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Single White Vampire : Argeneau Vampire Novel : Book 3 - Lynsay Sands

Single White Vampire

Argeneau Vampire Novel : Book 3

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Published: 29th June 2010
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Published: 8th June 2010
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Roundhouse Publishing editor Kate C. Leever's first letter to her newest legacy author was intended to impress upon him the growing demand for his "vampire romances." Though he'd expressed little to no desire for publicity, book tours or the like, it was clear that this was a writer waiting to be broken out. Correspondence with Mr. Lucern Argeneau tended to be oddly delayed, but this time his response was quick and succinct.

"No."

But Kate was adamant: Luc will attend a romance convention to meet his fans. By hook or by crook, despite his reclusive nature, odd sleep schedule and avoidance of the sun, the surly yet handsome Luc was going to be recognized as the real charmer a nationally bestselling author should be. But soon Kate would learn that his novels were more biographies than bodice rippers, and it'd be her neck on the line. A sweeter surrender, or more heartwarming a love story—his own—Luc has yet to write.

About the Author

Born in Southern Ontario, Lynsay Sands is the New York Times bestselling author of the Argeneau Vampire series. She has written more than 34 books and anthologies since her first novel was published in 1997. Her romantic comedies span three genres historical, contemporary, and paranormal and have made the Waldenbooks, Barnes & Noble, USA Today, and New York Times bestseller lists.

Lynsay's books are read in more than twelve countries and have been translated into at least six languages. She's been a nominee for both the Romantic Times Best Historical Romance Award and the Romantic Times Best Paranormal Romance Award, was nominated and placed three times in the RIO (Reviewers International Organization) Awards of Excellence, and has several books on All About Romance's Favorite Funnies list.

Chapter One

Thursday, September 12th

"Luc, you have unopened mail here from weeks ago. Don't you read your mail? And what is this box?" She lifted the heavy box as if it were feather light and gave it a shake. His brother Bastien burst out laughing, but Lucern merely rolled his eyes at her hen-pecking. No matter how old he got his mother was likely to interfere and hen-peck. It was something he'd resigned himself to long ago. "I'll get around to it eventually," he muttered. "It is mostly nuisance mail or people wanting something from me."

"What about this letter from your publisher? It's probably important. They wouldn't send it express if it weren't." His scowl deepened as she picked up the Fed Ex envelope and turned it curiously in her hands. "It is not important. My editor is just harassing me. My publisher wishes me to do a book-signing tour."

"Edwin wants you to do a book signing tour?" She scowled at this news. "I thought you had made it clear to him from the start that you weren't interested in publicity?" "Not Edwin. No." He wasn't surprised that she recalled his old editor's name. His mother had a perfect memory, and he'd mentioned Edwin many times over the ten years that he'd been writing for Roundhouse Publishing. His first works had been published as historicaltexts and were used mostly in universities and colleges. Those books were still in use and were celebrated for the fact that they were written as if the writer had actually been there experiencing all he wrote. Which, of course, he had. That was hardly public knowledge, though.

Lucern's last three books, however, had been autobiographical in nature, recounting the stories of how his mother and father met and came together, then how his sister Lissianna had met and fallen in love with her therapist husband, Gregory. The latest story, the one published just weeks ago, covered the story of his brother Etienne and Rachel Garrett.

Lucern hadn't meant to write them, they'd just sort of come out of him, and once he'd written them, he'd decided that they should be published records for the future. After gaining his family's permission, he'd sent them in to Edwin, his editor at the time. That man had thought they were brilliant works of fiction and published them as such. Not just fiction, however, but paranormal romance. Lucern suddenly found himself being sold as a romance writer, which was somewhat distressing for him, so he generally did his best not to think about it.

"Edwin is no longer my editor," he explained. "He died last year. His assistant was given his title and position and has been harassing me ever since." He scowled again. "The woman is trying to use me to prove herself. She is determined that I should do some publicity events for the novels."

Bastien looked as if he were about to comment, but paused and turned toward the door at the sound of a car pulling into the driveway. Lucern opened the door and the two men watched with varying degrees of surprise as a taxi pulled to a stop beside Bastien's van in the two lane driveway.

"Wrong address?" Bastien queried, knowing he wasn't big on company.

"It must be," Lucern commented, then narrowed his eyes when the driver got out and opened the back door for a young woman to slip out.

