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For years, human Tiffany has lusted after vampire Dr. Christian La Mond, and accepting a job at his OB/GYN clinic creates an opportunity for both their dreams to come true. The powerful experience reveals to Christian that Tiffany is his life mate. But an Angel of Death stalks the halls of the clinic, terminating vampire pregnancies—and maybe Tiffany’s life. How far will Christian go to keep his life mate alive and convince her to take a chance on a love like she’s never imagined?

Age Rating: 18+

 

Dark Experiments by Lana Campbell is now available to read on the Galatea app! Read the first two chapters below, or download Galatea for the full experience.

 


 

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Read the full uncensored books on the Galatea iOS app!

1

Summary

For years, human Tiffany has lusted after vampire Dr. Christian La Mond, and accepting a job at his OB/GYN clinic creates an opportunity for both their dreams to come true. The powerful experience reveals to Christian that Tiffany is his life mate. But an Angel of Death stalks the halls of the clinic, terminating vampire pregnancies—and maybe Tiffany’s life. How far will Christian go to keep his life mate alive and convince her to take a chance on a love like she’s never imagined?

Age Rating: 18+

Original Author: Lana Campbell

CHRISTIAN

Christian had finished with his first patient of the day, Mrs. Corrigan. After he’d assured her and her life mate all was well with mom and baby, Christian had retreated to his office to chart before his next appointment.

Mrs. Corrigan was a female vampire from Boston in her third trimester. She and her life mate had arrived that day for a routine checkup and ultrasound.

Luckily most vampire couples were wealthy, a product of longevity. Their species had a lifespan roughly seven times longer than a human.

Mrs. Corrigan and her spouse had made the trip halfway across the country for her monthly exam. The couple had spent tens of thousands of dollars to conceive their child.

Thanks to Christian and Asa’s AR19crx fertility drug, the couple were expecting a baby girl.

Unfortunately, the couple would have to put their lives and careers on hold for the remaining eight weeks of Mrs. Corrigan’s pregnancy.

Christian had ordered her to stay here in the New Orleans area at his country retreat where the practice housed mothers close to birthing. A precautionary measure. Babies didn’t always show up on their scheduled due date.

Many years ago, he’d turned the lower level of the huge lodge into a small hospital with delivery and surgery rooms and everything necessary to care for those of his kind.

The top floor was a maternity ward with a nursery and was occasionally used when the clinic’s hospital overflowed with patients, which recently was quite often.

Of course, some out of town patients provided their own lodgings, but for those not quite as financially blessed, Christian and his partners, Asa and Noah, put them up at the retreat for free.

He could hardly wait for his practice’s visions to become reality. Once they had offices and doctors in cities across the US, and eventually worldwide, a patient’s commute would be a drive rather than a plane trip.

A knock sounded on his office door and he glanced up from the chart. “Come in.”

A moment later, Tiffany Peebles entered, her expression a bit hesitant. “Your receptionist up front, Grace, is it? She directed me to human resources then told me to come see you here. Hope I’m not disturbing you.”

Ah. He’d been expecting her. Tiffany was a good friend of his and now an employee. This was her first day…finally.

It had taken her a little over four months to dissolve her business so she could commit herself here one hundred percent as the V clinic’s IT.

He flashed her a welcoming smile and waved her inside. “Darlin’, you’re never a disturbance. Have a seat.” He gestured toward the two black leather arm chairs situated in front of his desk.

She settled in one across from him. “Christian, I just want to thank you, again, for this opportunity. I’m really looking forward to working for the V clinic.”

“And I couldn’t be happier to have you here.” That statement was true… and it wasn’t. Tiffany would bring the V clinic’s information technology into the twenty-first century, something they’d needed for a long time.

But, for some time, he’d been thinking about making Tiffany a bed partner. They had chemistry, lots of chemistry, but the trouble was she happened to be the human daughter of two of his closest friends.

Now she was his employee—even more reason to bottle up his lust for her. Having her so close to him might prove that bottle had brittle glass.

“Thanks. I’ll be honest with you, I’m a little nervous about this. Not the job itself, I’ve set up patient systems for dozens of medical practices, it’s just been years since I’ve worked in an office situation.”

