Ecstasy in Darkness (Alien Huntress Series #5)

Ecstasy in Darkness (Alien Huntress Series #5)

by Gena Showalter

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New York Times
bestselling sensation Gena Showalter enthralls with a dark, tantalizing world of humans, otherworlders, powers beyond imagining, and a seductive vampire undone by his insatiable hunger for one woman. . . .

Growing up poor on New Chicago’s meanest streets, Ava Sans had two options: be the predator or be the prey. No contest. Now, working for Alien Investigation and Removal, she’s been ordered to capture the biggest, baddest warrior of all—a vampire too beautiful to be real, with the abilityto manipulate time. Once the leader of the entire vampire army, McKell has been deemed savage and unstable, spurned even by his own kind.

To McKell, humans should be nothing more than sustenance. Yet the petite, golden-skinned Ava is a fascinating contradiction—vicious yet witty, strong yet vulnerable, lethal but fiercely loyal. Against his better judgment, McKell craves that loyalty, and much more. When the chase leads to seduction, McKell and Ava will race to discover the truth about his past. But the answers will come at a price, even for a woman who thought she had nothing left to lose. . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781439175774
Publisher: Pocket Star
Publication date: 10/26/2010
Series: Alien Huntress Series , #5
Edition description: Original
Pages: 512
Sales rank: 416,000
Product dimensions: 4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of more than fifty novels and multiple series, including the spellbinding Otherworld Assassins, Alien Huntress, and Lords of the Underworld series, her wildly popular young adult novels—Firstlife and Alice in Zombieland—and the highly addictive Original Heartbreakers series. Visit her at and

Read an Excerpt


And I thought you were rough. Those girls are …” Dallas Gutierrez shuddered. “What’s way worse than rough? ‘Cause that’s what they are.”

“What, exactly, are you trying to say?” Mia Snow leaned away from her desk, crossed her arms, and peered at the gorgeous man across from her. Perfectly tanned skin, perfectly symmetrical features—or so he liked to brag—and the perfectly formed body of an underwear model. Lean, yet sculpted with muscle. All that perfection aside, he was an absolute pain in her ass. “And by the way, I’m not rough.”

“Perfect” ice blue eyes rolled. “You once kneed me in the balls and asked me how they tasted. Just to say hi. You’re rough.”

She had, hadn’t she? Memories were fun. “Why are you complaining? There were no complications during your testicle retrieval operation. So, anyway, what’d they do this time?”

They. Best friends. AIR—Alien Investigation and Removal—trainees Ava Sans and Noelle Tremain.

Dallas tangled a hand through that thick, dark mane of his, looking like a lost little puppy rather than the stone-cold killer he was. “Get this. I took all ten of the advanced placement trainees on an assignment last night. Call came in, you see. Was told a predatory otherworlder was picking on humans at a bar. The fine group of boys and girls I took was just supposed to observe as I threw my pimp hand around, bitch slapping as necessary, and calming things down.”

Okay. What had happened to the morose, utterly annoying Dallas of the past few months? The one who whined and complained about, well, everything? There’s a smoking-hot alien queen who wants to screw me, but I can’t encourage her because her partners always turn into cannibals, whaa, whaa, whaa. My best friend Devyn married his vampire lover so I don’t have anyone to play with, whaa, whaa, whaa. I’m your husband’s blood slave, whaa, whaa, fucking whaa. If she heard that last one more time, she was going to make him taste his balls again.

He was alive, wasn’t he? He had cool new powers like mind control and superspeed, didn’t he? Kyrin, her too-sexy-for-words husband, had saved Dallas’s ass by sharing his Arcadian blood—and was now training Dallas’s ass. Dallas should have been this happy all along.

But at least the old, everything-is-a-joke Dallas was making an appearance today, she thought, rather than the new I-want-to-slash-my-wrists Dallas. Courtesy of Ava and Noelle, a two-woman Apocalypse? She’d have to send the girls a fruit basket. Or maybe something they could actually use, like a fire and brimstone basket.

“Continue,” Mia said with an imperial wave of her hand.

Dallas nodded, a bit disappointed. Probably because she hadn’t complimented his bitch-slapping abilities. Baby. “The otherworlder refused to calm vdown, said the humans told his woman she hadn’t just been hit with the ugly stick but the entire tree had fallen on her, and the assholes owed her an apology. The humans, of course, told me they’d only spoken the truth and that I should arrest the bastard alien for harassing them about it.”

