Samhain Publishing, $2.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-963-2
Contemporary Paranormal Romance, 2010
Poor Dr Nefertari Smith. She is hiding behind a Christmas tree during her university Christmas party, but it’s not because she is drunk or she has an insistent suitor to hide from. Well, not exactly a suitor anyway. You see, Tari has a secret: she is immortal and she has special powers. She pretends to be human in order to fit in, naturally. The problem here is she is very certain that the very handsome DNA researcher, Dr Jasper Grayson, knows who and what she is. Well, Jasper is actually a vampire. It’s true, people – the American academia has been overrun by monsters.
Ciar Cullen’s The Egyptian Demon’s Daughter can be read as a standalone short story although the heroine is the daughter of the couple in The Egyptian Demon’s Keeper.
Like the previous story, there are some cute plays on common tropes in this story.
Jasper didn’t particularly care about blood types, despite his vocation and his nature. Blood was blood, a metallic-tasting brew he needed to survive. The rift in his family was over blood, and only he and his cousin had joined the “generation losers” as his grandfather had dubbed those who feasted on non-human blood and the occasional lobster bisque or bagel. All of the warnings of childhood — you’ll die, you’ll lose your fingers, you’ll grow hair on your palms if you eat food or drink nonhuman blood — were all fairy tales designed to scare young vampires. Did they really not think the kids got out at all?
I also like Jasper, who stops being an emo after four hundred years.
Jasper’s lab was world-renowned for identifying DNA markers for diseases, and he took that work seriously. If he could undo a thousandth of the damage his ancestors wreaked on innocent mortals, he’d be immensely satisfied. All his earlier careers had been self-absorbed ego boosts – pilot, model, painter, gigolo, pro athlete, novelist. And he’d burnt out each time with boredom, ready to plant a stake in the ground and impale himself on it. Until his sister Eve pointed out, in rather crude terms, that he had wasted centuries waiting for someone to love him, when he’d never given anyone a reason to.
In a twist that four hundred years of introspection hadn’t prepared him for, as soon as he started working for the good of others, he stopped looking for their approval. Until he found sample 14B. He shouldn’t have looked. No respectable researcher would have tracked down the anonymous participant. But she’d left the boxes blank that asked if she’d be willing to participate in further studies, and had actually signed the form and included her phone number.
Sample 14B belongs to Tari, of course.
The Egyptian Demon’s Daughter is a very quick read, but it’s also a most entertaining one due to the author taking out the tropes for a spin. My only slight reservation here is Tari, who often behaves like a silly little girl rather than an adult, but since the story is short, she doesn’t have the chance to grate on my nerves too much. Jasper the non-emo vampire and Tari’s father manage to provide plenty of chuckles to make up for Tari’s sillier moments.
If you are looking for a fun short story to nibble on, one that doesn’t feel as stale as like fish left out in the sun for at least three days, this one could be a good bet.