Emmaline Harris meets the perfect man at a Halloween party. After he rescues her from the unwanted attentions of another partygoer, she succumbs to his kisses and spends an evening engaged in wicked-sexy lovemaking. Sure she's just a one-night stand, she tries to exit gracefully, but soon find she needs Dylan's special skills when her world is turned upside down by a blood-drinking killer and his gang who target her for their next meal.
Dylan O'Hara only wants a night of passion to slake his sexual needs, but finds Emmy is a full-bodied, red-blooded siren whose innocence and humor draws this Master vampire like a moth to a red-hot flame. When Emmy attracts the attention of a serial-killing vampire, Dylan vows to protect her, but he fears he'll lose Emmy once she discovers her "Dracula" has real fangs!
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November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from All Hallows Heartbreaker by Delilah Devlin
"Dylan, watch your back!"
At his friend's warning, Dylan O'Hara spun on his heels and ducked beneath a sweeping claw. He feinted to the left, and then surged upward, slamming the creature into a damp brick wall. "You will heed me!"
Arms immobilized, the beast shuddered and bared its teeth, a flash of white in the scant moonlight penetrating the narrow alley.
In its most primitive form, the creature couldn't understand him. Dylan sighed. This might take some time.
Behind him, wood splintered and metal rang against rock. "Quentin, you'd better finish your end quickly," he shouted, careful not to look away from the vampire. "We've more problems waiting at The Cavern."
"I'd be happy to oblige, but this one won't release its prize." Quentin grunted in accompaniment to the thud of heavy fists pounding flesh.
Dylan's vampire renewed its struggle.
Battling his own mind-stealing anger, Dylan barely pulled his throat away from a mouthful of jagged teeth. He slammed the creature into the wall again. "I will outlast you, bitch."
Intelligence glittered in the creature's dark gaze, and then her features relaxed, morphing instantly from snarling vampire to the cotton-candy sweetness of a teenaged girl. "Mr. O'Hara, I'm so sorry. You can let me go now."
The "Mr. O'Hara" made him feel at least a couple of centuries old. Dylan glared at the dark-eyed girl whose mane of curly, brown hair framed a pale face with sweetly bowed lips. "Who made you, little girl?"
She transformed again, from sweet sixteen to seductress with a single lap of her tongue around blood red lips. "You may," she whispered.
Dylan rolled his eyes. "Your sire. Who was your sire? And how do you know my name?"
Her lips formed a moue. "Why, Nicky made me. And every vampire knows you."
Muffled blows continued to sound behind him, and he shouted to Quentin, "For fuck's sake. He's only a mosquito. Can't you finish him on your own?"
"Inexperience doesn't mean the bastard hasn't got a wicked right hook," Quentin replied.
A loud crash and dull thump followed--flesh met metal. Then silence.
"Quentin, have you finished?"
"Not quite," Quentin said, and then groaned.
The girl peeked over Dylan's shoulder.
He pressed a finger to her lips. "Not one word."
Her glance darted back to his, and she nodded too quickly.
He kept his finger pressed to her lips. "And you don't move an inch, or I'll dust you."
Her eyes widened. Maybe she was a virgin to the vamp lifestyle, but she knew enough to fear a Master Vampire's threat. She nodded slowly.
Dylan turned to aid his friend, he wasn't the least surprised to hear the scurry of footsteps heading toward the street. With a shrug, he realized he didn't care the girl was getting away. He could always catch her later.
Quentin had the foresight to remove his shirt before entering the fray, and he rose from the ground to stand bare-chested, facing a male vamp in full-blooded frenzy.
The vamp's face was contorted with bloodlust and his fangs formed two greedy rows, the long incisors curving over his lips. Carrying a human at his side like a bag of potatoes, he swung his free arm and connected with Quentin's jaw.
Quentin landed next to a trash bin. When Dylan approached, he smiled crookedly. "I've got him softened up."
Dylan slid a stake from the top of his boot. "I told you, Quent, we haven't time to play."
The beast lumbered from side to side, the girl under his arm flopping like a rag doll. Blood, spattered on his Linkin' Park T-shirt and blue jeans, indicated she wasn't the vamp's first victim of the night.
To fight a vampire at the peak of his bloodlust, Dylan needed an extra push. So he let his own lust take him by degrees, careful to balance waning human intelligence with increasing vampire strength. He thrilled to the heightened strength and awareness--bloodlust being a dangerously close cousin to his dark sensuality.
Skin on his cheeks and forehead stretched to accommodate rising plates of facial armor. Fangs slid from his gums, pushing shorter incisors behind them. Dylan curled his lips and snarled a warning at his opponent.
