Blood Pact (Blood Books Series #4)

Blood Pact (Blood Books Series #4)

by Tanya Huff

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Overview

The Blood Books are now available in "Blood Ties" TV tie-in editions. View our TV tie-in feature page here here.

Vicki Nelson has received the call that no daughter ever wants to receive—that her mother has died. Marjory Nelson’s coworkers at the Queen’s University Life Science Department told her that she suffered a heart attack, and that they’d be waiting for Vicki to arrive in Kingston to make the funeral arrangements. But what begins as a personal tragedy turns into the most terrifying case of Vicki’s career, when her mother’s body disappears mysteriously from the funeral home. Someone at the University is determined to learn the secret of life after death…and they’ve decided to make Vicki’s mother part of their horrifying experiments.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780756408497
Publisher: DAW
Publication date: 06/03/2014
Series: Blood Books Series , #4
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 679,294
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Tanya Huff may have left Nova Scotia at three, and has lived most of her life since in Ontario, but she still considers herself a Maritimer. On the way to the idyllic rural existence she shares with her partner Fiona Patton, six cats, and a chihuahua, she acquired a degree in Radio and Television Arts from Ryerson Polytechnic—an education she was happy to finally use while writing her recent Smoke novels. Of her previous twenty-three books, the five—Blood Price, Blood Trail, Blood Lines, Blood Pact, Blood Debt—featuring Henry Fitzroy, bastard son of Henry VIII, romance writer, and vampire are among the most popular.

Read an Excerpt

ONE
 
 
“MRS. SIMMONS? IT’S VICKI Nelson calling; the private investigator from Toronto?” She paused and considered how best to present the information. Oh, what the hell . . . “We’ve found your husband.”
 
 
“Is he . . . alive?”
 
 
“Yes, ma’am, very much so. He’s working as an insurance adjuster under the name Tom O’Conner.”
 
 
“Don always works in insurance.”
 
 
“Yes, ma’am, that’s how we found him. I’ve just sent you a package, by courier, containing a copy of everything we’ve discovered including a number of recent photographs—you should receive it before noon tomorrow. The moment you call me with a positive ID, I’ll take the information to the police and they can pick him up.”
 
 
“The police thought they found him once before—in Vancouver—but when they went to pick him up he was gone.”
 
 
“Well, he’ll be there this time.” Vicki leaned back in her chair, shoved her free hand up under the bottom edge of her glasses and scrubbed at her eyes. In eight years with the Metropolitan Toronto Police and nearly two years out on her own, she’d seen some real SOBs; Simmons/O’Conner ranked right up there with the best of them. Anyone who faked his own death in order to ditch a wife and five kids deserved exactly what he got. “My partner’s going to talk to him tonight. I think your husband will decide to stay right where he is.”
 
 
 
The bar was noisy and smoky, with tables too small to be useful and chairs too stylized to be comfortable. The beer was overpriced, the liquor over-iced, and the menu a tarted-up mix of at least three kinds of quasi-ethnic cooking plus the usual grease and carbohydrates. The staff were all young, attractive, and interchangeable. The clientele were a little older, not quite so attractive although they tried desperately hard to camouflage it, and just as faceless. It was, for the moment, the premier poser bar in the city and all the wannabes in Toronto shoehorned themselves through its doors on Friday night.
 
 
Henry Fitzroy paused just past the threshold and scanned the crowd through narrowed eyes. The smell of so many bodies crammed together, the sound of so many heartbeats pounding in time to the music blasting out of half a dozen suspended speakers, the feel of so many lives in so little space pulled the Hunger up and threatened to turn it loose. Fastidiousness more than willpower held it in check. In over four and a half centuries, Henry had never seen so many people working so hard and so futilely at having a good time.
 
 
It was the kind of place he wouldn’t be caught dead in under normal circumstances, but tonight he was hunting and this was where his quarry had gone to ground. The crowd parted as he moved away from the door, and eddies of whispered speculation followed in his wake.
 
 
“Who does he think he is . . .”
 
