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Seduce the Darkness

Seduce the Darkness

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Seduce the Darkness

ratings:
4/5 (45 ratings)
Length:
404 pages
6 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jun 30, 2009
ISBN:
9781439163641
Format:
Book

Description

New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter’s paranormal novel features the return of her sexy breed of alien huntresses.

Devyn is a warrior, and an unrepentant collector of women, able to charm anyone. Anyone except Bride McKells. Uneducated in the ways of the vampire, Bride is not even sure if other vampires exist. Seductive Devyn has the answers she craves, and he can take her to the dark underground of her people. But Bride's blood might hold the key to saving Devyn's friends, so he's loath to let her go. Especially when he begins to crave her more than he's ever craved another. Together they enter the seedy world of slave auctions, battle a powerful alien queen whose diseased blood turns humans into cannibals, and discover a passion unlike any other. But in the end, Bride must choose between the man she's come to love and the family she's always longed for.
Publisher:
Released:
Jun 30, 2009
ISBN:
9781439163641
Format:
Book

About the author

Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of more than fifty novels and multiple series, including the spellbinding Otherworld Assassins, Alien Huntress, and Lords of the Underworld series, her wildly popular young adult novels—Firstlife and Alice in Zombieland—and the highly addictive Original Heartbreakers series. Visit her at GenaShowalter.com.

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Seduce the Darkness - Gena Showalter

disgrace."

CHAPTER 1

Bride McKells meandered along the crowded street in the pulsing heart of New Chicago, moonlight and multihued shop lights blending together to create a sparkling canvas of dream and shadow. Chaos and calm. Red brick buildings stretched at her sides, each fairly new, no clear, breakable glass or blink-and-it’s-in-flames wood in sight. A shame. She loved peeking into shops and imagining owning whatever was being sold just as much as she loved the smell of pine.

Neither of which she would be enjoying anytime soon. Windows were now made of dark shield armor, and wood was scarce.

After the human-alien war, everything had had to be rebuilt for strength and durability, even while resources had been limited, the world a shell of its former self. Good-bye extraneous use of pretty glass and sweetly fragranced timber. Now, almost eighty years later—eighty years in which Bride had barely aged—everything was comprised of unattractive, dirt-scented stone.

Not a bad smell, but when paired with the reeking public…Ugh. Every day it worsened. Perfumes and body odor, flowery laundry soaps and car exhaust. And food. Oh, God, the food, the spices. Her too-sensitive nose wrinkled in distaste. McBean burgers, fried chicken, and the ever-popular syn-milk…the list could go on and on. Mind on the task at hand, or you’ll puke. Already bile rose in her throat, burning.

Deep breath in, hold…hold…deep breath out. Men and women, both human and nonhuman, bustled in every direction, some in a mad rush to reach their destination, some as unhurried as her. Only difference was, they were shopping for clothes and shoes. Bride was looking for her next meal: warm blood from a live, jugular tap.

Unfortunately, tonight’s buffet was lacking. As usual. All those smells…Back to that already, are we? The bile threatened to spill over.

She supposed, to a human, finding a tasty meal among this stretch would be the equivalent of picking between oversalted pasta, the charred nibblets left in the bottom of an oven, or stale toast seasoned with week-old mayonnaise. Again, ugh. But hungry as she was, weak as she was becoming, she needed to feed. Soon. No matter how crappy the buffet.

Lately, though, she couldn’t eat indiscriminately without severe consequences. Most blood—human or otherworlder, it didn’t matter—now left her writhing in a dirty alley, vomiting and moaning in pain for hours. Why, she didn’t know. She only knew it had started about a month ago and had yet to abate.

If she’d known another vampire, she would’ve asked what was going on. But did she know another vampire? Nooo. Except for movies and books, she’d never even seen another of her kind.

She hated—hated!—not understanding her own body.

Just one bloodsucker. That’s all I need. Were they dead? Was she the last? Her earliest memories were of herself, alone, always alone, walking the streets of New Chicago, just like she was doing now, the words Bride McKells tattooed on the inside of her wrist, lost, hungry, starving actually, stumbling and finally falling against the pavement.

A human male had scooped her up without a word—intentions unknown, even now—and Bride’s gaze had locked on the vein fluttering along the column of his neck. Her mouth had watered, her teeth had sharpened, and the next thing she’d known, she’d bitten him, gulping back every drop of crimson nectar she could. He had collapsed, but she hadn’t released her hold on him. He had spasmed and gasped and fought, but still she’d maintained her grip. Only when he had stilled, his vein as dry as an empty cup, had she moved away.

Her strength—instantly restored. Her eyesight—unbelievably perfect. Her hearing—exponentially better. Her sense of smell—too strong, sickening, but filterable. Her touch—ultra sensitive.

Her guilt—raging.

She’d been a child in mind and body, perhaps no more than eight human years, starving, tired, desperate, and feeling utterly abandoned. Yet even with her limited understanding she’d known, beyond any doubt, that she’d just wrongly killed a man. And sadly, he hadn’t been the last. Several years had passed before she’d learned to control her urges, to disengage before swallowing that final, life-taking gulp.

Now, nearly a century later, she should have been a wrinkled hag, doddering and senile, but she looked twenty-one and was stronger than ever. The people around her had aged, of course; most had even died. A few years ago, she’d had to fake her own death and come back as someone else. She could have traveled somewhere else, but hadn’t. The only person she’d ever loved was here, somewhere. So here Bride would stay.

Hey, a male suddenly said, keeping pace beside her.

Startled, she flicked him a glance and sized him up in less than a second. Sandy-colored hair, brown eyes. Young, probably early twenties. Several inches taller than her. Clean shaven. Looked about as dangerous as a stuffed animal. But if he was anything like her, he sewed razors into his shirtsleeves and pant pockets, proving just how deceiving looks could be.

