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The Wild Road (Dirk & Steele Series #8)

( 48 )

Overview

Those who look upon Lannes Hannelore see only anexceptionally handsome man. But his beauty is a prison, locking the dark truth inside his tormented soul. For Lannes is one of a dying race of remarkable creatures,hiding in plain sight among earth's human masters.His existence is solitary and sad?until the night he encounters a young woman on a deserted street, desperate,frightened, with no memory . . . and covered in blood.

She has no recollection of who she is or whatshe's ...

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The Wild Road (Dirk & Steele Series #8)

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Overview

Those who look upon Lannes Hannelore see only anexceptionally handsome man. But his beauty is a prison, locking the dark truth inside his tormented soul. For Lannes is one of a dying race of remarkable creatures,hiding in plain sight among earth's human masters.His existence is solitary and sad—until the night he encounters a young woman on a deserted street, desperate,frightened, with no memory . . . and covered in blood.

She has no recollection of who she is or whatshe's done—and now she must trust a mysterious strangerwhose imposing presence masks a gentle heart.Her need draws Lannes into a mystery that will cause himto confront his worst fears and question everythinghe believes—and compel him to risk his secrets for the one woman who might well be the love of his life . . .or the destruction of it.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062020185
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/28/2011
  • Series: Dirk & Steele Series , #8
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 633,222
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Marjorie M. Liu is an attorney and New York Times bestselling author of paranormal romances and urban fantasy. In the world of comic books, she is also the writer of NYX: No Way Home, Black Widow, X-23, and Dark Wolverine. She lives in the American Midwest and Beijing, China.

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Read an Excerpt

The Wild Road
By Marjorie M. Liu
Dorchester Publishing
Copyright © 2008 Marjorie M. Liu
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8439-5939-0



Chapter One The woman smelled smoke in her dreams.

She smelled it still, when she opened her eyes. A bad way to wake. She lay motionless, stunned and disoriented, lost in a dark room, stretched on a bed. Shouts filled her ears, footsteps pounding. Sirens wailed. The woman flexed her hands and gripped rumpled covers. She wiggled her toes. Her feet were bare, though she wore other clothing.

Her head hurt. So did her heart, like she had been crying. Or maybe that was her lungs. Smoke was in the air, faintly illuminated by some ambient light far on her left. Her eyes stung. Her mind tried to catch up with what she was breathing and seeing.

"Shit," she muttered hoarsely, and the sound of her voice-rough, awful, hardly discernable beneath the cascading sirens-felt like a baseball bat against her back. One good swing. Move it or lose it. Live or die.

The woman scrambled off the bed, landing hard on the floor, keeping below the thickening smoke. The carpet felt odd. Wet and sticky. She could not immediately see why, but when she moved a fraction to the left, her hand hit something solid and warm. She ignored it and started crawling until she bumped into another, similar obstacle. Only this time, something inside her screamed, choking on more than smoke. She reached out blindly, jaw clenched.

Her hand landed on a face. Rough with stubble, a sticky nose, broad forehead. The woman froze,horrified-then shoved the man, hard.

"Hello," she whispered.

He did not move. She fumbled for his neck, searching for a pulse. Instead of finding a heartbeat, her fingers dipped into a wet ragged hole.

The woman gasped, scrabbling backward. Terrified. She tried to remember what had happened. She tried to remember how she had gotten here.

Nothing. She had no idea where she was. Not one clue. No memory of where she had been before this room.

No time, whispered a small voice inside her head. Go. Get out of here.

But she did not. Coughing, eyes burning, she spun around on her knees, fumbling her way back up the length of the bed. She found a nightstand and grappled for a light. Switched it on. Wished immediately she had not.

At first it was like being blind. Blinded by tears and light, startling splashes of color. Bodies. Three men in dark clothing, sprawled dead. The carpet beneath them-beneath her-saturated dark with blood. Her mind could not adjust, could only soak up in numb horror a sight that could not be real.

