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Authors: Lara Adrian

Tags: #Fiction, #Fantasy, #General

Taken by Midnight

BOOK: Taken by Midnight
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PRAISE FOR

LARA ADRIAN'S

MIDNIGHT BREED SERIES

SHADES OF MIDNIGHT

"[Lara Adrian] once again serves up a blockbuster hit.... With a fast-paced tale of romantic suspense and intense and realistic characters ... Lara Adrian compels readers to get hooked on her storylines, and that's why
Shades of
Midnight
deserves a Perfect 10."

--Romance Reviews Today

"[A] rapid fire story ... Besides delivering wonderful paranormal romances, the Midnight Breed series also continues to add complexity.... A twist at the end could prove quite interesting. This is time well spent!"

--
Romantic Times

ASHES OF MIDNIGHT

"
Ashes of Midnight
will scorch its way into your heart."

--Romance Junkies

"Lara Adrian continues to kick butt with her latest release....
Ashes of
Midnight
is an entertaining ride and as usual kept me riveted from page one."

--The Romance Reader Connection

VEIL OF MIDNIGHT

"Adrian's newest heroine has a backbone of pure steel. Rapid-pace adventures deliver equal quantities of supernatural thrills and high-impact passion. This is one of the best vampire series on the market!"

--
Romantic Times

2

"
Veil of Midnight
will enthrall you and leave you breathless for more."

--
Wild on Books

MIDNIGHT RISING

"Fans are in for a treat.... Ms. Adrian has a gift for drawing her readers deeper and deeper into the amazing world she creates.... I eagerly await the next installment of this entertaining series!"

--Fresh Fiction

"Packed with danger and action, this book also explores the tumultuous emotions of guilt, anger, betrayal and forgiveness. Adrian has hit on an unbeatable story mix."

--
Romantic Times

MIDNIGHT AWAKENING

"This is one of the best paranormal series around. Compelling characters and good world-building make this a must-read series."

--Fresh Fiction

"One of the Top 10 Best Romance Novels of 2007."

--Selected by the Editors at Amazon.com

"Ms. Adrian's series just gets better and better....
Midnight Awakening
was exactly what I hoped it would be then so much more.... I'm intrigued and without a doubt completely hooked."

--Romance Junkies

"Vengeance is the driving force behind this entry in the intense Midnight Breed series.... Things look bad for the characters, but for the readers it's nothing but net!"

--
Romantic Times

3

KISS OF CRIMSON

"Vibrant writing heightens the suspense, and hidden secrets provide many twists. This dark and steamy tale ... is a winner and will have readers eager for the next Midnight Breed story."

--Romance Reviews Today

"Hot sensuality with emotional drama and high-stakes danger ... [Adrian]

ensures that her latest is terrific supernatural entertainment."

--
Romantic Times

"[Adrian] pens hot erotic scenes and vivid action sequences."

--The Romance Reader

KISS OF MIDNIGHT

"Evocative, enticing, erotic. Enter Lara Adrian's vampire world and be enchanted!"

--J. R. Ward, bestselling author

"
Kiss of Midnight
is dark, edgy and passionate, an irresistible vampire romance."

--
Chicago Tribune

"Lara Adrian delivers a fast-paced, sexy romantic suspense that ... stands above the rest.... A gripping, sensual love story."

--The Romance Reader

"Gritty and dangerous, this terrific launch book sets up an alternate reality filled with treachery and loss. The Midnight Breed series is poised to deliver outstanding supernatural thrills."

--
Romantic Times

4

Also by Lara Adrian

KISS OF MIDNIGHT

KISS OF CRIMSON

MIDNIGHT AWAKENING

MIDNIGHT RISING

VEIL OF MIDNIGHT

ASHES OF MIDNIGHT

SHADES OF MIDNIGHT

5

6

Taken by Midnight
is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously.

Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

A Dell Mass Market Original

Copyright (c) 2010 by Lara Adrian, LLC

Excerpt of
Deeper Than Midnight (c)
2010 by Lara Adrian, LLC

All rights reserved.

Published in the United States by Dell, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.

DELL is a registered trademark of Random House, Inc., and the colophon is a trademark of Random House, Inc.

This book contains an excerpt from the forthcoming book
Deeper Than
Midnight
by Lara Adrian. This excerpt has been set for this edition only and may not reflect the final content of the forthcoming edition.

eISBN: 978-0-440-33968-7

www.bantamdell.com

7

To Heather Rogers,

for being awesome

8

Contents

Other Books by this Author

Title Page

Copyright

Dedication

Acknowledgments

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

9

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-one

Chapter Twenty-two

Chapter Twenty-three

Chapter Twenty-four

Chapter Twenty-five

Chapter Twenty-six

Chapter Twenty-seven

Chapter Twenty-eight

Chapter Twenty-nine

Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty-one

Chapter Thirty-two

Chapter Thirty-three

Chapter Thirty-four

Epilogue

E xcerpt from
De

eper Than Midnight

10

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

With each book I write, I am reminded how fortunate I am to be working with so many talented, conscientious people who comprise my publishing and literary representation teams, both in the United States and abroad. Thank you very much for everything you do. It's a privilege to be working with all of you.

Special thanks to my home team for basic care and feeding, and for handling all the countless things that tend to slip while I'm happily immersed in my writing. I couldn't do this without your love and support.

And to my readers, a debt of gratitude for embracing my characters and for honoring me with the gift of your time and friendship whenever you sit down to read one of my books. I hope you continue to enjoy the ride!

11

CHAPTER
One

L
ife ... or death?

The words drifted at her through the darkness. Detached syllables.

The rough scrape of a flat, airless voice that reached into the heavy drowse of her mind and forced her to come awake, to listen. To make a choice.

Life?

Or death?

She groaned against the cold plank floor beneath her cheek, trying to bar the voice--and the relentless decision it demanded--from her mind. This wasn't the first time she'd heard these words, this question. Not the first time in the space of some endless hours that she'd peeled one heavy eyelid open in the frigid stillness of her cabin home and found herself looking into the terrible face of a monster.

Vampire.

"Choose," the creature whispered thinly, the word drawn out in a slow hiss. He crouched over her where she lay, curled and shivering on the floor near the cold fireplace. His fangs glistened in the moonlight, razor sharp, lethal. The tips of them were still stained with fresh blood--her blood, drawn from the bite he'd made in her throat only moments before.

She tried to get up, but couldn't rouse her weakened muscles to so much as flex in response. She tried to speak, managed only a rasping moan.

Her throat felt as dry as ash, her tongue thick and listless in her mouth.

Outside, the Alaskan winter roared, bitter and unforgiving, filling her ears. No one to hear her screams, even if she'd tried.

This creature could kill her in an instant. She didn't know why he hadn't. She didn't know why he kept pressing her for the answer to a question she had been asking herself nearly every day of her life for the past four years.

Ever since the accident that had taken her husband and little girl.

How often had she wished she'd been killed along with them on that icy stretch of highway? Everything would have been so much easier, less 12

painful, if she had.

She could feel a silent judgment in the unblinking, inhuman eyes that fixed on her in the dark now, searingly bright, pupils as thin as a cat's.

Intricate skin markings tracked all over the creature's hairless head and immense body. The webbed pattern seemed to pulse with violent color as he watched her. Silence lengthened while he patiently examined her as he might an insect trapped inside a glass jar.

When he spoke again, this time his lips did not move. The words penetrated her skull like smoke and sank deeply into her mind.

The decision is yours, human. Tell me what it will be: life, or death?

She turned her head away and closed her eyes, refusing to look at the creature. Refusing to be part of the private, unspoken game he seemed to be playing with her. A predator toying with his prey, watching it squirm while he decided whether to spare it or not.

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