In the darkness, it's easy to lose your way. . .
Kat Redding is a vampire with a job to do--wiping out the vamps and werewolves who prey on Pureblood humans. Someone has to do it. . .as long as that someone is her. But suddenly Kat, also known as Lady Death, has competition, and it's causing problems. Vampire houses and werewolf clans alike are blaming her for a spate of gruesome murders, and Kat needs to figure out who's really responsible before she becomes the next target. . .
On the hunt, she forms an uneasy alliance with both the Luna Cult and a powerful rogue werewolf. But the truths Kat's uncovering--about her enemies and her few remaining confidantes--are far from comforting. And when the chance comes to leave her life of vengeance behind, Kat must decide whether her real motive lies in protecting the innocent, or sating her own fierce hungers. . .
Praise for E.S. Moore's To Walk the Night
"Fans of Underworld will not want to miss this fast-paced, action-packed debut!" –Jess Haines, author of Deceived by the Others
"Kat is a complex, compelling character who takes us on a wild ride. Hold on and enjoy!" --Alexandra Ivy, New York Times bestselling author
Read an Excerpt
Tainted Night, Tainted Blood
By E.S. Moore
Kensington Publishing Corp.Copyright © 2012 Eric S. Moore
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe body lay crumpled in the driveway—a heap of cloth that could have been anything if not for the distinctive smell that drifted on the light breeze. If I had simply been driving by, minding my own business, I might not have even noticed it. It was halfway up the paved drive, almost blended in with the darkness.
But I had been looking for it, and the corpse assured me I was in the right place.
Countess Telia was known for her cruelty. She hadn't been active very long, at least as a minor power of her own. She was the head of one of the newest Fledgling Houses and a vampire who tortured dozens of Purebloods to the point of insanity just for the fun of it. Once she was done with her playthings, she would release them, letting her victims return to their families to suffer their final days crippled and mindless.
It appeared this time she had gone too far.
I parked my modified Honda DN-01 just off the road and hid it behind some trees. The motorcycle was completely black, including the piping, so it would be hard for anyone who wasn't expressly looking for it to see it. Even a vampire would have a hard time picking it out of the shadows.
A dog barking in the distance was the only sound as I slipped into the brush. I crouched down, listening and watching for any sign of pursuit. House Telia was deep within vampire-controlled territory, so the chances of someone spotting me were actually pretty good. I wanted to make sure none of the local vamps or wolves decided to follow the girl on the motorcycle in the hopes of having a little fun.
As far as I could tell, no one had followed me. I breathed a sigh of relief and drew my sword. The demon-crafted blade shone in the moonlight, but I was pretty sure it wouldn't matter now. By the time Telia saw me coming, it would be too late.
The gun came next. My modified Glock 17 fit comfortably in my hand. The bullets were made of silver, and thanks to Ethan's modifications, they wouldn't pass all the way through a supe's body. They moved too slowly for that.
I rose from my crouch, careful not to let my leather creak in the all-too-silent night. I was dressed in full-on black. It was my usual work attire. It just wouldn't do to run around fighting vampires wearing a white T-shirt and jeans. I had an image to keep up.
I slipped from the cover of the trees and started up the driveway. The body was just a hump on the paved surface, barely discernible as anything other than a pile of bloody rags. I could smell death on the air and knew this victim had been tortured to the point where there would probably be little left.
I approached, wary nonetheless. Even though I was pretty sure the victim was dead, I nudged her with my foot and touched the silver blade to her flesh to be sure.
The dead girl's shirt was shredded in the front and there was blood everywhere. She had been torn from groin to sternum by what looked to be werewolf claws. It wasn't exactly Telia's style, but I wouldn't put it past her to give a young girl like this to one of her wolves. She had to keep her minions loyal somehow.
Countess Telia was new, a recent break-off from one of the Major Houses. Mikael Engelbrecht, my snitch, hadn't been able to tell me which Major House she had come from, but he implied it was one of the biggies. He would have told me more, but he was in the pay of the House that Countess Telia once belonged to, so he refused to divulge any more than he had to. I didn't like it, but I had to respect his loyalty to his customers, especially since I was one of them.
Still, that didn't stop him from telling me about Telia's exploits, how she had cut the arms and legs off one of her victims and dumped him outside his home, his wounds sewn closed so he wouldn't bleed out. His tongue and eye-lids had been removed, as were his nipples, ears, and any other dangly bits that she could get to with a knife. He survived in body, although his mind was long gone.
