The Undead Next Door (Love at Stake Series #4)

The Undead Next Door (Love at Stake Series #4)

by Kerrelyn Sparks

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Three signs that something is very different with your mew man:

1. He sleeps all day . . . which would be annoying except he's so attentive at night.

2. He's attacked by sword-wielding assailants, yet insists he can handle it on his own.

3. He never seems to age.

Heather Westfield has always lived a quiet life, but that all changes when she helps a very handsome, very mysterious stranger. There's something not quite right about Jean-Luc, but still, she's never been with a man so charming, so attractive . . . so wonderful. Now if only a murderous villain wasn't after them, they might get their happily-ever-after.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061755439
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/13/2009
Series: Love at Stake Series , #4
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 43,387
File size: 910 KB

About the Author

Kerrelyn Sparks is the bestselling author of the Love at Stake series, which has hit as high as number 5 on the New York Times list and 22 on the USA Today list. Kerrelyn is honored that her band of merry vampires and shifters is spreading love and laughter worldwide in fourteen different languages.

Read an Excerpt

The Undead Next Door

Chapter One

Heather Lynn Westfield was in hog heaven. Who would have believed that a famous fashion designer from Paris would open a fancy store smack dab in the middle of Texas Hill Country? Whatever Jean-Luc Echarpe had been drinking when he'd made that decision, it had to be strong enough to knock your socks off. In his case, two-hundred-dollar silk socks embroidered with his famous fleur-de-lis logo.

Heather wanted to buy some kind of souvenir to commemorate the grand opening of Le Chique Echarpe, but the socks were the cheapest thing she could find. Hmm, should she buy a pair of socks she didn't need or make next month's payment on her Chevy four by four? With a snort, she tossed the socks back onto the glass shelf.

A brilliant alternative popped into her head. She'd grab one of the free hors d'oeuvres, stuff it in a plastic bag, label it Echarpe's Grand Opening, and hoard it in the freezer for all eternity.

"Heather, why are you looking at men's socks?" Sasha's baffled look shifted into a sly grin. "Oh, I know. You're buying something for a new lover."

Heather laughed as she nabbed a crab cake from a passing waiter. "I wish." She'd never had a lover. Even her ex-husband didn't qualify for that. She wrapped the crab cake in a paper napkin, then slipped it into her small black purse.

Female customers strutted about, wearing gowns that cost enough to rebuild New Orleans, their stilettos clicking on the gray marble floor. Heather hoped they couldn't tell that her black cocktail dress was homemade.

Glass counters displayed purses and scarves, designed by Echarpe. Anelegant staircase curved up to the second floor. A portion of the second floor was lined with reflective glass. One-way mirrors, Heather figured. As much as this merchandise cost, there was probably an army of security guards up there watching the customers like hawks.

The walls on the ground floor were painted a soft gray and boasted a series of black-and-white photos. She wandered over for a closer look. Wow, Princess Di wearing an Echarpe gown. Marilyn Monroe in an Echarpe dress. Cary Grant in an Echarpe tuxedo. This guy knew everybody.

"How old is Echarpe?" she asked Sasha. "In his seventies?"

"I don't know. I've never met him." Sasha pivoted like she was working the runway while she looked around to see who was watching her.

"You never met him? But you were in his show in Paris just a few weeks ago." Heather and her longtime friend Sasha had both dreamed of glorious careers in the world of high fashion from the moment they'd discovered their Barbie dolls had cooler clothes than anyone else in the small town of Schnitzelberg, Texas. Heather was now a schoolteacher, while Sasha had become a successful fashion model. Heather waffled between being enormously proud of her friend and being reluctantly envious.

Sasha snorted through her surgically shortened nose. "No one sees Echarpe anymore. It's like he disappeared off the planet. Some say he's suffered the cost of his own genius and lost his mind."

Heather winced. "How sad."

"He stopped coordinating his own shows. And he certainly wouldn't be bothered with a shop like this in the middle of nowhere. He has little people for that." Sasha pointed at a slim man across the room and whispered, "That's Alberto Alberghini, Echarpe's personal assistant, though I have to wonder just how personal he is."

Heather eyed the man's frilly lavender shirt. The lapels on his black tuxedo were encrusted with lavender beads and sequins. "I see what you mean."

Sasha leaned closer. "Do you see the two women by the old man with a cane?"

"Yes." Heather noted the two emaciated women with pale flawless skin and long hair.

"They're Simone and Inga, famous models from Paris. Some say Echarpe's involved with them. Both of them."

"I see." Maybe Echarpe was more like Hugh Hefner than Liberace. Heather eyed the two models. She probably weighed as much as their combined weight. Nonsense. Size twelve was normal. She turned to admire a daring red gown on a white mannequin.

"The media can't decide whether Echarpe is gay or into multiple partners," Sasha whispered.

The gown had to be size two. "I could never get into that."

"Threesomes? I didn't care for it much, either."

Heather blinked. "Excuse me?"

