About the Book
INSATIABLE DESIRE. ENDLESS SEDUCTION. ONE TOUCH IS JUST THE BEGINNING.
He watches her from across the crowded dance club, a sensual black-haired stranger who stirs Gabrielle's deepest fantasies. But nothing about this night—or this man—is what it seems. For when Gabrielle witnesses a murder outside the club, reality shifts into something dark and deadly. In that shattering instant she is thrust into a realm she never knew existed—a realm where vampires stalk the shadows and a blood war is set to ignite.
Lucan Thorne despises the violence carried out by his lawless brethren. A vampire himself, Lucan is a Breed warrior, sworn to protect his kind—and the unwitting humans existing alongside them—from the mounting threat of the Rogues. Lucan cannot risk binding himself to a mortal woman, but when Gabrielle is targeted by his enemies, he has no choice but to bring her into the dark underworld he commands.
Here, in the arms of the Breed's formidable leader, Gabrielle will confront an extraordinary destiny of danger, seduction, and the darkest pleasures of all . . . .
* USA Today bestseller
* Borders bestseller
* Award Winner — 2007 Borders Books Bestselling Debut Novel
"KISS OF MIDNIGHT is dark, edgy and passionate, an irresistible vampire romance."
"Sexy, smart and compelling, KISS OF MIDNIGHT has it all—and it works!"
"I loved this book! The romance is hot and the vampire slaying action is fast-paced and exciting . . . an original addition to the paranormal romance pantheon. If you are a vampire romance fan you really don't want to miss this!"
—LoveVampires.com (5 Stars)
"KISS OF MIDNIGHT is everything I wanted it to be and then some! [The story] grabbed me by the heart and held on tight."
—Romance Junkies (5 Star/Blue Ribbon)
"I loved this book . . . I recommend to anyone who is on the hunt for a really great paranormal with sizzling sex, a hotter than hot hero, and a wonderful heroine."
—She Who Loves Romance blog
"Lara Adrian debuts her vampire series with a spectacular bang . . . Be warned, you will be craving the next one as much as I do. The fans of J.R. Ward and Sherrilyn Kenyon will not want to miss out on this exciting series."
—Coffee Time Romance (5 Cups)
Excerpted from Kiss of Midnight
by Lara Adrian
Published by: Dell Books (May 2007)
Copyright © 2007-2017 by Lara Adrian LLC. All rights reserved.
(Note: Excerpt may contain explicit language and sexual situations).
It was wrong to pursue the woman.
Lucan knew this, even as he had waited on Gabrielle Maxwell's apartment steps that evening, showing her a detective's badge and photo ID card. It wasn't his. It wasn't real, in fact, only a hypnotic manipulation that made her human mind believe he was who he had presented himself to be.
A simple trick for elders of his kind, like himself, but one he seldom stooped to use.
Yet now, here he was again, some time past midnight, stretching his slim personal code of honor even thinner as he tried the latch on her front door and found it unlocked. He knew it would be; he'd given her the suggestion while he had talked with her that evening, when he had shown her what he wanted to do with her and read the surprised, but receptive, response in her soft brown eyes.
He could have taken her then. She would have Hosted him willingly, he was certain, and knowing the intense pleasure they would have shared in the process had nearly been his undoing. But Lucan's first duty was to his Breed and the warriors who had banded together with him to combat the growing problem of the Rogues.
Bad enough that Gabrielle had witnessed the nightclub slaying and reported it to the police and her friends before her memory of the event could be erased, but she had also managed to take pictures. They were grainy, almost unreadable, but damning just the same. He needed to secure the images, before she had a chance to show them to anyone else. He'd made good on that, at least. By rights, he should be back at the tech lab with Gideon, IDing the Rogue who had escaped outside La Notte, or riding shotgun around the city with Dante, Rio, Conlan, and the others as they hunted down more of their diseased brethren. And so he would be, once he finished this last bit of business with lovely Gabrielle Maxwell.
Lucan slipped inside the old brick building on Willow Street and closed the door behind him. Gabrielle's tantalizing scent filled his nostrils, leading him to her now as it had the night outside the club and at the police station downtown. He silently navigated her apartment, through the main level and up the stairs to her bedroom loft. Skylights in the vaulted ceiling summoned the moon's pale glow, which played softly over Gabrielle's graceful curves. She slept nude, as though awaiting his arrival, her long legs wrapped in twisted sheets, her hair spread out around her head on the pillow in luxurious waves of burnt gold.
Her scent enveloped him, sweet and sultry, making his teeth ache.
Jasmine, he thought, curling back his lips in a smile of wry appreciation. An exotic flower that opens its fragrant petals only under the coaxing of night.
Open for me now, Gabrielle.
But he wouldn't seduce her, he decided, not like this. He wanted only a taste tonight, just enough to satisfy his curiosity. That was all he'd permit himself. When he was through here, Gabrielle would have no memory of meeting him, nor of the horror she had witnessed in the alley a few nights ago.