Why she hadn't been killed by the Major House she ditched was beyond me. Vampires didn't like it when their underlings defected. A vamp thinking she could leave a Major House to start her own usually turned up dead within an hour of making her claim.
But there Telia was, torturing victims and reveling in their blood just like any other baby vamp, albeit a more violent one. I was there to put a stop to it.
I left the body where I found it and started up the drive, keeping close to the trees so anyone who would happen to glance out a window wouldn't see my approach. I moved in near silence, my vampire-light feet barely making a sound on the pavement. I'd even learned to minimize the sound of leather with my walk. Being a vampire had its advantages at times.
It wasn't until I was halfway up the driveway that I noticed the other bodies. All of the lights in the house were blazing, including the outside light. It spilled out over the corpses, illuminating them like actors on a stage. I could see the dark stain of blood against the black pavement.
I froze and gave the house a good long look. One body, I expected. Three was a bit much.
I hadn't noticed it before because I hadn't really looked, but the front door was torn nearly off its hinges. The window beside it was intact, but the curtains were hanging at an angle, as if someone had tried to tear them down.
And there were no sounds, no moving shadows that told me where Telia or her minions were. Had her little torture party turned into something much more deadly? I had no idea what she did in there most nights. It was entirely possible she had set three Purebloods loose, sicking her wolves on them for pure entertainment.
If so, then where was she? I should have seen a flicker of a shadow, heard the howl of a wolf. She would have wanted to watch the events as they took place.
I approached the two other bodies, keeping my gaze on the house as I went. They could be in there, watching me. The night was still young, so I was sure they hadn't bedded down for the day.
The first corpse turned out to be another Pureblood, this one male. He had been stripped naked and lay in a pool of his own blood. His ribs showed through flesh pulled tight, as if he had been starved before being released. His stomach had been ripped open and his throat slashed.
I nudged him like I had the other corpse to make sure he was really dead. Sometimes it was hard to tell between a Pureblood and a young werewolf or vampire. It was possible this was some sort of initiation rite that Telia cooked up for her newest recruits. Torture them, let them bleed a while, and then take them in.
But this guy was definitely dead. If she had tried to turn him, she had started the process far too late.
The last body was a few paces away, and at first I thought he was wearing a fur coat. As I got closer, I realized that wasn't the case and alarm bells started ringing in my head in earnest.
The werewolf was lying facedown, his head a few inches from his body. The cut was ragged, as if it had taken a few hacks to cut through the wolf's thick neck. There were marks on his arms and shoulder where he had tried to protect himself.
It hadn't helped. The wolf had been hamstrung, making him an easy target for whomever had done this. I wasn't sure if Telia had done it herself or if someone else was involved. Either way, I didn't like it.
I hurried to the front of the house and pressed my back to the wall. The place wasn't large by vampire standards. It was bigger than where I lived, but not by much. Countess Telia still had a ways to go before she could move up to the mansions the other Counts and Countesses preferred.
I crept along the wall to the nearest window and peeked in. Furniture lay strewn across the room. A mirror had been smashed, leaving shards of bloody glass all over the floor. A glass coffee table had been shattered as well, adding to the destruction.
And there was blood everywhere.
My stomach rumbled as my inner demon made itself known. I hadn't fed for over a week and it was starting to get to me. I really should have hunted before coming. Then again, I hadn't expected to find bodies lying around with blood splattered all over the walls.
I fought the urge to feed, pushed it as deep as I could. The blood was probably tainted anyway. To taste it would be to risk contaminating myself further.
I slipped past the window to the door. I still had yet to see any movement from within. It was entirely possible Countess Telia had been attacked by a rogue wolf or two and was out chasing down the last of them. She could return at any time.
Or she could be inside, bathing in the blood of her victims. It was hard to tell with vamps, especially ones like her.
I stepped around the corner and into the house, my gun leading the way.
There was blood on the floor just inside the door, but there were no bodies. One of the dead outside could have been wounded here before staggering out into the driveway to die.
Either that or whoever had been injured here was somewhere farther in the house, wounded and angry.
