Raphael (Vampires in America Series #1)

Raphael (Vampires in America Series #1)

by D. B. Reynolds


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781933417479
Publisher: BelleBooks
Publication date: 04/28/2009
Series: Vampires in America Series , #1
Pages: 222
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.51(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Cynthia Leighton made a hard right turn into the parking lot of the Malibu Sheriff's station, her tires squealing slightly on the gritty pavement. She had the door open almost before the big Land Rover came to a complete stop, yanking the keys from the ignition and jamming them into the pocket of her leather jacket. With one foot out the door, she twisted around and leaned over to the square, pink box sitting on the passenger seat. It was tied with plain string, a tidy little bow centered almost exactly on the top of the thin cardboard. She slipped her fingers carefully under the bow and lifted. Then sliding out of the truck, she used one booted foot to slam the door shut.

The station house was a utilitarian building on a back street near the courthouse, with unadorned concrete stairs leading to a pair of double glass doors in heavy metal frames. Cynthia climbed the stairs quickly, slipping through the open door with a smile of gratitude to the older gentleman who held it for her before continuing down the stairs.

The desk sergeant gave her a big grin as she came through. "Hey, it's Nancy Drew!"

Cynthia put the box down gently on the counter. "This is for you," she said with some urgency. "Please take it away."

Sergeant Adam Linville's grin got even bigger. "Nancy, you are the woman of my dreams." He cut the string and opened the box, freeing the glorious aroma of sugar and fat to waft around the room.

Cynthia hissed dramatically and held out her hand in a warding gesture, her fingers forked against evil. "Take it away!"

Linville laughed. "Come on, Leighton, eat something." He wiggled his eyebrows. "I'm thinking of getting married again,you know, someone to keep me warm in my old age. You're a real looker and you're young enough, but I like a woman with some meat on her bones."

"I'll be sure to remember that if I ever lose my mind and decide to get married."

"All women want to get married. It's in your DNA or something."

"Not in mine, Sarge. Everyone I know is divorced."

"Such cynicism," Linville bemoaned. "It hurts my heart."

"Have a cream puff. It'll help." Cynthia said it with a smile. She liked Linville. He was a big, bluff, very white guy, with ruddy cheeks, who was set to retire in less than a year. She made a point of dropping by the Malibu station whenever he was on the desk, with pastries in hand. As a private investigator, it made good sense for her to stay friendly with the local police, especially in a small town like Malibu. Plus, she'd been with the LAPD before quitting to becoming a PI, and she kind of missed the sense of belonging to something bigger than herself. "So tell me, Sarge," she said. "Anything happening I should know about?"

"Now, Nancy, if you was supposed to know about it, you'd know, wouldn't you?"

"Come on," she coaxed, lifting the box and sliding it under his nose. "No gossip to share with a hard working PI?"

Linville took the box away from her, his rough hands dwarfing her tapered fingers. He set it on his desk and covered it carefully, before turning back to lean over the counter. "Really not much going on. Tourists have all gone home, more fools they. This is the best time of year around here." He shook his head. "The better for the rest of us, I guess."

Cynthia waited patiently. This was a little dance they went through every time, but Linville always came through for her, so she didn't mind.

"Had a call this morning east of Paradise Cove. Right before dawn, woman claimed she heard automatic weapons fire ... machine guns she called it. Said it sounded like a shoot out. A shoot out." Linville chuckled and shook his head. "A unit drove out, but didn't find nothin'. Figured the guy next door was pulling an all-nighter, watching too many of his own movies and playing 'em too loud. You know how sound carries down the beach."

"No one else reported anything?"

"Not a peep. Oh, and your wife beater's back. Got out on parole and what's the first thing he does? Pays a visit to the ex. Stupid. He didn't even get to the front door before she'd called us."

"You picked him up?" Cynthia had worked for the wife in the divorce case, documenting the husband's many infidelities. Turned out he beat up his girlfriends too.

"Oh, yeah. Right back in the slammer, parole violation. What an idiot."

"No accounting. Okay, I gotta run, Linville. You share those pastries now. Don't want you dropping dead with a heart attack before you meet the girl of your dreams."

Linville laughed and Cynthia saw him take his first gooey bite as she went back through the glass doors to the parking lot.

* * * *

By the time she rolled into the private space behind her Santa Monica office, it was nearly six and the sun was a blinding haze of gold on the western horizon. The days were already growing shorter. Another six weeks or so and it would be full dark by now. She turned off the ignition and took a cautious look around the lot before opening her door. It never hurt to be careful in her business. She'd had a few threats in the past, mostly disgruntled spouses like the wife beater, or those she'd caught on film in flagrante delicto. Did people still say "caught on film" anymore? Digital cameras were far more convenient; zip off an e-mail to the client, photos attached. Caught on bytes, maybe? Whatever you called it, it was all the same. If Linville wanted to know why she was so cynical about marriage, he had only to take a look at her case files. One failed marriage after another, each chronicled in living color. Slinging the strap of her backpack over her shoulder, she climbed out and slammed the truck door.

