- THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST. ‘A fantastic piece of work, superbly considered and controlled, with a lovely stillness and wisdom at its heart’ The Times. ‘Masterful, a multilayered and thoroughly gripping book’ Metro. ‘An elegant, artful, haunting novella – a deceptively simple narrative that is in fact deeply.
- The reluctant vampire. 'Rogue hunter Drina Argenis (from the Spanish side of the Argeneau family) has been many things in her years as an immortal, but bodyguard/babysitter to a teenage vampire is something new. There's an incentive, however: the other vampsitter, Harper Stoyan, may be Drina's life mate. Trouble is, having just lost a life mate.
- Nov 13, 2020 Edition Description. 'Rogue hunter Drina Argenis (from the Spanish side of the Argeneau family) has been many things in her years as an immortal, but bodyguard/babysitter to a teenage vampire is something new. There's an incentive, however: the other vampsitter, Harper Stoyan, may be Drina's life mate. Trouble is, having just lost a life mate.
With “The Reluctant Vampire” we once again encounter that most terrifying of creatures: the “funny” Tales From the Crypt episode. Tales From the Crypt is, of course, a very funny show. Heck, the Crypt-Keeper has even been known to indulge in puns and wordplay on occasion. But when the iconic horror anthology is straight-up going for laughs the result is often painful.
“The Reluctant Vampire”is a particularly punishing example of a “funny” Tales From the Crypt episodethat isn’t scary in the least but is brutally unfunny as well. It certainly does not help that its title sounds like a Tim Conway Disney vehicle from the 1970s more than a terror tale or fright fable, or that the episode feels at times like a terrible backdoor pilot for an abysmal sitcom about a zany vampire and the kooky characters he encounters at his job as a night watchman at a blood bank.
Read The Reluctant Vampire online, free by Lynsay Sands - Novel80. Author: Lynsay Sands. Series: Argeneau #15. Genres: Romance, Fantasy. Drina hardly no ced the rhythmic tap of her heels as she descended the stairs from the plane. Her a en on was shi ing from the winter-dead trees surrounding the private airstrip to the man leaning against the.
An exceedingly hammy Malcolm McDowell leads a characteristically star-studded cast as the titular blood-sucker, a milquetoast vampire punningly named Daniel Longtooth. The undead security guard embezzles precious, precious blood from his employer so that he does not need to stalk the streets at night in search of victims to drain.
In classic vampire form, Longtooth sleeps in a coffin. Unlike most vampires, Longtooth uses dentures to hide his fangs and, upon lumbering out of his coffin, grouses, “How I HATE Mondays.”
Him and Garfield both. Longtooth also hates his job, particularly his insufferable boss Mr. Crosswhite (George Wendt), a bully and creep whose management style leans heavily into bullying, sexual harassment and threats.
Longtooth has a schoolboy crush on Sally (Sandra Dickinson), the company bookkeeper, a helium-voiced platinum blonde who functions as a road-show version of Audrey from Little Show of Horrors, with McDowell serving as her lovestruck Seymour Krelborn and Wendt as the Mr. Mushnik figure.
Longtooth lives, after a fashion, for those glorious moments when everyone else is gone and he can drink lustily and hungrily from the blood bank’s rich supply of delicious plasma. Alas, he seems to be hitting the red stuff a little too hard. Mr. Crosswhite warns his staff that there’s just not enough blood in the blood bank to stay in business, and unless there’s a huge uptick in blood donations layoffs are inevitable.
Longtooth is spurred into action. He’s faced with a terrible choice: indulge in his vampire nature and use his special skillset to replenish the blood bank’s supply of red gold or risk losing a job that gives him access to unlimited blood without having to kill anyone. Longtooth decides it’s up to him to save the blood bank, and his crush’s job and his own in the process.
When “The Reluctant Vampire” was made, the AIDS crisis cast a long shadow over horror in general but the vampire genre in particular. In “The Reluctant Vampire”, for example, there is a lame running gag where Longtooth asks the people whose blood he is about to drain the same questions about drug use or dental surgeries that donors are asked before selling their blood to Longtooth’s employers.
Our good-hearted but cursed and tragically pony-tailed anti-hero throws himself into single-handedly saving the blood bank by draining the corpses of criminals and lowlifes and degenerates whose lives add nothing but misery to society. Longtooth vows to “save the blood bank and take a bite out of crime” and soon the blood bank has more blood than it knows what to do with.
Meanwhile a mysterious figure sweeps into town in the crusading form of Rupert Van Helsing of the Van Helsings, the legendary vampire-hunting clan. Van Helsing is played by character actor and horror icon Michael Berryman, best known for his star-making turn as the post-apocalyptic mutant-looking motherfucker in Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes.
