BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR…
Only a woman with nothing left to lose knocks on a vampire’s door and asks for help. Shannah Davis is convinced that the mysterious dark-haired man she’s followed for months can save her life—if he doesn’t kill her first. But though Ronan insists he can’t give her what she needs, his kiss unleashes a primal hunger that makes her feel truly alive for the first time.
After centuries of existence, Ronan has done the unthinkable. He has fallen in love with a mortal—and one with only weeks to live. Sensing the fear and reluctance beneath Shannah’s request, he offers her a different bargain that will keep her near him during the time she has left. Every hour spent together leaves him craving her touch, her scent, her life’s essence. Soon, only Shannah can satisfy his thirst. But if he saves her from death, will she love him for it—or spend eternity regretting what she has become?
Shannah had followed him every night for the last four months. At first, she hadn't been sure why, other than the fact that she was dying and out of a job and had nothing better to do.
She remembered the first time she had seen him. She had been sitting by the back window in the Pot Pourri Café across the street from the town’s only movie theater. She had been sipping a cup of hot chocolate when she had seen him emerge from the theater. It had been in late October, near Halloween, and the theater had been running classic vampire movies all month, showing a different film each night of the week. The old Bela Lugosi version of “Dracula” had been playing that night.
The stranger had been wearing a long black duster over snug black jeans and a black tee shirt. With his long black hair, her first thought was that he could have been a vampire himself except that his skin was a dusky brown instead of deathly pale. A wannabe vampire, obviously. She knew there was a whole cult of them in the city, men and women who frequented Goth clubs. They wore black clothes and capes. Some of them wore fake fangs and pretended to drink blood. She had heard of some who didn’t pretend, but actually drank blood. Others role-played on the internet in vampire and Goth chat rooms.
Shannah had been sitting by the window in that same café when she saw the stranger the second time. He hadn't been coming out of the movie theater that night, merely strolling down the street, his hands thrust into the pockets of his jeans, which were black again. During the next few weeks, she saw him walking down the same street at about the same time almost every night, which she supposed wasn’t really all that strange. After all, she went to the same café and sat at the same booth in the back at about the same time every night.
One evening, simply for something to do, she left the café and followed him, curious to see where he went. She followed him the next night, and the next. And suddenly it was a habit, a way to spend the long, lonely nights when she couldn’t sleep. Sometimes he merely walked through the park across from City Hall. Sometimes he sat on one of the benches, as unmoving and silent as the bronze statue of the town's founding father that was located near the center of the park.
While following the man in the long black duster, she learned that he went to the movies every Wednesday evening and always sat in the last row. He wandered through the mall on Friday nights. He spent Saturday nights in the local pub, invariably sitting in the shadows in the far corner. He always ordered a glass of red wine, which he never finished. Other than the wine, she never saw him eat or drink anything. He never bought popcorn or candy at the movies. He never bought a soda or a cup of coffee or a hot dog in the mall.
When she followed him home, she learned that he lived in an old but elegant two-story house at the edge of town. The house had bars on the windows and a security screen door, and was surrounded by a block wall that must have been twelve feet high, complete with an impressive wrought iron gate. She wondered what he was hiding in there and spent untold hours pondering who and what he might be. A drug lord? An arms dealer? Some sort of international spy? A reclusive millionaire? A serial killer? A mad scientist? A terrorist? Her imagination knew no bounds.
The holidays came and went. He didn’t go to visit family for Thanksgiving, and no one came to visit him. As far as she could see, he didn’t celebrate Christmas. No tinsel-laden tree appeared in the large front window. No colorful lights adorned his house. He didn’t go out to celebrate the New Year. But then, neither did she. As far as she knew, he didn’t buy flowers or candy on Valentine’s Day, nor did he go to visit a lady friend. He was a handsome man - tall, dark and handsome - which begged the question, why wasn't he married, or at least dating? Perhaps he was in mourning. Perhaps that was why he always wore black. Then again, maybe he wore it because it looked so good on him.
She camped out in the woods across from his house three or four times a week, weather permitting, but she never saw him emerge during the day. He took a daily newspaper, but he never picked it up until after the sun went down. The same with his mail. He never had any visitors. He never had pizza delivered. No repairmen ever came to call.
She wasn't sure when she started to think he really was some kind of vampire, but the more she thought about it, the more convinced she became. He only came out at night. He lived alone. He didn’t eat. He always wore black. He never had any visitors. She never saw him with anyone else because…
He was a vampire.
