San Francisco, 1969. Vampire Conrad Quintano has been around for centuries—long enough to know that falling for a human is a terrible idea. Much less falling for adventure-seeking hippie Desert Rose. An even more terrible idea? Agreeing to raise her babies and protect them with his life.
Present day. Marc and Julie Fischer have always known they’re vampires. Raised in virtual isolation, they’ve never known their parentage or their unique status in the world. But once their uncle comes to take them home, the family reunion is nothing like they anticipated and they’re thrust into a world they’re completely unprepared for.
Each story in the Children of Night series is a standalone story and can be enjoyed in any order.
Book #1: In the Dark
Book #2: Old Sins, Long Shadows
Book #3: Now Comes the Night
Book #4: Ashes of the Day
Book #5: Fallen Embers
Book #6: To Curse the Darkness
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About the Author
PG Forte inhabits a world only slightly less strange than the ones she creates. Filled with serendipity, coincidence, love at first sight and dreams come true.
She wrote her first serialized story when she was still in her teens. The sexy, ongoing adventure tales were very popular at her oh-so-proper, all girls, Catholic High School, where they helped to liven up otherwise dull classes...even if her teachers didn't always think so.
Originally a Jersey girl, PG now resides with her family on the extreme left coast where she writes contemporary and paranormal romance in a variety of sub-genres.
Read an Excerpt
"Can you believe we're finally here?" Marc asked as the limousine pulled to a stop in front of the expansive Victorian mansion. He was out of the car and across the sidewalk in a flash. Given that he didn't wait for her response, his sister assumed the question was rhetorical. "Jules, come see this place," he called as he stared through the fence. "It's huge!"
Julie Fischer took her time joining her twin on the sidewalk. They'd been waiting years for this moment to arrive. She wasn't going to rush now and spoil it. Happily breathing in the moist, fog-laden air of San Francisco, she glanced around curiously. They'd seen very little of the city on the drive in. The car that had been sent to pick them up from the train station in Emeryville, on the other side of the Oakland Bay Bridge, had been equipped with windows specially darkened to protect their sensitive eyes from exposure to the setting sun. But night had finally fallen — blessedly dark, blissfully cool.
"Well?" Marc inquired impatiently as he turned to take their bags from the driver. "What do you think?"
Julie cast an appraising eye over the edifice before them, or as much of it as she could see through the wrought-iron bars and the engulfing vegetation. Conrad's house. Home. At last! They'd been hearing about this place their entire lives, but this was the first time since they were babies they were actually seeing it. She sighed, vaguely disappointed when no memory surfaced. "I guess I thought it would be more ... I dunno, gothic, or something."
"You and your damned clichés." Marc shot her a disgusted look. "So, what're you saying? Red, black and overgrown isn't broody enough for you now? You were hoping for a moldy old castle, maybe?"
Julie sighed. "No. You know that's not what I'm saying either." Okay, so she had to admit, the landscaping was a tad on the uber-mature side. What might once have been a conventional lawn was now no more than a patchy green blanket of moss spread between the tangled roots of a mixed stand of evergreens — redwood, hemlock, laurel — that combined to create a lot more shade than most people would find tolerable. The bulk of the house had been painted a deep, striking shade of red, a color commonly known as oxblood, but Julie had read enough about historical design trends to suspect that the trim and the gables, everything Marc was calling black, was actually a Van Dyke brown. A not uncommon color combination for structures of this period, not that it mattered. Marc's point, such as it was, was valid. This house was home to vampires. It looked the part. It just wasn't what she'd been expecting.
Before she could reply further, they were interrupted by a large, slightly menacing figure who emerged from the gatehouse, clipboard in hand, to inquire, "Can I help you folks?"
Julie's hormones perked up as she looked the man over — all six and a half heavily muscled feet of him. Late twenties. Caucasian. Reasonably healthy. He had close-cropped dark hair and suspicious blue eyes she was fairly certain would prove a dead match, color-wise, for his nicely snug jeans. Yum. "We're here to see Conrad," she said, nodding at the Quintano family crest embroidered on his black polo shirt — the same design that had been worked into the iron of the gate. She tested the air around him. Hunger burned in her veins. Definitely human. Recently fed upon. Still semi-enthralled. I could have him. Her fangs pulsed at the thought and it was all she could do to keep from licking her lips. I could have him right now.
"Certainly, Miss. If you'll give me your names I'll check and see if you're on the list."
She drifted closer, throwing all the power of her will at his mind — just for the fun of it. "You don't need our names," she murmured in her most compelling voice.
For a moment, it seemed to work. He drew back slightly, blinking in surprise. His eyes heated as he looked her up and down. She smiled as she sensed his determination start to waver. Then he shook his head and frowned at her sternly. "Yes, Miss, I'm afraid I do."
"Marc and Julie Fischer," her brother supplied, stepping in before Julie could make another attempt. He grabbed hold of her arm, just above the elbow, whispering, "Down, girl," in her ear as he forced her to back away from the man.
"Thank you, sir." The gatekeeper glanced at his clipboard, then punched a code into the gate's control panel. "Go right ahead."
