Stay sane, act normal, he chants to himself as he strides down the rickety pier. On either side of him, water black like tar. Ahead of him, muted light from the bayou tavern. A Lore bar. A lone neon sign flickers over flat skiffs below. Music and laughter carry.
Stay sane . . . need to dull the rage. Until the endtime.
Inside. “Whiskey.” His voice is low, rough from disuse.
The bartender’s face falls. Like last night. Others grow skittish. Can they sense that I ache to kill? The whispers around him are like metal on slate to his ragged nerves.
—“Conrad Wroth, once a warlord . . . madder than any vampire I’ve seen in all my centuries.”
—“A killer for hire. If he shows up in your town, then folks from the Lore there’ll go missing.”
Missing? Unless I want them found.
—“Heard he drains ’em so savagely . . . nothing’s left of their throats.”
So I’m not fastidious.
—“I heard he eats them.”
Distorted rumors. Or is that one true?
Tales of his insanity spreading once more. I’ve never missed a target—how insane can I be? He answers himself: Very fucking much so.
Memories clot his mind. His victims’ memories taken from their blood toll inside him, their number always growing. Don’t know what’s real; can’t determine what’s illusion. Most of the time, he can scarcely understand his own thoughts. He doesn’t go a day without seeing some type of hallucination, striking out at shadows around him.
A grenade with the pin pulled, they say. Only a matter of time.
Stay sane . . . act normal. Glass in hand, he chuckles softly on his way to a dimly lit table in the back. Normal? He’s a goddamned vampire in a bar filled with shifters, demons, and the sharp-eared fey. Christmas lights are strung up in the back—through the eye sockets of human skulls that frame a mirror. In the corner, a demoness lazily strokes her lover’s horns, visibly arousing the male. At the bar, an immense werewolf bares his fangs, bowing protectively as he tosses a small redhead behind him.
Can’t decide if you should attack, Lykae? That’s right. I don’t smell of blood. A trick I learned.
The couple leaves, the redhead all but carried out by the Lykae. As they exit, she peers over her shoulder, her eyes like mirrors. Then gone. Out into the night where they belong.
Sit. Back against the wall. He adjusts the sunglasses that shade his red eyes, dirty red eyes. As he scans the room, he resists the urge to rub his palm over the back of his neck. Watched by someone unseen?
But then, I always feel like that.
He swoops up the drink, narrowing his eyes at his steady hand. My mind’s decayed, but my sword hand’s still true. A ruinous combination.
He takes a liberal swallow. The drink. The whiskey dulls the need to lash out. Not that it has disappeared.
Small things enrage him. An off look. Someone approaching too quickly. Failing to give him a wide enough berth. His fangs sharpen at the slightest provocation. As though a living thing hungers inside me. Ravenous for blood and a throat to tear. Each time he acts on the rage, others’ memories blight more of his own.
He still has enough sanity to stalk his targets—his brothers. He will mete out retribution to Nikolai and Murdoch Wroth for doing the unspeakable to him. Sebastian, the third brother, was a victim like him, but must be slain—simply because of what he is.
And my time grows nigh. Like an animal, he recognizes this. He’s found them in this mysterious place of swamps and haze and music. He’s seen Nikolai and Sebastian with their wives. He might have felt envy that his brothers laugh with them. That they touch them possessively, with wonder in their clear eyes. But hatred drowns out any confusing jealousy.
Offspring will follow. He’ll kill their females as well. Destroy them. Destroy myself. Before my enemies catch up with me.
He adjusts the bandage under his shirt on his left arm. The slashed skin beneath it will not heal. Five days ago, he was marked by a dream demon, one who tracks him by this very injury. One who promised that most coveted dream and most dreaded nightmare would follow the mark.
His brows draw together. The hunter will soon become the hunted—his life is nearing its end.
A whisper of regret. The thing he regrets most. He tries to remember what he covets so dearly. Another’s memories bombard him, exploding in his mind. His hand shoots up to clasp his forehead—
Nikolai enters the bar, Murdoch behind him. Their expressions are grave.