Sorry to rush at you like that. ’Cause I know it’s un-cool to approach a woman who’s alone at night, but I’m not creepy or anything, he added, palms raised as if that proved his innocence. I swear.

She quickened her steps, preferring a murderer to the sales pitch she suspected was coming. Sorry, I’m broke. And sadly, that was the truth.

I’m not selling anything, he said. Swear to God!

All salesman say that—right before they reveal an item I just can’t live without. That never changed, no matter the era or season.

Okay, maybe I am trying to sell you something, but it’s not what you think. Honest.

It never was. She sucked in a breath, preparing to use her voice voodoo and compel him to leave, when she caught the vaguest hint of grilled chicken, cloned of course, and white rice. Nothing else. No spices. No other scents to clutter up her nose and burn her belly.

Bride cast him another quick but assessing glance. Clearly, he was fresh from an enzyme shower, not a speck of dirt on him. His heartbeat was strong, his energy levels high. The moisture in her mouth increased.

Maybe she’d be able to keep him down.

The thought was heady. Appearances are deceptive, remember? Maybe he’d make her sicker than ever. Only one way to find out. She softened her expression. So what are you trying to sell me, hmm?

Well…me. Only, I’m available free of charge. Twin pink circles painted his cheeks, and his pulse kicked up another notch. Desire wafted from him, barely discernible, but there all the same. I, uh, noticed you back at Sid’s and thought I’d introduce myself.

I wasn’t at Sid’s tonight. Last night, sure. It was her favorite hangout, a local bar that catered to sensitives—otherworlders who were as overwhelmed by smells as she was. No perfumes were allowed. No illegal cigarette smoke.

She was a regular, and the otherworldly patrons assumed she was a human with a fetish. Yeah, that made them leery of her, but she let them assume it. While humans and aliens might cohabitate, that didn’t mean they were comfortable with each other yet. But better to be feared than hunted. If nothing else, old vampire movies had taught her that.

I know you weren’t there tonight, but I saw you yesterday and then again as I was walking out tonight and you were, uh, passing by. So I ran after you, he admitted with a self-deprecating grin. Impulse. Gets me every time. I’m Tom, by the way.

Points to Tom for being brave enough to approach her. She hadn’t been asked on a date in months and had begun to think something was wrong with her. But…wait. She hadn’t noticed him last night and wondered why he hadn’t approached her then, if he’d been interested in her. Why now? Because she was on her own, seemingly helpless?

So suspicious! What are you doing hanging out at Sid’s? You’re not the usual patron.

His cheeks reddened again.

Ah. Trying to nail otherworlder ass. Should have known. A classic pastime for today’s youth. No wonder his scent was so unassuming. He’d picked up a sensitive before and knew how to go about it. And you decided to come after me, huh?

Well, yeah. I’d really like to get to know you.

Get to know you. Code for fuck your brains out and never call you, perhaps. God, when had she become so cynical? Since her last boyfriend had dumped her for being moody and secretive, and her rebound hadn’t called her, she supposed. Why didn’t you try and get to know me last night? Since you noticed me, I mean.

He swallowed, even missed a step and tripped forward. Thankfully he righted himself before he fell. I was there with someone else and couldn’t get away. But she was just a friend, honest.

Just a friend. Right. And I wouldn’t like to nibble on your carotid.

Bride twisted to the side to avoid slamming into a woman in a hurry, a woman whose heels clacked faster and faster against the pavement in a booming rhythm that made her cringe. After a decent meal, she would be able to control the volume in her ears.

Her gaze slid back to Tom. Why not? she thought. He was young, but he probably wouldn’t put up a fight when she came at him with fangs bared. He might actually like it. Kids were kinky these days. Of course, that would mean avoiding him for the rest of his life.

She could erase the memory of her eating habits from his mind if she only drank from him once. But if she were to go to him for a second helping, his mind would begin to build an immunity against her forget me suggestions. He would remember her and what she’d done, and word about what she was would leak. Spread. That’s why she’d never been able to drink from her boyfriends, and why she’d had to sneak away every night from her only live-in to find a meal. That’s also why he’d considered her secretive and ultimately booted her from his life.

Eating from the same buffet was a mistake she’d made a few times before the war, and each time she had been chased by cross-holding, holy-water-throwing, stake-wielding fanatics. Ironically enough, the war had saved her, wiping out the very people who’d wanted her dead.

I’m thirsty, she said. Wanna get to know me over a drink? Funny, Bride. Very funny.

Hell, yeah! His eyes darkened, those chocolate irises overshadowed by the dilation of his pupils. Anything you want, anywhere you want it.

If he only knew…Great. I— A familiar scent suddenly drifted to her nose, and she stilled. Frowned.

Tom noticed and backtracked, his smile fading. Everything okay?

Bride closed her eyes as she inhaled again, sorting through the sea of fragrances and locking in on one. Slowly she exhaled, then inhaled again. Sure enough. There it was.

It was a fragrance she’d encountered only a few times the past two decades, a blend of aged pine and smooth morning sky. A fragrance that belonged to her childhood friend, Aleaha Love, a girl—woman now—she hadn’t seen in sixteen years. A friend she had wept for, missed, needed, and never stopped searching for.

Finally, blessedly, Aleaha was nearby. Had to be.

Sorry. Maybe we’ll do that drink later. Despite Tom’s protests, despite her growing hunger, Bride leapt into a sprint, dodging people, shoving them out of the way when necessary. Her heart slammed against her ribs, as fast and hard as the high heels she still heard drumming inside her head, and sparked a burning pain in her chest. Calm down. You know better.

Hey, someone snapped.

Watch it, another growled.

At one time, she and Aleaha had been inseparable, relying on each other for survival. Bride had protected and provided for the girl, and Aleaha had staved off the loneliness. Because Bride was a vampire and Aleaha a shape-shifter, both of them had feared being captured, studied. Tortured. Didn’t help that they’d been poor and dirty, as disposable as garbage. They’d had to live in the shadows.