When the other male vamp threw back his head and roared, the rag doll at his side stirred, and she wriggled to free herself from the vampire's grasp. The vamp dropped its gaze to the girl, and Dylan leapt to push the stake deep into its chest.
As Dylan's face reformed and his teeth retracted, the vamp staggered, finally relinquishing its hold on the girl. With a great sigh, the creature fell to its knees. Features blurred, then reshaped.
A blond, sparse beard covered the chin and jaw of another teen. The youth's fearful gaze met Dylan's the instant the young man's body disintegrated into dust.
Quentin stepped past him, heading for the girl. She lay on her back, eyes closed tightly. Even from a distance, Dylan heard her heart hammering. Quentin bent over her, his mouth at her throat.
Dylan shuddered, thankful his friend had taken charge of the girl, certain he wouldn't have been able to stop himself from draining her dry. He'd been too long without fresh blood...and a neck was a tender bit of flesh.
After a long moment, Quentin raised his head, blood smearing his lips. "Open your eyes, little girl."
Her lids lifted slowly, expression dazed.
"You partied too much with the boy, and he got a little carried away." His voice soothed. "You want to go home now."
"I want to go home," she said in monotone.
Quentin pushed a strand of her hair away from her forehead. "Did he drive you here, sweetheart?"
She blinked slowly. "I drove my car to The Cavern."
"How very convenient," he murmured. "Time to go home."
"I want to go home," she repeated.
Quentin helped her to her feet, and she walked to the end of the alley, staring straight ahead. His heavy hand landed on Dylan's shoulder. "We're done here, Dylan," he said quietly. "Let's make sure she gets to her car."
With one last glance at the empty, crumpled T-shirt and blue jeans, Dylan rose to his feet. "How many kids do you think Nicky had to go through to make this one?"
Quentin snatched his shirt from where he'd hung it on a nail and shrugged into it. "Why would he even want one this young?"
"Younger humans are more resilient. Teenagers stand a better chance of surviving the transformation. And they're all out tonight, it being Halloween. Easy pickings."
"Bloody hell. We should be glad he isn't turning babies in Spiderman outfits."
Dylan raked his hand through his hair. "Let's get out of here."
They left the alley and walked toward the violet neon sign marking the entrance to The Cavern.
Just as the girl passed them in a little red Civic, soft misty rain began to fall.
Dylan raised his face and inhaled, welcoming the moisture.
"Fuck me!" Quentin said. "It's raining again. Hurry along, now."
"My friend, you're too fussy. How can you not love the rain? It smells like home."
"I hated home every damned day of my life. Why the hell do you think I was in the Caymans when I was turned? London is forever dreary."
Dylan shook his head. They were poles apart in most things, but bound by their immortality. More than lifelong friends. "Seattle's as close to Ireland as I've found in the world. The weather's soft, and the rain makes everything..." He took a last deep breath. "...clean."
* * * * *
Later, Dylan surveyed the growing crush of bodies undulating to the techno beat on the dance floor below. It was Halloween, but the vamp-savvy crowd had foregone the costumes for the excitement of mingling with the real thing. "Just another Saturday night at The Cavern," he mumbled. He was growing bored with the scene beyond the one-way mirror of his soundproof room. Bored and horny.
"I wonder what young Nicky has planned for tonight," Quentin said from the black leather sofa.
Dylan shot a glance at his friend whose appearance was completely unruffled after their skirmish in the alley. "I thought he was beneath your notice."
"Just wondered." Quentin took another sip of brandy from the snifter Dylan had poured. "It being Halloween and all. Americans get so excited about that sort of thing."
Dylan checked the cuffs of his shirt. They were frayed and smudged with grime. "Just remember," he said, pinning his friend with a glare. "Nicky's mine."
Quentin lifted a single aristocratic brow. "Are you going to stake him or invite him to dinner?"
Dylan ignored the jibe and unbuttoned his shirt. At times, Quentin's British drollness grated on his nerves. "I'll talk to him--first. He's trying to take over, you know. He's building his own army."
"I'm shivering in my boots. An army of mosquitoes."
"Be afraid. He can't control immature vamps. You saw what happened."
Dylan drew the curtain closed, shutting off the view, and then shrugged off his shirt. "They're already leaving carnage in their path. Before long, the police will be poking their noses in our business. At least Nicky doesn't have that little girl in the alley to add to his ranks."
"Should we have left her alive? What if she remembers and brings the police down on our heads?"
