I'm a hybrid. Sort of. I'm also still human somehow. Some call me a monster, but I'm a "good" kind of monster. You know, like the serial killers who kill the drug dealers, rapists, and general scum of the earth.
Being a hybrid has its perks: superhearing and speed, plus that awesome healing ability, but it has its downsides, too.
I'm also a therapist; the one these scum pay to... talk to. I listen, sure. But then I have my own personal brand of justice. It gets messy, so if you plan to stick around, might I suggest you wear a rubber suit?
If you like The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Dexter, or Hannibal, you'll love Trapped, the first of The Dr. van Wolfe Saga!
From the back cover:
I'm stuck - stuck in this body with two blood- hungry beasts who happen to be relatively clueless to what being human means. Luckily, I still have that part of me, too. I realized a while ago what happened to make me this way and now I'm on a mission to find a cure without killing myself in the process.
I also may have the opportunity to buy a castle in England complete with gargoyles. Am I going to? You bet I am! But while I was there, I gained a follower of sorts - a watcher. I don't know who it is or why, but my monsters inside are helping me to figure it out. The watcher even followed me home - I feel them.
At least I can get back to helping my patients and finding that cure to rid myself of this werepireism. How will I ditch the watcher before they out me for the monster I truly am?
About the Author
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Teddy walked into the kitchen for his morning coffee, black, no sugar or creamer. Miranda followed sleepily behind, still rubbing the crust from her eyes. Half-asleep, she pulled the freezer drawer open to grab three ice cubes but got five in her fatigue. She dropped two back into the ice bin, forgot to close the freezer drawer and walked into it, knee first.
"Son of a-!" She yelled as she grabbed her now bleeding knee.
She pushed the drawer closed more frustrated than angry and turned back around to get her cup of coffee. Teddy snickered as she put the ice cubes in her mug and happily poured Miranda the piping hot caffeinated bean juice. Miranda simply nodded her thanks and downed that first mug like it was the first glass of water she had come close to after days in the desert. Teddy looked at her quizzically, even tilting his head to the side like a dog, but poured her another. The scent of blood awakened her senses much quicker than any amount of caffeine ever could, causing her to look down at her right knee.
"Oh seven hells, it's all over the floor," Miranda said, "I wonder how much of it we can bag. You did mop only yesterday."
Teddy bent down to grab a few blood bags from a cabinet under the counter and handed them to Miranda. He was not much of a fan of blood, let alone blood all over the tile floor he so painstakingly mopped and scrubbed the day prior. He grumbled something unintelligible and walked out of the kitchen to sit on the couch and catch the weather for the day. After all, it was five o'clock in the morning and this was their usual routine, minus blood all over the floor. Miranda had a room for all her blood bags, which also included a ten-foot-long freezer for all the dead animal hearts and steaks. This was their life now and Teddy had to get used to it. He loved Miranda regardless that she was two parts monster and one part human.
Carefully siphoning the blood into the bags, Miranda's mind took over. Just look at all that tasty blood! It is better than coffee. Lick it off the floor! Oh, the smell, so sweet and hot, okay lukewarm now ... it tastes much better hot. Boil it and trash that coffee. NO! I like my coffee, thank you. I'll set this aside for lunch today. I'm a little tired of pig, beef, chicken, and lamb blood anyway. Besides, there's something about the taste of fear that makes the blood a little sweeter. And warmer, of course; anyone running has a higher body temperature. Anyone. I haven't had human in a little over a year and I'm thinking it may be time to play. Maybe go for some scumbag criminal who hasn't been arrested yet? Wait, do I even have friends still on the force to get me that kind of information? Hell. How do I not even know what my friends do anymore? Ohhhh, that's right. I went a bit into hiding, only coming out to see my patients and animals that were bred for slaughter anyway. Maybe that blood spatter guy in Miami can help me? I'm more of a monster than he is and I'm not the type of person he'd kill anyway. I don't commit crimes or kill people. Okay, fine, I do kill people, but only when I must. Besides, that was ages ago. Yes, just over a year does constitute use of the word 'ages'. Note to self: look up that guy's phone number. He hates blood anyway ... That's enough! BOTH of you! Hell, you guys can go on some rants, huh? Can we please just finish cleaning this up and get on with our day now? Good. Thank you.
