Blood and Chocolate

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9780440226680: Blood and Chocolate

Book by Klause Annette Curtis

Les informations fournies dans la section « Synopsis » peuvent faire référence à une autre édition de ce titre.

Extrait :

They were always at parties, or at the movies, or hanging out at someone's house, always in the midst of Aiden's friends, the Amoeba.  Even when they were alone together he was very careful in how far he went, as if he was afraid to scare her off. This made her smile. Soon, baby, I'll let you know how scared I'm not, she thought.

Then one evening, when he took her home, Aiden had bad news. "I have to go on vacation with my parents." He flushed with embarrassment as he told her. "I thought I could get out of it," he said. "I'm too old to get dragged to the beach with Mommy and Daddy. But they went on and on, you know, about how I'll be in college soon and it's our last chance to have a family vacation together, blah, blah, blah." He smiled anxiously at her. "I'll miss you."

"And my birthday," Vivian said sulkily, then immediately felt bad because he looked so stricken. She kissed his cheek, letting her lips linger there as she whispered a kind of apology. "Never mind, bring me back a shell or something." She could feel his skin grow hot as he responded to the warm flutter of her breath.

"I'll be back just in time for the Fourth of July," he promised, slipping his arms around her. "We'll go see the fireworks at the park. I bet someone's having a party." Someone was always having a party.

Apparently there wasn't to be a birthday fuss this year. Vivian found presents from Rudy on the kitchen table with a note explaining he would be out late and, after tossing her own contribution down, Esmé went off humming to talk on the phone for hours. Thanks for sticking around to see: if I like it, Vivian thought as she unwrapped a silky blouse. Once her birthdays had been celebrated by all the pack.

At eight that evening the doorbell rang. "Go answer it," Esmé called from upstairs. "It's my date."

Great, Vivian thought. She's leaving me alone on my birthday.

But when she opened the door the Five surged in. They swept her back to the living room with hugs and licks and love bites and cries of "Happy birthday!" Gregory carried a big paper bag stuffed with packages.

Esmé ran down the stairs, giggling. "A woman should have plenty of men around on her birthday," she declared.

The doorbell rang again and Esmé went to answer it this time. She came back with Gabriel.

Oh, I get it, Vivian thought. Bring your own date.

But Esmé looked surprised. She swept her hair back with long fingers and managed to undulate while standing still. "Gabriel." Her voice was suddenly husky. "Come to take me somewhere good." She crooned the last word.

"I came to wish Vivian happy birthday," he said.

"How nice," Esmé said, dropping the purr.

Great Moon, he's politicking, Vivian thought, like he has to win voted for leadership instead of win a fight. "Kissing babies?" she asked.

"I'd hardly call you a baby," he replied, looking her over with a grin.

Jerk, she thought.

Esmé ran to the kitchen and came back with a six-pack of Coke and two bags of chips, which she dumped on the coffee table. That was her idea of being a good hostess.

Rafe rolled his eyes when Vivian passed him a Coke. He took a big gulp; then, as soon as he thought Esmé and Gabriel weren't looking, he took a small flask from his back pocket and added an amber fluid to the can.

Gregory tipped the contents of the bag he carried onto the table beside the refreshments. "Presents," he declared unnecessarily, and settled his gangly frame upon the couch. Vivian noticed he was growing sideburns. He'd grow a small beard soon, she knew. He always copied Rafe.

While Esmé exclaimed over the tumbled pile of gifts, Ulf fidgeted and nudged till Rafe handed him the flask. Gabriel saw this time. He didn't say anything, but his lip rose in a snarl. Who died and made you God? Vivian thought. Rafe glowered back defiantly, but he put the flask away. Ulf pouted, his red locks falling around his face.

"Aren't you going to open your presents?" Finn asked.

Vivian gave in and picked up a parcel. Inside she found a scant, lacy slip. "Don't tell me," she said. "You went shoplifting at Victoria's Secret." The Five collapsed into hysterics, and Willem pushed another gift into her hands. Esmé and the boys howled with laughter as Vivian opened box after box of provocative gauzy underwear.

"Try them on," Willem urged as she held aloft another pair of frilly panties.

"Yeak, we wanna make sure they fit," said Finn, grabbing them from his twin.

"In your dreams, wolf-boy," said Vivian.

The smirk on Gabriel's face at her words made her seethe. She could put Finn down; he couldn't. What was he doing hanging out here anyway? He'd made his public appearance. Why didn't he leave?

She deliberately tried to make him feel he didn't belong by ignoring him and kissing all the Five thank you, despite their jeers and rude suggestions. Gregory put on some music--the hard pounding kind the Five loved--and she danced with them all except Gabriel. She was surprised to find she was having a good time.

