Kiss Of Darkness Epilogue

Cool jazz filled the air. The crowds in the streets were slightly rowdy, but Bryan knew Jessica was always happiest when her city was doing well, so he ignored the noise from outside. For the first time in perhaps forever, he was completely relaxed.

So what if a werewolf was buying the beers? And half of his new best friends were mostly vampires? At least a few were actually human.

Jessica was watching the band with a smile. Big Jim smiled back, and so did Barry Larson, who seemed to exude a newfound confidence.

No lives had been lost in Scotland. He considered that something of a miracle, but those fighting with him just called it a good night's work. The authorities had found a bunch of crazed kids running around and chalked it up to drugs.

Some would remember the truth. Some would learn from it. Some would spend the rest of their lives in therapy. But at least they had lives.

As for Mary, that had been tricky, but he had to admit that she had developed a real passion for good, so a story had been invented.

She showed up at the police station one day, claiming amnesia. Only seeing her own picture on television had reminded her of who she was.

Sean, sitting between Jessica and Maggie, looked thoughtful, unhappy.

’’What's the matter?’’ Maggie asked him

’’We lost two really good cops,’’ he said sadly. ’’Nothing can ever change that.’’

Jessica's brow furrowed. ’’It was not your fault. Don't even start that.’’

Just then the werewolf appeared with the beers.

’’Hey, Jessica, are you going to design your own wedding dress?’’ Maggie asked.

Jessica choked on her beer. ’’Maggie, no one's asked me to marry him.’’

Maggie stared at Bryan. He felt a smile curving his lips, and he stared at Jessica. ’’What do you think?’’ he asked softly. ’’Can a warrior and a vampire find happiness in this day and age?’’ he inquired.

She looked back at him, her eyes grave. ’’I don't know. What do you think?’’

He rose, taking her hand. ’’I don't know. But we can all learn new things, right?’’ He pulled her up and into his arms. ’’I do know that I will love you for eternity,’’ he whispered.

She kissed his lips.

And the jazz played on.

It was, after all, New Orleans.

Turn the page for an exciting excerpt from


the next paranormal novel by

New York Timesbestselling author

Heather Graham.

Available in March 2007,

only from MIRA Books

There had been an explosion, she thought. Someone had screamed something about gas, and then a blast had seemed to rock the world. Yes, she could remember now, the feeling of being lifted, of flying...slamming hard against the wall. But...she wasn't leaning against the wall now.

She was looking down on a scene of absolute chaos.And she was in it.

She could see herself, who had been taken and placed in a line of sleeping people. She didn't recognize any of them. Matt...where was Matt? Others were hurrying around the room, moving with purpose. They were all in uniform, firemen and cops. The freshly painted walls of the room were blackened and scorched almost to the doorway, evidence of the blast.

She hurt! Oh, God, she ached in every bone. The scent of charred wood-worse, charred flesh-filled her nostrils. She remembered the terrible sound, the way she had been lifted and thrown as the room was rocked by the explosion.

Now she looked down on herself, contemplated the others near and realized that the people she was lying with weren't sleeping.

They were dead.

She could see the open, glazed eyes of the woman beside her. And then she realized that a man was hunched down beside her own body. And it wasn't Matt. The man had his fingers against her throat. Feeling for a pulse?

’’This one is alive!’’

Of course I'm alive.

There was sudden confusion.

People rushing over to her. Shouting.

’’Quick! Move or we'll lose her! Her pulse is fading.’’

People rushed around her. She couldn't see past them to see what was happening.


She felt fire in her chest.

Every bone in her body seemed to be in sudden, raw, agony. She knew she needed to open her eyes, to rake in a desperate breath.

She blinked.

’’We've got her! She's back.’’

And she was. Back in her body, looking up at her rescuers, no longer staring down at the scene.

Recollection and awareness filled her, and her awareness of the scene around her was acute, agonizing.

There were four bodies against the wall. And one of them belonged to Matt.

Suddenly, there was no confusion, just knowledge.

Matt was dead.

She started to choke, to scream....

’’Calm down,’’ a medic said. ’’You're alive, and we've got to keep you that way.’’

Alive? Not really, not if Matt...

’’No, you've got to help Matt.He's alive. I was just talking to him. You've got to help him. Help him!’’

She saw the distress in the medic's eyes. ’’I'm so sorry....’’


She was vaguely aware of a needle in her arm.

Then there was only darkness.

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