Home > Kiss of Midnight (Midnight Breed, #1)(2)

Kiss of Midnight (Midnight Breed, #1)(2)
Author: Lara Adrian

All that mattered was her baby. Keeping her safe. And so she didn’t dare do a thing, not even when those sharp teeth lunged toward her and bit down hard into her neck.

She stood utterly frozen with terror, clutching her baby close while her attacker drew hard at the bleeding gash he’d made in her throat. His fingers elongated where he gripped her head and shoulder, the tips cutting into her like a demon’s claws. He grunted and pulled deeper at her with his mouth and sharp teeth. Although her eyes were wide open in horror, her vision was going dark, her thoughts beginning to tumble, splintering into pieces. Everything around her was growing murky.

He was killing her. The monster was killing her. And then he would kill her baby, too.

“No.” She gulped in air, but tasted only blood. “Goddamn you—No!”

With a desperate burst of will, she snapped her head into his, cracking the side of her skull into her attacker’s face. When he snarled and reared back in surprise, she tore out of his grasp. She stumbled, nearly falling to her knees before she righted herself. One arm wrapped around her howling child, the other coming up to feel the slick, burning wound at her neck, she edged backward, away from the creature that lifted his head and sneered at her with glowing yellow eyes and bloodstained lips.

“Oh, God,” she moaned, sick at the sight.

She took another step back. Pivoted, prepared to bolt, even if it was pointless.

And that’s when she saw the other one.

Fierce amber eyes looked right through her, but the hiss that sounded from between his huge, gleaming fangs promised death. She thought he would lace into her and finish what the first one had started, but he didn’t. Guttural words were spat between the two of them, then the newcomer strode past her, a long silver blade in his hand.

Take the child, and go.

The command seemed to come out of nowhere, cutting through the fog of her mind. It came again, sharper now, spurring her into action. She ran.

Blind with panic, her mind numb with fear and confusion, she ran away from the terminal and down a nearby street. Deeper and deeper, she fled into the unfamiliar city, into the night. Hysteria clawed at her, making every noise—even the sound of her own running feet—seem monstrous and deadly.

And her baby wouldn’t stop crying.

They were going to be found out if she didn’t get the baby to quiet down. She had to put her to bed, nice and warm in her crib. Then her little girl would be happy. Then she’d be safe. Yes, that’s what she had to do. Put the baby to bed, where the monsters couldn’t find her.

She was tired herself, but she couldn’t rest. Too dangerous. She had to get home before her mom realized she had missed curfew again. She was numb, disoriented, but she had to run. And so she did. She ran until she dropped, exhausted and unable to take another step.

When she woke sometime later, it was to feel her mind coming unhinged, cracking apart like an eggshell. Sanity was peeling away from her, reality warping into something black and slippery, something that was dancing farther and farther out of her reach.

She heard muffled crying somewhere in the distance. Such a tiny sound. She put her hands up to cover her ears, but she could still hear that helpless little mewl.

“Hush,” she murmured to no one in particular, rocking back and forth. “Be quiet now, the baby’s sleeping. Be quiet be quiet be quiet….”

But the crying kept on. It didn’t stop, and didn’t stop. It tore at her heart as she sat in the filthy street and stared, unseeing, into the coming dawn.









Remarkable. Just look at the use of light and shadow….”

“You see how this image hints at the sorrow of the place, yet manages to convey a promise of hope?”

“…one of the youngest photographers to be included in the museum’s new modern art collection.”

Gabrielle Maxwell stood back from the group of exhibit attendees, nursing a flute of warm champagne as yet another crowd of faceless, nameless, Very Important People enthused over the two dozen black-and-white photographs displayed on the gallery walls. She glanced at the images from across the room, somewhat bemused. They were good photographs—a bit edgy, their subject matter being abandoned mills and desolate dockyards outside Boston—but she didn’t quite get what everyone else was seeing in them.

Then again, she never did. Gabrielle merely took the photographs; she left their interpretation, and ultimately, their appreciation, up to others. An introvert by nature, it made her uncomfortable to be on the receiving end of this much praise and attention…but it did pay the bills. Quite nicely, at that. Tonight, it was also paying the bills for her friend Jamie, the owner of the funky little art gallery on Newbury Street, which, at ten minutes to closing, was still packed with prospective buyers.

Numb with the whole process of meeting and greeting, of smiling politely as everyone from moneyed Back Bay wives to multipierced, tattooed Goths tried to impress one another—and her—with analyses of her work, Gabrielle couldn’t wait for the exhibit to end. She had been hiding in the shadows for the past hour, contemplating a stealth escape to the comfort of a warm shower and a soft pillow, both waiting at her apartment on the city’s east side.

But she had promised a few of her friends—Jamie, Kendra, and Megan—that she would join them for dinner and drinks after the showing. As the last couple of stragglers made their purchases and left, Gabrielle found herself gathered up and swept into a cab before she had a chance to so much as think of begging off.

“What an awesome night!” Jamie’s androgynous blond hair swung around his face as he leaned across the other two women to clutch Gabrielle’s hand. “I’ve never had so much weekend traffic in the gallery—and tonight’s sales receipts were amazing! Thank you so much for letting me host you.”

Gabrielle smiled at her friend’s excitement. “Of course. No need to thank me.”

“You weren’t too miserable, were you?”

“How could she be, with half of Boston falling at her feet?” gushed Kendra, before Gabrielle could answer for herself. “Was that the governor I saw you talking with over the canapés?”

Gabrielle nodded. “He’s offered to commission some original works for his cottage on the Vineyard.”

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