"Teddy, we're finishing the packing today, right?"
"Yes babe, for the umpteenth time, yes. I've already scheduled the movers for this afternoon, too. Calm down. We're going home to Florida. Now get ready for that going away party at the office, would you?"
"Yeah, yeah, I'm going. Just as soon as I get this blood packed into the warmer so it's the right temperature when I get back. Think I'll be able to eat cake? I sure as hell hope so. The human part of me wants cake. Bad."
Miranda laughed, kissed Teddy, went to put the blood in the special warmer her and some friends engineered from a manicure equipment sterilizer, and hurried back upstairs to start her morning routine. She was excited to finally be leaving this place — this place full of memories, most good and some bad. The end was the worst series of memories she had since childhood. Shaking her head, she walked up the stairs, coffee in hand. Gazing around the now boxed up bedroom, Miranda grew a bit nostalgic and was not sure she truly wanted to leave. Given the severity and mentally anguishing pain she felt about staying, she knew she had to go home. There was no way she could stay and be happy. It helped that Florida was full of other monsters, many more than here in California. Plus, she hated California. The people were excruciatingly superficial and social circles were determined by who you knew and, sometimes, rarely, or, how much money you had.
Living out of suitcases for the next week and a half was hardly Miranda's first choice, but it had to suffice. She chose a mid-calf length red dress and black patent leather heels for her final departure party. She showered and dried her hair, then got dressed. Her dress fit a little snug from the shoulder straps down past her rib cage then hung in a manner that flattered her shape. She put the front part of her hair into a pouf with a couple of bobby pins and let the rest lay flat down her back. Her eye makeup perfectly accentuated her green eyes; eyes that looked into the soul of a person and could tear it out with a wink. The last of her makeup was the red lipstick she so adored. She admired herself in the full-length mirror as she slipped her shoes on. Twirling this way and that, she fell into a haze of how beautiful she was in human form. Shaking her head back to reality, she huffed and headed down the stairs. When Teddy saw her his jaw dropped.
"You don't really dress like that anymore for date night, you know. What gives?"
Giving him a sly smile she said, "I promise I will again once we get home."
She gave Teddy a quick kiss, turned and grabbed her keys and purse from the countertop, and turned back to face Teddy. One more kiss and she was walking toward the door that led to the garage where her black chariot of night awaited her. It had been three months and Miranda decided she needed a new SUV, even if it was only a feeble attempt at tossing her memories deep into the depths of the oceans. Unlocking the vehicle, she got in, opened the garage door, and started her chariot. To Miranda, the SUV really was a chariot — it took her where ever she wanted to go, whenever. She was okay that it did not fly; she would have her flying rides soon enough. After backing out and closing the garage, she called Frank, the builder of her house in Florida for an update.
"Frank! Hey buddy! How's it coming? Will it be ready when we get there?"
"Hey, Miranda! I'm glad you called!"
He's glad I called. Seven hells, what's the damned problem now? He best not have some nonsensical joke of a reason for anything.
"So look, there's a bit of a delay ..."
There it is. Let's hear his excuse this time.
"Frank, I told you three months ago delays are unacceptable unless there's a hurricane and there hasn't been. What kind of crap answer do you have for me now?"
"That worker, Bob, I told you about? He's terrified of your house and I can't figure out why. The problem is he's the stone guy doing the half-pillars at the end of the driveway. He got the rest of the house done but said something about getting the creeps and hasn't come back since. That was a week ago."
This is the most absurd thing I have ever heard! A WEEK? And he waits until NOW, the day we drive back, to tell me?
