DESIRE NEVER DIES
Daisy O'Donnell doesn't get the attraction some women feel for vampires. She likes her men with a pulse. And she's just met one who's full of life: Erik Delacourt, the unreasonably sexy man she keeps meeting at a popular L.A. nightclub called the Crypt. She barely knows him, but there's no resisting the connection she feels…
There's one important detail Erik hasn't gotten around to telling her yet. He's a powerful vampire out to hunt the Blood Thief who is draining young vampires all over the city—and who has just raised the stakes by destroying one of Erik's friends. To Erik, Daisy is a bright spot of innocence in a world of darkness and menace. He'll do anything—even lie to her—to keep her safe and pure.
If only he knew that Daisy has something of her own to hide…
Daisy O'Donnell's compass wasn't much good for finding north or south; but then, she wasn't lost or trying to navigate her way around the world. She was hunting vampires, and her little silver compass with its bright golden needle worked perfectly fine for that. Although it wasn't really a compass. More like a GPS system for locating the resting places of the Undead. All she had to do was drive down the street and follow the needle, which turned bright red when she was within a few feet of an occupied lair.
There was no dearth of locations for vampires to hide in the greater Los Angeles area these days. She had found lairs inside shallow caves up in the hills, in dusty attics and cob-webby basements, in ancient cemeteries, abandoned buildings, and foreclosed tract homes.
Daisy felt a rush of satisfaction as the needle shimmered and quivered, telling her she was getting close to the day-time resting place of one of the Undead. The vampire she was currently hunting had made its lair inside an old wine cellar in an abandoned restaurant in downtown LA.
Daisy paused outside the lair, her nose wrinkling with distaste as she sprayed herself with Scent-B-Gone, a concoction guaranteed to mask her distinctive scent from all but the most powerful vampires. The spray itself evaporated within an hour or two, leaving nothing behind.
The door to the wine cellar creaked like something out of an old Vincent Price movie as Daisy pried it open with a crowbar. Leaving the crowbar outside, she stepped through the doorway, turned on her trusty four-cell flashlight, and cautiously made her way down the rickety wooden stairs. She swept the beam from right to left, uttered a soft sound of satisfaction as the light disclosed a pale pink casket in the far corner.
Her feet made hardly a sound as she walked across the dusty cement floor and raised the lid. The vampire, a young female, slept inside. Her name was Tina. Daisy recalled a well-known maxim that claimed old age and treachery would overcome youth and skill. She didn't know if that was true among mortals, but it definitely applied to vampires. They got stronger and meaner as they grew older. And unlike their young counterparts, really old vampires weren't completely helpless or unaware of what went on around them during the day, which made hunting the old ones doubly dangerous.
Although Daisy had done this sort of thing many times before, it always startled her to look at one of the Undead at rest, because they looked very dead, indeed. The vampire lay on her back, her arms folded over her breasts. Her hair was dark brown; her skin beyond pale. Had Daisy been a bounty hunter who destroyed the undead instead of a blood thief, she would have had to obtain proof of her kill, either a sample of blood, or – grisly thought – a hand or a finger. Of course, if the destroyed vampire was very old, the hunter had to gather its ashes, since that was all that was left after the ancient ones were dispatched.
After tucking the flashlight under her arm, Daisy pulled a large syringe out of one of the deep pockets of her jacket, several small plastic bottles out of another, and got to work. There were vampire hunters who drained the Undead of their blood for fun and profit and then took their heads, and other hunters who destroyed vampires simply because of what they were.
Daisy didn't have the stomach for bounty hunting. Taking a head or driving a stake through the heart of an unconscious vampire was a nasty, messy business, and she couldn't forget that, no matter how horrid she thought vampires were, they had once been human. Still, there was good money to be made as a blood thief. She had earned a tidy fortune by selling vampire blood on the Internet. Do you have an injury that refuses to heal? Rub a little vamp blood on it. Got a cold that simply won't go away? Take two aspirins and a spoonful of blood mixed with the drink of your choice. Want a high that lasts all night? Vampire blood will do the trick with no ugly after-effects, as long as you don't imbibe too much. An ounce enhances all the senses. Anything over that, and you probably won't wake up in the morning.
Daisy herself had never indulged. The mere idea of drinking blood, even if it was mixed with something more palatable, like a glass of fine red wine, was totally repugnant.
Daisy took a pint or so from a vein in the vampire's left arm, enough to fill her current orders, and tiptoed out of the cellar with the sleeping vampire being none the wiser. When Tina woke that night, she would know someone had siphoned some of her blood, but Daisy would be long gone by then.