Her security system beeped a welcome as she punched in the code and entered the small office she kept for herself. The whole building was hers--a long, low bungalow of four offices on busy Montana Avenue in the heart of Santa Monica's conspicuous consumption district. Not the touristy part, but the part where residents went to hang out and sip seven dollar lattes while waiting for their next big deal, or at least pretending to. She only used one of the offices, renting out the other three to a couple of lawyers and a therapist. Most of her clients never came to her office after their first visit, and when they did, it was usually after dark. Her late hours were perhaps a bit unusual, but it worked well enough for her human clients, and it opened possibilities to her other clientele. Vampires.

Cynthia had never planned on being the investigator of choice for the west coast vampire community. When she left the LAPD, she'd had something more like "investigator to the stars" in mind. Family connections gave her access to a world of privilege and entitlement, where spending a few thousand to have someone follow your cheating husband ... or wife ... was not only chump change, but almost a social dictate, like the latest fashions. Instead, by pure chance, Cyn had found herself in the right place to save a vampire's life and changed her own in the process. Vampires called her from as far away as Colorado and Montana. She didn't mind finding their long lost relatives or digging up forgotten bank accounts or family heirlooms. Half her business was for one vampire or another, and they paid very well. But she never accepted the personal invitations that sometimes followed. She had no desire to delve any further into a society where blood was the beverage of choice, and hers was on tap.

Her office phone was ringing when she walked in. She dropped everything on her desk and grabbed it before voice mail kicked in.

"Leighton," she said.

It was the lawyer next door. "I heard you pull into the parking lot," he explained. "And I wondered if maybe you had time to meet with a client of mine. She's here now. The usual cheating husband."

Cyn hoped the wife wasn't listening to the lawyer's blithe dismissal of her broken heart. She was tempted to decline the job. She might joke with Linville, but it really got to her sometimes. She sighed. On the other hand, she had no other cases on the horizon, and while she wouldn't exactly starve without the income, she did try to make the agency pay for itself. She told the lawyer to send his client on over.

Nearly an hour and a full box of Kleenex later, Cyn was regretting the impulse and thinking it was too bad the therapist wasn't in today, because this woman really needed someone to talk to far more than she needed a PI. But Cynthia was not going to be that someone. She'd learned the hard way not to get personally involved with her clients' marital problems. Some jilted spouses cried, some stared vacantly in a sort of bleak acceptance, and still others were mad as hell and determined to make the offending spouse suffer as much as possible. But they all had one thing in common. They were looking for someone to blame for their current predicament. And too often that blame fell on Cynthia for providing evidence of the very infidelity she'd been hired to uncover in the first place.

After ushering the distraught woman out the back door with assurances of sympathy and a speedy indictment of the wandering husband, Cyn sank down into her chair with a relieved breath and thought about taking the rest of the night off. On the one hand, with the information the wife had already provided, she could probably get the evidence she needed and close the case by morning; on the other--Her phone rang and she answered, hoping for a reprieve.

"Don't break my heart and tell me you have plans for tonight." It was a man's voice, filled with laughter beneath the smooth bourbon of a Southern accent.

"Breaking hearts is your specialty, not mine, Nicky. You in town?"

"I don't break hearts, darlin', I heal them with sweet love. Meet me."

Cynthia laughed. She couldn't help it. Nick was an unrepentant rogue, charming, handsome ... and an animal in bed. She thought about the latest cheating husband and shrugged. "When and where?"

