Dante Notte's storyArgeneau series book #23
Avon
February 23, 2016
ISBN-10: 0062316044
ISBN-13: 978-0062316042




Argeneau Family Tree
Notte Family Tree


Buckle up—the Argeneaus are back in a sexy, witty new novel from New York times bestselling author Lynsay Sands

Dante Notte has heard it said that love hurts. He just wasn’t expecting it to run him over in an RV. Still, a punctured lung and broken ribs are nothing compared to the full-body shock he feels whenever he’s near the vehicle’s driver, Mary Winslow. He needs to keep her safe from their pursuers while he rescues his brother. Most challenging of all, he needs to claim this smart, stubborn woman as his life mate.

The naked, injured, insanely gorgeous younger man who clambered into her RV insists they belong together. If Mary wasn’t feeling their incredible connection in every inch of her being, she wouldn’t believe it. But now that the men who took Dante’s twin are after her too, trusting her gut means risking her life for an immortal who’s the very definition of a perfect stranger.


One of the Notte twins is finally getting his story! You heard me alright. Dante Notte is the lucky twin that meets his match when literally gets run down by his life mate's RV. This pair may be off to a rocky start but we have high hopes for Dante and Mary!

Average 4.5 star rating on Goodreads!

I finished Runaway Vampire, by @LynsaySands. I absolutely loved it. The storyline feels fresh. I adore Dante & Mary. 5 stars. By Linda @pasiveagressiva

First off, I absolutely love this author's lighthearted and steamy writing style. This plot was loaded with a non-stop suspense that looks to carry on into the next book. There was an excellent mystery and Dante's twin brother is still missing and I assume will find his life mate in the next book. As usual, the storytelling was creative and amazing. I don't think I'll ever tire of this series.
This novel was a lovely read and I enjoyed every bit of the story, the characters and the humor. As always, I give it my very highest recommendation. Score: 5.00 / 5 - Reviewer Top Pick by Debra Taylor at NightOwlReviews.com

Fans of older women/younger men romances will be entertained and delighted by this romance road trip. VERDICT Sexy, laugh-out-loud funny, and brimming with nonstop adventure, this latest addition to Sands’s “Argeneau Vampire” series is a rollicking good time. Review by the Library Journal.

When I started this book and saw that Mary was his life mate and that her husband had died and she had a daughter, I thought that maybe for the first time, I might not like the story. Which, in the scheme of things being 23 books deep, would not have been the worst thing……… Fortunately, I was waaaay wrong. Readers will absolutely fall in love with Mary and Dante, just as I did. Also love the fact that we just about always get to see our buddies from previous books, which is always a plus. If you’re looking for a quick, fun and sexy read, you can NOT go wrong with this or any of the Argeneau Series. Well done, Lynsay Sands. Very, very well done! Review by Vickie M at TheReadingCafe.com.

I can always count on Ms. Sands to deliver a tale that takes me away from my every day gerbil wheel and propels me into a world I’m always happy to visit. Time ceased to matter, and indeed, it flew by because reading Runaway Vampire was an adventure in joy, excitement, exploration and fun. I usually feel happy after reading a book by this author and I’m glad to say this one continued the tradition. Runaway Vampire is a hit. It’s practically perfect, a little quirky, still has the Argeneau family feel to it and I’m satisfied with the happy for now. Why an HFN? Because it ended with a beginning and I am excited about the prospect. Ms. Sands knows how to leave a reader craving for more in all the best ways. Review by Xeranthemum at LongAndShortReviews.com.

If I hadn't been a fan of Lynsay Sands already, RUNAWAY VAMPIRE would have made an instant convert out of me! The fantastic beginning nearly had me clapping my hands with glee at what I could expect. I am overjoyed that the author uses a premise that had been the subject of a short story and decided to make a whole book out of it, with different characters. Mary and Dante are simply sublime; I took to them right away. He is delightfully Italian, and totally scrumptious. Mary is a no-nonsense woman, and the idea of her reactions to being Dante's fated mate—a vampire's forever love—had me settling down with a smile on my face, ready to revel in what was coming. I read RUNAWAY VAMPIRE in one sitting, and I could have read for hours more! This book being the umpteenth in the series, I was absolutely amazed and awed at how RUNAWAY VAMPIRE recaptures the wonder, the joy, and the sheer fun of ONE QUICK BITE. Review by Monique Daoust at FreshFiction.com.

I highly recommend reading RUNAWAY VAMPIRE by Lynsay Sands simply because you’ll have such a great time reading a book—ever. You’ll laugh, you’ll swoon, you’ll worry, and you’ll cheer on Dante as he tries so hard to win Mary over. And before you ask—yes, you can read this one just as you can all of the others that have come before it as a standalone. So what are you waiting for? It’s time you dip into the Argeneau series if you haven’t already. As for me, I’m thinking I need to get an RV and start roaming the back roads, in case Tomasso escapes too. Review by Amy Valentini at UnwrappingRomance.blogspot.ca.

