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Twilight Hunger Mass Market Paperback – Sep 1 2006

3.1 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
--This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Mira; Reprint edition (Sept. 1 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0778322637
  • ISBN-13: 978-0778322634
  • Product Dimensions: 16.9 x 11 x 2.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,003,457 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

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.

We children were supposed to be asleep….

But we woke, as if in response to some silent summons. We crept to the entrances of our tents and wagons, drawn like moths to the snapping flames of the central fire and the dark, leaping shadows the strange woman cast as she danced.

There was no music. I knew there was none, but it seemed to me that music filled my head all the same as I peered around the painted flap and watched her. She whirled, scarves trailing like colorful ghosts in her wake, her hair, black as the night, yet gleaming blue in the fire's glow. She arched and twisted and spun round again. And then she stopped still, and her eyes, like shining bits of coal, fixed right on mine. Scarlet lips curved in a terrifying smile, and she crooked a finger at me.

I tried to swallow, but the lump of cold dread in my throat wouldn't let me. Licking my lips, I glanced sideways at the tents and painted wagons of my kin, and saw the other children of our band, peering out at her, just as I was. Some of my cousins were older than I, some younger. Most looked very much like me. Their olive skin smooth, their eyes very round and wide, too thickly fringed for the eyes of a boy, but lovely be yond words on little girls. Their hair was uncut, like mine, but clean and raven black.

We were Gypsies all, and proud. The dancing woman…she was a Gypsy, too. I knew that at a glance. She was one of our own.

And crooking her finger at me still.

Dimitri, older than me by three years, gave me a superior look and whispered, "Go to her. I dare you!"

Only to prove myself braver than he, I stiffened my spine and stepped out of my mother's tent, my bare feet covering the cool ground by mere inches with each hesitant step. As I crept closer, the others, taking courage in mine, began to come out, too. Slowly we gathered round the beautiful stranger like sinners come to worship at the feet of a goddess. And as we did, her smile grew wider. She beckoned us closer, a finger to her lips, and then she sat down on a log near the fire.

"Who is she?" I whispered to Dimitri, for he had joined us now, too, ashamed of himself, I thought, not to have been leading us all from the start.

"Stupid, do you know nothing? She is our aunt." He shook his head disgustedly at me, then returned his enraptured gaze to the woman. "Her name is Sarafina," he said. "She comes sometimes…though I suppose you are too young to recall her last visit. She's not supposed to be here, though. When the grown-ups find out, there will be trouble."

"Why?" I too was entranced by the mysterious stranger as she lowered herself to the log, spreading the layers of her colorful skirts around her, opening her arms to welcome the young ones who crowded closer to sit on the ground all around her. I sat closest of all, right at her feet. Never had I seen a woman so beautiful. But there was something else about her, as well. Something…unearthly. Something frightening.

And there was the way her eyes kept meeting mine. There was a secret in that black gaze—a secret I could not quite see. Something shadowed, hidden.

"Why will there be trouble?" I whispered again.

"Because! She is outcast!"

My brows drew together. I was about to ask why, but then the woman—my aunt Sarafina, whom I had never seen before in my life—began to speak. And her voice was like a song. Mesmerizing, deep, beguiling.

"Come, little ones. Oh, how I've missed you." Her gaze swept the faces of the children, the look in her eyes almost painful to see, so intense was the emotion there. "But most of you do not remember me at all, do you?" Her smile faltered. "And you, little Dante. You are…how old now?"

"Seven," I told her, my voice a mere whisper.

"Seven years," she replied with a heavy sigh. "I was here the day you were born, you know."

"No. I…didn't know."

"No matter. Oh, children, I've so much to tell you. But first…" She tugged open a drawstring sack that dangled from the sash round her waist, and from it she began to draw glorious things, which she handed around to one and all. Sweets and confections such as we had never tasted, wrapped in brightly colored paper. Shiny baubles on chains, and glittering stones of all kinds, carved into the shapes of animals and birds.

The one she gave to me was a stone of black onyx in the shape of a bat. I shivered when she placed the cold piece into my palm.

