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Authors: Sharon Ashwood

Tags: #Fiction > Urban Fantasy

Scorched

BOOK: Scorched
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Table of Contents
 
 
“I urge anyone who is a fan of urban fantasy and paranormal romance to put Sharon Ashwood at the top of their list!”—Night Owl Romance
Praise for
Ravenous
“A multilayered plot, a fascinating take on the paranormal creatures living among us, plus a sexy vampire, a sassy witch, and a mystery for them to solve . . .
Ravenous
leaves me hungry for more!”
—Jessica Andersen, author of
Skykeepers
 
“Sexy, suspenseful fun. Ashwood really knows how to tell a story.”

New York Times
bestselling author Kelley Armstrong
 
“Strong world building.... Readers will look forward to the sequel.”

Publishers Weekly
 
“Intriguing and darkly entertaining—not to mention sexy. Ashwood is definitely making herself right at home with this genre.”

Romantic Times
 
“The world is interesting (I look forward to seeing more of it!), the romance gorgeous, the sex sizzling. There’s plenty of action, as well.”
—Errant Dreams Reviews
 
“This tongue-in-cheek, action-packed urban fantasy hooks the reader from the opening moment . . . and never slows down.”

Midwest Book Review
 
“A fast-paced urban fantasy . . . nonstop action that will keep the reader turning pages long into the night. Ash-wood has created a wonderful fantasy romp that’s tough to put down until the end. I look forward to reading the next installment in this series.”
—Romance Junkies
 
“The world building is complex and absolutely terrific. But, most of all, it’s the powerful attraction between the spunky witch heroine and her sexy vampire partner as they battle evil that makes this story a real page-turner! With demons, hell hounds, weres, and vampires waiting in the wings, I can’t wait to see what happens next!”
—Alexis Morgan
 
“I think I have found a new favorite series.... I guess I have to wait for the next story, hopefully not for too long!”
—The Romance Studio
 

Ravenous
is a fantastic read, filled with action, suspense, lush details, sizzling romance, and very memorable characters. Ms. Ashwood has created a very compelling world and left us with enough questions about the fate of certain characters to have us hoping that this is the start of a very promising new series.”
 
“Ms. Ashwood has created an intriguing world where both good and evil dwell in the shadows and things are rarely what they seem.
Ravenous
is a well-written and sexy read that makes for a great escape from the norm. I look forward to the next visit with the Dark Forgotten.”
—Darque Reviews
 
“Ravenous
is packed with action, humor, and a droolworthy vampire. The demons and the hellhounds and the evil house with a killer mind (oh my!) are what set it apart from the fold. A whole new mythology surrounding the supernatural and how humans police them is introduced, and I can’t wait to see where Ashwood takes it. This book earns 5 tombstones for creativity, sex appeal, and one kick-ass house.”
—Bitten by Books
 
“Sharon Ashwood hooked me from the first page!
Ravenous
gets off to a roaring start and the fast pace never relents.
Ravenous
has all the elements of a top-notch urban fantasy tale.... It will be hard to surpass this book! I can’t recommend this one highly enough!”
—CK
2
S Kwips and Kritiques
Also by Sharon Ashwood
 
 
Ravenous
SIGNET ECLIPSE
Published by New American Library, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street,
New York, New York 10014, USA
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.) Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Penguin Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2,
Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.) Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)
Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park,
New Delhi - 110 017, India
Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632,
New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa
 
Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices:
80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
 
First published by Signet Eclipse, an imprint of New American Library, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
 
First Printing, December 2009
 
Copyright © Naomi Lester, 2009
All rights reserved
 
SIGNET ECLIPSE and logo are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
 
 
Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
ISBN : 978-1-101-56373-1
 
PUBLISHER’S NOTE
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are 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.
The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content.
 
 
The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

http://us.penguingroup.com

This one’s for my emergency readers.
It wouldn’t be a deadline without you.
October 1, 7:15 p.m.
101.5 FM
 
“G
ood evening to all you fanged and furry listeners out there in radio land. This is Errata, your hostess from CSUP, the FM station that
denies
and
defies
the normal in paranormal. It’s October first and a crisp evening up here on the Fairview U campus. Looks like there’ll be frost on the pumpkin tonight.
“We have our usual dark and dangerous lineup ahead, but first a special alert. It’s come to our attention that a certain demon detective is back in town. Word has it he’s been lying low for the past while, but my informants spotted this local bad boy out and about last night. Welcome back from the dark side, detective, but be careful of all those bridges you burned last year. I think the footing’s a little treacherous.
“Oh, and by the way, I wouldn’t count on running a tab at the local watering hole—I think a Thanksgiving turkey has a better chance of long-term credit.”
Chapter 1
S
o, they buried her at a crossroads.
Some folks just bring that out in people
.
Conall Macmillan shoved his hands into the pockets of his Windbreaker. Autumn dusk closed around him in shades of blue and charcoal, heavy with seaside moisture. It would be dark in minutes. He could hear the wash of waves in the silence. St. Andrew’s Cemetery was empty, except for the dead. And him, of course, though where he fit on the whole dead/live continuum was open to debate.
The grave lay at the intersection of two white paved walkways, smack in the way of joggers and dog walkers. Not much of a crossroads, but enough to keep her down. It said something that the ones doing the burying had been vampires. They didn’t scare easily, but the woman now resting beneath the earth had been a demon, a monster’s monster, evil pure as . . . What was the right comparison, anyway?
Mac looked up at the fading horizon, memories as black and sharp-edged as the cedars etched against the ocean. Sudden, cold nausea invaded his gut, riding a wave of remembrance at once intimate and brutal.
What could compare to the desperate, terrifying hunger that had flayed him until he shrugged off humanity like a tattered bathrobe? What could compare with the silver sweetness of each human soul as it slid over his teeth and down his throat like a delicate summer wine?
Each life was a drop of relief in a desert of desperate need. That was the thirst of a demon, a soul eater. A murderer. He knew, because the woman beneath the crossroads had made Mac just like her. Walking evil.
The brass plaque on the headstone simply read: GENEVA. It had been a year since she was placed, suddenly human and instantly dead, beneath the dirt.
A breeze hushed through the leaves that littered the lawn, an anticipatory sound. The wind was changing as the sun bloodied the sea, carrying in the smell of brine. Mac walked around Geneva’s last home, viewing it from every angle.
What am I looking for? To reassure myself she’s really down there—human, deceased, and rotting the way she’s supposed to?
Not a good thought. Geneva had been beautiful, for all her wicked ways. The memory of her still brought heat to his flesh.
He’d always gone for the wrong women, the kind who weren’t interested in forever. After years on the squad, his heart was entombed in dead bodies and paperwork, insulated against a cop’s daily dose of carnage. A quick and dirty grapple in the dark was all he had to give and those mad, bad babes fit him to a T.
So when a pretty blonde had invited him for a drink, he’d considered it lucky, but business as usual. Bad mistake. Life-ending mistake.
Now the forever kind of woman was beyond his grasp. Even if he dared to make her his own, one day he might fall off the wagon and then it would be, “Sorry, darling. I scarfed down the kids.”
A short brick wall encircled Geneva’s plot, holding in the sod. The site was on a hill and had views of everything: the ocean, the acres of yew trees and headstones, even glimpses of the strip mall to the north. It was fitting. Geneva had loved to be in the center of things.
Dead center, ha-ha
, Mac thought bitterly.
A desolate feeling stole over him. It was bad when you had to laugh at your own lousy puns. Fortunate that he wasn’t a drinker. It would be far too nice to forget everything, even for just a little while.
BOOK: Scorched
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