HOLIDAY WITH A VAMPIRE
featuring FATE CALLS
Publisher: Silhouette Nocturne
Pub. Date: December 2007
Buy the KINDLE Edition at Amazon
Most women dream of being swept off their feet by a man — not whisked away by a devastatingly handsome vampire. But for Connie Morales, Hadrian’s tempting kisses make her long to deliver the gift of life to a man she thinks he has no soul . . .
The Best Reviews: “Caridad Pineiro writes a wonderful Christmas paranormal romance starring two appealing lead characters. Sub-genre fans will appreciate spending the HOLIDAY WITH A VAMPIRE (or two).”
Cataromance, 5 stars: “Caridad Pineiro breaths life into her engaging characters with sharp wit and an original story filled with creativity. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding them, the thoughts and words of Hadrian and Connie are sincere, making them more endearing as each page is turned. Though there are frequently lighter moments in the story, numerous scenes are moving from the genuine anguish depicted by their frank declarations. Ms. Pineiro has created another memorable vampire story to stir the imagination of her readers. â€œFate Callsâ€ is a magical Christmas story with spirited characters and an enjoyable holiday romance.”
Romantic Times: “Annoyed by the holiday bell-ringer raising money across the street from his home, vampire Hadrian Aurelius kidnaps Connie Morales. But Hadrian gets more than he bargained for . . . . “Fate Calls” has strong, well-developed characters. Hadrian is particularly compelling.”
Library Journal: “Although Halloween is likely the first holiday that springs to mind when vampires are mentioned, this duo of sensual novellas gives a new twist to the vampire mystique as it is tempered by the magic of Christmas and love. . . A vampire from fourth-century Rome is annoyed by a bell-ringing “Santa” and then captivated by the sexy lawyer she turns out to be in PiÃ±eiro’s slightly edgy, bondage-tinged Fate Calls. Spicy, violent, and passionate, these stories resolve the human-vampire conflict in different ways. While the tales may not be everyone’s holiday mug of cider, more adventurous readers might find the offbeat, darker aspects both atypical and refreshing.”
Death and destruction were the only Christmas gifts that Fate had ever brought.
Now Fate had delivered to Hadrian yet one more Christmas calamity — a group of bell-ringing do-gooders who had set up camp across the way from his brownstone, disturbing his daytime slumber and a good chunk of his nights.
The clang-clang-clang of the bell would begin mid-morning, slipping into his brain as he rested after a long night of prowling the Manhattan streets. Low and sporadic, he could drive the noise out of his head for most of the day, until dusk came and with it, the ringing rose, insistent. Demanding. Followed too often by a cheery greeting laced with enough sweetness to curdle the meal his keeper brought him at rising.
For weeks Hadrian had told himself that he could outlast them. After all, he was a vampire elder and had survived nearly two thousand years of even greater challenges.
But there was just something about that damned bell.
Hadrian jerked off the bedcovers and strode to the window, glanced at the Santa-suit wearing tormentor standing in front of the public library on the street below. Little to discover about the Santa as he stood next to a collection kettle. Arm merrily shifting up and down, calling to the passersby to leave a small donation for the homeless.
The soft rasp of knuckles came at his bedroom door. His keeper, George, bringing a snack to help drive away the lethargy of his daytime respite.
“Come in,” he called out, but as George wheeled in the cart bearing the gold chalice filled with a bit of warmed blood, Hadrian waved him off.
“Thank you, George, but you may take it away.”
He smiled as he peered down at the Santa again and said, “I think I may be dining out tonight.”
The itchy polyester beard chafed her skin. The rough fabric of the suit, a cloth of indeterminate nature, rubbed at a variety of spots creating discomfort at assorted locations. She wouldn’t think about the rank smell that she hadn’t been able to get rid of despite carefully laundering the Santa suit.
Connie Morales fidgeted with the costume which swam on her petite body defying the one size fits all claims of the manufacturer. With a shrug, she shifted the lopsided shoulders of the suit in an attempt to make it sit better. She ignored the lingering odor from its prior occupants and rang her bell, forcing a merry tone to her voice as she called out to the smartly dressed business woman walking toward her.
She flashed her best smile at the woman, uncertain of whether it would be visible beneath the cumbersome beard. Satisfaction came as the lady returned the smile and dropped some change into the collection kettle.
“Thank you for helping the homeless,” she chimed with false cheer, her words in tune with the rise and fall of her arm and the crisp bright tones of the bell ringing in the chill of the winter air.
Each clang of the coins into the collection kettle brought Connie satisfaction. The silent slip of a bill into the pot was even more rewarding. Each donation meant more for the downtown shelter which her upscale Midtown law firm had adopted for this holiday season.
As an up-and-coming associate, her decision to participate in the head partner’s pet Christmas project had been motivated by a number of reasons. She had to acknowledge that self-interest was her primary motivation since the time spent at the shelter and a nice sum at the end of the day from the collection pot would earn her major brownie points with the head man.
Points which might push her over the edge and toward the partnership she had been working hard for during the last four years. But she had to acknowledge that mixed in with that self-interest, something else had also awakened within her, forcing her to consider that what she was doing was important to a lot of people who had far less than she did.
The holiday spirit maybe? Connie thought, putting renewed fervor into her smile and the swing of her arm.
Each rise and fall dredged up memories of her own Christmases past. The simple gifts beneath the tree, made special by the love with which they were given. Dinners around a table laden with food and blessed with an assortment of siblings, their children and her parents.
It had been too long since she had allowed that spirit into her holiday season.
Just another day and her Christmas vacation would start. She had decided she would do her best to enjoy this holiday season and so in the morning she would start her shopping and prepare herself for a visit to her family.
The peal of the bell brightened a dreary winter night and lightened the weight of her task as did each tinkle of change and slide of a dollar bill dropping into the collection kettle.
“Merry Christmas to you as well,” she said with a nod and a broad smile at one man who slipped a five dollar bill into her pot. As she tracked the passage of the alms giver, she noted the well-dressed man who stepped out of the brownstone across the way.
It would have been impossible not to notice him.
Tall. Lean. A fine-boned face that might have been handsome if there had been any hint of life there.
But there was none.
The chiseled lines of his features were harsh. Unyielding. Fashionably tousled shoulder length dark brown hair framed that austere face. His lips were drawn into a thin slash. She imagined that if he might smile . . .
Only he didn’t.
Instead he shot her a glare that sent a shiver down her spine. Trained dark almost soulless eyes on her.
She suspected he was the kind of man you didn’t want to piss off. As his gaze drifted to the bell in her hand, it occurred to her that it angered him. That she had somehow run afoul of him.
Such scrutiny or disdain didn’t bother her, however.
She was a lawyer after all.
Pasting a determined smile on her face, she raised her hand higher and brought the bell down forcefully.
It rang with a resounding peal in the winter night, letting the handsome stranger know that he would not dissuade her from her mission.