Wicked After Midnight
Author:Delilah S. Dawson

Wicked After Midnight By Delilah S. Dawson



For my flower twin, for the Red Door, for Team Capybara, for the Bludbunny Brigade, for the YELLING ON TWITTER IN ALL CAPS. For the readers and writers and trollers of darkness. YOU GUYS ARE THE WIND BENEATH MY WINGS AND WHATEVS. Thanks for making the world less lonely.





Oh, I owe a lot of cupcakes this time around. Big thanks, hugs, and baked goods to so many.


With so many people to thank, I know I’ll forget someone important. But rest assured that the love and gratitude are there. As this is the last book (that I know of!) in the Blud series, the thanks list got a little out of hand. NO REGRETS.


First of all, many thanks to everyone who helped with the Wicked as She Wants launch party, especially Seth and Leah at the Red Door Playhouse in Roswell, Georgia. To my amazing friends in the Red Door Writers Group, who put up with my not-so-subtle manipulation of writing prompts into scenes for this very book. To the Fabulous Foxes of FoxTale Book Shoppe in Woodstock, GA, for joining us at the book launch party and selling a ton of books—and for making sure that there’s a way to order signed and personalized copies of all things Blud. To Ericka Axelsson for coming up with the book launch party’s signature drink, the Tsarina’s Kiss—it’s Prosecco and lingonberry syrup from Ikea, in case you want to try it, and it looks just like blood mixed with champagne but tastes a lot better. To Andrea for taking pics at the party and Elizabeth for helping with setup and Jim for bringing the unicorn head and Meghan for playing the role of the Goblin King. To Cakes by Darcy for another delicious masterpiece—red velvet with almond buttercream, of course. Thanks to everyone who joined us to party!


To my amazing husband, Craig, who has been my favorite person since the year 2000. To my magical children, Cleo and Rex, who make every day brighter and weirder. To my parents and grandparents, who always support me. I’ll dedicate a book to y’all, some day—but not a vampire romance.


For music and the playlists that keep me editing, thanks to Chris Casatelli, Thomas Strickland, Ken Lowery, Karina Cooper, Becky Zemansky, and Adam Christopher. You can hear the playlist for this book at Spotify under DelilahSDawson.


To the generous beta readers who helped steer me in the right direction for “The Three Lives of Lydia,” “Love Song of the Lizard Boy,” and “The Damsel and the Daggerman,” thanks to Stephanie at Fangs, Wands, and Fairy Dust; Brent Taylor, Austin Lewis, Stephanie Constantin, Ericka Axelsson, Debbie Pascoe, Beth Ho, Allie Charlesworth, Lindze Merritt, Charis Collins, Kathy Epling, Kevin Hearne, and Andrew Schaffer.


For using mad graphic skillz to whip up emergency swag faster than a speeding bullet, Jon Plsek.


To my beloved agent, Kate McKean, who always steers me true and without whom this entire series wouldn’t exist. Because when we were on The Call, she asked me what I was working on next, and when I said something along the lines of “a Buffy-inspired steampunk adventure with kind-of vampires and clockwork monkeys and then there’s a Kraken and lots of kissing,” she just went with it.


To my awesome editor at Pocket Books, Abby Zidle, who turns my coal into diamonds and marshmallows and treats me to duck confit and takes me to butterfly gardens, even though I almost got us thrown out. And to Parisa Zolfaghari, who not only took care of me through almost this entire series but also took me to STREB Extreme Action in New York so I could finally knock “flying trapeze” off my bucket list. (For real. There’s a video on my blog.) To Wendy and Nancy and all the copyeditors who keep me from looking like an idiot. And to Stephanie, Marla, and everyone else at Pocket Books, too. I’m so glad my first books were with y’all!


To the awesome Tony Mauro for the best cover yet. It’s perfect! And to James Perales for the gorgeous covers of all my novellas.


To the Bludbunny Brigade: Maranda Melton, Sara Muller, Rachel Flesher, Beth Ho, Leslee Nevill, Nancy Marsh, Savanna Puterbaugh, Sherry Gladden, Melanie Marsh, Laura Helseth, Christine Forshner, Jennifer Goble, Meghan Ball, James Breen, Austin Sirkin, Wendy Dagley, Nita Gill, Jillian Venters, Lise Donnelly, Sharonda, Kevin Craley, Sasha Conley, Beth Blanchard, Deb Rasmussen, Karen Burns, Brandi Engeman, Jessica Collins, Stephanie Constantin, Carol Malcolm, Jess Richardson, Lisa Millraney, Melissa Gilbert, Penelope Crampton, Janice Pia, Lexie Cenni, Heather Jackson, Gemma Harding, Sullivan McPig, Carien Ubink, Arienne Wallace, Carrie Mirim, Kat Fish, Ellen Sandberg, Lori A. Arcelay, Esperanza Gutierrez, Gloria Barna, Dani Albrecht, Linda Larsson, Anna Nicole Ureta, Kaitlin Sivley, Jessica Stewart, Tonia Rodriguez, Francesca Bensi, Amber Bray, Melissa Gilbert, and PJ McCracken. And unofficial members Mark and Theresa Curtis.


To everyone who came to the Wicked as She Wants pre-launch party at Madame X in New York City, including Adam Wilson, Janet Reid, Jeffrey Somers, Danielle Duffield, and Cara Moore. And speaking of my epic New York trip, thanks to Sleep No More for being one of the coolest experiences of my life.


To the cons and conferences who invited me to partake of their awesome, including Coastal Magic, Anachrocon, JordanCon, the Dahlonega Literary Festival, Phoenix Comicon, Authors After Dark, Dragon Con, and Crossroads Writers Conference. And to the booksellers who made my books available there, especially Mysterious Galaxy and Barnes & Noble. Special thanks to Murder by the Book in Houston for putting together such a lovely signing for the Carniepunk anthology. To Cindy Rittenhouse and Rivers Academy for my first chance to speak to high school students about writing. To Brian White for inviting me to be part of Fireside Fiction and Pip Ballentine and Tee Morris for allowing me to play in their sandbox for Tales from the Archives: The Official Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences.


To my fellow writers, who keep me afloat and commiserate and sometimes let me blather on their blogs and who name whores and strip clubs after me in their books: Kevin Hearne, James R. Tuck, Janice Hardy, Kevin Maurer, Chuck Wendig, Deanna Raybourn, Cherie Priest, John Scalzi, Jim C. Hines, Mary Robinette Kowal, Alethea Kontis, Leanna Renee Hieber, Sam Sykes, Ben LeRoy, Mark Henry, Nicole Peeler, Annabel Joseph, John Hartness, Lucienne Diver, Thomas Willeford. And, you know, everybody on Twitter.


To Brooke Stante of Villainess Soaps for capturing the characters of the Blud books so perfectly in scent and soap. Visit www.villainess.net/wicked to fall in love with her creations!


To the book bloggers and reviewers and everyone who’s ever rated my books on Amazon or Goodreads, merci mille fois!


Thank you all, so much for joining me on this journey.


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