 
“. . . I’m telling you, he’s somebody . . .”
 
 
Henry Fitzroy, bastard son of Henry VIII, one time Duke of Richmond and Somerset, Lord President of the Council of the North, noted, with an inward sigh, that some things never changed. He sat down at the bar—the young man who had been on the stool having vacated it as Henry approached—and waved the bartender away.
 
 
To his right, an attractive young woman raised one ebony brow in obvious invitation. Although his gaze dropped to the pulse that beat in the ivory column of her throat and almost involuntarily traced the vein until it disappeared beneath the soft drape of magenta silk clinging to shoulders and breasts, he regretfully, silently, declined. She acknowledged both his glance and his refusal, then turned to more receptive game. Henry hid a smile. He wasn’t the only hunter abroad tonight.
 
 
To his left, a wide back in a charcoal gray suit made up most of the view. The hair above the suit had been artfully styled to hide the thinning patches just as the suit itself had been cut to cover the areas that a fortieth birthday had thickened. Henry reached out and tapped lightly on one wool-clad shoulder.
 
 
The wearer of the suit turned, saw no one he knew, and began to scowl. Then he fell into the depths of a pair of hazel eyes, much darker than hazel eyes should have been, much deeper than mortal eyes could be.
 
 
“We need to have a talk, Mr. O’Conner.”
 
 
It would have taken a much stronger man to look away.
 
 
“In fact, I think you’d better come with me.” A thin sheen of sweat greased the other man’s forehead. “This is just a little too public for what I plan to . . .” Slightly elongated canines became visible for an instant between parted lips. “. . . discuss.”
 
 
 
“And?”
 
 
Henry stood at the window, one hand flat against the cool glass. Although he seemed to be looking down at the lights of the city, he was actually watching the reflection of the woman seated on the couch behind him. “And what?”
 
 
“Henry, stop being an undead pain in the ass. Did you convince Mr. O’Conner/Simmons to stay put until the police arrive?”
 
 
He loved to watch her; loved to watch emotions play across her face, loved to watch her move, loved to watch her in repose. Loved her. But as that was a topic not to be discussed, all he said was, “Yes.”
 
 
“Good. I hope you scared the living shit out of him while you were at it.”
 
 
“Vicki.” He turned, arms crossed on his chest, and frowned in what was only partially mock disapproval. “I am not your personal bogeyman, to be pulled out of the closet every time you think someone needs to have the fear of God . . .”
 
 
Vicki snorted. “Think highly of yourself, don’t you?”
 
 
“. . . put into them,” he continued, ignoring the interruption.
 
 
“Have I ever treated you like my ‘personal bogeyman’?” She raised a hand to cut off his immediate reply. “Be honest. You have certain skills, just like I have certain skills, and when I think it’s necessary, I use them. Besides,” she pushed her glasses back into place on the bridge of her nose, “you said you wanted to be more involved in my business. Help out with more cases now that you’ve handed in Purple Passion’s Pinnacle and aren’t due to start another romantic masterpiece until next month.”
 
 
“Love Labors On.” Henry saw no reason to be ashamed of writing historical romances; it paid well and he was good at it. He doubted, however, that Vicki had ever read one. She wasn’t the type to enjoy, or even desire, escape through fiction. “Tonight—it wasn’t what I had in mind when I said I wanted to be more involved.”
 
 
“Henry, it’s been over a year.” She sounded amused. “You should know by now that most private investigating consists of days and days of boring, tedious research. Thrilling and exciting life- threatening situations are few and far between.”
 
 
Henry raised one red-gold brow.
 
 
Vicki looked a little sheepish. “Look, it’s not my fault people keep trying to kill me. And you. And anyway, you know those were the exceptions that prove the rule.” She straightened, tucking one sneakered foot up under her butt. “Tonight, I needed to convince a sleazebag—who deserved to be terrified after what he put his wife and kids through—to stay put until the police arrive. Tonight, I needed you. Henry Fitzroy, vampire. No one else could’ve done it.”
 
