A Hunger Like No Other

Mass Market Paperback | April 1, 2006

byKresley Cole

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In New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Kresley Cole’s sizzling series, a fierce werewolf and a bewitching vampire become unlikely soul mates whose passion will test the boundaries of life and death.

After enduring years of torture from the vampire horde, Lachlain MacRieve, leader of the Lykae Clan, is enraged to find the predestined mate he’s waited millennia for is a vampire. Or partly one. Emmaline Troy is a small, ethereal half Valkyrie/half vampire, who somehow begins to soothe the fury burning within him.

Sheltered Emmaline finally sets out to uncover the truth about her deceased parents—until a powerful Lykae claims her as his mate and forces her back to his ancestral Scottish castle. There, her fear of the Lykae—and their notorious dark desires—ebbs as he begins a slow, wicked seduction to sate her own dark cravings.

Yet when an ancient evil from her past resurfaces, will their desire deepen into a love that can bring a proud warrior to his knees and turn a gentle beauty into the fighter she was born to be?

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From the Publisher

In New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Kresley Cole’s sizzling series, a fierce werewolf and a bewitching vampire become unlikely soul mates whose passion will test the boundaries of life and death.After enduring years of torture from the vampire horde, Lachlain MacRieve, leader of the Lykae Clan, is enraged to find the pre...

Before becoming a writer, Kresley Cole was a world-ranked athlete and coach. Her first novel, The Captain of All Pleasures, was published in 2003. She writes paranormal and historical romance novels including the MacCarrick Brothers trilogy and the Immortals after Dark series. She has won several awards including the 2007 RITA Award fo...

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Format:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 6.75 × 4.19 × 1 inPublished:April 1, 2006Publisher:Pocket StarLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1416509879