Esmé glowed with contentment. She didn't even seem to be disappointed when Gabriel would only dance one dance with her. Instead she plied him hopefully with Jack Daniel's on the rocks.

Later, Vivian was rinsing some glasses in the sink when she felt someone behind her. Arms snaked around her. Hands came down over her breasts and squeezed rudely. She recognized the small spider tattoo on the right hand.

"Get off, Rafe," she said, continuing to swish hot water in the tumbler she held.

"Come on. You love it.

"Like hell."

"I don't see you running," he said, and she felt his hot breath on her neck and his teeth testing her flesh.

Vivian put the glass on the counter. She twisted slowly around into his accommodating arms, face to face with his arrogant leer.

His grin widened. "I knew it."

She smiled back at him. Her hand traveled up his thigh and his eyes grew vacant with lust, his lips parted, waiting for hers.

That was when she grabbed his crotch and squeezed.

"Ahwooooooo!" he yanked at her wrist with both hands.

"Ah, come on. You love it," she said, gripping tighter.

"Lemme go!"

Esmé called from the living room. "What's going on?"

Vivian glanced toward the door. She was startled to see Gabriel standing there. His eyes sparkled with laughter and his teeth gleamed white.

Vivian released Rafe. "Nothing, Mom. Just fooling around. Huh, Rafe?"

Rafe didn't say anything. He turned and sucked in a whimper of embarrassed rage when he saw Gabriel. He stalked out of the kitchen, his face clenched in anger.

"You can take care of yourself," Gabriel said, nodding in appreciation.

"And don't you forget it," Vivian answered. She caught the tangy whiff of his sweat as she swept by him, and felt a brief surge of fear mixed in with the heady tingle of sweet defiance. Maybe he would swat her for her insolence. Instead she heard a throaty chuckle.

She shouldn't have encouraged the Five. All the next week they were at the door or on the phone. She wouldn't run with them at night, but she finally gave up and spent some daylight time with them. Mostly they hung out and traded jokes with the bikers in front of Tooley's bar. Once they went to the mall, and the five cracked each other up menacing middle-school girls by wiggling long, long tongues at them. Vivian left in disgust.

The Five's continual bickering and jostling for rank got on her nerves. It was a relief to pick up the phone one day and hear Aiden's voice.

"Ready for fireworks?" he asked.

"Baby, are you?" she replied.

It was still light when Aiden arrived the next evening. He looked sleek and suntanned. Vivian wanted to bite the buttons off his skirt.

"I missed you," he said, and handed her a small, brightly wrapped package.

Vivian turned it over and over in her hands, admiring it as if it were a jewel. Was this the shell she had asked for? No one outside the pack had ever bought her a present. How exquisite and full of promise it was.

"You're supposed to open it," Aiden prompted gently.

"Oh, yeah." Vivian sliced through the tape with her nails and peeled off the paper, slowly savoring each crackle. Inside was a velvet box. "Ooooh!" She stroked its plushness, delayed a second more, then opened the box and found a sparkling silver pentagram on a silver chain.

Vivian was speechless for a moment; then she burst into laughter. He had given her silver.

When paired with wolf-kind blood, silver burned through the flesh like acid, doing more damage than even her people's amazing powers of healing could stop. That was why silver bullets were often fatal no matter where or how slight the wound. Silver was safe enough to wear as long as it didn't touch an open wound, but among her kind fights were common. Wolf-kind preferred to wear gold, just in case.

A legend told of the double-edged gift of Lady Moon, who gave them the ability to change, but also turned her light into the silver that could kill them if they abused the power. Aiden had given her a double-edged gift: the sign of her people made out of poison.

Aiden looked mystified by her laughter, then hurt. "You don't like it," he said.

I could wear it on our date, at least, she decided. That seemed safe enough. "Yes, I do like it," she said solemnly. "It's more perfect than I could ever tell you."

Présentation de l'éditeur :

Vivian Gandillon relishes the change, the sweet, fierce ache that carries her from girl to wolf. At sixteen, she is beautiful and strong, and all the young wolves are on her tail. But Vivian still grieves for her dead father; her pack remains leaderless and in disarray, and she feels lost in the suburbs of Maryland. She longs for a normal life. But what is normal for a werewolf?

Then Vivian falls in love with a human, a meat-boy. Aiden is kind and gentle, a welcome relief from the squabbling pack. He's fascinated by magic, and Vivian longs to reveal herself to him. Surely he would understand her and delight in the wonder of her dual nature, not fear her as an ordinary human would.

Vivian's divided loyalties are strained further when a brutal murder threatens to expose the pack. Moving between two worlds, she does not seem to belong in either. What is she really--human or beast? Which tastes sweeter--blood or chocolate?

Les informations fournies dans la section « A propos du livre » peuvent faire référence à une autre édition de ce titre.

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