“It was several minutes before Sarah realized she wasn’t dreaming. The tall guy in her
room, the creepy guy on the stairs, all of it had been real. After about five miles of telling herself
to wake up, then looking at the tall guy who was driving, then pinching herself, then telling
herself to wake up again, then looking at the tall guy some more, reality and the promise of a
full-fledged panic attack set in.
“I swear, if you let me go, I won’t tell anyone, okay?” Sarah finally found her voice.
She had a moment where she thought that maybe this was a dream again, judging by the way the
driver of the car looked. He was dark and mysterious, chiseled from head to toe—she should
know, she all but crawled into him when they were running away from that other guy. She
couldn’t make out much in the dark of the truck’s cab, but even in the faint light of the street
lamps, something about this guy made her feel different. Maybe it was his voice—that deep,
gravelly, slightly British voice. Maybe it was the smell that came off him, that man-mixed-with-
“Who are you?” Her damned voice box rebelled against her and her question came out
in a whisper.
He was focused on the road, his eyes never leaving it as he maneuvered the giant diesel
truck in and out of the one a.m. traffic. “I’ll explain everything when we get to where we are
going. In the meantime, just sit back and try to relax, okay?”
“Relax? Okay, yeah. I was taken out of my bed in the middle of the night by some guy
I don’t even know, and then I was chased up the stairwell by a Sherman tank of a drag queen,
and you tell me to relax? Yeah right, pal! Listen, seriously, whatever ransom you’re asking for, I
can pay it. Just bring me to an ATM, and you can have whatever you want, okay? Just let me
“It’s not that simple, Dr. Bridgeman.”
“The hell it’s not. Look, just let me out, and anything you want, it’s yours. Cross my
heart, I won’t tell a soul you took me.” She made a little crisscross motion over her heart.
“Like I said, Dr. Bridgeman, it’s not that simple. I don’t need your money. I need you
to do a job for me. That Sherman tank drag queen apparently wants you to do the same job. I
think, circumstances being what they are, you might want to consider working for me.”
“Work, my ass.” Sarah mumbled to herself. “Who the hell are you, anyway? And what
job could I possibly do for you? I’m a medical researcher, you dickhead.”
He didn’t bother looking at her. He took in a deep breath and let out a long sigh.
“My name is Taris. I’m an eight-hundred-year-old vampire, and I need you to use your
medical research to help me stop the slow yet brutal extinction of a race of people who really do
exist but are made into horror movie villains and romance novel heroes.”
When he was met with silence, he glanced over to see her passed out cold in the seat.
“I knew it wouldn’t work.”