The Turning (Blood Ties Series #1)
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The Turning (Blood Ties Series #1)

4.1 134
by Jennifer Armintrout

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I'm no coward. I want to make that perfectly clear. But after my life turned into a horror movie, I take fear a lot more seriously now. I finally became Dr. Carrie Ames just eight months ago. Then I was attacked in the hospital morgue by a vampire. Just my luck.

So now I'm a vampire, and it turns out I have a blood tie to the monster who sired me. The


I'm no coward. I want to make that perfectly clear. But after my life turned into a horror movie, I take fear a lot more seriously now. I finally became Dr. Carrie Ames just eight months ago. Then I was attacked in the hospital morgue by a vampire. Just my luck.

So now I'm a vampire, and it turns out I have a blood tie to the monster who sired me. The tie works like an invisible leash and I'm bound to him no matter what I do. And of course he's one of the most evil vampires on earth. With my sire hell-bent on turning me into a soulless killer and his sworn enemy set to exterminate me, things couldn't get much worse — except I'm attracted to them both.

Drinking blood, living as an immortal demon and being a pawn between two warring vampire factions isn't exactly how I'd imagined my future. But as my father used to say, the only way to conquer fear is to face it. So that's what I'll do. Fangs bared.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Armintrout's bold debut, the first book in a violent vampire series, bares its fangs early, unafraid to spill blood and vital organs from its very first pages. ER resident Dr. Carrie Ames tells the story of how, after being attacked and left for dead, she eventually realizes she's been "turned." Fellow vampire Nathan Grant saves Carrie from her sire's jealous lover, only to give Carrie a life-or-death ultimatum: either pledge allegiance to the Movement, a group of humanitarian vampires dedicated to the eradication of their own race, or perish for their cause. Feisty, independent Carrie would like to make up her own mind, but an invisible "blood tie" to Cyrus Kerrick, her evil sire, leaves her in his thrall-she can't help lusting after his body and power. A deadly game of wits develops between Carrie and Cyrus, whose desire for companionship masks his plot for world domination. Carrie, Cyrus and Nathan are all well drawn, as is the love triangle that develops among them. The book's level of gory detail-the narrator is, after all, a newly minted emergency room doctor-may put off all but the most stalwart of readers, but if you've got the stomach for it, this fast, furious novel is a squirm-inducing treat. (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Blood Ties Series , #1
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The End

I read a poll in the newspaper once that said the number-one fear of Americans aged eighteen to sixty-five is public speaking. Spiders are second, and death a distant third. I'm afraid of all these things. But most of all, I'm afraid of failure.

I'm no coward. I want to make that perfectly clear. But my life turned from nearly perfect to a horror movie in a matter of days, so I take fear a lot more seriously now.

I'd followed my life plan almost to the letter, with very few detours. I'd gone from plain old Ms. Carrie Ames to Dr. Carrie Ames just eight months prior to the night I now refer to as "The Big Change." I'd broken away from the sleepy, East Coast town I'd grown up in, only to find myself in a sleepy, mid-Michigan city. I had a great residency in the E.R. of the public hospital there. The city and surrounding rural communities provided endless opportunity to study and treat injuries inflicted by both urban warfare and treacherous farm equipment. Living my dream, I'd never been more certain that I'd found the success and control over my destiny that had always seemed to elude me in my tumultuous college years.

Of course, sleepy mid-Michigan towns get boring, especially on frozen winter nights when even the snow won't venture out. And on a night exactly like this, after only having been home for four hours from a grueling twelve-hour shift, I was back at the hospital to help deal with a sudden in-flux of patients. The E.R. was surprisingly busy for such a forbidding evening, but the approaching holiday season seemed to affect everyone with a pulse. Thanks to my rotten luck, I was charged with attending trauma cases that night, patients with serious injuries and illnesses that put them in imminent danger of death. Or, more specifically, carloads of mall-hoppers who showed up in pieces after hitting black ice on 131 South.