One day several policemen had chased them for sneaking inside the homes of the rich and stealing food. Bride had hidden the younger girl, leading the cops away from her. But when she’d returned, there’d been no sign of Aleaha. Not there, not anywhere.

Now Bride’s gaze swung left and right, scanning the masses for any hint of her friend. Not that she expected to see her. One touch, and Aleaha could assume the identity of anyone, her appearance becoming theirs. Where are you, Leah Leah? Swiftly Bride breathed in and out, the scent of pine and sky intensifying. She was on the right path.

Excitement pounded through her, and the burning in her chest increased. The few times she’d encountered her friend’s scent, it had never been this potent, and she’d soon lost the trail. Was this the day she’d meet with success?

So many times she’d imagined presenting Aleaha with all the things they’d dreamed about but Bride had been unable to give her. Fancy clothes, soft shoes, and so much food the girl’s stomach would burst. She’d imagined whispering and laughing in the dark with the only person who knew what she was but loved her anyway. Just like they’d used to do.

She’d imagined showing Aleaha the new tricks she’d learned, the different abilities that had revealed themselves, one by one, springing from a place deep inside her. A place protected by thorns and fire, so that she couldn’t get past it to see what else lurked there. But she’d tried, oh, had she tried. Many times. And every time, the pain had almost killed her. Finally, she’d given up and now left that turbulent place inside her alone.

Unless she experienced any emotion too strongly, that is. Then the thorns and fire sprang up on their own. Too much pleasure brought pain (not that it detoured her). Too much pain brought more pain. Too much sadness, too much anger, too much happiness—pain, pain, pain. Which is why you need to, what? Calm down. Being incapacitated held no appeal.

Aleaha’s wonderful smell was so strong now, she discerned two scents wrapped together, both somehow familiar…she was almost upon the source…but there was no longer any women in sight. Was Aleaha guised as a male? Where could she—Bride crashed into a solid, unmoving wall of muscle, air gushing from her parted lips. She stumbled backward, hit someone else and bounced forward, nailing the wall of muscle and brawn yet again.

That second time, her knees gave out and she tumbled to her ass. As she sat there, panting, she realized Aleaha’s scent was now all over her. Had she truly found her? Bride’s excitement became as hot as fire in her veins.

The man—Aleaha?—turned, his lips curled into an annoyed frown. Down, down he gazed, a lock of dark hair falling over his forehead. When he spotted her, his eyes widened and his frown lifted into a what-have-we-here grin. Bride’s excitement drained, as did the burning. There was no recognition in that gaze, no ethereal outline of Aleaha beneath that face. But what a beautiful face it was.

Bride, always a lover of art, experienced a wave of feminine appreciation. His eyes were bright amber, honey mixed in cinnamon and fused by fire, surrounded by decadent black lashes. His skin looked as if it had been dipped in a pot of opalescent glitter. That glittery skin should have made him appear weak, girly. It didn’t. It somehow added to his I’ll-kill-anyone-anytime-anywhere-and-laugh-while-doing-it air.

Clearly, he was an otherworlder. Though which race, she didn’t know. Whichever one, she had to wonder if they were all like him: perfection wrapped in dazzling and sprinkled with every woman’s fantasy. What would his blood taste like? Would she be able to keep him down? Her mouth watered, and her fangs elongated.

He had a wonderfully sloped nose, sharp cheekbones, and a stubborn jaw. His dark brows were slashes of menace, yet tempting all the same. His lips…a portal to heaven, surely. They were lush and pink and promised unimaginable pleasures without saying a word. He knew it, too. He radiated utter confidence, absolute strength, and that I’ll-do-anything wildness.

As she stared up at him, his smile took on a wicked edge, knowing and sure. He was nothing like shy but horny Tom, the boy-man she’d just abandoned. Dressed completely in black, this man seemed every inch the night warrior. Ready to slash your throat without a moment’s notice.

In his case, looks were not deceiving. Without a doubt, he was dangerous.

Well, well. Aren’t you a pretty thing? he said, offering her a hand. That voice…deep and raspy and just roused from bed, as perfect as his face and body.

As people buzzed beside them—the females staring at him in openmouthed wonder, the males giving him a wide berth—Bride tentatively accepted his aid. His warm fingers curled around her wrist, and he easily hefted her up.

When she gained her bearings, she realized he’d tugged her forward so that they were only a few inches apart. He did not release her hand. Her smaller height placed her gaze right at the steady pulse in his neck, and her mouth once again watered.

Concentrate. Bride raised her chin and forced herself to look him in the eye. You smell like my friend Aleaha Love. Do you know her? Wait. What if she’d changed her name? He could have been with her and not even known it.

I smell like a woman, hmm?

At least he didn’t sound insulted. Merely amused. Yes.

"Well, you smell like sex. He leaned down as if he intended to share a secret with her, moonlight caressing him as though it couldn’t help itself. Maybe it couldn’t. The dirtiest kind of sex, at that. Which just happens to be my favorite." His thumb traced her palm.

A shiver slid the length of her spine. He was flirting with her, and wickedly so. Though she had no desire to flirt back—really—she forced herself to say, Wow. Already we have something in common. One thing she knew about men. They were more likely to help a woman if they thought they’d get something in return. That’s my favorite kind, too.

That put a surprised sparkle in his amber eyes. Isn’t this just my lucky day, then?

You never answered my question. Do you know Aleaha Love?

I know many women, but their names escape me right now. I so want to solve this mystery and become your hero. Perhaps your friend and I use the same perfume.

She doesn’t wear perfume, and I doubt you do, either. Even though so much time had passed since Bride had seen Aleaha, she knew her friend would never douse herself in any kind of body spray. Aleaha had to be as desperate to find Bride as Bride was to find Aleaha. She couldn’t believe otherwise. Aleaha was the one person who would never have walked away from her willingly. They’d become family, relied on each other.

