About the Book
HE HAS RESISTED TEMPTATION FOR CENTURIES, A STONE-COLD WARRIOR WHOSE FROZEN HEART REFUSES TO THAW—UNTIL HER...
With a dagger in her hand and vengeance on her mind, Darkhaven beauty Elise Chase prowls Boston's streets in search of retribution against the Rogue vampires who took from her everything she cherished. Using an extraordinary psychic gift, she tracks her prey, well aware that the power she possesses is destroying her. She must learn to harness this gift, and for that she can turn to only one man—the deadliest of the Breed warriors, Tegan.
No stranger to loss, Tegan knows Elise's pain. He knows fury, but when he slays his enemies it is with ice in his veins. He is perfect in his self-control, until Elise seeks his aid in her personal war. An unholy alliance is forged—a bond that will link them by blood and vow—and plunge them into a tempest of danger, desire, and the darkest passions of the heart . . . .
* New York Times bestseller
* USA Today bestseller
* Borders bestseller
* Amazon.com "Top 10 Best Romances of 2007"
"One of the Top 10 Best Romance Novels of 2007" —Selected by the Editors at Amazon.com
"As with the previous entries in this series, MIDNIGHT AWAKENING is told with an incredible intensity. The story is tight, not a scene wasted or superfluous. With this book, I think the series really comes into its own. I liked it best of the books so far, and I can't wait for the next."
"Lara Adrian did it again. I couldn't put this book down and stayed up all night to finish it! An enthusiastic 4.5 hearts for MIDNIGHT AWAKENING!" —Night Owl Romance
"Lara Adrian's Midnight Breed series goes from strength to strength. Fast paced and thrilling, MIDNIGHT AWAKENING serves up satisfying romance along with exciting action and an original fantasy background and plotline. . . . If you are a fan of JR Ward, Lynn Viehl, or Sherrilyn Kenyon, you want to add Lara Adrian to your reading list. Take my word for it you won't be disappointed."
—LoveVampires.com (5 Stars)
"Ms. Adrian's series just gets better and better . . . MIDNIGHT AWAKENING was exactly what I hoped it would be and then so much more. Tons of questions were answered and just when I thought I knew where the book would lead, Lara Adrian threw me for a loop . . . I'm intrigued and without a doubt completely hooked."
—Romance Junkies (5 Star/Blue Ribbon)
Excerpted from Midnight Awakening
by Lara Adrian
Published by: Dell Books (December 2008)
Copyright © 2007-2017 by Lara Adrian LLC. All rights reserved.
(Note: Excerpt may contain explicit language and sexual situations).
Tegan tensed up as the lights flicked on over the estate's indoor pool. He'd gone there after making his call to the Berlin Darkhaven, looking for solitude and means of working off some excess steam. He was pissed but not surprised that Gideon hadn't been able to get a legitimate origin for Marek's FedEx shipment. The vampire's network of Minions had to be extensive. That journal had probably been handed off like a relay baton at half a dozen stops before arriving in Boston, just to muddy its trail. As for the book itself, not even Savannah's impressive psychic ability to read the emotional history of an object had proved helpful there. All Gideon's Breedmate could cull from the journal was the deep madness—the mind-eating Bloodlust—of the one who had written on its pages.
Frustrated by it all, Tegan had swum a few laps, and now sat in the corner of the vaulted space, bare legs straddling a teakwood chaise, his hair and the brief black trunks clinging to his groin still damp from the water. He'd been enjoying the alone time and the darkness—or had been, until the rows of domed lights above the pool blinked on like interrogation room high beams.
He stood up, expecting to see Rio limp in with Tess for a round of therapy. But it wasn't either of them who came out of the shower room into the pool area.
It was Elise.
She didn't see him as she padded in barefoot, wearing a snow white swimsuit that was sliced up the sides and held together by delicate bronze rings. The front of it plunged low, another ring centered between the perfect swell of her breasts. The daring suit was almost as big of a surprise as seeing her here; Tegan would never have guessed the reserved Darkhaven widow to look so right in such immodest clothing.