 
Upon reflection, he was willing to grant her that no one else could have done the job as well although a couple of burly mortals and fifty feet of rope would have had the same general effect. “You really didn’t like him, did you?”
 
 
“No. I didn’t.” Her lip curled. “It’s one thing to walk out on your responsibilities, but it takes a special kind of asshole to do it in such a way that everyone thinks he’s dead. They mourned him, Henry. Cried for him. And the son of a bitch was off building a new life, fancy- free, while they were bringing flowers, every Saturday, to an empty grave. If he hadn’t gotten into the background of that national news report, they’d still be crying for him. He owes them. In my book, he owes them big.”
 
 
“Well, then, you’ll be happy to know that I did, as you so inelegantly put it, scare the living shit out of him.”
 
 
“Good.” She loosened her grip on the throw pillow. “Did you . . . uh . . . feed?”
 
 
“Would it matter if I had?” Would she admit it if it mattered. “Blood’s blood, Vicki. And his fear was enough to raise the Hunger.”
 
 
“I know. And I know you feed from others. It’s just . . .” She dragged one hand through her hair, standing it up in dark blonde spikes. “It’s just that . . .”
 
 
“No. I didn’t feed from him.” Her involuntary smile was all he could have asked, so he crossed the room to see it better.
 
 
“You’re probably hungry, then.”
 
 
“Yes.” He took her hand and gently caressed the inner skin of her wrist with his thumb. Her pulse leapt under his touch.
 
 
She tried to stand, but he pushed her back, bent his head, and ran his tongue down the faint blue line of a vein.
 
 
“Henry, if we don’t go soon, I won’t be able to . . .” Her voice faded out as her brain became preoccupied with other things. With a mighty effort, she forced her throat to open and her mouth to work. “We’ll end up staying on the . . . couch.”
 
 
He lifted his mouth long enough to murmur, “So?” and that was the last coherent word either of them spoke for some time.
 
 
 
“Four o’clock in the morning,” Vicki muttered, digging for the keys to her apartment. “Another two hours and I’ll have seen the clock around. Again. Why do I keep doing this to myself?” Her wrist throbbed, as if in answer, and she sighed. “Never mind. Stupid question.”
 
 
Muscles tensed across her back as the door unexpectedly swung fully open. The security chain hung loose, unlocked, arcing back and forth, scraping softly, metal against wood. Holding her breath, she filtered out the ambient noises of the apartment—the sound of the refrigerator motor, a dripping tap, the distant hum of the hydro substation across the street—and noted a faint mechanical whir. It sounded like . . .
 
 
She almost had it when a sudden noise drove off all hope of identification. The horrible crunching, grinding, smashing, continued for about ten seconds, then muted.
 
 
“I’ll grind his bones to make my bread . . .” It was the closest she could come to figuring out what could possibly be happening. And all things considered, I’m not denying the possibility of a literal translation. After demons, werewolves, mummies, not to mention the omnipresent vampire in her life, a Jack-eating giant in her living room was less than impossible no matter how unlikely.
 
 
She shrugged the huge, black leather purse off her shoulder and caught it just before it hit the floor. With the strap wrapped twice around her wrist it made a weapon even a giant would flinch at. Good thing I hung onto that brick . . .
 
 
The sensible thing to do would involve closing the door, trotting to the phone booth on the corner, and calling the cops.
 
 
I am way too tired for this shit. Vicki stepped silently into the apartment. Four in the morning courage. Gotta love it.
 
 
Sliding each foot a centimeter above the floor and placing it back down with exaggerated care, she made her way along the short length of hall and around the corner into the living room, senses straining. Over the last few months she’d started to believe that, while the retinitis pigmentosa had robbed her of any semblance of night sight, sound and smell were beginning to compensate. The proof would be in the pudding; although she knew the streetlight outside the bay window provided a certain amount of illumination in spite of the blinds and the apartment never actually got completely dark, as far as her vision was concerned, she might as well be wearing a padded blindfold.
 