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Raphael 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Although the government and the people know that vampires exist, for the most part mortals prefer not to acknowledge the nocturnal species and the bloodsuckers concur keeping a low profile. There are eight vampire lords, each controlling a jurisdiction while respecting boundaries to avoid a lethal vampire war. Raphael is the most powerful of the octet with thousands of loyalists calling him Master throughout his domain, the Western states in America.-------------------- Two human traitors from within storm his Malibu estate in daylight while he is away; they kidnap Alexandria, a vamp he vowed to protect with his life. To deal with mortals, Raphael hires human private investigator Cynthia Leighton, who works vampire cases. From the moment the client and the sleuth meet they are attracted to one another, but Cyn learned early in life not to believe in love, passion, or trust as they will be used as a weapon of mental destruction. Still she is determined to help the vampire lord rescue his sister.--------------------- The first Vampires of America urban romantic fantasy, RAPHAEL, is a terrific tale that if it is an indication of the series, sub-genre fans are in for a treat. The protagonist is tough yet vulnerable as she uses psychological defense mechanisms to conceal her weaknesses behind a kick butt façade. The title hero is more aligned towards typical vampire behavior as an arrogant haughty alpha leader used to obedience until his dependant is abducted showing a rare weakness and then meeting the sleuth showing that rarity is a little more common than his minion thought. The investigation enhances the fine story line as star-crossed lovers try to mount the rescue.------------------ Harriet Klausner
IAmy More than 1 year ago
Oh bloody hell,  freaking cliff hangers.  Maybe I need to read some non-series books for a while.  Probably not.  Anyways... I read book 6 in this series a few books ago and decided to check out the beginning.  I was not disappointed by book one.  I found much of what I enjoyed in book six in this book too.    The author seems to have a love of guns, as they have played a prominent role in both books.  Much of the information about them went right over my head and I could have probably been told less about them and still enjoyed the story as much.  For those gun lovers out there though, this is a series you should definitely check out.  Again we have a strong Alpha male who is in charge of a large territory and used to having others quake in his presence.  We also have a strong female that is used to doing things on her own and not depending on anyone for much of anything.  She is used to having things her way too and being self reliant.  Both are strong personalities that can't help but butt heads.  Makes you want to smack the both upside the head every now and again.   This story like Lucas's centers around a kidnapping and a power play, I wonder if this will be a reoccurring theme for the series.  I liked how the lead couple don't just jump into bed despite the mutual attraction.  The author lets things simmer a little bit, which is a nice change of pace.  Another change of pace I can't talk about because I don't want to spoil the ending, but things are not quite settled between this couple and I am so tempted to jump ahead a few books to see how it is resolved.  Hence the upset over the cliffhanger.   This is a smart series and well thought out.  There is a mystery to move the story along and a yummy Alpha male to keep you reading on.  Looking forward to the next book, which I am starting right now.
Ainlif More than 1 year ago
Fantastic first novel! I loved the characters, plot, action, vampire politics, everything (oh yes, and the steamy sex too! - though unlike some vampire romance novels, this one doesn't force the steamy parts into every crevice of the book - it's definitely a romance, but there's PLOT and the girl doesn't helplessly fall for the guy, nor is she completely stupid in her rebuttal of him). Make sure you read the books in order! While it's not strictly necessary, each one does build on the characters introduced in previous books (specially the couple introduced in books 1 & 2, they're our gateway to all the other books and often have very integral rolls in all the other books). 
Nubian_princesa More than 1 year ago
***NetGalley Giveaway*** Mmmm Raphael... After reading the Black Brotherhood series by JR ward, I have been searching for a good vampire series to sink my fangs..um teeth into. Well ladies and gents? I've found it! Whoo hoo. This book delivers. Its got action, suspense and romance. I truly enjoyed it and can't wait to continue the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting characters, and vampire thing going on, but the lack of a HEA took my happy buzz away at the end.
CindyLG More than 1 year ago
I love the characters in this book. They are strong, dark and very sexy. Highly recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this s Bell ok and certainly hope there was a a sequel!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book on a whim, and it did not disappoint! Great book! On to the next one
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's a great book the ending makes you want to read the next book to see what happens between the characters, not really a cliff hanger, but some unfinished business. On to the next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good beginning to hopefully a long series. Great story, suspense and characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ends with 'to be continued' although i would not say it is a cliffhanger.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the book and the series .
LeahLC More than 1 year ago
I highly recommend this series. LOVED LOVED LOVED IT!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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CDKeith More than 1 year ago
This is going to be a great new series.  Raphael is the Lord of vampires.  Sure there are Lords of other areas but none compare to his power.  Cyn is a private investigator that Raphael has hired to find a missing vampire. Raphael is definitely the dominant vampire but Cyn is not to be controlled.  She doesn't take crap from anyone and will speak her mind.  This is just the beginning of the heat between them.  They are just hot together.  On to book 2. Thank you BelleBooks and NetGalley for ARC.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Never read a vampire book like this. I LOVE THIS BOOK and have went on to the entire series. You won't want to put it down!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