Perhaps, then, it’s a coincidence that we smell the same.

Perhaps. Her shoulders slumped. He could very well be a shape-shifter like Aleaha, and all shape-shifters could very well produce the same fragrance.

I didn’t expect you to agree. Darling, coincidences don’t just happen. We need to put our heads together and think up some kind of explanation for this extraordinary occurrence. I do my best thinking in bed. You?

She laughed; she just couldn’t help herself. The man was incorrigible. Another thing we have in common. Thinking in bed. Alone. Letting him assume a little some-some was possible was one thing. Outright agreeing to it was another.

Alone. He tsked under his tongue. Now that’s just silly. His gaze fell to her mouth, and his pupils dilated. What race are you, darling?

She felt what little warmth resided in her cheeks drain away and finally tugged her hand from his. Had he seen her staring at his pulse? Had he sensed the growing hunger in her? I’m human. What race are you?

Targon. He chuckled, the most erotic chuckle she’d ever heard. But seriously, pet. What race are you?

I’m human, she insisted, then returned to the only subject that mattered. My friend. You smell like her. Bride had heard of Targons. They were a warrior race—big surprise—and all of them possessed brown hair and eyes. Or so she’d heard. If that was true, Aleaha wasn’t a Targon. She had green eyes. Why?

One of his brows arched, and she feared he meant to rebuke her again. Then he shrugged as though he didn’t care what they discussed. I’ve just left a female’s bed. Two females, actually. But neither used the name Aleaha, I don’t think. Someone shouted ‘Oh God’ several times, but that’s not helpful to you, is it? Anyway, I digress. I’m ninety percent certain I’d remember your name, if you were so inclined to give it.

She wondered how she’d laughed at his flirtation a moment ago. The man was frustration incarnate. Think back. Are you sure you didn’t cry out their names in the heat of passion?

I’m sure. But I can describe their birthmarks and wax preferences. Hair and eye color would be a bit harder, since I wasn’t paying attention to that area.

Disappointed, Bride shook her head. Having him describe his partners wouldn’t do any good, since Aleaha could look like a thousand different people. Did you stop and eat anywhere afterward? Maybe rub up against the person sitting next to you?

No and no. Now, your name, he continued smoothly. I hinted before, but you didn’t give it to me. I guess I’ll have to be direct. Tell me.

I’m Bride. Damn it. Why had she given him her real name? Why hadn’t she told him Amy, her new identity? Can you take me to the women? I’d like to see them for myself.

So persistent. I like that. By the way, my name is Devyn. Not that you asked. His lips edged into a frown, but another spark ignited in his eyes. This one, if she wasn’t mistaken, was of curiosity. Why didn’t you ask for it?

Because I didn’t care to know it. So much for flirting for the info. Now. Can you. Take me. To the. Women? Careful, or your irritation with him will drive him away.

His frown intensified, but then, so did his curiosity. Yes. I can. Will I? No. I won’t. So let’s discuss something else. Like why you didn’t care to know my name. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m gorgeous. Everyone wants to know my name. Everyone.

Great. He was one of those. Conceited, narcissistic. Too bad he’d already used up her patience. There’d be no pandering to his ego.

She reached up and fisted his shirt. It was soft, almost as if it were made from cotton rather than the synthetic blends most people were now forced to wear. He must be wealthy.

Take me to the women, she said. I need to see them.

Are you jealous of them? he asked hopefully. Do you want to kill them for having a go at me? Darling, we just met. That’s silly. It’s the girls after you that you should want to slay. He brushed a strand of her hair behind her ear, leaving a trail of fire. Not that I’ll be able to find one as lovely as you.

Frustrating man. Of course you won’t find anyone as lovely as me, she said, adding dryly, No one compares to me. I’m all you’ll be able to think about for the rest of your life. You’ll be heartbroken that you let me get away, and perhaps you won’t ever recover. Now that we’ve got that established, let’s talk about those women you were with. If you won’t take me to them, fine. At least tell me where you left them. I’ll check them out myself.

One corner of those gorgeous lips twitched, as though he were fighting a grin. Of course, he ignored her demand. You forgot to mention that all the women I’ve been with were merely practice for the day I met you.

That’s so obvious I wasn’t sure it needed to be stated. Now. Where did you leave the women?

His head tilted to the side as he studied her, those lips still twitching. You don’t desire me, do you?

No. Truth. He was gorgeous, as he’d said, the egotistical bastard, but his attitude grated.

Of its own accord, her gaze dropped once more to his neck. Well, maybe she desired his blood. He wasn’t human but he was equipped like one, his vein fluttering faster than before. The hunger she’d battled all day increased exponentially. You can’t drink him here. Too public. Besides, you’re with him for a reason, remember?

Perhaps she could force him to tell her where the women were. Even if they were gone, their scents would have lingered. For a while, at least. And if Leah had been there, and the scent still remained, Bride could follow her trail.

I’ve lost you, darling, Devyn said, his amusement intensified for some reason.

What? Oh, sorry. When she pulled herself from her musings and focused on him, a gasp escaped her. No longer did the night sky and golden moon frame his erotic face. Somehow he’d moved them both to an empty side street. To her knowledge, they’d never taken a step. Silver stone stretched all around them, lines of gang graffiti warning them away.

How did you do that? she asked.

Do what? He blinked, acting harmless, those long lashes like feathered fans.

Move us. As if he didn’t know.

Rather than try and deny it, he waved his fingers, saying, Magic. Now, why don’t we go somewhere cozy and get to know each other, hmm? We’ll have sex and discuss your friend.

Her second offer of the day, though this one was more blatant. She wouldn’t run away from this one, however. How long ago did you leave those women?

He uttered a long-suffering sigh. I lied when I told you I liked persistent women. I’m this close, he pinched two of his fingers together, to spanking you. Would you like that?

