Home > Kiss of Midnight (Midnight Breed, #1)

Kiss of Midnight (Midnight Breed, #1)
Author: Lara Adrian


Contents

 

Title Page

Dedication

Acknowledgments

Prologue

 

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-one

Chapter Twenty-two

Chapter Twenty-three

Chapter Twenty-four

Chapter Twenty-five

Chapter Twenty-six

Chapter Twenty-seven

Chapter Twenty-eight

Chapter Twenty-nine

Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty-one

Chapter Thirty-two

Chapter Thirty-three

Chapter Thirty-four

 

About the Author

Preview of Kiss of Crimson

Excerpt for Kiss of Midnight

 

 

 

For John, whose faith in me has never faltered, and whose love, I hope, will never fade.

 

 

With much gratitude to my agent, Karen Solem, for helping chart the course, and for brilliant navigation under all manner of conditions.

 

My wonderful editor, Shauna Summers, rightly deserves her own page of acknowledgments for all of her support and encouragement, not to mention the superb editorial vision that always finds the heart of every story and helps bring it into focus.

 

Thanks also to Debbie Graves for enthusiastic critiques, and to Jessica Bird, whose talent is surpassed only by her amazing generosity of spirit.

 

Lastly, a special nod of appreciation to my audial muses during much of the creation of this book: Lacuna Coil, Evanescence, and Collide, whose stirring lyrics and amazing music never failed to inspire.

 

 

Prologue

 

 

TWENTY-SEVEN YEARS AGO

 

Her baby wouldn’t stop crying. She’d started fussing at the last station, when the Greyhound bus out of Bangor stopped in Portland to pick up more passengers. Now, at a little after 1 A.M., they were almost to the Boston terminal, and the two-plus hours of trying to soothe her infant daughter were, as her friends back in school would say, getting on her last nerve.

The man beside her in the next seat probably wasn’t thrilled, either.

“I’m real sorry about this,” she said, turning to speak to him for the first time since he’d gotten on. “She’s usually not this cranky. It’s our first trip together. I guess she’s just ready to get where we’re going.”

The man blinked at her slowly, smiled without showing his teeth. “Where you headed?”

“New York City.”

“Ah. The Big Apple,” he murmured. His voice was dry, airless. “You got family there or something?”

She shook her head. The only family she had was in a backwoods town near Rangeley, and they’d made it clear that she was on her own now. “I’m going there for a job. I mean, I hope to find a job. I want to be a dancer. On Broadway maybe, or one of them Rockettes.”

“Well, you sure are pretty enough.” The man was staring at her now. It was dark in the bus, but she thought there was something kind of weird about his eyes. Again the tight smile. “With a body like yours, you ought to be a big star.”

Blushing, she glanced down at her complaining baby. Her boyfriend back in Maine used to say stuff like that, too. He used to say a lot of things to get her into the backseat of his car. And he wasn’t her boyfriend anymore, either. Not since her junior year of high school when she started swelling up with his kid.

If she hadn’t quit to have the baby, she would have graduated this summer.

“Have you had anything to eat yet today?” the man asked, as the bus slowed down and turned into the Boston station.

“Not really.” She gently bounced her baby girl in her arms, for all the good it did. She was red in the face, her tiny fists pumping, still crying like there was no tomorrow.

“What a coincidence,” the stranger said. “I haven’t eaten, either. I could do with a bite, if you’re game to join me?”

“Nah. I’m okay. I’ve got some saltines in my bag. And anyway, I think this is the last bus to New York tonight, so I won’t have time to do much more than change the baby and get right back on. Thanks, though.”

He didn’t say anything else, just watched her gather her few things once the bus was parked in its bay, then moved out of his seat to let her pass on her way to the station’s facilities.

When she came out of the restroom, the man was waiting for her.

A niggle of unease shot through her to see him standing there. He hadn’t seemed so big when he was sitting next to her. And now that she was looking at him again, she could see that there was definitely something freaky about his eyes. Was he some kind of stoner?

“What’s going on?”

He chuckled under his breath. “I told you. I need to feed.”

That was an odd way of putting it.

She couldn’t help noticing that there were only a few other people around in the station at this late hour. A light rain had begun, wetting the pavement, sending stragglers in for cover. Her bus was idling in its bay, already reloading. But in order to get to it, she first had to get past him.

She shrugged, too tired and anxious to deal with this crap. “So, if you’re hungry, go tell it to McDonald’s. I’m late for my bus—”

“Listen, bitch—” He moved so fast, she didn’t know what hit her. One second he was standing three feet away from her, the next he had his hand around her throat, cutting off her air. He pushed her back into the shadows near the terminal building. Back where nobody was going to notice if she got mugged. Or worse. His mouth was so close to her face, she could smell his foul breath. She saw his sharp teeth as he curled his lips back and hissed a terrible threat. “Say another word, move another muscle, and you’ll be watching me eat your brat’s juicy little heart.”

Her baby was wailing in her arms now, but she didn’t say a word.

She didn’t so much as think about moving.

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