Authors: Jordan K. Rose
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locale or organizations is entirely coincidental.
Black Magic Rose
Jordan K. Rose
Jordan K. Rose, Publisher
PO Box 714
West Kingston, RI 02892
Ebooks/Books are not transferable. They cannot be sold, shared or given away as it is an infringement on the copyright of this work.
Ebook ISBN: 978-0-9894175-7-0
Print ISBN: 978-0-9894175-8-7
Cover Art by Claudia McKinney at Phatpuppyart.com
Editors: Judith Roth and Jane Haertel
Kimberley A. Dias
All rights reserved
All Rights Are Reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
Jordan K. Rose Publishing December 2013
For my parents who always encouraged me to try new things. Without you I'd have never believed I could do this.
“Dr. MacDuff to the ER! Stat! Dr. MacDuff to the ER! Stat!” The overhead page sounded for the third time in less than ten minutes. First calling Osgar, then Meg, now Dr. MacDuff. Whatever was happening in that ER must have been traumatic if they needed the head of security then the Director of Nursing and finally the Chief Medical Officer.
The young lab tech sitting across the desk from Sofia flinched and glanced toward the door, then he fidgeted in his chair. Tears welled in his eyes.
“Patrick, though you’ve been doing fine in this interview, I want to remind you this is just a job, not a gladiator challenge. No need to cry.”
He swiped the tear away. “You don’t understand. Cader is the most secure hospital in Rhode Island. I need to be here. And I’ll devote myself to this place. Forever.” He folded his hands as if praying to the hiring gods. “This is where I belong.”
He was right. Cader House Hospital was the most stable hospital and the oldest and the smallest and the only one Sofia knew of whose entire staff was currently comprised of werewolves and vampires and her. Who’d have thought little Wooddale could be so exciting?
“Ms. Engle, when can I start?” Patrick slid his certification across the desk. “And here’s my reference list. Charlie knows me and Donald Cooper, your lab manager, is a friend of my family. He’ll vouch for me. He’ll tell you he wants me here.” He grabbed Sofia’s hand. “When can I start?”
There wasn’t any reason why she wouldn’t hire him based on the interview. He was certainly eager, and clearly, this was where he wanted to be. “Patrick, let me check your references. I’ll call you by the end of the week.”
“End of the week? Can’t you finish them today? I can call Charlie and Donald now. They can tell you I’m really a good worker, and I’ll do anything needed.”
“What else is going on, Patrick?” Recruitment had been a very easy task at Cader. Applicants were literally banging the door down to get into the place. However, Cader did have some very discriminating practices.
For example, you practically had to be superhuman to survive working here.
“I know Dr. MacDuff wants you to hire more humans, but Charlie said you’d still consider me.” Patrick bit his lip.
It was true. Dr. MacDuff wanted to change the hiring practices and bring on more humans. This was the major goal of Sofia’s employment and her second biggest challenge. Dr. MacDuff’s love of humans spawned the theory that vampires and werewolves should be able to work side by side for extended periods with humans without any unfortunate mishaps.
“Yes, well. I have to hire the best person for the job, human or otherwise.” She could barely believe she’d heard herself say those words. Female or otherwise. Black or otherwise. Those were classifications she was familiar with. Human or otherwise was an altogether different perspective.
“I was a patient here once.” Patrick stared toward the door. “Got good care, too.”
“I’m glad to hear you had a good experience.” Sofia knew all too well how good the care was at Cader. It was only days before she’d been recruited to work here that she’d been taken to the ER by ambulance. She’d managed to thwart the burglar but not without sustaining a concussion and several bruised ribs.
The memory of that night made her pulse quicken. Until that attack in her own home, she’d always felt safe.
Patrick picked up the phone on Sofia’s desk. “Just call Donald, Ms. Engle. He’ll tell you he wants me to start tonight. I swear.” He shoved the phone toward Sofia.
She kept her attention on Patrick, ignoring the phone he’d placed less than three inches from her face. The young werewolf sighed and replaced the receiver in its cradle, then sagged into the chair.
Being the only human employee here was so far not only a new experience, but odd to say the least. She’d never had a job where she lived with the weird feeling that everyone thought she smelled way too good.
“I need to be here. Please, Ms. Engle. It’s not safe for me anywhere else.” Staring down at the desk with shoulders slumped, he mumbled, “My family’s gone. Bas Dubh killed them all. I’ll be dead by nightfall if you don’t help me.” He lifted his head and tears streamed from his sad blue eyes.
If there’s one thing Sofia was not, it was a hard-ass. In spite of what every employee and manager in the world thought of every Human Resources professional, Sofia was not mean.
And she certainly wouldn’t be responsible for anyone’s death, not at the hands of another human or Bas Dubh.
“Okay. Wait in the lobby down the hall. I’ll see what I can do.” She handed him a tissue. “And stop crying. This is a job interview. There’s no crying in job interviews.”