ISBN - 13:9781416509875

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Hunger Like No Other Humor and a rocking romance - good story with awesome character s.
Date published: 2014-08-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Hunger Like No Other Great reading .enjoyed every page
Date published: 2014-01-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from 4.5 Rating Really Reviewed at Another Look Book Reviews A Hunger Like No Other is book 2 in the Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole. A friend on Goodreads recommended that I actually read this book first and then read the book 1, The Warlord Wants Forever. I am quite anal about reading books in order but I do have a lot of trust in my Goodreads blogging buddies so I did read this one first. Right off let me tell you that A Hunger Like No Other reads as if it was the first book in the series. I was not lost at all nor do I think I missed out at all. I am going to read The Warlord Wants Forever next so I will share in my next review if I am still really positive that that I was okay to read this book first. So let me get what I didn't like off my chest first and then allow me to sing the praises of A Hunger Like No Other. One of the things that I do not like (and one of the reasons I avoid Paranormal or UF books) is that authors seem to think they have to create worlds and that are freakishly spelled and hard to pronounce. I hate trying to sound out words the entire time I am reading. Well I have to admit there was a touch of that in A Hunger Like No Other. Lykae and a few other character names did annoy me but I just learned to look passed them (even though I refer to Lykae as Lycra now). I guess there is just no such thing as a bad ass vampire named, Pete eh? The one other thing that kept me a bit frustrated was the lack of description about what the characters look like. I get that Lachlain turns into a werewolf (uhm kinda) but I don't get what he looks like. It is made clear that he doesn't look anything like what you and I traditionally think a werewolf looks like but I'll be damned if I have any clue of what he does look like. I am almost tempted to see if I can dig up some fan art. Here are some descriptions as it was explained in the story about what he looks like when he turns wolfy: Yes to fangs. No to fur and there are frequent mentions of paws and claws. His eyes turn blue. His body gets bigger, while the shape of his face changes to lupine. (he turns purple???) Then when Emma asks if he gets a snout he replies, "No. Not like you are thinking." (So what does that mean?) And that my friends is a description of a his werewolf self. (did that even sound wolfish?) As for the Valkyrie, (that is what is Emma is partially) I also don't have a clue what they look like other than they have pointed ears and that they are female. I have a pretty good idea of what Emma looks like but as for her full fledge Valkyrie aunts, I'm lost. I was thinking that they are short fairy creatures similar to what Disney created for Sleeping Beauty's guardians but later in the book Emma does say how beautiful all her aunts are so then it had me re-think. Anyone have any clue here what they look like? Now for the good stuff. The story was really good and it kept my eyes glued to the pages. It was a joy to read how weak and timid Emma was at the beginning and then how she grew into a bad-ass warrior woman. She made me proud. I also liked how the author kept the readers in check. I admit to getting increasingly frustrated with Emma not giving into Lachlain's desires until Kresley Cole reminded me (via Emma's POV) just how devious he had been with her. Then I wanted to high five Emma. There was a lot of future stories to build on from A Hunger Like No Other but the readers are not left on cliffhangers. I really liked that. I am always willing to invest into a series while it is still being written if the author leaves nice breadcrumbs to return but not have me cursing waiting for the next book to arrive. Kresley Cole got me on this first book and I am eager to continue. There are lots of steamy scenes but it does take until almost the end of the story for them to do "it". The build up and teasing is really amped up. So much so that I think this rating would the first time I granted a heat rating of four when the actual act itself was so late into the book. Teasers: self amputation, electric love, grabbing the headboard spindle so hard they disintegrate into dust, an odd way to make a father proud
Date published: 2012-12-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wish I was a Valkyrie Technically this is Kresley’s first full novel and I am going to say that it was wonderful. Her most recent stuff is better but that doesn’t mean that I don’t give two thumbs up to this one. Lachlan, after being tortured for 150 years scents his mate and will do anything to get her. Poor Emmaline is gentler than a fly but after meeting Lachlan she toughens up and becomes his Mate. Even killing a vampire in the process. It wasn’t easy to make Emmaline fall for Lachlan though. Read to find out how he did it. I will say her lust for him was one key part ;)
Date published: 2011-09-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love this new world A Hunger Like No Other is the 1st book in the Immortals After Dark Series. This book follows a werewolf named Lachlain MacRieve who is the leader of the Lykae Clan and has been imprisoned for over 150 years. He was put there by vampires and his hatred from them has kept himself from going mad. The story also follows the half vampire, half Valkyrie named Emmaline. She is a fragile and timid woman who has been sheltered from her family and is gone to Paris on her own to search for answers from her past. The Lykae believe they find a predestined "mate" for life and Lachlan thinks Emmaline is his. The book follows the struggle and his need for her and his hatred for her kind. Emmaline is scared of him and has never seen a Lykae before but finds herself drawn to him too. This book was fantastic. I especially love the secondary characters almost as much as the primary characters. The world Cole has created is fantastic and original. Her werewolves don't turn into wolves, but transform in a different way that has me loving the differences she has created. Her witches are just as and can be more powerful than the wolves. She has wraiths, ghouls, vamps, vampires, nymphs, demons and werewolves. But they are all written and shown in a different and interesting light. This series is a must, to anyone who loves Para Rom book series.
Date published: 2011-07-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A good start The first in the Immortals After Dark series. A good start with an unusual take on vampires, in this one the vampires are the bad guys(except for the heroine). Very original and well told, though I did have a hard time liking Lachlain at the first but he came around, I guess 150 years of torture makes you cranky. 83/1000
Date published: 2010-04-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good, but not as good as I expected After reading all of the reviews I have to say I had very high expectations when I picked up this book, which may be why I was slightly disappointed. The characters are great, and the story is definitely a page turner, but I found the beginning of the story a little too strange that it bothered me throughout the book. *mild SPOILER ALERTt* The way Lach treats Emma in the beginning I didn't find very sexy, but more dirty and like sexual assault. I don't see how someone could get over that. *SPOILER END* Getting over that part, the rest of the book was great, definitely sexy. I still recommend it!
Date published: 2010-03-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Definitely hungry for more This is the first book in the Immortals After Dark series and I thought this first installment was great. I really enjoyed the story,plot line and characters. I am looking forward to getting the rest of the books and Kresley Cole is an amazing writer and I'm glad I found her book/books. I definitely recommend this book it's great for romance readers as well as for people who like to get sucked into a story. :0)