"Though I'd probably like it better if it was me and two guys. Better to be the central focus, don't you think?"

"Excuse me?"

"But with my luck, the guys would be more interested in each other." Sasha lifted her hand and studied it. "I'm thinking about adding some collagen to my hand. My knuckles are so bony."

Heather took a moment to assimilate. Sheesh, she and Sasha didn't have a lot in common anymore. Their lives had certainly gone in different directions since high school. "Maybe instead of cosmetic surgery, you could try something really radical. Like eating food."

Sasha tittered with laughter. Men in the room turned to stare at her, and she rewarded them by flipping her long blond hair over her shoulders. "You're such a hoot, Heather. But I do eat food. I swear I have no control whatsoever. I've eaten two mushrooms tonight."

"You should be flogged."

"I know. Let me show you the new gown I'll be wearing soon." Sasha led her over to a gray mannequin posed on top of a glossy black cube. The mannequin wore a stunning white gown with no back and a front neckline that plummeted to the navel.

Heather's eyes widened. Never in a hundred years would she have the nerve to wear such a dress. Never in a hundred years would anyone want to see her in it, either. "Wow."

"It's very clingy fabric," Sasha explained, "so I can't wear a stitch underneath. I'll be incredibly sexy."


"I might wear it at the charity show in two weeks."

