Hi All! Had some lovely news this morning that the story from Lynda Hilburn Til Death Do Us Part – a Kismet Knight short – is available on Amazon for free. For those who don’t know Lynda’s work already, her first book The Vampire Shrink was out with us last year, has sold well over 200,000 copies on kindle and reached no 1. on the Amazon charts. It’s also had some fantastic reviews:
‘This is a fresh take on the fantasy trope . . . it’s dark, sexy and very human’ SciFi Now
‘If you like your heroines modern and more than a little capable, and your vampires ancient, mysterious and gorgeous then you won’t be disappointed’ vampirelibrarian.com
‘Everything you could want – a gripping storyline, intriguing characters, humour, romance’ bookmonkey.com
‘A fascinating world, wicked and sexy’ author Kerrelyn Sparks
‘Believable, exciting and different, this series is one any vampire lover will surely adore’ Night Owl Romance
But why not see for yourself and head over to Amazon for a free short story now? Click here to be taken to it. And now, just to wet your whistle, here’s a short extract from The Vampire Shrink:
My involvement with vampires began innocently enough, long before the blood hit the fan, so to speak.
Like most psychologists, I’d been trained to view the world through a diagnostic lens, to hear my clients’ stories with my metaphorical ears, searching out the deeper meanings. Thankfully, my tendency to reduce each person to a prevailing neurosis was tempered by my irreverent, dark sense of humour, which kept me from taking myself and the world too seriously.
While I was never as bad as some of my colleagues about believing only in what I could prove – if you can’t quantify it, it isn’t there – I had seen enough bizarre situations in my psychotherapy work over the years to make me more sceptical than I was comfortable admitting. That said, my private practice had its share of UFO abductees, demonic possessions, satanic-ritual survivors, religious cultists, attached entities – all the newest selections on the menu of emotional and mental pain – alongside clients with all the ‘regular’ therapy issues.
So when I opened the door separating my reception area from my office that fateful Friday to welcome my new client, I was only momentarily surprised. Waiting for me was a young woman wearing a long black dress covered by a dark-purple velvet cape. Rings adorned all ten fingers, and a long snake bracelet with sparkling ruby eyes wound its way up her arm from wrist to elbow. She had waist-length light-brown hair with multicoloured streaks, and she wore white theatrical makeup, dark-red lipstick and remarkably lifelike, high-quality fangs.
My mind began to pick out the various category boxes I could assign her into. Hmmm, goth? Vampire wannabe? Acting-out teenager?
Well, well. This ought to be interesting.
‘Please come in and have a seat.’ I gave my warmest therapy smile and waved my hand in the general direction of the couch and chairs in the centre of my office. ‘I’m Dr Knight. Please call me Kismet.’
That’s quite an outfit. Spectacular, really. This sweet young thing has a flair for the dramatic. And what’s that delicious fragrance? Sandalwood?
She walked in silently, handed me the packet of forms she’d filled out in the waiting room and sat on the end of the couch farthest from where I was standing. Scanning the information, I noticed she’d listed her name as Midnight.
‘Midnight? That’s a lovely name. Is there a last name?’
‘No. I have no need of anything from my human past,’ she said, with exaggerated seriousness and a dismissive flick of her fingers.
Okay. Let’s not assume the obvious. I chose a chair across from her and picked up my notepad and pen. ‘Tell me how I can help you.’
‘I’m only here because my family made me come. They can’t accept my choices and they’re hoping you’ll talk me out of wanting to be a vampire. They want you to fix me.’ Her voice separated each angry word like little staccato notes.
She gave me the once-over I’d come to expect from my younger clients: the smirking scan that evaluated my tailored light-blue suit and sensible black heels and found them hopelessly conventional. Then, inevitably, her eyes moved to my dark hair, which was very long, curly and often had a mind of its own. The dissonance between my conservative suit and the unintentional rock-star hair disrupted the inner picture she was constructing of me. My age – I’d not long turned thirty – added to the dissonance. I always enjoyed the flash of confusion that washed over their faces at that point. My inner trickster was never far away.
She hiked her dress up until the hem rested on her knees and crossed her legs dramatically. ‘You’re not what I expected.’
‘What did you expect?’ Freud in drag?