 
Well, not quite a blindfold. Even she couldn’t miss the blob of light that had to be the television flickering silently against the far wall. She stopped, weapon ready, cocked her head, and got a whiff of a well known after-shave mixed with . . . cheese?

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Blood Pact"
by .
Copyright © 2014 Tanya Huff.
Excerpted by permission of DAW.
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.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“An interesting departure from the many vampire books now available. It provides an entertaining and engrossing story for leisure reading.”—Kliatt

“A suspenseful story that deals with the emotional content of the situation rather than the obvious potential for overt horror.”—Science Fiction Chronicle

“Huff has retained her humor along with her horror, her characters have continued to develop, and her plots are quirky and original.”—VOYA

“Explores the borders of death and beyond with an intensity that is only partially lightened by touches of ironic humor. Written with the author’s usual flair for realistic fantasy.” —Library Journal

Customer Reviews

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Blood Pact 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ok, this is the fourth (out of 5) in her series. Blood Pact was better than the 3 before it. They keep getting better, although they aren't the best. Great ending though! When Vicki's mom dies, she goes to take care of funeral etc., but when they look in the coffin, she's not there. Mike and Henry come to her aid (and apparently get along pretty good). Together, they must find out who stole Marjory Nelson's body and why they would do such a thing.
shelterdowns on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Huff built an intricate mythological world out of modern day Toronto and, in its turn, Vancouver. Henry Fitzroy, vampire, is the historical son of Henry the eighth who died at 18. He is short, cute, and ginger-headed, not at all the vampire type. And Vicki, a Toronto ex-cop who was discharged on disability, has no time for him or the stranger beings that come attached to the tail of his sports jacket.
bluesalamanders on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The creepy character in this book is not actually the zombie, but the scientist, or rather, the assitant. The ending makes me cry every time, and was a complete shock the first time I read it. Fantastic.
xicanti on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When Vicki Nelson's mother dies, she finds herself catapulted into the most personal case of her career.This was another strong entry in the series. The relationships between all three characters continue to develop, and the blend of the otherworldly and the real works very well. Huff has also shifted the focus somewhat this time, looking at scientific horrors right alongside her usual fantastical fare. She pulls it off very nicely.However, I didn't find this one quite as entrancing as the previous book, and I'm having a tough time pinpointing the reason. All the ingredients were there, but somehow I was never fully immersed in the story. I think it might be Huff's approach. Despite their marketing as paranormal mysteries, these aren't really guess-along stories. Huff shows us just what her baddies are doing. In past entries in the series, this didn't work against the tension, but I think it does so here. The reader can empathize with Vicki and recognize the horror of the situation, but she already knows exactly what's happened to Vicki's mother. That tension, that desperate need to discover what's happened, is gone. The book is weaker for it.Overall, though, it was an enjoyable. Recommended to fans of vampire/paranormal fiction, but read the rest of the series first so you know where these characters are coming from.
blueceinwen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Easy reading or listening.
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the fourth and strongest of Huff's series. This isn't the last, there's one more, Blood Debt, but this feels like the series conclusion with the last an afterthought. Like many works of urban fantasy, this involves a tough heroine who moves in a supernatural world. However, unlike characters such as LK Hamilton's Anita Blake or Harris' Sookie Stackhouse, the central character of this series, Vicki Nelson not only isn't superpowered--she's handicapped--losing her sight, forcing her to leave the police force. She makes a living now as a private investigator--helped by Mike Celluci, who is still on the Toronto police force. Oh, and Henry Fitzroy, who happens to be a 450 year old vampire--and based on a real historical figure, Henry VIII's illegitimate son.Otherwise Henry is along fairly traditional vampire lines. Super-strong, nearly unaging, needs to feed on human blood, sleeps during the day. No sparkle, no animal to call or mysterious sexual powers, but one of the good guys rather than a monster. And he's solitary because of a vampiric territorial imperative, so there's no vampire society to play off of. So the appeal of the series is more the relationship and romantic triangle