I worked my way deeper, checking each room as I passed. The living room I had seen from the window was to my left, and I paid it only a casual glance as I passed by. The dining room and kitchen were likewise empty, though I did find what looked to be an ear lying on the kitchen counter. Whomever it belonged to wasn't anywhere to be found.
There were two other rooms on the ground floor, but I had yet to come across any sign that anyone was alive inside. I still had the basement and the upstairs to canvas, yet something told me I wouldn't find anyone in the house. For whatever reason, Countess Telia wasn't home.
Still, I headed for the stairs. I would check over the place first, freeing any Purebloods I found, and then would wait for Telia to return. I couldn't let her continue her torturous ways. Not in my town.
From the bottom of the stairs, I could see what appeared to be a man's boot resting beside a bloody wall. I slowly made my way up the stairs sideways, keeping my gun trained just above the boot in case the guy sat up.
I needn't have bothered. The boot turned out not to be connected to anyone. The hallway behind it was empty of everything but blood. I stepped around the boot and just happened to glance back at it as I passed.
There was a foot inside.
The alarm bells in my head weren't just ringing now. They were clanging so loudly my ears rang with the phantom sound. Something was definitely wrong here.
The first room on my right turned out to be a bathroom. The owner of the foot was inside, lying on the floor, a bloody mess. His head lay in the tub, severed from his body much like the wolf's had been. The job had been sloppy, most likely performed with a dull blade. The dead man's mouth was wide, exposing two extended fangs. Vampires don't turn to dust when killed like they do in the movies.
I looked around the bathroom in the hopes of finding something that would identify the victim. I didn't know what Telia's lone vampire minion looked like. If this was him, then something truly bad had happened here, and by the smell, it hadn't happened too long ago.
I left the bathroom, my body thrumming with excitement. Had the Major House come down on Telia after all? Or was it someone else? Could another House have decided they'd had enough of the Fledgling vamp and her torturous ways? Or another Fledgling House could have come after her, looking to make themselves stronger.
A surge of anger coursed through my body. If Mikael held out on me because he knew Telia's old House was coming after her, I was going to be pissed. What if I had shown up while the killing was going on? I might have been caught in the middle of a fight between vamps and wolves from a Major House and Telia's own. I could have been killed.
I wasn't positive that was what happened. Most vampires didn't fight with swords, let alone dull ones. They would have sent werewolves to finish the job. A few well-placed bullets would have wounded Telia and her minions; then the wolves could have torn them apart at their leisure.
This was different somehow. I wasn't quite sure how, but I knew something else was going on. Had Telia tired of her House? Had she killed everyone in an orgy of blood and torture?
I crept down the hall, checking each room as I passed. There was no one inside and I had yet to hear the slightest sound. I could taste blood where my fangs had started pushing through in my excitement.
The door to the last room of the house was hanging open. As I neared, I could smell the blood coming from inside. Someone was dead in there. More than one someone by the smell of it.
I neared and as the massacre inside came into view, I knew Telia's killing days were over.
The Countess lay sprawled across her bed. At least most of her did. One of her arms was lying on the floor just inside the door, and her head was lying under the window. She was naked and was propped atop the dead Pureblood tied to the bed beneath her.
I stepped over the arm and another body, this one a werewolf, came into view. The wolf was fully shifted, but his body was nothing but a bloody pulp of entrails and muscle. It looked like something had fed on his intestines.
"What the fuck?" I said, scanning the room. Now that I was farther in, I could see what had killed the Pureblood under Telia. His face was gone, having been chewed away by something. I had a feeling he'd been alive when Telia had been riding him.
I slowly approached Telia's headless body. I was pretty sure she had been beheaded by the same weapon that had killed the others. Whoever had done this had somehow snuck up on her and the first blow had severed her spine. With all the dead lying around, I had no idea how that was even possible. She should have heard something, should have known things weren't right within her House.
A strange feeling crept up my gut. I didn't believe this was an inside job. I was almost positive it wasn't done by a Major House either. This looked a lot like something I would have done years ago, before I was changed, before I had silver weapons.
I hurried out of the room and headed for the basement. If anyone was still alive, it would be down there. Vampires usually kept cages there where they held their Pureblood prisoners. If someone was trying to copy my earlier work, then there was a chance they left the Purebloods down there.
I threw open the basement door and ran down the stairs. I almost stepped on another werewolf corpse as I hit the concrete floor. I staggered to the side, bringing my gun to bear, just in case the wolf wasn't dead.
