The vampire population may have created an economic boom in Alaska, but their altered energy field fries most technology. They rely on hard-livingand short-livedcouriers to get business done...couriers like Sydney Kildare.
Sydney has survived to the ripe old age of twenty-six by being careful. She's careful when navigating her tempestuous clients, outrunning hijackers and avoiding anyone who might distract her from her plan of retiring young to a tropical, vampire-free island.
Her attitudeand immunity to vampires' allurehave made her the target of a faction of vampires trying to reclaim their territory. Her only ally is Malcolm Kelly, a secretive charmer with the uncanny habit of showing up whenever she's in trouble. Caught in the middle of a vampire turf war, Sydney has to count on Malcolm to help her survive, or the only place she'll retire is her grave...
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I was running late. My coat crackled as I took the stairs two at a time, arms pumping, ratty old messenger bag grating at my shoulder and bumping against my hipeach tap a reminder of time ticking down. Visions swam through my mind of a white rabbit in a waistcoat, hopping frantically, his big feet bloodied, his monocle cracked. I was never late.
I shoved through the door to the fourteenth floor of the PetroTech Building at a dead run, grabbing the wall to whip into a turn, then cursed as I almost collided with a big blond man in a leather coat.
"Take it easy," he said, raising something toward my face. Reflexively I slapped it away, then rolled my eyes when it slid across the polished tile. It was a plain brown envelope secured with a red string, totally normal for an office building. The man crouched to pick it up, his eyes still on me, and I shivered despite the fact that I was sweating.
"Sorry," I said, gulping air. "In a hurry."
"So I see." The man picked the envelope up and extended it toward me. "Don't forget this." As if I'd dropped it rather than knocked it out of his hand. I blinked rapidly as pressure built behind my eyes, and my heart found another gear as I did the math. Cold flash plus insidious attempt to influence equaled not human.
"If you knew who this delivery was for," I said, backing away, "you wouldn't be hustling me. Rule number one for surviving your undeath in Alaska is that you don't steal from the Master." I slipped through the glass door announcing the law firm of Deglio, Caravel and Aronofsky in frosted script and came to a hard-breathing, red-faced stop in front of a sleek receptionist with drawn-on eyebrows.
"Delivery. For Mr. Deglio." I looked out the window behind her at the drab view of Cook Inlet, even more dismal in the evening gloom. I had a plan to trade Anchorage and its muddy banks for the sandy beaches of Hawaii. I just needed a little more money, then I could finally be rid of the cold and the dark. The muffled ding of the elevator sounded out in the hall. I refocused on my reflection in the glass and the wavering space behind me. It was empty. My wannabe interceptor had disappeared.
"You may leave it with me." The receptionist's expression soured as she looked me over.
"Sorry." I pulled the clipboard out of my bag and tapped it with authority. "The order says it goes in his hands only." I glanced at my watch. Six fifty-two. When I'd met the pilot at the small plane airport, he'd told me that delivery before 7:00 p.m. was imperative.
The receptionist painted on a thin veneer of patience and opened her mouth to put me in my place. Screw this. I'd broken a couple of traffic laws to get here in twelve minutes. I wasn't about to let an anorexic clerk cheat me out of my bonus.
I turned on my heel and stalked down the hall, ignoring her stage-whispered protests. I'd delivered to Deglio a few times before and knew the layout of the office. He wasn't the sort to come out and greet a courier.
I knocked before I opened the door. Not because I'm polite, or even all that professional, but because I knew what probably waited inside the large corner office. Even though they would know I was there, it was good sense not to burst into a room full of vampires. One of them might take it as an excuse to exercise their fangs.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I received an ecopy of this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion. I don't often read short stories because they usually don't have enough meat in them due to their short length to leave me feeling satisfied. I find that the story line doesn't have time to develop, and there's barely enough time to get to know the characters. I am very happy to say that this was not true in this case! Although it was definitely a quick read, it had a great plot and I felt there was real character development. From Goodreads: "Sydney has survived to the ripe old age of twenty-six by being careful. She's careful when navigating her tempestuous clients, outrunning hijackers and avoiding anyone who might distract her from her plan of retiring young to a tropical, vampire-free island." Sydney is counting down the days to her retirement, even though she is only 26 years old, because she will finally be able to move to Hawaii, a place that vampires tend to avoid like the plague due to all the sunshine there. She just has to keep her head down and go unnoticed for a couple more weeks and she will be home free. Unfortunately, fate has a different plan for her! She finds herself in the middle of a vamp takeover attempt where she'll be lucky to get out alive. Enter Malcolm Kelly, "a secretive charmer with the uncanny habit of showing up whenever she's in trouble." This book is chock-full of action and romance, all tied up in a neat little novella package. It grabs your attention from the first page and doesn't let up until the end! It's also a very nice set up to what appears to be a great new series coming out, and I, for one, will be waiting impatiently for the first book to come out! Sydney and Malcolm are well fleshed out characters and very easy to like and root for. In summary, this is a great quick read that I can definitely recommend to all paranormal romance lovers out there, and an awesome set up to a new series :D
Grabs your interest, holds it -- tightly in many places, too loosely in a couple -- squeezes in a few sharp turns, and skids to a stop with the motor still revving, ready to burn into the next installment. At least I hope so. A mostly compelling novella-length effort that introduces a pair of characters who deserve fuller development and even greater adventure in subsequent books. Aside from the interesting premise that vampires have established residence in our dimension and have decided to live (more or less) among us, acquiring great economic and social influence to date, the physical events do not require suspension of disbelief. They could occur...mostly. Their believable environment makes the principals more inviting than they might be, and makes the reader more anxious to see what comes next. More Romance -- undoubtedly. Greater Travail -- surely. Exotic Locales -- better be. I, for one, am looking forward to it.