lrhubble More than 1 year ago
A great book Contemporary, Paranormal, Malibu, California Cynthia “Cyn” Leighton once was a cop but is now a private investigator that is sexy, smart and tough. She is also tired of tracking down and spying on cheating spouses so when she is asked to help tracking down some kidnappers, Cyn is more than happy to accept this newest case. Cyn soon realizes that while she thought the danger came from the humans the biggest danger is from her newest client, Raphael the king of the vampires. Raphael is very powerful and charismatic. He also has the power of life and death of every vampire in existence though he isn’t the only one that has that power. Raphael is determined to catch the ones responsible for a daytime raid that killed many of his people and kidnapped the one female vampire that he would willingly give his life for. He knows that one way to track the humans is to get Cyn’s help. Now they are fighting for their lives and are caught up in the passion of blood and violence that could destroy them both. This is a very different vampire story. It gives new life to a genre that has had many books written about it. The story line pulls the reader in from the very first page and keeps them engrossed until the very last page. While the plot of this story is tied up very nicely it also leaves the story between Raphael and Cyn open for the rest of the stories in this series. If the rest of the books continue along this line it is sure to be a fantastic series that will have readers wanting to read all the books. It will also have readers wanting to know what will happen to Raphael and Cyn in the end. The way the back story for Raphael is woven into the overall story is well done and keeps the story moving along well and doesn’t leave the reader wondering what is going on. For those that love vampire stories this is one to definitely check out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sometimes there's little more than you can say than "Wow". Well, I rarely have that problem, so I'll say "wow", and then a whole bunch more. ;) I can't believe this is this author's first book. It's cleverly engaging from beginning to end. The plot sucks you in, and the hot vampires keep you there. Loved all the characters. Raphael was everything you hope for in an alpha male, powerful, sexy, slightly aloof and normally a bit detached until he encounters the heroine. Cyn is strong and independent and, as with most strong, independent female characters, has a couple tstl moments. But, they end up working out well for her so they're easier to forgive. She's a bit wounded, kinda the poor little rich girl type of thing. Not enough to be off putting, but enough to remind that even silver linings sometimes surround gray colored clouds. I also enjoyed Duncan, the main secondary character and his relationship with Raphael. The ending was slightly unexpected, but I rather liked the approach. I'm looking forward to the next in the series.
closkot More than 1 year ago
My Thoughts - 5 out of 5 unicorns - I loved it!! Yummy Vamp book!  Must Read for Vamp lovers :) ***Received ebook through Netgalley for an honest review The cover was redone, and I love the facelift.  Let’s just say the eye candy is yummy :)  Definitely makes me take notice of the book :) The book started a little slow as some first books do while building the world for us, but in no time at all, there was all sorts of action.  I have a few books that were realistic fiction, so I had to have a paranormal fix and chose this one because I needed a good vamp book.  D.B. also challenged my vocabulary in this book, so I had to break out my Google to learn some new words :) Okay this is totally an adult book with several very steamy scenes that wow is all I can say :) Cynthia or Cyn as she is fondly called is an amazing woman who fits into my warrior category who doesn’t sit on the sidelines like a damsel in distress.  She definitely has issues thinking she is always unwanted because of her upbringing.   Raphael, hmmm what can I say about him.  At first, I think I hated him for his arrogance and dictator like rule, but things happened and then BAM I loved him and wanted him for my own ;) Watching Cyn and Raphael is infuriating and comical at times, but you can read the book to get more details.  This book has intrigue, betrayal, lust, battles, and so much more.  I can’t wait to read book 2 :)  Then I’m going to have to invest in the rest of the series because I won’t be able to not read it. If you are a paranormal vamp book lover, you must read this book.  LOVED IT!!!
Arch_Angel More than 1 year ago
A thrilling beginning to a brand new series! In this brand new world where Vampires are known to mankind and a force to be reckoned with, Raphael is the ultimate leader. Vampire Lords rule their territories with an iron fist and demand loyalty and acquiesce from their people, Vampire and human alike.  However, as with all cultures, the Vampire race and its leaders are constantly faced with danger, power plays, and deception in a world where strength reigns supreme, and greed can result in stupidity.  I have read many Vampire Series, but after reading Raphael, have become a staunch D.B.Reynolds fan and know this series will continue to be brilliant.  The Vampires in America are dark, violent and powerful, yet totally devoted to those they love. I strongly recommend this series to even one that loves Vamps, and no one, has failed to love it!! Here’s a little snippet to whet your appetite: “Raphael came through the door like a child's nightmare, his eyes glowing an almost solid silver with wrath, his gleaming fangs fully extended, blood painting his mouth a brilliant red, dripping from his chin to shine wetly against the tattered remains of his black shirt. His huge chest was heaving with the fury of his breath, and his hands curled into claws as his gaze found her and he growled a warning. 'Release her, human.' 'Who are you? the man rasped, fear taking away his breath, coarsening his voice. 'Release her.' The man tightened his grip, 'Come closer and she dies.' Rachael's mouth widened in a terrifying smile, 'You think to bargain with me?” Can you see why I love him?
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