Love with Fangs
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When the prey becomes the hunter… As a half-elf paranormal recruitment consultant, Julia knows to stay away from vampires–to them, she’s just food. So why would bloodthirsty alpha male Nathaniel La Caz be any different. When she turns up to the meeting in his factory, she senses that there is something about him. Julia is suddenly overwhelmed by her senses and her magic goes haywire when she is near him. Things go from weird to worst, when Julia witnesses the kidnapping of her cousin Claudia. And when more elves and fairies begin to vanish without a trace, and no help in sight, Julia knows that she is her cousin’s only hope. The police suspect vampires. And if they’re right, this could be a one day death trap. But Julia is willing to risk it all to save Claudia, even if it means she could become this crazed vampire’s next victim.
Phantom phone calls.
The phone kept ringing, and I was just about to pick up when Jen beat me to it.
“Welcome to Paranormal Personnel. Jennifer speaking, how may I help you?”
She put on her telephone voice and I found it fascinating that she sounded so different when she spoke to a client. Maybe Jen was an actress in another life. Who knew?
It was a busy day and I still had several more reports to finish, but I kept glancing back at the clock on the wall. I was consciously aware of my upcoming meeting with La Caz Pharmaceutical. I also remembered that I was supposed to text my cousin, Claudia. We were having dinner together later this evening and I was looking forward to catching up with her. We hadn’t seen each other for months.
“Hello? Hello?” Jennifer repeated a few times, sounding annoyed this time. Seconds later, she slammed the phone down, then furiously started typing away on her keyboard. This wasn’t our first dead call today.
“Another false alarm?” I asked, a little amused, although it really wasn’t funny. Over the past several weeks, we’d been getting dead phone calls at least three times a day. I reported it to Rufus, my regional manager, but he wasn’t very concerned about it. It seemed someone was trying to spook us, and it was becoming extremely irritating. Maybe it was time to speak to my dad about it.
“Yeah, it’s the third one today. I haven’t dumped anyone recently, so it’s none of my exes,” she responded, then the phone rang again.
“Welcome to Parano—”
“Hello, hello,” the deep, raspy voice on the other end of the line interrupted me, then my fingertips sparkled.
“My name is Julia. How can I help you today?” I asked more firmly. I didn’t like being interrupted.
“I just moved to London and I’m looking for a job. Would you have anything for a werewolf, love?” the voice asked, and I exhaled with relief. At least this guy was serious for a change.
“Of course, what are you looking for? Factory, security, or maybe you’re much more skilled—”
“Listen to me very carefully, love,” the man cut me off again. “I haven’t got much time, and they’re listening in. Female elves around London have been going missing, and I think you might be next.” For a split second, I was certain that he was pulling my leg, but he sounded so serious. I glanced at Jennifer who was chewing on her pen, watching me from her desk. She must have noticed my stunned expression.
“Female elves are going missing?” I repeated to make sure that we are on the same page. “This is a recruitment agency, sir. Maybe you should call the police instead? I know someone there who can help you.”
I had been working in this industry for a couple of years now and was used to people trying to share their personal problems with me, but this was certainly new.
“No. This is important. He wants the blood of elves and fairies. I have been watching you and I wanted to warn you before it’s too late,” the man continued, and this time a cold shiver crawled over my spine. I gripped the phone tighter, thinking that this wasn’t a joke. This guy really believed that I was in danger.
“Have you been calling here and hanging up over the past few weeks?” I asked with anger lacing my tone. The guy obviously had some issues. Either way, I needed to be more firm with him. The dead phone calls interfered with our busy schedule and we couldn’t afford to waste so much time.
There was silence on the other end of the line for a bit. Then he breathed in heavily and I shook my head.
“Stay safe, and watch out for a black van on the streets,” he finally snapped, then the phone went dead. I rubbed my face as magic began surging down my spine. There was no point getting worked up about this. I lived in London and the truth was that the city was dangerous anyway. My father worked as a police constable, and he told me himself that paranormals were going missing all the time.
“Who was that?” Jen asked. I was taking long deep breaths trying to calm down. The lights in the office were flickering and that was all my doing. I was half elf from my father’s side, and most of the time I couldn’t fully control my powers. I was very clumsy too—the proof of which lie in the sink—broken cups and other dishes. Every week, I had to throw away several burned out light bulbs. It was a nightmare.
“No idea, just some werewolf trying to scare me. Apparently, a lot of elves are being abducted in the city. He said that I might be next. I think he’s the one who’s been calling here all time and not saying anything when we pick up.”