The woman slapped a hand over her mouth, trying not to scream. A sharp metallic scent instantly invaded her nose. Her fingers were wet. She remembered touching the man and recoiled from herself, choking, staring down at her hands. Her palms were covered in blood.

The knees of her jeans were soaked with it, too, the denim hot and wet against her skin. Something was pinned to her blood- spattered jacket. A piece of paper. The woman touched it, hand shaking, leaving red fingerprints. She stared at the word written in big black letters.

RUN, she read.

The woman felt faint, and she shut her eyes, breathing deep-which made her choke immediately. Smoke curled along the entire ceiling now, wafting down, thick and heavy. She looked once again at the bodies, those faces: three men in their thirties, big and strong, dark hair cut short against their scalps. One of them, she saw, held a gun in his hand.

The light by her head flickered out for a brief moment. The woman looked around, quick. She was in a hotel room. The door was behind her. The light flickered again and she hoisted herself onto the bed, scrabbling over it toward the exit. She saw nothing worth taking-no purse, no personal items of any kind. No shoes.

The lights went out just as the woman reached the door. She heard screams outside in the hall and pressed the back of her hand against the wood and the metal knob. Both were cool. She opened the door and crawled out of the room. It was pitch dark in the hall, but she heard and felt people running, saw a flashlight beam bouncing far on her right and took off after it. She kept low, pulling the collar of her T-shirt over her nose and mouth. She smelled blood. Tried not to think of the dead men in the room behind her. Or why she could not remember how she had gotten there.

Keep it simple, she thought, heart pounding. Get out, then freak.

The woman got jostled, slammed by running bodies, her ears ringing with sirens and screams and hacking coughs, but she kept going, fast, nearly blind, keeping one hand on the wall to guide her. No emergency lights, nothing to see by. The flashlight was gone. Glass shattered inside a room she passed. Ahead, the timbre of voices changed, became echoey, hollow and bouncy. Cool air brushed against her face. The exit.

She fumbled ahead, found a door swinging shut and forced her way into a metal and concrete stairwell that was relatively smoke free and blissfully cold. She almost fell down the stairs-her knees ready to buckle out from under her-but she saw more flashlights winking up through the darkness, accompanied by shouts. She felt her way down, bumped and pushed by other people trying to evacuate the building. Her hand kept grazing her jacket where the note was pinned. She ripped the thing off and stuffed it into her pocket.

The woman did not think she would ever forget the expression of the first firefighter who shone a beam into her face. He was a young kid, hauling gear up the stairs, oxygen mask hanging around his neck and a brilliant light blazing from his helmet. His eyes widened. He reached for her and she evaded him by moving deeper into the throng of other evacuees, afraid on a gut level of the questions he would ask, moving by instinct.

Run.

A small army of uniformed men and women waited for the evacuees at the bottom of the stairwell. Cold air rushed over her face, and an oxygen mask was held up. She used it. Hands touched her shoulders, guiding her away from the building. She looked back once, and saw that it was a fancy piece of architecture, tall and made of steel and glass and stone. Fire and smoke poured from one of the upper floors. Her floor, she suspected. She started to rub her eyes, and remembered her bloody hands, drying now, but still sticky. The woman wanted to vomit.

"Sit down," said a low male voice. She tried to resist, but the guiding hand tightened around her arm, and she did not want to make a scene. She pretended obedience, sat at the back of an ambulance, her coughs easing as she breathed deep from the oxygen mask. So many lights and people. Hard to look at all of them. All she wanted to do was run.

An older man in a blue jacket and pants peered down at her face, then at the rest of her body. "Ma'am, you're covered in blood. Are you injured?"

The woman said nothing and stared past his shoulder, affecting a glassy stare. A small part of her wanted to break loose, start screaming-about the men, the blood-but again, her instincts prevailed.

Subterfuge, whispered a voice. Illusion.