“Which you didn’t.” Even though the arrest would have been standard protocol. But Mia was head of AIR now—three cheers for her boss deciding to retire early!—and was in the process of making a few changes. No longer would aliens be arrested for defending themselves or demanding respect for their race.

Secretly part otherworlder herself, she was flat-out done with prejudice. And now that Kyrin’s blood flowed through Dallas’s veins—again secretly—Dallas thankfully was, too.

“Nope. I didn’t,” her second-in-command confirmed with the slightest hint of relish. “Anyway, while I was apologizing to the otherworlder for all humans and their idiot tongues, Ava and Noelle went Death Match on the assholes in question. Now, I didn’t see who started it, you understand, just heard a commotion and turned around. By that time the humans, who were both big, burly males, were unconscious and bleeding on the ground, and Ava and Noelle were grinning and banging their fists together in a job well done.”

Mia cut back a moan. Changes, good. High incident rate, bad. There was going to be hell—and apparently hospital bills—to pay for that Death Match. Not just for the males, but for herself. ‘Cause yeah, top brass would rip into her until she begged for mercy. Which meant they would pretty much rip into her until she bled to death, because she never begged for anything. Well, except when Kyrin got her into bed.

Three boos for her boss deciding to retire early. Had he stayed, this would have been his problem.

“So what’d the girls say when you asked about the carnage?”

“Ava said her hand accidentally slipped and made contact with her guy’s nose. I said, Repeatedly? And she said, ‘Uh, yeah. I’m really clumsy.’ And Noelle said her guy was trying to escape, so she took him down like we’d trained her. And oh, we shouldn’t worry about the gaping wound in his neck because he probably had that before he entered the bar.”

First, how was Noelle such a hardass? The girl was Jaxon Tremain’s cousin, and Jaxon was one of AIR’s staunchest rule followers. Not to mention, both were richer than Kyrin, who was richer than God. Noelle had been raised in a mansion, for all that was holy, her every need attended to by servants. She should be delicate.

Jaxon’s wife a bad influence, maybe? After all, Jaxon was married to the meanest female Mia had ever met. A female who was part robot—literally! Mishka actually had a longer kill list than Mia. And while Mia’s list consisted of gunshot and knife wounds, Mishka’s featured acid, thumbtacks, and for the people Robot Girl really hated, spoons.

Nah, Mia thought then. The pair hadn’t been married that long, and Noelle’s first disorderly conduct arrest had happened years ago. Mia knew because she’d studied Tremain’s lengthy file before allowing the overindulged delinquent anywhere near the AIR building.

Now, poor but deceptively sweet-looking Ava, Mia understood. The girl had double the arrests, but then, she’d grown up on New Chicago’s dirtiest streets. Just like Mia had. There, you were predator or prey, and there was no middle ground.

How had the wealthy girl and the impoverished girl hooked up? Jail? And how the hell had they remained friends all these years?

Mia sighed. “So what you’re telling me, Dally, is that it’s time to promote these two heathens.”

Dallas grinned, revealing straight white teeth. He made a production of that grin, reminding her of a curtain rising from a movie screen, an eager crowd desperate for the show to begin. “I don’t know how you do it, Mee, but you always reach the moral of the story without any prompting from me.”

“Because I’m smarter than you. Anyway, they gotta complete a mission on their own before I can officially offer them a place on my team.”

“What do we got on the chopping block? And by the way, I’m smarter than you. My IQ is off the charts, man.”

If the chart only reached fifty, then yeah. No need to tax his poor brain with numbers, though. Silent, she let her head fall against the back of her chair and stared up at the ceiling. They were inside her new office, and she’d had the panels painted blue and white, a replica of the sky, to help with her claustrophobia. This way, she could pretend she was lying on the ground in her spacious backyard with Kyrin resting beside her.

“McKell,” she finally said, thinking of the latest case to hit her desk.

“Ouch,” Dallas said. “Dousing the girls in gasoline and throwing them straight into the fire.”

“I know.”

“Poor McKell, though.”

Poor girls. McKell was a vampire warrior able to stop time in short bursts, do his damage with no one the wiser, then restart the clock, leaving the raging flames of hell in his wake. His own people had kicked him out of their underground world for being “unstable.” The term amused her—the man had slaughtered hundreds of vampires for daring to lock him up for a few days. Unstable? Try psychotic.