They’ve come to kill me. As he expected. He thought he could draw them out by returning here again and again. He lowers his hand, and his lips ease back from his fangs. The bar empties in a rush.
Then . . . stillness. His brothers stare at him as if seeing a ghost. Insects clamor outside. Rain draws near and steeps the air. Just as lightning strikes in the distance, Sebastian enters, crossing to stand beside the other two. He’s allied with them? This he hadn’t expected.
He removes his sunglasses, revealing his red eyes. The eldest, Nikolai, stifles a wince at the sight, but shakes it off and advances. The three seem surprised that he’ll stay to engage them, that he hasn’t traced away. They are strong and skilled, yet they don’t recognize the power he wields, the thing he’s become.
He can slaughter them all without blinking, and he’ll savor it. They haven’t drawn their swords? Then they walk to their doom. Can’t keep them waiting.
He lunges from his seat and hurdles the table, knocking Sebastian unconscious with a blow that cracks his skull and sends him flying into the back wall. Before the other two can raise a hand in defense, he snatches them by their throats. One in each tightening hand as they grapple to free themselves. “Three hundred years of this,” he hisses. Their struggles do nothing; their shocked expressions satisfy. Squeezing—
Wood creaks behind him. He shoves back and heaves his brothers at a new enemy. Too late; that Lykae’s returned and slashes out with flared claws, ripping through his torso. Blood gushes.
He roars with fury and charges the werewolf, dodging claws and teeth with uncanny speed to barrel him to the ground. Just as his hands are about to meet around the Lykae’s corded neck, the beast claps something to his right wrist.
A manacle? Clenching harder, he grates out a rasping laugh. “You don’t think that will hold me?” Bones begin to pop beneath his palms. The kill is near, and he wants to yell with pleasure.
The werewolf cuffs his left wrist.
What is this? The metal won’t bend. Won’t break. They goddamned mean to take me alive? He leaps to his feet, tensing to trace. Nothing. Sebastian on the floor, pouring blood from his temple, has him by the ankles.
He kicks Sebastian, connecting squarely with his brother’s chest. Ribs crack. He whirls around—in time to catch the bar rail the Lykae swings at his face.
He staggers but remains on his feet.
“What the fuck is he?” the Lykae bellows, swinging the rail again with all his might.
The brutal hit takes him across his neck. A split second of faltering. Enough for his brothers to tackle him.
He thrashes and bites, snapping his fangs. Can’t break free . . . can’t . . . They attach the manacles at his wrists to another chain. He kicks viciously, stunned when they trap his legs as well.
Choking with rage, he strains against his bonds with all his strength. The metal cleaves his skin to the bone. Nothing.
Caught. He roars, spitting blood at them, dimly hearing them speak.
“I hope you came up with a good place to put him,” Sebastian says between ragged breaths.
“I bought a long-abandoned manor,” Nikolai grates, “place called Elancourt.”
Chills course through him even through his fury; pain erupts from the injury on his arm. A dream. His doom. He can never go to this Elancourt—knows this with a savage certainty. He’s too strong for them to trace him—there’s still time to escape.
If they take him there, they won’t take him alive. . . .
* * *
Under a clouded nighttime sky, the spirit of Néomi Laress knelt in the drive at the very edge of her property line, gazing hungrily at the newspaper, lying wrapped in wet plastic.
Today the deliveryman—that capricious fiend—had missed the drive again, this time tossing the bundle squarely onto the desolate county road.
Néomi was starving for that paper, desperate for the news, reviews, and commentary that would break up the monotony of her life—or her eighty-year-long afterlife.
But she couldn’t leave the estate to seize it. As a ghost, Néomi could manipulate matter telekinetically, and her power was nearly absolute at Elancourt—she could rattle all the windows or tear off the roof if she wanted to, and the weather often changed with her emotions—but not outside the property.
Her beloved home had become her prison, her eternal cell of fifteen acres and a slowly dying manor. Among fate’s other curses, each seemingly designed to torture her in personal and specific ways, Néomi could never leave this place.