Date published: 2010-02-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So Hungry For More!!! A Hunger Like No Other is a winner, a book so well written it brought me out of my reading funk. I wanted to read it so badly I had to force myself to put it down, when opposites attract in this case species there sure will be fireworks. Whooza this book was good and here’s why. Lachlain is a Lykae aka werewolf and he is the king of the Lykae species, imprisoned by vampires for over 150 years he is in a bit of a bad mood. While suffering death every night only to come alive again each morning, he’s starting to lose his will until he catches a scent, the scent of his mate a woman that he has been waiting his whole life for and he knows he has to escape and find her for she is his salvation. What he doesn’t expect to discover is that his mate is a vampire and he hates vampires. Emmaline is on a mission in Paris, she is looking for her father and the task is proving difficult, plus she is hungry and has run out of blood and she’s never fed directly from a human before. What she fears most is becoming the evil that is half her blood. She might be the only female vampire around and being mixed with Valkyrie (a group of warrior woman who can control electricity and are immortal, plus they love to shop.) She is a bit special. Suddenly she is confronted by a man that looks half craze and is taken on a ride that will change her life forever. Did I mention this half crazed man is beautiful, that makes things a wee bit better? Emma can’t believe her luck, has she really just been kidnapped and by a wolf, and plus he seems to hate her existence. Lachlain is having a hard time believing that this woman is his mate a vampire. Call it irony, the species he hates the most so happens to be the one he is destined to be with. He can’t help his desire for her, she soothes the beast within him when he so angry at the world. Everything around him has changed since he has been imprisoned and this creature calms him. Emma wants to get away but she feels there is something more to this kidnapping, and her desire for him is growing. While avoiding sexual harassment and drinking straight from a person, Lachlain will give her many firsts and she will come to love them. This book was awesome and sexy, Lach is the ultimate alpha-male, just enough brood and violence in him to get your mojo going and when it comes to Emma he becomes a sap with some serious wolfish ways. Emma started out a girly girl but then she becomes one tough chick and I enjoyed it. She avoids being a pushover, and she gives as good as she gets. This unlikely pair is a match made in heaven, they have a lot or prejudices to overcome and will find a love like no other. I love how the supernatural isn’t all peaches and cream, while vampires are beautiful they are evil and hated among all the lore and I liked it. Action and some very dangerous women this book brings girl power to a whole new level, and I can’t wait to dive in the other, because I have feeling they will rock just as much as this one. For all you guys who love a steamy read this one is a 4 on the PL scale. Oh the dialogue had me panting like a dog, pun intended. 2010-010
Date published: 2010-02-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Yummy! Stumbled across this book by chance last week and am now hooked on all of her Immortals After Dark books. Over all, it is fast-paced, well delivered, well written and full of interesting mythical references that Cole has tweaked in very novel ways to fit her universe. A few of the slang terms she uses to convey the age of the heroine are a bit grating (esp. as you progress through the series and see them more and more). It frankly seems to catalogue all twenty somethings as Ipod listening, emos who lack proper vocab skills (as a twenty something myself, this pissed me off). However, in the end I found it pretty easy to get past that one detractor and I can respect the author's choice to incorporate it. One of the intereting plot points of this novel was the evolution of the heroine. She starts out rather flimsy but her strength is honed as the story progress. This keeps the character(s) from becoming too flat. And the naughtiness? The naughtiness was just delicious...
Date published: 2010-01-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Hungry for more!!! A Hunger Like No Other is a paranormal romance with a solid story line and some great sex. Emma is half vampire who's lead a sheltered life and in search of information on her vampire father. Lachlain is a werewolf who has been captured and tortured by vampires for centuries. Not a likely romantic couple but when Lachlain realizes at first sniff that she is his one true mate he will stop at nothing to have her. Fast paced and romantic I would recommend this book to any fan of paranormal romance.
Date published: 2010-01-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Hungry for More A Hunger Like No Other will leave you hungry for more. This entertaining book is the first in Cole's Immortals series. Lachlan, King of the Lykae, has been imprisoned by the Vampire Hoarde for nearly 200 years. While chained underground he scents his mate, manages to find the strength to break free, and then tears Paris apart looking for her. Emmaline is half vampire, half Valkyrie and incredibly innocent, especially when you consider that she was raised by her Valkyrie 'aunts'. The glimpses you get of the Valkyrie had me comparing them to the Brothers from JR Ward's BDB series - some are tormented, some have special 'gifts', they're immortal and all live together and they all seem just a little insane. The story primarily focuses on whether Lachlan can convince Emma that they are mates. At first Lachlan has to battle the overwhelming urge to mate with Emma as it wars with his disgust that his mate is a 'leech'. He has been at war with the Vampires for hundreds of years and he has a lot of preconceived notions about Emma to overcome. For her part, Emma has always felt alone. As a halfling, she never felt like she fit into her aunts' world completely. She has always felt inadequate next to her fierce aunts because of her vampire side - her need for blood and aversion to the sun. Always on the losing side of any confrontation, she has developed the habit of avoiding conflict at all. Cole has created a rich fantasy world, the Lore, that is filled with demons, vampires, shifters, and other supernaturals. Her interpretation of werewolves, the Lykae, is unusual and fresh. The one place I felt the story was lacking are the scenes with the Valkyrie 'aunts'. I was sure that this was the first book in the series, yet I felt like I was missing a lot of backstory on them. Cole writes like we should know these characters already and I found that frustrating. Turns out I was only half right. While this book is the first full length novel, the Valkyrie were actually introduced in a short story. I hate when authors do that. Overall, though, the minuses are inconsequential. A Hunger Like No Other was a extremely entertaining and steamy read.
Date published: 2009-11-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Truely Amazing This book grabs you from the first few pages, and takes you on a great adventure between Lachlain(werewolf), and Emmaline(half vampire, half valkyrie). He suffered over a hundred years of torture and escaped because he caught his mates scent so close to him. Once he found her, he's not sure what to think because not only has the world changed, he's in a haze from the torture, and he realizes his mate is not a werewolf. Emmaline doesn't know what to make of Lachlain, but he makes her feel everything, is that good or bad though. He's determined to make her his mate, and she is determined to get as far away from his as possible, but her plan isn't working out so great.
Date published: 2009-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great book i loved this book, the character's were great together, another great romance novel from one of my favorite author's // great story line !!! a great read, you won't beable to put it down