When the sack was empty and the children all quiet again, she began to speak. "I have seen so many things, little ones. Things you would not believe. I journeyed to the desert lands, and there I saw buildings as big as mountains—every stone larger than an entire Gypsy wagon! Perfect and smooth they are, and pointed at the top." She used her hands to make the shape of these wonders in the air before us. "No one knows who built them, nor when. They have been there forever, some say. Others say they were built as monuments to ancient kings…and that the bodies of those rulers still rest inside, along with treasures untold!" When our eyes widened, she nodded hard, making her raven curls dance and her earrings jangle. "I've been across the sea…to the land below, where creatures with necks as tall as… as that yew tree there, walk on stilt legs and nibble the young leaves from the tops of the trees. Yellow gold they are, and spotty! With sprouts atop their heads!"

I shook my head in disbelief. Surely she was spinning tales.

"Oh, Dante, it is true," she said. And her eyes held mine, her words for me alone, I was certain. "One day you will see these things, too. One day I will show them to you myself." Reaching down, she stroked a path through my hair and leaned close to me, whispering into my ear. "You are my very special boy, Dante. You and I share a bond more powerful even than the one you share with your own mother. Remember my words. I'll come back for you someday. When you need me, I will come."

I shivered and didn't know why.

Then I went stiff at the sound of the Grandmother's squawk. "Outcast!" she yelled, rushing from her tent and jabbing her fingers at Sarafina in the way that was said to ward off evil, the two middle fingers folded, forefinger and little one pointing straight out. She made a hissing sound when she did it, so I thought of a snake with a forked tongue snapping.

The children scattered. Sarafina rose slowly, the picture of grace, and I alone remained before her. Almost without thought, I got to my feet and turned to face the Grandmother. As if I wished to protect the lovely Sarafina. As if I could. My back was toward the woman now, and as her hands closed on my shoulders, I felt myself grow a full inch taller.

Then the Grandmother glared at me, and I thought I would shrink to the size of a sand flea.

"Can you not tolerate my presence even once every few years or so, Crone?" Sarafina asked. Her voice was no longer loving or soft or kind. It was deep and clear… and menacing.

"You've no business here!" the Grandmother said.

"But I have," she replied. "You are my family. And like it or not, I am yours."

"You are nothing. You are cursed. Be gone!"

Chaos erupted around us as mothers, awakened by the noise, dashed out of their tents and wagons, gathered their children and hurried them back inside. They acted as if a killer wolf had appeared at our campfire, rather than an outcast aunt of rare beauty, bearing exotic gifts and amazing tales.

My mother came, too. As she rushed toward me I tucked the stone bat up into my sleeve. She stopped before she reached me and met Sarafina's eyes. "Please," was all she said.

There was a moment of silence as something passed between the two women. Some message, unspoken, that left my mother's eyes sad and welling with tears.

Sarafina bent down and pressed her cool lips to my cheek. "I'll see you again, Dante. Never doubt it. But for now, go on. Go to your mamma." She gave me a gentle shove and let go my shoulders.

I walked to my mother, nearly hating her for making me leave the mysterious Sarafina before I'd had a chance to learn her secrets. She gripped my arm tightly and ran to our tent so fast that she nearly dragged me off my feet. Inside, she closed the flap and cupped my face in her hands, falling to her knees before me. "Did she touch you?" she cried. "Did she mark you?"

"Sarafina would not hurt me, Mamma. She is my aunt. She is kind, and beautiful."

But my mother seemed not to hear my words. She tipped my head to one side and the other, pushing my hair aside and searching my skin. I tired of it soon enough and tugged myself free.

"You are never to go near her again, do you hear me, Dante? If you see her, you must come to me at once. Promise me!"

"But why, Mamma?"

Her hand came across my face so suddenly I would have fallen had she not been gripping my arm with the other. "Do not question me! Promise me, Dante. Swear it on your soul!"

I lowered my head, my cheek stinging, and muttered my agreement. "I promise." I was ashamed of the tears that burned in my eyes. They came more from shock than pain. My mother's hand rarely lashed out in anger. I didn't understand why it had tonight.