It didn't take more than a glance to know he wasn't getting up again. He didn't have a head.
I took a deep breath and immediately regretted it. My fangs pushed the rest of the way through my gums and I started panting. There was so much blood down here, it was intoxicating.
My gaze roamed the room, and my shock was all that kept me from giving in to my demon.
The Pureblood prisoners were mostly still in their cages. Those who had gotten too close to the bars had been torn apart, pulled through the bars piece by piece. Arms and legs looked gnawed upon, and someone's jawbone lay against the wall.
Those Purebloods who had managed to huddle far back in their cages hadn't been able to escape the hungry jaws of the beast that had fed here. The bars of their cells had been ripped open and they had been killed where they cowered, easy prey to the wolf who had done this.
My hunger warred with my disgust. I couldn't figure out who would have done this. Why would a werewolf need a sword when he had his claws? None of this made any sense.
I turned and fled up the stairs, knowing I was wasting my time here. House Telia was no more, but it hadn't been by my hand.
I slipped in a pool of blood at the top of the stairs and nearly fell. I growled deep in my throat and bolted for the front door. I could feel the urge to feed so strongly it nearly had a hold on me. I couldn't give in. Not now. Not like this.
I hurried out of the house, down the driveway, to my Honda. The fresh air did me some good, cleared my head, but it did nothing to stop the anger that came bubbling forth.
Mikael had to have known this was going to happen. It was the only thing that made sense. Why else wouldn't he have told me everything he knew?
Excerpted from Tainted Night, Tainted Blood by E.S. Moore Copyright © 2012 by Eric S. Moore. Excerpted by permission of Kensington Publishing Corp.. 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
No- stop action, great characters, love it!
this is the second book of the kat redding series and i got to admit it is very good series...i would recommend this to anyone looking for a good action pack series to read... you have vampires and werewolves and the tainted...the tainted is a werewolves/vampires...can not tell you more because if u did the people who want to read this will complain another book i can never read because of spoilers...i hate when people complain about that... but to the point i would recommend this to my friends..and to the people on here...
Flawed heroine, excellent story! Kat Redding was a monster hunter, hunting down vampires and werewolves with her brother Thomas until they were captured and she was turned into a vampire and Thomas was tainted with both vampire and werewolf blood making him an uncontrollable insane killing machine. It’s been years since her turning and the last time she saw her brother, but Kat continues to hunt the rogues who torture and kill Purebloods (humans) earning her the title Lady Death. There are few who know that Lady Death and Kat are the same person. When brutal killings show up with her style and signature sword marks the monsters believe Lady Death has gone mad. After it’s determined by the local werewolves she’s not the one doing the killing, Kat agrees to an uneasy alliance with them to find the person responsible for the carnage. But when Kat discovers who the killer is will she survive what needs to be done? A compelling second book about Kat Redding and the delving into the psyche of a monster who hates being a monster. Kat hates what she is, but she’s dealing with it as best she can. In this book she has problem after problem dumped onto her and when she’s confronted with her past, the result sends her over the edge. This is one of those books that you love and you hate. The story is excellent, but you hate what a character you care about has to endure. And the ending, can I say how much I hated the ending? Not that it was a bad ending, far from it. I just hated that it ended the way it did. Read it and you’ll understand. I’ll say no more except to say I’m so glad Book 3, 'Blessed by a Demon’s Mark' is out and I can see what happens next. Well-written, compelling characters, fast action and internal struggling, this book is an excellent read. I highly recommend this series to anyone who likes books similar to the early Anita Blake series by LKH or the new Deacon Chalk series by James R. Tuck. *Many thanks to Kensington for providing me with a review copy. Please see disclaimer page on my blog.
Nice easy read.
I wont be on for two weeks. Family vacation.
((Sorry, dinner)) "yes!" Snow said and smiled back
"Now, why were cats sent to focemate you?" Hepressed her against the ground.
Still liking Kat.
The first book of the series was great. This book however crossed from Urban Fantasy into unbelievable. Kat made so many stupid decisions and choices that it became irritating. She crossed from strong, kickass heroine to too stupid to live. I'm sure that this is all leading to the next book's storyline but it was too much. Kat turned into a whiny, poor me, spineless mess. I had no empathy left for her and really just wanted to slap her. I will probably get the next book to see if she puts her big girl pants on again but if she hasn't bucked the hell up it will be the last book of this series that I buy. If I wanted whiny, stupid heroines I would buy romance books.
