“I'll never be her first.
But one day I'll be her last.”
“Sun, moon, and stars, I told him. He inclined his head. Of all the years, this one with you has been my finest. Fire to my ice, Mac. Frost to my flame, Jericho. Forever, we said, and it was a vow far more powerful and binding than any ring or piece of paper.”
“Holy psychotic PCs, Robin, we’ve a murderous MacBook on the loose!”
“He kissed me like I was the empire he was sworn to protect and would die a thousand deaths to keep secure. He kissed me like I was a woman with a deep dark wildness that needed to be fed and he knew just how to do it. He kissed me like he was dying and this was the last kiss he would ever taste. Then his kiss changed and his tongue was velvet and silk as he kissed me like I was fine bone china that needed exacting care and gentleness. Then the storm built in both of us and I ground myself against him, and he was searching with his kiss and his hands sliding down to my ass for the part of me that was a savage animal and so was he and we were going to forget the world and “become two primal, uncomplicated beasts fucking as if the universe depended on our passion to fuel it. And I was pretty sure we could. I felt something building in me, a hunger that was exhilarated to be alive and knew it could come out and play as hard as it wanted, because I could never break this man. Not even with all my superpowers. I could dump every bit of myself on him and never have to worry about giving him a heart attack or breaking a bone or giving him a black eye by accident. He could handle anything. My high temper, my need for adventure and stimulation, my intellect, rages, and rants, my sheer physical strength, even the darkness of my shadow-self. He was a broad-shouldered beast. He was hard and capable and permanent and had an immortal heart. A frenzy of lust exploded inside me and I met the savagery of his kiss with all the savagery in my soul, and there is one fuck of a lot of it.”
“I love you more eternal than pi.”
“Things never stop going wrong. Life isn't about waiting for peace to arrive, it's about learning to thrive in the midst of war. There's always another one on the way”
“Things never stop going wrong. Life isn’t about waiting for peace to arrive, it’s about learning to thrive in the midst of war. There’s always another one on the way.” He”
“He’s happy, Yi-yi.”
I went very still. “He, who?”
“The one who danced you into love.”
“I’ve had a long life. You haven’t. You love your family. Go to another world. Find a…a husband—” He broke off and that rattle began deep in his chest. His next words came out thickly, around fangs. “Have children. Rebuild the human race. Live all those dreams you used to have.” “Used to,” I agreed, nipping his full lower lip. “Don’t anymore. Can’t even conceive of them. You’re my dream.”
“I whirled and locked gazes with him, shucked my pride, doffed my prickly alpha stubbornness and said, You are my world, Jericho Barrons. Not him. Never him.”
“He’d told me once that fear was more than a wasted emotion, it was the ultimate set of blinders; that if I couldn’t face the truth of my reality, I could never control it, and would be subject to the wishes of anyone whose will was stronger than mine. He knew too well, from battling his own inner monster, what I’ve come to fathom only here and now. The most critical, defining battles we wage in life, we wage alone. Against ourselves.”
“I’ve always known what you need. Someone to rage at who’s strong enough to take all the pain and fury you have to dish out until you’ve burned it out of your system and nothing is left but a pile of ashes from which the Phoenix rises. Kid, woman, whatever the hell you are—I want to see you rise. Even if you have to hate me.”
“Hope builds a stairway to Heaven. Fear opens an abyss to Hell.”
“You’re being a bloody fool.” “As if you haven’t been a time or two. Jericho, I’m holding your hand right up till the last. We’ll sit up high on Dani’s water tower, watch the world blink out and blink out with it. I’ll be staring into your eyes at the end. And we’ll smile. And I’m okay with that.” I was more than okay with that. It felt right somehow. I’d found my soul mate. And whatever adventure was coming next, I was meeting it with him. Or drinking deeply of oblivion without him. I couldn’t leave him. It was no longer possible. I wasn’t sure it had ever been.”
“I love you, Dani Mega O’Malley,” Dancer said against my ear as he moved inside me. “More than the world is big. Deeper than the sky is blue. Truer than the universe is vast. I love you more eternal than pi.”
“Failure is always new information, and those who are willing to suffer it repeatedly make it a stepping-stone to success.”
“I stretched to my full height and kissed him. Like I kissed Dancer. Soft, sensual butterfly wings against his lips. Unlike the last kiss I gave Ryodan, this wasn’t one to provoke or challenge or say “Fuck you—can’t touch this.” It was a kiss that said simply, “I see you and admire you and want you to live.”
“You're not pretty. Goddamn it, Dani. You're beautiful.”
