Title: Night’s Surrender
Author: Amanda Ashley
Genre: Paranormal Romance
“A master of her craft.” —Maggie Shayne“Amanda Ashley is a master storyteller.”
—Christine FeehanRT BOOK REVIEWS Career Achievement winner in Paranormal Romance!
Aspiring actress Abbey Marie Cordova knows more than most people do about vampires—she was born among them, the only human child in a centuries-old family of the undead, and determined to stay that way. But a chance encounter with dark, mysterious Niccola Desanto rocks her to the core. Nick is a vampire, and he’s the only man who has ever made her feel so beautiful, so cherished, and so passionately desired …
Nick has spent hundreds of years on his own, and the decadent pleasures of the world have lost their appeal. Rumor has it the vampire who made him has regained her humanity—the temptation to find her and demand to know the secret is overwhelming. But one glance at innocently alluring Abbey changes everything. Drawn to her with dangerous, consuming passion, Nick will need more than a lifetime to love her…
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Amanda Ashley is one of those rare birds – a California native. She’s lived in Southern California her whole life and loves it (except for the earthquakes). She and her husband share a home with a fluffy Pomeranian named Lady, a tortoise named Buddy, and a wild sparrow named Tweety.
Amanda and her alter ego, Madeline Baker, have written over 50 books, many of which have appeared on various bestseller lists, including the New York Times List, the Waldenbooks Bestseller list, and the USA Today list. Not bad for someone who started writing just for the fun of it.
For More Information
Visit Amanda’s website.
Tossing the want
ads onto the kitchen table, Abbey blew a stray wisp of hair from her brow. She
had learned to use a computer in high school, though she had no real aptitude
for anything beyond the basics. She wished now she had paid more attention,
since it seemed every job required at least some degree of computer savvy, and
she was woefully lacking. All her friends were into the latest social media,
but she had never gotten the hang of finding her way in the digital world. As
for texting . . . Abbey shook her head. She much preferred talking to people
With a sigh of
resignation, she phoned for a cab. Her father had offered to buy her a car, but
she had no real need for one. Most of the places she had to go were within
walking distance of her apartment.
Even after all the
years she had lived in New York, the sights and sounds of the city filled Abbey
with excitement. After paying the cab driver, she stepped out of the car and
quickly became part of the crowd. These days, most stores were open 24/7, so
whether it was day or night, the streets were swamped with cars that drove
themselves, the sidewalks packed with people who were always in a hurry—rushing
to get to work or eager to go home, dashing off to see a movie, a Broadway
show, a free concert in the park.
handbag over her shoulder, Abbey stared at the gleaming glass-fronted façade of
the computer store. Her knowledge of digital devices started and ended with her
iPod, which was nothing like the current high-tech phones, iPads, and
computers. She could find music, text when she had to, and read the latest news
on her iPod; anything else was beyond her.
Taking a deep
breath, she opened the door and stepped into a world that was totally
unfamiliar to her.
A quick glance
around showed computers in all types and sizes—small towers with enormous
screens, monitors that didn’t need a tower, wireless laptops, and devices that
were no bigger than a cell phone.
You could buy a keyboard
if you were old-school, but newer computer models responded to voice commands.
She had heard that, in another year or so, those would be obsolete and man and
computer would communicate with thought waves.
Shelf after shelf
held nothing but computers, monitors, keyboards, software programs and gadgets,
and stacks of technical manuals. It looked like geek heaven, she mused. All
around her, people chatted enthusiastically about the latest software, the
newest addition to this or that. They might as well have been speaking a
foreign language, because Abbey didn’t understand a word they were saying.
With a shake of
her head, she turned and headed for the exit. Maybe she could get a job in
Beverly Hills as a house sitter or a dog walker. Cash only. She wouldn’t need
any computer skills for that! She could stay in Hollywood with Mara and Logan
until she found a place of her own.
Lost in thought,
Abbey didn’t see the man coming through the door until she slammed into him. It
was like crashing into a mountain.
“Whoa, girl,” he
exclaimed. “Are you on your way to a fire?”
“I’m so sorry. I
wasn’t . . .” Abbey glanced up—and up. He was a tall mountain. Blinking up at
him, she took a step back. She was used to handsome men, but this guy . . .
He looked like the
GQ Hunk of the Month with his long black hair, broad shoulders, trim waist, and
vibrant blue eyes.
He reached out a
hand to steady her. “Are you all right?”
“What? Yes. No. I
mean, of course.”
sending her temperature rising and her pulse racing. It was disconcerting, the
effect he had on her. She had met a lot of good-looking men. None of them had
made her feel like throwing herself into his arms.
“Can I buy you a
drink?” he asked. “There’s a club just down the street. Dante’s. Do you know
“Yes.” She knew it
all too well. Dante’s catered mainly to out-of-work musicians and
down-on-their-luck actors and screenwriters.
It was a tempting
offer—sharing a drink with an incredibly handsome man. But gorgeous or not, he
was a stranger.
He cocked his head
to the side. “Is there a problem?”
