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Never Call Me Vampire (Legends of Crimson Hollow Paranormal Fantasy Series Book 1)
By Bestselling Author Tamara Grantham
The world calls him vampire.
I know him as someone else. He’s a fellow patient of Crimson Hollow—a former sanitarium—a facility for those infected with the vampire virus. He’s lived for more than a-century-and-a-half. During his lifetime, he’s gone by different names. Circus freak. Vagabond. Prisoner. Murderer. Now, he’s considered the world’s most famous person, but his life is one of suffering. He receives blood transfusions to stay conscious, and he rarely leaves the facility. He’ll never be free. Except in death.
And that was what he wanted…until I arrived. I needed him to help me find a cure. I wasn’t planning to fall in love.
But he knows too much about my secret. And I’ve learned too much about his past.
Dark forces want to use us both to unleash a serum that will spell doom for the entire world. But to save the world—we must sacrifice ourselves.
The world calls him vampire. But only he knows his true nature.
And we may never be prepared to accept it.
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Excerpt from Never Call Me Vampire:
As I approached the graveyard, a guard stood by the gate, casually hefting a rifle. The man’s cropped hair and straight posture hinted at a military background, though he’d gone soft, and his navy-blue uniform stretched over his sagging middle.
He grunted as I approached. “Where are you going?” he asked, his voice hinting at a Southern accent.
I nodded toward the clearing filled with headstones. “Just inside the cemetery. I won’t leave the grounds.”
His eyes narrowed. “Going into the cemetery is leaving the grounds. Go back inside.” He nodded toward the castle.
I squared my shoulders. “No.”
“What?” he asked, giving me a second glance, as if he didn’t expect a scrawny twenty-year-old girl to argue with him. “I said go back inside.”
“My dad’s buried there.” I pointed.
“Sure, he is.” He shifted his gun. “Everyone tries that. And your aunt’s buried there, too. Also, your grandpa and your dead gerbil. Go inside. I won’t ask you again—”
“The small headstone on the east plot,” I blurted. “Second row from the back. Luis Joseph de la Vega. The inscription says, ‘Just whisper my name in your heart and I will be there.’ You can check it if you like.”
He glanced over his shoulder, then turned back to me. “Amaya de la Vega, isn’t it? Just arrived yesterday?”
“Your dad’s really buried in there?”
“Yes. He died of the vampire virus on my fifteenth birthday. My mom died also. Two months ago. Same disease, but she’s buried in Miami.”
His eyes softened a bit. “And now you’re….” He shook his head. “Well, you’re here. Fine. Go inside. But…” He shook his finger in my face. “You’ve got five minutes, then you go straight back inside the facility. You’re new, so maybe you haven’t been to orientation yet, but patients are only allowed off the grounds at certain times and with heavy precautions. Including never entering the graveyard. Got it?”
“Yeah. I got it.” I stepped past him, then paused, glancing at his nametag. “Um…Officer Goodman?”
He raised an eyebrow. “Yes?”
“Thanks,” I said quietly. “This means a lot to me.”
He nodded, and I breathed a sigh of relief as I walked through the gate. Loops of razor wire topped the fence surrounding the cemetery. I took the path leading through the gravestones.
The air turned colder. Despite my hoodie, goosebumps formed on my skin, and I rubbed my arms. Khan trailed silent as a ghost behind me.
My stomach twisted with anxiety as I approached the gravestone. It had weathered a bit. The granite was darker around the edges, and the chiseled words had faded.
Steeling my nerves, I knelt by Daddy’s grave. Cold grass squished under my knees.
“I came for you…” I stopped, my voice unsteady. A chilly breeze gusted, blowing my tangled hair across my face. This wasn’t going as easily as I’d hoped.
Taking a deep breath, I started again.