Van Helsing informs a cop played by the great but wasted Paul Gleason that the rash of murders afflicting his city are the work of a vampire but he is understandably skeptical. Berryman is a striking physical presence. Even without make-up, he look like a more ghoulish version of Christopher Lloyd’s Judge Doom but unlike other versions of Van Helsing he’s a bit of an incompetent boob, a vampire hunter without a clue.
It turns out that there wasn’t a shortage at the blood bank after all. Longtooth’s evil boss just wanted to see how much blood his unique employee would be able to collect with the right motivation. He sees Longtooth as his meal ticket so he confronts him with a gun full of holy water and ominous intentions but ends up with a stake through his heart after the surprisingly stupid Van Helsing mistakes him for an actual blood-sucker, not just a parasite who metaphorically sucks the blood of the working class.
“The Reluctant Vampire” was written by Terry Black, who is best known for writing the zombie buddy cop movie Dead Heat and being Shane’s brother but who wrote five Tales From the Script episodes, three under the pseudonym Donald Longtooth. As a Tales From the Crypt writer Black has a 600 batting average: he wrote the terrific episodes “Dig That Cat…He’s Real Gone”, “Beauty Rest” and “None But the Lonely” but also this stiff and “Korman’s Kalamity”, another painfully wacky comic episode that wasn’t scary but also delivered zero laughs.
Watching “The Reluctant Vampire” touch on AIDS in an indirect fashion made me wonder how horror will deal with the Coronavirus virus and the fear it is causing. My guess is we won’t have to wait long to find out, as I’m sure the next seasons of The Twilight Zone and Creepshow will tackle the virus and the devastating damage it has wrought in a metaphorical and allegorical fashion, albeit hopefully not in as clumsy and ham-fisted a fashion as “The Reluctant Vampire” comments ineptly on one of the great tragedies of its day.
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“Turtles?” Harper asked with a frown.
“Yeah, you immortals all pull into yourselves and hide out at home rather than even consider a social life.” She shook her head. “Seriously, I know you all have this thing about life mates and all, and I know you two aren’t life mates, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, does it?” She glared from one to the other, and then said, “If anything, it should free you up to have more fun. Drina, you’re too old for Harper to read, and you’re also too polite to read him, so you could both relax around each other. On top of that, because you
life mates, you won’t be all worried about impressing each other and can just relax and enjoy each other’s company and
have some fun
She let that sink in, and then sat back in her seat, and announced militantly, “Maybe it’s because I’m new to this, but I plan to date like crazy before I settle down with any life mate. And you two should as well. You’re both lonely and miserable. What can it hurt to go out and let your hair down?”
Drina stared at the girl, amazement sliding through her. Stephanie was frighteningly brilliant. By saying they weren’t life mates, she’d just cleared the way for Harper to agree to an outing. And by saying that age was the reason Harper wouldn’t be able to read her, she’d eliminated the possibility that he might try to read her, find out he couldn’t, and panic. She’d basically just cleared away any protest Harper might come up with for spending time with her and freed him to do so if he wished without feeling guilty that he was enjoying himself when Jenny was dead.
“I do feel better,” Harper said quietly, and sounded surprised by the realization. “I guess this change in routine did do me some good.”
Stephanie nodded solemnly. “And really, you’d be doing me a favor. I’ll feel awful if the only thing Drina sees of Canada is the inside of Casey Cottage and the local Wal-Mart.”
“Hmm. That would be a shame,” Harper murmured, and then pushed his plate away and nodded. “All right. We’ll go dancing tonight at the Night Club in Toronto.”
Drina blinked in surprise. Toronto was two hours away. Shaking her head, she said, “No. I can’t be gone that long. I have to be back by bedtime for Stephanie.”
“Anders is on nights,” Stephanie reminded her. “I’m his problem then.”
“Yes, but we’re roommates so that no one can slip in and take you from your bed.”
“And so I don’t slip out and run away,” Stephanie said dryly.
Drina scowled. So much for Stephanie’s not knowing they knew about the possibility.
“It’s okay though,” Stephanie said quickly. “I’ll just snooze on the couch in front of the television until you guys get back. That way Anders can keep an eye on me, and you can still get out for a bit.”
“It’s set then,” Harper decided, glancing around for their waitress. “I’ll pay this and we can head back to the house. I need to call to have my helicopter come for us and—”
“Helicopter?” Drina interrupted with surprise.
“Harper’s mad rich,” Stephanie told her with amusement. “But then so are you.” She shrugged. “I guess when you guys live as long as you do, you eventually build up a fortune.”
“Not everyone,” Drina assured her.
“Whatever,” Stephanie said, standing up. “I have to pee before we go.”
Nodding, Drina pushed her chair back at once. Smiling at Harper, she murmured, “Thank you for buying lunch. We’ll meet you at the car.”
She waited long enough to see Harper nod before hurrying after Stephanie.