Speaking of excitement, readers need to hang on tight because starting at the beginning, there is lots of it to be found and quite a few unforgettable scenes like the one that takes place when Dante enters Mary’s life which is one humdinger of an event, I’ll certainly never forget...Once again, Lynsay Sands had my undivided attention until I had read every last page of Dante and Mary’s story and here’s a bit of a warning, there is a new enemy that is causing quite a bit of mayhem and I can’t wait to find out what happens next. 5 out of 5. Reviewed by Eva at ParanormalHaven.com.

Lynsay Sands does it again! Just when I think I can't love her Argeneau series even more she releases a new book and hits it out of the park again. Runaway Vampire is full of the trademark humor, action and a whole lot of love that I've come to expect from this series. I love how each book subtly introduces a new storyline, while still keeping pace with the series. This book is part of the Argeneau series, but can certainly be read as a standalone. 5 star review by Melissa Ives at SaveYourMoneyForBooks.blogspot.ca.

I love Ms. Sands’ Argeneau series. I continue to be astonished at how many ways she has her vampires meet their life mates. She doesn’t rely on one method or one strategy. Each story is so unique and different. This latest book in the series is no exception. By Leah at EyeOnRomance.com

This is a great new Argeneau story! While I admit that I have not been able to catch up with all 23 books in the series, Runaway Vampire, like all the others, can be easily read without having read all (or any) of the others. I remarkable feat for such a long and detailed series. Reviewed by Rae at RaeWritesRomance.

I realize this is #23 in the Argeneau series, and the twins, Dante and Tomasso were introduced back in book #5 and one would think this couldn’t be read as a stand alone. One would be mistaken. This was my very first Lynsay Sands book and more importantly, I just jumped right in at #23 in this series! Runaway Vampire was a very fun read... Reviewed by Scandal at ScandalisciousBookReviews.

I thoroughly enjoyed Runaway Vampire. It was funny in the right spots, the chemistry was exploited just enough to make it steamy and when the sexual tension is finally released, the sheets are left smoking. There’s a nice mix of old favorites that pop by therefore the core of the cast is still involved. Having said that, we are 23 books into this series and it’s safe to say you could pick this book up and start the series here. I mean, I don’t know why you’d want to miss out on the other books but rest assured, you wouldn’t be lost. The world building is recapped in a way to keep the veteran series reader involved without leaving the newbie behind. The added bonus, for an old lady like me is, age is truly just a number, it’s the sum total of your experiences that make you beautiful. Reviewed by Scandal at HeroesAndHeartbreakers.com.

The latest entry in the sizzling paranormal vampire series featuring the Argeneau family - no one does wickedly funny and irresistibly steamy like Lynsay Sands! It was SO very easy to get lost in Mary and Dante’s story: as the attraction grows and secrets are revealed. Mary is so very solid and wonderful, and manages to challenge Dante in the right ways, that keep their relationship moving forward even when finding Tomasso and avoiding the threats that are coming are foremost in their minds.  Clever dialogue, some serious steam and a wonderful pairing that felt unlike any other ‘fated mates’ I have ever seen with a nice balance of give and take between the two.  Working well on its own, this story kept me engaged and felt fresh and new, even as a later installment in a long running series. Reviewed by IAmIndeed.com.

 

Chapter One

Mary stifled a yawn, and then gave her head a shake, trying to ease the sleepiness closing in around her. Having slept in this morning, she'd started out late and shouldn't be tired yet, but it turned out driving for hours at a stretch was exhausting. It hadn't seemed tiring when she'd had Joe with her on these travels down to Texas from their home in Canada. The two of them had passed the time chatting about this and that and the miles had seemed to fly by. Of course, he'd also helped by plying her with coffee after coffee as well, as she had done for him while he drove. Now, though, it was just endless hours of long roads and nothingness.

Bailey sat up beside her to nudge her arm with a concerned whimper and Mary smiled faintly. Keeping her eyes on the road ahead, she reached down blindly to pet the German shepherd. It was as if the dog had a sixth sense when it came to her moods and was always offering comfort whenever Mary's thoughts turned to her deceased husband.

"It's all right," she assured the dog. "I'm fine. We're almost there. Another hour and we should reach our next stop." She forced a smile and sat up a little straighter in the driver's seat as she returned her hand to the wheel.

In the next moment, a thud startled the smile off her face, and Mary slammed on the brakes as the right wheels of the RV rocked over something in the road. Despite pretty much standing on the brake pedal, the vehicle continued forward a good distance before coming to a shuddering halt that sent drawers and doors flying open, loosing items to tumble out onto the floor.

