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.“No, sweetheart.” Letting go of her hand, he pulled her down onto his chest and stroked his hand through her hair.“I’m asking because I love you.Because whatever our future holds, I want to face it with you.” He lifted his head and pressed his lips to the corner of her mouth in a fleeting, sweet kiss.“Now please put me out of my misery and say yes.”She couldn’t stop the grin from spreading over her face.“Yes.”“Yes?” His green eyes seemed to glow as happiness grew.“Yes!” Kimber pressed kisses all over his face.As he took control, holding her head still so he could dominate her mouth with his, she knew deep down everything was going to be all right.They had each other and in about seven more months they’d have a child.Their child.Maybe they’d have more, and maybe at some point once the children were old enough, Duncan would turn her into a vampire so they could truly have their happily-ever-after.For now she would focus on the present, on the joy they had with each other right now.The future would take care of itself.Please see the next page for a look at the first book in the series…Vampire’s HungerChapter OneKimber Treat, one of only a few necromancers licensed by the county of Summit, Ohio, pushed open the door to the Medical Examiner’s lab.“You’ve got a Lazarus for me?” she asked.“Yep.Let me get ’im.” The Chief M.E.swung open the heavy metal door of the cooler, went inside, and within a few seconds wheeled a sheet-covered corpse into the room.As he did, Kimber took stock of her surroundings.A stenographer perched on a stool nearby, her machine in front of her, fingers poised over the keys.Two burly security guards stood ready, just in case.When the investigation into a murder ran cold and the cops had nothing else to go on, they called in a necromancer.Most of the time the deceased was revived, questions were asked and answered, and the newly revived was put back to his or her eternal rest.But every once in a while the reaction of the deceased to suddenly being cognizant again was confusion that quickly morphed into frenzied panic.The guards were a necessary precaution.“You sure you’re ready for this?” Homicide detective Carson Bishop moved to stand next to her.He loosened his tie and flicked open the top button of his white shirt, then shoved his fists into the front pockets of his slacks.He tipped his chin toward the sheet-covered body on the metal gurney the Chief M.E.placed in front of her.“Half his face is gone.”She glanced at him then looked at the M.E.“He can talk, though, right? His jaws are intact?”The older man nodded.“Yep.Most of the damage is to the upper half of his face.”“Then there shouldn’t be a problem.Go ahead.”The M.E.folded the sheet down to the collarbones.“Poor fella.This is what taking a gunshot to the face does to ya.”Kimber took a bracing breath before she looked down.Dear God.She’d been around a lot of corpses—with her job there was no way around it—but she’d never seen anything quite this bad.Bile rose in her throat.She swallowed it down and backed up a few steps.Bishop’s hand came out to steady her.“You okay?”She nodded.She had a job to do, and the sooner she did it the sooner she could get out of there.“I’m fine.” She moved forward and rested one hand on the corpse’s shoulder.Her palm tingled.Good.Some vitality remained, which let her know this man had been dead only a couple of days at the most.If he’d been dead longer than that, well… With each day that passed after death, the energy dissipated more and more.Then it took a major blood sacrifice—a goat or several chickens—to reunite the soul with the body for even a few minutes.There was awesome power in pain and blood.But with this poor guy, she could summon his soul by using a relatively small amount, so she’d use her own.Then they could find out who had put him in this state.“What’s his name?” she asked.The M.E.consulted the file in his hand.“Richard Whitcomb.”Kimber wondered who he’d been, what he’d planned to do with his life before someone took it from him.There wouldn’t be time to find out.There would only be time to help him through his initial confusion and find out who killed him, if he even knew.She withdrew the knife she kept sheathed at the small of her back.The hilt was a familiar, comforting weight in her hand.After broadening her stance, she sliced across her inner forearm, a long but not very deep cut, just below a faint row of thin scars.Even though the laceration was shallow, she sucked in her breath at the sharp sting.She walked a circle around the gurney, allowing a miniscule amount of her blood to drip on the floor.Once she’d completed her circuit, she stood inside the circle of power and let her blood drip onto the face of the dead man, making sure it covered his mouth before wiping the blade on the sheet.She slid the knife back into its scabbard.She’d make sure to sterilize it once she got home.The M.E.handed her a gauze pad and a strip of medical tape.She secured the gauze over her wound and placed her palm on the shoulder of the corpse again.Called by the life essence in her blood, the mists of the netherworld—that shadowy place where all life began and ended—began to stir.So far, so good.Kimber started to chant.“Hear me, Richard Whitcomb.I call you from beyond.I call you to journey from the Unseen to the Seen.By blood and magic I summon you.Arise, Richard.Arise.Come to me now.” She always made sure to use the singular when she summoned someone from the dead.She wanted to make sure she was the only one who controlled them.She’d seen firsthand how horrific a summoning could become when the dearly departed had been brought back by someone using “us” and “we” instead of “me” and “I.”She’d never make that mistake again [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]