Christian noticed Tiffany’s knee bobbing up and down and could sense nervousness percolating in her. She was bound to be a bit uneasy. She’d dissolved an eleven-year business to be his IT person.

He had every intention of making her transition into the V clinic as pleasant as possible. “You’ll fit in, Tiffany. No need to worry about that.”

“Really? You think? It’s been years since I’ve done the whole office socializing thing. I hope I’m up to it.”

He knew what she meant. She was a computer nerd. Her business and personal life had always revolved around computer operations, games, whatever techie people like her did for work or fun.

But like himself, she was a fan of outdoor sports too, several of which they’d enjoyed together many times over the twelve years they’d been friends.

As far as socializing went, it seemed she only did that with family and the Davenport/Peebles extended clan, most of which were vampires. Needless to say, she felt more comfortable around his species.

Unfortunately, most of his staff were humans, but all his people knew he’d hired her and all were anxious to meet her.

“No worries, Tiffany. The entire staff has been anticipating your arrival. They’re so sick of the manual system we have in place—trust me, you’ll be welcomed here with open arms. I’ve made sure of it.”

She laughed softly. “That’s good to hear.”

“So, tell me. How are things with you, beautiful?”

She shrugged and offered him a cute little half smile.

“It’s been a bit crazy trying to close my business, clear out my office space, and finish projects with clients. Otherwise, I’m fine and I’m really excited to be here. I believe I’ve done all the paperwork. So, what’s next?”

“Getting you a place to work would be the first order of business, which I’m going to have you do in here for today, but can you give me a second to finish charting on this patient?”

“Of course, take all the time you need. It’s your dime, gorgeous.” She drawled out the playful endearment.

Christian winked at her. He enjoyed flirting with her and she returned the favor. Nothing ever came of it, but maybe one day he’d change that. “Fair enough. Make yourself comfortable.”

“Care if I look around?” She craned her neck about toward a wall supporting a large bookshelf where he housed a collection of antique medical journals.

“Not at all.” He gestured for her to help herself.

She got up and walked over to the bookshelf, pulled out a dusty old volume and began to peruse its contents.

Yes, Tiffany would fit in fine around here. What a relief to have a new hire Christian knew as well as Tiffany.

She came from a family of prominent vampires, all good friends of his, so he had no need to worry she’d put the true nature of his practice at risk.

Hiring humans for a vampire practice was tricky business, but the V clinic did so all the time.

If the hire wasn’t known personally by one of the partners, enchantment was employed during the interview process to make sure the human was trustworthy.

He couldn’t wait for everyone to meet Tiffany. Asa, his best friend and partner would, take a shine to her because the two were so alike.

Noah on the other hand, his third partner, not so much he’d bet. That vampire was very old school and wasn’t thrilled about this new system overhaul.

He picked up his pen and re-opened the chart. The task needed to be done while the information was still fresh in his head. Then he could focus on pertinent issues with Tiffany regarding her position.

Minutes into charting, several inappropriate positions with Tiffany, which had nothing to do with her work at the V clinic, filtered into his thoughts.

She’d been in his office less than five minutes and already his pulse rate and breathing had spiked. So had another part of his anatomy.

He glanced at her now meandering around the room. Her attention settled on the wall that displayed his myriad of medical degrees.

He watched her study them, while he studied her cute little backside in a tight pair of dark blue denim jeans.

God, she was a pretty little thing and everything he liked in a female.

She was tall with the body of an Amazon woman, the features of an exotic goddess with a riot of waist length, curly auburn hair, generally pulled into a ponytail, as it was that day.

Her eyes were brown pools a man could get lost in. He had a whole new respect for the old adage “out of sight, out of mind.”

Christian closed the chart, got up, and walked over to her.

She turned and smiled up at him. “Ready for me now?”

“All yours, darlin’.”

She glanced back at the wall and pointed to his first medical degree. “Geez, Christian. You earned your first medical degree in 1948? How old are you, dude?”

He chuckled. “For a vampire, I’m just a pup. One hundred and twelve. Or will be next month.”

Her eyes went wide and rounded. “I get vampire longevity, but it’s a little weird because you look my age. Wow. A hundred and twelve, huh?”

“It’s not weird if you're a vampire. Most of your family are vampires. You know our species have benefits.”