And, Get away. Run like hell.

The man frowned, but behind him a shout went up and he turned briefly, walking only a few steps away. The woman did not hesitate, hardly felt as though she owned her body. She slipped off the back of the ambulance and strode quickly around the vehicle.

It was easy to get lost in the crowd. So many emergency vehicles and workers, curious onlookers. The woman was almost stopped by a concerned police officer, but she croaked, "Water," and when he turned to look for some, she slid behind a fire truck and found herself beside a dim long stretch of alley.

The woman was barefoot, the concrete wet and slick. She got lucky. Nothing cut her feet as she ran through the shadows, away from the chaos of lights and uniforms, all of which felt as threatening as the fire and the terrible room she had left behind, the contents of which still covered her body. More or less.

She did not go far. The base of her skull began to throb again. Her side hurt. She stepped deeper into shadows, coughing, fighting for breath. Knees weak. She bent over, trying to control the aching fear in her chest, struggling not to be sick. She could still see those men. There was no escaping the scent of blood. Not when the front of her jeans was still damp and her hands sticky. She felt something heavy against her back and tentatively reached under her jacket ... touching leather, then cold hard steel.

A gun.

The woman slowly drew the weapon. The weight felt good in her hand. She forced herself to look down, taking in the long, sleek form.

Semiautomatic rimfire pistol with suppressor, rattled the voice in her mind. Ruger, .22 caliber.

Before she could stop herself, she checked the clip. Found it empty, no more ammunition. Her hands moved without pause, without thought.

She almost dropped the gun, but her fingers tightened and she slid the weapon back into the waist of her jeans. Shaken. Dazed. Three armed men, shot to death ... and she, at the scene, covered in blood. Carrying a gun.

A gun she did not remember. A gun her hands knew how to use, even if her conscious mind did not.

No, thought the woman, even as she realized something else in that moment, something far more horrifying. She did not remember anything of her life before opening her eyes in the hotel room. The thought cascaded into other realizations, equally terrifying:

The woman did not know her name.

She did not remember herself.

She had no memories.

It took a moment to digest this, a long moment. She did not want to believe. Here she was, walking around, alert, proactive. Not entirely insane. She had to remember something. Anything. She patted down her pockets for ID, a card, some hint. She found nothing.

The woman closed her eyes, battling herself-but it was like being caught on the other side of a dark wall. There, but not. She could almost taste some shadow of knowledge just out of reach, maddeningly beyond her, and she pressed grimy knuckles to her forehead, digging in until her brow hurt. Sirens filled the background, the hiss of tires on the road, the distant groans of some drunk.

She did not even know what she looked like. Just that she was covered in blood. A gun with a silencer was tucked into the back of her jeans. She was barefoot, nothing in her pockets except a crumpled note that said to run.

Bad clues. No clues.

I might be a killer, she thought, frightened; and then, I need to get the hell out of here.

And the woman, discovering that she was an efficient individual, set about doing just that.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from The Wild Road by Marjorie M. Liu Copyright © 2008by Marjorie M. Liu.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 4.5
( 48 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(30)

4 Star

(11)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 49 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 16, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    gripping paranormal romantic suspense

    The hotel is on fire when she awakens. She is horrified more than scared when she sees three corpses near her and blood all over her. There is also a one word message: 'Run.' She quickly realizes she has no idea how she got there, who the dead are, who wrote her the warning note and even who she is.

    Heeding the note, she goes to steal a car to start her run to she is not sure where. Gargoyle Lannes Hannelore sees the woman splattered with blood stealing his vehicle. He comes over to stop her, but though he must stay in the shadows and avoid involvement in her mess, he offers his help. Desperate she accepts even as he wonders if the set up was to use this woman in peril to lure him into activity by something not human

    Reprint of a Dirk and Steele paranormal romantic suspense thriller grips the audience with its eerie opening sequence as readers, Jane Doe and the gargoyle wonder what is going on. Set aside time as you are hooked into a fast-paced one sitting tale. Although it helps a bit to have read the previous entries in the saga as there are previous happenings retold with more insight, THE WILD ROAD is a fabulous story starring two fascinating protagonists that can stand alone

    Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Never a dull moment!