Jaw tight, Mary glanced into the side mirrors, then the rear camera view as well. She'd hoped to see what she'd hit, but there were no streetlights on this lonely back road and the side mirrors only reflected darkness. As for the rear-view camera screen, despite the camera's night vision capabilities, she couldn't spot what she'd hit. She'd have to get out and look, Mary realized with a sinking heart.

"Probably just someone's trash tossed out and left on the road," she muttered reassuringly to Bailey. Certainly she hadn't seen anything before the thud, just the paved road revealed by her headlights.

Maybe she didn't have to get out and look.

Mary barely had the thought before she was pushing it away. Her eyes weren't as good as they used to be, and she might be more tired than she realized. Had she hit a deer that had lunged out of the trees? It might even have been a pedestrian in dark clothes or something. It was the possibility that she might have hit someone walking on the side of the road that forced her out of her seat.

Pushing the button to ease the driver's seat back several inches, she stood in the space she'd made and then paused, kept in place by Bailey, who had stood up and was now blocking her way.

"Move, girl," she ordered and the shepherd obeyed at once, trotting toward the door behind the passenger chair. Able to move now, Mary shifted to the right a few steps and opened the pull-up doors above the front passenger window to retrieve the large flashlight that was stored there. These doors were among the few that hadn't slammed open in the stop, she noted. A good thing too; she and Bailey would have taken a beating had these opened and allowed their contents to crash down over them.

Flashlight in hand, Mary moved up behind Bailey to reach for the lock on the door. It would have been easier without the dog in the way, but it was a dark lonely road out there and Mary was more than happy to let the shepherd lead the way. Not that she was that worried. Of course, she'd heard the stories of RVers getting jacked on lonely stretches of highway and such, but most RVers wouldn't take this route, they'd stick to the highways. Surely smart criminals wouldn't sit around out here for days or weeks on end waiting for that one idiot RVer who eschewed the highway for the more scenic route?

On the other hand, who said criminals were smart? Mary asked herself as she pushed the door open. Bailey immediately bound down the steps and disappeared into the darkness.

"Bailey! Wait for me," Mary barked, rushing down the first two steps, only to pause on the last of the inside steps so that she could turn on the flashlight. She then swung the beam over the gravel and grass below, before stepping down onto the metal stairs that had dropped down when she'd opened the door.

Cool damp air slapped her face as she stepped down onto the side of the road, but Mary barely noticed, she was shining her flashlight around in search of her dog. Catching a glimpse of Bailey's tail end disappearing around the back of the RV, Mary muttered a curse under her breath and moved a bit more swiftly, which still wasn't very fast. The side of the road was uneven, littered with stones and weeds. The last thing she needed was to stumble and fall and break something in the middle of nowhere. Help would not come for a while out here, if at all.

"Bailey?" Mary called as she reached the back of the RV and was startled to hear the slight quaver in her voice. She sounded like a scared old woman, and the knowledge annoyed the hell out of her. Irritated now, she snapped, "Bailey! Get back here or I'll get your leash."

A bark sounded to her right, on the driver's side of the RV and she started in that direction, but paused when Bailey appeared before her, tail wagging and excitement in every line of her body. Once Bailey had her attention, the dog barked again.

"What is it?" Mary asked, and in her head heard Joe's voice finishing the question with "Did Timmy fall down the well?" It was one of his little jokes. He'd had many of them and they'd always made her smile no matter how often he used them.

Pushing the thought away with a little sigh, she turned her flashlight to run it over the road behind the RV. By her guess it must have taken them a good twenty or thirty feet to stop, but it may have been as much as sixty or even a hundred. With 20,000 pounds of weight behind it, the RV wasn't designed for fast braking. Mary often thought that should be written on the front and back of the large vehicles. "Give wide berth, RVs need space to stop." It would certainly help with tailgaters and those idiot drivers who seemed to like to cut her off on the highways. That was the reason she was on this lonely back road. She hadn't wanted to have to deal with aggressive drivers on the highway today. And perhaps she'd also wanted to avoid the stretch of highway where Joe had suffered his heart attack last year.

Pushing that thought away as well, Mary swung the flashlight from left to right on the road, frowning when the light didn't reveal anything but wet tarmac. It had obviously rained here earlier, the road was soaking and the air was heavy with moisture.

Raising her flashlight to see farther down the lane, Mary started away from the RV, but hadn't gone far before she began to feel unaccountably nervous at leaving the safety of the RV behind. It was silly, she supposed, but the night was so very dark out here. And there was an odd almost waiting quality to the silence around her. The only sound she could hear was the rustle of leaves in the breeze. Shouldn't there have been the chirps and hoots of crickets, frogs, and owls or something? For some reason the lack of those sounds bothered her a great deal.