After I'd admitted three patients, I found myself in great need of a nicotine fix. While I felt guilty for sticking the other doctors with a few extra cases, I didn't feel guilty enough to forgo a quick cigarette break.

I was heading for the ambulance bay doors when John Doe arrived.

Dr. Fuller, the attending physician and most senior M.D. in the hospital, ran alongside the gurney, barking instructions and demanding information from the EMTs in his no-nonsense Texan accent.

Distracted by the fact that Dr. Fuller's smooth, Southern speech had been replaced by an urgent, clipped tone, I didn't notice the patient on the gurney. I had never seen my superior lose his unflappable calm before. It scared me.

"Carrie, you gonna give us a hand here or are you on a oneway trip to Marlboro country?" he barked, startling me. The cigarette between my fingers snapped in half when I jumped, reduced to a fluttering shower of dry tobacco. My break had been officially canceled.

I brushed my hands clean on my lab coat and fell into step beside the gurney. It was only then that I noticed the state the transport was in.

The sight of the patient paralyzed me as we entered the cubical and the EMTs were squeezed out to make way for the R.N.s who rushed in.

"Okay ladies, I want splash guards, gowns, goggles, the whole space suit. Quickly, please," Fuller snapped, shrugging off his blood-smeared white coat.

I knew I should do something to help, but I could only stare at the mess on the table in front of me. I had no idea where to start.

Blood might be the one thing I'm not afraid of. In the case of John Doe, it was not the blood that made working on him, touching him, even approaching him unthinkable. It was the fact that he looked like my dissection cadaver on the last day of Gross Anatomy.

Puncture wounds peppered his chest. Some were small, but four or five were large enough to fit a baseball in.

"Gunshot wounds? What the hell was he shot with, a god-damned cannon?" Dr. Fuller muttered as he probed one of the bloody holes with his gloved finger.

It didn't take a forensic-science degree to tell that what had caused the wounds in John Doe's torso had not caused the wounds in his face. His jaw, or what was left of it, hung skinned from the front teeth to the splintered end, where it had been ripped from the joint to dangle uselessly from the other side of his skull. Above the gaping hole in his cheek, one eye socket stood empty and crushed, the eye itself and optical nerve completely missing. "I'd say someone used an axe on his head, if I thought it were possible to swing one with enough force to do this," Dr. Fuller said. "We're not going to get a tube down this way, his trachea's crushed all to hell."

I couldn't breathe. John Doe's remaining eye, clear and bright blue, fixed on mine as if he were totally alert.

It had to be a trick of the light. No one could endure this kind of trauma and remain conscious. No one could survive injuries of this magnitude. He didn't cry out or writhe in pain. His body was limp and completely void of any reaction as the attending staff made an incision in his windpipe to intubate him.

He never looked away.

How can he be alive? my mind screamed. The concept destroyed the carefully constructed logic I'd built over three years of medical school. People did not live through something like this. It wasn't in the textbooks.Yet, there he was, staring at me calmly, focused on me despite the flurry of action around us.

For a sickening moment, I thought I heard my name from the mangled hole of his mouth. Then I realized it was Dr. Fuller's frantic voice cutting through the haze of my paralyzed revulsion.

"Carrie, I need you to wake up and join us! Come on, now, we're losing this guy!"

I could continue to stare at John Doe or turn my face to Dr. Fuller, to see him silently lose his faith in me. I don't know what would have been more distressing, but I didn't get to make a decision.

I mumbled a feeble apology, turned swiftly and ran. I had barely escaped the grisly scene before I noticed the sticky splotches on the floor that stained the pristine tile a deep, glossy red. I was going to be sick. I fell to my knees in the congealing blood and closed my eyes as the bile rose in my throat. I rocked back and forth on my knees, my vomit mixing with the blood on the tiles.

A sudden hush came from the cubicle behind me, followed by the insistent whine of the heart monitor protesting the cessation of pulse.