Jennifer shook her head and continued to work. I got up, then went to our so-called kitchen—it smelled like someone had stored a pile of dead bodies in there. I switched the kettle on, thinking about my day, and feeling very hungry all of a sudden. It was only half past twelve and I was ready to devour my sandwiches, or maybe even go out and pick up something from the supermarket. I didn’t know what was wrong with me, but I assumed there was nothing wrong with having a healthy appetite. My magic was still whacky. At least later on I had a business meeting to look forward to. I quickly made coffee and added a spoonful of sugar to my favourite cup. Then I put one spoon of coffee in Jennifer’s cup and topped it up with six spoonsful of sugar. Jennifer was a purebred mermaid. She loved sugary drinks, but never had to worry about her figure.
London was filled with a lot of supernatural creatures: there were elves, fairies, vampires, werewolves, hags, shifters, trolls, mermaids and giants. Humans had no idea about our true nature because we could disguise ourselves pretty damn well. Most of us had magical powers, but to any human out there, we all looked ordinary.
I pulled my lunch from the fridge and sipped my coffee for a while. My thoughts trailed off to the time when I found out that I wasn’t an ordinary human. I was sitting in my grandparents living room at their large house located in the country. I was around ten years old then, maybe older, playing with puzzles when one started melting all of a sudden.
I glanced down at my tiny hands wondering what was going on when my grandmother walked inside.
“Oh, don’t worry about it dear. You’re an elf, which means that you have magic inside of you,” she explained, placing me on her lap. Sometimes grandma was nice, well, when she wanted to be.
“Is Mummy an elf too?” I asked her.
“No, darling, your mother is just a human. She will never be like any of us,” Grandma said, staring at me intensely. “And now, you have to promise me that you will keep this a secret. You’re still young, so your abilities aren’t developed yet, but soon, that might change.”
My father was angry with her when he found out that she’d told me the truth. I heard him say that I was too young to know about stuff like that. He was right, but I still understood what she was saying. After all, I moved things before without even touching them. My skin often twitched, buzzed, and sparkled, trying to release all the excess magic I didn’t know that I had. Once during an English lesson, I was upset—the teacher didn’t pick me for the school play—so, I blew up his coffee mug. No one knew it was me and I never told anyone about this, but deep down, I knew I had some sort of gift. Now I understood that it wasn’t all just a coincidence.
From that day forward, I had to see my grandma every other weekend to train with her. This went on for several months until I almost burned the house down. After that, Grandma agreed that maybe I was too young for magic.
I knew that there was always something wrong with me. I felt suffocated by the fact that I couldn’t control my energy.
Some of my cousins called me a freak, and admitted that I wasn’t like any of them. I only had half of the elven magical genes inside of me. On top of that, I was extremely clumsy. There were other factors that contributed to my lack of self-belief. I practised, but I always knew that I would never be like the rest of my family.
My magic would explode randomly, and I was scaring humans. My grandmother decided that she couldn’t teach me anything more. She gave up, and I just had to deal with it, try to embrace my inability to control the magic that was still growing inside of me.
I just didn’t think that I could ever fit in anywhere. I was destined to be the halfblooded elf who would never be able to control her own abilities.
I quickly dismissed those thoughts, telling myself that I couldn’t think like that. I was independent, had a good job and loving parents. No one could take that away from me.
Once I was done with lunch, I had to call several tooth fairies around London in an attempt to match one to a job opening we had available.
Even paranormals needed jobs, and we were the first agency that had opened up in the area. I wasn’t interested in being a policewoman. That wasn’t my kind of thing anymore. Besides, my magic was too unstable to think about chasing after criminals.
By quarter to four, I changed into my best suit, styled my hair, and reapplied my makeup. Jennifer was already waiting for me by the door. Half an hour earlier, my two other colleagues had arrived, so we could leave for our meeting.
“Oh, look at you, girl. You look hot!” Jennifer exclaimed, eyeing me from head to toe.
“It’s just a suit, Jen, nothing special," I said, then glanced at her. Jennifer looked really good too and it was then that I noticed she must have gotten a haircut. I wondered whether she swam in one of those lakes outside London just to make herself more irresistible to vamps. It was in her nature to be close to the water; she didn’t have a tail or anything, but she told me once that she wasn’t herself when she didn’t use the pool at least once a week.
She had on slim-fit cream trousers and a zip-front dark blouse with a well-fitted cream blazer. "By the way, you don’t look so bad yourself."
“I told you, that vamp who owns La Caz Pharmaceutical is sizzling hot, and I want to make a good impression," she said. "We need to get going so we’re not late.”