She knelt now, her hands on my shoulders, her worn face close to mine. "It's a promise you must keep, Dante. You endanger your soul if you break it. Mark me well." She drew a breath, sighed, and kissed the cheek she had so recently wounded. "Now, into bed with you." She was marginally calmer, her voice nearer its normal pitch.

I was far from calm. Something had stirred my blood to night. I crawled into my bed, pulled the covers over me and let the tiny, cold stone bat drop from my sleeve into my hand. I held it, rubbed its smooth surface with my thumb, beneath the blanket where my mother could not see. Mamma watched over me for a long moment, then blew out the lamp, and curled up—not upon her own bed, but on the floor beside mine, a worn blanket her only cushion.

In the silence, I rolled toward the side of the tent and thrust a forefinger through the tiny hole I had made in the fabric, so I could watch the grown-ups round the fire long after they had sent the children to bed. I tugged the hole a little wider in the darkness. And through that tiny hole, I watched and I listened as the Grandmother, the crone of the band, the eldest and most venerated woman of the family, faced off against the most vibrantly beautiful female I had ever seen in my life.

"Why do you torment us by coming back to our midst?" the Grandmother asked, as the dancing flames painted her leathery face in orange and brown, shadows and light.

"Why? You, my own sister, ask me why?"

"Sister, bah!" The Grandmother spat on the ground.

"You are no sister to me but a demon. Outcast! Cursed!"

I shook my head in wonder. What could Sarafina mean? Sister? She could no more be the old one's sister than…than I could.

"Tell me why you come, demon! It is always the children you seek out when you return. It's for one of them, isn't it? Your wretched curse has been passed to one of them! Hasn't it? Hasn't it?"

Sarafina smiled very slowly, her face angelic and demonic all at once, and bathed in fireglow. "I come because you are all I have. I will always come back, old woman. Always. Long after you've gone to dust, I'll be coming back, bringing gifts to the little ones. Finding in their eyes and in their smiles the love and acceptance my own sister denies me. And there is nothing you can do to prevent it."

Before Sarafina turned away, she looked past the Grandmother and right into my eyes. As if she had known all along that I was there, watching her from the other side of that tiny hole in the tent. She could not have seen me. And yet, she must have. Her lips curved ever so slightly at the corners, and her mouth moved. Even though no sound emerged, I knew the word she whispered. Remember.

Then she turned, her skirts flying, and vanished into the night. I saw the trailing colors of her scarves like tails behind her for only an instant. Then the blackness of night closed in where she had been, and I saw her no more.

I lay down on my pillows, and I shivered in inexplicable dread.

It was me. My aunt had come for me. I knew it in my soul. What she wanted of me, I could not guess. How I knew it, this was a mystery. But I was certain to the core of me that she did have a reason for returning in the face of such hatred. And the reason…was me.

Slowly, slowly, the smoke from the Gypsy campfire thinned. The light thrown by the flames dulled, and the heat—so real she had sworn she could feel it on her face—went cold.

Morgan De Silva blinked out of the fantasy. She was not looking at a Gypsy campfire through the huge dark eyes of a small boy. She was sitting on the floor of a dusty attic, staring down at the time-yellowed pages of a handwritten journal, bound in leather covers so old they felt buttery-soft against her hands. The vision painted by the words that spiderwebbed across the aging pages had been vivid. It had been…real. As real as if she'd been in that Gypsy camp in the distant past, instead of on the coast of Maine in the early spring of 1997.

Morgan turned the page slowly, eager to read on….

