The Hunters, Book 1
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Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release date: 10 January 2012
WARNING: Graphic language and explicit sex scenes (M/F)
Before Dawn was previously published in an altered form by Ellora's Cave in 2008.
Mercy Jansen dreams of erotic interludes with a man whose face she never sees—and she always awakens before the scraping of sharp teeth along her skin turns into something more dangerous.
Even while she questions her subconscious mind, a mundane event sets her on a collision course with a man who makes her knees go weak—and proceeds to turn her preconceived notions of reality upside-down and inside-out by pulling her into a shadowy, violent world where her dreams threaten to become an all-too-real nightmare.
“I’m sorry, but guests are not allowed in this area.”
He moved deeper into the office. “You sound a little hoarse,” he said, ignoring her statement, and held out a full champagne flute. “Take this.”
Mercy automatically accepted the offering. “Thank you, Mr.—?”
“Edmond,” he said, a hint of an accent flavoring the name. It sounded French, which suited the name and his Gallic coloring.
“Thank you, Mr. Edmond.”
He shook his head but his hair barely moved. “Just Edmond.”
Like just Madonna? she wanted to ask but refrained from doing so.
He lifted his own flute, tipping it toward her. Feeling awkward, she touched her flute to his, very aware of his eyes following her every movement. Not wanting to insult a man who’d forked over three hundred dollars for a ticket to the fundraiser and a potential donor, Mercy took a sip, enough to coat her mouth and her esophagus.
And squeezed her eyes shut as her head swam and her hand faltered, tilting the flute dangerously. She really should’ve eaten something beyond the banana and carton of cherry yogurt at lunch.
A hand caught hers. She had the impression of icy coldness a heartbeat before warmth washed over her like rain. The champagne flute was rescued from her unsteady fingers. Despite the voluntary darkness, her head continued to bob. Her hand reached back and found the solid surface of her desk.
That compelling voice filled her head, dampening the waves. She exhaled, unaware she’d been holding her breath until that moment. A heavy, artificial scent filled her nostrils, and she turned her head away. Satin brushed the naked skin of her legs, cool and slick. His cape. Fingertips skimmed the curve of her cheek, the line of her throat, the slope of her exposed shoulder. She couldn’t protest, couldn’t stir herself from the lassitude that trapped her in its silken grip. Not even long enough to lift her lashes, let alone break away.
The exploration continued, soft and gentle and warm…and somehow familiar.
There was nothing to fear from him. That thought whispered through her mind like a tendril of smoke.
Mercy let herself drift, let the sensual pleasure of his touch lull her.
The hand holding hers drew it upward until her palm met a chest that felt like marble under the layer of cloth. Soft lips grazed her jaw line. He whispered her name again. From the jumbled, hazy mess of her thoughts, one question emerged.
“What are you?” she breathed.
Lips brushed her earlobe. “The man of your dreams.”
Copyright © 2008, 2012 by Ann Bruce. All rights reserved.
"This short, sexy romp has a fast-paced plot and some high-voltage fight scenes."
— Romantic Times BOOK Reviews,
"In a world where paranormal seems to rule the bookstores, Ann Bruce has shown that you can still write a terrific, unique vampire story."
— Fallen Angel Reviews, 5
"Before Dawn is a smoldering heatfest of erotic dreams, sexy men and terrifying vampires and I loved every word."
— Simply Romance Reviews, A
"An entertaining romp."
— Mrs. Giggles, 82
"The love scenes are very intense and have an overall darkness that will make your toes curl."
— Romance Junkies, 4
"A compelling story that readers are sure enjoy."
— RRT Erotic
"Before Dawn is uniquely different for a vampire tale...[and] is sure to be enjoyed by all fans of vampire stories."
— Reader Views
"A tension laden tale, filled with an equal dose of sensuality. I was completely enthralled from page one."
— The Romance Readers Connection, 4
"A page-turner that will keep you reading until the end."
— Night Owl Romance, 4
"A suspenseful romance, complete with a dark, brooding hero."
— Sensual eCataromance, 4
"This short, sexy romp has a fast-paced plot and some high-voltage fight scenes. An unexpected twist keeps things interesting, and the sex scenes are hot, if not overly imaginative. You won't find a lot of backstory, but if you're looking for a quick entertaining read, you won't be disappointed."
