Table of Contents
Praise for the Novels of Tate Hallaway
“[Hallaway’s] concise writing style, vivid descriptions, and innovative plot all blend together to provide the reader with a great new look into the love life of witches, vampires, and the undead.”
“What’s not to adore? . . . Tate Hallaway has a wonderful gift, Garnet is a gem of a heroine, andTall, Dark & Dead
is enthralling from the first page.”
New York Times
bestselling author of
Undead and Unworthy
“Tate Hallaway kept me on the edge of my seat . . . a thoroughly enjoyable read!”
bestselling author of
Demon Ex Machina
“Curl up on the couch and settle in—Tall, Dark & Dead
is a great way to pass an evening.”
New York Times
bestselling author of
Tall, Dark & Hungry
“Will appeal to readers of Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse series.”
“This paranormal romance overflows with danger, excitement, and mayhem; however, whenever things become too stressful, a healthy dose of irony or comedy shows up to ease the way. Tate Hallaway has an amazing talent for storytelling.”
—Huntress Book Reviews
“Funny and captivating . . . in the style of the Sookie Stackhouse series [with] an intrepid and expressive heroine. . . . Look out, fans of the paranormal, there’s a new supernatural heroine in town. . . . Tate Hallaway is an author to watch!”
—Romance Reviews Today
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First published by New American Library,
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First Printing, August 2010
Copyright © Lyda Morehouse, 2010 All rights reserved
REGISTERED TRADEMARK—MARCA REGISTRADA
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA:
Almost to die for: a vampire princess novel/Tate Hallaway. p. cm.
eISBN : 978-1-101-45882-2
1. Teenage girls—Fiction. 2. Vampires—Fiction. 3. Witches—Fiction. 4. Chick lit. I. Title. PS3608.A54825A79 2010
Set in Minion
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For Shawn and Mason
I’d like to thank my editor, Anne Sowards, for her vision for this series, and my tireless agent, Martha Millard, for making it happen. I also need to specially thank those who read the book in process, the Wyrdsmiths—Bill Henry, Doug Hulick, Kelly McCullough, and Sean M. Murphy, but particularly my friend and mentor Eleanor Arnason, who kept me company in my dark hours, and Naomi Kritzer, a great and true friend, who read the whole thing and made it so very much better.
My family gets a mention as well. Shawn Rounds, of course, who not only supported me with many
s but also acts as my first-run copy editor and plot maven extraordinaire. My son, Mason, who is a great sounding board for the cool vampire and witchy stuff, and if you ask him, he’ll tell you quite seriously: he figured out the plot.
To the staff at Amore Coffee in St. Paul, who supplied me with much-needed caffeine and who patiently listened to me whine about deadlines and the writer’s life, I must also give a huge thanks.
And, of course, my parents, Rita and Mort Morehouse, without whom none of this, quite literally, would be possible.
uess what? Today was my sixteenth birthday. Pretty cool, huh? Sure, if by “cool” you mean worst day ever . . . and it was only noon.
I sat in Stassen High School’s cafeteria staring at “tuna surprise.” Let me tell you: it was a surprise all right. I was surprised it passed the health code. It was gray, for crying out loud. Food should not be gray.
Also, my birthday might be tolerable if I lived somewhere exciting, but no, I’d be turning sixteen in nowheresville: St. Paul, Minnesota.
I pushed the glutinous mush around its little container. At least the potatoes looked edible. My stomach growled, so I poked a forkful into my mouth. I sighed. What I really wanted was my turkey sandwich, or at least someone I could joke around with about the whole stupid situation.
But no. I was sitting alone.
Bea was supposed to be here. Sometime in middle school we had made a solemn blood vow. We’d always sit together at lunch so neither of us would ever have to look like that sad, lonely loser.
Hello—yes, that’d be me! Loser in corner number one.
On my birthday, no less.
Bea—Beatrice Theodora Braithwaite to her mother—was my kind-of sort-of best friend. She was the only person in school with a more arcane name than I. Get a load of this: Anastasija Ramses Parker. Yeah. You can see why most people just call me Ana.
Anyway, Bea and I, we’ve known each other since second grade. That’s a lot of history. It’s hard not to be close to someone you borrowed your first tampon from, giggled your way through puppy-love crushes with, and survived that god-awful middle school sex education with. Though, honestly, I don’t always like her. We’re pretty different. Bea has diva tendencies, and I lean toward being a bookish shrinking violet. But we’ve been kind of thrown together by fate because she’s the only other True Witch at school.
It’s a secret, but real magic exists. True Witches can make shit happen. Not just that New Agey feel-good stuff, but, like, things you’d notice: storms, sickness, dead cattle. You know, all the stuff we used to get burned at the stake for. That’s why we don’t talk about it.
There were plenty of Wiccans at school and elsewhere, of course. It’s all the rage to be a teen witch, but Bea and I could do real magic.
Or at least
to be able to. I had the pedigree, but, well, something was off. Maybe it was the same
something that made one of my eyes ice blue and the other a deep mahogany brown.
When a chair scraped the linoleum floor, I looked up expectantly. Perhaps Queen Bea had finally deigned to put in an appearance. Well, better late than never.
Instead of Bea, it was Matt Thompson, hockey jock extraordinaire, and two of his cronies, Thing One and Thing Two, who sat down at my table. Between you and me, I had this secret crush on Thompson. He was pretty in that classic square-jaw, he-man way, okay? I appreciated the way his ultrashort, nut-brown hair curled at the tips, and the boy did have a way of fitting into a T-shirt and jeans that was pretty . . . noticeable.
Too bad he was
“If it isn’t Ana Parker, Witch Girl.” He made it sound like some kind of superhero moniker. His buddies chortled.