Follow The Night (Bewitch The Dark)

BOOK: Follow The Night (Bewitch The Dark)
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Praise for
Michele Hauf


"Hauf delivers excitement, danger and romance in a way only she can!" — #1
New York Times
bestselling author Sherrilyn Kenyon on
Her Vampire Husband


"So sexy it will leave you breathless!" —MaryJanice Davidson,
New York Times
bestselling author of the Undead series on
Her Vampire Husband


"Dark, delicious and sexy."

New York Times
bestselling author Susan Sizemore on
Her Vampire Husband


"Adventure, intrigue, and a voice like no other—Michele Hauf is a force to be reckoned with!" —
bestselling author Emma Holly


"Cleverly engrossing dialogue, overwhelming desire and intriguing paranormal situations are skillfully combined to make this an irresistible read." —
Moon Kissed


"…a wicked good read!" — Kelly Mueller,
For The Love Of Books
blog on Follow The Night


Also available from Michele Hauf

HQN Books

Her Vampire Husband

Seducing the Vampire

Forever Vampire


Harlequin Nocturne

From the Dark

Familiar Stranger

Kiss Me Deadly

His Forgotten Forever

The Devil To Pay

The Highwayman

Moon Kissed

Angel Slayer


Ashes of Angels


Harlequin Nocturne Bites

Racing The Moon

After The Kiss

Vampire's Tango

Halo Hunter

The Ninja Vampire's Girl


LUNA Books





Silhouette Bombshell

Once A Thief


Getaway Girl


Gold Eagle
Rogue Angel
series (pseudonym Alex Archer)

Swordsman's Legacy

The Bone Conjurer

The Other Crowd



Wicked Angels

My Lady Madness

The Sin Eater's Promise





ISBN-13: 978-1-4524-6148-9




Copyright © July 2011 by Michele Hauf


All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, this eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This eBook may not be resold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.


This edition is published by Swell Cat Press, LLC.


For questions and comments about the quality of this eBook please contact [email protected]


The characters in this novel are a part of Michele Hauf's world of Beautiful Creatures. If you like Gabriel and Roxane's story, please check out their daughter, Jane Renan's story, From The Dark.


For more information on all characters in the Beautiful Creatures world, stop by Club Scarlet at:




Paris – 1780
"Rumor has it the rake ripper lurks in the shadows, a demon in wait of pretty young men. He slashes their throats and dashes away, leaving the precieuse with his dignity staining his lace.”

Madame de Marmonte studied the half circle of eager faces that clung to her every word. As salon hostess she made it her responsibility to report the latest rage, be it fashion, politics—even murder. But tonight concentration proved difficult. The hands on the tortoiseshell clock showed seven minutes before the midnight hour. Her star—where could he be?

“The Ripper struck again two days ago behind the Palais Royale,” Chevalier de Champvillon added in a feckless whisper. The black heart patch, stuck at the edge of his lips, creased as he pursed his mouth. “The victim was, as usual, a handsome young rake of the aristocracy. When found, Monsieur Giscard’s throat had been slashed. Blood had pooled about his head and stained the white roses edging his garden. And yet, a diamond pin and ruby ring remained intact. Isn’t it remarkable the Ripper does not rob his victims?”

Madame de Marmonte started to reply that a life was the ultimate robbery, when she heard something over the boxy notes of the harpsichord Mademoiselle Leuze taunted to a cruel adagio—the crisp jangle of gold chains. Diamond-encrusted watch fobs greedily clung to the final link of each sparkling chain. Two of them, if she was not mistaken—and she never was. Both tucked in a fine waistcoat of impeccable design. The wearer had introduced the fashion of double timepieces a month earlier during his debut.

Relief softened Madame de Marmonte’s tense jaw. A little-girl smile parted her tight lips into a peeling giggle.
had arrived.

Breaking from her devotees, she called gaily, “Leo!”

Yes, the single name. The man insisted it was the only name he possessed. Deliciously mysterious, which further increased his appeal.

Finally, the night could begin.



Hearing Madame de Marmonte’s contralto bellow
the muscles at the base of Leo’s neck tightened, but he maintained a calm visage. Well beyond a quarter of an hour late, he knew. The woman was a stickler for promptness.

Lifting his right hand and turning his wrist toward his chest, he let his fingers fall into a graceful pose, palm up. Alençon lace spilled over the narrow cuff of his velvet frock coat. The lace was all the rage, or so he’d been coached. Excess was always in vogue. And if Queen Marie Antoinette declared it
du jour
, the more the better.

While keeping his gaze wide and his mouth not quite in a smile—broad smiles were passé—Léo took in his audience.

Madame Rigaud fluttered a lace fan before her poxed face. The fan was powdered to disguise how yellow the lace had become; the pox had found welcome breeding ground on the old bundle’s flesh.

Chevalier Champvillon could not hide the strain on his face, a result of trying to suck in his tumescent gut while attempting a genial smile. Where had he found that brown striped waistcoat? Utterly vile, the color, like mud one scraped out from a horse’s hooves.

The twins, Violette and Viol would never quite grasp the notion that large wigs were on their way out. A cavalcade of ships and battle cannons sat upon their heads in nautical swirls of powdered, greasy, pomaded strands.

How the women of Paris lived exclusively to be admired.