His own need would have to wait.
Lucan went to her and eased his hip onto the mattress beside her. He stroked the burnished softness of her hair, brushed his fingers along the slender line of her arm.
She stirred, moaning sweetly, rousing at his light touch. "Lucan," she murmured sleepily, not quite awake, yet subconsciously aware that he had joined her in the room.
"Just a dream," he whispered, astonished to hear his name on her lips when he had used no vampire guile to place it there.
She sighed deeply, settling against him. "I knew you would come back."
"Mm-hmm." It was a purr of sound in her throat, raspy and erotic. Her eyes remained closed, her mind still caught in the web of her dreams. "I wanted you to come back."
Lucan smiled at that, tracing his fingers over her placid brow. "You do not fear me, beauty?"
She gave a small shake of her head, nuzzling his palm against her cheek. Her lips were slightly parted, small white teeth gleaming in the scant light overhead. Her neck was graceful, proud, a regal column of alabaster above the fragile bones of her shoulders. How sweet she would taste, how soft against his tongue.
And her breasts . . . Lucan could not resist the peachy dark nipple that peeked out from under the sheet draped haphazardly across her torso. He teased the little bud between his fingers, tugging it gently and nearly growling with need as it puckered into a tight bead, hardening at his touch.
He was hardening as well. He licked his lips, growing hungry, eager to have her.
Gabrielle squirmed languidly beneath the tangled sheet. Lucan slowly drew the cotton coverlet away, baring her to him completely. She was exquisite, as he knew she would be. Petite, yet strong, her body was lithe with youth, supple and fair. Firm muscle shaped her elegant limbs; her artist's hands were slender and expressive, flexing mindlessly as Lucan trailed his fingers along her sternum and down to the concave dip of her belly. Her skin here was velvet and warm, too tempting to resist.
Lucan moved over her on the bed, and slid his palms beneath her. He lifted her to him, gently arching her up off the mattress. He kissed the sweet curve of her hip, then let his tongue play across the small valley of her navel. She gasped as he plumbed the shallow indentation, and the fragrance of her need wreathed his senses.
"Jasmine," he rasped against her heated skin, his teeth dragging lightly as his kiss ventured lower.
Her moan of pleasure as his mouth invaded her sex sent a violent jolt of lust through his veins. He was already stiff and erect; now his cock throbbed beneath the constricting barrier of his clothes. She was wet and slick against his lips, her cleft a heated sheath against his questing tongue. Lucan suckled her as he would sweet nectar, until her body convulsed with the coming of her release. And still he lapped at her, bringing her to the crest of another climax, and then another.
She'd gone slack in his arms, boneless and trembling. Lucan trembled as well, his hands shaking as he carefully eased her back down onto the bed. He'd never wanted a woman so badly. He wanted something more, he realized, bemused by the impulse that he had to protect her. Gabrielle panted softly as her last climax subsided, and she curled onto her side, as innocent as a kitten.
Lucan stared down at her in silent fury, heaving with the force of his need. Dull pain tightened his mouth as his fangs stretched out from his gums. His tongue was dry. Hunger knotted in his gut. His vision sharpened as lust for blood and release slung its seductive coils around him, and his pupils elongated to catlike slivers in his pale eyes.
Take her, urged that part of him that was inhuman, unearthly.
She is yours. Take her.
Just a taste—that was what he had vowed. He would not harm her, only heighten her pleasure as he took a bit of his own. She wouldn't even remember this moment, come the dawn. As his blood Host, she would give him a sustaining sip of life, then awake later, drowsy and sated, but blissfully unaware of its cause.
It was a small mercy, he told himself, even as his body quickened with the urge to feed.
Lucan bent over Gabrielle's languid form, and tenderly swept aside the riot of ginger waves concealing her neck. His heart was hammering in his chest, urging him to slake his burning thirst. Just a taste, no more. Only pleasure. He came forward, his mouth open, his senses swamped with her intoxicating female scent. His lips pressed down against her warmth, settling over the delicate pulse that beat against his tongue. His fangs grazed the velvet softness of her throat, throbbing now, like another demanding part of his anatomy.
And in the instant before his sharp teeth penetrated her fragile skin, his keen vision lit on a tiny birthmark just behind Gabrielle's ear.
Nearly undetectable, the diminutive mark of a teardrop falling into the cradle of a crescent moon made Lucan rear back in shock. The symbol, so rare among human females, meant only one thing . . .
He withdrew from the bed as though touched by fire, hissing a furious curse into the dark. Hunger for Gabrielle still pounded through him, even as he grappled with the ramifications of what he might have done to them both.
Gabrielle Maxwell was a Breedmate, a human gifted with unique blood and DNA properties that complemented those of his kind. She and the few numbers like her were queens among other human females. To Lucan's kind, a race comprised solely of males, this woman was a cherished goddess, giver of life, destined to bond in blood and bear the seed of a new vampire generation.
And in his reckless lust to taste her, Lucan had nearly claimed her for his own.