Title: Dr. Vampyre
Author: S.N. McKibben
Genre: Paranormal Romance
When a college professor is blackmailed by a student …
… he has to walk the fine line of being true to his principles and not letting his bloody secret out.
Dr. John Tennison, professor and physician, wakes up every morning and counts his spoons—a measure of how many tasks he feels he can accomplish during his day. One spoon to walk down the stairs, one spoon to teach a class, one spoon to deal with tardy students. Lupus limits him, but he still gives lectures and works at a hospital. He also makes time for friends, and once a week visits Sanguine Loon’s to sate—or subvert—his one strange desire. His nemesis, the one thing besides lupus that keeps him from leading a normal life, is the blood at the bottom of a little paper Dixie cup.
While Tennison’s blood-drinking habit is a secret, it’s well known that he’s the campus asshole and has no tolerance for students who show up late. When he kicks Vogue model Ylati Badashi out of his lecture hall for wandering in ten minutes late, she’s having none of it. She pouts, she seduces, she blackmails, and puts Tennison at odds with his butler, and finally she tells him the truth about why she needs to be in his class.
Tennison is a man of principles, and though he swears he won’t change his mind, he starts to react unexpectedly to Ylati even as he hates her for making him suspicious of his trusted butler. Tennison has to find out where Mitch goes on his nights off and must deal with a budding attraction to a woman he occasionally hates, all while learning new secrets about himself. It’s going to take a lot of spoons.
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I stroll into my lecture hall at exactly nine fifty a.m. and the whispers stop. Old and new faces attentively follow my shuffle as I round my desk to the dry erase board at the front of the room. I pick up a marker that could make any fifth grader swear off glue and write Dr. Tennison – Blood cell biology.
Thankfully, the counselors and older co-eds let it be known that I am “a real dick” and have an aversion to those who are not on time. So, I rolled my eyes when at ten minutes after ten, she of the model-thin body, sporting six-inch stilettos, tight jeans, and a frou-frou blouse, walked in.
“Ms. Tardy, don‘t bother.”
She gave me the oh-gosh-I’m-really-sorry face. “Are there any more seats?”
“Not for you. Please, don’t waste our time. I don’t take add-ons.” I reached under my desk for the medical book I would use to assist in today’s lecture.
“But, I registered for the class.” Ms. Tardy pouted.
“I don’t care. You’re late. No more room. Get out.” The slam of the thousand-page medical dictionary I tossed on my desk should have been enough articulation in my statement for her to leave.
“I got here as soon as I could!” Her whine climbed the scale into annoyance territory.
“Which is not good enough. You’re done.” I pointed at the door. “Get out.”
“Oh come on. What could I have missed in five minutes?”
“The point . . .” I flashed my Rolex from under my sleeve and checked the time. “. . . And it’s been twelve minutes.”
“That’s not fair!”
“What would not be fair is to make a pulmonary patient, lying open on the table, wait twelve life-or-death minutes for a replacement valve. I’m here to teach. One of those lessons I wish to instill is an appreciation for the value of time.”
Ms. Tardy stood there in her tight jeans and pursed lips with a hand on her hip. She looked familiar, but I couldn’t place her. ”You can go now.” I waved a hand in a sweeping motion. “There isn’t room for you anyway.” There were seats in the back, but she looked like a front-of-the-class, I-want-all-the-attention kind of girl.
“But I pre-registered.” She used her hands for emphasis and struck a classic pose that probably got her into any club or out of any trouble she came up against.
Snorting out my disgust, a glimmer of recognition hit me and I looked harder at Ms. Tardy.
This face before me belonged to Ylati Badashi, the recently “retired” model, and her million dollar Vogue body was in my lecture hall. She must have taken my fluster of disdain for admiration, because her supposedly non-collagen-filled lips curved. But it was that I-have-you-now twinkle in her eye that jostled loose my wrath.
I whisked my walking cane from under my desk. Quick as a turtle in sand, I advanced on her with my geriatric, cane-wielding old man shtick, trying to scare her off my lawn. The fear in her eyes fueled my words. “Get out of my hall!”
