all right?" He lifted
her carefully to her feet. She was so thin, it was like
propping up a broomstick in a strong wind. "It's not
like you to fall down." Twelve times.
"It is these ridiculous shoes you made me wear.
They're too big." She raised her voice so everyone in
the studio could hear. "You know I wear a size five."
She wore an eight. Gregori knew because she'd
begged him to buy her a pair of Jimmy Choo sandals
last Christmas. He'd done it, not out of any special af-
fection for Simone, but for business reasons. As marketing
director at Romatech Industries, he knew the
value of staying chummy with the most influential
personalities in the vampire world.
"Is your gown too long?" he suggested. "We could
have it shortened a bit."
"I like it long. It makes me look taller. And thinner."
Good God, if she was any thinner, she'd be two-
dimensional. "You look beautiful, Simone. But... I'm
afraid your concentration is off just a tad. Perhaps if
"It's his fault!" She pointed a perfectly manicured
pink nail at the male model who was busy taking off
the shirt she'd ripped. "He's too ugly to work with."
Gregori glanced at the model. "He looks fine to me."
"Why, thank you, handsome." The male model
Oh shit. "Simone, we can't keep replacing the guy for
you. This is the eighth one. The talent agency is running
out of guys, and we're running out of time, so do
you think you could possibly bring yourself to work
with this one?"
She stuck out her bottom lip in a pout. "He's repulsive.
I shudder when I have to touch him."
The male model wagged a finger at her. "It's not like
I'm enjoying it either, girlfriend."
"It's called acting, Simone," Gregori whispered. "You
have to pretend to desire him. He could be as ugly as a
turnip, but you make us believe he's stunning."
"But I am stunning." The model flipped his long
blond hair over his shoulders.
Gregori groaned inwardly. It was impossible to
whisper around a bunch of Vamps. They could hear
everything. He grasped Simone by her bony shoulders.
"Let's be honest about this, Toots. It's not the
shoes, or the gown, or the guy on the couch—"
"The name is Pennington," the male model interrupted.
"Pennington Langley the Third. But please
don't call me Penny for short. I would hate to sound
cheap." He gave Gregori a flirtatious smile.
Suppressing a shudder, Gregori smiled back. Sheesh,
the crap he put up with for his job. "Simone. I've seen
you glide down a jillion runways as graceful as a swan.
You can do this."
She ducked her head as she pressed her hands
against his chest. "All right, I'll be honest. I-I'm afraid."
"Afraid of what? Failure?" He winced when her
steel-like nails dug into him.
"I never fail," she hissed.
"Right. Right, I knew that." He grabbed her hands to
keep her pink claws from ripping through his best suit.
"What are you afraid of, then?"
Her bottom lip trembled against her fangs. "The sun
will rise soon. I'm afraid of dying."
"Sweetcakes, we die at every sunrise."
"I mean real death! La mort finale!" She clutched
his lapels with her fists. "I heard Corky's show tonight.
Live with the Undead. She said we're all in grave
"You'll be fine, Simone. You'll be staying at
Roman's townhouse where we have guards to keep us
"Then Corky is right?" Simone shrieked and gave
him a hard shake. "The mortal world knows about us
He pried her bony fingers loose from his lapels.
"Corky ought to know. She's the one who posted the
damned video."
Three nights earlier, Corky Courrant had filmed the
battle at Mount Rushmore that had climaxed with the
death of her lover, the Malcontent leader, Casimir.
While Gregori could understand why a woman might
be a little miffed over the decapitation of her lover, he
still thought Corky had severely overreacted. She'd
posted the video on YouTube, claiming it was proof
that vampires were real. That was an unforgivable,
traitorous act in their world, and yet Corky was still
employed at the Digital Vampire Network. Apparently
her infamy was good for ratings.
Simone's eyes filled with tears. "She said the mortals
will hunt us down and slaughter us in our sleep!"
"Oh my God!" Pennington sprang to his feet. "Is that
The boom operator glowered at him. "Don't you
watch the Nightly News? Stone Cauffyn said the secret
is out, and it won't be long before the mortals decide
to kill us off."
With a soft moan, Simone sank onto the carpet. Her
tears, tinted with blood, left pink streaks down her
gaunt cheeks. "La mort finale."
"It's the end for us all," the cameraman grumbled.
"We're doomed." The makeup artist sniffed and
wiped tears from her face.
"The Vampire Apocalypse," Gordon muttered, then
took another swig of Blissky.
Good God, no wonder the director and crew had
jumped on that case of Blardonnay. "Get a grip, guys,"
Gregori told them. "Just because Corky posted a video
that looks like vampires getting their heads cut off and
turning to dust, that doesn't mean any mortals will
believe it."