"Frank, dear, sweet, Frank, have you hired another stone guy to get the pillars done?"
"Well, no ... I figured I'd set you up meetings for when you get back so you can pick the guy to finish them. The rest of the house is finished and I have a cleanup crew in there now. The cleaning company comes tomorrow so the place should smell nice and lemony when you walk in."
"Frank, how many times must I tell you to stop with the lemon cleaner jokes? If I smell anything other than nothing, and I mean nothing, no flowers or fruity garbage, you will not see the money for the cleaners, got it? Just spray that air freshener that smells like fresh linen you fool."
"Sorry. I really thought you were kidding about the lemon scent jokes. Febreeze it is. So, I'll meet you at the house around noon in three days?"
"Yeah, provided we get out of here on time today. Uh, what day is today, anyway?"
"The day of your farewell party, duh. No, really, it's Monday."
"Thanks, Frank. Now off with you and get my damn house finished by ten Wednesday night. I will not walk in to see cleaners or anything of the sort."
"I would never allow that to happen, Doc."
"Good. Have a great few days without me and if there happens to be another joke of an emergency, you had best call me. I really should know that threats seem to be the only way to get through to you and you really need to do better, Frank. Ta ta!"
She hit the little red button with the phone on it to disconnect the call and continued backing out of her driveway. Her street was unusually busy for nine in the morning, but she did not seem to mind. She would be on her way home soon enough. Even the nightmarish traffic did not bother her. Miranda was happy to be going home, back to Florida, where she belonged.
It took over an hour to get to her office, which normally took about thirty minutes, but she shrugged it off. She had people waiting to wish her well on her new journey and was grateful for that. Only two of them were friends in a sense, Lilly and Ned. Those two were the friends who had engineered Miranda's blood warmer under the pretense that it was for research. They did not need to know the real purpose — no one did. She parked her SUV in her spot — the spot marked 'Parking for Dr. van Wolfe only' and stared at the sign. I always wanted my own parking spot but does that even matter anymore? I mean, why? I'll have one back home, too. Is it significant in any way? I mean, sure, it shows I've come a long way and finally gained what I wanted; what I was meant to do. But I also gained things I didn't want here. No. This parking spot is significant. I'm keeping this sign. With that thought, she got out of her SUV, locked it and heard the chirp of the alarm setting, and yanked the sign clear off the pole, leaving only the bolt holes in the sign itself. Ah, the perks of werepire strength. Holding the sign in one hand, she walked to the door and opened it.
In her office were approximately ten people, Lilly and Ned among them. Lilly was also her receptionist and already a waterfall of emotions. The human part of Miranda felt as though a part of her was being ripped away, while the other two parts of her laughed at the sentiments. You two better knock it off — NOW. No outbursts, no fits of rage, just shut the hell up. It's two hours; you can handle that, right? Hahahaha! No, we can't. You know this. The term 'well-behaved' isn't in our personal dictionaries. Ugh, fine. Just ... ugh!
"Wow! Thanks for throwing this party, Lilly! Talk about bittersweet, huh."
Here I am telling you two to behave and listen to me. This was a bad idea.
"Oh Doc, this really was nothing. We'll all miss you. The others couldn't make it because you helped them so much they were afraid they'd fall back into old patterns again. Oh, Doc!" Lilly cried, flinging her arms around Miranda in a sopping wet hug of tears. Miranda returned the hug half-heartedly.
Pushing Lilly back to arm's length, she said, "Don't cry. Lilly, you know you have an even better job waiting for you tomorrow."
Miranda set Lilly up with a colleague and much higher pay. Lilly backed away, holding multiple tissues against her face, blocking all but half an eye. Everyone else, also in tears, hugged Miranda, thanking her for their progress and referrals to other doctors like her. Ned handed her a glass of champagne and called for a toast. Everyone had something to say. All of their words touched Miranda's human heart in one way or another. Then it was Miranda's turn.