“Of course. Longevity wouldn’t be so bad.” She grinned.

“There’s far more to it than that, darlin’.”

“Like what?”

“I’m sure I don’t have to tell you.”

“Mind control and psychic abilities. I was a little worried about that taking on this job. I know you enchant your employees prior to hire.”

She did look worried. He hastened to reassure her. “Darlin’, I’d never enchant you. It would be impossible since you’ve already enchanted me.”

Her eyes widened with surprise. “Ha ha. Christian, you’re a mess, you know that?”

“So, you’ve told me many times.”

She released an exasperated sigh and ran her tongue across her upper lip.

As he watched her, Christian pondered what he’d like to do to those lips of hers, painted a shade of dark rose. He sucked in a deep breath and caught her blood scent, undisguised by her perfume and shampoo.

Those smelled good too. He reached out and took hold of an auburn curl which had strayed from her ponytail, wrapped it around his index finger and inhaled again.

He wanted to sink his fangs in her neck and taste her more than his next breath.

That wasn’t a good train of thought for a post interview. He tucked the stray lock behind her ear.

“You’re being bold. Care if I play?” She reached up and took hold of his long blonde ponytail which happened to be resting on his shoulder.

She twirled it around her forefinger slowly, seductively, then all at once gave it a harsh tug.

“Ouch.” He tugged his hair free of her hold. “I guess I deserved that.”

“Yes, you did,” she chided. “Look, I know you like to flirt, and I don’t mind, but let’s keep the little game we play in the vault, okay? I don’t need co-workers thinking you hired me because we’re knocking boots.”

“Got it,” he muttered, feeling righteously chastised. He was supposed to be getting her settled in, not flirting with her. He had been, which was both unprofessional and dangerous.

He took a step back and folded his fingers together at his waist before they explored something more interesting than a lock of hair. “So darlin’, back to business. What sort of questions do you have for me?”

“I just need to know where to begin.”

“To be honest, Tiffany, all I want is for this to be easy and connect the dots between New Orleans and future V clinics and hospitals. I can’t tell you how to get there. The way I see it, this is your ballgame.

“I want you to do whatever you see fit to make this new patient filing system work seamlessly for the V clinic. All I ask is that you keep me updated on your progress. Money is no object.

“I want the best user-friendly system you can create for our staff. I want you to train them of course, along with me and my partners. If you need to hire help, do it. You don’t have to ask permission.”

“Sweet deal. I can make all that happen. Do you and your partners have a provisional date for this project to be completed at this facility?”

“Honestly, no. Asa is far too busy in Denver to worry about what’s going on with your position.

Right now, he’s overseeing construction there, ordering necessary equipment and supplies, hiring staff, and courting a couple of vampire OBs to move there.

“Denver will be the next place we’ll send you when you’re finished setting up the system here, but it will be at least several months before the project there is complete.”

“I see. And your other partner is who?”

“Dr. Noah Langston.” He paused and let out a soft snort. “Just so you know, he isn’t too happy about this system overhaul. Forgive him if he isn’t overly cordial toward you.”

“Sore loser, huh? Guess there was a vote taken and he got shot down?”

Christian laughed. The girl was sharp. “That would be correct.”

She chuckled then shook her head.

“Well, no worries. I ain’t got a problem with anything we’ve discussed regarding this job. Travel is cool, I’m used to deadlines, and Noah’s sour grapes won’t scare me away. I’m here for the long haul.”

Christian nodded and bit back a smile. She embraced her redneck roots and didn’t give a damn about grammar or high fashion. Funny, neither did he. He’d grown up in Texas and it was still part of his heart and soul.

“All right. So where do you want me to start? Do I have an office?”

“Yes, but it’s not ready yet. I’d planned to have you work here today.” He pulled his wallet out of his jeans, extracted a credit card, then handed it to her.

“Buy what’s needed. Computers, software, whatever. There’s no limit on this.”

She nodded. “I won’t break the bank, I promise. Umm, so what’s up with this Noah? Just curious as to why he isn’t on board with this decision. Has he got something against trees?”

Christian chuckled. “He has something against many things. He’s an older vampire and a bit of a curmudgeon.

“Despite his lack of knowledge regarding certain technologies that have nothing to do with a medical practice, he’s an astute and caring doctor, I assure you. I’ll introduce you to him later today.”