Enough! Exasperated, Bride reached up and cupped his jaw, forcing his gaze on hers. Listen, you. You’re going to do everything I tell you to do. There was power in her voice now, soft thrums that wafted between them. You’re going to—

Wait. He frowned again. Even stiffened. But his eyes didn’t glaze over, and his muscles didn’t slacken, as was supposed to happen. Say that again.

Fru-strat-ing. Stop talking and listen to me. You will—

Do everything you tell me to do. Yes, I know. You’re a vampire, aren’t you? he asked, and there was disappointment in his tone.

First, why wasn’t he obeying her? Second, he knew what she was without seeing her bare her teeth? Disappointment wasn’t the usual reaction she received. Terror, yes. Awe, sometimes that, too. Intrigue, even. Third, now would be a good time to beat feet. He knew what she was and could try and stake her.

Bride remained rooted in place, though, fury sprouting, growing, burning through her. She would face him and she would hurt him if necessary, but the bastard was going to tell her what she wanted to know. Like I told you, I’m human. So just tell me where you left those women, damn it! I mean them no harm. I only want to talk to them.

I’ve had a vampire, he said, ignoring her. Again. He wrapped his fingers around her wrists and lowered her arms away from his body. I’m afraid you’ll have to look elsewhere for dinner.

Wait. He’d had a vampire? That meant there were others out there. That meant she wasn’t alone.

Her mouth fell open as excitement returned and blended with her fury, this time billowing through her on a cloud of astonishment. Each emotion was so strong, the thorns in her chest sharpened, joining the fire, but she hardly noticed them. There were others out there! Blood drinkers, just like her. People who could tell her why she now sickened when she drank. People who could teach her how to use her powers without weakening.

You’re not going anywhere, she told Devyn, once again grabbing onto his shirt. Her nails cut past the material and into skin. "I have questions, and you are going to answer them."

It would have been my pleasure, if you had been what I’d thought. I collect different species of women, you see, and like I said, I’ve had a vampire. A few of them actually. I don’t need another. Again, he jerked from her hold. One step, two, he backed away from her, almost upon the crowd. A pity. I enjoyed your resistance.

What do you think you’re doing? You’re staying here. Jaw clenched, Bride moved toward him. Her voice of compulsion obviously didn’t work on him, but she’d grown up on the streets and had had to learn how to defend herself. Taking him down wouldn’t be a hardship. "Tell me about the vampires of your own free will or I’ll force you. Then I’ll drain you."

He arched a brow. I thought you were human?

Now I’m just pissed. She kicked out her leg, knocking his ankles together. He stumbled to the side, and she reached out and captured the back of his neck, using his momentum to swing and bash him against the brick wall. Breath whooshed from him, his eyes going wide with shock.

Now you listen to me, you piece of shit. She slapped her hands at his sides, getting right in his face. I’ve had enough of your flirting and denials. You will tell me what I—

Stay still, he said, and every muscle in her body locked down. Sorry, darling, but even though you took me unaware and I’m highly impressed, this restaurant is closed. Besides that, you can’t force me to do anything I don’t want to do.

She couldn’t move. Her body couldn’t freaking move. What the hell? she shouted, trying with all her might to uproot her feet. It was as if her boots had been glued to the pavement. What did you do to me?

It’s a little trick of mine. But don’t worry. Grinning, he ducked under her arm. You’ll be able to move soon enough.

"I need to talk to you, damn it, and ask you some more questions. Questions you will answer."

I only answer questions when the one doing the asking is naked, and as we won’t be getting naked anytime soon… Another of those disappointed sighs. If I wasn’t in a hurry, you might have been able to make me forget I prefer variety. As it is, I’m late and have to go. But do dream of me, darling.