"All right, he's gone. Pack him up and get him to the morgue," I heard Dr. Fuller say. His cool, Texan confidence crept back into his voice, though it was tainted with weariness and resignation.

I scrambled to my feet and ran to the staff locker room, unable to face my failure.

I was still in the locker room an hour later. Fresh from a shower, dressed in clean scrubs from central processing, I stood before the mirror and tried to smooth my wet, blond hair into something resembling a ponytail. My mascara had run in the shower and I wiped at it with my sleeve. It only served to darken the circles under my eyes. My bone-pale skin stretched sharply over my cheekbones, my blue eyes were cold and hollow. I'd never seen myself look so defeated.

When did I become so pathetic? So cowardly? Cruelly, I taunted myself with memories I couldn't push aside. The way I'd snickered with the other students when the skinny foreign guy had tossed his cookies on the first day of Gross Anatomy. Or the time I'd chased Amy Anderson, the queen bee of the eighth grade, from the bus stop by sticking earthworms in her hair.

It appeared that I'd become one of those people I'd despised. To the entire E.R. medical staff at St. Mary's Hospital, I had become the squeamish nerd, the shrieking girl. It cut so deeply, I'd need emotional sutures to heal.

A knock at the door pulled me from my self-pity. "Ames, you still in there?"

The door swung open. Steady footsteps carried Dr. Fuller to the end of my narrow bench.

For a moment, he didn't say anything at all. Without looking, I knew that he stood with his head hanging down. His hands would be in the pockets of his crisp white coat, his elbows tucked in at his sides, giving him the appearance of a tall, gray stork.

"So, hangin' in there?" he asked suddenly.

I shrugged. Anything I said would have been a lame excuse for my poor performance, one akin to those uttered by countless med students who stopped showing up for class soon after.

"You know," he began, "I've seen a lot of doctors, good physicians, crack under pressure. You get tired. You get stressed, maybe you're having personal problems. Those things happen to all of us. But some of us leave it in here —" he pointed to the lockers behind me " — instead of taking it out there. It's what makes us capable doctors."

He waited for me to respond. I only nodded. "I know you've gone through a lot this year, losing your parents —"

"This isn't about my parents." I hadn't meant to cut him off, but the words were spoken before I had a chance to think about them. "I'm sorry. But really, I'm over that."

He sighed deeply as he sat next to me on the bench. "Why do you want to be a doctor?"

We sat there for a long time, like a coach and a star player who had fumbled the ball, before I answered.

"Because I want to help people." I was lying. Badly. But even I didn't know the reason, and he didn't want a real answer, anyway. Real doctors lose the capacity for humanity and understanding before they grab their diplomas. "And because I love it."

"Well, I love golf, but that doesn't make me Tiger Woods, does it?" He laughed at his own joke before he became thoughtful again. "You know, there comes a time in every-one's life when they have to carefully examine the goals they've set for themselves. When they have to admit their limitations and look at their capabilities in a more realistic way."

"You're saying I should be a dentist?" I asked, forcing a laugh.

"I'm saying you shouldn't be a doctor." Fuller actually patted me on the back, as though it would take the edge off his harsh words. He stood and walked toward the door, stopping suddenly as if he'd just thought of something.

"You know," he began, but he didn't finish his thought. Instead he shook his head and walked out the door.

My fists balled with anger and my breath came in noisy gasps as I struggled to regain my composure. I'd failed the Great One's test. I should have told him I liked the money. It was considerably better than a stick in the eye. Though they were both reasons people entered the field, neither financial security nor desire to help others were my true motivation for becoming a doctor.

It was the power that drew me to it. The power of holding a human life in my hands. The power of looking Death in the face and knowing I could defeat him. It was a power reserved for doctors and God.

I'd pictured myself a modern-day Merlin, a scalpel for a wand, a clipboard my book of spells. I cringed at the ridiculous thought.

