Authors: Jami Brumfield
The Witch’s Vampire
(Book one in the Mystery Springs Series)
Written by Jami Brumfield
Like with all my books this book was written with the reader in mind. I did my best to create a story with loveable, yet slightly damaged characters facing fantastical challenges to bring them closer together and allow you to fall in love with them and their stories. Without you, the book would simply be words on a page. Your interest in reading this book and your imagination helps to embellish upon the world described within these pages and keeps the characters I created alive. For that alone I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I would also like to say thank you to some of my very dear friends whose feedback helped to enhance the story and characters to the next level. Your help has been and always will be invaluable to me.
My editor deserves a large amount of praise because of all the work she did to help polish this product and create something I am proud to present to you as my work. Michele Gwynn is not only an amazing editor and awesome author but also a very dear friend who has been a rock to me in times of need.
I’d also like to send hugs and kisses out to every member of my amazing street team. You are invaluable to me and make being an author a joyous experience.
Finally, a special thank you to my loving and supportive husband. I love you Gary with all my heart and you will forever be my number one love.
Copyright @ 2014 Jami Brumfield
Proofreading and editing by Michele Gwynn
@Cover design by Jami Brumfield, photo licensed through Dreamstime.com
This ebook is licensed for your personal entertainment and enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with someone else, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return to Amazon.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the author’s work. This book is entirely a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents depicted herein are either products of the author’s imagination or are used factiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Sophie Waters narrowed her green eyes on her father. Hands fisted at her side in an effort to keep her temper in check. Lately, feeling angry and trapped by him was a painfully regular occurrence. Closing her eyes she counted to ten. Just another day in the story of her life. Every time there was the opportunity for her to find happiness, to escape, her family somehow managed to pull her back into their clutches. Her mother's illness was an understandable detour to her future plans, she was happy to be here for her, happy to be given the year to spend time with her mother and find closure in her untimely death. But the ridiculous story her father and Chelsea were telling was the last straw. A never ending cycle and one she planned to end immediately. His fantastical tale was not going to keep her from going back to college in Florida.
“How dare you, father! And you, Chelsea? You both should be ashamed. And after mother's passing, I can't believe you'd stoop to this level in order to keep me from going back to school.” She was going to run back to college, to find normalcy in her life. All that was left for her in Mystery Springs was pain and an aching sorrow that ran deep. She hoped putting space between her and the place where her mother died, she’d find peace with her loss and be able to return to her father’s side, to be able to face the world with a positive focus and put the sadness and negativity behind her.
Rafe Waters ran shaky hands through his thinning black hair and Sophie fought the urge to tuck the unruly strands back into place that stuck out stubbornly on both sides of his head. It was something she’d done since she was a little girl and his hair was thick and vibrant. She was frustrated, but she still loved him dearly, and now they only had each other. Neither one of them was in the right state of mind at the moment. Her emotions were on a dangerous rollercoaster ride with the safety mechanisms turned off. Their loss was going to haunt them for a very long time.
Sure, Chelsea would be there, but she wasn't family. Despite the heavy weight on her heart, Sophie couldn’t change who she was deep down inside, her desire to fix him came from her instinct to take care of everyone. Her mother called her a caretaker, someone who'd always sacrifice for others despite the cost to her. Her need to get away and find her center again was losing to her desire to help her father pull himself back together. Without even trying she was losing this argument to herself, and in this moment, she wouldn't allow that to happen.
Her need to fight wasn’t just for selfish reasons. Her mother made Sophie promise that she would break the habit of taking care of others before herself with her dying wish, and she wasn't going to fall back on that promise so soon after her death.
Sophie pushed down the inner conflict raging in her mind, rocking back and forth on her feet, shifting her weight uncomfortably as she tried to remain strong. It was difficult standing firm on her resolve when her father looked at her with sincere, solemn green eyes, heartbroken eyes. It took everything she had to remain stern. She may have gotten her looks from her father but her temperament and resolve came from her mother, and right now she needed to channel her mother's strength in order to keep her promise.
“I’m sorry, Sophie. Your mother wanted to be the one to tell you, but she got sick – then she decided she’d tell you when she was better.” He shook his head sadly. “But she never got better so now the responsibility falls to me.”
“So, what? According to you I’ve been a witch for twenty-one years?" He slumped into the wooden chair across from Chelsea at the table. His shoulders fell in defeat and Sophie felt her anger turning into disgust. He knew how to break her determination and make her feel guilty. It made her blood begin to boil the way he could push her guilt buttons. If he was telling her the truth, they’d been lying to her for her entire life.
