Read Chosen Online

Authors: Jeanne C. Stein

Chosen

Table of Contents
 
 
PRAISE FOR THE ANNA STRONG, VAMPIRE SERIES
 
 
LEGACY
 
“Urban fantasy with true depth and flair!”

Romantic Times
(4½ stars)
 
“As riveting as the rest . . . one of my favorite urban fantasy series.”

Darque Reviews
 
 
THE WATCHER
 
“Action fills every page, making this a novel that flies by . . . Dynamic relationships blend [with] complex mysteries in this thriller.”

Huntress Book Reviews
 
“An exciting, fast-paced novel . . . first-rate plotting.”

LoveVampires
 
“Dazzles readers with action-packed paranormal adventure, love and friendship. With many wonderfully executed twists and turns, this author’s suspenseful writing will hold readers spellbound until the very end.”

Darque Reviews
 
“Snappy action and plot twists that will hold readers’ interest to the last page.”

Monsters and Critics
 
 
BLOOD DRIVE
“A terrific tale of supernatural sleuthing . . . provides edge-of-your-seat thrills and a high-octane emotional punch.”

Romantic Times
 
“Once again Jeanne C. Stein delivers a jam-packed story full of mystery and intrigue that will keep you glued to the edge of your seat! Just like [with] the first book in the Anna Strong series,
The Becoming
, I could not put this book down even for a second. You will find yourself cheering Anna on as she goes after the bad guys. Jeanne C. Stein has given us a wonderful tough-as-nails heroine everyone will love!”

Night Owl Romance
 
“I loved this book . . . hugely enjoyable . . . an exciting read and everything any vampire-fantasy fan could hope for.”

LoveVampires
 
“Jeanne C. Stein takes on the vampire mythos in her own unique manner that makes for an enthralling vampire thriller. Readers of Laurell K. Hamilton, Tanya Huff and Charlaine Harris will thoroughly enjoy this fast-paced novel filled with several action scenes that come one after the other, making it hard for the readers to catch a breather.”

Midwest Book Review
 
“A really great series. Anna’s strengths and weaknesses make for a very compelling character. Stein really puts you in [Anna’s] head as she fumbles her way through a new life and the heartbreaking choices she will have to make. [Stein] also introduces new supernatural characters and gives a glimpse into a secret underground organization. This is a pretty cool urban fantasy series that will appeal to fans of Patricia Briggs’s Mercy Thompson series.”

Vampire Genre
 
 
THE BECOMING
“This is a really, really good book. Anna is a great character, Stein’s plotting is adventurous and original, and I think most of my readers would have a great time with
The Becoming
.”
—Charlaine Harris, #1
New York Times
bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels
 
“A cross between MaryJanice Davidson’s Undead series, starring Betsy Taylor, and Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series. [Anna’s] a kick-butt bounty hunter—but vampires are a complete surprise to her. Full of interesting twists and turns that will leave readers guessing.
The Becoming
is a great addition to the TBR pile.”

Romance Reviews Today
“With plot twists, engaging characters and smart writing, this first installment in a new supernatural series has all the marks of a hit. Anna Strong lives up to her name: equally tenacious and vulnerable, she’s a heroine with the charm, savvy and intelligence that fans of Laurell K. Hamilton and Kim Harrison will be happy to root for . . . If this debut novel is any indication, Stein has a fine career ahead of her.”

Publishers Weekly
 
“In an almost Hitchcockian way, this story keeps you guessing, with new twists and turns coming almost every page. Anna is well named, strong in ways she does not even know. There is a strong element of surprise to it . . . Even if you don’t like vampire novels, you ought to give this one a shot.”

Huntress Book Reviews
 
“A wonderful new vampire book . . . that will keep you on the edge of your seat.”

Fallen Angel Reviews
Ace Books by Jeanne C. Stein
 
THE BECOMING
BLOOD DRIVE
THE WATCHER
LEGACY
RETRIBUTION
CHOSEN
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada
(a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Penguin Group Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)
Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia
(a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)
Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, India
Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632, New Zealand
(a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196,
South Africa
 
Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
 
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
 
CHOSEN
 
An Ace Book / published by arrangement with the author
 
PRINTING HISTORY
Ace mass-market edition / September 2010
 
Copyright © 2010 by Jeanne C. Stein.
 
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
 
eISBN : 978-1-101-44249-4
 
ACE
Ace Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
ACE and the “A” design are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
 
 

http://us.penguingroup.com

To Charlaine Harris,
who offered encouragement when I was starting out
and friendship now that I’m on the path.
You are my hero.
 
To Barbara Seranella,
who—along with her alter ego, Munch Mancini—
was taken from us much too soon.
 
And to Robert B. Parker.
I never knew him personally,
but I fell in love with Spenser the first moment
I opened
The Godwulf Manuscript.
RIP.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
As is the case for most authors, there are more people to acknowledge than space to acknowledge them. A few, though, really deserve mention:
 
My excellent editor, Jessica Wade, and my hard-working agent, Scott Miller. Rosanne Romanello over at Penguin and MacKenzie Fraser-Bub at Trident Media.
 
My critique group: Mario Acevedo, Terry Wright, Warren Hammond, Tamra Monahan, Margie and Tom Lawson and members emeriti Jeff Shelby and Sandy Maren.
 
The splendid organization Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. My Palm Springs guide, Clay Courter.
 
Readers, each and every one of you whether you love or hate Anna Strong. You keep me motivated.
 
Finally, my daughter, Jeanette, and my husband, Phil. You two are the best.
CHAPTER 1
I
T’S SWEAT.
I wasn’t sure at first. I haven’t been vampire that long, but I sure as hell don’t remember sweating since becoming one.
Drops of moisture pool between my shoulder blades, soak my underarms, collect between my breasts, making a soggy mess of the blouse underneath my jacket.
A new blouse.
It’s sweat, no doubt about it.
I can’t take my jacket off. I’ve got a .38 clipped to my belt.
Might make the natives restless. Or excited.
Shit.
I glance over at my partner. He hasn’t broken a sweat, so it’s not the room. Even if I didn’t have a constitution that is impervious to ambient temperature, the air conditioner in this dump is cranked up to ice age.
I start to squirm on the barstool, impatient to get out into the air. Impatient to escape.
Escape?
What?
What the hell is happening?
My temple throbs, like my head is in a vise. A vise that’s being slowly tightened.
Great.
I swipe a hand across my forehead. It comes away wet. I sneak a look across at David to see if he’s noticed.
He hasn’t.
He’s busy watching for the skip, Curly Tom, the reason we’re stuck in this dive.
I look around, too.
But not for the skip. Something is wrong. I don’t know what.
David takes a break from skip alert and peers at me over the rim of his beer bottle. I feel his eyes on me like an irritating swarm of gnats buzzing around my head.

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