“It was so different than kissing Dancer. Dancer’s kiss was sweet and dreamy and exciting. Ryodan’s kiss had razor edges, sharp and dangerous as the man. Being in Dancer’s arms was like living on the edible planet. Being in Ryodan’s was like stepping into the eye of a cyclone. Dancer was easy laughter and a normal future (sans abrupt death). Ryodan was endless challenge and a future that was impossible to imagine.
Dancer accepted me any way I wanted to be without question. Ryodan made me question myself and pushed me to be the most I could be.”
“Then my hair was loose and his hands were buried in it, and he was kissing me so deeply his fangs grazed my teeth and I tasted blood. I was acutely aware of every inch of my body that was touching every inch of his: his forearm grazing the side of my neck, his hands cradling my skull, his mouth so soft yet ”
“hard, his powerful chest against the only part of me that wasn’t muscle, one of his thighs slipping between my legs, making my knees tremble and nearly buckle.
He kissed like he did everything, with exquisite skill, passion, and one hundred percent focus. Here was where Ryodan shed his aloof businessman attire, his cool facade, and came to life with the heat and intensity of a thousand suns. And I realized that was what had so entranced me on Level 4—I’d seen him drop all his guards and fuck like a man on fire, with nothing held back. Open, unguarded, just like he’d been when we’d talked.
Ryodan, controlled, is formidably fascinating.
Ryodan, open, is indescribably addictive.”
“Barrons’s hold tightened further. “Give me one good reason not to kill him. Ms. Lane,” he growled roughly around thick, long black fangs. “Because I asked you not to, Barrons. That’s good enough. You killed the other princes, and I was grateful. I wasn’t ready then. I was still afraid of what I’d become. But this last prince is mine to kill or not to kill. And I say no. At the moment. And although Cruce is incapable of understanding that word, I know you know that a no from me means no. And you will honor it,” I said in a voice that brooked no resistance. It was one of the defining differences between the two proud, dark, violent males. And if he didn’t honor it, he wasn’t the man I believed he was.”
“Things we had, like respect and trust, but also freely expressed desires and accountability to whatever degree it took to make both people happy. It took work, a willingness to fight passionately and fairly--out of bed, not just in it--commitment and honesty. It took waking up and saying each day, "I hold this man sacred and always will. He's my sun, moon, and stars."
It took letting the other person in; a thing I'd stopped doing. It took being unafraid to ask for what you wanted, to put yourself on the line, to risk it all for love.”
“The corners of his mouth twitched then he gave up the ghost and just flashed me one of those rare, full-on smiles that always made me catch my breath and stare. He's so damn beautiful and his smiles are sunshine in a black velvet sky, improbable and stunning.”
“We fuck up. Over and over. And we get back up and try to do better. That's all any of us do.”
“And I will get to climb on that big beautiful bike of yours and wrap my arms around you and lean into all that gorgeous hair and smell you, and hear you laugh and see your eyes flash fire. Or I may as well just kick it right now because you, Dani Mega O’Malley, make me feel alive like nothing else does.”
“I can either be a victim—or a winner. Fuck victimhood. I don’t wear it well; it clashes with my wardrobe. I’m ready. Only one of us is getting out alive. It’s going to be me.”
“You don’t get to make my decisions for me. It’s my life and only I know what I need and what I’m willing to go through. I don’t want to live without you. I felt that once. I never want to feel it again.” I’d been lost, purposeless, denied Heaven. It was as if his frequency and my frequency made such an exquisite song together that without it I wasn’t alive.”
“Grief was a silenced wail that had no beginning or end, just a long, agonizing middle.”
“I have to talk to him,” I said flatly. “I forbid it.” Every cell in my being bristled. I practically shouted, “You what?” “For. Bid. It.” “You did not just say that to me.”
“I have pondered how much is provided for us by God's goodness. So many sources of enjoyment, and how thankful we should be. And even if afflictions come...we should know that they are of the hand of God.' She sighed, the semblance of a smile gracing the edges of her mouth. 'We should not expect to have all the blessings of life and none of its trials. it would make this world too delightful a dwelling place, and I fear we would never care to leave it.' Her eyes slipped closed. 'As it is...I have come to believe that it's only by taking some of those objects from us to which our hearts so closely cling that He endeavors...in His kindness, to draw us from this world to one of greater happiness.”
“For most vampires, it's an automatic response - scent blood, fangs drop.”
“Broken glass. At the moment, we were barefoot and dancing over a sea of it. But as true as that was, Mickey knew I would dance with him forever if I could, bloody feet and all.”
“My father said that love at first sight should send you running, if you know what's good for you. It's your dark pieces having instant recognition with their dark pieces, he says. You're an idiot if you think it means you've met your soul mate. So I was an idiot.”
“sharing my cozy home with the mice.”
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