Vivian Gandillon relishes the change, the sweet, fierce ache that carries her from girl to wolf. At sixteen, she is beautiful and strong, and all the young wolves are on her tail. But Vivian still grieves for her dead father; her pack remains leaderless and in disarray, and she feels lost in the suburbs of Maryland. She longs for a normal life. But what is normal for a werewolf?
Then Vivian falls in love with a human, a meat-boy. Aiden is kind and gentle, a welcome relief from the squabbling pack. He's fascinated by magic, and Vivian longs to reveal herself to him. Surely he would understand her and delight in the wonder of her dual nature, not fear her as an ordinary human would.
Vivian's divided loyalties are strained further when a brutal murder threatens to expose the pack. Moving between two worlds, she does not seem to belong in either. What is she really--human or beast? Which tastes sweeter--blood or chocolate?
From the Paperback edition.
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Delacorte Books for Young Readers
August 14, 2007
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Excerpt from Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause
They were always at parties, or at the movies, or hanging out at someone's house, always in the midst of Aiden's friends, the Amoeba. Even when they were alone together he was very careful in how far he went, as if he was afraid to scare her off. This made her smile. Soon, baby, I'll let you know how scared I'm not, she thought.
Then one evening, when he took her home, Aiden had bad news. "I have to go on vacation with my parents." He flushed with embarrassment as he told her. "I thought I could get out of it," he said. "I'm too old to get dragged to the beach with Mommy and Daddy. But they went on and on, you know, about how I'll be in college soon and it's our last chance to have a family vacation together, blah, blah, blah." He smiled anxiously at her. "I'll miss you."
"And my birthday," Vivian said sulkily, then immediately felt bad because he looked so stricken. She kissed his cheek, letting her lips linger there as she whispered a kind of apology. "Never mind, bring me back a shell or something." She could feel his skin grow hot as he responded to the warm flutter of her breath.
"I'll be back just in time for the Fourth of July," he promised, slipping his arms around her. "We'll go see the fireworks at the park. I bet someone's having a party." Someone was always having a party.
Apparently there wasn't to be a birthday fuss this year. Vivian found presents from Rudy on the kitchen table with a note explaining he would be out late and, after tossing her own contribution down, Esme went off humming to talk on the phone for hours. Thanks for sticking around to see: if I like it, Vivian thought as she unwrapped a silky blouse. Once her birthdays had been celebrated by all the pack.
At eight that evening the doorbell rang. "Go answer it," Esme called from upstairs. "It's my date."
Great, Vivian thought. She's leaving me alone on my birthday.
But when she opened the door the Five surged in. They swept her back to the living room with hugs and licks and love bites and cries of "Happy birthday!" Gregory carried a big paper bag stuffed with packages.
Esme ran down the stairs, giggling. "A woman should have plenty of men around on her birthday," she declared.
The doorbell rang again and Esme went to answer it this time. She came back with Gabriel.
Oh, I get it, Vivian thought. Bring your own date.
But Esme looked surprised. She swept her hair back with long fingers and managed to undulate while standing still. "Gabriel." Her voice was suddenly husky. "Come to take me somewhere good." She crooned the last word.
"I came to wish Vivian happy birthday," he said.
"How nice," Esme said, dropping the purr.
Great Moon, he's politicking, Vivian thought, like he has to win voted for leadership instead of win a fight. "Kissing babies?" she asked.
"I'd hardly call you a baby," he replied, looking her over with a grin.
Jerk, she thought.
Esme ran to the kitchen and came back with a six-pack of Coke and two bags of chips, which she dumped on the coffee table. That was her idea of being a good hostess.
Rafe rolled his eyes when Vivian passed him a Coke. He took a big gulp; then, as soon as he thought Esme and Gabriel weren't looking, he took a small flask from his back pocket and added an amber fluid to the can.
Gregory tipped the contents of the bag he carried onto the table beside the refreshments. "Presents," he declared unnecessarily, and settled his gangly frame upon the couch. Vivian noticed he was growing sideburns. He'd grow a small beard soon, she knew. He always copied Rafe.
While Esme exclaimed over the tumbled pile of gifts, Ulf fidgeted and nudged till Rafe handed him the flask. Gabriel saw this time. He didn't say anything, but his lip rose in a snarl. Who died and made you God? Vivian thought. Rafe glowered back defiantly, but he put the flask away. Ulf pouted, his red locks falling around his face.