Date published: 2009-08-10
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Didn't Do Much for Me I read Cole's story in 'Playing Easy to Get' anthology. Even though it didn't hook me, I thought I'd give the series a try because of all the positive reviews. 'A Hunger Like No Other' didin't interest me like I'd hoped. Lachlain was aggressive. Emma was too weak for much of the book for me to even care for her. I found the aunts to be quite annoying. For some reason, Cole's style of writing took a bit for me to get use to so it took a while longer I'd expected for me to get through the book. Don't get me wrong, however, her writing is solid Alas, I've committed myself to reading more of the series because I have several of the books, so here's hoping that it gets better. At this point however, I wouldn't recommend it unless you are really interested in branching out into other paranormal series.
Date published: 2009-07-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Unique, Sexy And Fun Ms Cole has created a unique paranormal world here and although it took me a bit to get into all her legends and lore I thoroughly enjoyed this sexy, witty and thrilling romance. Emmaline our heroine is half Vampire, half Valkyrie. She has been raised by her aunts in New Orleans but as the story begins she's in Paris searching for information about the father she never knew. Lachlain is a Lycan or werewolf who has been imprisoned and tortured by the evil Demestriu for the last 150 years. When he scents Emma somewhere on the streets above him he knows immediately that she is his mate and nothing will stop him from reaching her even if it means loosing a limb in order to escape. The initial meeting of our couple is quite erotic. Lachlain, almost crazy from his years of torture kidnaps Emma and then is somewhat shocked to discover that the mate he's waited so long for is in fact a Vampire and therefore his Clans natural enemy. Remarkably it is Emma alone who is able to soothe the tortured beast within him. Lachlain then forces Emma to travel to Scotland with him. The world has changed a lot in 150 years and of course he can't drive, never mind all the other technology. These scenes are hilarious as Lach attempts to catch up with the times by reading magazines and watching TV. Yet as the two get to know each other and the passion starts to build they were also very sensual. Emma is shy but clever and slightly goofy. Lachlain as her hopeful mate is patient, loving and grumpy with a great Scottish accent. Emmaline's character evolves throughout the story as she drinks blood from `the source' regains her strength and discovers some new powers. Lachlain is continually at his wits end. Trying to please her but making a mess of things as he regularly lies about releasing her and is a little too alpha male. The ending was exciting, full of twists and very funny. With a complete cast of great secondary characters, you just never knew who was going to turn up next; lycans, witches, valkyries, shape shifters, demons, fey and wraiths... oh my. A glossary of lore has been included which helped me with Kresly Cole's incredible paranormal world and I look foreword to the next instalment in this unique series.
Date published: 2009-07-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good, not great I had high expectations about this book, considering the praise it has received. However, I found myself unable to really get into it. Emmaline and her Valkyrie "aunts" were rather irritating (if truth be told), and I found it hard to really feel for them. I really couldn't feel any sympathy for Emma, and thought her family was sort of ridiculous. It was worth a read, but I'm not running to my Coles store to buy the next in the series.
Date published: 2009-06-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Epic Paranormal Romance!!! I just loved this book. It was so romantic, suspencful, action packed, awesome characters and a cool new world. I'll be reading the rest in this series for sure!! One of my favourites!
Date published: 2009-05-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from It was great. It was a great book. I really enjoy all of Kresley Cole's books, a must read..
Date published: 2009-05-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Could not put down! I started this book at three o'clock (when I received my package from Chapters) and I finished it at one o'clock in the morning! I just could not put it down. I'll admit the covers are cheesy but don't judge this book by its cover. My husband was resigned to the fact that I would be MIA in the Lazy Boy and I have to say this book does not disappoint. Great characterization really carried me into this world that grabbed me and wouldn't let go.
Date published: 2008-04-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The dude tore off his own leg to get to her...That's hot! I was a bit worried when I started this book because for me it was a new series. But happily I enjoyed it. I loved Emma's character, the way she talked just made me smile. And the fact that Lachlain didn't have a sweet clue what she was talking about just made me smile more. Cause half of what Lachlain said I didn't understand. He has a Scotish accent. Ken = Know The whole werewolf loving a vampire even though it's not allowed cause they are born enemies is always a fun plot line.
Date published: 2008-04-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Grabs you from the start... I had not read paranormal romance before and this books gets you hooked from the begining. Not only is it hot and steamy, the characters are charming and witty. I laughed out loud many times and couldn't put this books down! Get it, but only start reading it when you have a few hours to spare!
Date published: 2008-01-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Amazing Read. A fun, interesting and sexy read, this books is definitely a keeper. Ms. Cole aptly combines romance, action and adventure in a compelling, detailed backdrop that seamlessly meshes the mythical with the contemporary. The main protagonists in this story, Lachlain and Emma, had interesting personalities from the start and grew more and more appealing as the story progressed. Their interactions were witty and smart, not to mention laced with sexual tension. This book certainly breathes new life into the supernatural romance genre. A side note: though reading its predecessor, "The Warlord Wants Forever" from the anthology novel "Playing Easy to Get" is not required to enjoy this amazing book, it would really enchance your overall experience if you did.
Date published: 2006-08-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Oh my what an amazing novel! I loved this book, actually i just finished reading it. I loved the deal that the author put into the novel, i couldn't put it down, i loved all her characters and it was simple wonderful to read. I can't get over how amazing it was. I have read many, many novels but this one just added to the ones that I can't get over, simply amazing a MUST READ!
Date published: 2006-07-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Yep, it's good - 3 stars and a half After reading Kresley Cole's novella in "Playing Easy to Get", I went directly to the bookstore to buy "A Hunger Like No Other". And yeah baby, it is good! (just the cover is worth the buy all by itself; awesome, isn't it?) If you read the publishers' summary, you'll know what it's about. This book is Cool and the world Cole develops, with the intermingling Lore creatures and everything, gleeful; the posturing and reparties between the Valkyries, for example, are terminally hip. As for when Lachlain finally let go of his prejudice... yummy-yum! Also, the way Emmaline finally comes into her own make for good moments - even though it takes her a looong time to do it. In fact, and this is the only bad thing I have to say, the way the relationship between Lachlain and Emma goes (take-tow-steps-forward/take-two-steps-back) becomes annoying after a while. But don't worry, the rest of the book makes up for it.
Date published: 2006-05-22

