A never-before-published Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter story from New York Times bestselling author Laurell K. Hamilton. A brand-new story from New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris, featuring the much-loved Sookie Stackhouse.
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December 28, 2004
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Excerpt from Bite by Laurell K. Hamilton
"DR. Sophie?" An urgent rap on the screen door of her houseboat. She recognized the voice. Thomas "Don't-call-me-Tommy" Carlson, the mechanic's son. "Dr. Sophie, can I come in?"
"Come on in, Thomas." She was checking her bag, having a good idea what the problem was. "Is Misty having trouble?"
In the manner of eight-year-old boys, Thomas slammed the screen door aside and jumped into the boat before it could rebound closed. The sound was not unlike rocks rolling across a parking lot. "She can't get started, doc. She tries and tries, and she's licking herself, like, all the time down there, yuck! But the kittens won't come."
"We'd better go give her a hand, then," Sophie replied. "Lead the way."
She followed the boy silently; the mechanic's family lived on an old farm just down the road; it was a brisk ten-minute walk. She wondered idly why he hadn't called her cell phone and saved himself a trip, then she remembered the indefatigable energy of children. She hadn't realized how lost in thought she was until the child spoke again. "You're missing Ed, are'ncha?"
"Well, he was old," Thomas said in a tone that was both heartless and comforting.
"You," Sophie said, smiling. "You think you'll be eight forever."
The truth was, she missed Ed dreadfully. She had known him since she was a child in Paris, and after she had been turned, he had come with her to America. She had bought him, a former banker trapped in the city his entire life, the home of his dreams; an enormous farm and all the livestock he could play with. In return, he had let her feed whenever she wished. Theirs was a comfortable relationship, one based on mutual need and friendship. She supposed he had been her sheep, but she despised that vampiric term. It denoted a relationship that was not equal, when, in fact, Ed called the shots. If anything, she had been his sheep.
But she had been foolish to overlook the inevitable?that he would age and, someday, die. She had assumed her friend would be eternal, like her.
And now, she missed him dreadfully.
At the end, though she had begged, he had refused to let her turn him. "Yeah," he'd croaked derisively, "this country needs an eighty-six-year-old vampire like I need another plate in my head. You think I want arthritis in my knees for all eternity? Don't you touch me, young lady. You're not too big to spank." His raspy voice had softened as he looked into her dark eyes, took in her unlined face. He went on in French, their mother tongue. "You would not be doing it for me, anyway, yes? You're just afraid to be alone. As old as you are, it's time to learn. So don't touch me. Let me go, Sophie."