Authors: Susan G. Charles
Tags: #Vampires, #paranormal vampire romance, #Paranormal, #immortal, #Norway, #vampire books, #Brides, #vampire, #battles, #Romance, #Supernatural, #War, #conflict, #warrior, #Medieval, #New Adult Romance, #vampire romance, #Coming of Age, #Royalty, #bride, #Historical, #castle
Coming out of her reverie, she pulled off the main road and followed a muddy trail through the trees, bumping along these back roads she knew like the palm of her own hand. It helped her immensely to know as many of the shortcuts as possible in her line of work, after all, a few minutes could literally be the difference between life and death. Her mind was racing as she wondered if she would make it to the injured person in time.
She turned left onto the wet main road again and right there, up ahead, she spotted a roadside flare. She pulled the van to the side of the road, turned off the siren and threw off her seat belt. A dark SUV with lights on was parked askew in the middle of the road, flashers on. Two people, a middle-aged man and a woman, were crouching over a third that lay flat on the roadway. She grabbed her kit and jumped out, surveying the scene as she moved swiftly to the injured person.
“I’m a paramedic,” Grace called out, and the two bystanders immediately stepped to the side and out of her way. She knelt down next to the injured man and felt his head for possible head injuries, checked his pulse and surveyed the external damage before she went any further. “Do you know what happened to him?” she asked the other two with urgency in her voice.
“We were driving by and almost ran over him before we spotted him in the middle of the road, just laying there. He was attacked by something, but I don’t know what,” the older man who had called it in, answered, “I stopped when I saw him lying in the middle of the road, but there was no one with him. Someone or something sure did a lot of damage though,” he muttered.
“Will he… will he be alright?” A woman who must have been the man’s wife, asked in a quivering voice. It looked as though she was on the verge of tears.
“He’s lost a lot of blood, but, fingers crossed, I’m sure he’ll be just fine. I’m going to do everything I can in my power to make sure that’s the case. That’s what I’m here for right?! Will you please call the police for me though, while I finish up here?” Grace replied as calmly as she could as she continued taking the injured man’s vitals and also wondering where the heck Lynn was at.
They did as she asked, while she took a closer look at the injured man’s body. Just under the collar of his shirt, in the soft middle section of his neck right behind his ear, she found two round puncture holes, leaking two thin streams of blood. She recognized it immediately – a vampire bite. She frowned at the realization.
Crap – who did this to you, mister?
Vampires she knew never hurt humans this much. It was generally accepted as vampire code not to play with your food, or torture it. After all, we weren’t big cats. Sometimes though, humans struggled against the bite, and they had to be glamored or knocked out during the struggle, but it was a standard blow to the back of the head that did nothing more than leave a dull headache for a few days and a short memory lapse. But it was all aimed at protecting the human – and the vampire population too.
Those vampires who strayed from this way of feeding though, they were often punished by their own kind for not following their most basic of rules – to fly under the radar and not be detected. In many cases, most humans that were fed from were rarely even aware of it. And that was exactly the way vampire kind wanted to keep it.
But this wound – it was different. There were big bruises all over the man’s body, a bloody nose, quite possibly broken too, and judging by the redness around his neck and his shallow, strained breathing, it looked like he’d been strangled as well. A long gash down his leg and a swollen eye and busted lip too suggested that this was much more than just a struggle. This man suffered a full on attack. And this vampire meant business.
Grace shivered a little as she thought about the brutality this man had endured, and a new rage crept up through her. This type of attack was exactly what made humans believe that all vampires were monsters, not just the rogue few who decided to ignore the rules. Not all vampires were monsters, but enough were that caused the whole species to be hated.
Carefully, she pressed a folded bandage against the worst of the wounds and taped them into place. She knew that by the time they reached the hospital, the severity of the victim’s wounds would have alerted the attention of the police and other authorities too. It was too bad that she would not be the only witness to the truth of what happened – but she felt secure that, at least as far as the attacker was concerned, only she knew what had really caused these wounds.
With help from the older man at the scene, she heaved the injured man’s wet body onto the stretcher and loaded him into the van to take him to the hospital. By that time the police had arrived at the scene and were questioning the couple. Grace jumped into the van and switched on her emergency siren and took off in a flash. She didn’t know how much blood the victim had left to lose before it would be too late, so she hurried to the hospital even faster than usual.
On her way there she took the time to try and figure out what was going on with her partner Lynn, so she tried calling her. No answer. “Crap, where is she?”
So she called in the stats on what was going on with her patient to her company en route, where she was advised that Lynn had called in sick and would not be working tonight.
That’s just perfect!
She thought to herself.
Just perfect! Now I know exactly what kind of crazy night I am in for!
Once the ambulance arrived at the hospital, the ER staff met her at the emergency room door with a fresh stretcher and all sorts of other medical paraphernalia in their hands.
“He’s lost a lot of blood,” she informed the head nurse who took over, wheeling the gurney as the other staff helped her assess the man’s situation.
“Any idea what happened to him?” she asked Grace quickly as they continued on in deeper into the ER.
Grace hesitated. She looked down into the face of the man who was still unconscious. She knew exactly what had happened, at least how he lost all of the blood. But of course she couldn’t tell the nurse that.
“No, I really don’t know what happened to him and the witnesses didn’t see anything either,” Grace added. “They just found him like this in the middle of the road – almost ran over him. But I’m sure he needs a transfusion.”
As the gurney was being wheeled away Grace leaned down and whispered beside the man’s ear. “I’m so sorry this happened to you,” she apologized.
It wasn’t so much an apology for herself, but for the way that her kind had treated him. It made her sick to think of what must have unfolded for this man to end up like this. She imagined, immediately, the image of a cat playing with a mouse… before the inevitable. Vampires had inhuman strength and this man never would have stood a chance against one. She could only hope that he wouldn’t die.
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