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True love: good from the first bite . . .
Etienne Argeneau's three hundred years of bach- elorhood were at an end. Either that, or he'd be forever alone. He could turn only one human in his lifetime, and most of his kind created a life mate. If he turned this stranger . . . But what choice did he have? He had to help Rachel Garrett. The beautiful coroner had saved his life. To save hers, he would make her immortal.
. . . to the last
Rachel Garrett awoke surprised. All she'd wanted was to get off the night shift in the morgue; now here she was staggering to her feet naked and in a strange place. But everything would be all right. She'd just make like a bat out of— Then she saw the man of her dreams emerging from his . . . coffin? And the look in his bright silver eyes said they'd be spending a lot of time together. She just hoped he tasted as good as he looked.
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.
"Yo, Rach. I'm going to grab a java. You want anything?"
Rachel Garrett straightened at Tony's question and wiped the
back of her gloved hand across her forehead. She had been
bouncing between the chills and fever since arriving at work
two hours ago. At the moment, she was in a hot phase. Sweat
was gathering across her back and along her scalp as if she'd
been running a marathon. She was obviously coming down with
Her gaze slid to the clock on the wall. It was almost one. Two
hours down, six to go. Rachel almost groaned. Six more hours.
The way this flu bug was coming on, it was doubtful she'd last
half of that.
"Hey! You feeling all right, Rach? You look like hell."
Rachel grimaced at her assistant's choice of words as he moved
to her side and felt her forehead. Men could be so tactful.
"Cold. Clammy." He frowned and asked, "Fever and chills?"
"I'm fine." Rachel pushed his hand away with embarrassed
irritation, then reached into her pocket for some change as
she answered his first question, "Maybe you could get me some
juice or something, please."
"Oh, yeah. You're fine."
Rachel stilled at his dry words, suddenly realizing that she
had pushed her smock aside and shoved her hand into her pants
pocket. She'd done so without removing her bloody rubber glove
"Maybe you should-"
"I'm fine," she interrupted his concerned words. "I'll be
fine. Just go on."
Tony hesitated, then shrugged. "Okay. But you might want to
maybe sit down or something till I get back."
Rachel ignored the suggestion and turned back to her cadaver
as he left the room. Tony was a nice guy. A little weird
maybe. For instance, he insisted on talking like a Goodfellow
from the Bronx when he had been born, raised, and never left
Toronto. He also wasn't Italian. Tony wasn't even really his
name. The name he'd been given at birth was Teodozjusz
Schweinberger. Rachel had complete sympathy with the name
change to Tony, but didn't understand how the bad Italian
Bronx accent came with it.
Straightening again, Rachel glanced toward the open door to
the main room of the morgue, then set down her scalpel and
stripped the rubber glove from her right hand as she walked
out to meet the men propelling a gurney into the main room.
Dale and Fred. Nice guys. A couple of EMTs whom she rarely
saw. They generally delivered their clientele to the hospital
alive. Of course some died after arriving, but it was usually
after these two had already been and gone, which left the
chore of bringing down the patient to someone else. This one
must have died in transit for them to be delivering him.
"Hey, Rachel! You're looking ... good."
She crossed the room to join them, politely ignoring Dale's
hesitation before the word good. Tony had made it more than
plain that she was starting to look as unwell as she felt.
"What have we here?"
Dale handed her a clipboard with various sheets of paper on
it. "Gunshot wound. Thought we got a beat before transporting
from the scene, but might have been wrong. For the record, he
died in transit. Doc Westin pronounced him when we got here
and asked us to bring him down. They'll want an autopsy,
bullet retrieval, and so on."
"Hmm." Rachel let the pages fall back into place, then moved
to the end of the room to grab one of the special stainless
steel gurneys they used for autopsies. She rolled it back to
rest next to the EMTs padded gurney. "Can you switch him over
onto this while I sign for him?"
"Thanks." Leaving them to it, she moved to the desk in the
corner of the examining room in search of a pen. Rachel signed
the necessary papers, then walked back as the men finished
shifting the body to the table. The sheet that had covered him
for his trip through the hospital was now missing. She paused
and stared at the latest addition to the morgue.
He was a handsome man, no more than thirty, with dirty blond
hair. She stared at his pale chiselled features, wishing she'd
seen him while alive and knew what he looked like with his
eyes open. Rachel rarely thought of her clients as having at
one time been living, breathing beings. It would make her job
impossible to do if she considered that the bodies she worked
with were mothers, brothers, sisters, grandfathers, etc. But
this one she couldn't seem not to see as a person. She could
imagine him smiling and laughing and in her mind he had silver
eyes the likes of which she'd never seen.
She blinked in confusion and stared up at Dale. The fact that
she was now sitting was a bit startling and made her glance
around. The men had obviously rolled the wheeled desk chair
over and urged her into it. Both EMTs were now hovering over
her, worry on their faces.
"You nearly fainted, I think," Dale told her. "You were
swaying and all white-faced. How are you feeling?"