She didn’t know why this was so—only that it was, and had been since she’d awakened the morning after her murder. She recalled seeing her haunting reflection for the first time. Néomi remembered that exact moment when she’d realized that she’d died—when she’d first comprehended what she’d become.
A ghost. She’d become something that frightened even her. Something unnatural. Never again to be a lover or friend. Never to be a mother, like she’d always planned after her dancing career. As a storm had boiled outside, she’d silently screamed for hours.
The only thing she could be thankful for was that Louis hadn’t been trapped here with her.
She stretched harder. Must . . . have that . . . paper!
Néomi wasn’t certain why it continued to arrive. A past article had recounted the problems inherent with “recurrent billing of credit cards,” and she supposed she was the benefactress of her last tenant’s credit card negligence. The delivery could end at any time. Every one was precious.
Eventually she gave up, defeated, sitting back in the weed-ridden drive. Out of habit, she made movements as if she was rubbing her thighs, yet felt nothing.
Néomi could never feel. Never again. She was incorporeal, as substantial as the mist rolling in from the bayou.
Thanks, Louis. Oh, and may you rot in hell—because surely that’s where you went. . . .
Usually, at this point in the newspaper struggle, she’d be battling the urge to tear her hair out, wondering how much longer she could endure this existence, speculating what she’d done to deserve it.
Yes, on the night of her death, she’d refused to die, but this was ridiculous.
But even as desperate as she was for the words, she wasn’t as badly off as usual.
Because last night a man had come into her home. A towering, handsome man with grave eyes. He might return this night. He might even move in.
She shouldn’t get too excited about the stranger, to have her hopes crushed yet again—
Lights blinded her; the shriek of squealing tires ripped through the quiet of the night.
As a car shot forward onto the gravel, she futilely raised her arms to protect her face and gave a silent cry. It drove straight through her, the engine reverberating like an earthquake when it passed through her head.
The vehicle never slowed as it prowled down the oak-lined drive to Elancourt.
--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition
Revue de presse
Praise for Kresley Cole: "Sizzling sex and high-stakes adventure are what's on tap in mega-talented Cole's sensational new paranormal release." --Romantic Times on NO REST FOR THE WICKED ". . . intense action, devilishly passionate sex and fascinating characters . . . hot stuff!" --Romantic Times on A HUNGER LIKE NO OTHER "Rich mythology, a fresh approach, and excellent writing make this unique vampire tale superb." --Fresh Fiction on A HUNGER LIKE NO OTHER
Kresley Cole est une écrivaine américaine de romance historique et paranormale. Aujourd'hui auteur reconnue, elle fut d'abord une athlète de niveau international, puis coach. Depuis son premier roman en 2003, Cole a écrit des séries à succès : Sutherland, Highlands, Frères MacCarrick, Les ombres de la nuit. Ces séries sont publiées aux éditions J'ai lu. Elle vit en Floride avec son mari et beaucoup, beaucoup de chiens
C'est le quatrième opus de la série des Immortels de Kresley Cole. Cette femme a un talent fou : ses livres sont accrocheurs, pleins d'action, pas de répit et des personnages très originaux. Ici, Néomi est une ancienne danseuse française. Ancienne car morte, et elle hante son vieux manoir... brrrr... jusqu'au jour où les frères Wroth (vampires, de leur état) décident d'y emprisonner leur frère Conrad afin de le sevrer de sa soif de sang humain. La rencontre entre un vampire et un fantôme... voilà qui laisse la place à beaucoup d'interrogations, de frustration, de rebondissements et de passion entre les personnages. J'ai à nouveau été emballée par le destin du petit dernier des Wroth. Kresley Cole est une valeur sùre. Pour les lectrices qui ne la connaîtraient pas, il vaudrait mieux commencer par le début de la série car sa mythologie est très originale et mérite toutes les étapes qu'elle a choisi de respecter. Son premier essai figure dans un recueil de nouvelles intitulé "Playing Easy to Get" et, après, on peut suivre les 5 autres romans de la série.