After retrieving her crowbar from outside the cellar door, Daisy returned to her car. She stowed the bottles in the ice chest in the back seat, slid behind the wheel, and headed home. She didn't feel the least bit of guilt for what she had done. Why should she? Selling vampire blood wasn't against the law, and since vampires had no human rights and no legal recourse, there was nothing the Undead could do about it.
Unless they caught you.
And then all the laws and ordinances in the world weren't worth the paper they were written on.
The Crimson Crypt was the most popular Goth club in the greater Los Angeles area, especially on a Friday night. In addition to the ever-growing Goth crowd and LA's dwindling Undead population, the Crypt had become a popular hangout for up-and-coming Hollywood starlets, producers, musicians, and fans of the same.
Erik Delacourt grimaced as he made his way toward the bar, which was unique in its circular design. Made of polished black onyx, it stood in the center of the floor ringed by black leather bar stools. Three bartenders, all clad in black muscle shirts and tight black leather pants, waited on the customers at the bar; a handful of waitresses wearing black tank tops and short black leather skirts took orders from those sitting at the booths that lined two of the walls. A small square dance floor took up space on one side of the club; half a dozen pool tables were scattered near the back wall. Subdued lighting offered a measure of privacy to the rich and famous who sought anonymity in the club's dark corners.
Erik found an empty seat at the bar and ordered the house special. Glancing around the room, he spotted several celebrities holding court, as well as the drummer from a popular Irish band. Unlike Erik, the drummer, who was known only as Cougar to his fans, made no attempt to hide the fact that he was a vampire. Instead, he used the inherent charisma of their kind to his advantage. Many mortals, females especially, were drawn to the air of mystery and danger that clung to members of the Undead community.
Erik sipped his drink. It satisfied his physical thirst, but he found no pleasure in it. It was like hungering for milk and being given water, though in reality, he had no taste for either.
He had just ordered a second glass when a woman entered the club. A pretty woman in her mid-twenties, with lightly tanned skin and heavily-lashed green eyes. Her hair, a deep reddish-brown, fell half-way down her back. She wore flat-heeled white boots, blue jeans, and a long white leather jacket over a white shirt. His nostrils flared as she passed by him on her way to a vacant stool not far from his.
Erik frowned. She was human, but she smelled of vampire. No doubt she was one of the dozens of human females who frequented the club, getting their kicks from rubbing elbows with the soon-to-be famous and the infamous. Or maybe she got off on letting vampires feed off her. Drinking vampire blood was all the rage now, though only the very rich could afford it. The thought of her feeding off of him stirred his desire; the thought of him feeding off of her aroused his hunger. He ran his tongue over the tips of his fangs, imagined himself bending over her neck, licking her skin, tasting her life's essence.
As if sensing his thoughts, she whirled around to face him.
She was lovely, young, ripe. Erik put the glass in his hand aside, no longer interested in its watered-down contents. Not when there was a possibility he could score something better. Something hot and fresh, directly from the source.
Daisy stared at the man sitting at the bar, felt a rush of heat engulf her from head to foot when his gaze met hers with such intensity, it was almost physical. Dressed all in black, he was long-legged and broad-shouldered, with thick black hair and the kind of rugged countenance that made a girl look twice. But it was his eyes that captured her attention. Deep, dark eyes that seemed capable of penetrating her innermost thoughts, o probing the depths not only of her heart, but her very soul.
Shaking off her fanciful thoughts, she took a seat at the bar and ordered a strawberry daiquiri. Even though she was no longer looking at the dark-haired man, she could feel the weight of his gaze resting on her. Without moving her head, she slid a sideways glance in his direction, felt a jolt of desire sweep through her when her gaze again met his. Never, in all her life, had she felt such a strong attraction to a complete stranger.
Her stomach knotted as he rose smoothly to his feet and walked toward her, although walked didn't really describe the way he moved. More like a jungle cat stalking its prey. The thought made her mouth dry and her palms damp. Her gaze darted toward the exit, but it was too late to escape. He was already standing in front of her. He was tall, she thought, looking up. Very tall.
His voice, as deep as ten feet down, raised goose bumps on her arms.
He gestured at her glass. "May I buy you another drink?"
"No, thank you." Was that pitiful whimper her voice?
"Are you sure?"
Daisy nodded. What was wrong with her? She was behaving like some teenager who had just met her favorite rock star.
His gaze moved over her face, warming every place it touched. When he smiled, her heartbeat kicked up a notch.
