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Authors: Michelle Rowen

Blood Bath & Beyond

BOOK: Blood Bath & Beyond
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Praise for the Novels
of Michelle Rowen

“I’ve been bitten and smitten by Michelle Rowen.”


New York Times
bestselling author

Sherrilyn Kenyon

“Michelle Rowen never disappoints! I love her work!”


New York Times
bestselling author Gena Showalter

“What a charming, hilarious book! Frankly, I’m insanely jealous I didn’t write it.”


New York Times
bestselling author

MaryJanice Davidson

“Rowen’s foray into a new dark, gritty world is a brilliant success…[and] an adrenaline rush!”


New York Times
bestselling author Larissa Ione

“Michelle Rowen’s books never fail to thrill.”

—Bitten by Books

“Sassy and exhilarating…epic and thrilling.”

—Fresh Fiction

“Should leave readers breathless.”


Kirkus Reviews

“I have never read a Michelle Rowen book that I did not adore.”

—Enchanted by Books

Berkley Sensation Titles
by Michelle Rowen

THE DEMON IN ME

SOMETHING WICKED

THAT OLD BLACK MAGIC

NIGHTSHADE

BLOODLUST

Anthologies

PRIMAL

(with Lora Leigh, Jory Strong, and Ava Gray)

BLOOD BATH

& BEYOND

AN IMMORTALITY BITES MYSTERY

MICHELLE ROWEN

AN OBSIDIAN MYSTERY

OBSIDIAN

Published by New American Library, a division of

Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street,

New York, New York 10014, USA

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto,

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Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

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Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124,

Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)

Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park,

New Delhi - 110 017, India

Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, Auckland 0632,

New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)

Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue,

Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices:

80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

First published by Obsidian, an imprint of New American Library,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

First Printing, August 2012

10  9  8  7  6  5  4  3  2  1

ISBN: 978-1-101-59371-4

Copyright © Michelle Rouillard, 2012

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

OBSIDIAN and logo are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

Printed in the United States of America

PUBLISHER’S NOTE

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content.

If you purchased this book without a cover you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”

ALWAYS LEARNING

PEARSON

To Bonnie Starling

A
CKNOWLEDGMENTS

Thank you so much to my agent, Jim McCarthy, for believing in me (and Sarah) from day one and championing my foray into this exciting new genre.

Thank you to Leis Pederson and Cindy Hwang for giving me this wonderful opportunity to write a fun and romantic mystery (with fangs).

Thank you to my beta readers on this book, and wonderfully supportive friends, Bonnie Staring and Megan Crane. Love you guys! xoxo

And thank you to Sarah for stating very adamantly that she wanted to explore what happens next. She’s very stubborn for a fictional character. I like that.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Bled & Breakfast

Chapter 1

T
he fangs don’t get nearly as much attention as you’d think.

Your average, everyday person doesn’t notice that they’re sharper than normal human canines. If they did, they’d have to deal with the possibility that vampires really exist. It’s a survival instinct on their part, culminating from centuries of living side by side with something they’d prefer to think of as a fictional predatory monster. Or, more recently, as an eternally sparkling teenager.

Real vampires make up approximately 0.001 percent of the population—that’s one in a thousand. So, worldwide, there are about six million vampires.

Humans just don’t see us. It does help that, despite what you might have heard, we can go outside into the sunshine on a lovely early June day like today without turning into a pile of ashes. We blend in with regular human society just fine and dandy.

It’s kind of like we’re invisible.

Someone bashed into me when I glanced down at the screen of my phone as I walked down the busy sidewalk.

“Hey!” the woman snarled. “Watch where you’re going, you dumb bitch!”

“Bite me,” I replied sweetly, then added under my breath, “or I might bite you.”

She gave me the finger, stabbing it violently in my direction as if it were a tiny, flesh-colored sword.

Okay, maybe we’re not
totally
invisible.

I couldn’t help that I had a natural-born talent to rub people the wrong way. It had very little to do with me being a vampire and more to do with me just being…me. I liked to think it was simply part of my charm.

I looked bleakly at the phone again. No messages. No calls. It felt like everyone I knew had recently deserted me. It wasn’t far from the truth, actually. Last month, my parents had moved to Florida to a retirement community. Two weeks ago, my best male friend, George, had headed for Hawaii to open a surf shop after he won a small fortune in a local lottery. And now, my best girlfriend and her husband were in the process of moving to British Columbia so she could take a job in cosmetics management.

“We’ll totally stay in touch,” Amy said to me at the airport before she got on her flight an hour ago. I’d met her there to say a last good-bye.

I hugged her fiercely. “Of course we will.”

Her husband stood nearby, giving me the evil eye like he usually did. We’d never really gotten along all that well. You win some, you lose some. “Are you finished yet? We’re going to miss our flight.”

I forced a smile. “I’m even going to miss
you
, Barry.”

He just looked at his wristwatch.

Amy smiled brightly. “This is a new beginning, Sarah. For both of us. We have to embrace change.”

I hated change.

I did hope to see her again soon, not too far into the future.

The future was something I thought about a lot these days. After all, as a fledgling vampire, sired less than seven months ago, I had a lot of future to look forward to. I just hoped it wouldn’t suck too much.

Yes, that was me. Sarah Dearly, immortal pessimist. I had to turn my frown upside down. Right now, I was so far down in the dumps that the raccoons had arrived and were starting to sniff around. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

It seemed as if new opportunities and new adventures had been presented to everyone but me, like they’d won the lottery—
literally
in one case—and I’d mistakenly put my ticket in the wash and now couldn’t even read the numbers.

“You look sad,” someone said.

I glanced over my shoulder, surprised to see a clown standing at the side of the street holding a bunch of balloons.

White makeup, poufy costume covered in colorful polka dots. Red hair. A hat with a fake flower springing out of it. Big red nose. The works.

It was like a bad omen. Clowns scared the crap out of me.

“Sad? Who, me?” I said warily, slipping my phone back in my shoulder bag. “Nah, I’m just melancholy today. There’s a difference, you know. Please don’t murder me.”

“Somebody needs a happy happy balloon to make her happy happy.” He handed me a yellow ribbon tied to a shiny red balloon. I looked up at it.

“Yes,” I said. “This will make all the difference in the world. Thank you so much. Now life is happy happy for me again.”

The clown glared at me. “No reason to be sarcastic, lady.”

“I don’t need a reason.”

“The balloon’s five bucks.”

“Three.”

“Four.”

“Sold.” I grinned, then fished into my purse and pulled out the money. “Thanks so much, Bozo.”

“It’s Mr. Chuckles.”

“Whatever.”

The balloon did cheer me up more than I would have guessed. It reminded me of going to the National Exhibition with my mother every fall when I was a kid. Popcorn, cotton candy, hot dogs, and balloons. High-calorie memories with a little bit of helium and latex thrown in for good measure. Those were good times.

I’d needed the walk to clear my head. My head was officially cleared, so I returned to the huge luxury townhome I shared with my fiancé and let myself in.

BOOK: Blood Bath & Beyond
11.98Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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