“And Asa? What’s he like?”

Christian smiled thinking of his best friend.

“You’ll get along with him famously. He loves beautiful women and likes to flirt, but he has an easy-going demeanor. I’d say I consider him my closest friend because we grew up together. But you, darlin’ run a close second.”

She seemed pleased by that comment. “If that’s true you mustn’t get out much because we only hang out a few weeks a year.”

“Maybe we can change that.”

She blinked at him with a bit of surprise and curiosity. He didn’t want her to overthink the comment so he pressed on.

“Anyway, back to business. I’m working on getting you your own office. The painters are a bit behind. They’re finishing up in there today, so everything should be ready for you by tomorrow.

“For now, just work in here, figure out what you need to do, make some calls to price equipment or go shopping. Do whatever you see fit.”

“Okay. Sounds like a plan.”

“I’m assuming you’ve tied up loose ends with your business?”

She nodded. “Yes, for the most part. I have a couple jobs I need to finish but they won’t interfere with this.

“Oh, and I talked to Chelsie yesterday. She’ll be calling you sometime next week to talk about working here now that her internship at Harvard is over.”

“Wonderful. I can’t wait to bring your sister on board. We need all the doctors we can get. So, do you think you can teach me, Asa and Noah to do this?”

“No worries. It might take some time, but I think you’ll find the system I have in mind easier than you thought once you begin using the new program.”

“Right on.” He was so happy to have her on board. The attraction between them aside, Christian knew the V clinic would benefit greatly from her knowledge and skills.

“And I promise I’ll behave, darlin’. Complete professionalism within the confines of these walls.”

She gave him a phsst and wrinkled her nose.

“Don’t make promises you can’t keep. And here’s a promise you can take to the bank. If you ever do anything I don’t like or approve of, I’ll belt you. And you know me, I fight dirty.” She winked.

There was more truth in that teasing statement than he cared to admit. Tiffany was one tough cookie.

She had a passion for sports, hunting and other masculine hobbies. He knew her to be country to the core and liked that about her because of his own roots.

She was fiercely protective of those she loved, but was a force to be reckoned with if someone threatened them.

Christian would never forget the day she’d killed Isabella, a feral vampire. Tiffany had one of his compound bows because they’d been target practicing.

Isabella had broken into his place and had tried to kill Tiffany’s mother, Mia and her sister Chelsie. She ended the bitch’s life with a single, well-placed arrow through her heart.

An amazing feat because Isabella had been a very old feral vampire with telekinetic skills rarely seen by any vampire, feral or not.

“Where’d you go? I was teasing, you know.”

“Oh, I know. Just cringing at the thought of learning all that computer stuff you’ll be teaching me. Do you have any more questions for me?”

“Not at the moment. Go do your doctoring business and leave me to this antiquated mess y’all created.

“I’ll figure something out in time, which hopefully all of you can live with. Including your partner, Vlad. Hope he really isn’t stuck in the dark ages.”

He chuckled. “He kind of is, darlin’, but no worries. He’ll adjust. I’m glad you’re here, Tiffany.”

“I’m glad to be here.”

His gaze locked with hers and he saw something unmistakable in her rich gaze: desire mixed with a little wariness. He felt both emotions himself.

It wasn’t likely either of them would be keeping this attraction thing in the vault long.

“I need to go. My next appointment’s waiting. Later, if I have time, I’ll give you a tour of the facility.”

“Sounds like a plan. Before I dig in, where do you keep the coffee?”

He smiled because he knew she loved her coffee. He made a mental note to buy her a kick ass coffee maker and cappuccino machine for her office. “Follow me, darlin’.”

TIFFANY

Tiffany’s head was still in tailspin mode as she trailed Christian out of his office and down the hall. How the hell was she supposed to work with that way too hot vampire?

Desire had blazed in his gold eyes and they’d been shimmering with blood lust too, something she easily recognized having lived around vampires for so many years.

Guess she should have thought about that before she took a job that would have her in proximity to his gorgeous ass each and every day. Hell, it had been bad enough hanging out with him at her mom’s a handful of weeks a year.

Excitement and worry coursed through her with equal intensity over the predicament she’d landed herself in. Fantasizing about Christian was one thing.