"She was unconscious most of the time," Dylan said. "Thanks to your persuasion, she'll think she dreamed the rest of it."
"Well, there are plenty of willing hosts here tonight. Nicky's army doesn't need to kill."
Dread lingered like stale blood. "You know damn well Nicky doesn't consider whores a suitable meal."
"It's true. He doesn't like to stop at a little nibble." Quentin's eyes narrowed. "But what about you? Are you going to end your fast?"
"We're not talking about me. I'm not a menace to human society."
"Dylan, you have to feed. As it is, you're likely to rip the head off your next host, if you don't take the edge off with a little sex first."
"I'm in control."
Quentin snorted. "Not for long, if you don't feed. There are plenty of hosts below, willing to take your cock and your bite. Why not go for it?"
Dylan lifted an eyebrow. "Are you offering to pimp for me?"
"Not bloody likely. We don't have the same tastes."
"And I'm tired of a steady diet of drugged up whores."
Quentin's grin stretched wide. "We could do a foursome."
"I'd rather go without."
Quentin's expression grew serious. "Then make yourself a mate."
A fading memory of a redheaded angel caused a dull ache in his chest. "You know I wouldn't risk a woman's life for that."
"For fuck's sake, you're a stubborn bastard. Take a human lover."
"Maybe I should. It's not like I'd have to fall in love with her. Humans are too short-lived." Dylan strode past Quentin to the coat rack next to the door and selected a black leather vest, buttoning it closed. "Let's patrol the floor. Make sure everyone plays nice tonight." He opened the door and looked back at Quentin.
"Oh, all right." His friend heaved a sigh. "You sure know how to suck the life out of a party."
Before Dylan reached the bottom step of the stairs, he sensed a change in the crowd. Every vamp in his view stiffened. Their expressions grew expectant.
Dylan lifted his nose to the air and sniffed. Beneath the usual cloud of cigarettes, perfume, and sweat, something fresh and sweet--and infinitely carnal--wafted in the air. His body tightened in anticipation. Tonight was the night.
Without looking over his shoulder, Dylan yelled, "Find her!"
* * * * *
Emmaline Harris adjusted the snug fit of her bustier and patted her breasts to make sure everything that mattered was covered. She'd ditched her shawl in the coatroom near the door and was beginning to regret the exposure. "Damn Monica and her costume," she muttered. When Monica had lent her the Vampira outfit, she obviously hadn't taken into consideration the two-cup difference in their sizes.
Emmy took another deep gasp of air and headed toward the center of the dance floor. That's where Monica was most likely to be.
Emmy didn't recognize a soul. This West Seattle tavern, next to the waterway and Elliot Bay, wasn't the sort of place Emmy was accustomed to.
"Excuse me. Pardon me," she said, as she sidled between gyrating bodies, but soon realized no one heard her above the deafening music. And worse, she was the only person dressed for Halloween. "Monica is so dead. Why did I bother with an hour of makeup and this stupid costume when everyone else is wearing Dollar Store fangs?"
"Talking to yourself again?" Monica drawled into her ear.
Emmy whirled. "Don't do that!"
"I see you made it," Monica said, grinning. She flicked a lock of brown hair over her shoulder. "I knew the outfit would be delicious on you."
Emmy took in her friend's appearance and frowned. "Your fangs look pretty darn good, up close. But your blue jeans and tank are the scariest," Emmy grumbled. "What's with this place? Don't they know it's Spooky Night? Or did I get my days crossed?" Then she realized Monica hadn't even bothered changing what she'd worn at lunch before coming to the club. Monica must have been in a hurry. Must be a new man.
"Come," Monica said, grabbing her hand and pulling her toward a dark corner. "Now that you're finally here, I have friends I want you to meet."
Emmy tried to dig in her heels. "When you say friends, you mean guys, don't you? Monica, I don't think I'm ready for this whole getting-back-up-on-the-horse-that-kicked-you thing."
"Shut up, Emmy. My friends will love you."
"I'm sure they will, with my boobs pushed up to my chin and this tourniquet squeezing my waist to nothing. I'm sure I've lost a few brain cells already to asphyxiation."
Emmy tugged, trying to free her hand, but Monica continued to pull her toward the corner. "You should rethink this whole blind date thing. Your friends aren't going to know the real me. When they see me in daylight, they'll think I exploded!"
Monica looked over her shoulder. "Trust me. That will never happen."
Before Emmy could utter another protest, Monica halted in front of a group of young men. Emmy's heart sank. "You know I almost thought this might be the night, but Monica--" she pulled her friend close enough to hiss into her ear, "Are you out of your mind? They're teenagers! What are you going to do, introduce me as Auntie Em?"
