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Night's Edge Mass Market Paperback – Oct 1 2004


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HQN Books (Oct. 1 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373770103
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373770106
  • Product Dimensions: 16.9 x 10.6 x 2.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,145,192 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

#1 New York Times bestseller Charlaine Harris was born in Mississippi and lives in southern Arkansas with her husband, daughter and three dogs. Their sons are out of the nest. She’s written four series and two stand-alone novels in addition to numerous short stories and a novella or two. Her Sookie Stackhouse books have appeared in twenty-five different languages and on many best-seller lists. They’re also the basis of the HBO series “True Blood.”

RITA Award winning, New York Times bestselling author Maggie Shayne has published over 50 novels, including mini-series Wings in the Night (vampires), Secrets of Shadow Falls (suspense) and The Portal (witchcraft). A Wiccan High Priestess, tarot reader, advice columnist and former soap opera writer, Maggie lives in Cortland County, NY, with soulmate Lance and their furry family. --This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


Rue paused to gather herself before she pushed open the door marked both Blue Moon Entertainment and Black Moon Productions. She'd made sure she'd be right on time for her appointment. Desperation clamped down on her like a vise: she had to get this job, even if the conditions were distasteful. Not only would the money make continuing her university courses possible, the job hours dovetailed with her classes. Okay, head up, chest out, shoulders square, big smile, pretty hands, Rue told herself, as her mother had told her a thousand times.

There were two men—two vampires, she corrected herself—one dark, one red-haired, and a woman, a regular human woman, waiting for her. In the corner, at a barre, a girl with short blond hair was stretching. The girl might be eighteen, three years younger than Rue.

The older woman was hard-faced, expensively dressed, perhaps forty. Her pantsuit had cost more than three of Rue's outfits, at least the ones that she wore to classes every day. She thought of those outfits as costumes: old jeans and loose shirts bought at the thrift store, sneakers or hiking boots and big glasses with a very weak prescription. She was concealed in such an ensemble at this moment, and Rue realized from the woman's face that her appearance was an unpleasant surprise.

"You must be Rue?" the older woman asked.

Rue nodded, extended her hand. "Rue May. Pleased to meet you." Two lies in a row. It was getting to be second nature—or even (and this was what scared her most) first nature.

"I'm Sylvia Dayton. I own Blue Moon Entertainment and Black Moon Productions." She shook Rue's hand in a firm, brisk way.

"Thank you for agreeing to see me dance." Rue crammed her apprehension into a corner of her mind and smiled confidently. She'd endured the judgments of strangers countless times. "Where do I change?" She let her gaze skip right over the vampires—her potential partners, she guessed. At least they were both taller than her own five foot eight. In the hasty bit of research she'd done, she'd read that vampires didn't like to shake hands, so she didn't offer. Surely she was being rude in not even acknowledging their presence? But Sylvia hadn't introduced them.

"In there." There were some louver-doored enclosures on one side of the room, much like changing rooms in a department store. Rue entered a cubicle. It was easy to slide out of the oversize clothes and the battered lace-up boots, a real pleasure to pull on black tights, a deep plum leotard and fluttering wrap skirt to give the illusion of a dress while she danced. She sat on a stool to put on T-strap heels, called character shoes, then stood to smile experimentally at her reflection in the mirror. Head up, chest out, shoulders square, big smile, pretty hands, she repeated silently. Rue took the clip out of her hair and brushed it until it fell in a heavy curtain past her shoulder blades. Her hair was one of her best features. It was a deep, rich brown with an undertone of auburn. The color almost matched that of her deep-set, dramatic eyes.

Rue only needed her glasses to clarify writing on the blackboard, so she popped them into their case and slipped it into her backpack. She leaned close to the mirror to inspect her makeup. After years of staring into her mirror with the confidence of a beautiful girl, she now examined her face with the uncertainty of a battered woman. There were pictures in a file at her lawyer's office, pictures of her face bruised and puffy. Her nose—well, it looked fine now.

The plastic surgeon had done a great job.

So had the dentist.

Her smile faltered, dimmed. She straightened her back again. She couldn't afford to think about that now. It was show time. She folded back the door and stepped out.

There was a moment of silence as the four in the room took in Rue's transformation. The darker vampire looked gratified; the red-haired one's expression didn't change. That pleased Rue.

"You were fooling us," Sylvia said. She had a deep, raspy voice. "You were in disguise." I'd better remember that Sylvia Dayton is perceptive, Rue told herself. "Well, let's try you on the dance floor, since you definitely pass in the looks department. By the way, it's Blue Moon you want to try out for, right? Not Black Moon? You could do very well in a short time with Black Moon, with your face and body."