That dirty, rotten bastard! How dare he! "Leave,

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  • (4/5)
    I didn't read the previous books in the Alien Huntress Series, but I didn't have any problems keeping up with the story and I don't feel like it took anything away from the story. Although, there were times throughout the book, that I did wonder about one or two of the other characters' back story. So, to find out their stories you can be sure I'll be reading the previous books.This is a futuristic, paranormal romance set in Chicago, water is now a very precious commodity, so much so that people don't bath with it anymore. They use enzyme baths, a mist stray system that cleans you without water. Fruit and vegetables are synthetically reproduced. Bride McKells' has been on her own ever since she woke up on the streets of Chicago, not being able to remember who is or where she has come from. She has spent much of her time alone, trying to find out who she is and any information on vampires because she doesn't know a thing about either. As far as Bride know, she is the only vampire in existence because she has never met another. Bride needs to learn what she can about vampires, besides what she has read in books, because lately she has had a problem with the blood she drinks, after the first few drops, she gets sick. She is out one evening, contemplating drinking from a stranger when she smells a delicious, familiar scent in the air. A scent that reminds Bride of the only friend she has ever had and lost long ago. Bride follows the scent straight to Devyn.Devyn, King of the Targons, is an agent for AIR, Alien Investigation and Removal, with a voracious appetite for women and a very narcissistic personality. He is also a very sexy guy dripping with seduction, that turns heads where ever he goes. But he likes variety in his sexual conquests and doesn't like bedding the same species more than once. So, are your hackles raised yet about Devyn? When Devyn runs into Bride, he knows that she is not human but he's not sure what species she is, so he is intrigued by her and pursues her until he finds out she is a vampire. He's had a vampire before so he quickly loses interests, but yet he can't stop thinking about Bride. When their paths cross again, they find out Bride's blood is a cure to an alien virus, that was once thought to be a catastrophic, incurable disease. Now Bride is an even more a mysterious attraction for Devyn, which puzzles and worries him.Seduce the Darkness is told in the third person, so we get a glimpse into what the characters are thinking and feeling. Bride is loner, someone who is use to being on her own but she is also tough and doesn't let anyone take advantage of her. Devyn's character, at first you just want to hate, maybe kick a few a times because he is so full of himself and his own self worth. The sexual tension between Bride and Devyn is building thing. Devyn readily admits his attraction to Bride, while Bride tries fighting the attraction because she doesn't want to be another conquest and get her heart broken in the process. Of course, Bride's refusal of Devyn's advances is just more fuel to the fire, he's not use to getting turned down. Bride is forced to work with Devyn, because he knows answers to her mysterious vampire race and the where a bouts of her lost friend. And the only way she's going to get those answers is to put up with Devyn.There are a quite a few twist and turns in the plot that keep your interest piqued throughout the story. I like the different alien characters involved in this story, it gave a sort of a Star Wars type feel to it - I racked my brain trying to think of a show or movie to compare but I keep coming back to Star Wars. The banter between Bride and Devyn is sharp, witty and fun, as the story starts to develop you start to see how these two completely different personality types compliment each other. There is plenty of romance, and the seduction in the story is fabulous, when it final climaxes, you'll sigh in relief from the tension that has built up to that point. No pun intend. In comparing this story to the Lords of the Underworld series, I would say it was a lighter read not as dark. There is also a side story that subtly develops, so you get an idea of what the next book could be about but it doesn't over run the main story line. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a futuristic, paranormal romance that is fast paced, amusing and packed full of passion with a healthy dose of sexual tension.
  • (4/5)
    Ms. Showalter has created a wonderful futuristic world where humans and aliens or otherworlders co-existed. Maybe co-existed isn't the right word. They exist together it's just not all that peaceful. That's were AIR (Alien Investigation and Removal) comes in.Devyn is the King of Targons, a warrior race. He is self-assured and his one goal is to sleep with as many different species of women he can find. He never get jealous or territorial and he never sleeps with the same species twice. That is until he meets vampire, Bride McKell.I really enjoyed this story. Devyn and Bride work well together. They bicker and annoy each other. But they also can't get enough of each other. That always makes for a good story. Seduce the Darkness is a wonderful addition the series, steamy, with action packed excitement. If you want to escape to another world. This series/book is the way to go.
  • (5/5)
    I'm not sure what I was expecting from SEDUCE THE DARKNESS by Gena Showalter. I think I was expecting a good book, a fun and entertaining read. What I got instead, was a fantastic book with an absolutely wonderful story! I think I expected the passion in SEDUCE THE DARKNESS to take center stage with a plot line that moved the story forward but just added cushion to the romantic side of the story. Instead, the story was really quite wonderful with the romantic element acting as the icing on the cake.Bride McKells lives on Earth during a time after the great alien war when otherworlders and humans have learned to coexist in a peaceful but strained relationship. The world is vastly different than it was before, with real fruit, non-cloned animals and precious water extraordinarily hard if not impossible to come by. Bride McKells's vampiric memory of the centuries is quite acute and she misses the way things were before. Most of all, she misses the child that she befriended then mysteriously lost long ago. When she runs into Devyn, and smells her friend all over him, a game of cat and mouse is begun. Bride will do almost anything to find her friend and just might rip Devyn's head off once she finally does.Devyn is King of the Targons. He is a womanizer, specializing in having women from different worlds. If he has been with a woman from one world before, he has no interest in being with another from that world. Devyn has already been with a vampire. Two in fact. He has no interest in Bride; yet, why can't he stop thinking about her? Despite his convictions, Devyn can't seem to get his mind off this beautiful, dark haired woman. What will become of this proud man once he discovers that his heart might be the most traitorous thing out there.Amidst a plot full of romance, mystery and suspense, Showalter shows us what it means to live in a destroyed world and what love and passion are really about. As I mentioned previously, passion plays a large part in SEDUCE THE DARKNESS, but the story surrounding this is really great as well. As Bride and Devyn discover each other and the mysteries of their own lives, they also find themselves fighting a great danger. An alien race with a horribly infectious disease carried in their blood. If allowed to roam Earth free, their disease could infect the entire planet in a very short time, turning every human into a vicious cannibal shortly before dying.As you can see, Showalter does an amazing job of constructing a story. Usually, you can tell when a story is built to be a great romance and when it is built to be a great action story, full of adrenaline pumping plot. Showalter built SEDUCE THE DARKNESS in such a way, that the book encompasses both of these with really no discernible barrier between the two. As I was reading, I actually thought a couple of times, "Wow, this is a great romance. Wow, this is a great suspenseful read. Wait, which is it?" This is a wonderful book and a great story that flows well and creates a fantastic rounded story.I absolutely loved the character development in SEDUCE THE DARKNESS. Bride is, of course, my favorite character as I usually love the heroines the most. She is strong but not without her weak points. She has a fantastic personality and best of all she is quite witty with a great amount of humor. Showalter has created a very fun character that was a pleasure to read.When you've got the strong and witty Bride, you've got to have the unreachable and yet highly desirable Devyn. Despite her best efforts, Bride can't help but to find herself attracted to the tall, beautiful warrior. Why shouldn't she? Everyone else is. She refuses just to be another one of his conquests, however, and this irritates Devyn to no end. Dealing with his own demons, Devyn finds solace in bedding women but it's possible that his charm and fantastic looks might not be enough for Bride. As with Bride, Showalter has imbued Devyn with a great deal of complexity, adding multiple layers of depth to this character that makes him an absolute pleasure to read. While we get to enjoy the passionate side of him, we also get to learn more about his past and how he came to be where he is now. We get to watch him fight, love, learn and unravel the mysteries of his own past. He is a fantastic character on multiple levels and aside from the strong and passionate Bride, he is the reason this book is as great as it is.Somehow, Showalter has created the perfect duo between Bride and Devyn. Where their passionate relationship will end up I won't tell you. Be content with the fact, however, that you're in for quite a treat. Even though they are fictional characters on paper, Showalter has given them so much life that the sparks between the two can be felt just as if they were staring at each other across the room right in front of you. Her ability to create realism in her writing and make the story leap off the written page really helps to make her top notch.Just as Showalter adds depth to Devyn and Bride, she also has created a great deal of depth and complexity within the actual story itself. Multiple layers within the story and multiple side character plots flesh out the book. Really, if you like the Paranormal genre at all, it felt like there was something for everyone here.As you can tell, I really loved SEDUCE THE DARKNESS. This is the first book by Gena Showalter that I have read and I'm quite glad that I did. SEDUCE THE DARKNESS is an Alien Huntress novel, with other stories before it that follow related characters. While there are some previous books, I don't believe that not having read them will make SEDUCE THE DARKNESS any less wonderful. I haven't read the other books and Showalter does such an amazing job of discreetly filling us in with what has already happened in her world that SEDUCE THE DARKNESS really works quite well as a stand alone novel.