"Thank you all for this lovely party. It means more than I can express that I was able to help you all. But please keep in mind that if you didn't want help, not I nor anyone else would be able to help you. You all mean a great deal to me and I hope we stay in touch. I mean it, if any of you ever need anything, please call me. Now let's cut that cake!"
A round of clanking glasses and Miranda found a knife in her hand to cut the beautifully decorated — it even had fondant daffodils and daises, Miranda's favorite flowers — on it. The knife gleamed so shiny, so beautiful ... so perfect. Shiny like my fangs, mmmm, how the blood of the weeping would taste. C'mon, let's have at it! Just listen to their hearts! Pumping with sadness and joy and fear all at once! Miranda felt the warmer-than-body-temperature blood trickle down her throat. Yeah, that's right, feel it, taste it ... Yeah! Then rip their throats and hearts out and eat them! I told you two to shut the hell up! Miranda stuck the knife in the cake ever so gently, taking great care not to knock over, or worse, cut in half, one of the precious fondant flowers.
"Okay, who wants first piece?"
No one said a word. No one moved or twitched. They simply stood there, heads solemnly bowed as if saying a final silent prayer.
"I asked who wanted cake, now someone answer me."
As if the tone of Miranda's voice snapped everyone from their trance, they all started moving again, almost shoving each other for a piece of the rather large cake.
"So where's Teddy?" Lilly asked, taking a bite of the lemon vanilla marble cake.
With a mouthful of fondant daffodil, Miranda attempted to tell her, but she was stopped by the savoring of the buttercream flavor.
When she swallowed and put her plate down, she answered, "He said it wasn't his place to be here, particularly because of doctor-patient confidentiality. Also, the movers should be at the apartment any minute."
Glancing at her watch — it was now twelve past noon — Miranda announced it was time for her to go pack her last-minute things and get on the road, further explaining that she had to meet the builder in Tampa on Wednesday at noon. Lilly boxed up the cake and forced Miranda to take it with her, mumbling something about it making for a good road trip snack. Yeah, because she has a clue about road trip food; cheeseburgers, people ... oh, the goodness ...
Miranda said her final goodbyes, went to her Night Chariot awaiting her in the lot and drove home to get the vehicles packed up for the 2,500 mile trip home.CHAPTER 2
Miranda pulled up to a moving truck in her driveway, annoyed she now had to park her Night Chariot in the street. She walked across the lawn to the main entry, pulled it open harder than intended almost breaking the glass, and stomped to the elevator when she almost slipped on the marble floor. She knew the movers would arrive while she was at the party, but this still irritated her. How are we supposed to feed now? The movers will be in and out. What the hell! Calm down, you two act like they're going to be in the kitchen--- oh no! I hope Teddy hid the warmer! Forget the elevator ... Miranda took off for the stairs, removing her shoes as she ran up.
Bolting out of the stairway door, she saw the movers carrying out her freezer.
"Hey, guys! You have a way to plug that in for the trip to Tampa, right?"
"Yes ma'am, we sure do. Your husband was very specific when he mentioned this freezer. Do you mind if we ask what's inside it?"
"Oh, uh, just some animals that I have yet to preserve for taxidermizing."
Whew, that was close! Good thing there's three of us in here or this situation could've turned out really bad. Like, REALLY bad. The cops would have shown up, the whole nine! It would have derailed before I found the cure to get rid of you two morons. Hey! We are NOT morons, just the werewolf is. No, you're both morons, now hush. She waited patiently for the moving team to haul the freezer to the service elevator so she could walk in and get her last-minute things together, trying not to have a panic attack over the warmer.
"Teddy! You took everything out of the warmer, right? Please tell me you hid it in my stuff. Oh my seven hells, please-"
"Miranda, deep breath. Yes. It's in the luggage you specified."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Trapped"
Copyright © 2017 Amanda Byrd.
Excerpted by permission of Blacksheep Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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