It was Blue Moon's ad she'd answered. "Dancer wanted, must work with vamps, have experience, social skills," the ad had read. "Salary plus tips."

"What's the difference?" Rue asked.

"Black Moon, well, you have to be willing to have sex in public."

Rue couldn't remember the last time she'd been shocked, but she was shocked now. "No!" she said, trying not to sound as horrified as she felt. "And if this tryout has anything to do with removing my clothes…"

"No, Blue Moon Entertainment is strictly for dancing," Sylvia said. She was calm about it. "As the ad said, you team with a vampire. That's what the people want these days. Whatever kind of dancing the party calls for—waltzing, hip-hop. The tango is very popular. People just want a dance team to form the centerpiece for their evening, get the party started. They like the vamp to bite the girl at the end of the exhibition dance."

She'd known that; it had been in the ad, too. All the material she'd read had told her it didn't hurt badly, and the loss of a sip of blood wouldn't affect her. She'd been hurt worse.

"After you dance as a team, often you're required to stay for an hour, dancing with the guests," Sylvia was saying. "Then you go home. They pay me a fee. I pay you. Sometimes you get tips. If you agree to anything on the side and I hear about it, you're fired." It took Rue a minute to understand what Sylvia meant, and her mouth compressed. Sylvia continued. "Pretty much the same arrangement applies for Black Moon, but the entertainment is different, and the pay is higher. We're thinking of adding vampire jugglers and a vampire magician—he'll need a 'Beautiful Assistant.'"

It steadied Rue somehow when she realized that Sylvia was simply being matter-of-fact. Sex performer, magician's assistant or dancer, Sylvia didn't care.

"Blue Moon," Rue said firmly.

"Blue Moon it is," Sylvia said.

The blond girl drifted over to stand by Sylvia. She had small hazel eyes and a full mouth that was meant to smile. She wasn't smiling now.

While Sylvia searched through a stack of CD cases, the blonde stepped up to Rue's side. She whispered, "Don't look directly in their eyes. They can snag you that way, if they want to, turn your will to their wishes. Don't worry unless their fangs run all the way out. They're excited then."

Startled, Rue used her lowest voice to say, "Thanks!" But now she was even more nervous, and she had to wonder if perhaps that hadn't been the girl's intention.

Having picked a CD, Sylvia tapped the arm of one of the vampires. "Thompson, you first."

The dark-haired taller vampire, who was wearing biking shorts and a ragged, sleeveless T-shirt, came to stand in front of Rue. He was very handsome, very exotic, with golden skin and smooth short hair. Rue guessed he was of Eurasian heritage; there was a hint of a slant to his dark eyes. He smiled down at her. But there was something in his look she didn't trust, and she always paid attention to that feeling… at least, now she did. After a quick scan of his face, she kept her eyes focused on his collarbone.

Rue had never touched a vampire. Where she came from, a smallish town in Tennessee, you never saw anything so exotic. If you wanted to see a vampire (just like if you wanted to go to the zoo), you had to visit the city. The idea of touching a dead person made Rue queasy. She would have been happy to turn on her heel and walk right out of the room, but that option wasn't open. Her savings had run out. Her rent was due. Her phone bill was imminent. She had no insurance.

She heard her mother's voice in her head, reminding her, "Put some steel in that spine, honey." Good advice. Too bad her mother hadn't followed it herself.

Sylvia popped the disk in the CD player, and Rue put one hand on Thompson's shoulder, extended the other in his grasp. His hands were cool and dry. This partner would never have sweaty palms. She tried to suppress her shiver. You don't have to like a guy to dance with him, she advised herself. The music was an almost generic dance tune. They began with a simple two-step, then a box step. The music accelerated into swing, progressed to jitterbug.

Rue found she could almost forget her partner was a vampire. Thompson could really dance. And he was so strong! He could lift her with ease, swing her, toss her over his head, roll her across his back. She felt light as a feather. But she hadn't mistaken the gleam in his eyes. Even while they were dancing, his hands traveled over more of her body than they should. She'd had enough experience with men—more than enough experience—to predict the way their partnership would go, if it began like this.

The music came to an end. He watched her chest move up and down from the exercise. He wasn't even winded. Of course, she reminded herself, Thompson didn't need to breathe. The vampire bowed to Rue, his eyes dancing over her body. "A pleasure," he said. To her surprise, his voice purely American.

She nodded back.

"Excellent," Sylvia said. "You two look good together. Thompson, Julie, you can go now, if you want." The blonde and Thompson didn't seem to want. They both sat down on the floor, backs to one of the huge mirrors that lined the room. "Now dance with Sean O'Rourke, our Irish aristocrat," Sylvia told her. "He needs a new partner, too." Rue must have looked anxious, because the older woman laughed and said, "Sean's partner got engaged and left the city. Thompson's finished med school and started her residency. Sean?"