Less than an hour later Patrick’s references were complete, he’d filled out all the employment paperwork, and was downstairs in the ER waiting to be seen for his employment health screening. His new residence was listed as Cader House and his training would begin in the evening.
Sofia had wrapped up her day and was headed for the door in hopes of avoiding Dr. MacDuff, who’d been paged down to the ER once again. No such luck. And their argument from early that morning continued. “But Dr…”
“Sofia, no. If you want to avoid having a guard, then reconsider my offer of housing here at Cader.” Dr. MacDuff stopped walking to level a stern gaze at her.
“No,” she answered without a second’s hesitation.
“Then that’s the last I’ll say about this.” Dr. MacDuff walked away, leaving Sofia standing in the hospital’s lobby, coat hanging open, handbag and lunch box slung over her shoulder, keys in hand.
She glanced toward the man waiting to the right of the entrance, and although his stone-faced expression never changed, she knew he was laughing at her.
“Well, it’s not the last I’ll say about it.” She zipped past the guard’s desk, trailing after Dr. MacDuff, ignoring Jamieson’s warnings to let it go.
“You can’t win this one, Sofia,” the old guard whispered before reaching for the ringing red phone on his desk. “Not with everything that’s happening.”
“Dr. MacDuff, I absolutely refuse to allow this. You can’t force me to accept a bodyguard I don’t want or need. I don’t like or trust him. He’s scary and mean and
.” Not to mention he had a reputation for being a cold-blooded killer who didn’t bother to ask questions first, later, or ever. She’d heard he thought of only one thing. Kill. Kill. Kill.
“That’s a bit discriminatory, wouldn’t you say?” Dr. MacDuff asked, tossing a casual glance her way.
Sofia frowned and peered back into the lobby.
The dead guy loomed in the entranceway. His broad shoulders and height nearly filled the entire space. He stared in her direction. Black hair hung in his face and stubble shadowed his chin and cheeks. But she could still see his dark eyes tracking her every move like a panther stalking Bambi. She ducked into the security office, knowing full and well he’d heard her. They all seemed to have supersonic hearing. It made her nuts.
Dr. MacDuff leaned around her and checked the lobby. “He appears alive to me, lass.” The doctor sighed and shook his head as he walked to the back of the room.
Sofia followed him to the far wall where he punched in his security code on the panel hidden just inside a fake closet door, another of Cader’s many tricks and secrets. “I suggest you decide what you want to do. If you’re going home, Dragomir is going with you. If you’re not, then you’re coming to the Lower Level with me.” The back wall of the closet rose to reveal a stairwell.
She shook her head at yet another attempt to get her to move to Cader. She hated the Lower Level.
slept down there. Sofia bit her lip. They wouldn’t be asleep now. They’d be awake like
. She glanced toward the door.
“Dragomir is like me,” Dr. MacDuff said. “You forget.”
“I only forget because you don’t act like
. You act…human,” she said. Three weeks in and Sofia continued to struggle with acclimating to the vampires. Though she knew she needed to, and had agreed to be available to staff on all shifts, she had not been able to develop a comfort level with the night staff.
The wolves covered the hospital during the day and early evening. The vampires worked the late evening and night shifts. Sofia preferred to work days, basically only the sunlight hours, which was getting to be difficult as autumn rolled toward winter.
She’d managed to legitimately avoid working the later shift because with the recruitment and new hires, so much kept happening during the day. Thanks to Bas Dubh’s tactics, she’d been up to her eyeballs getting frightened new recruits processed and ready for orientation. The nighttime assaults had increased since she’d started, and that meant more recruits came to Cader for refuge. She simply hadn’t had the stamina to work past sunset.
Then, two nights ago she’d had her first opportunity to spend some time on the floors with the staff. She’d gotten the once-over from a vampire named Carl and hadn’t been able to shake the creepy feeling since. His gaze raked across her like someone rubbed freezing gel over her body. She shivered just thinking about that night.
“Dragomir didn’t have to do
,” she said. The memory of Dragomir’s actions played in her mind. Her stomach turned as she remembered his hand shoving through Carl’s skin and into his chest. As if it was happening all over again, the sound of squishing muscles and breaking bones echoed in her ears. She swallowed back the bile rising in her throat.
Dr. MacDuff sighed. “I’ll agree he responded very quickly. But he did make a clear point.”
Sofia gaped at Dr. MacDuff. “The violence is outrageous!”
“Aye. You’ve told me.”
“Yes! And you agreed not to let these…these…” She waved her hand in the direction of the dead guy. “…vampires and wolves use death as an option for addressing behavior.” She slung her bag back up onto her shoulder. “I developed a progressive discipline process for those types of issues.”
“Aye. I know.”
Her voice rose. “But you haven’t done anything about him! You think he’s safe for me!”
She threw her hands in the air.