  • (4/5)
     After the first book, I thought this series took a downhill turn. The second and third books are fun, but not as good as the first. Then there's this book, 'Seduce the Darkness'. Perhaps I'm biased because I absolutely adore Devyn's character, but this book was fun, sexy, well-paced, and full of action. I also found that this book took a darker edge that was hinted at in the first book but not truly actualized until now, making this series stand out from Showalter's other work.
  • (5/5)
    Seduce the Darkness is part of Ms. Showalter's Alien Huntress series. Due to a war between otherworlders and humans, Earth is barely recognizable but still habitable. Bride McKells is a vampire who secretly resides amongst the humans. She used to be hunted by fanatics but since the war she has been able to reside undetected... her only problem she has never met another vampire and she has many unanswered questions about her race. Then one day she meets Devyn, King of the Targons - he promises to have all the answers to her questions. He is a womanizer and has dedicated himself to sleeping with women of all races, he considers it his collection. And although he's been with vampires before, several at once even, he has found a match in Bride who does not fall for his womanizing ways. In fact, she is just as good looking, cocky and when they find that her blood is a cure for a deadly alien disease, she becomes essential to humans.This was definitely different as it dealt with aliens (a first for me). I fell in love with both Devyn and Bride - although they were both cocky and full of themselves, they were very likeable and quite funny. I found myself laughing out loud at some of the things they would say and do. I also really liked Devyn's friendship and interactions with the men and women who were part of his alien hunting team. This is the first book that I read of Ms. Showalter's and it was loads of fun - with several naughty parts but the story was not overpowered by the steamy love scenes. There was plenty of action and character dynamic to keep your pique interested. There was even a twist or two that I did not see coming. Although this is not the first book in the series you can definitely start here and, like me, read your way back. If you like your paranormal romances steamy with plenty of action than this is definitely one you won't want to miss out on.
  • (5/5)
    My first Gena Showalter book and I did not know what to expect. I have to say the gorgeous man on the cover intrigued me and the story did not disappoint. This was a very sexy book and I really loved Devyn. I will definitely be reading more of her books.
  • (2/5)
    This is the fourth book in the Alien Huntress series by Gena Showalter. While I thought the first two books in this series were okay; I really didn't like the third book all that much. Unfortunately this book followed the third book as far as how much I liked it. I did really like her first book in the Extraordinary girl series "Playing with Fire".Bride is a vampire who lives on the Earth's surface. She has never met another of her kind and has, for some reason, started getting sick when she drinks blood. Devyn we have met in previous books; he is the womanizing Targon that tried to buy Eden in the second book. They meet when Bride recognizes the scent of her old friend on Devyn. Things get more dangerous when Bride takes the disease invested Nolan from Devyn to piss Devyn off. Now Devyn has to find where Bride is hiding Nolan before Nolan's queen arrives from her home planet. Someone is also trying to kill Bride and she doesn't know why.The plot in general was pretty thin in this book. I don't mind reading books a bit heavy on the romance, but I do like some substantial plot. The plot basically focused around Nolan and trying to get him to tell where and when his Queen would land; in an effort to stop the virus that Nolan is carrying from wiping out all of Earth. There wasn't much to it. Most of the book focuses on Bride trying to piss off Devyn and Devyn trying to get into Bride's pants. It was also a bit weird that there are all of these alien races on Earth and suddenly Showalter has to throw a vampire in there. I mean where did that come from? Was she worried about missing the current "everyone loves vampires" trend in books?Bride was very immature for a ages old vampire. Mostly she came off as a brat and was not likable at all. Devyn is an admitted womanizer and most of the time was a jerk. I think Devyn's character was supposed to add some humor to the book; mostly though he was just irritating. Devyn's sense of humor reminds of a hormone ridden teenage boy and really wasn't all that funny. I was actually looking forward to reading more about Devyn, but his back story ended up not being all that interesting.Showalter's story between Devyn and Bride mimicked the storyline of the previous books. Feisty girl meets arrogant alpha male. Male wants girl, girl resists. Girl can't resist anymore, male gets her then realizes he can't live without her. Boring. This could have been forgiven if there was tension between the characters or decent sex scenes. Unfortunately Devyn and Bride didn't seem to have much chemistry and the sex scenes were uncreative and boring.In addition to all of the above the scanty plotline about the Queen arriving is left wide open. If I had to hedge my bets I would say the next book in the series is about Dallas falling for the alien Queen...but that is just a guess on my part. I guess I will never know, because I don't plan on continuing to read this series. I don't like any of the characters and the world building (as well as the plot) is thin at best. There are better books out there for romance/sci-fi/paranormal. I would suggest Sunny's Monere' series for those interested in steamy scenes with paranormal races.
  • (5/5)
    Main characters are Bride and Devyn. This is her Alien Huntress series book 4. Bride has been a vampire living in New Chicago for over 80 years. She does not know any other vampires and fears she is the only one. She has learned her powers little by little over the years some with disastrous results. One evening she smells her best friend. The best friend disappeared many years ago and Bride has continued to look for her. She follows her scent and this is how she meets egotisical Devyn. A man tortured by his past. He had been taught that sex is dirty and disgusting by his cruel father. When his father dies he discovers that sex is great and literally beds whatever alien creature he can find. Devyn also has powers. Powers that he uses to find Bride, who in turn isn't such an easy catch. She is a determined self sufficient woman who has taken care of herself, not well but still has managed to remain among the humans without them knowing she is a vampire. This is an exciting story with plenty of action, mystery and sex. As always Ms. Showalter wrote another "can't put down till the end book".
  • (3/5)
    I am a little ashamed to admit that I could not put this book down even though it meant ignoring all the other things I had to do. It just caught my attention that much. Showalter creates another fascinating world that blends the everyday with the supernatural. A world where not everyone is human and everyone knows it. I loved Bride’s toughness and vulnerable side. Devyn was a little harder for me to like. In the beginning I did not like to see that he was willing to force Bride to do certain things against her will. Luckily he does manage to redeem himself and work his way back into my good graces. It probably helped that the chemistry between he and Bride was undeniable so of course you want them to end up together. Being a fan of Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld series had me eager to read this book and I was not disappointed.
  • (5/5)
    Bride is a vampire and as far as she knows, the only one of her kind. She's desperate to find someone like her so that she can understand herself. Her only true friend and the most special person in the world to her Aleaha, has vanished and Bride is on a mission to find her.Devyn, who has sex written all over him, runs into Bride and soon becomes obsessed with her. He's not one to be tied down so he's enamored with Bride and furious with her all at the same time. They are both stubborn and try to deny the mutual attraction.There is one slight problem. There is a Queen alien who plans to pass on her deadly infection to the people of Earth. Can Bride and Devyn keep their passion and tempers at bay long enough to save their planet?I'm a HUGE Paranormal fan. I don't know what it is about vampires, werewolves, etc., that excite me but I can't get enough. I did not want to put this book down! Gena's going on my list of author's I'm obsessed with. If you like Paranormal Romance, you should reserve your copy now.
  • (4/5)
    A.Beautiful.Read!
    The sensual bits are yummy too
    Enjoyed the verbal sparring
  • (4/5)
    Very good book.
  • (5/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    Wow! another great story from Gena Showalter...I can't wait for the next book in the series!