A safe, delicious desire hidden deep in her heart, never to be exposed, like having a thing for a movie or rock star with a one in a million chance of coming to fruition.

Unfortunately, Christian was everything she’d ever wanted in a man, but nothing serious could ever happen between them. He wasn’t a man of her species.

That thought brought her out of her romanticized orbit with the speed of an asteroid on a collision course for her heart.

Her ability to trust hadn’t existed outside her mom and two sisters, Chelsie and Dannie. She did trust Christian to a point. He was her friend, and a good one, but he was still a guy. She’d never trust him on a romantic level.

But some hot, steamy, bone melting sex wouldn’t be so bad. A torrid affair. Oh yeah. Just a short one. What would be the harm that?

The asteroid scenario, dummy.

She forgot herself and let a little groan of aggravation escape. Christian caught it immediately, paused in the hall and faced her.

“Are you okay?”

Busted. “Yeah, I’m fine.”

“I don’t think so. If I did anything to upset you—well, I’m sorry. It was all in fun, darlin’.”

“I said I’m fine, damn it. I need coffee. I’m grouchy when my caffeine levels get low.”

Before he could reply, a blonde nurse, Katie, who she’d met along her way to HR, ran around the corner of the hallway straight toward them, her blue eyes wide with fear.

“Dr. La Mond! It’s Mrs. Corrigan. I think she’s in labor.”

 

Read the full uncensored books on the Galatea iOS app!

2

TIFFANY

“Uh-oh, a patient in labor?” Tiffany would’ve thought that to be a normal thing around here, but based on the hard frown creasing Christian’s brow, it didn’t appear to be so good for the patient Katie had mentioned.

“Where is she?” Christian demanded.

“Still in exam room three,” Katie replied, wringing her hands.

A moment later Christian bolted, the nurse after him.

Concerned, Tiffany followed them to the patient’s room, but stayed in the hall against the far wall to be out of the way.

Common sense based on what little she knew of human medical practices’ privacy policies told her she should walk away.

When she saw the poor woman on the exam table bent over, moaning hoarsely in pain and clutching her pregnant belly, Tiffany couldn’t bring herself to scat.

A man, likely the lady’s life mate, stood beside her, holding her hand and stroking her cheek as he murmured something near her ear. He looked more terrified than his wife.

“What’s wrong, Candice?” Christian asked, his tone soft and concerned.

“I think I’m in labor, Dr. La Mond. Oh God, it hurts,” she cried, her voice wracked with fear and pain. “She can’t come now. It’s too soon. Please tell me you hear her heartbeat.”

“Be calm, Candice, and breathe.” To her husband he said, “You need to stay calm too, Donnie. Breath with her and connect to her mind. It’s gonna hurt like hell, but you need to begin to absorb her fear and pain.”

He nodded briskly then lowered his head and closed his eyes.

Tiffany watched, awestruck. His features contorted with an agony not his own, but his life mate’s—her real physical pain along with whatever fearful things she thought.

Tiffany was well aware life mates shared each other’s thoughts and feelings, but she’d never witnessed anything as starkly real as a couple sharing every aspect and nuance of labor.

She felt a brief pang of guilt witnessing this private moment, but what she viewed was so surreal, so out of the human realm, she felt glued in place.

Christian laid his hand on the lady’s stomach and bent his head forward. Tiffany wasn’t sure what he was doing.

Given his vampire abilities, either listening for the baby’s heartbeat, praying or imparting some psychic energy of his own to calm her. Probably all three.

The life mate looked like he needed a healthy dose of the latter two himself.

Christian’s back was to her so she couldn’t see his face, but when he stepped back from the lady and looked down, the action spoke volumes.

“The baby is in distress, Candice. I need you to lay back so I can see if you’ve dilated.”

With effort and her husband’s help she did so. Christian closed the door at that point. Several minutes later, Katie rushed out of the room and ran off down the hall, leaving the door open once again.

“Oh, God. No! It’s too soon.” Candice cried.

“Candice, you’re almost fully dilated. There’s nothing I can do about that. The baby’s coming.”

“Why? Why is this happening?” The woman began to weep bitterly and her poor life-mate, well he just looked shell-shocked.