Seriously? What kind of parent does that?
That thought drove her initiative to push for what she wanted in her life. She knew she was right in her desire to live her life with the plan she outlined for herself. She’d worked too hard to change paths now and her mother wanted this for her.
Nevertheless, she softened her tone as she knelt so she was looking up into his downcast eyes. "If that's the case, what difference does a few more years matter? I can go back, finish medical school, and return here to do whatever witchy things you need me to do.” It was a fair compromise.
“You’re the last descendant of the Clarke line which means you have responsibilities. Regina’s death means you must take her place as the town witch doctor.” Chelsea, Regina’s dearest friend and her surrogate aunt, sighed heavily. Her tone was compassionate, but her look stern. "You need to stay here and finish school. The town needs you now more than ever."
Sophie stood back up and turned her attention to her "aunt". She needed to process her response carefully. She didn't want to sound immature with her request. Her world was crashing down around her faster than she could pick up the pieces and put them back where they belong. She’d spent the better part of a year taking care of her mother, putting her own life on hold while she watched her mother slowly fade away from the cancer. They tried everything, alternative and traditional medicine. Nothing could keep up with the cell multiplication that slowly killed Regina. Watching her mother wither away only motivated her to become a doctor more. When she had the appropriate training she would focus on the disease that killed so many people around the world, the illness that tore families apart over the loss of loved ones. The day her mother made her promise to
'live her life, take care of herself first'
was the day her future was changed and this ‘witch’ proclamation wasn't going to change her commitment to her career.
When she’d taken the leave of absence from Florida State University and came home to help her family through the tragedy, she'd been given an open invitation to return when the crisis was resolved. Her grades were outstanding and her professors sang her praises. She was in the perfect position to not only finish her molecular biology degree, but also move right into the stellar genetic upper graduate program. Her childhood dream of becoming a doctor was in her grasp - at the tips of her fingers - all she needed to do was reach out and take it, taking her life back in the process. How dare they insist she stay in Mystery Springs? “Florida University offers a program specializing in the field of study I wish to pursue. You have to understand that staying here will kill my dream of researching cures for cancer” she pleaded.
"Please understand, your desire for researching diseases is not where your future lies. As the town witch doctor you'll be helping patients just as a regular doctor would do." Rafe answered her plea with one of his own.
If Sophie was to take her mother's place her dream of curing deadly illnesses was not in the cards for her. Deep down, she knew this. So did her mother, so why did Regina make her promise to live her life for herself first? None of this made sense. The only thing that felt right was Florida.
“I’ve spoken to the Dean of Admissions at Mystery Springs University and you’ve already been accepted to classes.” Chelsea offered an alternative option. One that had never been part of her future plans. They all knew this.
Sophie placed her hand on her forehead and pressed on the temporal pressure points to help relieve the headache that was developing. She spoke with a soft voice that didn't reveal her disgust at the situation. Anger wasn't going to get her very far in this discussion - she learned that in college. “I don’t want to go to school here." She closed her eyes against the new rush of frustration flooding her mind and body. "My immediate future is in Florida, and you want to take that away from me? What kind of family does that to a person?” The physical pain and emotional stress flowing through her made her want to scream, cry, react, but she was emotionally raw at the moment and so she relied on logic, a good friend.
Her father stood and approached her, attempting to place his large hands on her shoulders, she sidestepped him and waited for an answer, having no desire to feel his compassionate manipulation. He dropped his hands to his side indicating no real desire to win this battle. "Sophie, if I could take this burden from you I would."
The look in his eyes told her he was telling the truth, which made her feel again. This time is was guilt that assaulted her. She tried to push it down, but one look at the half moon dark circles under Chelsea's amber brown eyes and the sadness in her father’s, and she felt her resolve begin to crumble, again. They both looked like they shouldered the world. Chelsea hid it better, but not by much. Her dark skin was ashy, far from the silky soft appearance she generally had. Her tight ringlet curls were frizzy and a lifeless brown, far from her natural rich chocolate brown color lighted with auburn accents. Her clothes were falling off her skeleton-thin frame, evidence of a lack of nourishment. Sophie knew her aunt hadn’t been eating very well toward the end, she only hoped her appetite would come back now that Regina was no longer in pain. They were all taking the death of her mother hard.