AIR wanted to talk to him about his actions. Preferably alive. But no one had been able to bring him in. In fact, Mia had sent three top-of-the-line agents to apprehend him—bastard wasn’t even trying to hide—and he’d sent all three back with severe blood loss, missing fingers, and brain damage. Fine. The agents had been brain damaged before encountering McKell, but then, weren’t all men?

Exhibit A: Dallas.

Maybe Ava and Noelle would have better luck. Besides, it was a scientific fact that females always outperformed males. And who was she to mess with science?

Sure, Jaxon and thereby Mishka would kick up a fit when they heard Little Miss Cousin would be going after a vampire, but Mia didn’t exactly care. Bring on the spoons, bitch. But maybe she’d send the couple on a prolonged vacay, just in case. Plus, it wouldn’t do for Jaxon to give the girls a helping hand. And he would. He wouldn’t be able to help himself, and that would do a lot of damage to their street cred. The girls were moving up the ladder fast, so they had a lot to prove—on their own—or none of the other agents would ever take them seriously.

And if the girls did this, if they brought in the big bad, no one would be able to question Mia’s decision to advance them rather than incarcerate them. Even better, Ava and Noelle might just think hunting and capturing a rabid vampire was a good time.

“Prep them without telling them why they were chosen or what’s at stake, and send them out.” That way, they’d work this case the same way they worked the rest of their cases, without putting on a dog-and-pony show trying to impress her, and Mia could discover just how much determination those “rough” girls possessed.

Dallas snickered.

Mia blinked over at him, confused. “What?”

“You said ‘stake,’ and they’re going after a vampire. Get it? Stake … a vampire? Like in old books and movies.”

She rolled her eyes. “You’re such a child.”

“And you’re a jealous old woman because you didn’t think of it yourself. Said with affection, of course.”

“I’m a year younger than you, jackass. Said with annoyance.”

“Yeah, but you’re only younger physically.”

Brain. Damaged. She liked the morose Dallas better, she decided. “Have you forgotten that you’re wanted by a diseased alien queen, your best friend is busy with his wife, and you’re Kyrin’s blood slave?”

Dallas flipped her off, but his grin never faded.

Maybe she wasn’t on top of her game, because she automatically returned that grin with one of her own.

“You love me, you know you do,” he said confidentially.


“Seriously. You’re like my mom, and I’m like your favorite son. No matter what I do or say, you’ll always think I’m adorable.”

Mia stood and leaned over the desk. She crooked her finger at him as if she had a secret to share. He, too, leaned forward, eager to learn that secret—poor, brain-damaged kid—and she punched him in the nose. “There. Now I’m like the mom who keeps her stupid shithead in line with a firm hand.”

He laughed as blood trickled down his lips and chin. “See. Rough.”

And he thought Ava and Noelle were worse than her? Good. Then by the time those two were done, McKell might just wish he’d decorated himself with bows and walked into AIR headquarters on his own.