"Oh." She gave an embarrassed laugh and a wave of her hand.
"I'm fine. Really. I think I'm coming down with something
though. Chills, then fever." She shrugged.
Dale placed the back of a hand to her forehead and frowned.
"You're burning up. Maybe you should go home."
Rachel felt her face and was alarmed to note that she was
indeed burning up. It crossed her mind to hope that the speed
and strength with which this bug had hit her wasn't an omen of
how bad it was going to be. And if it was bad, she hoped that
it would burn out as quickly as it had hit. Rachel hated being
"Huh?" She glanced at the concerned faces of the EMTs and
forced herself to sit up. "Oh, yeah. Sorry. Yes, I might go
home early when Tony gets back. In the meantime, I signed for
the body and everything." Rachel retrieved the paperwork that
would stay with her and handed back the clipboard with the
rest of the paperwork. Dale accepted the clipboard, then
exchanged an uncertain glance with Fred. Both of them appeared
reluctant to leave her alone.
"I'm fine, really," she assured them. "And Tony just went out
to grab us some drinks. He'll be back shortly. You two go on."
"Okay." Dale still sounded reluctant. "Just do us a favor and
keep your butt in that chair till Tony gets back, huh? If you
faint and hit your head ..."
Rachel nodded. "Sure. You two go on. I'll just rest till Tony
Dale didn't look like he believed she would do as she said,
but he had little choice but to follow Fred to the door.
"Okay. Well, we're out of here then."
"See you later," Fred added.
Rachel watched them leave, then sat still for a moment as she
had promised. It wasn't long before she became impatient with
just sitting there, though. She wasn't used to being inactive.
Her gaze slid to the body on the gurney. A shooting vic. Those
were rare enough. It meant there was a shooter out there
running around. It also meant that this man had become her
most important customer. The police would want the bullet for
forensics testing to help them track the gun, and hopefully,
the killer if they didn't already have him. If they did have
him, they'd want it to prove they had the right guy. Which
meant she wasn't going home after Tony came back. At least,
not until she had removed the bullet from this guy for
forensics. The actual autopsy wouldn't be done until morning,
but retrieving the bullet was her job. She was the head
coroner at night; it was her responsibility.
Straightening her shoulders, she stood and moved to the table
to peer down at her newest customer. "You picked a heck of a
night to get shot, my friend."
Rachel's gaze slid over his face. He really had been a looker.
It seemed a shame that he was dead. But then it always seemed
to be a shame when people died. Shrugging such thoughts aside,
Rachel grabbed the rolling tray of equipment she would need
and pushed it next to the steel table where her newest client
lay. She looked him over once more before setting to work. The
EMTs had ripped his shirt open, then laid it back across his
chest. He was still fully clothed and in a rather sharp-not to
mention expensive-designer suit.
"Nice duds. Obviously a man of taste and means," she
commented, admiring the cut of his clothes and the body
beneath it. "Unfortunately, the suit has to go."
Rachel picked up the shears from the equipment table and
quickly and efficiently cut away at the suit coat and shirt to
remove them. Once the fabric fell away, she paused to take in
what was revealed. Normally, Rachel would have simply moved on
to remove his pants and underwear if there were any, but the
fever was affecting her strength. Her arms felt all rubbery
and her fingers were limp and awkward. She decided a change in
routine wouldn't hurt at that point and would start recording
her findings of his upper body before she moved on to try to
remove the clothing from his lower body. With any luck, by
then Tony might be back to help.
Setting the shears aside, she reached up to swing both the
overhead light and the microphone directly over his chest,
then switched the microphone on.
"The subject is- Oh shoot!" Rachel flicked the microphone off
and quickly retrieved the paperwork Dale and Fred had left
behind. Her gaze scanned the information in search of a name.
A frown marred her face when she saw that there wasn't one. He
was a John Doe. Well dressed, but without identification. It
made her wonder if that had been the reason behind the
shooting. Perhaps he'd been shot and robbed of his wallet.
Her gaze flickered back to the man. It seemed a real shame to
kill a man for nothing more than a couple of bucks. It was a
crazy world. Rachel set the paperwork back and returned to
flick the microphone back on. "Doctor Garrett examining
shooting victim John Doe. John Doe is a Caucasian male,
approximately 6'4," she guessed, leaving actual measurements
for later. "He is a very healthy specimen."
She turned off the microphone again and took her time looking
him over. Very healthy was an understatement, Rachel decided
as she searched for identifying features. John Doe was built
like an athlete. He had a flat stomach, a wide chest, and
muscular arms to go with his handsome face. After checking him
out again, then a third time, she moved closer to examine him
more minutely. Rachel picked up one arm, then the other and
lifted them to examine the underside of each before stepping
back with a frown. There wasn't a single identifying mark. No
scars or birthmarks. There was nothing that could be
considered an identifying feature on the man. Other than the
gunshot wound over his heart, the man was completely flaw
free. Even his fingers were unmarred.