In this book we finally get to meet the fourth Wroth brother, Conrad. Unlike his brothers he has drunk directly from the flesh and killed while drinking blood, so he has the same red eyes as the Horde vampires. All the memories of his victims are slowly turning him mad and only the need for vengeance keeps him going.
But then he gets captured by his brothers, they think they can cure him from the bloodlust. But it's not his brothers' efforts that make him gain control, but Neomi, the ghost in the house where he is held captive.
Neomi is a feisty women who seems to know how to calm Conrad. It was lovely to see them together, gradually falling for each other and both getting frustrated because she was a ghost.
I'm not gonna say more about it, just read what happens!
Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
65 internautes sur 69 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Five Blue Ribbons from Romance Junkies!27 mars 2008
- Publié sur Amazon.com
A slow descent into madness. That is the life of Conrad Wroth, a vampire warrior. For each kill he makes, the memories of his foes become his own. With each additional kill, the voices in his head become more pronounced until he can't differentiate between his thoughts and thoughts of his defeated enemies. Knowing that insanity is his final reward, he is determined to kill those who made him into the monster he is - his brothers.
Hoping to save their brother from the madness that is overwhelming him, Nikolai, Sebastian and Murdoch capture the defiant Conrad and imprison him in an old, vacant mansion. They don't see the apparition that Conrad sees - the ghostly vision of a stunningly beautiful woman, sure to drive him to further madness as desire begins to consume him.
Néomi Laress has been in a non-corporeal form since her tragic death eighty years ago. Not seen or heard by others, she is astounded that the madman now occupying her home can see her. Though his form is fine, his uncontrollable rages make Néomi cautious. Her presence seems to slightly calm the beast, while his presence brings some brightness to her isolated world. The two begin a mutual journey that could very well be their salvation, or their final destruction.
First, let me say that I have been thoroughly captivated by Cole's well developed world of the Lore. Upon hearing the concept of this book, admittedly I was concerned. How could the author deliver a satisfying romantic pairing between an insane vampire and a ghostly apparition? My uncertainty was quickly put to rest. From the very first page, Kresley Cole hypnotically pulled me into another romantic adventure of her Immortals After Dark Series with DARK NEEDS AT NIGHT'S EDGE.
I never should have doubted the ability of this prolific writer. With a talent for paranormal that has no equal, Ms. Cole creates a hero of dark driven needs and a bold heroine of strength and courage. Conrad Wroth is power personified, but with an irrepressible rage that he struggles to contain after his first meeting with Néomi. His attraction to the lovely ghost competes with his need for revenge. With a strength born of her long imprisonment as a ghost, Neomi is daringly attracted to unattainable life as well as the powerful vampire. The unlikely pairing of these two contrary personas is both compelling and breathtaking.
Prepare yourself for a wickedly exhilarating ride through the world of the Lore with Kresley Cole's latest offering. I can't recommend Conrad and Neomi's book enough. Fabulous, Ms. Cole! Simply fabulous!
41 internautes sur 45 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Can a *ghost* tempt a deadly Vampire out of total darkness?.....or is he simply far too mad?21 avril 2008
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Dangerous 'turned' vampire, Conrad Wroth, is imprisoned by his brothers in an abandoned mansion. Controlled by his bloodlust and plagued by the horrific memories of his victims, the mercenary slowly edges closer to insanity. There, on the eerie estate, a beautiful confined phantom, Neomi, haunts the grounds. A spirit that no one can see, touch or hear. An insignificant being. That is, until she discovers that there is one person who can *see* her. A force deep within Conrad calls to this woman. But he can't seem to resist the extreme pull of his darker side. And a desperate Neomi longs to be *bodily* again, willing to do anything. Their needs and desires will them to be together. If only that were possible.
Another great installment in The Immortals After Dark series. Unlike its predecessor, Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night (The Immortals After Dark, Book 3), this book can be read as a stand alone. Although I recommend reading the series in order because the other books are just so darn good!