© 2010 Gena Showalter

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Ecstasy in Darkness 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 269 reviews.
lovemyebooks More than 1 year ago
i enjoyed this book but it was not one of those that keeps you interested through every page. some of it dragged on and on until i had to skip over it to get to the good parts. starting with this ebook i made the decision that no matter how much i want a ebook that i will not pay 9.99 or higher for it. these prices have gotten way out of hand and i had been contributing to the madness by buying them at those prices. if im going to give that much money for a book it will be one that i can pick up and hold, not an ebook.
jazmyn More than 1 year ago
i love all of gena's books, i love the actions and affection in this book in the middle but i felt that the end was kind of rushed :/ me just being a freak there wasnt alot of romantic scenes, there was more action and growling and them always going at it but i found it cute cuz they always liked each other :) great read
me1SC More than 1 year ago
This next installment was as good as the previous 4. The books flow well from one to the next. I was glad to see Ava mix with her Victor and await when Dallas gets a book of his own. Gena Showalter has a great imagination and I have enjoyed many of her books if not all
harstan More than 1 year ago
In New Chicago Ava Sans is nearing the end of her training at Alien Investigation and Renewal. Noted for being one of the rough and tough girls, her "graduation" assignment is to capture the former leader of the vampire army, Victor McKell. The AIR trainee understands that this undead has become mentally deranged in his hatred of humanity. He believes they are low on the food chain even though his kind avoids his hostility, but in spite of being a psychotic he still can manipulate time. Although Ava assumes Victor sees her as dinner, she walks boldly on to his estate where he fails to kill her like he normally does to intruders. Instead admires her incredible body and he offers a deal to team up with her to prevent an alien queen from infecting the planet. Planning to use her as an expendable lure to draw vampires to him, McKell soon falls in love. Gena Showalter displays her romantic fantasy writing skills with her seventh Alien Huntress thriller (see Savor Me Slowly and Seduce the Darkness) with this fascinating, seemingly improbable pairing of a predator with a huntress and somehow makes it feel plausible. He is a human consumer (literally that is) while she is a rough vampire and other alien investigative human. She prefers nips and sensual bites while he rips throats for sustenance. Although the alien queen subplot takes a back seat to the dynamic duo's "war", readers will appreciate this pairing as she gives as much or more than she takes. Harriet Klausner
vampiregirl76 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ava Sands is a trainee with Alien Investigation and Removal. To be granted agent status Ava and her friend and fellow trainee Noelle are sent to take down the big bad vampire McKell and bring him in. McKell has dealt with four agents already, and when the two friends walk into his camp he thinks he'll deal with them the same way. But Ava and Noelle are more that meets the eye. For McKell this is especially true with Ava, she intrigues him like no other.Ecstasy In Darkness was a fantastic read! An action packed story and a delicious Alpha male, to die for. Two things I've learned to love and expect when reading Gena Showalter. Plain and simple this author rocks. Every time I read one of her books I'm amazed with the story lines and the addicting & intriguing characters. I thought Noelle and Ava were great they - their bickering back and forth was hilarious and endearing. Their relationship dynamic is just as important to the story as is the love story between Ava and McKell. If you haven't read the Alien Huntress series yet, I highly recommend you give it a try.
bookwormygirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Gena masterfully takes you once again into the dangerous lives of her AIR agents. This time around we get to know AIR trainee, Ava Sans. Ava and her BFF Noelle have been in training with AIR in the hope of becoming agents. I loved the friendship between these girls. They have such great chemistry together and will do just about anything to get someone into custody. Even if it means making out with one another to keep someone distracted long enough to subdue them. Said distraction worked on McKell - leader of the vampire army and one heck of a tough guy. He can stop time, is overly possessive and calls DIBS on Ava - right before his escape of course. But when the Schon queen once again targets AIR agents, Ava and McKell will have to work together not only to thwart the queen's plans but also on their feelings for one another.Ecstasy in Darkness is the latest installment in Ms. Showalter's, Alien Huntress series. For those of you who haven't read any of the books in this series, you can pick any of them up whether it be the first one or this latest one and still know more or less what the story arc is. That is the beauty of these books. Although, it's preferable that you read them in order since some of the older characters come in and out of the newer books, it is still not mandatory. I have enjoyed the previous books in the series and this new one was no exception.I loved each and every scene that McKell and Ava are in. Their chemistry is off the charts. Their dialogue is full of snarky, witty and downright funny remarks. Their scenes of a more "romantical" (I totally made that word up) nature were steamy and well... I might have even blushed a time or two. Ms. Showalter once again delighted me with her amazing characters, clever storytelling and cool futuristic world. If you've never read anything by Gena before, please do. You really can't go wrong with any of her novels. This will definitely please fans of romance, sci-fi and paranormal lovers. A great story and one that I guarantee will have you with a big goofy grin on your face.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love love love this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The irreverent relationship between Avalon and Noelle is truly fun. It is picked up later by McKell later making for fun throughout.
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Gena Showalter never let's you down. Loved the storyline, lots of laughs and great chemistry between the main characters.
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ahegmann More than 1 year ago
Gena Showalter is a great writer I have all her books. If you like reading about other world. Check out her books. And this book is funny and all together wonderful.
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Another great book by miss Showalter! Can't wait to read more from this series.
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I love Gena's books & this one is a favorite of mine. Ava and her BFF, Noelle crack me up. McKell is sexy and broody. This is a must read book. Just be prepared for laugh out loud moments. I got stared at in the doctors office for giggling. My response: you just gotta read it. Try Gina's Lords of the Underworld series also.
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