Dead Sexy

Dead Sexy

by Amanda Ashley

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Overview

Dead Sexy by Amanda Ashley

In The Still Of The Night

The city is in a panic. In the still of the night, a vicious killer is leaving a trail of mutilated bodies drained of blood. A chilling M.O. that puts ex-vampire hunter Regan Delaney on the case, her gun clip packed with silver bullets, her instincts edgy. But the victims are both human and Undead, and the clues are as confusing as the vampire who may be her best ally--she hopes. . .

Master of the City, Joaquin Santiago radiates supernatural power like heat from a blast furnace, but he's never met a creature like Regan Delaney. She intrigues him, fires his hunger, and unleashes his desire, but before he can enter her world, or she his, they must confront a vicious, elusive killer who is an enemy even to his own. . .

"Sexy, fast-paced, gritty, this is Amanda Ashley at her best! A must read!" --Ronda Thompson

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781420129137
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 02/01/2007
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 219,646
File size: 610 KB

About the Author

Amanda Ashley is one of those rare birds—a California native. She's lived in Southern California her whole life and, except for the earthquakes, she loves it. She shares a home with her husband, as well as an adorable Pomeranian named Lady, a wild house sparrow named Tweety, and a tortoise who remains nameless. Amanda and her alter ego, Madeline, have written 60 books. Not bad for someone who started writing just for the fun of it. Her books have made the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists. You can learn more about Amanda and her books at AmandaAshley.com.

Read an Excerpt

Dead Sexy


By Amanda Ashley

Kensington Publishing Corp.

Copyright © 2007 Madeline Baker
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-8217-7834-X


Chapter One

They called it You Bet Your Life Park, because that's what you were doing if you lingered inside the park after sundown, betting your life that you'd get out again. It had been a nice quiet neighborhood once upon a time, and it still was, during the day. Modern, high-rise condos enclosed the park on three sides. Visitors to the city often remarked on the fact that most of the buildings didn't have any windows. A large outdoor pool was located in the middle of the park. The local kids went swimming there in the summertime. There was also a pizza parlor, a video game arcade, and a couple of small stores that sold groceries, ice, and gas to those who had need of such things.

Large signs were posted at regular intervals throughout the park warning visitors to vacate the premises well before sunset. Smart people paid attention to the signs. Dumb ones were rarely heard from again, because the condos and apartments that encompassed You Bet Your Life Park were a sanctuary for the Undead. A supernaturally charged force field surrounded the outer perimeter of the apartment complex and the park, thereby preventing the vampires from leaving the area and wandering through the city.

Regan Delaney didn't have any idea how the force field worked or what it was made of. All she knew was that it kept the vamps inside but had no negative effect on humans. It was against the law to destroyvampires these days, unless you found one outside the park, but the force field made that impossible. Any vampire who wished to leave the park and move to a protected area in another part of the country had to apply for a permit and be transported, by day, by a company equipped to handle that kind of thing. What Regan found the hardest to accept was that vampires were now considered an endangered species, like tigers, elephants, and marine turtles, and as such, they had to be protected from human predators. The very thought was ludicrous!

It hadn't always been so, of course. In her grandfather's day, vampires had been looked upon as vermin, the scum of the earth. Bounties had been placed on them and they had been hunted ruthlessly. Many of the known vampires had been destroyed. Then, about five years ago, the bleeding hearts had started crying about how sad it was to kill all those poor misunderstood creatures of the night. After all, the bleeding hearts argued, even vampires had rights. Besides, they were also human beings and deserved to be treated with respect. To Regan's astonishment, sympathy for the vampires had grown and vampires had been given immunity, of a sort, and put into protective custody in places like You Bet Your Life Park. And since the Undead could no longer hunt in the city, the law had decided to put the vampires to good use. For a brief period of time, criminals sentenced to death had been given to the vampires.

The thought still made Regan cringe. Though she had no love for murderers, rapists, or child molesters, she couldn't, in good conscience, condone throwing them to the vamps. She didn't have to worry for long. In less than a year, the same bleeding-heart liberals who had felt sorry for the poor, misunderstood vampires began feeling sorry for the poor unfortunate criminals who had become their prey, and so a new law had been passed and criminals were again disposed of more humanely, by lethal injection.

