Hell's Belle [Shadow Ancients]
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by Cammie Eicher
Category: Dark Fantasy/Romance
Description: Belle DuPont has one hard and fast rule--take the money and run. It's worked perfectly for the first century of her life, and she sees no reason to change anything. Until she meets vampire Misha Tsarentza, a clan elder of the Ancients. His duty by blood and her obligation by salary put them on the road to protecting the Ancients' highest authority from a band of rogue vampires intent on the destruction of the old ways and the old leaders. Belle soon discovers that swearing off love is hard to do when faced with the intensity of Misha's company and her increasing attraction to him. Uniting to fight a bunch of big bad Ancients is one thing...uniting her heart with his is quite another. Especially when falling in love may lead to both her execution and his.
eBook Publisher: Resplendence Publishing, LLC/Resplendence Publishing, LLC, 2010 2010
eBookwise Release Date: August 2010
8 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [378 KB]
Reading time: 236-331 min.
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Her next funeral was going to be bigger.
With a New Orleans jazz band, maybe, and a few hired mourners. She might even spring for a real minister, someone slicker than the skeleton in the suit who was laying a brass urn of kitty litter to rest.
Belle DuPont arranged her features into appropriate sorrow as the mortician gravely murmured, "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust," sneaking a quick look at his watch as he extended his hand in condolence to her. That hand was clammy, his breath tainted with the scent of cheap bourbon no amount of mouthwash could cover. She doubted if he had more than one suit to his name.
Which was why she'd chosen the man. He needed money. She needed a death certificate to allow her to inherit her own property. Again.
Things were getting complicated, and she was only a hundred and thirty years old. She couldn't imagine how much confusing life would become before she died in another two hundred years or so.
The last "amen" had barely slipped from the funeral director's mouth when Belle's pocket began to chime. The interruption couldn't have come at a better time. She could tell the man was getting ready to ask nosy questions, like where the grandmother he thought he'd just buried had died and which newspapers to notify.
Excusing herself, she moved across two rows of tombstones to a shady retreat created by sun-dappled trees. If the man overheard her there, it wouldn't be by accident.
She didn't trust anyone. Life was safer that way.
Punching the cell phone's talk button, she muttered, "Speak."
She listened to the familiar voice on the other end, memorizing the directions given.
When the caller finished, Belle said, "Thanks for the referral. I'll be in touch," and hit the off button.
Slipping an extra fifty-dollar bill into the funeral director's worn Bible as she said goodbye, Belle left the cemetery. With any luck, he'd spend the money on food and not at the nearest liquor store.
Focusing on him kept her from thinking about how tough it was to leave the graveyard. Yeah, it was in the middle of nowhere and hard to get to, but in this one thing, she was driven by sentiment and not convenience. This was the only place to find her relatives. Her mother, gone almost sixty years now. Her father longer than that. Grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, all rested beneath this sod.
It sucked to be the last of her kind.
Shoving away that depressing thought, Belle kick-started her Harley and roared down the narrow country road, away from the dappled hillside and back toward civilization.