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Chapter 1 On an island in the Seine, against the nighttime backdrop of an ageless cathedral, the denizens of Paris came out to play. Emmaline Troy wound around fire-eaters, pickpockets, and chanteurs de rue. She meandered through the tribes of black-clad Goths who swarmed Notre Dame like it was the Gothic mother ship calling them home. And still she attracted attention. The human males she passed turned their heads slowly to regard her, frowns in place, sensing something, but unsure. Probably some genetic memory from long ago that signaled her as their wildest fantasy or their darkest nightmare. Emma was neither. She was a co-ed -- a recent Tulane grad -- alone in Paris and hungry. Weary from another failed search for blood, she sank onto a rustic bench beneath a chestnut tree, eyes riveted to a waitress drawing espresso at a café. If only blood poured so easily, Emma thought. Yes, if it came warm and rich from a bottomless tap, then her stomach wouldn't be clenched in hunger at the mere idea. Starving in Paris. And friendless. Was there ever such a predicament? Couples strolling hand in hand along the gravel walk seemed to mock her loneliness. Was it just her, or did lovers look more adoringly at each other in this city? Especially in the springtime. Die, bastards. She sighed. It wasn't their fault that they were bastards who should die. She'd been spurred to enter this fray by the prospect of her echoing hotel room and the idea that she might find another blood pusher in the City of Light. Her former hookup had gone south -- literally -- fleeing Paris for Ibiza. He'd given little explanation for abandoning his job, saying only that with the "arrival of the risen king," some "serious epic shit" was brewing in "gay Paree." Whatever that meant. As a vampire, she was a member of the Lore, that stratum of beings who'd convinced humans they existed only in imagination. Yet though the Lore was thick here, Emma had been unable to replace her pusher. Any creatures she could scout out to ask fled her solely because she was a vampire. They scurried without knowing that she wasn't even a full-blooded one, nor that Emma was a wuss who'd never bitten another living being. As her fierce adoptive aunts loved to tell everyone, "Emma cries her pink tears if she dusts a moth's wings." Emma had accomplished nothing during this trip that she'd insisted on taking. Her quest to uncover information about her deceased parents -- her Valkyrie mother and her unknown vampire father -- was a failure. A failure that would culminate in a call to her aunts to get them to retrieve her. Because she couldn't feed herself. Pitiful. She sighed. She'd be razzed about this for another seventy years -- She heard a crash, and before she even had time to feel bad for the waitress getting docked, another crash and then another followed. She tilted her head in curiosity -- just as a table umbrella across the walk shot fifteen feet up to be batted high in the sky, fluttering all the way to the Seine. A cruise boat honked and Gallic curses erupted. Half-lit by the walk's torchlights, a towering man turned over café tables, artists' easels, and book stands selling century-old pornography. Tourists screamed and fled in the wake of destruction. Emma shot to her feet with a gasp, looping her satchel over her shoulder. He was cutting a path directly to her, his black trench coat trailing behind him. His size and his unnaturally fluid movements made her wonder if he could possibly be human. His hair was thick and long, concealing half his face, and several days' growth of beard shadowed his jaw. He pointed a shaking hand at her. "You," he growled. She jerked glances over both of her shoulders looking for the unfortunate you he was addressing. Her. Holy shite, this madman had settled on her. He turned his palm up and beckoned her to come to him -- as if he was confident she would. "Uh, I-I don't know you," she squeaked, trying to back up, but her legs immediately met the bench. He continued stalking her, ignoring the tables between them, tossing them aside like toys instead of varying his direct pursuit of her. Furious intent burned in his pale blue eyes. She could sense his rage more sharply as he neared, unsettling her, because her kind were considered the predators in the night -- never the prey. And because, at heart, she was a coward. "Come." He bit out the word as though with difficulty and motioned for her again. Eyes wide, she shook her head, then leapt backward over the bench, twisting in the air. She landed facing away from him and began speeding down the quay. She was weak, more than two days without blood, but terror made her quick as she crossed the Archevêché Bridge to exit the island. Three . . . four blocks covered. She chanced a look behind her. Didn't see him. Had she lost him -- ? Sudden glaring music from her purse made her cry out. Who in the hell had programmed the Crazy Frog ring tone into her cell phone? Her eyes narrowed. Aunt Regin. The world's most immature immortal, who looked like a siren and behaved like a frat pledge. Cell phones in their coven were for dire emergency only. Ringers would disturb their hunting in the back alleys of New Orleans, and even a vibration would be enough to trigger a twitching ear in a low creature. She flipped it open. Speak of the devil: Regin the Radiant. "Little busy right now," Emma snapped, taking another peek over her shoulder. "Drop your things. Don't take time to pack. Annika wants you at the executive airport immediately. You're in danger." "Duh." Click. That wasn't a warning -- that was narration. She'd ask the details once she was on the plane. As if she'd needed a reason to return home. Just the mention of danger and she would scamper back to her coven, to her Valkyrie aunts who would kill anything that threatened her and keep malice at bay. As she tried to remember her way to the airport where she'd landed, the rain started to fall, warm and light at first -- April lovers still laughing as they ran under awnings -- but swiftly turning to pounding cold. She came to a crowded avenue, feeling safer as she wound through traffic. She dodged cars with their wipers and horns going full-force. She didn't see her pursuer. With only the satchel slung around her neck, she traveled quickly, miles passing beneath her feet before she spied an open park and then the airfield just beyond it. She could see the diffused air around the jet engines as they warmed, could see the shades on every window already drawn tight. Almost there. Emma convinced herself she'd