cover image NIGHT EMBRACE


Sherrilyn Kenyon, . . St. Martin's, $6.99 (408pp) ISBN 978-0-312-98482-3

Say goodbye to the garlic-hating, crucifix-fearing vampires of old. With her steamy, action-packed Dark-Hunter novels, Kenyon (Night Pleasures, etc.) is ushering in a whole different class of night dwellers. These new millennium models are gorgeous, Goth rocker–looking immortals who don't necessarily drink blood. The evil Daimons only do so to amuse themselves before consuming their primary sustenance: human souls. Dark-Hunters like the novel's leather-wearing, biker stud Talon protect humans from the soul-suckers. Other traditional vampire nemeses like mirrors pose no threat to these post-vampires, but a rule forbidding Dark-Hunters from having more than a one-night stand does, especially when Talon finds himself falling in love with human artist Sunshine Runningwolf. Taking place during Mardi Gras, the story is complex, involving not just Daimons and Dark-Hunters but equally untraditional werewolves, were-hunters and Greek/Celtic gods, whose involvement in Talon and Sunshine's mysterious relationship stretches back thousands of years. Fortunately, an abundance of hot sex and snappy dialogue keep the plot both accessible and appealing. With its courageous, unconventional characters and wry humor, this fast-moving fantasy will fill the void left by the end of the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" series. (July)

Forecast:Despite having only two Dark-Hunter novels under her belt, Kenyon has managed to turn her books into a brand through her hugely popular Web site ( , which has logged more than two million hits since 2000. With five more Dark-Hunter books due out within the next two years, interest in the site and Kenyon's immortal bad boys is unlikely to wane, so keep your shelves well-stocked.