The second vampire stepped forward, and Rue realized he hadn't moved the who... --This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book because it had a tale from Charlaine Harris that related to the Sookie Universe. I was not disappointed and was also impressed by the stories from the other authors. If you are a Charlaine Harris fan this is not one novel you will want to miss.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 36 reviews
45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
2 out of 3 ain't bad April 13 2005
By BarkLessWagMore (Horror After Dark Crew Member) - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This anthology fares better than most in that two of the three stories are worth reading. If I were able to do it all over again I'd skip the Hambly story but since I can't turn back time I've just got to suck it up.

Maggie Shayne used to be my favorite paranormal romance author way back when she was writing for Silhouette Shadows (very sadly defunct) but she lost me when she started writing books with Witchy heroines who annoyed the heck out of me. This time around she tackles a haunted house tale with a hot dog swilling heroine who works as a reporter and has a huge chip on her shoulder. Kiley spends her life debunking the local psychics, all of whom turn out to be crackpots swindling the public. All but Jack McCain, who just happens to be a hunky hunk, that is. Jack and Kiley have a love/hate relationship as he knows she's out to get him next. When Kiley suspects her new home may be haunted who do you think she runs to? None other than the man whose face she deliberately blew smoke in a few days earlier. Jack, being a man, succumbs to her charms (she's gorgeous, wouldn't you know it?) and helps her with her troubles despite his misgivings.

I enjoyed the story for the most part. I was irritated by the heroine many times but eventually she grew on me and loosened up on her stringent beliefs a bit. The haunted house aspects were just creepy enough to hold my attention and have me anxiously turning the pages but the romance was a bit of a flop for me. The pair went from complete dislike, to overwhelming lust, to deep forever love in a blink. I can't see them shacking up together for any longer than a month before boredom sets in, tempers begin to flare and Kylie storms out in a huff. Hmmm, this all sounds mighty negative but, truly, I did enjoy the story and was never bored enough to toss it aside.

The Barbara Hambly story "Someone Else's Shadow" was more problematic when it came to holding my attention. There was too much navel gazing going on and it took forever to get moving. The heroine, Maddie, had too much internal dialogue for my liking and over analyzed everything and everyone near to her. It was also excruciatingly gloomy.

One night Maddie goes out in search of her young roomie, Tessa, who spends long nights alone practicing ballet in a creepy studio. While searching for Tessa a smelly man lurking in the shadows whispers something along the lines of "little sl*ts are all alike" before disappearing. Maddie is justifiably creeped out and when Tessa introduces her to Phil, a nice enough guy who is temporarily homeless and living at the studio, she fears he was the one whispering those not-so-sweet-nothings in her ear. But she's confused because Phil isn't stinky and the erotic dreams she has about Phil after the fact have her hoping he isn't the potty-mouthed, foul-smelling psychopath hanging out in the shadows. Naturally, s he goes over and over (and over) this in her head, does a tarot reading filled with danger signs that add fuel to the fire, then worries about her roomie, her past, her mother and well you can see the pattern here.

The pace eventually picks up but for me it was too little of a pay-off that came far too late. The beginning was too unfocused and meandering and in the end it was only an okay ghost story and a so/so romance.

The Charlaine Harris story "Dancers In The Dark" was the best of the bunch. Rue is a dancer haunted by a tragic past that is only revealed in bits and pieces. She signs on with a company of dubious origins called "Blue Moon" where she is paired up with a sexily accented, very secretive, centuries old vampire named Sean. The pair hit it off as only two kindred and very damaged souls can but trouble surfaces when a nut from Rue's past comes back to haunt her. This story was tender and suspenseful and never made me think "awww, stop feeling sorry for yourselves and get over it already" as so many angsty vampire tales have a tendency to do. I liked both of these characters and their chemistry was a very powerful thing.
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Two-Thirds Excellent Dec 17 2004
By Fairportfan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The lead story is almost mind-numbingly conventional.

It's not really *bad*, it's just that the only new element it brings to the classic tale of the fake psychic who discovers she isn't is a role-reversal making the guy the "psychic" and the girl the crusading reporter determined to debunk him.

Charlaine Harris's story is set in her "Southern Vampire" universe, though Sookie and Bill (or Eric) don't show up, and involves real human problems (a stalker of proven violent intent) with a supernatural resolution. For me the main character's occasional thoughts of her youth as a child beauty and talent show competitor with a classic stage mama pushing her brought to mind every picture of JonBenet Ramsey i have ever seen -- a beautiful child who would never have had a real childhood even if she had lived and whose eyes seemed to show that even at age six she had already realised it.

