The third installment of the Gardella Vampire Chronicles is coming in February!
The undead of Rome are racing to unravel an ancient mystery – and only one woman can stop them...
As Rome prepares for its Carnivale, the new leader of the city's vampire hunters – Lady Victoria Gardella Grantworth de Lacy – must prove herself as never before. For, to gain access to the secrets of a legendary alchemist, Rome's vampires have allied themselves with creatures as evil and bloodthirsty as they are.
Reluctantly, Victoria must turn to the enigmatic Sebastian Vioget for help, just as Maximilian Pesaro arrives to assist his fellow slayers – no matter what the sacrifice. Desire puts her at the mercy of Sebastian, while loyalty binds her to Max, but can she trust either man? Especially when a seductive vampire begins luring her into the shadows...
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Warning: Spoilers for The Rest Falls Away and Rises The Night are included in this excerpt!
Excerpted from The Bleeding Dusk:
Beauregard laughed, sounding uncomfortably like Sebastian. Then his charm vanished, and his eyes burned pink again. "Why do you wish to see Sebastian? I did not expect a woman of your stature and confidence to be chasing after the noncommittal rake that is my grandson."
Victoria bowed her head, taking care not to look directly into those dangerous irises. "I think that the rake is more of an apple that has fallen not so far from the tree. Ancient though the tree might be. And the matter concerns my aunt." There was no sense in being coy with Beauregard – she needed his help to find Sebastian.
Then Victoria realized her mistake. She should have let him believe it was Sebastian himself that she, playing the woman scorned, was after. But perhaps she could yet save it. "He ... sent me something that belonged to my aunt, and I ... wished to thank him."
She knew Beauregard was too smart to be fooled by a complete reversal of personality, but perhaps subtlety would be more effective anyway.
"Thank him? Ah." The way he allowed that last syllable to ease from his mouth in a low sigh told her he had taken the bait. The pink glow faded from his eyes to be replaced by smugness. "It has been months, hasn't it? And you wish to thank him."
"I need to see him." She allowed the desperation in her voice – let him think what he would. Let him tell Sebastian she was pining for him. It wouldn't matter in the end.
"As you might imagine, gratitude is something my grandson and I both appreciate. I might be inclined to pass on the message to Sebastian, in exchange for some from you."
She didn't reply, merely tightened the grip on her stake and waited for him to continue. It was nothing more than she'd expected.
He bowed in acknowledgement, spreading his hands as if he had no choice. "I find that I have a curiosity ... and a craving ... that I desire to satisfy."
Victoria knew exactly what he meant. Her palms grew clammy and her heart began to thump harder as she felt his control begin to swirl about her. He was very powerful, and likely as strong as she was.
"You cannot feed on me," she said, shifting the long stake at her waist. "I'll send you to Hell first."
Beauregard looked affronted. "Feed? My dear, you needn't be crude. Feeding is like the rutting between hogs, or the mindless fucking of a whore. What I wish from you is much more than a mere gorging on your hot, thick blood. Your Venator blood." His eyes were blazing ruby-pink and she felt the insistent tug toward him. "Your sweet, female, Venator blood."
His voice was hypnotic, but she remained clear-headed enough to feel the wood under her fingers, even the hot splash of wax that spilled down in a trickle from the taper in her hand.
"No," she said, making her voice firm even as her mind softened. "You cannot bite me."
"Then kiss me, Victoria. Let me taste you," he said, softly, but it felt as though the words were there, all around her, filling her ears and insinuating into the blood suddenly rushing in her veins. "Let me taste what it is that my own blood desires."
"Gleason's latest in the Gardella Vampire Chronicles picks up a year after Rises the Night. Victoria Gardella is mourning her husband, Lord Rockley, and eager to get back to work as a venator. She becomes aware of a plot by the demon Akvan to break through the Door of the Alchemists and steal valuable secrets that will bring him to full power. Complicating matters is the return of venator Maximilian Pesaro, still in thrall to Lilith and determined to break free. Sebastian Vioget, ally of both Victoria and his vampire grandfather Beauregard, has a secret that will change the balance of power. And all three, none of whom trust each other very much, must band together to stop Akvan. The chemistry between Sebastian and Victoria is palpable, and Max is given a level of depth lacking in previous installments. Gleason, who ends the book on a cliffhanger, is really on a roll."
– Publishers Weekly
TOP PICK! from Romantic Times
The undead rise to great heights through Gleason's phenomenal storytelling. She creates a chilling world with the perfect atmosphere of fear and sexual tension. The sophistication and intelligence of her storytelling is evident on each page of the Gardella Vampire Chronicles.
Summary: Vampire slayer Lady Victoria Gardella Grantworth de Lacy arrives in Rome as the city is in the throes of Carnivale – the ideal time and place for Lilith, queen of the vampires, to gain access to an ancient alchemist's secrets.
To do this Lilith has joined forces with demons. Victoria must stop the armies of the undead or the world is lost. She reluctantly joins forces with Sebastian Vioget, descendent of one of the oldest, most feared of all vampires, and Maximilian Pesaro, who was once allied with Lilith. Victoria is drawn to both men, but there's little trust between them, even as they face the greatest challenge of their lives.
– Kathe Robin, Romantic Times
It is a rare thing for an author to completely surprise me, but I have to confess that Colleen Gleason has done it with each outing in her Gardella Vampire Chronicles, including the upcoming The Bleeding Dus (Feb. 5, 2008), which I had the privilege of reading to kick off the New Year.
The Bleeding Dusk, which picks up around a year after events in Rises the Night, with Victoria taking on the mantle of "The Gardella," is a true delight and adventure that will have you holding your breath in more than a few places, as it takes you on journey fraught with danger, heartbreak, betrayal, anger and passion, all building to a stunning conclusion.
This is a book I would love to describe at length here, but I find myself reluctant to do so for fear, in my post-reading excitement, I will reveal too much and possibly spoil the read for others. The Bleeding Dusk and its predecessors -- The Rest Falls Away and Rises The Night -- are simply too good for me to risk that happening, and I respect the author and what she's accomplished with this series too much to chance it. Truly, books of this caliber are rare and reading them is an "experience," a journey best experienced firsthand over any summarizing I might do – and I seriously doubt any summary I would write would do the book justice.
Ms. Gleason's writing is brilliant and powerful, without even a whiff of the cliche, and her storytelling skills are as sharp as the points on the stakes her heroine wields. She consistently delivers an intense (and intensely satisfying) read with plot twists and turns aplenty, and revelations and discoveries that will make your heart pound in both fear and exhilaration. And talk about cliffhanger endings... Colleen, I love ya, but you're killing me here!
Seriously, vampire romance fans, if you like books that have dynamic, flawed and fallible characters that embody boldness, bravery, passion and a sense of duty, that have intricately woven plots and surprises around almost every corner, and a writer who breathes to life a story with startling originality, authenticity and believability, then The Gardella Vampire Chronicles should be on your reading list. This is arguably one of the best written series out there; each book has certainly left me wanting – okay, begging for – more.
Hint-hint, Colleen. I'm ready for the next one!