I nodded, thinking that maybe she was exaggerating. She tended to do that, but I knew I needed to be ready for anything. Men intimidated me a little bit, but I was good at my job, so there was no need to be nervous. When we were walking to Jen’s car, my skin started prickling with magic. I just wanted to make sure that I wouldn’t screw anything up.
“Do you know where you’re going?” I asked her once we were out on the main street. It was a busy day and there was so much traffic on the roads.
"East London to Brunel Industrial Park."
I nodded and didn’t say anything else. Jennifer had lived in London all her life and once she started the engine, she seemed to know where we were heading. Soon, she magically avoided the busiest streets, taking us away from the traffic.
An hour later, we stopped in front of the large entrance to La Caz Pharmaceutical where a few werewolves checked whether our names were on the list. It was dark, and rain was pouring from the smoky sky when we reached the underground car park belonging to La Caz. CCTV cameras were everywhere. I felt we were being watched the minute we drove through the entrance. Magic was sparkling along my skin more than usual; I really needed to pull myself together.
“Wow, this place is huge. I didn’t expect all these cars here,” Jennifer chuckled, switching off the engine. I frowned and followed her gaze. In the back, I saw a round of brand-new Audis. I didn’t know anything about cars, but I recognised the brand straightaway.
"Excuse me, ladies. Is either of you Julia Taylor?" a tall man approaching us asked when we started walking towards the lifts.
He startled us a little bit appearing out of nowhere. I had a feeling that he must have been waiting for us.
"That would be me," I replied, straightening my skirt.
"If you please, follow me—you’re expected," the man said. He was a werewolf. Paranormals could recognise each other; we sensed the magic and knew instantly if someone was a vampire, elf, fairy, or otherwise. Humans on the other hand, were clueless. They had no idea that we were living amongst them.
"This is so exciting," Jennifer whispered once we were in the main entrance. I didn’t know what Jennifer meant. This place was giving me the creeps.
When we walked inside, I was taken aback by all the bare white walls and granite flooring. The La Caz Pharmaceutical lobby was clean and well-presented. A few more security guards were staring at computer screens. Vampires, elves, werewolves, shapeshifters, and a few wizards were walking in and out of the building. No one paid much attention to us. The werewolf with the name tag, "Todd" told us that our meeting would start in twenty minutes and showed us to the lift.
"How many people are currently employed here?" I asked him.
"I think over two thousand, miss," he replied.
La Caz was doing a fantastic job and Rufus would definitely need to give me a raise if we signed him up today.
I exchanged a hopeful look with Jennifer, then followed Todd to the spacious reception area when we reached our floor.
"These ladies have a meeting with Mr. La Caz," Todd announced. He nodded to us, then vanished into the lift.
We were asked to sit on the comfortable white leather sofas. The walls, floors, and even the furniture was all white. I thought that La Caz had to be some kind of stuck-up rich guy to like that colour so much. I didn’t know much about vampires; my kind tended to stay away from them. Apparently, our blood was very intoxicating, and they craved it more than human blood.
The receptionist had a large desk with at least three computer screens. She glanced at us for a few seconds after offering us refreshments. On my right, I saw the large white doors that most likely led to a conference room, and my stomach lurched again. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I just wanted to get this over with. I wished I’d eaten something other than that sandwich before I left; now I was not only nervous, but hungry as well. Jennifer was whispering about her swimming experience from the previous evening, when the large white doors opened, and a very tall werewolf emerged.
"Miss Julia Taylor and Jennifer Griffiths, Paranormal Personnel?" he asked the secretary. She nodded, then motioned for us to go ahead.
He noticed us and said, "Mr. La Caz is ready to begin."
A cold chill spread across my shoulders. I was ready to throw up.
Jennifer and I looked at each other, then walked through the door. I thought that it was time to get this show on the road before I vomited and made an absolute fool of myself.
I kept my head held high and glanced around the room. The werewolf who let us in pointed out two chairs where we could sit. It was a decent-sized room—also white—with large glass windows that overlooked the entire industrial park. We had to be near the top floor, but I couldn’t be sure because I wasn’t paying much attention in the elevator. Two vampires sat behind a large table in the middle of the room. Me and Jennifer situated ourselves opposite them.
My breathing was a little heavy, but I managed to compose my nerves. Moments later, I realised that all the vampires in the room were staring directly at me. No one seemed to be paying any attention to Jennifer.
One offered a lazy smile and introduced himself. "My name is Carter. I work with Mr. La Caz here, and this is Mr. Porter." Carter was bald and tanned. My eyes moved to Mr. Porter; he was short and chubby, not like any vampire I would have expected. He had to be in his fifties. I f
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