Authors: Elle Jasper
Praise for the
Dark Ink Chronicles
“Sultry, sexy, spooky Savannah—the perfect setting for hot vampires.…Beware of reading
New York Times
bestselling author Kerrelyn Sparks
is a book every paranormal lover is going to fall in love with.…Ms. Jasper penned a winner.…This is a must-read paranormal book and it comes highly recommended.”
—Night Owl Romance (5 stars)
“There’s a certain thrill that goes with realizing you might have discovered the best book you’ve read in a long, long time.…
is beautifully written, with mind-numbing possession over the reader. It’s edgy and modern, with just the right amount of good versus evil.…The most absorbing, enticing, and unique paranormal world I’ve read [about] in years.”
—Romance Junkies (5 blue ribbons)
“A fast-paced thriller starring a kick-butt heroine whose unique blood proves more in demand than her unique tattoos.…Elle Jasper’s rendition of the vampire Everdark underworld of Savannah provides a welcome addition to the subgenre blood bank.”
“Darkly atmospheric and steamy.”
“A steamy journey into the world of drugs and magic, sex and blood.…Fans of J. R. Ward, Gena Showalter, and Adrian Phoenix will love it.”
—Bitten by Books
“Elle Jasper puts her own unique spin on the vampire myth and sucks the reader into the story—no pun intended. Savannah is the perfect setting for this series—steamy, mysterious, elegant, and full of history, but with a dark, gritty side. I could practically feel the sticky, humid air on my skin and smell the sugary, buttery scent of the pralines.”
—The Romance Dish
“The first book in the Dark Ink Chronicles starts out with a bang. The protagonist Riley Poe grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go. Instead of slowly building, the characters and steamy setting of Savannah pull the reader right into their world and have their way with you. It’s a superb beginning to an unusual and addictive series and Jasper is destined to become a fan favorite.”
“Add in voodoo, the Gullah culture, and the town of Savannah and you have the makings for a great paranormal series.… This is a must read for all major paranormal fans.”
—The Romance Readers Connection
“Serious action sequences—we’re talking training, free running, vampire fight club, throwin’ knives, etc.—but at the heart of [the story] is the bond between these two.… You will love
—Vampire Book Club
“Filled with plenty of action and suspense as we watch Riley and Eli deal with a ghost from their past … descriptive world building with a Southern charm that permeates the story.”
—Smexy Books Romance Reviews
The Dark Ink Chronicles
by Elle Jasper
A SIGNET ECLIPSE BOOK
Published by New American Library, a division of
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street,
New York, New York 10014, USA
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First published by Signet Eclipse, an imprint of New American Library,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
First Printing, March 2012
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Copyright © Elle Jasper, 2012
All rights reserved
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For my best friend, Kim Lenox, for always
believing in me
From my grave, I’ve watched her. Watched her in turmoil as a child, then transformed into the tenacious, alluring woman I crave today. Riley is in my mind constantly, and my need for her is excruciating. Sometimes, I can taste her, smell her; I close my eyes and I…feel her. I love her. She belongs with me. And I’ll do anything—anything—to make her mine forever.
can still hear the human screams inside my head. Demented, painful screams of pure torture and desperation. Behind my closed eyes, the slaughter at the Tunnel 9 Club rages red with human blood. It’ll stay with me forever. All of this will.
With my strength weakened—even the tendencies I’ve acquired from being bitten by vampires aren’t enough right now—I can do little more than open my eyes and rest my forehead against the window of Victorian Arcos’s Jag. Pitch blackness stares back at me. We’re on I-16, heading north out of Savannah to Atlanta. A sign that says
DUBLIN, NEXT THREE EXITS
flashes by, so I know we’ve been on the road for about two hours. Is that all? Seems like a lot longer. There’s nothing
to look at except billboards, so I stare blankly into the night. My other tendencies are still present, like my sense of smell, and I can detect the burnt grease from a truck-stop grill permeating the air. The pungent musk of perfume wafts on the wind. And it must have recently rained because the scent of hot wet tar rises to a choking pitch. I concentrate and turn my high sense of smell off. It irritates me. Right now, everything irritates me. Victorian has me under his control. I’ve been taken against my will. So I do nothing but stare mindlessly into oblivion. It seems to help.
Time passes. Everything becomes a blur. I want to throw open the door and jump, but my limbs are numb, limp, lifeless, as if I’ve sat in one position for too long and they’ve fallen asleep. He’s incapacitated me with his freaky vampiric mind control, and it royally pisses me off. There isn’t a damn thing I can do about it, despite my own powers. I still try to move other parts of my body; nothing works except my head, my eyes, and eyelids. Involuntary muscles, like the ones for breathing, work to keep me alive. I am totally paralyzed. And not at all surprised.
Victorian’s knuckles brush my jaw, and his hand lingers against my skin in a caress. I want to slap it away. But strangely, it comforts me. “I’m sorry,” he says, and his voice is so heavy with regret, I almost believe him. “I don’t like holding you against your will, Riley.” I
look at him, and he glances at me as the headlights of an oncoming vehicle flash across his beautiful young face. “Truly. Nothing would please me more than for you to come willingly. To trust me. But you’re as predictable as you are beautiful, I’m afraid.” He smiles, and his teeth radiate an inhuman whiteness in the shadows of the Jag. Only the fluorescent glare of the stereo illuminates his features. “Besides. I have to drive.”
Victorian Arcos. Moving my eyes in his direction, I stare at him. Sharp, aristocratic features and long black hair pulled back into a queue remind me of someone who’d once dueled with pistols long ago. I want to hate his guts. A centuries-old Romanian strigoi vampire, he and his brother, Valerian, were once entombed in a grave by my Gullah grandfather’s ancestors. Now they’re free, thanks to my brother, Seth, and his rowdy friends, who inadvertently set loose the dangerous vampire brothers. Valerian is pure evil, and he’s taken Savannah and Charleston by murderous, bloodlust-fueled storm.