"Who is that?" Bastien sounded even more surprised than Lucern felt.

"I haven't a clue," he muttered as the taxi driver retrieved a small suitcase and overnight bag from the trunk of the car. "I believe it's your editor," Marguerite announced.

Both men swiveled to peer at their mother. They found her reading the now open express letter.

"My editor? What the hell are you talking about?" Lucern marched back to snatch the letter out of her hand.

Ignoring his rude behavior, Marguerite moved to Bastien's side to peer curiously outside. "As the mail is so slow, and because the interest in your books is becoming so widespread, Ms. Kate C. Leever decided to come speak to you in person about these matters. Which," his mother added archly, "you would know did you bother to read your mail."

"She's quite pretty, isn't she?" The comment, along with the speculation in his mother's voice when she made it, were enough to raise alarm in Lucern. Marguerite sounded like a mother considering taking the matchmaking trail.

"She's contemplating matchmaking, Bastien. Take her home. Now," he ordered. His brother burst out laughing, moving Lucern to point out, "After she has finished with me, she will focus on finding you a wife."

Bastien stopped laughing at once and grabbed his mother's arm. "Come along, mother. This is none of our business."

"Of course, it is my business." Marguerite shrugged her elbow free. "You are my sons. Your happiness and future are very much my business."

"Perhaps, but I don't understand why this is an issue now. We are both well over four hundred years old. Why, after all this time, have you taken it into your head to see us married off?" Marguerite pondered that for a moment before saying, "Well, ever since your father died, I've been thinking-" "Dear God," Lucern interrupted, drawing his mother's curious gaze. "What did I say?"

"That is exactly how Lissianna ended up working at the shelter and getting involved with Greg. Dad died and she started thinking."

Bastien nodded solemnly. "Women shouldn't think." "Bastien!" Marguerite Argeneau exclaimed.

"Now, you know I'm teasing, mother," he soothed, taking her arm again and-this time-getting her out the door.

"I, however, am not," Lucern commented as he watched them walk down the steps of the porch to the sidewalk. His mother berated Bastien the whole way, and Lucern grinned at his brother's beleaguered expression. He would catch hell all the way home, Lucern knew and almost felt sorry for him. Almost. His laughter died, however, as his gaze switched to the blonde who was apparently his editor. His mother paused in her berating to greet the woman. Lucern almost tried to hear what she was saying, but decided not to bother. He doubted he wanted to hear it anyway.

He watched the woman nod and smile at his mother, then she took her luggage in hand and started up the sidewalk. Lucern's eyes narrowed on the luggage. Dear God, she didn't expect to stay here with him, did she? There was no mention in her letter of where she planned to stay. He decided she must expect to stay in a hotel. She would hardly just assume that he'd put her up. The woman probably just hadn't stopped at the hotel yet, he reassured himself, his gaze traveling over her person now.

Kate C. Leever was about his mother's height, which made her relatively tall for a woman, perhaps 5'10. She was also slim and shapely with long blond hair. She appeared pretty from the distance presently separating them. In a pale ice-blue business suit, Kate C. Leever resembled a cool glass of ice water to him. A pleasing image on this unseasonably warm September evening.

The cool image was shattered when the woman dragged her luggage up the porch steps, paused before him, offered him a bright cheerful smile that lifted her lips and sparkled in her eyes, then blurted, "Hi. I'm Kate Leever. I hope you got my letter. The mail was so slow and you kept forgetting to send me your phone number, so I thought I'd come visit personally and talk to you about all the publicity possibilities that are opening up for us. I know you're not really interested in partaking of any of them, but I feel sure-once I explain the benefits-you'll reconsider."

Lucern stared at her wide, smiling lips for one mesmerized moment, then gave himself a shake and considered her long, obviously practiced speech. Reconsider? Was that what she wanted? Well, that was easy enough. He reconsidered. It was a quick task.

"No." He closed his door.

* * * Kate stared at the solid wooden panel where Lucern Argeneau's face used to be and could have shrieked with fury. The man was the most difficult, annoying, rude, obnoxious-She pounded at the door-Pigheaded, ignorant-The door whipped open and Kate quickly pasted a blatantly false, but wide-she should get marks for effort-smile on her mouth. The smile nearly slipped off her face in surprise when she got a look at him. The man was a lot younger than she'd expected. Kate knew he'd written for Edwin for a good ten years before she took over working with him. Yet he didn't look to be more than thirty-two or -three. That meant he'd been writing professionally since his early twenties.