lost him, because she was fast. She was also adept at convincing herself of things that might not be -- good at pretending. She could pretend she took classes at night by choice, and that blushing didn't make her thirsty -- A vicious growl sounded. Her eyes widened, but she didn't turn back, just sprinted across the field. She felt claws sink into her ankle a second before she was dragged to the muddy ground and thrown onto her back. A hand covered her mouth, though she'd been trained not to scream. "Never run from one such as me." Her attacker didn't sound human. "You will no' get away. And we like it." His voice was guttural like a beast's, breaking, yet his accent was . . . Scottish? As she peered up at him through the rain, he examined her with eyes that were golden in color one moment, then flickering that eerie blue the next. No, not human. Up close, she could see his features were even, masculine. A strong chin and jaw complemented the chiseled planes. He was beautiful, so much so that she thought he had to be a fallen angel. Possible. How could she rule out anything? The hand that had been covering her mouth roughly grasped her chin. He narrowed his eyes, focusing on her lips -- on her barely noticeable fangs. "No," he choked out. "No' possible. . . ." He yanked her head side to side, running his face down her neck, smelling her, then growled in fury, "Goddamn you." When his eyes turned blue sharply, she cried out, her breath seeming to leave her body. "Can you trace?" he grated as though speech was difficult. "Answer me!" She shook her head, uncomprehending. Tracing was how vampires teleported, disappearing and reappearing in thin air. Then he knows I'm a vampire? "Can you?" "N-no." She'd never been strong or skilled enough. "Please." She blinked against the rain, pleading with her eyes. "You have the wrong woman." "Think I'd know you. Make sure, if you insist." He raised a hand -- to touch her? Strike her? She fought, hissing desperately. A callused palm grasped the back of her neck, his other hand clenching her wrists as he bent down to her neck. Her body jerked from the feel of his tongue against her skin. His mouth was hot in the chill, wet air, making her shudder until her muscles knotted. He groaned while kissing her, his hand squeezing her wrists hard. Below her skirt, drops of rain tracked down her thighs, shocking her with cold. "Don't do this! Please . . ." When her last word ended with a whimper, he seemed to come out of a trance, his brows drawing together as his eyes met hers, but he didn't release her hands. He flicked his claw down her blouse and sliced it and the flimsy bra beneath open, then slowly brushed the halves past her breasts. She struggled, but it was useless against his strength. He studied her with a greedy gaze as rain splattered down, stinging her naked breasts. She was shivering uncontrollably. His pain was so sharp it nauseated her. He could take her or he could tear open her unprotected belly and kill her. . . . Instead he ripped open his own shirt, then placed his huge palms against her back to draw her to his chest. He groaned when their skin touched, and electricity seemed to flash through her. Lightning split the sky. He rumbled foreign words against her ear. She felt they were . . . tender words, making her think she'd lost her mind. She went limp, her arms hanging while he shuddered against her, his lips so hot in the pouring rain as he ran them down her neck, across her face, even brushing them over her eyelids. There he knelt, clutching her; there she lay, boneless and dazed, as she watched the lightning slash above them. His hand cradled the back of her head as he moved her to face him. He seemed torn as he watched her with some fierce emotion -- she'd never been looked at so . . . consumingly. Confusion overwhelmed her. Would he attack or let her go? Let me go. . . . A tear slipped down her face, warmth streaking down amidst the drops of rain. The look disappeared. "Blood for tears?" he roared, clearly revolted by her pink tears. He turned away as if he couldn't stand to look upon her, then blindly swatted at her shirt to close it. "Take me to your home, vampire." "I-I don't live here," she said in a strangled tone, staggered by what had just occurred, and by the fact that he knew what she was. "Take me to where you stay," he ordered, finally facing her as he stood before her. "No," she amazed herself by saying. He, too, looked surprised. "Because you doona want me to stop? Good. I'll take you here on the grass on your hands and knees" -- he lifted her easily until she was kneeling -- "till well after the sun rises." He must have seen her resignation because he hauled her to her feet and pushed at her to get her moving. "Who stays with you?" My husband, she wanted to snap. The linebacker who's going to kick your ass. Yet she couldn't lie, even now, and never would have had the nerve to provoke him anyway. "I am alone." "Your man lets you travel by yourself?" he asked over the downpour. His voice was beginning to sound human again. When she didn't answer, he said with a sneer, "You've a careless male for yourself. His loss." She stumbled in a pothole and he gently steadied her, then seemed angry with himself that he'd helped her. But when he led them in front of a car a moment later, he threw her out of the way, leaping back at the sound of the horn. He swiped at the side of the car, claws crumpling the metal like tinfoil, sending it skidding. When it finally stopped, the engine block dropped to the street with a thud. The driver threw open the door, dived for the street, then darted away. Mouth open in shock, she frantically scrambled backward, realizing her captor looked as though he'd . . . never seen a car. He crossed to her, looming over her. In a low, deadly tone, he grated, "I only hope you run from me again." He snatched her hand and again lifted her to her feet. "How much farther?" With a limp finger, she pointed out the Crillon on Place de la Concorde. He gave her a look of pure hatred. "Your kind always had money." His tone was scathing. "Nothing's changed." He knew she was a vampire. Did he know who or what her aunts were? He must -- otherwise how could Regin have known to warn her about him? How could he know her coven was well-off? After ten minutes of her being dragged across avenues, they pushed past the doorman of the hotel, garnering stares as they entered the palatial lobby. At least the lights were dimmed. She pulled her soaked jacket over her ruined blouse and kept her head down, thankful that she'd braided her hair over her ears. He released the