Read The Passion Online

Authors: Donna Boyd

Tags: #Fiction, #Horror, #New York (N.Y.), #Paranormal, #General, #Romance, #Werewolves, #Suspense, #Paris (France)

The Passion

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THE PASSION

By

Donna Boyd

Contents

PROLOGUE

 

Part I - New York, New York; Present
Chapter One

Part II - Paris; 1897

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

 

Part III - Siberia; Winter, 1897

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

 

Part IV - Lyons, France; Spring 1898

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-one

 

Part V - Alaska; 1898-1899

Chapter Twenty-two

Chapter Twenty-three

Chapter Twenty-four

Chapter Twenty-five

Chapter Twenty-six

Chapter Twenty-seven

Chapter Twenty-eight

Chapter Twenty-nine

Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty-one

 

Part VI - Central Park, New York; Present
Chapter Thirty-two

EPILOGUE

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of either the author or the publisher.

AVON BOOKS, INC.

1350 Avenue of the Americas

New York, New York 10019

Copyright © 1998 by Donna Boyd

Excerpt from
The Promise
copyright © 1999 by Donna Boyd

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 97-32291

ISBN: 0-380-79094-7

www.avonbooks.com

First Avon Books Paperback Printing: September 1999

First Avon Books Hardcover Printing: May 1998

AVON TRADEMARK REG. U.S. PAT. OFF. AND IN

 

OTHER COUNTRIES, MARCA REGISTRADA,

HECHO EN U.S.A.

Printed in the U.S.A.

We want the same things Humans do: sex and power.

The difference between us is that we are innately better at obtaining both. This is our greatest strength, and our greatest weakness.

—MARCUS QUELQUOIS, WEREWOLF, 1583

Why don't we hunt humans anymore?

It's too easy.

—A BARROOM JOKE, CIRCA 1990

Passion—1) a powerful emotion, such as love, joy, hatred, or anger,

 

2) an undergoing; to undergo [from the Latin
passus
]

—THE AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY
, 1995

PROLOGUE

 

They say it al began with the massacre in New York, so that's where I'll start my tale. But our story real y begins much earlier, on the ice-slick rocks and in the fetid-smel ing caves of early history, in the place where your memory takes you when you awake screaming in the night only half recal ing what you once were. It's the story of the forest and the bubbling swamps, where death was brutal and life was savage and the evolutionary process must have warred with our own instincts, I think, when it came to survival.

There are those among us—among you, too, I observe—who glorify the wonders of the natural world with a kind of glassy-eyed fanaticism and urge a return to that purer, more innocent state. This testifies to nothing other than the fact that those who recommend the satisfactions of living in harmony with nature have never had to do it. Nature is evil.

Nature is conflict, violence, betrayal; worms that crawl through the skin and breed in the gut; thorns that poison; snakes that fight in writhing, heaving masses until al lie dead from one another's poison.

From nature we learned to tear the flesh off the bone and suck out the blood—and to enjoy it. Do you want to return to that state? I do not.

But from this savage tangle of dark bestiality we have our common origin, you and I, sprung from but a single cel in the primordial ooze, sharing a common gnarled and malformed branch on the twisted tree of life. I am a historian and I know this to be fact, although there are those from both sides of that tree who would vehemently deny it. It is no wonder that we have, over the centuries, found each other to be so mutual y fascinating. And that we have, each in our own fashion, struggled so valiantly to put that black forest, that windswept plain and ice-covered cave far, far behind us.

I have known Nature. I have known Civilization.

 

Civilization is better.

And having understood that, you wil now be better prepared to understand why I have undertaken this chronicle. I have faced severe opposition, of course.

The odds are even that I may not live to complete the tale. Fortunately, I have always been of an adventuresome spirit and am frankly glad to discover, one more time, something worth fighting for.

The love of a good fight is, of course, one of the most obvious things we al have in common.

My detractors claim I am destroying an eons-old covenant of silence by writing this. Humans wil read it, they cry, and then what wil become of us al ?

What indeed, I can't help but wonder, do they imagine? Torch-carrying peasants storming the castle? Stakes driven through a hundred thousand hearts? Not that we haven't known such dark chapters in our united past, but the wild-eyed rantings of those conservatives bring to mind such absurdities one can't help but smile.

The liberals with their cool-eyed assessment of the situation frighten me much more. They warn of chaos to be unleashed, it's true, but they do so with a calculating amusement that makes one think they're almost looking forward to the day.

Supremely confident in their superiority, they are not afraid. Maybe that shouldn't worry me. But it should worry you.

I am, of course, a fol ower of neither camp. As far as I'm concerned, a far more sacred covenant than that of silence has been broken already. So I put down this chronicle, perhaps taking my life in my hands, in the name of Civilization.

Are you reading this, human? I hope so. Because here is the truth.

I am werewolf. Quod Hominem, genus gerulfos.

War-woof, wehrwulf, waerul, varulv, garwal , garoul, warou, loup-garou. Lycanthrope. We have been known by many names over the centuries and none of them accurate, for we are neither wolf nor man but a breed apart. We have been with you since before the dawn of time.