The Undead Next Door. Copyright © by Kerrelyn Sparks. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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The Undead Next Door: Love at Stake Series, Book 4 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 378 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Wannabe fashion designer Heather Westfield is ecstatic that renowned designer Jean-Luc Echarpe has opened one of his Le Chique Echarpe boutiques in her small Texas Hill Country town. She sketches some of his work only to have Jean-Luc stop to talk to her. However, sword carrying assailants attack Jean-Luc who tells Heather to stay out of the fray as he has it under control still she tries to come to his rescue only to conclude he somehow does have it under control. ------------------- Jean-Luc realizes that his enemies will assume that Heather is his current lover. To keep her, her daughter Bethany and her housekeeper safe, he demands they stay with him. As she wonders how he gets away with sleeping all day and her odious former spouse complains about her sleeping with her lover in front of their daughter, Heather and Jean-Luc fall in love. However, he knows he owes her one key explanation as to why he sleeps away the day he and some of his close friends are undead, but he loves her too much to make her dinner.------------------ Kerrelyn Sparks latest vampire romance (see HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE VAMPIRE) is an amusing tale due to the lead couple whose first encounter is his accusing her of stealing his design. The support cast enhances either the feel that vampires are real (includes stars of previous stories in the Sparks' saga) or personalizes the heroine like her child does. The story line combines humor and danger as the size 12 woman rips his skin off for being arrogant yet protects him from a nasty villain. Fans will enjoy the gender battle between the vampire designer and the wannabe Texas designer.------------- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I do not get alot of reading time, but this book was so addicting I couldnt put it down! It was funny, sexy, and kept you wanting more!
cjstone427 More than 1 year ago
I really love this series....
Gryphon1 More than 1 year ago
You can't go wrong with Kerrelyn Sparks.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sweet Heather Westfield has an adorable daughter, an overbearing ex-husband, a feisty nanny, and too many dreams that were never fulfilled. The talented designer/seamstress stayed in her small Texas town to appease her mother and became a school teacher instead of pursuing her ambition to be a fashion designer. When one of the world¿s top names in couture opens a boutique nearby, she is drawn to the life she gave up, and to the man who has designed fashions for some of Hollywood¿s biggest stars. World-weary Jean-Luc Escharpe has seen it all since he was transformed into a vampire centuries ago. A skilled swordsman, he fought as a lieutenant-colonel in the vampire army, and in later decades, pursued his skills a businessman and designer. His career has kept him in the public eye a little too long, however, causing many to wonder how the designer who clad Marilyn Monroe and Cary Grant still looks so young and handsome. What he needs is some time away and a place to hide out. But on the eve of his self-imposed isolation, he meets a beautiful woman who has been burned by love. Heather awakens long-dead feelings in Jean-Luc and makes him start to wonder if he could have another chance at love after all. But with a crazed killer bent on revenge tracking Jean-Luc¿s every move, being around him is not exactly the safest place in the world. Then there¿s the whole undead element thrown into the mix. Jean-Luc is certain a relationship with Heather would never work out because she could never accept him as he is. But Heather has some surprises up her homemade sleeves: she¿s declared a war on fear, and this Texas sweetie vows not to let anyone stand in the way of what she wants. And she wants Jean-Luc. The Undead Next Door, Kerrelyn Sparks¿ fourth book in the Love At Stake series, is a thrilling, fast-paced detour through the beautiful Texas Hill Country with two wounded but strong souls. As usual, the story resonates with Sparks¿ trademark humor, wit, and warmth. There¿s something here for every reader as the author deftly combines history, humor, deep emotion, and paranormal elements for a deeply satisfying love story.
TheBooknerd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In a word: fun. There's witty dialogue, good chemistry between characters, and enough wackiness to keep things lively. The book is about Heather, a single mother full of stifled dreams, and Jean, a vampire fashion designer who must hide his true nature from the world. Circumstances and an old enemy bring these two together, and they must contend with both extraordinary events and mundane life. Sparks creates a nicely superpowered breed of vampire, though her vamps are not too distinct from other authors' versions. Where Sparks stands out from her brethren is in how she successfully portrays supernatural beings' struggles with everyday living. However, the larger plot was dissatisfying and took a backseat to the smaller events leading up to the climax. As for the climax, itself, it was, well... anticlimactic. Towards the end of the book the pace picks up suddenly, even jarringly. There are a few pages of crisis, then -- poof! -- bad guy defeated. And I felt that, in switching between Heather and Jean's perspectives, there were some gaps in the narrative flow. Nevertheless, this was an entertaining book with a Lynsay Sands-esque flair.
pacey1927 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Undead Next Door is the fourth installment in Kerrelyn Sparks Love at Stake series. The focus this time is on Jean-Luc Escharpe, the Western Europe coven leader. He was changed by Roman (the star of the first book) many years ago into a vampire. Now he is a famous designer who is getting ready to retire from the public, into a special cellar home he has had built. The press is onto the fact that he never ages and that is getting dangerous. He vows to hide away for 25 years and return as his own son. As Jean-Luc gets ready for one final fashion show, he meets a beautiful, normal sized woman who is visiting his store, but can't afford a single thing in it. He discovers that she enjoys and is good at design as well and he shares her passion for believing you don't have to be a size 0 to deserve beautful fashion. He hires her to work for him, but unfortunately they attract the attention of his mortal enemy, Louie. Louie is getting paid now to kill Jean-Luc so the deal is even sweeter. Jean-Luc moves Heather and her daughter Bethany and friend Fidelia in with him and gives his army of vampires and mortal the job of keeping them safe. Of course this is a series romance novel, so the two fall in love with each other. I would actually give this 3 1/2 stars if I could. I enjoyed this one better than the 2nd and 3rd in the in series. I liked the scenes of them holed away in Jean-Luc's home (attached to the store) and I am crazy about the supporting characters here, especially Pheannaeus. Pheannaeus is a year old vamp, who was debuted in Book #3. He is a fabulous addition the the series and always keeps his scenes comical. I hope he gets his own story one day, because he stands out from the others. And this series desperately needs something stand out and different as these are starting to all sound like the same story. Just change the characters name, mix up who is the vamp and who is the human and romance story. Fortunately Sparks is much better at this than some of the other vampire romance writers out there, and I appreciate her and her stories for it. My time spent reading "The Undead Next Door" was entertaining, I just feel like it won't take long before this story mixes with all the others in my memory. Enjoyable but not a stand out.
wyvernfriend on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Heather Lynn was very happy. A world-renowned designer was opening up in her small town and she finds herself caught up in his world. He thinks that she's a rival designer but all she wants is inspiration, and clothes that fit. He's intrigued and a relationship starts, but they have to deal with the people who want him dead and the people who don't want their relatioship to happen.It was pretty predictable and fairly standard in this genre, readable but nothing spectacular.
honeydew69862004 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Undead Next Door is the story between Jean-Luc and Heather. Heather is a teacher and single mother in a small Texas town. She has always dreamed of more from her life. Jean-Luc the Europe Coven Master has relized that he needs to go into exile because the public is starting to wonder about him so he opens a shop in Texas. He has been afraid of relatiships for a long time because of his enemy Lui who insist on making Jean-Luc suffer by killing the women that he loves. You also find out something that is eye rollingly in almost ever vampire series now days. A good book though that was humorous and hard to put down.
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Tangen More than 1 year ago
: snark-fest, shifters, vampire, humor, paranormal, romance, urban-fantasy Poor vampire, he has to reinvent himself once again because the humans are beginning to notice that the famous haute couture fashion designer never ages. So he thinks to hide away in a basement in a small Texas town. More fool, he! Nice single mom schoolteacher with a manure-for-brains ex-husband, and a gun-toting live-in senior who babysits for her, just wants to be left alone and wishes that she could afford to make elegant clothing at reasonable prices for REAL women. At first he thinks that her drawings of his designer line means that she is a spy from another fashion house, but soon realizes that she has loads of talent, no money, and her only threat to him is that he comes to care too much for her. And then there are the villains. And the crazy situations. And some scary stuff. Kerrelyn Sparks has the most devious, fun imagination! 1 like ·
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a hilarious book. The issue I had with it is that they comletely fight or one of them fights the attraction until the last few chapters so it got kinda of rediculous! But with that said it was still a good book but they precratinate so much it gets really frustrating
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sparks has got me hooked on gorgeous Vampire guys. I laughed my way through this one and I will be reading the rest of her seris. I can t remember the last time I had so much fun reading a book. Keep em coming Sparks I love your books.
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The story was trite and unbelievable even stretching your imagination. The characters were irritating.
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