Also unlike in all the other books, the hero starts out as a completely vile villain. But Cole (author) manages to make him a sympathetic character without somehow losing his dark edge. And Neomi is another eyebrow raising character for a heroine -no body. Huh? -what are the love scenes like? You won't get it from me! ;). So both characters are similar due to there own uniqueness from any I've ever read. Two people (if you will) looking for something they may likely never be able to have because of physical (Neomi) and mental (Conrad) roadblocks. How sad is that!
And as usual, along with those great characterizations, steamy love scenes and intriguing plot, there are plenty of interesting surprises and tons of teasers for future books (especially the next one, Dark Desires After Dusk (The Immortals After Dark, Book 5)). Previous couples also make appearances, markedly Mariketa & Bowen (who else is in love with this werewolf?).
So this book is another keeper for me. Hmmmm....demons are next. Wonder whats up with those horns -*wiggling eyebrows* ;). LOL!
16 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
This is how you write a ghost as a romantic lead!19 avril 2008
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Do not be turned off at the thought of a ghost as a romantic lead! Having been burned in the past by other authors on this score, I was initially skeptical. But Cole does an excellent job of leaving both the reader (and characters!) not just satisfied but very happy with the ending. 'Dark Needs At Night's Edge' offers a fresh twist to her IAD series and is an excellent addition.
8 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Dark Needs at Night's Edge-A Joyfully Recommended Title!!5 mai 2008
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Eighty years ago Neomi Laress lost her life just as she was gaining popularity as a prima ballerina. The night she was showcasing her beautiful home and riding on the coattails of a stunning performance, a spurned lover stabbed and killed Neomi as well as himself. Because of this, Neomi's ghost has been stuck in her now crumbling mansion. Able to see but not been seen. Able to hear but not be heard. Able to feel but not be felt. It is a lonely existence for this once vibrant woman and Neomi lives for when people move into her home. The night four vampires invade her property is a night she won't forget anytime soon especially since one of them has red eyes and blood lust raging throughout his body.
Conrad Wroth has just about lost his sanity. His red eyes attest to the fact that blood lust has hit him and his rage is endless. He hears the thoughts and yearnings of his victims and can't escape their memories. He lives for the night so that he can go back out and hunt again. Whiskey dulls his senses enough that he almost appears normal but he knows differently. If he can only find the two men responsible for his vampiric existence, then he can kill them and himself before someone or something else does. Conrad realizes that it's funny how wishes come true because he has just been trapped by his brothers and taken to an abandoned mansion in chains. They want him to be free of his rage and bloodlust. He just wants to be free to claim their heads. In his darkest hour of captivity, however, Conrad sees a sparkling light. Knowing he has definitely lost his mind, he lies in wait hoping to see another such phenomena. His patience prevails and that is when he sees her in all her spiritual and transparent glory.
Neomi sees the imprisoned vampire and longs to ease his pain. When he looks at her and seems to see her, the joy she feels knows no bounds. Finally, someone to talk to during the lonely days and nights. Someone to laugh with. Someone to love. But Neomi is a ghost and ghosts can't love. Or can they? What happens when Neomi enlists the aid of a witch in an effort to be with the man she loves?
Talk about enticing and completely spell binding. From the get-go Dark Needs at Night's Edge took me on a roller coater of emotions from the scene of Neomi's mortal demise to Conrad's enslavement by his brothers who he counts as his enemies. Conrad knows he is losing his sanity and he knows that it is only a matter of time until someone is able to end his miserable life. But in his darkest and bleakest moment, he is given, virtually, a ray of hope in the form of Neomi Laress. Realizing how they feel about each other was agonizing in the fact that Neomi was not corporeal and there was no help for her. While she loves Conrad, she knows that they can never be a couple as he wishes. Time is of the essence in the bargain she made with the witch and Neomi and Conrad make the most of it. Sensual, satisfying, and downright beautiful love scenes brought forth their emotions for each other and I had no doubts that they loved the love of a lifetime.
Kresley Cole has taken paranormal romance to a new level with Dark Needs at Night's Edge. Her ability to weave a timeless love story with hilarious witches and Valkries thrown in for good measure who never fail to make me laugh out loud at their antics and cry with their anguish. Once the smokes clears, the characters come alive in their own way and the end is phenomenal. I forcefully and loudly Joyfully Recommend Dark Needs at Night's Edge. It is not to be missed.