And goddamn, did she ever look right.
A deep, primal awareness stirred in him as he watched her draw away the spa towel she had slung around her neck. She let it fall to the tiles at the water's edge, then stepped down onto the first submerged step at the shallow end of the pool.
Soundlessly, Tegan inched his way back into the corner, hardly breathing in the thin shadows that concealed him. Even though it was clear that her body was leaner than it should be from want of fortifying Breed blood, Elise was lovely. She was beautifully formed, from the grace of her long legs and the gentle flare of her hips, to the slender curves of her waist, breasts, and delicate shoulders.
He had seen hints of her figure when she'd come out of the shower in her apartment last night, and when she'd lain unconscious on the futon, but the thick robe had hidden more than it revealed. The scrap of elastic white material she wore now only accentuated her assets. In a big way.
She strode down into the water, then began a slow swim toward the center of the pool. Abruptly, she dove under, disappearing from his view until she reemerged at the far end to come up for air. As her face broke the surface of the water, she opened her eyes and spotted him. Her little gasp echoed in the cavernous room.
"Tegan." She brought her arm up to hold on to the edge of the pool, but kept her body submerged as if the water could shield her from his intrusive gaze. "I thought I was alone in here."
"So did I." He walked out under the lights, and didn't miss the flush of color in her cheeks as she quickly averted her eyes from his near nakedness.
He drew closer to the edge and smirked a bit as she moved away, going toward the center of the pool. "Your arm looks better."
"Tess took care of my wound," she said. "Gabrielle and Savannah fed me and gave me some fresh clothes. Savannah said it would be all right if I came up here for a swim . . ."
Tegan shrugged, watching her tread water, lithe arms and legs moving sinuously beneath the surface. "Do what you want. You don't need to explain anything to me."
She held his gaze across the pool. "Then why do you make me feel like I do?"
Instead of answering, she pivoted and started swimming at an easy pace, putting more distance between them. "Were you able to find out anything about the journal?"
"Looking to change the subject, are you?" He watched her retreat toward the deep end, and for some absurd reason, it took every ounce of impulse control for him to not dive in and follow her. "We might have a lead on something in Berlin. I'm heading there tomorrow night."
"Berlin?" She reached for the lip of the pool and turned a frown on him. "What's in Berlin?"
"Someone we might be able to persuade into giving us information. Unfortunately, our best lead right now is a Rogue. He's been cooling his jets in a holding tank for the past few years."
"A rehabilitation facility?" Elise asked. At Tegan's nod, she said, "Those places are controlled by the Enforcement Agency."
"So, what makes you think they'll permit you inside? I'm sure you are aware that the Order doesn't have a lot of admirers in the Darkhavens. They have never approved of your methods when it comes to dealing with the problem of Breed vampires going Rogue."
He had to give the female credit: she was up on her politics, and she was right about the Enforcement Agency intending to block the Order's access to the captive Rogue. Tegan's call to his old ally in Berlin, Andreas Reichen, had only confirmed what he and Lucan expected. The only way they were getting near Petrov Odolf was through a lot of red tape and bureaucratic bullshit.
Assuming Reichen could get Tegan an audience at all.
Elise knew that, too. "I have connections in the Agency. Maybe if I went with you . . . "
Tegan scoffed. "No way."
"Why not? Are you so stubborn that you would refuse my help even in something like this?"
"I work alone, that's why."
"Even if it means banging your head against a wall?" Now she laughed, stunning him with her open mockery. "I would have thought you were smarter than that, Tegan."
Anger pricked at him, but he held it back, refusing to let her bait him. With a shake of her head, Elise pivoted around and headed back for the shallow end, swimming with determined strokes. "I should leave," she murmured.
Tegan kept time with her, strolling along the edge of the pool. "Don't let me interrupt your swim. I was just on my way out anyway."
"I mean, I should leave the compound. It's obvious I don't belong here."
"You can't go back to your apartment now," he informed her curtly. "The Rogues will have turned the place inside out. Marek will have his spies embedded all over the neighborhood, looking for you."
"I know that." Her slim body glided through the water, nearly to the end of the pool. "I'm not foolish enough to think I can return there."
Tegan chuckled, satisfied that maybe she had come to her senses at last. "Then I guess Harvard has convinced you to go back to the Darkhaven?"
"Harvard? Is that what Sterling goes by now that he's one of you?"
"One of us," Tegan said, hearing the accusation in her clipped tone.
Not that she tried to conceal it.
She swam to the steps and came out of the water, evidently too piqued to care that Tegan was staring openly at her wet body. His eyes homed in on the birthmark riding the inner edge of her thigh, drawn there unerringly like a heat-seeking missile locked on target.
Saliva surged into his mouth as he watched rivulets of water slide down her smooth, bare thighs. His skin felt tight all over, heat moving in his veins, and in the dermaglyph markings that covered his body and declared him one of the Breed. His gums ached with the sudden press of his fangs. He clamped his jaws together, curbing the startling jolt of hunger.
He didn't want to look at the female, but damned if he could tear his eyes away from her now.
"Sterling hasn't convinced me of anything," she said as she grabbed her towel and covered herself with it. "He won't even speak to me, if you want to know the truth. I think he must hate me after what happened last fall."
Tegan studied her smart lavender eyes. "Is that really what you think—that he hates you?"
"Sterling was my mate's brother—by marriage, he is my brother. It would be completely improper—"
Tegan scoffed. "Men have gone to war with their own brothers for want of the same woman. Desire could give a damn about propriety."
Elise held the towel closed between her breasts and paced from him. "I don't like where this conversation is heading."
"Do you have feelings for him?"
"Of course not." She looked at Tegan, clearly, rightfully, appalled. "And what right have you to ask me that?"
None at all, but suddenly it was important to him that he know. He stood there, deliberately blocking her path if she even thought to duck away from him. "He desires you. He would take you into his bed if you'd let him. Hell, maybe he wouldn't even need your permission."
"Now you're just being rude."
"I'm only stating the truth. Don't tell me you weren't aware that Chase burns for you. Anyone with eyes in his head can see that."
"But only you would be coarse enough to speak it."
That pale purple gaze flashed with outrage and for a second he wondered if he was about to get slapped. He rather hoped he would. He wanted her angry. Wanted her hating him, especially now, when the scent of her warm, wet skin was drilling into his senses. Every curve of her petite body branding itself into his mind's eye.
He was close enough to take her in his hands. Too close, because at this intimate range, he could see the flutter of her pulse drumming frantically at her throat, and he was all too aware that there would be no one to stop him if he pulled her into his arms and took a forbidden taste of her.
"You hang your callousness on the excuse of truth," she said, a fierceness creeping into her voice. "So maybe you can tell me why you found it necessary to lie to me about what happened with the Crimson lab."
Tegan narrowed a hard look on her, the question raising some kind of alarm within him. "I didn't lie to you about anything."
She didn't flinch under his glare, only held his gaze steadier, challenging him. "It was you who destroyed the lab, not the Order. You personally, Tegan. No one else. I heard all about it."
A low hiss leaked out of him. He drew back, knowing he was the one retreating now, but unable to stop his hedging backward momentum. Elise moved with him, her wet, nearly naked body too close. Too goddamn tempting.
"Why would you do something like that, Tegan? I can't believe that you had any kind of personal stake in seeing the lab razed. So tell me. Why? Did you do it for me?"
He said nothing, incapable of speech and edging dangerously close to an emotion he did not want to feel.
She stared up at him fiercely. The silence was heavy, immovable. "Where's your truth now, warrior?"