Vampires lived forever and were supposed to be able to pass immortality on to others.
Ergo, he was the only one who could help her.
All she needed now was the courage to approach him. But how? And when? And what would she say?
It was the first of March before she finally worked up enough courage to put intention into action. Tomorrow night, she decided resolutely. She would ask him tomorrow night.
But, just in case he refused her or she changed her mind at the last minute, she armed herself with a small bottle of holy water stolen from the Catholic Church on the corner of Main Street, wondering, briefly, if stolen holy water would retain its effectiveness. She found a small gold crucifix and chain that had belonged to her favorite aunt. She fashioned a wooden stake out of the handle of an old broom. She filled the pockets of her coat and jeans with cloves of garlic.
That should do it, she thought, patting her coat pocket. If he was agreeable, by this time tomorrow night she would be Undead. If he decided to make a meal of her instead of transforming her, she would just be dead a few weeks earlier than the doctors had predicted.
Copyright Madeline Baker 2006
Reviewer Crystal Adkins, said:
Amanda Ashley’s vampire romance novel, Dead Perfect, is compelling! Ms. Ashley has the thrall of a vampire on her side. I started reading Dead Perfect right before bed, and my very first thought when I awoke was, “I need to finish that book!”
Amanda Ashley’s vivid characters and fantastic storyline were remarkable! Ms. Ashley has been a favorite of mine for years, and never once has she let me down. Dead Perfect has just raised the bar on Vampire Romance.
Gina of LOVE ROMANCES & MORE said:
Shannah Davis is dying. She’s only twenty-four and she’s dying from an unknown disease. The doctors have no idea why or what to do for her, so Shannon tries to enjoy what little time she has left. The disease mostly makes her tired—fatigued to the point she has no energy to do more than find a soft place to sleep. She’d fight death if she could, but no one seems to have any answers. Hoping against hope for herself, she begin to follow a man. A mysterious man who appears in the dark of night, wears black that makes him totally sexy and lives in a run down house that is right out of a gothic romance. Along the way Shannah decides her mysterious man is a vampire and that he alone might be the one to save her life.
Ronan, aka Eva Black, is a world famous romance author. With some of the hottest, more creative books around he has furnished little in his home except for his office which houses an immense collection of books—the likes of which any dedicated book-a-holic would love to sink his or her teeth into—and his computer. Working by night he weaves spellbinding tales of love, romance and…vampires. When Shannah appears on his doorstep, Ronan is a bit at a loss what to do. Despite the solitary life he has chosen for himself, he is drawn to Shannah. At first he devises creative ways to have her stay and finally admits to himself he has fallen in love with the young woman. If he tells her his dark secret he’ll lose her. If he doesn’t, he’ll lose her. The last thing Ronan wants is to lose the love of his life, Shannah.
DEAD PERFECT is a perfect combination of the best of true romance, the mystery of a paranormal and the fun of a contemporary trek from California to New York and back again. It is a thoroughly entertaining glimpse into the world of a romance writer and what she…or he…experiences in the world of marketing, promotion and book signings.
What stood out most for this reviewer in DEAD PERFECT, Amanda Ashley’s latest offering in her vampire tales, is that it is a wonderfully told love story. Ms. Ashley returns readers to sweet and innocent romance. No falling in love at first meeting, no diving into bed at the drop of a hat, but a gradual coming together of two people destined for each other. Ronan’s dilemma becomes the reader’s—how can these two be together if Ronan reveals his secret while at the same time, if he does, he will lose her.
DEAD PERFECT is a fun twist on the world of a romance writer. Becoming so involved in the story the rest of the world just passes on by coupled with the excitement of meeting readers and spice of a book signing. It is refreshing to see the world through Shannah’s eyes. At times she seems younger than her twenty-four years while at the same time Ronan seems much older than his thirty-something, his age at his turning. Ms. Ashley captures old world courtesies and allure through Ronan’s manner and way of life.
If you are looking for a read that combines romance, paranormal, compassion and just plain fun, DEAD PERFECT is…perfect.
The reviewer at World Acccording to Books said:
I really enjoyed this book. The building of their relationship and their intense feelings for one another were well-written. The suspense is captivating and you don't know what is going to happen till the end. I love books that I can't figure out the ending halfway through. Will Shannah change her mind? Will the vampire hunters succeed? Will they regret their decisions for the rest of their lives? Amanda Ashley has penned a heart-warming story filled with a little suspense, and a lot of sweet and touching romance. I will definitely read more by this author.