Talia Reviewed for Joyfully Reviewed
11 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
How a petite ballet dancer brought a raging mad vampire to his knees...26 avril 2008
Alyce In Wonderland
- Publié sur Amazon.com
IMMORTALS AFTER DARK SERIES:
Playing Easy To Get (Anthology that includes an IAD novella to kick- off the series)
A Hunger Like No Other
No Rest For The Wicked
Wicked Deeds On A Winter's Night
Dark Needs At Night's Edge
Dark Desires After Dusk
The girl can write! Kresley Cole delivered another winner. This story brings back the main couple from "Wicked Deeds", as well as The Wroth brothers (Nikolai from "Playing Easy", Sebastian from "No Rest", and Murdoch whose story we are eagerly awaiting), to play major roles.
The fourth Wroth brother is named Conrad. Of the four vampire brothers, only Conrad became a "fallen" vampire... one who takes blood straight from the vain. By taking "living blood", Conrad also receives the memories of his victims. With 300 years of collected memories tormenting his mind, Conrad is at the peek of madness. His brothers have one chance to imprison Conrad and try to help him get well. Otherwise, Kristoff, the king of vampires, will have Conrad hunted down and slain. Nikolai has purchased an old abandoned home in New Orleans. It is the perfect place to hide Conrad with the bespelled chains that will hold him prisoner during his recovery.
Néomi has lived in her dream home, Elancourt, for eighty years. As a young and successful ballet dancer, she bought and restored the home with a loving touch. She never could have imagined it would become the scene of her murder. When her enraged ex- fiance plunged a knife through her heart, Néomi couldn't bare to die. Fighting her passing with every last breath, Néomi's spirit stayed in her home. For the next 8 decades, she remained in Elancourt as a ghostly prisoner, never able to leave her property.
In her loneliness, Néomi prays for new tenants to move into her home. Her quiet and mundane existence comes to a startling end when three men bring their mad brother into Elancourt. Dragging his chains across her marble floors, punching holes into her walls, this madman is not welcome... until Néomi learns that Conrad can see and speak to her. For the first time in 80 years, Néomi is not isolated.
Over the following weeks, Conrad and Néomi become precious to one another. They cannot touch, but they can communicate. Secrets of their pasts are shared, but neither holds any hope for a happy future. Néomi dreads the day when Conrad will leave her home. Conrad begins to make plans for finding a sorcerer who can give Néomi a corporeal body. Although there is no way to prove it while she has no physical shell, Conrad is becoming convinced that his little ballerina is actually his destined Bride. As the two fall in love, they can only express their desire through words of fantasy mating. Some how, once his enemies are no longer a threat, Conrad is going to find a way to make those spoken fantasies reality. Knowing that a vampire's Bride is his enemy's best weapon, Conrad must first slay his would be assassins. To avoid sinking back into madness, he must do it without taking their blood.
I struggled a bit between giving this book 4 or 5 stars. My one complaint is the fact that most of the story took place in Elancourt. I missed Cole's usual exciting adventures. I found myself waiting and waiting for the couple to break out of the home and travel together a bit. There were only a few times when the story left Elancourt, and none of them were with Conrad and Néomi leaving together. Still, the intense love story won me over. All told, the score would be 4.5 stars. Definitely not to be missed!
Want to read the whole series? (Believe me, you do!) Here are the links:
Playing Easy to Get (Anthology that includes the first IAD story... Nikolai's story!)
A Hunger Like No Other (The Immortals After Dark Series, Book 1) (The best of the series so far, and one of my personal all- time favorite romance novels!)
No Rest for the Wicked (The Immortals After Dark, Book 2)
Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night (The Immortals After Dark, Book 3)
Dark Needs at Night's Edge (The Immortals After Dark Series, Book 4)
Dark Desires After Dusk (The Immortals After Dark, Book 5)
Can't get enough Kresley? Here is her latest historical romance series: