About the Book
Part human, part otherworldly, the Breed has lived among humankind in secret for thousands of years . . . and now fans of the popular, best-selling Midnight Breed Series can delve deeper than ever before into this hidden, seductive race of vampires and the dark, thrilling universe they inhabit.
A book that's been years in the making, the Midnight Breed Series Companion includes insider info on all of the novels, author notes on the creation of the story world and how the eleven-book (and counting!) series has evolved since its beginning as a contracted trilogy, a complete character guide, series trivia, questions from readers and more.
This special series companion also includes "A Touch of Midnight"—an all-new, never-before-published, original novella featuring Gideon and Savannah, which finally reveals the story of how this reader favorite couple met and fell in love, and answers many questions that fans have been curious about since the series began!
Introduction by Lara Adrian
For as long as I can remember, I've had a deep love of books. Although neither of my parents are avid readers, they made sure my siblings and I had library cards in elementary school and a couple of dollars to spend when the Bookmobile came around to our small hometown in Michigan. I can still remember the wonder I felt—and the agonizing indecision—every time I wandered the aisles of the public library or perused the tables of brand-new books set out for consideration in the traveling Bookmobile. It was always so hard to choose just one or two!
Other kids saved their pennies for candy or the latest cool toys. I could never get enough books. I could never get enough of the mysteries that books showed me, the magic they created, or the many incredible worlds they opened up in my mind's eye.
Books were my escape from all the things that troubled me. They were my passage into amazing, sometimes terrifying places I never dreamed might exist. Books were my home port, their pages a comfort and companion, no matter my age or where life took me.
They still are.
The fact that I now make my living writing books—telling stories I hope will give my readers some of the same kind of escape and wonderment that other storytellers have given me throughout my life—is a privilege I never take for granted.
I worked hard, but I also got lucky early on, landing a publishing contract with Random House for the very first book I'd ever written—a medieval romance that released in 1999 under my first pen name, Tina St. John. I wrote six more historical romances over the next six years, books that received nice reviews and won awards, but never found a large enough audience to keep a publisher happy.
And so it was, in the summer of 2005, that I found myself at a crossroads. My publisher didn't want any more medieval romances from me. The proposal for the book I was working on had been rejected and I was without a contract—news I received just after my husband and I had signed a mortgage on the first home (a condo) that we'd ever owned.
Fortunately, my editor believed in me and invited me to send in something totally different for consideration. Even though I was reeling from the fact that my Tina St. John career had just ended without notice, my mind was already leaping forward to the folder of story ideas I'd been gathering and playing with over the years—ideas that included everything from gritty thrillers and psychological suspense stories, to small-town, feel-good romances. I also had a couple of concepts sketched out for dark, sexy vampire novels.
My agent wasn't very enthusiastic when I told her I wanted to propose a vampire romance. She cautioned me that editors had been predicting the death (the true death?) of vampires for quite some time. She worried that, as with my historical romances, I might be coming in on the downward curve of the trend. Little did anyone know that in just a few months' time, a certain phenomenon called Twilight would breathe all-new life into romances with blood and bite!
A couple of weeks after that bad news call from my agent, I submitted a rough outline and first three chapters for a book I'd tentatively titled, Kiss of Darkness. Feeling I had nothing to lose, I packed my story with all the things that entertain me most as a reader: action, suspense, urban fantasy, and, of course, scorching sensuality and romance featuring a dark, absolutely lethal, drop-dead gorgeous, uber-alpha male.
My agent read the material, and she loved it. She loved it so much, she asked if I could possibly expand the outline to cover three books, so she could shop the proposal to a handful of publishers as a trilogy. I worked out brief plotlines for another two books (one story that stuck pretty much as I'd pitched it, and another that, well, didn't—which I'll explain further on in this Companion). My agent sent out the proposals and told me she hoped we'd have some nibbles of interest shortly.
Not even a week later, we had offers from almost all of the top publishing houses in New York. An auction took place between several of them, and within a few days I went from being an unemployed historical romance writer to a brand-new, dark contemporary vampire romance author with a new name and multiple offers in hand.
In the end, I remained with Random House and the wonderful Shauna Summers, the editor who plucked me out of the slush pile with that very first medieval romance manuscript. Random House released the first three Midnight Breed books in rapid succession—two of them back-to-back in the summer of 2007, and a third later that year. To my total amazement, the series was an instant success, landing on major best-seller lists since the beginning.
There are now a total of eleven Midnight Breed novels in print through Random House USA (with a twelfth coming soon!) and one ebook novella. This Companion to the series covers the first ten books—Kiss of Midnight through Darker After Midnight—which comprise the original story arc of the series. You'll find background information on the story world and each of the first ten novels, a complete character reference guide, a Q&A with readers, fun trivia questions and more.
This Companion volume also includes Gideon and Savannah's story, something I've been promising Midnight Breed fans for what seems like forever. A Touch of Midnight is an all-new, never-before-published novella of around forty-thousand words—a big "short" story, almost half the size of one of my typical novels. It finally answers all the questions you have about Gideon, how he and Savannah met, why he no longer runs combat missions, and even a couple extra surprises that shed light on other things you've asked me about through the years.
My intent for the Companion had been to release it as something of a bridge between Darker After Midnight and Edge of Dawn, the book that begins the current, second story arc of the series featuring the offspring of the Order and a powerful new enemy on the horizon.
But things don't always work out as planned, and for a number of reasons, this Companion almost didn't happen at all. Instead, with options opening up to authors through self-publishing, I decided not to wait any longer and instead release it myself in ebook and trade paperback.
If there is reader interest, I'd love to release a second Companion volume in the future to cover all of the exciting things and interesting new characters you'll encounter as the series continues with Edge of Dawn and the other books still to come.
In the meantime, I hope you enjoy revisiting Lucan, the Order, the Breedmates, the story world, the behind-the-scenes tidbits and all the rest, in this, The Midnight Breed Series Companion.
Lastly, a word of caution: This book is full of spoilers!
You'll find no warnings (other than the one you're reading now) so if you haven't yet read the Midnight Breed Series, this may not be the best place for a new reader to start. Unless you're like me, that is—frequently peeking at the last page of a book first, and taking no less enjoyment in the journey despite knowing how everything will end.
Either way, enjoy! And thank you for being part of this journey along with me.
* * * * *
Excerpted from A Touch of Midnight
by Lara Adrian
Published by: Lara Adrian, LLC (May 2013)
Copyright © 2013-2017 by Lara Adrian LLC. All rights reserved.
(Note: Excerpt may contain explicit language and sexual situations).
Savannah Dupree turned the silver urn in her gloved hands, studying its intricate engravings through the bruise-colored tarnish that dulled the 200-year-old work of art. The floral motif tooled into the polished silver was indicative of the Rococo style of the early and mid-1700s, yet the design was conservative, much less ornate than most of the examples shown in the reference materials lying open on the study lab table in front of her.
Removing one of the soft white cotton curator's gloves meant to protect the urn from skin oils during handling, Savannah reached for one of the books. She flipped through several pages of photographed art objects, drinking vessels, serving dishes and snuff boxes from Italy, England and France, comparing their more elaborate styles to that of the urn she was trying to catalogue. She and the three other freshman Art History students seated in the university's archive room with her had been hand-picked by Professor Keaton to earn extra credit in his class by helping to log and analyze a recent estate donation of Colonial furnishings and artifacts.
She wasn't blind to the fact that the single professor had selected only female students for his after-hours extra credit project. Savannah's roommate, Rachel, had been ecstatic to have been chosen. Then again, the girl had been campaigning for Keaton's attention since the first week of class. And she'd definitely gotten noticed. Savannah glanced toward the professor's office next door, where the dark-haired man now stood at the window, talking on the phone, yet staring with blatant interest at pretty, red-haired Rachel in her tight, low-cut sweater and micro-miniskirt.
"Isn't he a fox?" she whispered to Savannah, a row of thin metal bangle bracelets clinking musically as Rachel reached up to hook her loose hair behind her ear. "He could be Burt Reynolds' brother, don't you think?"
Savannah frowned, skeptical. She glanced over at the lean man with the shoulder-length hair and overgrown moustache, and the mushroom-brown corduroy suit and open-necked satin shirt. A zodiac sign pendant glinted from within a thick nest of exposed chest hair. Fashionable or not, the look didn't do a thing for Savannah. "Sorry, Rach. I'm not seeing it. Unless Burt Reynolds has a brother in the porno business. Plus, he's too old for you. He must be close to forty, for crying out loud."
"Shut up! I think he's cute." Rachel giggled, crossing her arms under her breasts and tossing her head in a move that had Professor Keaton leaning closer to the glass, practically on the verge of drooling. "I'm gonna go see if he wants to check my work. Maybe he'll ask me to stay after school and clean his erasers or something."
"Mm-hmm. Or something," Savannah drawled through her smile, shaking her head as Rachel waggled her brows then sauntered toward the professor's office. Having come to Boston University on a full academic scholarship and the highest SAT scores across twenty-two parishes in south central Louisiana, Savannah didn't really need help bolstering her grades. She'd accepted the extra credit assignment only out of her insatiable love for history and learning.
She looked at the urn again, then retrieved another catalogue of London silver from the Colonial period and compared the piece to the ones documented on the pages. Doubting her initial analysis now, she picked up her pencil and erased what she'd first written in her notebook. The urn wasn't English in origin. American, she corrected. Likely crafted in New York or Philadelphia, if she were forced to guess. Or did the simplicity of the Rococo design lean more toward the work of a Boston artisan?
Savannah huffed out a sigh, frustrated by how tedious and inexact the work was proving to be. There was a better way, after all.
She knew of a far more efficient, accurate way to resolve the origins—all the hidden secrets—of these old treasures. But she couldn't very well start fondling everything with her bare hands. Not with Professor Keaton in his office a few feet away. Not with her other two classmates gathered at the table with her, working on their own items from the collection. She wouldn't dare use the peculiar skill she'd been born with.