    This book is as exciting as the rest of the series. The story flows and you can't wait to turn the page. The characters are unique and Liu always makes me feel like I know them personally. The action is always a plus, especially in a love story. I was thrilled that she brought us back to the beginning with the Dirk & Steele founders and let us know they still have their fingers in the mix.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 7, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Loved the characters

    Even though the heroine in this book has no idea who she is, following her through her journey with the other characters was really fun. I loved the story! A definite must read for any Dirk & Steele fan! Not too hot and heavy but still a lot of passion between the characters. It also definitely opens up more questions where you want to read the next book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2008

    Wild Road

    The hotel is on fire when she awakens. She is horrified more than scared when she sees three corpses near her and blood all over her. There is also a one word message: 'Run.' She quickly realizes she has no idea how she got there, who the dead are, who wrote her the warning note and even who she is.------------------- Heeding the note, she goes to steal a car to start her run to she is not sure where. Gargoyle Lannes Hannelore sees the woman splattered with blood stealing his vehicle. He comes over to stop her, but though he must stay in the shadows and avoid involvement in her mess, he offers his help. Desperate she accepts even as he wonders if the set up was to use this woman in peril to lure him into activity by something not human.------------ The latest Dirk and Steele paranormal romantic suspense thriller grips the audience with its eerie opening sequence as readers, Jane Doe and the gargoyle wonder what is going on. Set aside time as you are hooked into a fast-paced one sitting tale. Although it helps a bit to have read the previous entries in the saga as there are previous happenings retold with more insight, THE WILD ROAD is a fabulous story starring two fascinating protagonists that can stand alone.--------- Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2012

    Highly Recomended

    This book is just like all her books, very enjoyable. I love reading all of her paranormal romance books.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2012

    Great series

    I love this series. This book was one of my favorites. I love all the different characters and all the different myths.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2012

    Enjoyable

    This was well written but the plot left no room for any levity. Both leads were serious types, and they were thrust into a tense situation. The romance was almost a secondary plot point and even that seemed a tad joyless. I enjoyed reading the book, I just had to take frequent breaks because it would bum me out.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2011

    The fourth book if this series

    For the person wanting to find the fourth book. It is in Dark Dreamers by Cristine Feehan. It is called A Dream of Stone & Shadow.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Does anyone know the 4th book in the series???

    I LOVE Marjorie M. Liu's work. She is amazingly talented - weaving together plot and characters. Brilliant. I've been reading and collecting the series, but I cannot find the 4th book listed on Barnes and Noble. Can anyone provide the title of the 4th novel of the Dirk and Steele Series? Thanks ever so much!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Wild Road not so wild

    Not original. Anyone whose watch afternoon cartoons will recognize elements of the mythos from the "Gargoyles" animated series - a lot of them. My least favorite of the Dirk and Steele books by Ms. Liu.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 23, 2009

    Great read

    Miss Liu is consistant with this series, a great read, one that's hard to put down. Her story line is consistant, and leaves you wanting more. I've recommended this book to anyone that enjoys this kind of read. I hope she keeps this series going for a long time.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    What a disappointment

    I'm an avid Dirk & Steel Fan, and for me this book was such a LET DOWN. I had to FORCE myself to finish it, just incase her next book had a refrence I'd miss if I didn't.

    I love this series, and would recommend everything BUT this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2008

    5+ Stars: Exquisitely poetic, dark, and transformational!