Christian turned around and looked at Tiffany, his expression at once surprised and agitated. He stepped into the hall and said, “What are you doing here, Tiffany?”

“I-I don’t know.”

He sighed. “You should never eavesdrop outside an exam room, nevertheless you’re here now, and I need you to do something for me. Go get Dr. Langston and tell him to meet me in delivery room one ASAP.”

“What? Who?” She felt her eyes bug because she hadn’t signed up for anything like this.

“Noah. Down the hall. Three doors on the left.” He pointed.

“Oh wow. It must be bad if you need another doctor to help deliver that poor lady’s baby.”

“What I need is another vampire who can hopefully help me save that baby. Now go, Tiffany.”

Christian got back to business with the pregnant woman in vampire warp mode.

He told the couple what he suspected was wrong with the baby and what he intended to do as he gathered supplies for an IV and who knew what, out of drawers with such speed it made her head spin.

Of course, she’d seen vampires move like that, but their physical agility and speed still astounded her.

“Tiffany, go!” Christian hollered, glaring at her now with a troubling mix of fear and irritation.

She hesitated no more and took off like a shot. Finding the office with no problem, she opened the door and rushed inside.

The doctor, seated behind a large, antique oak desk, jerked his head up and pinned her with an extraordinarily displeased look. Christian had been right; the guy was definitely older and anally challenged.

He appeared mid-forties in human years. He had short, jet-black hair with just a hint of grey around the temples and piercing cobalt blue eyes.

She might have considered him good-looking if not for that lemon sucking expression he sported.

“May I help you?” he asked in a very tight tone that bore an English accent.

Tiffany realized she should have knocked, but protocol wasn’t high on her priority list right now, with that poor lady back there in the midst of agonizing labor.

“Sorry, I burst in like that. I’m Tiffany Peebles, your new computer geek. Listen, Christian has a patient who just went into labor. He told me to have you meet him in delivery room one, ASAP.”

His lips thinned even more if possible.

“If you’re going to be working here, Miss Peebles, you should address him as Dr. La Mond. It’s professional and so is knocking before you enter one of our offices. Did he mention the patient’s name?”

Had the situation not been so serious, she probably wouldn’t have let his pompous attitude slide. Then again, he was her boss too and she’d best get used to it. She was working for the Man now. “It’s Mrs. Corrigan.”

“Mrs. Corrigan?” he echoed, his expression gaining concern. “That’s odd.”

Tiffany shook her head. “I don’t know anything about birthing babies, but that woman looked to be in full-blown labor mode.”

He bolted to his feet and rounded the desk. “Thank you, Miss Peebles. Tell Dr. La Mond, I’ll meet him there, straight away.”

She nodded once then ran back down the hallway. The doctor whizzed past her with vampire speed, then disappeared into a stairwell.

Christian and Katie were already wheeling the lady into the elevator by the time she caught back up with them. “I found your partner. He said he’ll meet you there.”

Christian thanked her. The elevator doors closed and for several long moments Tiffany blinked at them, wondering what had caused the woman’s sudden onset of labor.

What about the baby? Could a premature vampire infant survive?

“Man,” she muttered, smoothing a palm over her head. She’d just received a crash course on the professional side of Christian’s life.

Apparently, it wasn’t all cigars, bouquets of flowers and lauds for staff of an OB/GYN practice. Still if anyone could save that mother and baby, the doctor would be Christian La Mond.

His medical expertise far exceeded obstetrics for vampires or her sister Dannie would have never survived Isabella’s horrible attack all those years ago.

Her spouses’ blood saved her life and made her vampire, but without Christian’s surgical skills she would have bled to death.

Tiffany heard footsteps coming down the hall and glanced to her left. A man approached her and she assumed by his blue scrubs he was a nurse or an aide.

He stood about five nine or ten with a husky build, his blonde hair shorn in a military-style cut.

She knew instantly he was not vampire from his short stature as well as his brownish/hazel eyes, which she noticed last when he stopped beside her at the elevator and punched the down arrow button.

A vampire’s eyes, no matter the color, were always brilliant, beautiful, widely dilated and in soft lighting or darkness they sort of glittered and beguiled.

Christian once told her his kind’s strange eyes were an evolutionary adaptation to capture the attention of a human so they could enchant them and feed.