No, she left that part of her back home in Acadiana. She wasn't about to let anyone up here in Boston think of her as some voodoo freak show. She was different enough among the predominantly white student body. She didn't want anyone knowing how truly strange she was. Aside from her only living kin—her older sister, Amelie—no one knew about Savannah's extrasensory gift, and that's how she intended to keep it.
Much as she loved Amelie, Savannah had been happy to leave the bayou behind and try to make her own path in life. A normal life. One that wasn't rooted in the swamps with a Cajun mother who'd been more than a shade eccentric, for all Savannah could recall of her, and a father who'd been a drifter, absent for all of his daughter's life, little better than a rumor, according to Amelie.
If not for Amelie, who'd practically raised her, Savannah would have belonged to no one. She still felt somehow out of place in the world, lost and searching, apart from everyone else around her. For as long as she could remember, she'd felt...different.
Which was probably why she was striving so hard to make her life normal.
She'd hoped moving away to attend college right out of high school would give her some sense of purpose. A feeling of belonging and direction. She'd taken the maximum load of classes and filled her evenings and weekends with a part-time job at the Boston Public Library.
A job she was going to be late for, she realized, glancing up at the clock on the wall. She was due for her 4PM shift at the library in twenty minutes—barely enough time to wrap up now and hurry her butt across town.
Savannah closed her notebook and hastily straightened up her work area at the table. Picking up the urn in her gloved hands, she carried the piece back into the archive storage room where the rest of the donated collection's catalogued furniture and art objects had been placed.
As she set the silver vessel on the shelf and put away her gloves, something caught her eye in a dim corner of the room. A long, slender case of some sort stood propped against the wall, partially concealed behind a rolled-up antique rug.
Had she and the other students missed an item?
She strode over to get a better look. Behind the bound rug was an old wooden case. About five feet in length, the container was unremarkable except for the fact that it seemed deliberately separated—hidden—from the rest of the things in the room.
What was it?
Savannah moved aside the heavy, rolled rug, struggling with its unwieldy bulk. As she leaned the rug against the perpendicular wall, she bumped the wooden case. It tipped forward suddenly, about to crash to the floor.
Panicked, Savannah lunged, shooting her arms out and using her entire body to break the case's fall. As she caught it, taking the piece down with her onto her knees, the old leather hinges holding it together snapped apart with a soft pop-pop-pop.
A length of cold, smooth steel tumbled out of the case and into Savannah's open hands.
Her bare hands.
The metal was a jolting chill against her palms. Heavy. Sharp-edged. Lethal.
Startled, Savannah sucked in a breath, but couldn't move fast enough to avoid the prolonged contact or the power of her gift, which stirred to life inside her.
The sword's history opened up to her, like a window into the past. A random moment, fused forever into the metal and now exploding in vivid, if scattered, detail in Savannah's mind.
She saw a man holding the weapon before him as in combat.
Tall and menacing, a mane of thick blond waves danced wildly around his head as he stared down an unseen opponent under a black-velvet, moonlit sky. His stance was unforgiving, the air about him as grim as death itself. Piercing blue eyes cut through the tendrils of sweat-dampened hair that drooped into the ruthless angles of his face and square-cut jaw.
The man was immense, thick roped muscles bulging from broad shoulders and biceps beneath the loose drape of his ecru linen shirt. Smooth, fawn-colored trousers clung to his powerful thighs as he advanced on his quarry, blade poised to kill. Whoever the man was who'd once wielded this deadly weapon, he was not some post-Elizabethan dandy, but a warrior.
Magnetic. Dangerously so.
The swordsman closed in on his target, no mercy whatsoever in the hard line of his mouth, nor in the blazing blue eyes that narrowed with unswerving intent, seeming almost to glow with some inner fury that Savannah couldn't comprehend. A dark curiosity prickled inside her, against her better instincts.
Who was this man?
Where was he from? How had he lived?
How many centuries ago must he have died?
Through the lens of her mind's eye, Savannah watched the warrior come to a halt. He stared down at the one he now met in mortal combat. His broad mouth was flat, merciless. He raised his sword arm, prepared to strike.
And then he did, driving home the blade in a swift, certain death blow.
Savannah's heart raced, pounding frantically in her breast. She could hardly breathe for the combination of fear and fascination swirling inside her.
She tried to see the swordsman's face in better detail, but his wild tangle of golden hair and the shadows of the night that surrounded him hid all but the most basic hints of his features.
And now, as so often happened with her gift, the vision was beginning to fracture apart. The image started to splinter, breaking into scattered shards.
She'd never been able to control her ability, not even when she tried. It was a powerful gift, but an elusive one too. Now was no different. Savannah struggled to hold on, but the glimpse the sword gave her was slipping...fading...drifting out of reach.
As Savannah's mind cleared, she uncurled her fingers from their grip on the blade. She stared down at the length of polished steel resting across her open palms.
She closed her eyes and tried to conjure the face of the swordsman from memory, but only the faintest impression of him remained within her grasp. Soon, even that was slipping away. Then it was gone.
He was gone.
Banished back to the past, where he belonged.
And yet, a single, nagging question pulsed through her mind, through her veins. It demanded an answer, one she had little hope of resolving.
Who was he?