Unfortunately, the new law had left the Undead with no ready food supply. In order to appease their hunger and keep them from killing each other, blood banks had agreed to donate whole blood to the vampire community until synthetic plasma could be developed. In a few months, Locke Pharmaceuticals invented something called Synthetic Type O that was reported to taste and smell the same as the real thing. A variety of blood types soon followed, though Type O remained the most popular.

Taking a deep breath, Regan shook off thoughts of the past and stared at the lifeless body sprawled at her feet. Apparently, one of the vampires had tired of surviving on Synthetic Type O. She felt a wave of pity for the dead man. In life, he had been a middle-aged man with sandy brown hair and a trim mustache. He might even have been handsome. Now his face was set in a rictus of horror. His heart, throat, and liver had been savagely ripped away, and there wasn't enough blood left in his body to fill an eyedropper. The corpse had been found under a bush by a couple who had been leaving the Park just before sunset. From the looks of it, the victim had been killed the night before.

"Hey, Reggie."

Regan looked away from the body and into the deep gray eyes of Sergeant Michael Flynn. Flynn was a good cop, honest, hardworking, and straightforward, a rarity in this day and age. He was a handsome man in his mid-thirties, with a shock of dark red hair and a dimple in his left cheek. She had gone out on a number of dates with Mike in the last few months. He was fun to be with and she enjoyed his company. She knew Mike was eager to take their relationship to the next level, but she wasn't ready for that, not yet. She cared for him. She admired him. She loved him, but she wasn't in love with him. It was because he was the best friend she had in the city that she didn't want to complicate their friendship, or worse, jeopardize it, by going to bed with him. She had seen it happen all too often, a perfectly good friendship ruined when two people decided to sleep together.

"So," Flynn said, "definitely a vampire kill, right?"

"Looks that way," Regan agreed, but she wasn't sure. She had seen vampire kills before. The complete lack of blood pointed to a vampire, but the fact that the victim's heart, throat, and liver had been ripped out disturbed her. She had never known a vampire to take anything but blood from its prey.

"So, you about through here?" Flynn asked.

"What? Oh, sure." She wasn't a cop and she had no real authority on the scene, but in the past, whenever the department received a call about a suspected vampire killing, they had asked her to come out and take a look. She had been a vampire hunter in those days, and a darn good one, but that had been back in the good old days, before vampires became "protected" and put her out of a job. Fortunately, she had a tidy little inheritance from her grandfather, though it wouldn't last much longer if she didn't find another job soon.

"I'll call you next week," Flynn said with a wink.

Regan nodded, then moved away from the scene so the forensic boys could get to work. It gave her an edgy feeling, being in the park after the sun went down, though she supposed there were enough cops in the area to keep her reasonably safe from the monsters. At any rate, it felt good to be part of a criminal investigation again, good to feel needed. Still, she couldn't help feeling guilty that she would be out of work in a heartbeat as soon as they caught the killer.

She remembered the first time the department had requested her expertise. Even now, years later, the thought made her wince with embarrassment. After all the classes she had taken at the Police Academy, she had been convinced she was prepared for anything, but no amount of training could have prepared her for the reality of seeing that first fresh vampire kill. At the Academy, the bodies had been dummies and, while they had been realistic, they hadn't come close to the real thing. Regan had turned away and covered her mouth, trying in vain to keep her dinner down. It had been Michael who had come to her aid, who had offered her a handkerchief and assured her that it happened to everyone sooner or later. They had been friends from that night forward.

Now, she stood in the shadows, watching two men wearing masks and gloves slip the body into a black plastic bag for the trip to the morgue while the forensic team tagged and bagged possible evidence from the scene. Maybe they would get lucky downtown, but she didn't think so. She had a hunch that whoever had perpetrated the crime knew exactly what he was doing and that whatever evidence he had left behind, if any, would be useless.

Regan watched the ambulance pull away from the curb. Once the body had been thoroughly examined, the medical examiner would take the necessary steps to ensure that the corpse didn't rise as a new vampire tomorrow night. She didn't envy him the job, but if there was one thing the city didn't need, it was another vampire.

Regan was jotting down a few notes when she felt a shiver run down her spine. Not the "gee, it's cold outside" kind of shiver but the "you'd better be careful, there's a monster close by" kind.

