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Dark Kiss (Nightwatchers) Paperback – May 22, 2012

3.8 out of 5 stars 93 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Nightwatchers Series

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About the Author

Michelle Rowen is an award-winning, national bestselling author of paranormal books for both teens and adults. She lives in Southern Ontario. Visit www.michellerowen.com for more information about Michelle and her books.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

"This is going to be an amazing night, Sam!" Carly shouted over the music blasting all around us.

"You think so?" I yelled back.

"Best night ever!"

Sure. My throat already hurt and we'd only been here for a half hour. So far it felt like every Friday night at Crave, elbow to elbow with other sweaty kids on the dance floor.

Don't get me wrong, as one of the only all-ages clubs here in Trinity, it was a decent place to hang out—especially with my best friend—I just didn't think it was going to change my life or anything.

Anyone looking at us would think that Carly and I were the polar opposite of each other in looks and attitude. Carly Kessler was a curvy, flippy-haired blonde with a sunny personality whereas I was a skinny, nonsunny, long-haired brunette. And yet we were still best friends and had been forever.

After a few more minutes enveloped in the hot nightclub, Carly clutched my arm, her face flushed with excitement. "Heads up. Stephen Keyes is looking right at you."

I glanced over my shoulder and saw him standing at the edge of the dance floor. He was looking at me. Or, at least, he seemed to be looking at me.

I turned back around, my heart pounding.

Everyone has that one crush, the guy they can't stop thinking about even though it's totally hopeless. Stephen Keyes was mine. He was nineteen—two years older than me—and utterly gorgeous with jet-black hair and caramel-colored eyes. We grew up in the same neighborhood, him two doors down from me. He mowed lawns in the summer. I watched from my bedroom window.

It was such a cliche, really. The weird, unpopular chick with the massive crush on the hot, older jock.

As far as I knew, Stephen was supposed to be at university in California, two thousand miles away. I'd even watched his parents help him pack up his car when he left town at the end of August. I wondered why he was back only a couple of months later.

Suddenly he wasn't just lingering at the edge of the dance floor looking distant and delectable. He was standing right next to me. Carly watched, her eyes widening as Stephen leaned close enough for me to hear him over the loud throb of the music.

"Can I talk to you?" he asked.


He nodded and smiled. And I, the girl who shunned and mocked romance in all its forms—movies, books, real life—went weak for a hot guy I had a crush on. Whenever I'd really liked somebody in the past—which, not including Stephen, had been only twice before in my entire life—it hadn't ended in true love. The two other boys I'd fallen for hadn't liked me in return and I'd ended up ignored, brokenhearted and humiliated both times.

However, that hadn't stopped me from liking Stephen.

A lot.

Stephen didn't wait for my reply. Instead, he walked away, weaving through the labyrinth of sweaty dancers. Something wicked this way comes.

The line from Macbeth, our current read in English class, flitted through my head. The quote suited Stephen perfectly. He might be the boy next door, but to me he was also wicked. And dangerous.

I didn't do dangerous. Not anymore. Even little dangerous things tended to lead to big trouble. Six months ago, I'd been busted for shoplifting—my dumb way of psychologically dealing with my parents' divorce—although I wasn't arrested for it, thank God. I'd learned my lesson in a very big way that sticking your hands in dangerous places would get them chopped off.

"Go," Carly urged. "This is so awesome!"

She wasn't much help. Carly would storm headfirst into danger if she thought it might mean that she'd have a good time. When she was a kid she'd stuck her hand in a beehive because she wanted to taste the honey. It hadn't turned out so well, of course, but I had to admire her for…well, going for it, despite all the signs not to. She didn't second-guess herself. She didn't regret anything she tried—even the crazy stuff.

With a last look at Carly, I followed Stephen off the dance floor. I was insanely curious what he wanted to speak to me about. I mean, despite us living very close to each other, he didn't even know me.

He led the way up a spiral staircase to the second-floor lounge, which was surrounded by glass walls with thin, swirling frosted patterns on the otherwise clear surface. Up here, away from the crowd and deejay and loudspeakers, I could actually hear myself think. The lounge had a couple of pool tables and red couches and chairs. Stephen leaned against one of the couches and studied me. He wore a black button-down shirt and dark jeans. His hair was slicked back off his handsome face. My stomach fluttered.

"So…" I began when he didn't say anything. "Do you come here often?"

Oh, God. I was normally proud of my smooth comebacks, my witty one-liners, and that was what came out of my mouth? I wanted a do-over.

Stephen grinned, showing straight white teeth. "I'm here every single night, lately. Even weekdays."