    1 person found this helpful

  • (4/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    I've been working on the Alien Huntress series for awhile now, and I love it for being such light reading. After reading textbooks and literary books, this was just the thing for me to sit down and relax with.We've moved on to Devyn's story in this one, and I love it so much! It's always fun to see a playboy fall in love and became a one-woman guy. I think Showalter does a good job in keeping it realistic. He's very confused about his feelings at first and refuses to accept it, but once he does, he doesn't completely change. He's still a flirt and still obsesses over one thing. (I'm sure you know what one thing playboy obsesses over.)And Bride is awesome! Not only for being a super-powerful vampire, but for being so self-assured and confident. I love her! I think she's going to be a great addition to the team. As always, this series builds up on itself very nicely. There's still the threat of the evil parasite-ridden queen who's planning on infecting Earth, and we get to know a little more about Macy, who was featured in Deep Kiss of Winter that also had a Kresley Cole story.I do think that some things that had the potential to be really cool were just thrown away. I don't think the solution to Bride's eating problem was ever resolved as nicely as it should have been. It was hinted that she'd seen/met Devyn before, but then nothing further was mentioned.Besides that, it was a good book. It kept me entertained, and it was a fast read. For those who need a break from more serious books or who love light paranormal romance, pick this series up!

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  • (4/5)
    I was lucky enough to receive a review copy of Seduce the Darkness by Gena Showalter from Pocket Books, and what’s more, I was even invited to participate in a Blog Tour promoting the book. From first glance, it was clear that the book was right up my alley. You know, fantasy, intrigue, mystery, steamy romance. All the good stuff that we look for in a great escapist novel. Not only were the internal ingredients all there, but the book has a great cover. (As you can see in the pic of the cover art, the cover flaunts a flexed, tatted bicep and rippling back muscles. Sure, you can’t see the fella’s face, but is that really even necessary??)Seduce the Darkness is Book 6 of Gena Showalter’s critically acclaimed Alien Huntress series, and it is the story of Bride McKellis and Devyn, the unwilling king of the Targon race. She is a vampire, and despite is sexual prowess (ahem…promiscuity), she is not his cup of tea. You see, while Devyn is a great lover of women of all shapes and sizes, colors and species, he is afflicted with a peculiar form of ADD. He cannot seem to get pleasure from bedding the same woman (or women of the same race) more than once or twice. As he so eloquently infers, he would rather do the job himself than go back for seconds.At their first meeting, the two do nothing for each other. While he is clearly attracted to Bride, when Devyn identifies her as a vamp, his interest wanes. And things are far worse from Bride’s perspective. She sees Devyn as not just insufferable, rude and arrogant; she finds that she cannot manipulate him with her voice as she can everyone else. That coupled with Devyn’s physical attractiveness and bluntly voiced attraction to her is enough to send Bride in the opposite direction as fast as she can go.Unfortunately, the two are destined to cross paths again. Devyn is hunting an alien fugitive who is carrying a terrible virus. (Think Dawn of the Dead or I am Legend and you’ll get the idea.) And, come to find out, Bride’s blood holds the key to the terrible diseases cure. This truth binds the two together tighter than anything else could possibly have done, and their fates are irrevocably intertwined.I fell in love with the characters in this one. Despite Devyn’s infallible knowledge of his own beauty and superiority he is charming, and he quickly grows on you. And Bride, she is his perfect counterbalance. Unbending and unwilling to be walked on and/or used like all of the women who came before her, she is clearly his destiny. I really enjoyed Seduce the Darkness, from the beginning (a sad scene from Devyn’s childhood that lays the groundwork for his adult persona) to the climax (which I will not spoil). All in all, I have to give this one four solid stars. I enjoyed it thoroughly, and I haven’t even read the first books in the series. That is saying a lot