In any other company, the Harris would probably have been the standout.

But Barbara Hambley's piece, about the evil that lives on in a former sweatshop that was the site of a disastrous fire reminiscent of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, is the absolute standout for me, not only for its superior handling of the dark elements of the supernatural, but for personal resonances because i recognise some of her sources and was caught up in her resolution of them.

Excellent book overall
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Eh. It's was okay. Oct. 23 2004
By Veronica Sayre - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm with the reviewers below: I love these authors. They have proven time and again that they are top notch and worth every penny. Night's Edge seemed like a hurried effort. I admit, I'm not a big fan of anthologies. I find the stories to be too quick: quick on romance, quick on character development, and quick to tie up all the loose ends created in the plot. The writing in these stories is excellent, but all have the above three problems. I initially bought this book for the Charlaine Harris story. While the concept was excellent, the story seemed to crash and burn at the end. The only thing I can say is if this is the first time you're reading anything by these three authors, be assured that their full-length novels are the real draw and these stories are just to tide us over til the next one comes out.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
three strong romantic paranormal tales Sept. 29 2004
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Someone Else's Shadow" by Barbara Hambly. In NYC, Maddie Loveau goes to the Glendower Building to meet her roommate Tessa who works there. Maddie senses evil resides inside the edifice. Worried about Tessa, her roommate introduces her to Phil Cooper, who has a studio inside the building. Though attracted to him, Maddie wonders if Phil is the malevolence that she feels is inside this structure.

"Her Best Enemy" by Maggie Shayne. Reporter Kelly Brigham of the Burnt Hills Gazette enjoys exposing fake psychics, which she does once a week. Her current target is Jack McCain, but he continually trumps her as if he knows the ploys she uses. She assumes he is just smarter than those she exposed. As she keeps looking for fraud, the medium and the medium hunter fall in love, but not even aligning the stars could predict a happy future for this pair suspicious of the other.

"Dancers in the Dark" by Charlaine Harris. Dancer Rue May answers an ad for job dancing with vampires at Blue Moon Entertainment and Black Moon Productions. Rue gets the job. Vampire Sean O'Rourke finds he is attracted to the mortal, but believes she is hiding something. As he tries to learn the truth about Rue, they fall in love, but her actions leave her in danger from an unknown person whom is part of the troupe.

These are three romantic paranormal tales with wonderful lead characters, supernatural elements that feels natural, and a touch of romance that add up into a fine anthology.

Harriet Klausner
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
So-so romance/paranormal anthology... Oct. 29 2004
By CoffeeGurl - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Charlaine Harris's novella is the reason why I bought this anthology. According to Harris's web site, her novella is based on the Sookie Stackhouse series, only with different characters. I was disappointed with Dancers in the Dark. The vampires here are nothing like the ones in the Sookie novels. They are so benign they might as well be humans. Sean is a sexy enough vampire, but he is not dark and compelling like Eric and Bill. Actually, he's quite one-dimensional. (Also, Harris's description of Sean being a redhead Irish dancer reminded of Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance.) The story itself is good and quite compelling, but the ending confused me. Everyone who has read the Southern Vampire novels knows that drinking vampire blood cures fatal injuries and gives the person temporary super strength. I know this particular ending is the sort of thing that romance readers enjoy. I for one have enjoyed some endings like this in paranormal romanticas, but the ending results are not necessary if we go by what Sookie has been through. Harris should have written an original vampire romance novella, without the synthetic blood drinks and the history surrounding vampires taken from her popular series. The short story Harris wrote for the Powers of Detection anthology was far more enjoyable than this one.

Night's Edge is a romance anthology with paranormal as the subgenre. So, this book is basically tender, PG-13 rated romance with a side order of vampires, ghosts and other creatures that go bump in the night. I often steer clear from this sort of anthology. A friend of mine loaned me the Immortal Bad Boys anthology and returned it as soon as I realized that it was the usual bad boy nonsense, only with gorgeous, so-called bad boy vampires instead of humans. I like paranormal fiction to be dark, intriguing, suspenseful, erotic, romantic, and with a touch of creativity and sharp humor -- as it should be. Berkley releases paranormal anthologies not unlike this Harlequin one, but said anthologies have a slightly darker language and are very erotic. Anyway, as for the other two stories, Maggie Shayne's ghost story Her Best Enemy entertained me from beginning to end. The ending is quite abrupt though. And Barbara Hambly's Someone Else's Shadow is the best novella in this collection. This one has a bit of a dark edge and Phil is very hot. All in all, Night's Edge is a good anthology if you're in the bargain for romantic paranormal with some light suspense. However, these novellas were not compelling enough for me. I should have known this collection would be formulaic and mild at best. After all, it is a Harlequin offering...


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