A Girl’s Guide to Vampires
Dark Ones, Book 1
Harper Collins (November 4, 2003)
REPRINT: December 28, 2010
ISBN-13: 9780505525307 • ISBN-10: 0505525305
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A contemporary romantic comedy, A Girl’s Guide to Vampires is my debut in the world of the paranormal. On a visit to the Czech Republic, Joy Randall (a skeptic of all things paranormal), is suddenly thrown into the dark, dangerous world where vampires known as Dark Ones stalk the night. Armed with nothing more than a wicked sense of humor and a bag of rune stones, Joy does her best to untangle the threads involving a serial killer, vampires (both real and pretend), and the handsome, mysterious man who may or may not be what he appears.
Joy Randall’s Top 5 Tips for Vampire Hunters:
- Location, location, location. Remember, if you wouldn’t be there, neither would a bloodsucker.
- Trust your eyes. You know the handsome, annoyingly arrogant, self-assured man in the shadows with long hair and a cleft in his chin? He’s your vampire.
- No matter how tempting it might be, do not “accidentally” acquire a paper cut and suggest YOUR VAMPIRE kiss your finger to make it better.
- From here on out, play it cool. Don’t offer to accompany your prince of the night on the talk show circuit and whatever you do, don’t offer him your heart.
- And most of all, remembering a vampire is nothing to laugh about.
Read an Excerpt
“The door’s locked, so let’s leave.”
Roxy grinned as the latch to the trailer clicked open. “I must not have turned the handle hard enough.”
I glared at her, whispering furiously so as not to wake the occupant of the trailer. “Roxanne Mathilda Benner, if I thought for one minute you brought your lock picks with you to a foreign country and picked Raphael’s lock, I’d—”
“Now, now,” she calmed me. “Picking Raphael’s lock is reserved solely for you, if you know what I mean.”
“I do, and that’s not what I meant, as you well know. Breaking and entering is—”
“Shhh!” she hissed, pushing the door open and mounting the three metal steps so she could stick her head in the door. “Coast is clear,” she whispered before disappearing into the trailer. “Come on!”
I debated staying where I was, standing firm for ethical reasons, but the thought that she’d be in the closed, womb-like confines of the trailer alone with Raphael was enough to spike my jealousy count off the chart. I climbed the steps as stealthily as I could, flinching when the trailer made the usual creaks and noises of someone moving around. It was dark inside, almost completely pitch black except for the light coming from the opened door, which was extinguished as soon as I stepped into the trailer proper.
“Rox?” I froze where I was, unable to see anything once she shut the door.
“Right behind you,” she whispered in my ear. “I think the bed is at the far end. Just walk in a straight line until you reach a door.”
“Easier said than done,” I muttered as I edged forward, my hands held out before me. I couldn’t see anything but the faintest glow around what I assumed were blinds drawn tight over windows. I banged my shin on something hard, stopping to clutch my leg and swear profanely, but silently, until the worst of the pain was over, then hobbled forward.
“If Raphael doesn’t have us arrested and thrown in jail for breaking and entering, I swear by all that’s holy I’m going to get you for this, Roxy.”
I could feel her grin even if I couldn’t see it.
“Just remember that I get to be your maid of honor.”
I limped my way past what felt like a small Formica table on the left, and a bank of cupboards and counters on the right.
“Kitchen area,” I hissed back to her.
“Good. Bedroom door is straight ahead.”
Four more steps and my searching fingers found the door. It was shut.
“If the door to his bedroom is shut, why can’t we open up a blind and have a little light?” I asked.
She tsked. “What if he is a Dark One? The light’ll fry him when you open the door! You want to take a chance on that?”
“I didn’t think so. Are you at the door? Open it up and let’s see if he’s warm-blooded and breathing, or cold and lifeless.”
I muttered an imprecation at her as I gently turned the knob, praying as I did that it would be locked.
“Now what?” I said almost silently in what I assumed was Roxy’s ear.
She shoved me forward, toward the bed. Unfortunately, neither of us realized that the bedroom consisted of space for the bed, and that’s it. When she shoved me forward, my knees hit the end of the mattress, and I tumbled forward onto it, onto the legs that were currently occupying the space. At the same time, the lights in the tiny room clicked on, and I found myself lying across Raphael’s shins, staring down the barrel of an extremely efficient looking gun.
“You two are the worst housebreakers I’ve ever encountered,” he told us calmly, tucking the gun away under his pillow. I muttered an apology, my face hot and red, and pushed myself off the bed, hoping against hope I’d find a way to explain what we were doing there. That’s when I noticed Roxy. She was standing in the doorway staring at him. I turned to see what made her eyes bug out like they did, and felt my jaw hit the ground.
Raphael was sprawled over his bed—there’s just no other word for the masculine grace he displayed as he lay there—totally, completely, utterly naked. I let my eyes go wild, feasting in an orgy of delight as I gazed at all that flesh, starting at his toes (nice long, narrow feet), working my way up muscular calves and heavily muscled thighs to pause for a long, long moment on that part of him that many parts of me were even now clamoring for. I swallowed back a good gallon or so of saliva that was threatening to issue forth as drool and continue up his stomach, where I stopped to admire a starburst tattoo just below his belly button. It was about the size of a half dollar, and was made up of a sun with wavy rays emanating from it. I’d never seen anything like it, and although I wasn’t a fan of tattoos, that one had me licking my lips. I tore my eyes from it and let my gaze continue up to a broad chest with insouciant nipples that screamed out for attention, took two side excursions to arms that were muscley without being obscenely big, stopping finally when I was caught snare of his eyes.
“You are so lucky,” Roxy said to me in a voice filled with awe.
“Would you like me to turn over so you can see my other side?” Raphael asked.
“Would you?” Roxy breathed hopefully.
“No, he would not,” I snapped, shoving her out the door.
She pushed back to leer at Raphael as he started to get out of bed. “Nice seeing you! And I mean that literally!”
She craned her head around me again. “That’s a really great tattoo by the way. Sexy! Bet it drives the women wild.”
“Sorry. I’ll just go sit out here while you conduct the test.”
“What test?” I asked her in a whisper.
“The vampire test, stupid!”