Or in Christian’s case, drive to insanity a sexually deprived human female with a doomed crush for a drop-dead gorgeous vampire.

So lost in thought she was, it took her a moment to respond when the man greeted her with a “good morning”.

“Morning.” She held out her hand and smiled. “I’m Tiffany Peebles, the new IT Chris—Dr. La Mond hired.”

A big smile flashed across his friendly, but not particularly good-looking features. Then again, since she held every male to Christian’s god-like standards, who could compare?

“Blake Saunders.” He reached out and shook her hand.

“Oh yeah. I’m thrilled to meet you. Everyone around here has been eagerly awaiting your arrival. Dr. La Mond told us you were one of the most skilled ITs in the country.

“All of us can’t wait to see what this new system will be like and what it will do for the V clinic.”

Dang it, Christian. Why’d you go and talk me up like that?

She was no Bill Gates or Peter Longman, the guy who’d perfected hologram technology in 2021, twelve years ago.

“I wouldn’t go that far, Blake. I think everyone will be pleased with what I come up with, but I have a feeling it will be some time before the system I have in mind is up and running.

“It will depend on how many patient files the clinic has. Despite today’s highly advanced computer technology, papers still need to be individually scanned into a program like the one I plan to set up.”

“No one expects overnight changes. We’re all just glad they’re coming.”

He seemed sincere. She hoped she lived up to everyone’s expectations. Especially Christian’s.

“Were you waiting on the elevator?

She glanced around. “Uh, no. I was actually hunting the coffee pot. Chris—Dr. La Mond hasn’t had a chance to give me the official tour of the facility yet.”

He offered a sage smile. “The break room is just down the hall.” He pointed.

“Fourth door. As far as Dr. La Mond, rumors abound here, so you can refer to him in whatever way is comfortable. No one will mind. We all know he knows you personally somehow, just not in what context.”

Fishing for office fodder, was he? Maybe later. She was in no mood to talk to a stranger about how she’d met Christian. “Well, I’d best get cracking. It was nice meeting you Blake.”

She would take Blake’s advice and refer to him the way she always had. Pooh, on ol’ doc stick-in-the-mud and his haughty reprimand.

“It was nice meeting you too.”

With regret still lingering for that couple, she went back to Christian’s office, after hitting the break room for coffee.

She snooped through Christian’s desk drawers for a yellow legal pad, then sat in his chair to make a list of supplies which would be necessary to get this system up and running.

Later she’d price stuff because right now her concentration was toast.

She tapped the end of her pen in the center of the tablet. That poor woman, she thought, shaking her head. She closed her eyes and sent up a little prayer that Christian would save this woman and her baby, then went to work.

Sometime later she heard a soft knock at the door and glanced up. Blake stood in the open doorway. “Hey,” she greeted him.

“Hi. Tiffany, right?”

“Yeah. Or T.J., which is what my family calls me. I go by either.” Christian always referred to her as Tiffany saying it with a kind of a sexy drawl unless he was irritated, like earlier when he barked at her to get a move on.

Lord! She still pined over that poor lady. Tiffany knew there would be job hardships, but she’d never expected them to actually relate to patients.

“May I come in?” he asked, his expression curious, wary.

“Yes, of course. Sorry. I’ve got this list going for supplies. Neck deep in thought. That sort of thing, but please have a seat.” She gestured at the chairs in front of Christian’s desk.

“I stopped by to see if there was anything you need. Katie had been assigned to get your office supplies, show you around a bit, but unfortunately she’s in delivery with Dr. La Mond.”

“Oh. Delivery, huh?”

“Yes, a patient is having a baby.”

She could tell by the grim lines pulling at the edge of his mouth, he knew the patient was Mrs. Corrigan and this wasn’t a planned, happy birth. “You think she and the baby will be okay?”

He lifted his shoulders and sighed. “It’s hard to say. The baby is premature. Vampire preemies are just as vulnerable as human ones when there are complications. The patient should be fine though.

“Until now she’s had a very healthy pregnancy, but then things like this can happen. Vampires might have some physical advantages over humans, but in a good deal of instances their bodies really are just as fragile as ours.”

“True that.” Physically vampires were much stronger than humans plus they had psychic and telekinetic abilities, but they were still mammals.

