ONE KISS CAN SEAL YOUR FATE…
Cara DeLongpre wandered into the mysterious Nocturne club looking for a fleeting diversion from her sheltered life. Instead, she found a dark, seductive stranger whose touch entices her beyond the safety she’s always known and into a heady carnal bliss…
A year ago, Vincent Cordova believed that vampires existed only in bad movies and bogeyman stories. That was before a chance encounter left him with unimaginable powers, a hellish thirst, and an aching loneliness he’s sure will never end…until the night he meets Cara DeLongpre. Cara’s beauty and bewitching innocence call to his mind, his heart…his blood. For Vincent senses the Dark Gift shared by Cara’s parents, and the lurking threat from an ancient and powerful foe. And he knows that the only thing more dangerous than the enemy waiting to seek its vengeance is the secret carried by those Cara trusts the most.
It was at a very early age that Cara Aideen DeLongpre realized her mother and father weren’t like her friends’ parents. For one thing, she never saw her mom and dad during the day, and they never ate dinner together, the way families did on t.v. As far back as Cara could remember, she had eaten all her meals with her nanny, Charlotte Ray, until Charlotte retired. Her new nanny, Melissa Kent, was much younger than Miss Ray had been. And although Cara missed her old nanny, Miss Kent quickly found a place in her affections.
Cara was home schooled by Miss Louise Byrne until she turned twelve. On her birthday, Cara’s father informed her that she would be going to public school so that she might associate with other children. Cara wasn’t happy about that, but her father assured her that it was for her own good. She needed to learn how to get along with people her own age. To that end, Miss Byrne was dismissed and Mr. Shaw was hired. Mr. Shaw was built like a wrestler and had a face like bull dog. It was his job to drive her to school and pick her up afterwards.
Once again, Cara came to realize that her parents were different. They didn’t attend parent-teacher conferences or any other school functions unless they were held at night.
Until Cara went to school, she assumed that everybody opened their Christmas presents at night, and hunted for Easter eggs after the sun went down. Thanksgiving was a holiday that was never celebrated in her home. Valentine’s Day meant a big candy heart from her Daddy.
Cara’s favorite holiday was Halloween. She always dressed up as a witch, and her mother and father always went trick or treating with her. Her mom dressed as a witch, too. Her dad didn’t dress up, though he did wear a long black cloak that made other kids ask if he was supposed to be a vampire.
When Cara turned sixteen, she was allowed to go out with boys, but only if they went out with a group or with an other couple. To her chagrin, Mr. Shaw was always nearby and Cara came to understand that he was no longer just a chauffeur but her bodyguard, as well, though she had no idea why she needed a bodyguard.
She put the question to her mom and dad the night after it occurred to her.
Roshan DeLongpre considered his reply for several moments before he answered his daughter’s question. He wasn’t surprised by it, only amazed that it had taken her so long to ask.
“I’m a wealthy man,” he explained patiently. “And I have many enemies. Shaw is there to make sure that no harm comes to you.”
“What kind of enemies?” Cara asked.
She digested that a moment, then asked, “Why don’t I ever see you or Mom during the day? Why don’t we eat together? Where do the two of you go every day, and why can’t I ever go with you?”
Roshan looked at his wife, one brow arched in a silent plea for help. He and Brenna had both known this day would come sooner or later. But how did a man tell his adopted daughter that her father and mother were vampires? And, more than that, that her mother was a witch?
Brenna took her daughter’s hand in hers and gave it a squeeze. “Years ago, your father and I contracted a rare disease. The sun is like poison to us, Cara, so we sleep during the day.”
Cara nodded. She knew she was adopted. Her parents had told her that as soon as she was old enough to understand. It explained why she wasn’t plagued by the same disease.
“Maybe we could eat dinner together?” Cara suggested. “Like other families. You know, like the ones on tv.”
Brenna and Roshan exchanged glances.
“Due to our ailment, your father and I are on a rather strict liquid diet,” Brenna said after a moment, “but we’ll be happy to sit at the table with you while you eat, if you like.”
“I’d like that very much,” Cara said, smiling. “At least once in a while.”
“Then that’s what we’ll do,” her father said.
“Are we very rich?” Cara asked.
“Yes,” her father replied soberly. “Very.”
“Do you think I could have a car?”
“When you’re eighteen,” her father said.
Cara sighed. “Lily got a Honda for her sixteenth birthday. Jennifer got a Mazda. Why can’t I have a car now?”
Brenna looked at her husband, one brow raised as she, too, waited for his answer.
Roshan glanced from his daughter to his wife and back again. “We’ll compromise,” he said. “You can have the car of your choice when you turn seventeen.”
The car she chose was a baby blue VW convertible with black interior.
Cara was twenty-two years old when she finally discovered why her parents weren’t like everyone else’s.
copyright 10/06 Madeline Baker
OTHER VAMPIRE ROMANCES BY AMANDA ASHLEY
Embrace the Night
Deeper Than the Night
A Darker Dream
Shades of Gray
A Whisper of Eternity
Desire After Dark
Bound by Night
Bound by Blood