"Every night? Really?" I twisted my hair. "Cool."

Cool? Really? I was not handling this well at all. My brain and my voice weren't working in sync.

"Um, what are you doing in Trinity?" I asked. "I thought you were in university now."

He shrugged a shoulder. "I'm taking a bit of a break, trying to decide what I really want to do with my life. Thought I'd come back here for a while."

I just nodded and tried very hard not to say "cool" again.

"You come here every Friday, right, Samantha?"

A flush of pleasure went through me. I was totally okay with friends calling me Sam, but I liked hearing him say my full name.


"You like it here?"

I looked around. There weren't many people in the lounge tonight. It was the first time I'd even come up here, myself. A couple on the far couch glanced over at us every so often as if curious why Stephen Keyes was talking to me. The majority of kids were downstairs on the large dance floor and at the bar area, both visible through the glass wall that circled the lounge. I could even see the top of Carly's blond head from where I stood.

"Yeah, it's okay," I said.

"Just okay?"

I shrugged and rubbed my dry lips together, turning to face him. My lip gloss from earlier was long gone. "Some nights are better than others."

Stephen reached out a hand. "Come here."

If he hadn't made it sound like a charming invitation, I might have resisted. But I walked closer to him, until I was a few feet away. There was something strange in his gaze as he studied me. I couldn't put my finger on it, but a chill slid down my spine.

I cleared my throat. "You said you wanted to talk to me about something?"

"So you're the special one, are you?"

That was the last thing I expected him to say. "Special?"

"That's what she said. That's why she wants me to do this. I normally wouldn't, since you're so young."

She? She who? I frowned at him. "I'm seventeen."

"Exactly. That's young."

"No, it's not."

"Trust me, Samantha. It is."

He slid his arm around my waist so that his hand rested at the small of my back, and he drew me closer to him. His touch sank into me, cool against my hot skin.

It was suddenly difficult for me to breathe. "Who said I'm special?"

He didn't answer. When I looked up at him I realized he was leaning closer to me, closer and closer, and then his lips brushed against mine. I gasped and he pulled back a little.

"Is this okay?" he asked. "May I kiss you?" My cheeks warmed. "I…um…"

He spoke softly into my ear. "I should warn you, it's a very dangerous kiss. It'll change your life forever, so you have to want it."

If I wasn't feeling so flustered, I might have thought he was being cocky. I mean, please. A kiss that could change my life forever?

But I kind of believed him. And after months of trying to be a perfect angel after the shoplifting incident, I wanted to push the edges of my comfort zone just a little bit.

And this was special—a boy I liked who might like me in return. I couldn't just walk away.

This time I kissed him, tangling my fingers into his black hair and pulling his mouth toward mine as if I couldn't resist. I hadn't kissed many boys before, so I hoped I was doing it right. It felt right. In fact, it felt really right. My lips parted as the kiss deepened. His fingers dug into my waist. This felt like something out of a movie—one of the romantic ones I never watched because they made me feel uncomfortable. I didn't want to try to relate to all of those emotions, those declarations of love and eternal devotion. I mean, spare me the drama.

"You're delicious," Stephen whispered before he kissed me again and my heart felt like it was pounding right out of my chest.

And then it got weird.

The cool sensation from his touch turned icy and spread to the kiss, and I shivered. That iciness slid down my throat to my stomach and branched out to my arms and legs, chilling my entire body. Goose bumps formed on my arms. Dizziness swirled through me. It was jarring, but I couldn't exactly say it felt bad. It was exciting, a rush, like being on a roller coaster in the middle of winter.

I lost track of time. Nothing existed for me except Stephen. His lips never left mine—and I never wanted them to. Minutes, hours, I didn't know how long it was that he kissed me. All I knew was that I couldn't stop kissing him even if I wanted to.

But then, finally, he stopped kissing me. He held my face between his hands and stared at me for a heavy moment. His eyes looked very dark in the shadows up here. "Sorry, kid. Really."

Then he let go of me and walked away.


Time slowed to a crawl as he disappeared down the stairs, the dance music becoming a hollow echo in my ears. My face burned even though my chest now felt like ice.

The scent of sweat mixed with perfume slowly pulled me out of my daze. To my left I could see the multicolored lights above the dance floor. Even up here, the ground shook with the force of all the kids stomping down there.

Carly appeared at the top of the stairs and approached me, glancing back in the direction Stephen had gone. "Sam! What happened?"

I tried to find my voice. "Stephen Keyes kissed me." Her eyes widened. "Oh, my God! You're so lucky!" He'd kissed me. And then he'd called me a kid and walked away.