Aside from that, however, he was also shockingly handsome. His hair was as dark as night, his eyes a silver blue that almost seemed to reflect the porch light, his features were sharp and strong. He was tall and surprisingly muscular for a man with such a sedentary career. His shoulders spoke more of a laborer than an intellectual. Kate couldn't help but be impressed by his good looks. Even the scowl on his face didn't detract from it. Without any effort on her part, the forced smile on her face took on some natural warmth as she said, "It's me again. I haven't eaten yet, and I thought perhaps you'd join me for a meal-on the company-and we could discuss-"

"No. Please remove yourself from my doorstep." Lucern Argeneau closed the door once more.

"Well that was more than just a no," she muttered to herself. "It was even a whole sentence really." Ever the optimist, she decided to take it as progress and raised her hand to pound at the door again. Her smile was somewhat battered, but still in place when the door opened this time. This time, he didn't speak but merely arched an eyebrow in question. Trying to make her smile a little sunnier, she cleared her throat and said, "If you don't like eating out, perhaps I could order something in and-"

"No." He started to close the door again, but Kate hadn't lived in New York for five years without learning a trick or two. She quickly stuck her foot forward, managing not to wince as the door banged it before bouncing back open.

Before Mr Argeneau could comment on her gorilla tactics, she said, "If you don't care for take-out, perhaps I could pick up some groceries and cook you something you like." Then, for good measure, she added, "That way we could discuss your fears and I might be able to alleviate them."

He stiffened in surprise at that suggestion. "I am not afraid." "I see." Kate allowed a healthy dose of doubt to creep into her voice, more than willing to stoop to manipulation if necessary. Then she waited, foot still in place, hoping that her desperation wasn't showing, but knowing her calm facade was beginning to slip as the man pursed his lips and took his time considering her. His expression made her suspect he was measuring her for a coffin, as if he might be considering killing her and planting her in his garden to get her out of his hair. Kate tried not to think about that possibility too hard. Despite having worked with him for years as Edwin's assistant and now for almost a year as his editor, Kate didn't know the man very well.

In her less charitable moments, she had considered just what kind of man he might be. Most of her romance authors were female. In fact, every other author under her care was female. Lucern Argeneau, who wrote as Luke Amirault, was the only male. What kind of man wrote romances? And vampire romances at that? She had decided it was probably someone gay ... or someone weird. His expression at that moment was making her lean toward weird. Serial-killer type weird.

"You have no intention of removing yourself, do you?" he asked at last. Kate considered the question. A firm "no" would probably get her in the door. But did she want in the door? Would the man slaughter her? Would she be a headline in the next day's news if she did get in the door?

Cutting off such unproductive and even frightening thoughts right there, Kate straightened her shoulders and announced firmly, "Mr Argeneau, I flew up here from New York. This is important to me. I'm determined to talk you. I'm your editor." She emphasized the last word in case he had missed the relevance of that fact. It usually had a certain influence with writers, though he had shown no signs of being impressed so far.

She didn't know what else to say after that, so simply stood waiting for a response that never really came. Heaving a deep sigh, the man merely turned away and started up the dark hall. Kate stared uncertainly at his retreating back. He hadn't slammed the door in her face this time. That was a good sign, wasn't it? Was it an invitation to enter? Deciding she was going to take it as one, Kate hefted her small suitcase and overnight bag and stepped inside. It was a late summer evening, cooler than it had been earlier in the day, but still it was hot outside. In comparison, stepping into the house was much like stepping into a refrigerator. Kate automatically closed the door behind her to keep the cool air from escaping, then paused to allow her eyes to adjust to the dark interior. Setting her bags down by the door, she started carefully forward, heading for a square of light that suddenly seemed so far away.