“I came here because—I don’t know. I needed to talk to you.” Talk to the dead. Right. “Please don’t be mad at me. I did what I had to do. There wasn’t any other way inside the facility.” I rubbed the bruise on my shoulder where the needle had pricked me. “I’m going to find a cure for this, Daddy. Just like Mom. She was so close. But she never got access inside. But I have.”
I ran my fingers over the granite, shocked at how cold the stone felt. Cold and dead, just like the eyes of the angel.
Khan edged closer and licked my hand resting on the gravestone.
“It’s just me and Khan now, I guess.” I glanced back at the fence where the form of Officer Goodman appeared as a dark silhouette against the gray sky. “I should probably go. Give Mom a kiss for me.” I stood. “I’ve got a lot of work to do before I die.”
Meet Bestselling Author Tamara Grantham
Tamara Grantham is the successful author of more than a dozen books. She’s won numerous awards, such as a first place Rone award, and first place in Foreword Review’s Book of the Year awards. Many of her books are #1 bestsellers on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and they have obtained more than three-hundred five-star reviews. She has a BA in English, and she’s been a featured speaker at numerous writing conferences and comic cons.
Born and raised in Texas, Tamara now lives with her husband and five children in Wichita, Kansas. She rarely has any free time, but when the stars align and she gets a moment to relax, she enjoys reading fantasy novels and watching every Star Wars or Star Trek movie ever made.
Interview with Tamara Grantham:
Q: Hi Tamara! Tell us about your publishing journey. Did you always want to be an author?
TG: No. There was a time when I was terrified of becoming an author. Yes, I thought about books I’d love to write, but the idea of writing an entire novel sounded daunting. I was lucky enough to have an uncle who was an author. When I was twelve, he read a short story I’d written, and he praised me for it. Then he challenged me to write book. An entire book! It sounded too hard at the time. But years later, as I lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma with three young kids and a husband going through the tortures of a residency surgical training, I was desperate for a creative outlet. That’s when I decided to finally accept my uncle’s challenge. I wrote a book in a month. I haven’t stopped since then.
Q: For those who are new to your books, what is the story about?
TG: My original concept sparked from a “What if?” I wondered how the world would treat an actual vampire. Would vampires really exist the way they’re portrayed in books and movies? Would they really be able to live in secret for hundreds of years? Or would they be well-known? Famous. Living in a hospital and drinking blood through feeding tubes. I went with the latter assumption. My main character, Lucian Vidraru, lives in a former sanitarium. He has a storied history, which I included in my book in the form of snippets from a biography. From his time in the circus, to drinking blood from the homeless, to being experimented on during World War Two, to becoming a convicted murderer, I explored his life’s history throughout the novel in a unique way. You’ll find snapshots of his life with pictures, blog posts, letters, and TV interviews—the way I imagined a real vampire would be treated in today’s society.
I added in some mystery and a love story, and it became NEVER CALL ME VAMPIRE.
Q: Tell us about your hero. What motivates him?
TG: Lucian was an interesting character to write. He had such an extensive history, I struggled with how to include it all, and keep the pacing at a good clip. That’s when I decided to include snippets from Lucian’s biography. Through these snippets, we learn that Lucian is compassionate and kind. However, Lucian appears as unfeeling when Amaya first meets him. The reader then has to unravel the truth of who he is, why he believes he’s not a vampire, and untangle truth from myth. I really enjoyed writing this character. He was unique and dynamic, and I loved the relationship that he and Amaya developed. I felt Amaya helped draw out Lucian’s strengths, and vice versa.
Q: Name a few of your favorite authors or books.
TG: All books by Ilona Andrews (my absolute favorite!) I also love Jim Butcher, J.K. Rowling, Terry Goodkind, and Amy Jarecki.
Q: What is your ideal reading experience?
TG: I love this question so much! My ideal reading experience would be in my bed, with something to drink nearby (preferably a cold Diet Dr. Pepper) and no distractions from children or pets. (This happens rarely, but I can dream.)
Q: Where can our readers find you? (Social media, website, etc.)
Thanks for chatting with us, Tamara!