Home > Single White Vampire (Argeneau #3)

Single White Vampire (Argeneau #3)
Author: Lynsay Sands

Prologue

January 30th

Dear Mr. Argeneau:

I hope this letter gets to you, finds you well, and that you had a happy holiday season. This is the second communication I've sent. The first was mailed just before Christmas. No doubt it was lost in the holiday confusion. I did attempt to contact you by telephone; unfortunately, the contact information we have doesn't include your phone number, and it is apparently unlisted.

As to the reason for writing; I am pleased to inform you that the vampire series you write under the name Luke Amirault is quite popular with readersmuch more so than we ever expected. There has even been a great deal of interest in a possible book-signing tour. So many stores have contacted us regarding this possibility that I thought I should contact you and find out if and when you would be interested in undertaking such an endeavor.

Please contact this office with your phone number and your response.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Kate C. Leever Editor

Roundhouse Publishing Co., Inc.

New York, NY

April 1st

Dear Ms. Leever:

No.

Sincerely,

Lucern Argeneau

Toronto, Ontario

April 11th

Dear Mr. Argeneau:

I received your letter this morning and, while I gather you are not interested in a book-signing tour, I feel I should stress just how strong is the public's interest in your books. Your popularity is growing rapidly. Several publications have written requesting an interview. I don't think I need explain how helpful such publicity would be to future sales.

As to a book-signing tour, not only have we had phone calls regarding one, but a highly successful bookstore chain with outlets in both Canada and the United States has announced that it would be willing to foot the bill to have you visit their larger stores. They would arrange and pay for your flights, put you up in hotels at each stop, and supply a car and driver to collect you from the airport, see you to the hotel, then to the signing and back. This is no small offer, and I urge you to consider it carefully.

As mail from here to Toronto appears to be quite slowthough your return letters seem to take the usual ten daysI am sending this by overnight express. I would appreciate your immediate responseand please remember to include your phone number this time.

Sincerely,

Kate C. Leever Editor

Roundhouse Publishing Co., Inc.

New York, NY

June 15th

Dear Ms. Leever:

No.

Sincerely,

Lucern Argeneau

Toronto, Ontario

June 26th

Dear Mr. Argeneau:

Once again you have forgotten to include your phone number. That being the case, I would first ask that you please call the office at once and speak to either myself, or, if I should happen to be unavailable when you call, my assistant Ashley. You may call collect if necessary, but I would really like to talk to you myself because I feel sure that you may not realize how popular you have become, or how important and necessary contact with your readers can be.

I do not know if you're aware of it, but fan sites are springing up all over the Internet and we receive tons of mail daily for you which will be boxed and forwarded to you separate from this letter. I have mentioned the requests for a book-signing tour in previous letters, but should tell you that those requests are now reaching unmanageable proportions. It seems almost every bookstore around the world would love to have you visit and are sure the signing would be a major success. While you could not possibly hit every store, we think that one store in every major city would be manageable.

I would also like to urge you to consider giving an interview or two, and am including the letters we have received from various publications regarding this. As you will notice, these requests come from more than just romance publications. Your popularity has gone mainstream, as is reflected by the fact that various newspapers and literary magazines are also requesting interviews. We have even had interest from a couple of the morning news shows. While the news shows would have to be in person, the newspaper and magazine interviews need not be; they could be managed either over the phone or even the Internet if you are on it. Are you on the Internet? If so, I would also like your e-mail address and would encourage you to get Windows Messenger or something similar so that I could speak to you in such a way. Several of my writers have Messenger, and we find it quite convenient and much quicker than normal mail.

There is much more I would like to discuss with you. Please remember to phone this office as soon as possible, collect if necessary. Again, I am sending this letter overnight express.

Sincerely,

Kate C. Leever

Editor

Roundhouse Publishing Co., Inc.

New York, NY

August 1st

Dear Ms Leever:

No.

Sincerely, Lucern Argeneau

Toronto, Ontario

Chapter One

Thursday, September 11th

"Rachel swears she never wants to see another coffin as long as she lives."

Lucern grunted at his mother's comment as he and his younger brother Bastien set the coffin down on the basement floor. He knew all about his soon-to-be sister-in-law's new aversion; Etienne had explained everything. That was why he was storing the thing. Etienne was willing to move it out of the mansion to keep his fiancie happy, but for sentimental reasonshe couldn't bring himself to permanently part with it. The man swore he came up with his best ideas lying inside its silent darkness. He was a bit eccentric. He was the only person Lucern could think of who would bring a coffin to his own wedding rehearsal. The minister had been horrified when he'd caught the three brothers transferring it from Etienne's pickup to Bastien's van.

"Thank you for driving it over here, Bastien," Lucern said as he straightened.

Bastien shrugged. "You could hardly fit it in your BMW. Besides," he added as they started back up the stairs, "I would rather transport it than store it. My housekeeper would have fits."

Lucern merely smiled. He no longer had a housekeeper to worry about, and the cleaning company he'd hired to drop in once a week only worked on the main floor. Their seeing the coffin wasn't a concern.

"Is everything in place for the wedding?" he asked as he followed his mother and Bastien into the kitchen. He turned out the basement lights and closed the door behind him, but didn't bother turning any other lights on. The weak illumination from the nightlight plugged into the stove was enough to navigate to the front door.

"Yes. Finally." Marguerite Argeneau sounded relieved. "And despite Mrs. Garrett's worries that the wedding was too rushed and that Rachel's family wouldn't have time to arrange to be there, they're all coming."