"Not them, silly. Him!" Monica placed a hand in the middle of her back and shoved.
Startled, Emmy had only a moment to note a black leather jacket that clothed a tall, lean frame, and then she was hugging it to keep her balance. "Sorry, that was awfully clumsy of..." She looked up into a cold, harshly sculpted face, framed by dark hair that brushed the shoulders of the jacket. "...my friend."
"What have you brought me, Monica?" the man asked. The smile playing at the corner of his lips didn't relieve Emmy's sense of unease.
"An appetizer," Monica drawled, then giggled.
"You know, I'm not the least bit hungry," Emmy said, trying to lighten the atmosphere that had suddenly grown dense as mud.
"I almost always am." The man looked down at Emmy, and then leaned forward.
She screwed her eyes closed and sucked in her lips. No way is he going to kiss me. Monica, what were you thinking? Instead of a kiss, he licked the side of her face.
Her eyes flew open. "I think I'm coming down with a bug." Not averse to licking, but concerned they hadn't been introduced, Emmy couldn't stop her nervous prattle. "Licking me could be hazardous to your health. I might have Monkey Pox. I should go home and call the CDC."
Before she could back away, his arms wrapped around her like a vise.
"Then again," she said, pushing against his shoulders, "maybe I should just introduce myself since Monica hasn't seen fit." She strained to look behind her, but her friend was nowhere to be seen. "Typical," she muttered.
She turned back to find the man nuzzling her neck and emitting a growl that would have sounded incredibly sexy, except that it tickled the side of her neck. "Stop that!" Turning her head to close access to that particular avenue of attack, she squealed when he hoisted her high in his arms.
His mouth was now level with the exposed flesh of her breasts, and there was too much breast thanks to Monica's bustier. Her creamy flesh was a beacon for perverts to feast on.
Only this perv wasn't getting any. "Oh no. No breast-licking. I mean it. Or my boyfriend is going to--"
"Join us?" Despite the deep shadows, Emmy detected amusement in the man's expression as he gazed up into her eyes.
"Not likely," she said, lifting her chin and sniffing. "He doesn't like to share."
"Is that right?" A smile stretched across his face, his teeth flashing brightly. "Tell me about him. I'd like to know my competition."
"Well I'm sure he doesn't have nice pointy teeth like yours, but he's big as a bear and jealous." Emmy had a stray thought that she sounded like Little Red Riding Hood. She almost laughed, but her predicament was getting less funny by the moment. The predatory gleam in her captor's eyes was making her nervous. "You don't want to upset him by being here when he arrives."
"What does he look like? So I'll be sure to call him over."
Her last boyfriend had been an unimpressive shrimp. "Well, he's big. And dark. Darker than you. His hair has a little wave, and it's...longish. And green eyes." She'd always wished for a lover with green eyes.
"Is there more?"
"That's it." She bit her lip. "D-did I tell you he's big?"
The eyes of the devil who held her narrowed above his crocodile smile. "You know, I don't think you have a boyfriend, least not one who sounds like he'll give me any trouble." His voice dropped to a sexy rasp that sent a shiver of alarm down her spine. "You're going to have to convince me you aren't just delaying the edible here."
"The inevitable, don't you mean?" Emmy blinked and almost lost the thread of the conversation when he laved his tongue along the side of her neck. "Oh I wouldn't try to delay anything--if you were my boyfriend, that is. Although I must say, if I didn't have a boyfriend," she gulped, "which I may or may not have, I'd probably still not want to date you."
"I think you would," he whispered in her ear. "You're dying for a walk on the wild side."
A shiver of awareness crept along her spine. Alarmed because she was responding to his seduction, she tried one last time to deny him. "I'd never go out with you. You're the dangerous type. And a girl knows there's no future in a relationship with a dangerous man. I may not be the best judge of men, but even I know that."
"Good God, does the chit ever come up for air?"
Emmy jerked toward the voice that sounded behind her. It belonged to a man who was gorgeous in a proper, stiff-upper-lip sort of way. A white dress shirt tucked into gray slacks clothed a long, lean frame--rakish, and he was blond.
Now the man standing next to him could have been tailor-made for the role of her boyfriend, because he was everything she'd described and so much more. Tall for one. Nicely muscled, if his bare arms were any hint of the corded sinew beneath his clothing. Broader--filled out in all the manly places Emmy liked to have filled out. And more dangerous looking than the scrawny ape licking the tops of her breasts. He'd do.
She smiled brightly. "Darling!"