— Romantic Times BOOK Reviews, (Read entire review)
"Bruce has managed to blow me away with her story... The vampire is not the good guy, plain and simple. He kills and feels no remorse over it, he dresses like an Anne Rice reject, which I suspect is on purpose, and you want him to be stopped. It's a refreshing change that I wasn't expecting, but I'm glad I got it. Mercy isn't the helpless victim but neither is she the type of woman who thinks she can save the world with no skills at all. The hero, Ryan, is tough and he knows what he's doing. He's not overbearing or overly emotional and he doesn't deny himself what he wants, which is Mercy. In a world where paranormal seems to rule the bookstores, Ann Bruce has shown that you can still write a terrific, unique vampire story."
— Fallen Angel Reviews, 5 (Read entire review)
"Before Dawn is a smoldering heatfest of erotic dreams, sexy men and terrifying vampires and I loved every word. Besides who wouldn't want a muscular hunk of a man trying to protect them from evil…all the while making you sweat just looking at him?! Grab Before Dawn but don't forget an ice cold glass of water, you're going need it!"
— Simply Romance Reviews, A (Read entire review)
"Before Dawn makes me laugh in a good way because what Ann Bruce has here is a pretty good joke of sorts: walking vampire clichés straight out of an Anne Rice novel are on the loose and we need to kill them off, like, now. Really, who can disagree with that?
"Don't be fooled by the cover and blurb into thinking that Before Dawn is one of those drippy and sweet soulmates-forever stuff - this one is actually an entertaining romp where the vampires are the bad guys."
— Mrs, Giggles, 82 (Read entire review)
"Before Dawn draws you in from page one and holds you captive until the last word. Mercy is a down to earth type of girl and her easy-going attitude makes her a likable heroine. Like every levelheaded woman she quickly puts her dreams into perspective and sees them as nothing more. The suspense, tension and mystery comes into play when her dream man shows up and it's obvious the sparks are flying and things are going to get real hot real fast. This story is quick-paced and the characters are great so you've read the whole thing before you know it. The love scenes are very intense and have an overall darkness that will make your toes curl. Ann Bruce has done a wonderful job of creating a story that readers are sure to like."
— Romance Junkies, 4 (Read entire review)
"Before Dawn is an intriguing and steamy erotic paranormal romance that I found fascinating. Mercy’s dreams of a faceless lover, who turns out to be the vampire, are intriguing and I have to say that to begin with I thought he was going to be the good guy. Boy, was I ever wrong. Ryan is a protector, and though sometimes he isn’t always forthcoming with the truth, he’s the man I’d want in my corner. Together Ryan and Mercy heat up the pages with sex, foreplay, and yes, even fights. Arousing fights. :) Secondary characters include Ryan’s partner, Savage, and the big bad vampire, Edmond. There are a couple of minor characters but Ryan, Mercy, Savage, and Edmond are the main ones. Author Ann Bruce writes a compelling story that readers are sure enjoy."
— RRT Erotic (Read entire review)
"Before Dawn is a really fast read. I loved the story. It would have been even better in a longer version, but for a change of pace, it was great to read. The storyline itself is uniquely different for a vampire tale. I also enjoyed the erotic moments between Ryan and Mercy...Before Dawn is sure to be enjoyed by all fans of vampire stories."
— Reader Views (Read entire review)
"Before Dawn...is a tension laden tale, filled with an equal dose of sensuality. I was completely enthralled from page one. It is a well-written story and sure to keep you on the edge of your seat."
— The Romance Readers Connection, 4 (Read entire review)
"Before Dawn is a page-turner that will keep you reading until the end. You must read it from cover to cover. You don't want to miss anything in the end."
— Night Owl Romance, 4 (Read entire review)
"Before Dawn is a suspenseful romance, complete with a dark, brooding hero and a heroine who finds the will to fight even when her world is turned upside down. Ryan is my kind of hero and I was rooting for him as he faced multiple challenges. But Mercy more than held her own against Ryan and the bad guy. Even as she dealt with a psychotic vampire, Mercy refused to succumb to the terror that threaten to consume her. Don't let another day pass before reading Before Dawn."
— Sensual eCataromance, 4 (Read entire review)