vise-grip on her arm in front of these people. He must know that she wouldn't attract attention. Never scream, never draw the attention of humans. They were always more dangerous in the end than any of the thousands of creatures of the Lore. When he draped his heavy arm across her shoulders as if they were together, she glanced up at him from under a wet lock of hair. Though he walked with his broad shoulders back, like he owned this place, he was examining everything as if it was new to him. The phone ringing made him tense. The revolving doors had done the same. Though he hid it well, she could tell he was unfamiliar with the elevator and hesitated to enter. Inside the lift, his size and his energy made the generous space seem cramped. The short walk down the hall to her room was the longest of her life, as she devised and rejected plan after plan of escape. She hesitated outside the door, taking her time retrieving the key card from the inch-deep puddle in the bottom of her purse. "Key," he demanded. With a deep exhalation, she handed it to him. When his eyes narrowed, she thought he was about to demand "key" again, but he studied the door lever and gave it back to her. "You do it." With a shaking hand, she slid it in. The mechanized buzz and then the click of the lock were like knells to her. Once inside her room, he checked every inch of it as though to make sure she was in fact alone. He searched under the brocade-covered bed, then tore back the heavy silk drapes to reveal one of the best views in Paris. He moved like an animal, with aggression at every turn, though she'd noticed he favored one leg. When he slowly limped to her in the hallway, her eyes widened and she eased backward. Still he continued toward her, studying her, weighing . . . before his gaze settled on her lips. "I've waited a long time for you." He continued to behave as if he knew her. She would never forget a man like him. "I need you. No matter what you are. And I'll wait no longer." At his baffling words, her body inexplicably softened, relaxing. Her claws curled as if to clutch him to her, and her fangs receded to ready for his kiss. Frantic, she rapped her nails against the wall behind her and tapped her tongue against her left fang. Her defenses remained dormant. She was terrified of him. Why wasn't her body? He placed his hands against the wall on either side of her face. Unhurriedly, he leaned in, brushing his mouth against hers. He groaned from the small contact and pressed harder, flicking her lips with his tongue. She froze, not knowing what to do. Against her mouth, he growled, "Kiss me back, witch, while I decide if I should spare your life." With a cry, she moved her lips against his. When he stilled completely as if to force her to do all the work, she slanted her head and brushed his lips lightly again. "Kiss me like you want to live." She did. Not because she wanted to live overmuch, but because she thought he would make sure her death was slow and torturing. No pain. Never pain. When she darted her tongue against his as he had done to her, he groaned and took over, cupping her neck and head so he could hold her as though for the taking. His tongue stroked hers desperately, and she was shocked to find it was . . . not unpleasant. How many times had she dreamed about her first kiss, even knowing she would never receive one? But she was. Now. She didn't even know his name. When she began shivering again, he stopped and broke away. "You're cold." She was freezing. Being low on blood did that to her. Being tackled into the wet earth and soaked through hadn't helped. But she feared that wasn't why she shivered. "Y-yes." He raked his gaze over her, then gave her a disgusted look. "And filthy. Mud all over you." "But you . . ." She trailed off under his lethal glare. He found the bathroom, yanked her inside, then tilted his head at the fixtures. "Clean yourself." "P-privacy?" she croaked. Amusement. "You have none." He leaned his shoulder against the wall and crossed his muscled arms, as if awaiting a show. "Now, undress for me and let me see what's mine." Mine? Bewildered, she was about to protest again, but he jerked his head up as though he'd heard something, then bolted out of the room. She slammed the bathroom door, locking herself in -- another laughable gesture -- then turned on the shower. She sank down on the floor, head in her hands, and wondered how she would get away from this lunatic. The Crillon boasted foot-thick walls between the rooms -- a rock band had stayed next door to her and she'd never heard them. Of course, she didn't envision calling for anyone -- never scream for a human's help -- but she was contemplating digging her way out through the bathroom wall. Soundproof walls, ten floors up. The luxurious room that had been a haven, protecting her from the sun and nosy humans, was now a gilded cage. She was trapped by some being, and Freya only knew what. How could she get away when she had no one to help her? Lachlain heard a scarcely squeaking wheel, smelled meat, and limped for the room's door. In the hallway, an old man pushing a cart yelped with fright at the sight of him, then stared wordlessly as Lachlain snatched two covered plates from the cart. Lachlain kicked the door closed. Found steaks and devoured them. Then pounded a hole in the wall at a sharp memory. Flexing his now bleeding fingers, he sat on the edge of the strange bed, in a strange place and time. He was weary and his leg pained him after running the vampire down. He pulled up his stolen pants and inspected his regenerating leg. The flesh was sunken and wasted. He tried to push away memories of that loss. But what other recent memories did he have? Only those of being burned to death repeatedly. For what he now knew had been a hundred and fifty years. . . . He shuddered, sweating, and retched between his knees, but kept himself from vomiting the food he needed so badly. Instead, he ripped his claws through a table by the bed, just preventing himself from destroying everything in sight. In the last week since his escape, he would be doing well, focusing on his hunt for her and his recovery, seeming to acclimate; then something would put him in a rage. He'd broken into a manor to steal clothes -- then destroyed everything inside. Anything he didn't recognize and understand, destroyed. Tonight, he'd been weak, thinking unclearly, his leg still regenerating, and still he'd gone to his knees when he'd finally picked up her scent once more. But instead of the mate he'd expected, he'd found a vampire. A small, fragile female vampire. He hadn't heard