Lucern paused in the center of his kitchen and peered around by the illumination of the night light. He wasn't quite sure what to do. He never had guests. What did one do with them, exactly? After an inner debate, he moved to the stove, grabbed the tea kettle that sat on the burner and took it to the sink to fill with water. After setting it on the stove and cranking the dial on high, he found the teapot, some tea bags and a full sugar bowl too. He set all of it haphazardly on a tray. He would offer Kate C. Leever a cup of tea. Once that was done, so was she, Lucern decided as hunger drew him to the refrigerator. Light spilled out into the room as he opened the door, making him blink after the previous darkness. Once his eyes had adjusted, he bent to pick up one of the two lonely bags of blood on the middle shelf of the large refrigerator. Other than the two blood bags, there wasn't a single solitary item in the cavernous white box. Lucern wasn't much for cooking. His refrigerator had pretty much been empty since his last housekeeper died.

Hungry, Lucern didn't bother with a glass, but-still bent into the fridge-lifted the bag to his mouth and stabbed his fangs into it. The cool elixir of life immediately began to pour into his system, taking some of the edge off his crankiness. Lucern was never so cranky as when his blood levels were low. "Mr Argeneau?"

He jerked in surprise at that query from the doorway. The action ripped the bag Lucern held, sending the crimson fluid shooting out over him. It squirted in a cold shower over his face and into his hair as he instinctively straightened, banging his head on the underside of the closed freezer compartment.

Cursing, he dropped the ruined bag onto the refrigerator shelf and grabbed for his head with one hand, slamming the refrigerator door closed with the other as Kate Leever rushed to his side.

"Oh, my goodness! Oh! I'm so sorry! Oh!" She screeched as she caught sight of the blood coating his face and hair. "Oh God! You've cut your head. Bad!"

Lucern hadn't seen an expression of such horror on anyone's face since the good old days when lunch meant biting into a nice warm neck rather than a nasty cold bag.

Seeming to recover her senses somewhat, the editor grabbed his arm and urged him toward the kitchen table. "Here, you'd better sit down. You're bleeding badly."

"I am fine," Lucern muttered as she settled him in a chair. He found her concern rather annoying. If she was too nice to him, he might feel guilted into being nice back.

"Where's your phone?" She was turning on one heel, scanning the kitchen for the item in question.

"Why do you wish for a phone?" He asked hopefully. Perhaps she would leave him alone now, he thought briefly, but her answer nixed that possibility.

"To call an ambulance. You really hurt yourself."

Her expression became more distressed as she looked at him again and Lucern found himself glancing down at his front. There was quite a bit of blood on his shirt, and he could feel it dripping down his face in rivulets. He could also smell it sharp and rich with tinny overtones. Without thinking, he slid his tongue out to lick his lips. Then what she'd said slipped into his mind and he straightened abruptly. While it was convenient that she thought the blood was from an injury, there was no way he was going to a hospital.

(Continues...)

ISBN: 9780062019806
ISBN-10: 0062019805
Series: Argeneau Novels
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 369
Published: 29th June 2010
Dimensions (cm): 17.3 x 10.7  x 2.5
Weight (kg): 0.18

Lynsay Sands

I was born in 1142 which is why my first love is historicals. I’ll let you guess why I love stories of immortals…er…well, vampires to you people. When I first started writing the family history, everyone was up in arms, afraid I was revealing too much, but I explained they were being published as fiction and I wouldn’t use real names. Of course, that was before I found I just couldn’t write the stories with other names…

Just kidding! I couldn’t resist. Of course, I’m not a vampire. I wouldn’t mind being one. It would be a heck of a diet and I’m always looking for a successful diet, but despite not being a vampire…well…a gal can dream can’t she? And that’s what books are; waking dreams or stories, tales to amuse, entertain and distract us from everyday life.

I love books. Reading books takes me away to other worlds and on grand adventures I just couldn’t have otherwise. Writing them does the same, but also lets me play God for a bit. I know that sounds weird, but when writing my stories, I decide who lives and dies, who succeeds or fails and so on. I can give the good guys the happy endings they deserve and be sure the bad guys lose and get their comeuppance. Unfortunately, that’s something that doesn’t always happen in real life.

Perhaps that’s why writers write. Maybe we writers are all secret control freaks, wanting to control the world. Or maybe we’re just dreamers lucky enough to be able to make a living at dreaming. Either way I love writing and would do it whether I was paid for it or not. But I’m very very grateful to be able to share these stories with you. I hope they help you escape your troubles and trials if only for a little bit, and I hope they make you smile…You can be certain I’m often chuckling myself silly while writing them. Enjoy!

Visit Lynsay Sands's Booktopia Author Page