‘Someone old, with her hair in a bun and no makeup. You’re not that much older than me And you’re pretty. You remind me of that actress – Megan Fox, the one with the long dark hair and blue eyes.’ She studied me. ‘Or maybe Angelina Jolie, except with blue eyes and less lips.’
Less lips? I knew what she meant, but I ran my tongue over my standard set of two just to verify their existence and tried not to imagine an extra pair on Angelina’s face.
‘Thank you. Are you comfortable with someone who isn’t old and who doesn’t have her hair in a bun?’
She frowned. ‘I guess so.’
I could see that her need to connect was struggling with her automatic protective defences and the jury was out as to which one would continue the session.
‘That’s a start.’ I smiled encouragingly at her. ‘So tell me about your desire to be a vampire. How long have you wanted to be one?’
She pursed her lips and sat silently for a few seconds. Quick flashes of emotion danced across her face as fear, disappointment and resentment gave way to hope. ‘Ever since I met Devereux – Dev, as we call him – about a year ago,’ she said dreamily.
Ah, connection won. Maybe she’ll let me in.
‘Why would meeting Dev make you want to be a vampire?’
‘Well, duh, because he is one.’ She rolled her chocolate-brown eyes and made that ‘tsk’ sound with her tongue against her teeth.
I kept the practised smile on my face and ignored the teenage angst. ‘Can you tell me about Dev?’
Sounds like a lost child has convinced her that he’s a vampire.
She stared down at the floor, using the tip of her tongue to play with the fangs. ‘I don’t think I’m supposed to talk about him. He wouldn’t want me to. He says it’s better if no one believes vampires really exist.’
Of course he does. Oh, I see. Her sharp little fangs fit perfectly over her own canines, with an almost-invisible band holding them in place – similar to braces. How clever.
‘Do you believe that vampires really exist?’ I tried not to sound as if there was only one right answer to the question.
‘Oh, yes.’ She nodded and sat up straighter. ‘Denver has tons of vampires.’
Tons of vampires? What a bizarre visual . . .
‘Really? Midnight, I want you to know that anything we talk about in here is completely confidential. You can feel free to tell me anything you want and it will go no further. I’d definitely like to hear about all these vampires.’ I jotted a note on my pad.
Vampires. Well, that’s certainly a change of pace from aliens and demon possessions.
She arched an eyebrow. ‘How do I know you won’t tell my parents?’
Good. Let’s get right to the trust issue.
‘Unless you’re going to hurt yourself or someone else, I will never tell anyone anything that we discuss,’ I explained, giving her my ethically required disclaimer.
She paused a moment, watching me, twisting her hands. ‘Well, I don’t know. I wouldn’t want to get them in trouble. They need to hide from the humans.’ She licked her lips.
Damn. She doesn’t consider herself one of the humans? Is she brainwashed? How confused is she? Her anxiety level just shot up. Shaking hands, dry lips.
‘Ah, I see. Let’s leave the vampires for later, then. Tell me about you. Are you in school?’
Her mother had left a message on my voicemail saying she and her husband were concerned because their daughter graduated from high school last year and had no future plans. She’d had a 4.0 grade point average, then turned down a scholarship to college and was making reckless choices. Her mother said she thought a boy was involved.
‘No. I used to like school but I’m not into that kind of education any more.’
Hmm. What kind of education is she into?
‘What did you like about school? Any favourite classes?’
A spark of interest flashed across her features before she wrestled her face back under control and reset her bored expression. She stretched her fingers then slid her hands along her thighs, probably to dry the moisture on her palms. ‘I studied art. Painting, drawing. I also write a little poetry.’
‘You’re an artist and a poet?’ I smiled. ‘That’s wonderful. What great talents to have.’
‘It doesn’t matter any more.’ She lifted a shoulder and shifted her gaze to the clock and then back to my face.
Oh, yes. Practised apathy. Feigned nonchalance. Fear.
‘Why is that?’
She tapped a blood-red fingernail on her leg. ‘It’s a waste of my time to sit in closed-up rooms, listening to boring people talk about boring subjects. I have bigger plans.’
I wonder if she’s given any thought to how closed-up a coffin is?
‘What bigger plans?’
‘I already told you,’ she said with an impatient tone.
‘Oh, yes, becoming a vampire. . What’s so great about that?