Kat’s world is about to be turned upside down. Kat is a one woman wrecking crew when it comes to taking down undesirable vampires and werewolves. Now there is a new force in town. One that is killing in what appears to be with Kat’s signature moves. This does not bode well for her. She is already trying to protect Purebloods, now it looks like she is going to have to work twice as hard to protect her own hide. Kat begins to question her existence and the desire to continue down her chosen road. When a side trip shows her a new way of life, she must take a long hard look at herself, her past and her future. While Kat is fighting for her life, she must decide if she wants to start living again. This novel had two very different storylines in it. While one was playing out the other was in the background being a tempting mistress. After Kat’s life takes an unexpected turn, you dive right into the next story with both feet. Mr. Moore begins to set the stage for the next book with a bunch of questions and suspense. The first storyline is classic Kat; action, suspense and strained alliances. Knowing the circumstances behind Kat’s life, I really could see the outcome from a mile away. But that was okay. You were able to visit old enemies and have some burning questions answered. I think personally, I would have enjoyed a deeper concentration into the main darker plot. It felt short changed. Mr. Moore makes it all seem better though by throwing in a new element, Ethan’s buddy – Beligral. The second plot is very intriguing. Mr. Moore’s writing made my skin crawl with how potentially sinister it felt. I think the new direction in Kat’s life is going to make for some very interesting reading. But again, it was just a tiny taste and not exactly fulfilling. Kat is completely out of her element and it makes me excited to read the next book in the series, Blessed By a Demon’s Mark, which is currently scheduled for release in January 2013. Tainted Night, Tainted Blood as a whole, came together in an interesting pleasant way. I was drawn in and I came away with questions answered and my imagination soaring. This is very good Urban Fantasy. There is lots of action and a kick-butt heroine. It makes for some very fun reading!
My mom could be really annoying sometimes. She kept on talking about how the vacation was going to so fun. I tuned her out, got out my Ipod and nodded once in awhile. I must've fallen asleep because next thing I know my mom is shaking my shoulders. "Jay! Wake up! We're at the airport!" What!? Airport? How far away is this place? We walked to the line. We showed our passports, and a officer checked my bag. "You're good to go. Enjoy your ride." The officer said this like this was the only thing he said all his life. I just shrugged and walked into the airplane. My mom tapped my shoulder. I turned towards her. She said," Hey Jay can you take this in first. It's all for camping." She handed me a comfortable looking huge camping bag. I brought it in. Suprisingly, it wayed like 10 pounds. I held it insteading of putting it one of those hatches. I didn't trust airports. I chose my seat and waited for my mom. The airplane was going to leave in 5 minutes. I impaitently waited. My phone rang. I answered. It was mom. "Bye honey. I'm sorry but this is your vacation with you and your friends. Im afraid you're going to be staying there a long time. Be careful. Bye. I love you." She hung up. Friends? I looked around. They were my friends! John, Jenny, Adam, Quinn, and many more. And of course, my girlfriend, Jessica. Even though my friends were here, I was still sad that my mom ditched me. "I love you too, mom" I whispered. <br> <p> I felt a shake. Boom! Boom! Boom! Worst timing for a thunderstorm. Everyone was awake, huddled in groups. Jessica was cuddled on my arm, with John, Jenny, Adam, and near. My other 30 friends looked afraid. "How much did this trip cost for all us?" I asked. Adam replied, "Uhh.. your mom said she found out that it was free." I sighed. "You knew you didn't have to come right?" I said. Two things happened at once. I heard a ghostly sound and the plane split in two. Me, Adam, Quinn, John, Jenny, Jessica on one side and the rest on the other side. " Huddle together!" I screamed. We all held on to eachother. I used my prosthetics to hook onto a seat. All our bags were in the middle and we swung through the air like helpless people. Well, we were. Suddenly we crashed onto the ground and everything went black.
Good but...awkward news! Distantclaw my son has rebuilt wingclan @ bay all res! Well he is tryin to. There are only a few cats there like mistfur and he kits lastrose Distant...and a few others i dont know!
I like that the characters are evolving more in each book. I can hardley wait for the next book to see how much farther the characters go.