Making a slow turn, she peered into the darkness as every instinct for self-preservation that she possessed screamed a warning.

If he hadn't moved, she never would have seen him.

He emerged from the shadowy darkness on cat-silent feet. "Do not be afraid," he said. "I mean you no harm."

His voice was like thick molasses covered in dark chocolate, so deep and sinfully rich, she could feel herself gaining weight just listening to him speak.

"Right." She slipped her hand into the pocket of her jacket, her fingers curling around the trigger of a snub-nosed pistol. She never left home without it. The gun was loaded with five silver bullets that had been dipped in holy water. The hammer rested on an empty chamber. "That's why you're sneaking up on me."

The corner of his sensual mouth lifted in a lazy half-smile. "If I wanted you dead, my lovely one, you would be dead."

Regan believed him. He spoke with the kind of calm assurance that left no room for doubt.

Joaquin Santiago moved toward her like a sleek black panther on the trail of fresh game. Supernatural power radiated from him like heat from a blast furnace. He was tall and well-muscled, with broad shoulders, strong arms, and long, long legs. In movies, vampires were usually depicted as pale and gaunt, with stringy hair and long fingernails, but there was nothing pale or gaunt about Santiago. His dusky skin and the contours of his face proudly proclaimed his Spanish and Native America heritage. He wore snug black trousers, a black silk shirt, a long black coat reminiscent of the kind cowboys had worn in the Old West, and a pair of supple black leather boots.

He looked like the angel of death come to call.

Regan took a deep breath. "Do you know who killed that man?" she asked, pleased when her voice didn't tremble. Even though she had never met Joaquin Santiago before tonight, she knew who he was. He wasn't your garden-variety vampire. Before the local Undead had been confined to You Bet Your Life Park, Santiago had been the undisputed master of the city, feared by vampires and humans alike. In person, he more than lived up to the hype that surrounded him.

"No." His answer was clipped and final.

"Well, somebody killed him, and all the outward signs point to one of your kind."

"My kind?" He lifted one black brow in an elegant gesture of disdain. "What kind would that be?"

Regan laughed. "A vampire, of course."

He shook his head. "Our kills are not so ..." His gaze lingered briefly on her throat. "Messy."

She looked up at him, careful not to meet his eyes-dark blue eyes that were vibrant and direct and glowed faintly, even in the dark. Eyes that could hypnotize with a glance.

She lifted her chin a notch. "I don't know anyone else around here who would kill a man and drink him dry, do you?"

A muscle throbbed in Joaquin Santiago's jaw.

Score one for me, Regan thought with an inner smile of satisfaction.

She tried not to stare at him, but it was difficult. He was easily the most handsome individual, man or vampire, she had ever seen. Of course, all vampires, male and female, seemed to be beautiful. It was part of their preternatural allure, but she was willing to bet that this man had been drop-dead gorgeous even before the Dark Trick had been worked upon him. Though he looked to be in his early thirties, she knew he was an old vampire, perhaps ancient. Only the old ones possessed that eerie stillness.

"This is the fourth death in the last three weeks," he remarked.

"The fourth?" She hadn't been aware there had been others.

He nodded, once, curtly.

"Were the police notified?"

"No."

"No?" she exclaimed, her voice rising with her temper. "Why not?"

"We do not need any more bad publicity."

"Publicity? Three people were killed that no one knows about, and you were worried about a little bad publicity?" She shook her head, then took a deep, calming breath. "What happened to the other bodies?"

"They were disposed of."

"Did their remains look like the one found tonight?"

Again, that precise nod.

"The murders should have been reported."

He shrugged, a graceful movement of one muscular shoulder. "The victims would be just as dead."

She couldn't argue with that. Still. "Their families need to know what happened to them."

"I fear I cannot help you. We did not check their identification."

He talked of their deaths so calmly, as if those who had been killed were of no consequence. Feeling suddenly chilled, Regan wrapped her arms around her body. Three people had died violently and their loved ones would never know what happened to them. They would be listed as missing persons, their families left to forever wonder what had become of them. It wasn't right, and there was nothing she could do about it.

"Would you like to go to Sardino's for a drink?" he asked. "You look like you could use something to warm you."