Pull yourself together, Daisy, she chided. It's not like you've never talked to a handsome man before. So why did this one have her tongue tied in knots?
"I suppose a dance is out of the question?"
She felt her cheeks grow hotter as she imagined being in his arms. She was about to decline when she heard herself say, "I'd like that."
He looked as surprised as she was.
And then there was no more time for thought. He held out one large, well-manicured hand. After a moment's hesitation, she placed her hand in his. A shiver of awareness coiled in the pit of her stomach as his fingers closed over hers, and then he was leading her toward the small dance floor, drawing her into his arms. Long arms. Strong arms that made her feel protected and endangered at the same time.
She had watched numerous scenes in movies where couples danced and everything else faded away – Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas in "Romancing the Stone", Michael J. Fox and Julie Warner in "Doc Hollywood", Amy Adams and Patrick Dempsey in "Enchanted". As much as she had loved those scenes, she had always found them hard to believe. Until now. She wasn't aware of the music or the other couples on the floor; she wasn't aware of anything but the man holding her close. Too close, she thought, but feeling his body brush against hers felt so good, she had no inclination to object. He was tall and dark and decidedly masculine. Being in his embrace made her achingly aware of her femininity, of the delightful differences between male and female, of the way their bodies had been created to fit together, complimenting each other.
Her only regret was that the music ended too soon. Or maybe just in time, she thought, because as sure as she knew her name, she knew what was coming next. He was going to ask her to go to his place, and she didn't think she was strong enough to refuse. Just thinking about being alone with him made her ache in places no man had ever touched.
Murmuring, "thank you for the dance," she pulled her hand from his and all but ran out of the Crypt. She knew it was only her imagination, but she could have sworn she heard the sound of his amused laughter following her all the way home.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Steven at Steven's Cybrary said:
Wow, she did it again. This is only the second book I've read from her but Amanda's work just fascinates me. If I were to think of this book as a recipe, the ingredients of my favorite vamp books would be as follows
1 part Twilight
1 part Moonlight
1 part Buffy
1 part Blade
dash of Interview with the Vampire
Directions: Shake well
It was such a compelling read. I spent the whole day I received the copy, laid up in bed enthralled with the words coming off the page. The novel flows so beautifully that, like Twilight, you are on the edge of your seat in anticipation of what's next. A little bit of love, sex & gore- what more could I ask for? As the book was nearing its last pages, there was a dramatic turn of events that I ended up crying. Bleh. :) I am so excited for book two to come out in October this year. Keep up the good work Mandy.
Danielle, Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More, said:
Daisy O'Donnell comes from a long line of vampire hunters. While she does not hunt them herself, she does find their lair for an ulterior motive.Erik Delacourt is unique in his actions as a vampire. While he may occasionally like to play with his food, he does not believe in being too rough.
When Daisy first meets Erik, there is an instant attraction that has her coming back to the club night after night in hopes of spotting the sexy man again. But trouble is on the horizon for the couple as their secrets begin to unravel, leaving mistrust in place of budding love. When Daisy's brother comes to town looking for vampires to hunt, Erik must choose between helping her and helping his own brethren. If he makes the wrong choice it could mean death for him as well as for the woman he has come to love.
Ms. Ashley brings the world of vampires to life. Everlasting Kiss is the tale of two people who should hate everything about each other, but do not. I could not quite grasp the concept of how Daisy sees herself as being above a vampire's need for blood when she is pretty much doing the same thing. Erik put all the preconceived notions of a strong and pushy vampire out the window with his soft and gentle handling of the heroine. A very nice read with an ending that has you questioning what is going to happen next in the land of the vampires according to Amanda Ashley.
Desire Never Dies……Here is an author who I came across at Borders, this is the first book I have read by Amanda Ashley, It's called Everlasting Kiss. A quick synopsis of this book: Daisy O Donnell is a blood thief, she does not understand some of the attraction other women give to vampires (yea, I know she's crazy) until she meets Erik Delacourt, the sexy man she keeps meeting at a popular LA hot spot called the Crypt, but there is no resisting the connection she feels…But there is something Erik isn't telling her, He's a powerful vampire out to hunt the Blood Thief who is draining young vampires all over the city. Erik will do anything to keep Daisy safe, even lie to her to keep her safe and pure. But Daisy is hiding something of her own. If her secret comes out, will their eternal love survive….So pick up Everlasting Kiss and devour the blood draining eternal love.. Many bloody returns to come…I'll blog it and you take a bite out of it…