"Right," Gordon sneered. "Because mortals are
always making home videos where they cut each
other's heads off."
"If you look at the comments, a lot of people are
calling it a hoax," Gregori said.
"It only takes one mortal with one stake to do me
in," the boom operator mumbled.
"We're doomed!" The makeup artist collapsed on
the floor, clutching an empty bottle of Blardonnay.
"No, we're not! You guys got the official memo from
Roman, right?" Gregori asked. Roman Draganesti was
not only his boss and CEO of Romatech Industries, he
was also Coven Master of East Coast Vampires. "He
wants everyone to remain calm and go about your
lives in a normal manner."
"Yeah, we know." Gordon upended his Blissky
bottle, then scowled when he discovered it was empty.
"That's why we all showed up for work today."
"We should be looking for some caves to hide in,"
the cameraman grumbled, then his eyes lit up. "I
know! We could hide in mausoleums."
"Right." The boom operator scoffed. "Mortals would
never think about looking for us in a graveyard."
"We're doomed—"
"Enough!" Gregori interrupted the makeup artist.
"Chillax, people. It's going to be all right. Roman's got
a strategy meeting tonight with a bunch of Coven Masters."
"Do they have a plan?" Pennington asked.
"I'm sure they'll come up with something." Gregori
didn't know much about the situation except that
Roman and the head of MacKay Security and Investigation,
Angus MacKay, had spent the last two nights
discussing the matter with Sean Whelan—CIA operative,
newly turned vampire, and Roman's father-in-law.
"The best thing for us to do is to behave normally
and not bring any attention to ourselves. Just go to
work, go home, drink your blood from bottles, and no
one will ever suspect you're a vampire."
"That's easy for you to say," Gordon grumbled. "You
and your buddies have security guards to watch over
you during the day. We do our death-sleep in
apartments that mortals could break into."
"We're doomed!" the makeup girl cried.
Gregori loosened his tie as he considered. Corky's
damned video was probably inciting panic all over the
vampire world. And the more the Vamps panicked,
the bigger the chance that one of them would do
something really stupid that made the problem even worse.
They needed to feel safe.
He retrieved his smart phone from his jacket pocket.
"I'll tell you what. I'll ask Angus MacKay to send a day
guard here. We'll turn the building into an emergency
shelter. Then Vamps can do their death-sleep here,
knowing they'll be safe and protected."
Gordon jumped to his feet and swayed a little. "Are
"Of course." Gregori smiled. "I'll make the arrangements,
so hurry up and announce it on air."
"Great!" Gordon dashed out of the studio.
The makeup artist eased to her feet and gave Gregori
a shaky smile. "Thank you."
"Not a problem." Gregori selected Angus's number
on his Droid while the rest of the crew thanked him.
"Let's get ready for another try at the commercial,
"Yes, sir!" the boom operator shouted with a grin.
Pennington put on a new shirt, while the makeup
girl applied new powder and lipstick to Simone.
Gregori breathed a sigh of relief. Maybe they'd get
the commercial done after all. Angus's phone sent him
to voice mail, so he left a short message explaining the
need to turn DVN into an emergency shelter for
frightened Vamps.
"Excuse me."
Gregori glanced up from a quick look through his
e-mail to see Pennington standing nearby. "Yes?"
"I'd like to thank you for keeping us all safe tonight."
"Glad to help."
Pennington shoved his long blond hair over his
shoulders. "And I'd like to thank you for giving me
the opportunity to star in a commercial."
"No problem." Gregori didn't want to remind the
model that he was the talent agency's eighth choice,
and he wouldn't be here at all if Simone hadn't sent the
first seven guys packing.
Pennington sidled up closer. "What I mean is I'd like
to thank you . . . personally."
Yikes. Gregori stepped back. "No thanks. Sorry."
"But you're gay, right? I mean, you dress so well,
and you were so nice and sensitive to .  .  . her."
Pennington wrinkled his nose at Simone.
"A straight guy can't be nice?" Gregori muttered.
Simone snorted while the makeup girl brushed her
hair. "Why do you continue with this charade, mon
ami? You refused to have sex with me. You must be
His mouth dropped open. The crew started whispering,
latching on to this tasty morsel of gossip. Shit.
"Simone, have you been spreading rumors about me?"
"No, of course not." She waved a hand dramatically.
"I know how much you enjoy your reputation
as a young playboy. But really, mon ami, you should
stop acting so cowardly and admit the truth. You'll feel
much better for it."


Excerpted from The Sexiest Vampire Alive by Kerrelyn Sparks Copyright © 2011 by Kerrelyn Sparks. Excerpted by permission of Avon. 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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