--This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
TWILIGHT HUNGER is an interesting story, but the author's habitual use of one particular phrase drove me to distraction.
God, I hate it when she does that. God, I wish she'd stop. God, what's going on here? It seemed like in every paragraph she had a "God, ...." phrase. On some pages, it literally *is* every paragraph, at least once. If you took out all of those "God," and just capitalized the first letter in the word after the comma, it would work just fine. Apparently every single character in her book thinks or talks like that, from the very old gypsy vampiress to the young private investigator chick. Highly, highly annoying.
Obviously, the phrasing made an impression upon me. It was bad enough that I read the end of the book to see if I really wanted to plod through that annoyance. I did finish the book eventually, but the book is easy to put down and quite predictable. I'm not impressed with this woman's writing style, but I may give her another chance because reviews seem to indicate her other books were better.
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All I can say is that I wish I had read these reviews before I bought, much less read Twilight Hunger! I've always been a fan of Maggie Shayne's vampire romance novels and was looking forward to the continuing series. However, this book had no romance whatsover and the main characters were really undeveloped and what we did learn about them wasn't likeable. Morgan's obsession with Dante such that she couldn't even leave the house and her wanting to wallow in her dreams to be near this "madman" who believed he was vampire, but who she was in love with, was just too much. And I'm still trying to get over the "flashback" scene of Dante having such violent sex with a mortal tavern maid that he kills her. All I could think was that based on the description of her injuries (neck ripped open so that her windpipe was visible), the poor woman was dead long before Dante "finished." I've never been into necrophilia, so that was a complete turnoff. From that point on, because I just have to finish the book to see if it could get any worse (it didn't, but it didn't get any better either), I just skimmed the rest to see how it would end.
And another thing, I never understand why Shayne's vampires are so weak. Her vampire lore seems to say that all you have to do is stick one to make them bleed, and then wait for them to bleed to death. Dante seemed about to meet that fate on 3 or 4 occasions! If it's that easy to kill a vampire, what's the big deal about being one.
Anyway, if you want a good romantic vampire story, try Maggie Shayne's earlier books in the series, and skip this one!
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Maggie Shayne is probably the only writer that can keep me entertained from beginning to end, but after reading her books "Eternity" and "Infinity", I must say that I was rather disappointed with my first venture into the vampire series, as opposed to the phenomenal witch series. And while I do admit that the prologue to "Twilight Hunger", which features a lavish vampiress dancing around a demon bonfire while seducing her soon-to-be companion with her dark, mysterious gypsy eyes, is a griping opener at that, soon after "Twilight Hunger" becomes somewhat stagnant with rushed writing and a corny direction in the plot line. The sex scenes are definitely more erotic and the gore is more intense than in previous books by Maggie Shayne, but the characters here have no real depth, nor do they have any personality. I do love the parts when Morgan is reading from Dante's journal, which details how his beautiful yet malicious aunt Sarafina transforms him into a creature of everlasting hunger, but other than that (and some sweltering lust scenes) I would much rather recommend the aforementioned witch books, including "Destiny" and the short story "Immortal", which can be found in J.D. Robb's "Out Of This World".
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Morgan de Silva, poor little once-rich girl, has slunk away to the run-down old mansion belonging to a family friend to try to pull her life together. Her dream is to make it as a scriptwriter, and she even has a fast-track route to success if she can produce a script, except she's no good at it. After six months, her screen is still blank... until she stumbles on a set of journals, written by a man called Dante, who lived 150 years ago and believed that he was a vampire. Reading the journals, Morgan finds herself transported into Dante's mind, and his life plays out for her in her head... and also on her computer screen. Five years later, she's written three vampire movies, all about Dante's life and based on the journals of what she assumes was a long-dead fantasist.
Meanwhile, in White Plains, Maxine Stuart, a conspiracy theorist, stumbled on the secrets of DPI the night their headquarters was destroyed (this book is a sequel to Shayne's earlier Born in Twilight). After a vampire strikes, killing a woman, Maxine makes the connection between a vampire called Dante whose details are on a CD-Rom she stole and the Dante of Morgan de Silva's films. She and her close friend Lou, a police officer, realise that they need to speak to Morgan, and set off to find her, not realising that they're already one step behind a rogue DPI agent, Frank Stiles.
Meanwhile, Dante is alive and well, and he's after Morgan to find out how she found out his secrets and why she betrayed him. Instead, though, he finds himself drawn to her - she is, after all, one of the Chosen, and she's dying...
Like other reviewers, I didn't enjoy this book as much as others in Shayne's series.
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