as Mike and Henry vie for Vicki's affections and their various adventures dealing with the supernatural. The first book involved demons, the second werewolves, the third mummies--and now in this book it's zombies--with a Frankenstein twist. The personal stakes in this one are high for Vicki. Towards the beginning of the book Vicki learns her mother died. And when a friend of her mother wants one last look and they open the casket at the viewing, they find someone has stolen the body. I felt tremendous sympathy for Vicki in this book. She can come across as abrasive, and she's so stubbornly independent it nears recklessness at times. In the book before this one I was finding myself not liking her much. She gains a lot of ground back in this book, not only because we learn things about her that make her more understandable, but Huff portrays the whole process of grief and loss so well I found myself very much identifying with her and her loss. Of all the blood books, this was the one that was the most moving.Although I agree with those reviewers who devoutly wished that Vicki would get her glasses better fitted and that someone would cut off Mike's curl before we have to hear about it one more time...
TheDivineOomba on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I like the series. There are better Vampire series out there, but the characters here are solid. Henry, Victoria, Mike are all real. I'm not sure if I like Victoria, but she is definitely a gutsy character. I wouldn't start with this book in the series. It feels very much like Tanya Huff intended to finish the series with this one.
debbieaheaton on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In Huff¿s fantasy novel, private investigator Vicki Nelson receives the call no daughter ever wants to get, the call reporting her mother¿s death. Cause of death is a heart attack and Mrs. Nelson¿s coworker stands by while Vicki plans the funeral. What started out as a painful personal tragedy quickly turns into the most terrifying case of Vicki¿s paranormal career. When Marjory Nelson¿s body mysteriously disappears from the funeral home, Vicki, vampire friend Henry Fitzroy, and Detective Mike Celluci realize there was something unnatural about her mother¿s death. Swearing she¿ll find the culprit, Vicki is determined to lay her mother to rest. What Vicki hadn¿t banked on was that someone at Queen¿s University, her mother¿s place of employment, was determined to keep Mrs. Nelson on the job¿eternally.A suspenseful story that deals with a lot of emotional content, and concludes with a real surprise for fans of the series.
HuntressReviews More than 1 year ago
Vicki Nelson, Private Investigator, is having a difficult time dealing with the men in her life. During the day there is Mike Celluci, a Detective-Sergeant with the Metropolitan Toronto Police Department. During the night there is Henry Fitzroy, the vampire who had once been a prince, a duke, an earl, and a Knight of the Garter. Normally Vicki answers her mother’s phones calls; even when she dreads to. Then comes the night that Vicki has had more than enough drama for one day. When Marjory calls at the worst time possible, Vicki simply cannot deal with listening to her mother too. So for once, Vicki does not answer the phone. This means the guilt hits Vicki hard the next morning, when she is informed that Marjory has died. Vicki travels to Kingston without telling Mike or Henry anything. Of course, when the two figure out where Vicki went and why, they follow. To offer comfort, if nothing else. Vicki’s guilty conscious keeps her dry-eyed as she moves through the necessary process of dealing with her mother’s funeral and estate. When Vicki opens the casket to find Marjory’s body missing, Vicki is livid! Vicki shuts everything out of her life except the need to find the person or persons who had taken her mother’s body. The next time Vicki sees her mother body, it is standing at a window looking in at Vicki. The body is dead. But part of Marjory is trapped within. Before Vicki can get outside, the body snatchers had already grabbed Marjory and left. Someone is responsible for turning her mother into Frankenstein’s monster. More than likely, the culprits are from the university. And Vicki will not stop until she finds out who is responsible and can finally put her mother to rest. **** FOUR STARS! This episode Vicki has to deal with mad scientists trying to reverse death. The story has the equivalent, or flavor, of the book/movie titled Frankenstein. For all those who have been waiting for Vicki to – finally – be Changed, this is the episode where it happens. (It has been obvious from the first story that it would happen eventually.) I will say nothing else about it. **** Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.
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Excellent series, especially if you are a fan of the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Series, and the Sookie Stackhouse Series.
brjunkie More than 1 year ago
Coming soon.
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corrie_s More than 1 year ago
MORE DRAMATIC !
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