"Lucky," I repeated, just before my eyes rolled back, my knees gave out and everything went black.


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Product Details

  • Series: Nightwatchers (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin Teen; Original edition (May 22, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780373210473
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373210473
  • ASIN: 0373210477
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #921,637 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This review is of an ARC received from NetGalley.

So, I should probably start this off with a disclaimer: This review will be tempered with a LOT of my personal opinions about books. If you don't already know (and I've been very loud about this) I hate insta-love. I hate love triangles. I really, really don't like Twilight. That's just the way I roll.

The mythology Rowen used was excellent. The angels aren't (entirely) models for perfection and the demons aren't rampaging and/or sexy monsters. They work TOGETHER against these new entities (to me anyways) called "grays," which are humans who are kissed by a demon or another gray, and the being eats their soul. These new grays then have the unavoidable urge to kiss other humans for their souls. It goes on from there, but I don't want to give too much away, but let me tell you it goes UP. It was fairly new twist on another fad, which was very nice to read.

For me, however, the story didn't get off on such great footing. Even though I KNEW the kiss that turns Sam into a gray was coming, it read ... awkwardly. Actually, every status update I made while reading included the word "awkward" until about page 60. I know to some of you that doesn't seem like even giving the book a chance, but other people I know would stop reading at page 10 so ... you've been warned.

Once the book levels out, though, it's pretty cool-especially when they start bringing in the angels and demon team. Even though they aren't given huge parts to play, the majority of them-angel and demon alike-are excellently done. They're all very different, enjoyable to read and some of them are even given the chance to have round back stories, which isn't often done when you're dealing with so many characters in a team.
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Format: Paperback
I admit, I read this book because I fell in love with the cover. Which is funny, because I read it as an e-book, but I still chose it because of that cover. I had a bit of trouble getting into it at first. I didn't really connect with the heroine Samantha (Sam), and actually found her decision making process to be extremely frustrating to read. It took about 2/3 of the book for her to actually make some GOOD choices (and stop being so freakin' gullible) and that's when I feel like the book came into it's own. I also didn't care about what happened to her best friend who plays a pretty important role in the book - I think I even hoped she died at some point which shows how annoying she was to me. The saving grace (literally?) of this book is the men, specifically the angel Bishop, but I found myself liking his demon counterpart Kraven more and more as the story went on too. Once things started picking up and moving, the book was quite engrossing -- I only hope that book 2 picks up that way and doesn't start out like this one did or I might not make it through it.

3/5 stars. (first two-thirds: 2/5, last third 4/5) :)
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Format: Paperback
I'm not quite sure how I feel about this one still. I liked it well enough, the story was good, the characters were good and I thought the pacing was rather good but I'm not jumping up and down with excitement.

I love angel books but I think I've become more critical on them lately because I've read so many? I'm not really sure. But, with angel books, there are always the opposite side of the spectrum, demons. What's so different about this book (there are actually two things, actually) is you actually have a group of angels and demons working together toward one common goal. But also, the element they're trying to get rid of are grays...which play a huge role in the book. What are grays, you ask? Well, they are humans who no longer have their soul as it was taken from them (usually unwillingly).

Samantha is a normal, plain teenage girl who is thrown in to this supernatural world unwillingly. Her entire world is turned upside down and all she wants is to go back to the way things used to be. The real question is, can it ever go back to how it once was once you've witnessed what she has? I really don't think it could but it will be interesting to see. She has teamed up with the angel and demon team and found herself fiercely attracted to its leader, Bishop. Kraven, the second in command who is also a demon makes this book highly entertaining. He behaves a bit nicer than what you'd expect from a demon but his behavior is exactly what I pictured. He's like a demon with a good heart...if that's even possible.

I can't tell you what this book is missing that didn't make it exciting but it's certainly missing something. I enjoyed the characters (most of the time), the story, the idea of angels and demons working together...but will I read the next book? Yes, I will.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I liked this one :)

This book was original, entertaining, fun, and kept me on the edge of my seat for most of the book.

I liked the fact that Samantha was strong willed, and made good choices. The only thing I didn't like was that she had trust issues, I mean she always trusted her "gut" and instincts, but seriously those can be wrong too :P all of the end could've been avoided but oh well.

All I know is that I'm excited to read the next one because I want more Bishop (and yes Kraven's good too :)

This book made it pretty clear who Samantha was going to end up with in the finale, but I'm not going to say anything.

Oh and what was missing was information about her parents (which will probably be in the next one) and Samantha's "group" needed to be mentioned more, but whatever this book was good nonetheless.
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