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Home is where the heart bleeds.
Growing up, vampire-born twins Julie and Marc Fischer were taught one simple fact of life: you can choose your food, but not your family. Six months after moving to San Francisco, though, the new challenges and choices each are facing are a Gordian knot of complicated.
Marc must decide whether to stay with Conrad and Damian, the only family he’s ever known, or embrace his destiny and the unexpected family–the ferals–that comes along with it.
Meanwhile, Julie is forced to deal with the unpleasant realization that the man she loves isn’t necessarily the man who’s best for her.
For Conrad and Damian, the holiday season is stirring up bittersweet memories, and neither can keep from revisiting past passion and pain.
Faced with new mysteries to solve, new alliances to forge, new secrets to keep, and old relationships to rebuild, it’s no wonder the Fischer-Quintano vampires long for the good old days–when food was food and family was all that mattered.
Warning: If you’ve previously suffered from Disco Fever, this book could precipitate a relapse. Extreme care is recommended for anyone with a pronounced weakness for mistletoe, fang play, pretty young men of either species or extremely dangerous alpha-male vampire single dads. May contain trace amounts of polyester.
Christmas Eve and Julie hadn’t ever seen the city so quiet. She wandered through the grounds that surrounded Conrad’s mansion, reluctant to go inside the house, unwilling to stray too far beyond the wall. She wasn’t sure what had gotten Marc so riled up, but her encounter with her brother had left her restless and unsettled and unable to relax. It wasn’t as though Marc hadn’t always been protective of her—because he definitely had been, for almost all their lives. But he didn’t generally warn her to be careful. It was far more usual for him to bully her into standing up for herself, reminding her of all the training she’d received, of all the strength she possessed, reminding her she was more than capable of defending herself…
A footfall on the path behind her had her spinning around, prepared to do just that, but her alarm was short lived. “Oh, it’s you,” she said, breathing a sigh of relief.
Armand clasped a hand to his chest and gazed at her with mock sorrow. “Ah, chérie, you wound me. Could you not at least pretend you’re happy to see me?”
“Oh, please,” she said, not bothering to hide her smile. “You’re lucky I didn’t wound you for real. How many times do I have to tell you? Stop sneaking up on me.”
Armand’s smile turned mischievous. “I fear I cannot oblige you in that.” He held up his hand, revealing a sprig of mistletoe. “For how else am I to get close enough to steal a kiss?”
Julie’s cheeks flamed. Had he come out here tonight in search of her in particular, or would anyone have done? Not that she had the slightest right to complain even if that was the case. Come to think of it, she wasn’t sure she had any right to even speculate. She was still sleeping with Brennan, after all, although not this weekend, as he’d taken Parker to visit his grandparents for the holiday, leaving her hungry, depressed, frustrated and more confused than ever about what she really wanted.
Except for this kiss. That was one thing she had no doubts about and she thanked her lucky stars that Armand had thought to bring mistletoe. What a brilliant excuse that made for ignoring the many reasons why this was such a terrible idea.
Armand glided closer. “Last chance to say no,” he teased as he dangled the mistletoe above her head.
Julie shivered. Her lips parted in anticipation. Hunger and need had stilled her tongue, stolen her breath and left her mute. If she could have spoken, however, she was damn sureno would not have been anywhere at all on her list of possible responses.
Armand’s eyes glittered as they locked with hers. She read traces of desire, surprise, even a little bit of triumph in their depths as she lifted her face in silent invitation. Their lips touched. Heat flared. The taste of him sparked memories of the last time they’d kissed—she’d wanted more of him then too. She clutched impatiently at his shirtfront and shifted closer, growling softly, part demand, part entreaty. His response was instantaneous. Powerful arms closed around her and held her tight, calling up a surge of some nameless emotion from deep inside her. Relief? Acquiescence? Completion? Need? All of the above?
She twisted in his arms, turning until she was resting partially against his chest. When he broke the kiss with a shattered gasp, it seemed the most natural thing in the world for her to turn her face into the curve of his neck. To trail her tongue up and down along the strong column of his throat. To find that spot where his blood seemed to call to her the loudest. She bit down swiftly, filling her mouth with his essence and drawing a startled groan from his lips. Then she bit again. Marking him. Claiming him. And challenging him to do the same to her.
Again, his response was everything she’d hoped for. He speared his fingers into her hair, bent his head to her exposed neck and sank his fangs into her throat. Venom tingled as it rushed through her veins, headed straight to her core. Then he bit again. And again. Until she could no longer control the shudders that shook her from head to toe. Until she had to retract her own fangs, just so she could continue breathing. Until she had to cling to him to keep from falling.
An ecstatic whimper slipped from her lips. Yes. Just, yes. This.