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Two by Twilight : Run from Twilight/Twilight Vows
Two By Twilight
Join bestselling author Maggie Shayne as she leads you into a world filled with dark desire, the world of Wings in the Night.
In a world of shadows and moonlight, no one is really what they seem . . .
Enjoy this brand-new story!
"Run from Twilight"
A serial killer who strikes by the light of the full moon has made Mary McLean his next target. She knows she should be cautious, but she can't stay away from Michael Gray, a mysterious man with an unearthly secret. But is he there to protect her? Or is he the real danger?
Savor this classic tale.
Longing to learn his secrets, Rachel Sullivan found herself a willing captive of Donovan O'Roark. But the young Irish beauty never envisioned his true identity. And neither one was prepared to face the growing hunger they felt for each other . . .
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September 30, 2005
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Excerpt from Two by Twilight by Maggie Shayne
Irish countryside, 1808
I walked along the path that night, as I often did. Bonetired from working in my father's fields, coated in a layer of good Irish soil spread fine on my skin and held fast by my sweat. My muscles ached, but 'twas a good sort of pain. The sort that came of relishing one's own strength and vigor. Of late, I hadn't done so any too often. I'd been taken with bouts of weakness, my head spinning sometimes until I passed out cold as a corpse. But today hadn't been like that at all. Today I'd felt good, certain whatever had plagued me was gone. And to prove it I'd worked like a horse in Da's fields. All the day through I'd put my brothers and cousins through their paces, darin' them to keep up with me, laughing when they couldn't. And I'd kept on wielding my hoe long after the others had called it a night.
So 'twas alone I was walking.
Autumn hung in the air, with the harvest beneath it and a big yellow moon hanging low in the sky. Leaves crackled under my feet and sent their aromas up to meet me as I walked by the squash patch, with its gray-blue hubbards as big as Ma's stew pot, and orange-yellow pumpkins clinging to their dying vines. We'd have to gather them in tomorrow. Gram said there would be a killing frost before next Sabbath.
A killing frost.
A little chill snaked up the back of my neck as the words repeated themselves, for some reason, in my mind. Foolishness, of course. I'd spent too many nights as a lad, curled on a braided rug before the hearth listenin' to Gram spin her yarns. This time of the year, her tales tended toward the frightening, with ghosties and ghoulies her favorite subjects. I supposed some of those tales had stuck in my mind. Though a man grown now, and all of twenty years plus three, I still got the shivers from Gram's tales. The way her voice would change as she told 'em, the way her ice-blue eyes would narrow as if she were sharing some dark secret while the firelight cast dancing shadows on her dear careworn face.
"Twas a night just like this one, boy. When all seemed peaceful and right. But any fool ought to know better than to walk alone after dark during the time of the harvest. For the veil between the world of the living and that of the dead is thinning...and parting...and...
"Hush, Gram," I whispered. But a chill breeze caressed my neck and goose bumps rose there to mark its passing. I thrust my hands into my pockets, hunching my shoulders, walking a little faster. Something skittered along the roadside, and my head jerked sharply to the right. "Only the wind," I said, and then I began to whistle.
Any fool ought to know better. Are you a fool, Donovan O'Roark?
I shook myself and walked still faster. There were eyes on me...someone watching from the crisp, black night. Or perhaps something. A wolf or even an owl. I told myself 'twas nothing, that I'd no reason to fear, but my breath began to hitch in my throat before puffing out in great clouds, and my heart to pound too quickly.
Then the dizziness came.
The ground buckled and heaved before me, though I know it never truly moved at all. I staggered sideways, would have fallen into the weeds along the edge of the path, had I not managed to brace my hand against a nearby tree. Palm flat to the warm, soft trunk, head hanging low, I fought to catch my breath, to cling to my consciousness.
The tree spoke. "Alas, boy, I thought to wait...but I can see the deed must be done tonight."
I jerked my head up, then snatched my hand away, not from a tree, but from a man. Yet...not a man. His dark eyes swirled with the endless black of the very night, and his hair was black as soot, gleaming to midnight blue where the moon's rays alighted. His lips, cherry red, and full. Yet the pallor of his skin shocked me. Not sickly-looking, not like death. But fair, and fine, as if he were some fine work of art chiseled of pale granite. As if he were a part of the moonlight itself.
I took a step backward, leaves crunching, the breeze picking up to tease my hair. The wind grew stronger all of a sudden...almost as if it knew something dire was about to take place this autumn night...
...the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead is thinning...parting...
I backed away more quickly.
The creature only shook his head. "Don't try to run. It will do you no good."
"Who are you?"I managed."What do you want with me?" His smile was sad, bitter."Many things, Donovan. Many things. But for now...just the one." He reached out, though I never saw his hands move. They were simply there before him one moment, moving expressively as he spoke -- and in the next instant they clasped the front of my homespun shirt. I struggled against him, but he pulled me easily to him, and my fighting amounted to nothing at all.
I am not a small man, nor a weak one, despite my recent illness. I stood fully a head taller than my da, and half that much above any other man in our village. My shoulders were broad and well formed by a lifetime of hard work. I'd never met a man I wasn't certain I could whip, should the need arise.
Yet this one, this thing, dragged me to him as if I were a child. Closer, inexorably closer, even as I twisted and tugged and fought for my freedom. He bent over me. Fear clutched at my heart, nearly stopping its frantic beat. Pain shot out through my chest, and down my left arm, and I couldn't draw air into my lungs.
Then I felt his mouth on my neck...lips parting, and the shocking pain as his teeth sank deeply into the skin of my throat, piercing me. Pain that faded almost as quickly as it appeared. And as it faded, so did everything else. Everything around me, from the soft singing of the crickets to the smell of the decaying leaves. I no longer felt the chill autumn air. There were three things of which I remained aware, three things that filled all my senses. Darkness. Silence. And the feel of his mouth on my throat, draining the very life from me.
Then even those things disappeared.