I was seething by the time she turned tail and bolted out of the room. She looked like a shackled cat running from the spray of a hose. The image brought tears of laughter to my eyes. It had been a while since I’d laughed that hard. I’m sure my students never see me so much as smile.
Even though I knew the price for expressing my emotion would cost me another spoon and wreak havoc on me later, I couldn’t help the satisfied feeling of living up to my so earned title among the students, Dr. Asshole.
“Dr. Tennison, are you alright?” One of my more faithful students, Ms. Phillips, actually sounded concerned.
I returned to my drab demeanor, leaned heavily on my cane, and grunted an acknowledgment to the third-year co-ed. My physical display allowed the monster of lupus inside me to seek retribution and sap away my energy. Disgruntled for wasting precious vitality on a fritter of a person, I forced down my angry self-reprimand. There was no use getting angry over getting angry.
I resumed my emotionless state and taught as I have for the past nine years—with ruthless abandon. No whining, no excuses, and if you’re late, you fail. If you can’t beat my turtle-ass to class, you’re wasting my time, your time, and everybody else’s time.
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Slave to a 100 lbs. GSD (German Shepard) and a computer she calls “Dave”, you’ll often see her riding a 19 hand Shire nicknamed “Gunny” to the local coffee shop near the Santa Monica mountains.
Stephanie reads for the love of words, and writes fiction about Dark Hearts and Heroes revolving around social taboos. When ever asked, she’ll reply her whole life can be seen through a comic strip ~ sometimes twisted, sometimes funny but always beautiful and its title is adventure. Come play!
Off we go to the medical center with Mitch at the wheel and me in the back seat orienting myself with the next class session. Mitch is quite the chatty type, but I’ve learned to drown him out as any good husband would do. Routinely, after the days I teach, he drops me at the hospital where I work. My assistant nurse, Mary, is the old battle ram of the team—wise enough to tell patients to be here an hour early, kind enough to be the matron of compassion, knowledgeable enough to know what to do if ever I seize from pain.
She leads me to the five-minute staff review and then my first patient of the day. I’m handed a clipboard and being a doctor, I read the case symptoms first. Yes, it’s bad to look at what’s wrong with the person before looking at the name, but we all do it. I wish I had looked at the name before I walked in the patient room, but it was too late to walk the other way when I opened the door.
“Ms. Badashi.” Smooth as a virgin dry-erase board, I did not give away one iota of the seething hate boiling through my veins to Ms. Tardy. “It says here you have all the symptoms of river blindness. What would you prescribe yourself?”
“Ivermectin.” The big brown eyed lost puppy look of hers could have cracked a walnut. That’s when the pain behind my right eye surged. Was the eye torture from her annoyingly correct answer, or lupus? I couldn’t tell. “Do you have river blindness?”
“Please let me into your class.”
The audacity! “Am I to believe that my staff bumped you to my first patient when there are real people in need of my services?”
“Hey!” She actually looked put out. “I am a real person. I am in need of your services!” Again she was wasting my time. You’re late, you fail.
“You, young lady, are a fraud. Get out of my office.” I pressed a palm against my pounding eye. It relieved some of the pressure.
Her whining made my eye worse. “What I need is for you to teach me Blood cell biology.”
“Why me?” I said more to myself than to anyone else.
“Because you’re the best.”
Mitch says flattery will get you anywhere. Yes, there is appeal to being called the best. My ego did flutter a little, but not enough to forgive her cardinal sin number one. With my one hand still pushing back my right eye, my index finger pointed at the door—hard to do with a clipboard still in my hand.
She leaned forward; just enough so her frou-frou top’s fringes hung lose. “I’d do anything to get into your class.”
“Anything?” I smiled and suggestively touched my chest. I did not fail to notice the pink bra she had on.
She nodded and accentuated, “Anything.”
“Sign up next semester and be early.” I threw the clipboard on the counter and tried to slam the door on my way out. Too bad hospital doors didn’t slam. Amazing how my eye felt better after I left her sitting there, but dealing with her cost me yet another spoon. I had eleven spoons left and I needed to get through the rest of my five-spoon work day. Fortunately, I didn’t see her again. I figured that was that.