of a female being alive in centuries. The males must have been secretive about them, cloistering them all these years. Apparently the Horde hadn't killed off all of their own women, as the Lore told. And Christ help him, his instincts still said this pale-haired, ethereal creature was . . . his. The Instinct screamed inside him to touch her, to claim her. He'd waited for so long. . . . He put his head in his hands, trying not to lash out again -- to get the beast back in its cage. But how could fate rob him once more? For more than a thousand years, he'd searched for her. And he'd found her in what he despised with a hatred so virulent he couldn't control it. A vampire. The way she existed disgusted him. Her weakness disgusted him. Her pale body was too small, too thin, and looked like she'd break with her first stiff fucking. He'd waited a millennium for a helpless parasite. He heard the squeaking wheel, going much faster past his door, but his hunger was sated for the first time since the ordeal began. With food like tonight's, he would shake off any physical trace of the torture. But his mind . . . He'd been with the female for an hour. Yet it had been an hour during which he'd only had to push the beast back twice. Which was a considerable improvement, since his entire existence was of constant bleakness interrupted only by sharp rages. Everyone said a Lykae's mate could soothe his any woe -- if she really was his, she had her bloody work cut out for her. She couldn't be. He must be delusional. He seized on that idea. The last thing he'd regretted before they forced him to the fire was that he'd never found her. Perhaps this was a damaged mind playing tricks. Of course, that was it. He'd always pictured his mate as a buxom redheaded lass with wolven blood who could handle his lusts, who would revel in the raw ferocity with him -- not this fearful wisp of a vampire. Damaged mind. Of course. He limped to the door to the bathing chamber and found it locked. He shook his head as he broke the knob easily, then entered a room so thick with steam he could hardly spy her balled up against the opposite wall. He lifted her up by her arms, scowling to find her still wet and dirty. "You've no' cleaned yourself?" When she only stared down at the ground, he demanded, "Why?" She shrugged miserably. He glanced at the cascade of water within a glass chamber, opened the door, and ran his hand under it. Now, this he could use. He set her away, then stripped. Her eyes widened, focused on his cock, and she covered her mouth. You'd think she'd never seen one. He let her look her fill, even leaned back against the wall, crossing his arms over his chest while she stared. Under her rapt gaze he grew hard, his length distending -- his body, at least, must think she was his -- until she gasped and lowered her gaze. His wasted leg caught her attention, seeming to startle her even more. That alone embarrassed him, and he stepped into the water to break her stare. He closed his eyes with pleasure as the water ran over him, noticing that it did nothing to quell his erection. He sensed her tense as though to run, and opened his eyes. If he'd been stronger, he would've hoped she would try it. "Looking at the door like that? I'll catch you before you make it from this room." She turned back, saw he'd grown harder, and seemed to choke on a cry. "Take off your clothes, vampire." "I-I will not!" "Do you want to come in here with them on?" "Preferable to being naked with you!" He felt relaxed under the water, even magnanimous after the excellent food. "Then let's make a bargain. You grant me a boon and I'll return one." She looked up at him from under a curl freed from her tight braids. "What do you mean?" He put his hands on each side of the door and leaned forward out of the water. "I want you in here, unclothed. What do you want of me?" "Nothing of value equal to that," she whispered. "You'll be with me indefinitely. Until I decide to let you go. Do you no' want to contact your . . . people?" He spat the word. "I'm sure you have much value to them, being so rare." In fact, keeping her from her vampire kin would just be the beginning of his revenge. He knew they'd find the idea of her being fucked repeatedly by a Lykae as revolting as his clan would find it. She nibbled her red bottom lip with one tiny fang, and his anger flared again. "I doona have to grant you anything! I could just take you in here and then in the bed." "A-and you won't if I agree to be in there with you?" "Come willingly and I will no'," he lied. "What will you . . . do?" "I want to put my hands on you. Learn you. And I'll want your hands on me." In a voice so soft he could scarcely hear her, she asked, "Will you hurt me?" "Touch you. No' hurt you." Her delicate blond brows drew together as she weighed this. Then, as though in great pain, she bent down to her boots, unfastening them with a buzzing sound. She stood and grasped the edges of her jacket and ruined blouse, but she seemed unable to proceed. She shook wildly and her blue eyes were stark. But she was agreeing -- in a flash of insight, he knew she wasn't agreeing because of any reason he could fathom. Her eyes seemed so expressive, yet he couldn't read her. When he loomed closer, she peeled the wet jacket and blouse away, then the shredded undergarment beneath them, hastily draping a thin arm over her breasts. Shy? When he'd seen the orgies of blood the vampires reveled in? "Please. I-I don't know who you think I am, but -- " "I think" -- before she could blink, he'd ripped her skirt clean from her body and tossed it to the ground -- "that I should at least know your name before I set to touchin' you." She shook harder if possible, her arm tightening over her breasts. He studied her, his gaze drinking her in. Her skin was perfect alabaster covered only by her strange pantalettes, the black silk that was like a V on her body. The front was transparent jet lace and teased against the blond curls between her legs. He remembered his two fleeting tastes of her skin in the howling rain and unnatural lightning, and his cock pulsed, the head growing slick with anticipation. Other men would find her exquisite. The vampires would. Human males would kill for her. Her trembling body was too small, but her eyes . . . wide and blue like the daytime sky she would never witness. "M-my name is Emmaline." "Emmaline," he growled, slowly reaching forward one claw to slice away the silk. Copyright ©2006 by Kresley Cole

Editorial Reviews

"A unique romance -- it truly stands on its own!" -- Sherrilyn Kenyon, New York Times bestselling author