I could have changed into my street clothes, slunk out of the hospital and never come back. But then I thought of my dead father and remembered one of the rare pieces of paternal advice I'd ever received from him.

"If you're afraid of something, face it. Fear is irrational. The only way to conquer your fear is to put yourself next to it."

Just as quickly as it had come, my self-doubt subsided. This was a test of faith in myself. I wasn't going to fail.

I got onto my feet and made my way through the packed E.R., blind and deaf to my coworkers and the patients that crowded the cubicles around me. I left the emergency and trauma ward altogether, pushing through the doors that led into the central part of the hospital.

The offices I passed were closed, their windows dark. The main lobby was empty, with the exception of one custodian who leaned on the deserted information desk, idly reading an old newspaper while his cleaning cart sat neglected in the middle of the room. He barely glanced up as I elbowed the cart in my reckless flight and knocked a stack of paper towels to the floor.

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Turning (Blood Ties Series #1) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 134 reviews.
Hooked_On_Vamps More than 1 year ago
I would have given this book a four star rating, but because the end was so bad, I had to give it a three. The book was a little slow to start off. I felt very disconnected to the main character. She was not like anything that I would've expected from a human turned vamp who had no idea what was going on. She seemed very nonchalant about the whole thing. The descriptions were good, it was well written, and very easy to follow. It had a great plot and some very interesting things about vamps that I haven't seen in other books similar to this one. As far as the ending goes, it was totally unbelievable. It didn't seem like the characters at all. It seemed as if the writer decided that she was done with writing this book, and just wrote a quick ending. I was quite disappointed about it. I expected more since the rest of the book was so involved in all aspects of the characters. I found myself shouting, "Really? That doesn't make any sense! Why would he do that?!" I don't think that I will be reading anymore of the Blood Ties series unless someone can convince me that they get better. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone either, unless they just don't have anything better to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
loved loved loved this wish there was more of her writings out there 
livray More than 1 year ago
This series has a lot of violence and several explicit encounters that would make this a poor selection for someone easily offended or embarrassed. If you love a good story and the above doesn't bother you then you won't be disappointed. itunes has the audio series reasonable priced.
SweetPea798 More than 1 year ago
i loved this series jennifer armintrout has a nasty little mind and i loved it!!! carrie and nathan were good together even though it took forever for that to happen.... you will love this series just try it.....
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is great I finished it the same day i started
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed the book. The writing is great! The story was interesting! However, I am giving it four stars because sometimes the characters' actions just didn't make sense to me. And why were the two main characters mad at each other all the time? I don't know. Maybe I personally can't relate to reacting to a crush by yelling at him. But I will read the next one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
lizfromok More than 1 year ago
Very good! The characters grab you and don't let go :-)
broncogirl More than 1 year ago
This book was kind of boring, Did not hold my interest and I would not recommend this book to anyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
nina_chan01 More than 1 year ago
Carrie is a young doctor working in the ER when a severely beaten-up patient arrives and changes the course of her life forever. Turned against her will (and knowledge), Carrie meets fellow vampire Nathan and his ward, Ziggy. Informed that she must join the "movement" or die, she asks for time to think it over. That time is cut short when she meets her maker and his powerful witch groupie. That's when the real fun starts. The premise of this book sounds a bit cliché, but there's nothing unoriginal once you start reading. The pace is relentless, taking Carrie (and the reader) from one situation to another with barely enough time to fully process how we got there. And while that may sound bad, it adds to the overall feel of the story. Not one scene seemed out of place and the author just keeps throwing amazing revelations one after another.  Be warned: this is not a romance! At all. Do not let that keep you from reading. It is definitely worth it. An entertaining and fulfilling read, I enjoyed every minute of it. My one complaint is that end seemed a bit rushed. Like the page count the author had in mind was close and she had to set an ending before she got to that point. I usually forgive things like that when the book is as good as good as this one, but for some reason I just couldn't bring myself to award the whole five stars because of it.
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