"Strange," Rachel muttered to herself. Usually there were at
least a couple of scars; an appendicitis scar, or small ones
on the hands from past wounds. Something. But this man was
completely flawless everywhere that she could see. Even his
hands and fingers were callous free. Idle rich? She wondered
and peered at his face again. Classically handsome. No tan
though. Jet setters usually had tans from the sunny spots they
had just flown back from. Or from the tanning salon.
Deciding she was wasting time on these suppositions, Rachel
gave her head a shake and turned the microphone back on.
"Subject has no identifying features or scars on the front
upper body except for the fresh gunshot wound. Death, on first
glance, appears to be due to exsanguation caused by gunshot
This time she left the microphone on as she reached for the
forceps she would need to remove the bullet. The recorder was
sound activated so would only record what she said anyway.
Later she would use the tape to write up her report, leaving
out any muttered comments it caught that were not pertinent to
Rachel measured and described the size of the gunshot wound,
as well as it's placement on the body, then set to work
cautiously easing the bullet forceps into the wound, moving
slowly and carefully to be sure she was following the path of
the bullet and not pushing through undamaged tissue. A moment
later she had reached and grasped the missile and was drawing
it carefully back out of his body.
She murmured a triumphant "Ah ha!" as she straightened with
the bullet caught in the spoon of the forceps. Rachel turned
toward the tray, then paused with irritation when she realized
there was no container for the bullet on her equipment tray.
Such things weren't normally needed and she hadn't thought to
grab one. Shootings weren't that common an occurrence in
Toronto, so bullet holders weren't standard fare on her work
tray. Muttering under her breath at her own lack of
forethought, Rachel moved away from the table to the row of
cupboards and drawers to search for one.
While looking, she pondered where Tony could have gone. His
five-minute trip in search of beverages was becoming a rather
lengthy absence. Rachel suspected it was a certain little
nurse who worked on the fifth floor that was holding him up.
Not that Rachel minded. If she did go home when he returned,
he would have no one to relieve him for the rest of the night,
so supposed it was good he was taking extra time now.
Finding what she'd been looking for, Rachel packaged the
bullet, then carried it to her desk to make out an identifying
tag. It wouldn't do for the bullet to get misplaced or to be
left lying around without a label. Of course, she couldn't
find the labels right away and wasted several minutes looking
for them. Then she messed up three of them before getting it
right. This was a good sign that she wasn't on the ball
tonight and that going home was a good idea. She was a
perfectionist and these little mistakes were frustrating, even
embarrassing, to her.
Exasperated with herself and her weakened state, Rachel
smoothed the label onto the container, then paused as she
caught movement out of the corner of her eye.
Turning the chair to fully face the room, she glanced around,
expecting Tony to have returned, but the room was empty. There
was just herself and her John Doe on the gurney. Deciding her
feverish mind was beginning to play tricks on her, Rachel
shook her head and stood. Alarm shot through her as she noted
that her legs were a touch shaky. Her fever was skyrocketing.
It was as if a furnace switch had been flicked on, taking her
from cold and clammy to burning up in a heart beat.
A rustle drew her attention back to the gurney. Was his right
hand where it had been the last time she'd looked? Rachel
could have sworn she'd laid his hand back palm down after
examining it for identifying scars, yet now it was palm up,
the fingers in a relaxed pose.
Her gaze traveled up his arm to his face and Rachel frowned at
his expression. The man had died with a blank expression on
his face, an almost stunned look, and that expression had
remained frozen in death. But now he had more of a pained
grimace on his face. Didn't he? Maybe she was imagining
things. She must be imagining things. The man was dead. He
hadn't moved his hand or changed his expression.
"You've been working the night shift too long," Rachel
muttered to herself and moved slowly back to the gurney to
glance over the body. The actual autopsy wouldn't take place
until the morning. Her job tonight was just to remove the
bullet to be sent to forensics, examine the body for
identifying features, be sure there were no other wounds, then
tag and refrigerate him. That meant she had to remove the rest
of his clothes to examine his lower front body, but she would
need help from Tony in turning the man to examine his back.
Rachel considered leaving his lower front until Tony returned
too, but then decided against it. The sooner she got out of
there and went home to bed to nurse her cold, the better. It
was smarter to get as much done as possible before her
assistant returned. That meant cutting away his pants. To that
end, Rachel was about to reach for the shears when she
realized that she hadn't checked his head for wounds.
It was doubtful that he'd been shot in the head. At least she
hadn't seen any evidence of it and was sure Fred and Dale
would have mentioned it had that been the case. And despite
their claims of thinking they had a heartbeat, then losing it,
the man would have died instantly when the bullet had hit his
heart. Still, he might have hit his head when he fell and
there might be a wound there or elsewhere that simply hadn't
ISBN: 9780062019745 ISBN-10: 0062019740 Series: Argeneau Novels Audience:
Number Of Pages: 373 Published: 29th June 2010 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Inc Country of Publication: US Dimensions (cm): 17.8 x 10.2
Weight (kg): 0.18
About the Author
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!