Do you know me, human? You should. I shared a cab with you yesterday. You may have seen me lunching at Le Cirque 2000 last week and you've surely noted my name in the financial pages. And yes, it was I who smiled at your daughter across the smoky barroom and made her heart pound so loudly she could hardly think. And did I take her home when she sidled up to me and ran her not-so-innocent fingers down my thigh? You bet.

Oh, I know your world, human. I know it and I love it and I walk at ease within it. One might even say (and who wouldn't?) that I have mastered it. My race has centuries of cunning, skil and ambition invested in a mutual y beneficial relationship with yours and it would disturb me to see al of that lost.

Maybe what you are about to learn wil prevent the inevitable. Maybe it wil hasten it.

It is the custom among our kind to sing aloud the tales of our heroes and to write our secrets down.

These pages contain many secrets, and the tales of heroes whose deeds may never be sung aloud. Let their words, then, speak for themselves. Heed them, remember them. And then decide.

PART ONE

 

New York, New York

The Present

 

Chapter One

 

 

The limousine came out of the fog like a ghost and stopped at the curb before the big brownstone on Fifth Avenue. At three o'clock in the morning even Fifth Avenue sleeps, and, wrapped as it was in the cold November fog, the city seemed but a distant memory of itself. Streetlights were muted, traffic sounds muffled, windows shuttered. Steam vents released their ether onto sidewalks already carpeted with clouds and disappeared. The night creatures retreated to the shadows and were stil . The silence was thick, flattening the landscape into a one-dimensional representation of something that might once have held substance. The night seemed suspended, hovering somehow between this world and the next, and the only thing that anchored it in time was its smel .

Night mist and old exhaust, rubber tires, rotting food, human urine; the used-up daytime scents of fine leather shoes and soft gloves, body oils, Chanel perfume, damp wool, dead fur. The spray of a tomcat who had recently passed this way, the offal of a smal dog, the unwashed clothing of a human castoff. The crisp bite of iron that was the gate sealing off the brownstone and its smal square of lawn, the acrid smel of the fear of one who had recently passed through it. Pine needles. Rotting leaves. Damp stone. Blood. And death. Death lay behind those gates, and it was everywhere.

The driver smel ed it as he got out of the car to open the door for his passengers, and he stiffened a little in shock before he could stop himself. But by the time he reached the rear door his features were once again composed into careful y neutral lines. He opened the door and stood straight and alert beside it.

The two men who emerged onto the smokey pavement would have attracted attention under any circumstances. Both were tal and lean and moved with a graceful economy that instinctively inspired admiration. The first man was the older of the two.

He wore a woolen coat with caped shoulders, belted at the waist, and dark gloves. His hair was thick and white and fel to his shoulders. His face was craggy, his skin golden, his brows the same stark white as his hair. His eyes were a startling violet blue, a mesmeric blue, and had been known to render speechless for several minutes at a time anyone who happened to look directly into them.

The younger man was blond and lithe and wore his hair clasped at the nape with a band of leather. His features were stern and aristocratic, his eyes a deeper shade of the same blue as his companion's.

He wore a long loose cashmere coat of Italian design and carried a pair of kid gloves in one hand.

 

In more normal circumstances he exuded the kind of musky, vital sex appeal that was dark and dangerous and almost palpable on the tongue.

Tonight, his eyes were cold and the danger was sharp enough to make the air around him crackle.

In the bright light of day, when the now-deserted avenue was awash with the pulse of humanity, the screech of traffic, the clatter of movement, these two could not have passed unnoticed. Eyebrows would be raised, sentences would be left unfinished, smal backward steps would be taken to clear a path as they walked by. Heads would turn, gazes would fol ow, and for the space of a second, maybe more, thoughts would stutter and be forgotten. Later, someone might remark upon how tal they were, or how striking they looked, or how powerful they seemed. That was al .

In this dark dead hour of the morning no one was about to notice them. Yet the night seemed to hold its breath until they passed.

The older man stood before the iron gate, his face like stone, and gazed toward the silhouette of the brownstone, an etching in black against the night.

The younger one paused and swept his eyes back and forth along the sidewalk. He joined the other man in two long strides and together they went through the gate.

For them, the stench was almost paralyzing.

 

At the bottom of the stone steps the younger one closed his hand upon his companion's arm. His muscles were hard, his heartbeat loud and heavy.

His nostrils were flared, drinking in the scents, his pupils dark and dilated with the horror of the message his olfactory centers were receiving. He whispered through lips so stiff they barely moved, "It can't be."

Alexander Devoncroix's expression was unchanged.

The lines on his face, the set of his mouth, even the fringe of his eyelashes might have been carved from granite. He started up the steps.

In a moment his son fol owed.

Their eyesight was evolved from a time when twilight hunters had the advantage, and oftentimes they saw better without artificial light than with it.

The lights were on inside the house, however, turned down to a somber and respectful hue, and they il uminated a square on the porch briefly before the door closed behind the two men. But no lamplight was needed to reveal the details of what had happened here tonight.

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