She vowed to destroy him...
Christine Feehan has worked magic on a legion of fans with her darkly thrilling Carpathian tales. Now she delivers the provocative tale of a female vampire slayer who proves as seductive--and mysterious--as the night dwellers she stalks--
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March 27, 2006
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Excerpt from Dark Demon (The Dark Series - Book 16) by Christine Feehan
Natalya Shonski drew the pair of black leather trousers up over her legs and settled them on her hips where they molded to her body. Leather helped prevent injury during battles and she was certain she would be running into trouble tonight. As she pulled on the soft leather camisole, she glanced around the meticulously clean room she'd rented. The inn was small, but colorful with tapestries on the walls and bright patterned covers decorating the bed. Her weapons were laid out with great care over the beautifully woven quilt.
She began to slip various weapons into the specially made compartments and loops in her leather pants. Throwing stars with razor-sharp edges. Several knives. A belt that provided her with room for more weapons and extra clips for the twin guns she fit snugly into the harness under each arm. She put on one of her new peasant blouses and donned the brightly colored fur vest the local women wore for warmth, effectively hiding her arsenal.
The long skirt not only hid the leather pants, but also helped her to blend into the local population. She'd chosen a colorful one, rather than the severe black kind the older women often wore, and tied a scarf over her tawny hair to further disguise herself.
Satisfied she looked as much like a local as possible, she shoved two Arnis sticks into the well-worn loops on her backpack and opened the doors to the balcony. She had deliberately chosen a room on the second floor. Her many enemies would find it difficult to approach unnoticed while she could escape easily to the ground below or go up and over the roof.
Natalya rested her hands on the balcony rail and leaned out to survey the countryside. The small village was nestled at the bottom of one of the tall jagged peaks that formed the formidable Carpathian Mountains. Numerous small farms were scattered across the green, rolling hills. Stacks of hay dotted the meadows and led the way up the mountain to the timberline. Above the heavy forest were rocky peaks, still glistening with snow. She felt as if she'd stepped back in time with the simple homes and the rustic way of life, yet she felt as if she'd come home. And that was truly odd. She had no home.
Natalya sighed and closed her eyes briefly. More than anything in the world, she envied these people their families. Their laughter and children and the love shining in their eyes and on their faces. She longed to belong somewhere. Be needed by someone. To be treasured by one single person. Just to be able to truly be who she was, share a real conversation. . . .
Her fingers found deep grooves in the railing and she found herself rubbing the polished wood, the pads of her fingers stroking along the grooves almost in a caress. Startled, she examined the scores in the hardwood. It looked as if a large bird had dug talons deep into the railing, although the marks were old and the innkeepers kept the intricately carved balcony polished and free of splinters.