A bullet or a knife could kill a vampire just as easily as a human. The same probably rang true for pregnancy complications.

Tiffany swallowed hard, itching to ask more, but restrained herself. Her job didn’t entail hands-on patient care or personal information relating to care. She changed the subject.

“There really isn’t anything I need at the moment, but I appreciate you asking. As long as there’s coffee in the break room pot, I’m good.”

He nodded. “Do you live in New Orleans, or did you just move here?”

“I’ve lived here for a little over eleven years. I ran my own computer store during that time. I sold product as well as performed maintenance and tech support for customers.

Of course, I did installation and programming too. So how long have you worked here?”

“About four months.” He grinned. “I guess you’re wondering how I ended up working for a vampire practice. I’m wondering the same about you.”

The guy seemed determined to get her to open up. She supposed she should. Sharing a little personal information was completely natural in a work environment.

She chuckled and rolled the chair away from Christian’s desk, then entwined her fingers behind her head and leaned back.

“Well, that’s one very long story. Short version, Christian is pretty much extended kin to my family. We aren’t actually related, but he’s ‘Uncle Christian’ to my youngest siblings who are both born vampires.”

“You’re human, so I guess that must mean your mother was turned?”

“Yep. About twelve years ago. Freaky, huh? My mom the vampire! Wouldn’t that make one hell of a reality TV show?” She snickered, then added, “So what about you?”

He laughed, then dished. “I’m an RN. I worked for Dr. Langston’s mother in L.A. for about five years until she retired recently. She’s a very old vampire.

“So, equating that to human years, she’s basically somewhere around social security age and rich as hell. She and her husband travel extensively now. Anyway, when the practice closed Dr. Langston hired both me and Katie.”

“Interesting,” Tiffany mused. She’d known Katie Nettleson was human but not how she’d come to be a part of this very private practice.

As for Dr. Langston, she had no idea what he was like yet, but he definitely seemed stuck up, which she suspected stemmed from a rich upbringing.

His clothing appeared a bit outdated, yet his demeanor reeked of class and wealth, which would make sense. He was a partner of a very thriving medical practice.

Tiffany knew Christian did quite well for himself. Hell, he was paying her six figures!

The phone on Christian’s desk began to ring. Startled, she bolted upright in her chair and stared at it, uncertain what to do. “Should we answer it or let it go to voicemail?”

“I’ll answer it. When it double rings like that it means it’s an in-house call and I have a feeling it’s not for you or Dr. La Mond. Grace knows I’m here on break. Blake picked up the receiver and punched a button.

“Hello?” Several seconds later Blake’s expression darkened with concern. “Yes, Dr. La Mond. Sure. I understand. I’ll get the room ready immediately,” he said, then hung up the phone.

Curiosity compelled her to ask, “What did he say?”

His lips thinned momentarily, then he replied, “Dr. La Mond wants me to get a room ready for his patient who just delivered. Off the maternity ward. I’m afraid the baby didn’t make it.”

“Oh God,” Tiffany muttered, pressing her fingers to her lips. How awful for that couple. She couldn’t even imagine what Mrs. Corrigan must be feeling. Christian too.

What a heavy responsibility for a doctor to know he or she had done everything possible to save a life, yet failed.

Blake stood, gave her a half-hearted smile then said, “It was nice meeting you, Tiffany. Sorry it occurred under such shitty circumstances.”

She said nothing as he left the room. The gravity of the situation had her thoughts a jumbled mess.

After several minutes she considered going to the break room for another cup of coffee, but before she could do so, Christian burst into the room, spewing riotous curses under his breath.

He’d lost his lab coat and was now wearing jeans, cowboy boots and a solid black T-shirt. “Christian, I’m so sorry. I met Blake. He was in here when the phone rang. I heard.”

He spun toward her, his expression surprised. “Damn, I didn’t even realize you were over there.”

She stood and cautiously approached him. He looked furious and hurt and she felt for him. “Is there anything I can do?”

“Thank you, but no, Tiffany,” he said as he stalked over to a closet. Christian extracted a clean lab coat, shucked it on then strode out of the office without another word.

Tiffany’s heart ached for him, but she understood he needed time and space. She was a lot like him that way—one to lick wounds in privacy.

 

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