"How large is the family?" Lucern was sincerely hoping there weren't as many Garretts as there had been Hewitts at Lissianna's wedding. The wedding of his sister to Gregory Hewitt had been a nightmare. The man had a huge family, the majority of which seemed to be femalesingle females who eyed Lucern, Etienne and Bastien as if they were the main course of a one-course meal. Lucern disliked aggressive women. He'd been born and raised in a time when men were the aggressors and women smiled and simpered and knew their place. He hadn't quite adjusted with the times and wasn't looking forward to another debacle like Lissianna's wedding where he'd spent most of his time avoiding the female guests.

Fortunately, Marguerite soothed some of his fears by announcing, "Rather small compared to Greg's familyand mostly male, from the guest list I saw."

"Thank God," Bastien murmured, exchanging a look with his brother.

Lucern nodded in agreement. "Is Etienne nervous?"

"Surprisingly enough, no." Bastien smiled crookedly. "He's having a great time helping to arrange all this. He swears he can't wait for the wedding day. Rachel seems to make him happy." His expression changed to one of perplexity.

Lucern shared his brother's confusion. He couldn't imagine giving up his freedom to a wife, either. Pausing by the front door, he turned back to find his mother poking through the mail on his hall table.

"Luc, you have unopened mail here from weeks ago! Don't you read it?"

"Why so surprised, mother? He never answers the phone, either. Heck, we're lucky when he bothers to answer the door."

Bastien said the words in a laughing voice, but Lucern didn't miss the exchange of glances between his mother and brother. They were worried about him. He had always been a loner, but lately he had taken that to an extreme and everything seemed a bother. They knew he was growing dangerously bored with life.

"What is this box?"

"I don't know," Lucern admitted as his mother lifted a huge box off the table and shook it as if it were feather-light.

"Well, don't you think it might be a good idea to find out?" she asked impatiently.

Lucern rolled his eyes. No matter how old he got, his mother was likely to interfere and hen-peck. It was something he'd resigned himself to long ago. "I'll get around to it eventually," he muttered. "It's mostly nuisance mail or people wanting something from me."

"What about this letter from your publisher? It's probably important. They wouldn't send it express if it weren't."

Lucern's scowl deepened as his mother picked up the FedEx envelope and turned it curiously in her hands. "It is not important. My editor is just harassing me. The company wishes me to do a book-signing tour."

"Edwin wants you to do a book-signing tour?" Marguerite scowled. "I thought you made it clear to him from the start that you weren't interested in publicity."

"Not Edwin. No." Lucern wasn't surprised that his mother recalled his old editor's name; she had a perfect memory and he'd mentioned Edwin many times over the ten years he'd been writing for Roundhouse Publishing. His first works had been published as historical texts used mostly in universities and colleges. Those books were still in use and were celebrated for the fact that they'd been written as if the writer had actually lived through every period about which he wrote. Which, of course, Lucern had. That was hardly public knowledge, though.

Lucern's last three books, however, had been autobiographical in nature. The first told the story of how his mother and father had met and come together, the second how his sister Lissianna had met and fallen in love with her therapist husband, Gregory, and the latest, published just weeks ago, covered the story of his brother Etienne and Rachel Garrett. Lucern hadn't meant to write them, they'd just sort of spilled forth. But once he'd written them, he'd decided they should be published records for the future. Gaining his family's permission, he'd sent them in to Edwin, who'd thought them brilliant works of fiction and published them as such. Not just fiction, either, but "paranormal romance." Lucern had suddenly found himself a romance writer. The whole situation was somewhat distressing for him, so he generally did his best not to think about it.

"Edwin is no longer my editor," he explained. "He had a heart attack late last year and died. His assistant was given his title and position, and she's been harassing me ever since." He scowled again. "The woman is trying to use me to prove herself. She is determined that I should do some publicity events for the novels."

Bastien looked as if he were about to comment, but paused and turned at the sound of a car pulling into the driveway. Lucern opened the door, and the two men watched with varying degrees of surprise as a taxi pulled to a stop beside Bastien's van.

"Wrong address?" Bastien queried, knowing his brother wasn't big on company.

"It must be," Lucern commented. He narrowed his eyes when the driver got out and opened the back door for a young woman.

"Who is that?" Bastien asked. He sounded even more surprised than Lucern felt.

"I haven't a clue," Lucern answered. The taxi driver retrieved a small suitcase and overnight bag from the trunk of the car.

"I believe it's your editor," Marguerite announced.

Both Lucern and Bastien swiveled to peer at their mother. They found her reading the now-open FedExed letter.

"My editor? What the hell are you talking about?" Lucern marched over to snatch the letter out of her hand.

Ignoring his rude behavior, Lucern's mother moved to Bastieh's side and peered curiously outside. "As the mail is so slow, and because the interest in your books is becoming so widespread, Ms. Kate C. Leever decided to come speak to you in person. Which," Marguerite added archly, "you would know should you bother to read your mail."

Lucern crumpled the letter in his hand. It basically said everything his mother had just verbalized. That, plus the fact that Kate C. Leever would be arriving on the 8 p.m. flight from New York. It was 8:30. The plane must have been on time.

"She's quite pretty, isn't she?" The comment, along with the speculation in his mother's voice when she made it, was enough to raise alarm in Lucern. Marguerite sounded like a mother considering taking the matchmaking traila path quite familiar to her. She'd taken it upon first seeing Etienne and Rachel together, too, and look how that had turned out: Etienne hip deep in wedding preparations!

"She's contemplating matchmaking, Bastien. Take her home. Now," Lucern ordered. His brother burst out laughing, moving him to add, "After she has finished with me, she shall focus on finding you a wife."

Bastien stopped laughing at once. He grabbed his mother's arm. "Come along, Mother. This is none of our business."

"Of course it is my business." Marguerite shrugged her elbow free. "You are my sons. Your happiness and future are very much my business."

Bastien tried to argue. "I don't understand why this is an issue now. We are both well over four hundred years old. Why, after all this time, have you taken it into your head to see us married off?"

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