"Spoilsport," Julie grumbled as she took back her arm.
They headed up the brick walkway to the house. Marc smiled mockingly at her. "You don't need our names," he said, adding in his best Darth Vader voice, "Oh, the force is strong in this one — not!"
Julie elbowed her brother in the ribs. "Shut up, Marc." Really, though, she supposed she deserved his teasing this time around. She should have known better than to try and countermand orders the gatekeeper had probably received from Conrad himself. When had that ever worked before?
The Victorian's double front doors were standing open. As the twins climbed the white marble stairs to the porch, they could hear music coming from inside the house; drums and horns and hot, Latin guitars.
"Sounds like someone's throwing a party," Marc observed as they stepped inside the dark, paneled entrance.
"You think maybe it's for us?" Julie suggested hopefully. "You know, like a surprise homecoming party or something? I mean, we still don't know why we're here so ... it could be anything, right?" It had been a shock to be so suddenly summoned here, with no explanation offered, after years of being told that either the time or the circumstances weren't right.
Marc shook his head. "Little noisy for a surprise, don't you think?" He put their bags on the floor next to the ornate brass coat tree and glanced distractedly around the empty foyer. "I dunno. Something doesn't feel right."
They hesitated for a moment longer but no one appeared to greet them. Curious, they followed the sounds — the laughter, the music, the chatter of voices — toward the rear of the house.
The closer they drew to the noise, the stronger the smells became. Wine and incense, arousal and sweat and most potent of all, layered beneath the rest, the sweet, rich, coppery scent of fresh blood. Julie's mouth was watering by the time they reached their destination.
"Holy shit," her brother muttered, stopping dead in his tracks. Julie found herself nodding in agreement. The center of the large, dimly lit room had been cleared of furniture to serve as a dance floor. Most of those dancing were barely clothed and phenomenally well-toned and all of them, male and female, vampire and human alike, wore expressions of almost orgasmic bliss.
"And then some." Julie's gaze traversed the room's perimeter, which seemed to have been lined with a succession of chaises and sofas and piles of pillows, all occupied by small groups feeding from one another. "Wow."
Suddenly, a loud commotion arose from the low dais at the far end of the room. "Ay, ay, ay," a familiar voice called out in greeting. "Mis queridos — you're here!" Make that almost familiar. Julie stared in consternation as a tall, sculpted figure rose from the chaise upon which he'd been reclining and hurried forward to greet them. The voice was Damian's, all right, but the tone — high-pitched and excited — was entirely more Chihuahua-like than she'd been expecting.
Marc gave a strangled gasp as their uncle strode toward them, his arms held wide, his long black hair streaming out behind him. He was wearing an open, floor-length, red- and black-patterned kimono over gauzy black pants — and a sly smile that suggested he knew exactly the kind of impression he was creating and was loving every scandalous second. Gold rings glittered on his fingers, his ears and both nipples. The crowd parted deferentially to let him pass.
"Stop staring," Julie whispered urgently to her brother. "It's not like we didn't know." Damian had never kept his sexual orientation a secret, but even so, they'd never seen him quite like this before. Tonight, he wasn't just out of the closet, he'd brought the whole closet out with him.
Before Marc had a chance to resist, Damian swept him up in a big hug and kissed him loudly on both cheeks. "Ah, mi amor," he crooned, pinching his cheek as he let him go. "It's been too long."
Next, Damian turned his attentions on Julie. As his arms closed tightly around her she found herself transported back to her childhood. This was the Damian she remembered. Big, warm, comforting. The uncle who'd read her bedtime stories and tucked her in at night. Who'd wiped away her tears when she fell and skinned her knees — never once pointing out that the scrapes had sometimes healed before the tears even started.
Julie returned his embrace. She went up on her tiptoes and kissed his cheek. "Nice threads, Uncle Damian," she whispered in his ear. "I like this whole 'Queen of the Damned' look you've got going on."
Damian threw back his head and roared with laughter. "That's my baby girl." Pressing an enthusiastic kiss on Julie's forehead, he smiled at her approvingly. "I knew I could count on you, chica." Then he drew back and looked at them both. "Now, mis niños, let me look at you. How was the train? Did you have a good trip? You must be famished." He waved a hand at the surrounding crowd and suggested. "Why don't you go find yourselves something to eat?"
"Where's Conrad?" Marc asked, ignoring the pleasantries, startling Julie with his abruptness. His gaze scanned the room. "He's not here. Where is he?"
"Oh, who knows where he's gone!" Damian heaved a long-suffering sigh. "That man. Always running here, flitting there — who can keep track? Entre nous? Given all the places he tries to be in at one time, I'm almost afraid the big silly has begun to believe he can turn into a bat."
"Has Conrad left town?" a male voice inquired. Julie stared at the new vampire with interest. He was slim with auburn hair; not quite as tall as Damian. He had a delicious cleft chin and an unsettling inquisitive gleam in his hazel eyes. "I hadn't heard."
