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A scuffing sound behind her halted her footsteps. Swinging around, she drew her swords with a triumphant smile, and . . .
No vampires faced her with leering, evil intent. No vampires faced her at all.
More rustling sounded.
Racing back to the street, she flew around the corner and skidded to a halt.
Nothing. Just an empty road glowing green from the streetlight at the corner.
The unmistakable shick, ting, and clang of metal striking metal split the air several blocks away.
“Oh, no you don’t,” she growled and took off running. She didn’t care that she raced down a sharply sloped hill that would make it damned near impossible to stop once she got going. She didn’t care that she ran with an unsheathed sword in each hand. (Her mother and father’s frequent admonitions not to run with scissors chose that moment to dance through her head.) She didn’t even care that anyone who saw her would likely call the police and report a madwoman fleeing through Chapel Hill, waving deadly weapons, and get her arrested.
She had only one goal in mind: Get to those damned vampires before Mystery Man did whatever the hell he’d been doing for the past two weeks and disappeared.
Her heart pounding in her chest, she honed in on the battle’s location and managed to put on the brakes enough to zip around the corner at a speed that would keep her from rolling ass over elbows downhill.
The darkened alley was deserted except for a dumpster about twenty-five yards away and — she released a growl of fury — a pair of jeans, a bloody blue sweatshirt, and a pair of bright red Chucks spread out on the pavement as if they had been laid out by some kid’s mother.
Krysta sheathed one of her swords, stomped over the place a vampire had clearly fallen, and grabbed the sweatshirt. “Oh, come on!” she shouted, her voice echoing on the somnolent night. She shook the sticky clothing at the sky. “Where are you?” she demanded. Turning in a circle, she examined every nook and cranny at street level, then peered up at the rooftops.
She could see no sign of Mystery Man’s unique purple and white aura. Had he already left?
Krysta tossed the shirt down in disgust. “This is bullshit.”
A low chuckle wafted on the night.
Eyes widening, she drew her second sword and turned in a slow circle. “Damn it! Show yourself!”
“Well, since you asked so nicely,” a deep voice laced with a French accent purred behind her.
Once more, he caught her wrist. “Careful.” The warning was gentle, carrying neither malice nor anger.
His touch sent electricity tickling its way up her arm. His flesh was warm, his long fingers free of callouses.
Her heart slammed against her ribs as butterflies erupted in her stomach.
She should be furious. Frightened. Instead, she felt as excited as she would on a first date.
Stepping back, she withdrew her arm from his grasp.
Yeah, he was hot all right.
Short midnight hair glinted in the moonlight. Faint stubble shadowed a strong jaw. Straight nose. Broad shoulders. What was clearly a well-developed, muscular build beneath a black T-shirt that clung to him courtesy of the vampire blood that saturated its front. Slim waist. Slim hips. All revealed by the gap in the long black coat he wore.
She didn’t let her gaze stray further. The last thing she wanted to do while facing him was blush like a school girl if he had a nice package.
His tempting lips stretched in a slow smile.
Excerpt from DARKNESS RISES ©2013 by Dianne Duvall. All rights reserved.
GENRE: Paranormal Romance
LENGTH: 416 pages
PUBLISHER: Zebra (October 1, 2013)
Dianne Duvall returns to the world of the Immortal Guardians, where danger—and desire—make every decision count. . .
Krysta is used to getting the drop on vampires. Her "special abilities" aren't much, but the plan is simple—she plays helpless pretty young thing to lure them in. Then her shoto swords come out and it's bye-bye, bloodsucker. Until one night she finds herself with an unexpected ally. He's a vampire, all right, but different. Mysterious. Handsome. And more interested in saving her skin than draining it.
Étienne has been an Immortal Guardian for two hundred years—long enough to know that Krysta is special. He can't stop thinking about her long legs, even more than her short swords. Then he discovers the vamps she's exterminating have friends in high places, and the Guardians are in danger too. He'll have to accept Krysta's help to save them. The stakes for a mortal are high. But the cost to his heart might be higher. . .
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