"Nothing," Mary muttered nervously, and found herself easing backward step after step until she felt the bumper of the RV against the backs of her legs. She almost turned and hurried back inside the vehicle, but her conscience wouldn't let her. She'd hit something. The best scenario was that she'd run over garbage, but if that were the case there would be trash all over the road, and there just wasn't. The next best option was that she'd hit a deer or some other animal but there was nothing on the road. She hadn't just hit something; she'd run over it. Mary distinctly recalled the way the RV had bounced over something in the road. She'd think whatever it was might have got caught and been dragged, but there had been two bumps over whatever it was—front tires and back.

Of course, whatever she'd hit could have got caught behind the back tires and been dragged, some part of her brain pointed out, and Mary turned to shine the flashlight under the RV. The double back tires were a good six feet before the end of the RV and she bent at the waist to see more, then straightened abruptly when Bailey began to bark. The dog had moved up the passenger side of the RV and Mary stepped out beside it to find her with the flashlight beam.

Bailey stood next to the door to the RV, she noted, but the dog was staring off into the dark trees along the side of the road, body stiff and growling.

Mary promptly turned the flashlight beam toward the woods where Bailey had focused her attention. She caught a glimpse of something in the trees, but it was gone so quickly. It may have just been a shadow caused by her flashlight, she reassured herself. Still, something had Bailey upset.

Fear suddenly tripping through her, Mary swallowed and began to ease toward Bailey. She did so by shuffling sideways so that her back was to the RV and her flashlight beam and gaze could remain trained on the woods. It seemed to take forever to get to the door, but some instinct was telling her not to turn her back to the dark woods.

She wasted no time in opening the door and the moment she did, Bailey rushed in, galloping up the steps as if the hounds of hell were on her tail. That did not ease her anxiety. Bailey was not a cowardly dog. She was the type to rush into confrontation and stand between any threat and her people. The way she raced into the RV had the hair on Mary's neck standing on end as she scrambled up the steps after her.

Mary pulled the door closed behind her and locked it almost in one motion. Even then she didn't feel safe, though, and found herself eager to get out of there.

Ignoring the doors and drawers that had flown open during her abrupt stop, as well as the items now littering the floor, she tossed the flashlight on the passenger seat and jumped behind the wheel with more speed than grace.

Mary had left the RV engine running and now only had to shift into gear and hit the gas. An immediate clatter arose as the RV lurched forward and more items tumbled out of the open doors she'd neglected to close. There was also a loud thump as if Bailey had tumbled off of, or into, something and Mary glanced around with concern.

It was dark in the back of the RV, but she thought she spotted something moving in front of the closed bedroom door. It should have been open, but it had no doubt closed when she'd stopped abruptly, or perhaps that was the thump she'd heard when she'd hit the gas—the pocket door sliding closed.

"You okay, girl?" Mary asked as she swiveled her head forward again, her eyes shooting to the road, then each side mirror and the camera screen showing the rear-view as well. There was nothing but dark road highlighted by her headlights, and the view behind was all just black nothingness, but she relaxed a little when Bailey barked in answer to her question.

At least she hadn't killed her dog careening off like that, she thought grimly, and immediately glanced to the rear camera view again with dissatisfaction.

Mary was quite sure she'd run over something back there and despite not finding anything, she didn't feel right about driving off. Her search certainly hadn't been a thorough one and she feared she might be leaving someone lying injured on the side of the road. Which didn't make any sense. Whatever she'd hit should have been in the road, easily visible, not at the side or off hidden in the bushes. She really had run over whatever it was, not hit and sent it flying.

Her conscience was telling her she should reverse, go back out and make a proper search, but the idea of getting out of the RV again sent a shiver down the back of her neck. Something had spooked Bailey, and yes all right, she'd been spooked too, she acknowledged with a grimace.

Perhaps she could just call the police and have them send someone out to search the area properly. Although, they might demand she turn back and wait for them by the spot, she thought unhappily and didn't even like the idea of waiting in the safety of the RV back there.

Good Lord, she was acting like a teenager left home alone for the first time, Mary thought with self-disgust and clenched her hands on the steering wheel, then released a little impatient hiss and reached for her cell phone, only to find that it was no longer in its holder. A quick glance toward the floor revealed absolutely nothing. She couldn't even see her feet let alone the missing cell phone. Biting her lip, she briefly considered stopping, but then glanced once more to the rear camera screen and quickly changed her mind. She would wait until the first stop sign she reached, Mary decided. At the moment she wasn't sure where exactly she was, other than the name of the road. If she waited until the next stop, she could check the street signs and give the police some idea of the nearest crossroad to the accident.

That thought made her glance down at the mileage gauge. She'd just keep track of how far she drove before she reached the stop sign and then could give the police the exact spot where they should be looking. Surely, that would be more helpful anyway?

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