Sardino's was a restaurant located on the southeast corner of the Park. It catered to humans during the day and the Undead after dark. The restaurant had long been considered neutral territory, a place where daring humans and curious vampires could mingle without fear, if they so desired. The restaurant had two doors-one you could enter from the park and one exclusively for humans that could be accessed directly from the safety of the street beyond the park's barrier. Out of curiosity, Regan had visited Sardino's once, soon after she graduated from the Academy, but it had been too weird, seeing vampires and humans sitting together like old friends, and she had never gone back.

"I don't think so," she said. The thought of sharing a booth with him while he drank a glass of warm Synthetic Type O wasn't the least bit appealing. Besides, she was supposed to hunt and destroy vampires, not have cocktails with them.

He laughed softly. "Afraid to be seen with me, Miss ..." His gaze moved to the badge pinned to the lapel of her jacket. "Miss Delaney." There was an unspoken challenge in the depths of his midnight blue eyes.

She was afraid; afraid of the effect he had on her senses, afraid of that air of male supremacy that rolled off him in waves, but she would have chewed her tongue off and swallowed it whole before she would have admitted it. She had encountered vampires before, but never one this old, or this powerful.

She was still trying to think of a suitable reply when, without a word, he was gone.

Regan glanced around, surprised to find that everyone else was gone, as well, and that she was alone in the park. Though every instinct she possessed urged her to run from the place just as fast as she could, she turned and walked sedately toward the street where she had left her car. One of the first things she had learned was that showing fear in front of a vampire, or any predator for that matter, was never a good idea.

Regan slipped her hand into her jacket pocket. She was a hunter. She was supposed to be brave. Her finger curled around the trigger. Why had she parked so far away?

She was still a good distance from the curb when she realized someone was watching her from the darkness. She glanced casually over her shoulder, expecting to see hell-red eyes staring back at her. There was no one there, but she knew she wasn't alone. Someone was following her. She heard faint, mocking laughter off to her left and she veered to the right. Fingers of cold sweat trickled down her spine.

The sense of being followed grew stronger, the eerie laughter grew louder, and suddenly she was running. If anyone saw her and thought she was afraid, well, she would just have to live with it, because they were right.

Dead right.

She had almost reached the edge of the park when, without warning, she slammed into someone. She would have screamed, only terror froze the sound in her throat. At any rate, there was no one left in the part to come to her aid.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Dead Sexy by Amanda Ashley Copyright © 2007 by Madeline Baker. 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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Dead Sexy 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great book by a great a great author. Really captures your attention.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the story about Regan who is changed from mortal to werewolf to vampire and the vampire Joaquin who loves her thru it all. Regan and Joaquin were completely believable characters. This romance book had a wonderful storyline. It kept my interest. If you like a book where the hero is brutal to his enemies yet gentle with the woman he loves, than this book is for you. Don't look for sex right away, these characters actually hold off for a while, building anticipation without being boring. /s/Avid paranormal reader
harstan More than 1 year ago
Every since the Endangered Vampire Act was passed, it is illegal to kill a vampire this law caused slayer Regan Delaney to become unemployed. The creatures of the night are confined to areas like You Bet Your Life park that contains condos, shops, and a supernaturally charged force field that keep vampires within. Synthetic blood satiates the hunger, but Joaquin Santiago, former master of the city, can cross the barrier and drink the real thing not this blood lite without killing his prey.-------------------- Regan is sent to the park to investigate what looks like a vampire kill, but she has some doubts because the victim¿s heart, liver and throat were ripped from his body. Joaquin tells her he believes a werewolf is the predator an enemy who murdered his wife furthermore they will attack one another until one is eradicated. Regan is caught in their crosshairs (teeth?) and gets bit by Vasile turning her into a werewolf. She can revert back by killing her ¿mentor¿, something that Joaquin has tried and failed at for centuries.---------------- Whether she is a mortal or a werewolf, Joaquin bares his heart to Regan, who rejects him initially, but soon notices how kind and gentle he is so she cannot help but return his feelings. Both are strong willed people who understand they must first deal with Vante. Amanda Ashley has written a pulse thumping supernatural thriller that keep readers attention with a burning need to know what happens next.----------------- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Moca is waiting in result 16 for you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im heer
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Walks in naked, with his cock exposed.. "is anyone here? Or is this an empty sex club?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No hes not. Do u wanna pick up where we were or not?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dam gurl u finee
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