A shadow passed through Damian's eyes, something dark and dangerous, and then it was gone. He smiled at the newcomer. "My dear, dear Armand, I'm sure your guess is ... oh, well, let's see ... probably almost as good as my own, n'est pas? But, wherever he's gone, I'm sure he'll be back to delight us all again very soon."
"What do you mean you don't know?" Marc demanded, the tone of his voice practically turning the words into an accusation. "I thought you said Grandfather wanted to see us? Isn't that why we're here? Why would he leave town if he knew we were coming? And ... what on earth are you wearing, anyway?"
Julie stared at her brother, perplexed. What was wrong with him? It wasn't like Marc to be so confrontational. It wasn't like either of them, come to think of it. At almost forty years old, they both still found it nearly impossible to act counter to the expressed wishes of the two men who'd raised them. Especially Conrad. Her pondering was cut short when her attention was snared by a soft, amused chuckle.
"Grandfather?" A disbelieving smile had curled Armand's lips. His gaze flicked curiously over them all. "Are you referring to Conrad? I'm sure he must love being called that! But, come, Damian, you must introduce me. Are these yours?"
Once again, Julie caught sight of that dark gleam in Damian's eyes. He flashed a look at both twins, warning them to silence, before turning back to Armand with another saccharine smile. "Why, yes, Armand, indeed they are. And now you know all my little secrets. But, aren't they just too precious? This is Julie and her brother, Marc. Marc's a little cranky at the moment. He gets that way when he isn't fed."
"Who doesn't?" Armand sent a cursory, disinterested nod in Marc's direction before bowing low over Julie's hand. "Mademoiselle. Enchanté."
Julie shivered in delight as he pressed his lips to her hand and the warmth of his kiss traveled all the way up her arm. "Likewise."
Armand's eyes met hers and he smiled in gentle amusement. Then he turned his quizzical gaze on Damian. "I must admit, mon ami, you've caught me off guard. I didn't think your tastes ran in quite this ... direction?"
"Oh, Armand." Damian raised his eyes to the ceiling and sighed theatrically. "You disappoint me. Can you not see that they're twins? How could I break up such a pretty set? It would have been ... gauche."
Relieved laughter burst from Armand's lips. "Of course. My apologies. I should have guessed it was something like that." He eyed Julie one more time, a little more intensely than before, then he gave her hand a final squeeze and let go. "Tres bon. I'll leave you three to your reunion," he said as he bowed once again. "Au revoir."
Damian watched as Armand disappeared back into the dancing crowd, then he turned his attention back to the twins. "Watch yourself around that one," he advised Julie sternly. "Don't get too close." He regarded them thoughtfully for a moment, then suggested, "In fact, I think it might be best if you two were to wait for me in the kitchen until I'm done here. It's down at the end of the hallway, toward the back of the house. Go eat. We'll talk later."
Disappointed, Julie was turning to leave when Marc shook his head. "No. We'll talk now. I'm not going anywhere until you tell me what's going on. Where's Conrad?"
"Marcus," Damian's voice, though pitched low, held a note of warning. "You will do as I tell you. Conrad always said you two couldn't handle this environment yet. This is no time for you to be proving him right."
Julie held her breath as the two men stared at each other, each refusing to back down. Finally, Damian sighed. "I have no time for this," he grumbled as he shook his head. He looked to be about equal parts aggravated, worried and quietly proud. He turned away abruptly, so suddenly that his robe flared out around him. Clapping his hands to be heard above the music he called, "Out! Out! Vayamos! Party's over! Everyone go home!"
A chorus of disappointed groans and half-hearted protests rose from the crowd but Damian stood firm. Smiling serenely, he repeated the order. "Out! Everybody. Now." The authority in his voice was such that even Julie found herself once again turning to leave. She saw Marc begin to do the same until Damian reached back and grabbed hold of their wrists. "Not you two."
The disgruntled guests filed slowly out through the doorways. Armand was among the last to leave. The parting glance he shot in Damian's direction was filled with seething animosity. Julie stiffened in alarm, but Damian appeared not to notice.
Finally they were alone. Damian sighed as he let go of their wrists. Reaching for the tiny strings that fastened his kimono he drew the garment around himself and secured it in place. "Now, then," he said as he threw an arm around each of their shoulders and propelled them from the room. "Let's go down to the kitchen and have something to eat while we talk, shall we?" Drawing them both even closer, he pressed a kiss against the side of each of their heads. "I baked cookies. Who wants chocolate chip?"
"This is so great." Julie beamed at Damian as he slid a plate of freshly baked cookies onto the pristine surface of the antique kitchen table. She looked and sounded far more enthusiastic than Marc thought anything about the evening warranted. "I can't believe you made us cookies. It's been years!"
"More like decades," Marc grumbled, resisting the force of habit that almost had him reaching for one. What was the use, after all? When they were children, Damian had made it a point to bake some kind of treat whenever the twins had a play date. It was for the sake of the other children, mostly, but also so that Marc and Julie would feel more comfortable, would know what to expect and how to behave on those rare occasions they were allowed to accept an invitation to play at someone else's house.
Excerpted from "In the Dark"
Copyright © 2009 PG Forte.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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