Read Dark Desires After Dusk Online

Authors: Kresley Cole

Dark Desires After Dusk

“A unique take on paranormal romance.”

—Sherrilyn Kenyon

on
A Hunger Like No Other

The “awe-inspiring”
(
Romantic Times)

New York Times
bestselling author

KRESLEY COLE

Winner of the 2007 RITA Award for Best Paranormal Romance

The critics love her “devilishly passionate”

(
Romantic Times
)

series The Immortals After Dark

WICKED DEEDS ON A WINTER'S NIGHT

“Leave it to the awe-inspiring Cole to dish up a combustible mix of sorcery and passion. One for the keeper shelf!”

—
Romantic Times
(Four and a half Stars; HOT)

NO REST FOR THE WICKED

“Sizzling sex and high-stakes adventure are what's on
tap in mega-talented Cole's sensational new paranormal release . . . one nonstop thrill ride. Brava!”

—
Romantic Times
(Top Pick)

“What a fabulous story! I can hardly wait to get my hands on the next one in the series.”

—Bella Online

“Oh, wow! Kresley Cole writes another spine-tingling, adventurous, and passionate romance . . . . I recommend readers grab a copy of Kresley Cole's
No Rest for the Wicked
today. It's a definite keeper.”

—Romance Reviews Today

A HUNGER LIKE NO OTHER
2007 RITA Award Winner

“With intense action, devilishly passionate sex, and fascinating characters,
A Hunger Like No Other
leads readers into an amazing and inventive alternate reality . . . . Hot stuff!”

—
Romantic Times
(Top Pick)

“Unquestionably an awe-inspiring romance!”

—
Reader to Reader Reviews

“Not just another romantic read . . . it's a powerful experience!”

—
The Best Reviews

“A unique romance—it truly stands on its own!”

—Sherrilyn Kenyon,
New York Times
bestselling author

And her gripping historical romances featuring the MacCarrick brothers

IF YOU DECEIVE

“With power and passion, Cole completes her MacCarrick brothers trilogy with a bang . . . . You'll be held fast in Cole's grip and utterly satisfied with every aspect of her story.”

—
Romantic Times
(Top Pick)

IF YOU DESIRE

“Cole steams up the pages and keeps you coming back for more . . . . It's impossible to resist these heroes and their stories. Savor every moment of another passionate tale from a queen of adventure romance.”

—
Romantic Times
(Top Pick)

IF YOU DARE

“Filled with heated passion and wonderful repartee.”

—
Romantic Times
(Reviewers' Choice Award Winner)

“Cole's voice is powerful and gripping, and
If You Dare
is her steamiest yet!”

—
New York Times
bestselling author Linda Lael Miller

“A deliciously entertaining read that kept the sexual tension high!”

—Romance Designs

“[A] classic romantic adventure that will leave you breathless!”

—
New York Times
bestselling author Julia Quinn

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Contents

Acknowledgments

Glossary of Terms from the Living Book of Lore

Epigraph

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

Chapter 47

Chapter 48

Chapter 49

Chapter 50

For Richard Because you're like Rain Man with numbers, and you don't laugh at me 'cause I'm not.

Jag älskar dig för alltid.

Acknowledgments

My heartfelt thanks go out to the Gibson Hall Grid. You know cryptography, so I don't have to. And much love to the usual suspects: Gena, Boo, Beth, and Rocki. All fabulous authors and amazing friends.

Glossary of Terms from The Living Book of Lore

The Lore

“. . . and those sentient creatures that are not human shall be united in one stratum, coexisting with, yet secret from, man's.”

The Valkyrie

“When a maiden warrior screams for courage as she dies in battle, Wóden and Freya heed her call. The two gods give up lightning to strike her, rescuing her to their hall, and preserving her courage forever in the form of the maiden's immortal Valkyrie daughter.”

• Take sustenance from the electrical energy of the earth, sharing it in one collective power, and give it back with their emotions in the form of lightning.

• Possess preternatural strength and speed.

• Without training, they can be mesmerized by shining objects and jewels.

• All first generation Valkyrie are half sisters.

The Demonarchies

“The demons are as varied as the bands of man . . . .”

• A collection of demon dynasties. Some kingdoms ally with the Horde.

• Most demon breeds can
trace
like vampires. Some breeds are bound to obey summonses.

• Those that can emit poison from their fangs, horns, or claws are more vulnerable to others' poison.

• A demon must have intercourse with a potential mate to ascertain if she's truly his—a process known as
attempting
.

The Rage Demons

“The one who controls Tornin controls the kingdom . . . .”

• A demonarchy located in the plane of Rothkalina. Castle Tornin is their capitol. King Rydstrom III is their deposed monarch.

• Rage demons were the guardians of the Well of Souls, a mystickal font of power located within Tornin.

• The sorcerer Omort the Deathless seized Tornin, and thus Rydstrom's throne.

The Vessel

“To be chosen is to be doomed . . .”

• At the cusp of each Accession, a chosen female will beget a child who will become a warrior of either ultimate evil or of ultimate good—depending upon the father.

• Of the last seven Vessels, six have spawned evil.

• Some factions seek to assassinate the Vessel to prevent any birth. Others battle to possess her and control her offspring.

The Vampires

• Two warring factions, the Horde and the Forbearer Army.

• 
Tracing
is teleporting, the vampires' preferred means of travel. A vampire can only trace to destinations he's previously been or to those he can see.

• 
The Fallen
are vampires who have killed by drinking a victim to death. Distinguished by their red eyes.

The House of Witches

“. . . immortal possessors of magickal talents, practitioners of good and evil.”

• Mystickal mercenaries who sell their spells.

• Strictly forbidden to create personal wealth or grant immortality.

Revenants

“The dead robbed of eternal rest, forced to serve a dark master . . .”

• A corpse raised from the grave and reanimated, most often by a sorcerer or necromancer, who controls it.

• Can't be slain until the one who commands it is killed.

The Talisman's Hie

“A treacherous and grueling scavenger hunt for magickal talismans, amulets, and other mystickal riches over the entire world.”

• The rules forbid killing—until the final round. Any other trickery or violence is encouraged.

• Held every two hundred fifty years.

Wendigo

“. . . corpse-eaters insatiable for flesh, ravenous for blood. They feed and feed, but can never be sated.”

• Found in the boreal forests of cold and northern lands. Distinguishable by their long, knifelike claws, and bodies that are forever emaciated.

• Will dig up graves for flesh.

The Accession

“And a time shall pass that all immortal beings in the Lore, from the Valkyrie, vampire, Lykae, and demon factions to the phantoms, shifters, fey, and sirens . . . must fight and destroy each other.”

• A kind of mystickal checks-and-balances system for an ever-growing population of immortals.

• Occurs every five hundred years. Or right now . . .

“A lot of people fear change. And traveling. And disarray. Sidewalk crack avoidance is more common than one would suspect.”

—Holly Ashwin, Tulane math instructor, PhD candidate with an emphasis on formal and computational cryptography

“The first rule of being a mercenary? Find out what the client wants, then convince him that, a) you can get it for him, and, b) you're the
only
one who can get it for him. Second rule? Lie. Often. The truth rarely serves you well in this business.”

—Cadeon Woede, mercenary, second in line to the throne of the rage demons, a.k.a. Cade the Kingmaker

Prologue

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