    A woman awakens in a strange hotel room with blood and dead bodies surrounding her. She has lost all memory. Is she a murderer? The only clue is a note with the word 'Run' --and run, she does right into Lannes Hannelore, a gargoyle, a member of a race that now hides in plain sight. Lannes feels drawn to her, can feel her thoughts. She wakens in him something he has never felt before. When her entire life has become a nightmare of epic proportions, the woman oddly feels comfort, understanding, and support from this strange handsome man. Lannes stands by her, trying to unravel the clues and restore her memory even though she might be the end of life as he knew it. Can these two discover her identity and find true love, a soul love, or will the unveiling of the past threaten them even more than the current dangers? When the Dirk and Steele agency gets involved, the clues become more mysterious, more dangerous.// Lannes Hannelore captures the heart from his first appearance. Gentle, kind, and so moved by the plight of this woman, he knows her even as she cannot know herself. He knows her heart and protects her intuitively. When every clue should make him run, she wakens in him something altogether unfamiliar, a part of him that has been locked away and never before experienced love or this kind of empathy. She does not even know her own name but something about this woman makes him feel known. Can his caring and growing love for her bring her to a space where she herself feels known as he does? Will the shocking truth, once found, separate them? Can love enter into the midst of the ultimate darkness?// In THE WILD ROAD, Marjorie M. Liu creates a suspenseful and dangerous journey to truth as the two try to unlock her memory, a blank memory yet something within her that attracts violence. Death and cruelty surround this woman as her mind is possessed by some unknown force. As Dirk and Steele become involved, the discovered dark past raises the level of suspense to the ultimate limit as Hannelore and the woman must race to unlock her past and protect others from an injustice long silenced. They must locate a danger that is both nowhere and everywhere, internal and external. Just as darkness and evil threaten to overtake all, from the violence and cruelty emerges a powerfully moving story of love and sacrifice, of giving to another that moves the heart with a profound depth. The romance between Hannelore and the woman feels almost legendary like the stories of Greek gods and goddesses and their tales of love but in a paranormal, dark suspenseful setting. THE WILD ROAD is an awesome romance about the transformation of souls through love.// This is my first time reading Marjorie M. Liu. For other readers, like myself, new to the Dirk and Steele series, this book works perfectly as a stand alone and a place to begin the Marjorie Liu journey. Of course, having read this one I quickly ordered previous books in the series, but I did not feel anything lacking coming to this series fresh. Marjorie M. Liu's THE WILD ROAD goes beyond strict genre delineations, with its suspense and look into violence and the human heart at its most elemental level ---- as a reader, I love it all the more for its unparalleled, intriguing vision. This book left me somewhat speechless. While the suspenseful elements glued me to the pages, I was so mesmerized by her language that I slowed my reading speed down just to savor the pure poetry and beauty of her language. THE WILD ROAD quite simply has no equal. Exquisite in each and every detail!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2008

    Wild Road

    The hotel is on fire when she awakens. She is horrified more than scared when she sees three corpses near her and blood all over her. There is also a one word message: 'Run.' She quickly realizes she has no idea how she got there, who the dead are, who wrote her the warning note and even who she is. --------------- Heeding the note, she goes to steal a car to start her run to she is not sure where. Gargoyle Lannes Hannelore sees the woman splattered with blood stealing his vehicle. He comes over to stop her, but though he must stay in the shadows and avoid involvement in her mess, he offers his help. Desperate she accepts even as he wonders if the set up was to use this woman in peril to lure him into activity by something not human.-------------- The latest Dirk and Steele paranormal romantic suspense thriller grips the audience with its eerie opening sequence as readers, Jane Doe and the gargoyle wonder what is going on. Set aside time as you are hooked into a fast-paced one sitting tale. Although it helps a bit to have read the previous entries in the saga as there are previous happenings retold with more insight, THE WILD ROAD is a fabulous story starring two fascinating protagonists that can stand alone.--------- Harriet Klausner

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted October 11, 2012

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    Posted January 23, 2011

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    Posted August 19, 2011

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    Posted August 3, 2011

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    Posted December 11, 2011

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    Posted July 23, 2011

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