“No.” What could
go wrong? Dante’s was just two blocks down, the sidewalks were crowded with
people. She had a .22 semi-automatic in her purse—a goingaway gift from her
father. Smiling up at him, she said, “Lead the way.”
He took her hand
as they threaded their way down the street to the club. The touch of his
fingers twining with hers made her heart race and her toes curl with pleasure.
Inside, he guided
her to a small table in the back, held her chair as she sat down. “I’m Nick.”
His voice, deep and whiskey-rough, moved over her like a caress.
“It’s a pleasure
to meet you, Abbey.”
“Even though I
almost knocked you down?”
A laugh rumbled
deep in his throat. “I don’t think I was in any real danger from a little thing
She would have
been offended if any other man had called her a “little thing,” but the way he
said it, the admiration in his dark blue eyes, made it sound like high praise.
arrived then. Abbey ordered a dry martini, Nick ordered a glass of Pinot Noir.
When the waitress
left to turn in their order, Nick leaned forward, his forearms crossed on the
table, his gaze intent upon Abbey’s face. “Tell me about yourself.”
“There’s not much
to tell. I wasted the last five years trying to be something I’m not cut out
“Oh? What’s that?”
“I thought I
wanted to be an actress, but I recently came to the realization that I just
don’t have what it takes.” She shrugged, thinking how good it felt to finally
admit it out loud. “I guess I just don’t want it bad enough to make the tough
He nodded. “So,
what are you going to do now?”
“I’m not sure. Go
back home, I guess.”
California. My parents have a ranch there. But enough about me. What about you?
What do you do?”
“Nothing much. You might say I’m footloose and
fancy free. No job. No family. No prospects.”
Abbey bit down on
her lower lip, uncertain how to reply. Was he recovering from some horrible
tragedy? An entrepreneur down on his luck? Or just some incredibly handsome
drifter with no goals and no ambition?
She was still
trying to think of a suitable response when the waitress arrived with their
drinks. Nick smiled at the woman, tossed twenty-five dollars on the tray, and
told her to keep the change.
He might be a
drifter, Abbey thought, but he didn’t appear to be strapped for cash.
“What were you
looking for in the computer store?” he asked.
I was thinking about getting a job and thought I should try to get up-to-date
on the latest technology, but . . .” She smiled self-consciously. “I have no
talent in that area, either. It’s all Greek to me. I have trouble remembering
to charge my cell phone. The new computers . . .” She shook her head.
He laughed softly.
“Maybe I can help with that. I know a bit about computers and software.”
“I was a computer
programmer in another life.”
would never have pegged him as a computer nerd. “Well, I’d appreciate any help
you could give me. Of course, I’ll have to buy a new computer first. I’m afraid
mine is woefully archaic and past repair.”
“Well, when you’re
ready to make the plunge, just let me know.”
Abbey sipped her
drink. Who was this man, really? He appeared to be in his mid-thirties, yet
there was something about him that made her think he was older. Perhaps it was
his eyes—they seemed world-weary, and wise beyond his years.
between them made her uncomfortable. She was scrambling for something witty to
say when the DJ selected a love song.
Nick set his glass
aside. “Care to dance?”
kicked up a notch at the thought of being in his arms. She nodded, her throat
suddenly dry as he took her by the hand and led her onto the tiny dance floor.
He drew her into
his arms, holding her far closer than was proper between strangers. His arm
around her waist was solid—protective, not imprisoning. His thighs brushed
hers, his breath was warm when it caressed her cheek.
She looked up and
his gaze met hers—intense and deep blue. For a moment, she imagined him probing
her mind, uncovering her deepest secrets. For a moment, she imagined she could
read his thoughts in return, imagined that he was alone and lonely, that only
she could ease his pain.
she looked away, and now she was acutely aware of his body pressed so close to
hers, of how intimately he held her. Only a breath apart, she mused. And it was
too far. His hand lightly stroked her back, up and down, and she sighed with
the sheer pleasure of his touch, of being in his arms. She felt warm and achy
in the deepest part of her being and she wished suddenly that they were alone
in her apartment. In her bed . . .
furiously, she glanced up at him, grateful that he couldn’t read her mind.
He smiled at her,
his arm tightening around her waist as the music ended and they returned to
their table. “If I asked you out, what would you say?”
“Ask me and see.”
She had intended for her reply to be saucy and flirtatious; instead, it emerged
as a husky whisper. What was there about this man that she found so
irresistible? It was more than his devastating good looks, more than the rich
timbre of his voice. Something primal within him called to something wild and
untouched within the deepest part of her being in ways she recognized but
didn’t understand. She was meant to be his, she thought, as he was meant to be
“Would you go out
with me tomorrow night, Abbey Marie?”
“I’d love to.”
“Pick you up at
pulled one of her business cards from her wallet and handed it to him. His
fingers brushed hers as he took the card.
“Eight,” she said
It wasn’t until
Nick had put her in a cab and she was on her way home that Abbey stopped to
wonder how he knew her middle name.