“Steady me, Toussaint,” Leo muttered
soto voce
to the valet who winged him to the right.

“Not enough hard ale in France,” Toussaint quipped. “But do avoid breathing Marmonte’s toxic air. Best of luck, good man.”

Feeling Toussaint pull back, Leo drew in a settling breath. The same feeling overcame him at every salon he attended. And he had attended far too many in the last two months. They admired him as if he were a new marvel displayed in the shop windows of the Palais Royale. A queer veneration that made him uneasy.

Truly this façade of worship and ingratiating smiles had worn thin. But it did serve a means to an end.

, he may as well be on to it. He would only remain the fashionable fifteen minutes. All things told, every moment felt like a lifetime.

The hostess swept the intricate Aubusson carpet in a boisterous sashay toward him.

“Madame de Marmonte, do forgive me for inquiring the direction of your conversation? Certainly it must regard your exquisite selection in fabrics?” Leo drew an eye along the vulgar red and orange dress, splattered with malicious geometrical shapes.
, he coached the silly grin tickling his mouth. “Indienne painted is quite the rage. Such vivid colors.”

“Oh, Leo!”

Here comes the unavoidable
Steady, man.

He clamped his lips shut as Madame de Marmonte leaned in to buss both his cheeks. Unfortunately she could not hide her quest for slenderness, for her vinegar breath overwhelmed all who tread within arm’s reach. A nauseating wave stirred in his nostrils.

Quickly he curled his fingers round the diamond-capped walking stick he sported. That redirected the disgraceful urge to sneeze.

“We were discussing the notorious Rake Ripper,” Marmonte explained in a covert whisper designed to be loud enough for all to hear, “and trying to decide why he never robs his victims.”

“A murderer’s mind is a queer place,” Leo offered. “Perhaps it is a lust for blood he seeks to fulfill.”

The chevalier tilted his head and spoke wryly, “You speak of lusts you know nothing about, Leo.”

. A wince curled behind Leo’s carefully controlled upper lip.

“Indeed,” Madame de Marmonte added in an enthusiastic bellow. “You had best pay that valet accordingly to keep an eye in front as well as behind you, Leo.”

Assuming a practiced pose, he splayed his fingers, beringed in ruby and sapphire. “Madame, you do not mean to imply
could become a victim?”

“Oh, come! You are the prettiest of all the rogues who stroll the Bois de Boulogne in the afternoon. I am surprised you have not yet been cut.”

The wince escaped. All elegance fled Leo’s stance. “I am not sure how to regard such candor, Madame.”

The Rake Ripper had tallied a dozen to his count within the past few months. Indeed, all victims were
, pretty young fops with no care beyond the latest vogue, and living the grand life thanks to a generous inheritance. Their playgrounds were the finest shops and gambling dens at the Palais Royale, and on the weekends, the gardens of Versailles.

“Forgive me, Leo.” Marmonte slid a hand to rest upon his crooked arm. Vinegar dizzied his senses. “That was most uncouth.”
The circle of wide-eyed sycophants nodded mechanically in agreement.
“It is only that we wish to keep you for ourselves. What would Paris do without your stunning fashion sense?”

His crowning achievement. A masterful disguise, if ever there was one. Leo’s faux smile slipped. “You think I do not know of such things as the darker pleasures, Madame? I know some things.”

“I am sure you do.” Marmonte had a tiny grin that flickered in her pale gray eyes more than moving her mouth. “But I have never considered murder a

“Nor have I.” Leo slipped one of the watches from his waistcoat pocket and observed ten minutes had already passed. How time crept. “Strange bastard who’s killing those men. I shudder to consider such a crime.”

“Oh, but you should not. Worry pales your countenance, Leo. Do tell us about this fabulous frock coat you wear. It is as if it changes color!”

“Why, indeed, it does.”

The flock of admirers gathered around him, yet his gaze slipped to where the movement of bold red velvet cast a wicked slash amongst the sea of fashionable whites and grays. The skirt of the frock coat, encrusted with thick gold lace reminiscent of Louis XIII, moved about the wearer’s hips, a garish frill. Such attire had surely been excavated from the previous century. How had the man gained entry when Madame de Marmonte was noted for shutting her door in the faces of those sans fashion a la mode?

“What is the name of the color?” the chevalier entreated.

“Hmm?” Leo could not pull his gaze from the oddity. Wide cuffs could have stored a loaf of bread up each sleeve. And that soot-black wig. It swept down the man’s back in a multitude of unsuitable
sausage rolls. “Leo?”

He swung a look to the chevalier Champvillon, and landed on the old man’s saggy jowls.

“Er?” He adjusted his straying attention. “Yes, the color is Moonlight Violets. Monsieur Bousset on the rue Saint Honoré sells it exclusively,” he added rotely.

“Ah, my dear Leo,” Marmonte bellowed as she noticed his distraction. “I must introduce you to Monsieur Anjou. He is from distant Provence.” She led him from the mindless flock that chaffered enthusiastically about a visit to Bousset’s shop on the morrow. “Though to judge from his accent one would think him merely a Normandy bourgeois.”

“You admit him in such attire?”

She shrugged. “Rumor whispers he’s royalty in his lineage. The Valois, I believe. As for his attire, he is merely eccentric. All the Parisian
have their foibles, as you well know.”

BOOK: Follow The Night (Bewitch The Dark)
2.61Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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