The Librarian’s Vampire Assistant, book 2 EXCERPT

Chapter One

“Dammit, man! Just get in there and do it!” I mutter to myself while pacing the sidewalk under the scorching hot Arizona sun, where I’ve been the better part of the morning.

Okay, think, Michael, think. I sip the cold latte I’ve been nursing since I arrived to the library parking lot. The taste is ghastly, but far better than my current dilemma: today I must deliver devastating news to the sweet, tiny, and very human librarian inside. Clearly, the task is much harder than I anticipated. Maybe I should say, “Miriam, you have twelve months to live, and then I must—”

No, no. Too direct. I shake my head and walk back toward the nearly empty parking lot where my god-awful rental, an electric blue Pop-Tart with wheels, beckons me to drive away.

“No. I cannot chicken out.” I march back toward the library. How about, Miriam, this may sound crazy, but I am a vampire.”

No. She will think me mad! Maybe, “Miriam? Remember when you asked me to tell you the truth and you noticed many strange things happening in your life and—”

“Bloody hell!” I stop two feet from the entrance. There simply is no pleasant way to say it, and I have gone through the entire list of options, ranging from “Hey. Being dead and drinking blood is not as bad as you think. It is worse!” to “Watching the world drift by while you are frozen in time for all eternity is miserable, but you will get used to it.” Obviously, nothing truthful works, yet I have promised to never lie to her again.

I look down at my size 11 wingtips, cursing my feet for being unable to move through the front door. Perhaps I should have worn shoes that feel less civilized, like my Converse, as required by law. No, no. I do not mean that vampire law dictates we must all wear sneakers—thank heavens—such ghastly things—but it does state we must wear attire in accordance with our external age. For the record, I appear to be about twenty, but I am over four hundred years old, which is why I much prefer suits, the clothing of a real man. However, let me not get ahead of myself. A proper gentleman must always make the proper introductions, even in the direst of situations.

My name is Michael Vanderhorst. I am loyal, respected, and feared by some. I am also the new, very unwilling leader of the Arizona Society of Sunshine Love.

End me now.

  1. No vampire in his or her right mind would want to live in this peppy inferno of sunshine called Phoenix, Arizona, even if vampires do walk in the sun, contrary to popular belief. We simply hate the hell out of it, similar to how cats hate baths, children hate bedtime, and men hate listening. Vampires. Hate. Sunshine.
  2. Who would name their society (our word for “coven”) such a silly name? Sunshine Love? Pfft! Ludicrous. And as luck would have it, our laws prohibit renaming our societies once they have been legally established as a business or organization in the human world—something having to do with not wanting to draw extra attention to ourselves. Therefore, I am stuck being the leader of a society that is the butt of all vampire jokes: What’s the difference between a catfish and a member of the Society of Sunshine Love? One is a bottom-dwelling sucker and the other is a fish.
  3. I already lead a powerful territory with a respectable history—the Cincinnati Historical Society of Original Family Members—a role I inherited after the recent death of my maker, Clive Bakker. It is important to note that his murder is what brought me to this heat-infested valley. He was here on business and met a very untimely death at the hands of the local vampire leadership, who are now on the run—thus the reason I was appointed. The council wants me to hunt down these criminals and bring them to justice. That is exactly what I plan to do.

It is also crucial to mention that somewhere along the way, while looking into Clive’s death, I landed here in Miriam’s library, only to discover that she is linked to another mystery I have yet to resolve: I am inexplicably drawn to her.

No, I do not speak of love.

She is… We are…connected. Yes, that is the proper word, though I have no explanation as to why. I simply know that from the first moment I saw her in a café down the street—no morning is complete without strong coffee—I felt the need to protect this quirky, adorably shy female.

And boy, does this woman need protecting. She is a bona fide danger magnet, which is why I took the job as her assistant. It was an irresistible opportunity to solve the mystery of our unlikely bond, because in my four hundred years of existence, I have never felt drawn to anyone.

Unfortunately, however, all of my personal puzzles are about to take a backseat to the devastating news I am about to deliver to Miriam. As the newly appointed leader of this territory, I must enforce the council’s decrees. As her assistant, it is my duty to help her. As her vampire—I mean, as a vampire—I must protect her—I mean, protect the innocent.

Why can’t I get my head straight? I do not belong to her. I am no one’s pet. I am an ancient, deadly vampire! I helped establish the new vampire-world order and banish unruly outlaws. I am the first ever to rule two territories. I fear nothing!

I gulp down the rest of my cold coffee, crumple the paper cup in my hand, and toss it into the trash can outside. Let’s do this!

I reach for the door and enter the library, only to find Miriam standing in the middle of the self-help section.

“No! No! No!” She sobs hysterically at the book in her hand, tearing out pages and tossing them to the floor.

Or…maybe I will tell her tomorrow.

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