There was a woman in the bathroom cleaning it. Drina offered her a polite smile and leaned against the wall while Stephanie tended to her business in one of the stalls, and then washed her hands at the sink. She followed silently as Stephanie then led the way outside, but as they approached Harper’s car and she saw that he hadn’t yet returned, she finally said, “Stephanie—”
“Please don’t,” Stephanie said quickly, turning to face her. “I know you’re feeling guilty about what you think is our manipulating Harper, but it’s for his own good. And we aren’t tricking him into anything. We’re just making him feel safe enough for his true feelings to grow without his guilt over Jenny’s death getting in the way.”
“Please,” Stephanie pleaded. “Please don’t ruin everything. I like you. I like you both. The two of you deserve to be happy. Besides, I’ve had more fun today than I’ve had since—” She paused, a cloud crossing over her face before she ducked her head.
Drina sighed, knowing she’d nearly said before Leonius had attacked her, and wasn’t at all surprised. From what she’d been told, the girl had been pretty miserable since the turn, struggling with her losses and the adjustments she’d had to make. But this day had been one full of fun and laughter. For all of them.
Drina closed her eyes briefly, then reached out to rub one hand lightly over the girl’s upper arm. “I had a good time today too, and it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to say that.”
“I know,” Stephanie whispered, and then lifted her face to smile crookedly. “Your surface memories of the recent past are pretty grim. You put on a good face and seem cheerful and happy, but your days are spent hunting bad guys and mourning unwilling turns you have to capture or kill. And I know you struggle every day with feeling guilty that you have to do it. You think that if you’d just tracked their rogue sires down a bit faster, they might have been saved before they were turned, or at least before they were made to do something that marked them for death.” She grimaced. “It seems a pretty grim life.”
“It is,” Drina said quietly.
“Then why do you do it?”
She smiled wryly and shrugged. “Someone has to.”
“But it kills you a little bit inside every day,” Stephanie said quietly.
Drina didn’t deny that, but simply said, “It kills all rogue hunters a little bit inside every day. But for me . . .” She sighed and said, “Maybe, just maybe, my actions have prevented one or two other young girls, like you, from going through what you are.” She smiled crookedly. “Surely that makes it worthwhile?”
Before she could respond, they both heard the restaurant door opening and glanced around to see Harper approaching.
“Sorry, I forgot I’d locked the car,” Harper murmured, hitting the button on his key fob.
“That’s all right. We just got here ourselves,” Drina assured him, moving to the back passenger door as Stephanie opened the front door.
“Thank you for lunch and for taking us shopping today, Harper,” Stephanie said moments later, when they pulled into the driveway at Casey Cottage. “I had fun.”
“I’m glad.” He murmured absently as he eased his car into the tight space on one side of the two-car garage.
Stephanie then turned in her seat to peer at Drina in the back, and said, “While you guys are out tonight, I’ll check the Internet and look for things for us to do tomorrow.”
“Okay,” Drina agreed easily, undoing her seat belt.
“Things to do tomorrow?” Harper asked, but the vehicle had stopped, and Drina was already slipping out, leaving Stephanie to answer. However, she got out just as quickly, and Harper followed, repeating the question as he closed the door. “What do you mean, things to do tomorrow?”
“Well, it wasn’t just that we needed warmer clothes and stuff that made us go out today,” Stephanie explained, walking around the front of the car toward the stairs into the house. “We were worried about waking up everyone if we stayed in. That will still be a problem tomorrow, so we’ll have to find someplace to go or something to do to entertain ourselves.” She paused at the top of the steps with a hand on the door and pursed her lips. “I guess we’re going to be pretty limited without a car, though.” Sighing, she shrugged and pulled the screen door open. “I’ll figure out something.”
Stephanie started into the house then, and Drina was directly behind her, but Harper caught her arm and drew her to a halt. The moment the door closed behind Stephanie, he asked with concern, “Do you think it’s wise to take her away from the house?”
“She’s not a prisoner, Harper. We can’t keep her locked up in the house. Besides, she was sent down here to live as normal a life as possible,” she pointed out, and then added, “And I did call Lucian first to make sure it was all right. He’s pretty sure they weren’t followed from New York, and she’s safe. Apparently Anders and I are just a precaution and babysitters until Elvi and Victor return.”
“Oh,” he murmured, releasing her arm. “Well that’s good news. That she’s safe, I mean.”
“Yes,” Drina agreed, and turned back to the door, only to back up a step when it suddenly swung open and Stephanie reappeared, her coat already off but her eyes wide.
“We forgot our clothes!” she squawked with disbelief.
Drina laughed at her expression and turned away to slip past Harper and off the stairs. “Close the door; the garage isn’t heated, and you aren’t wearing your coat. I’ll get the bags.”
She was at the trunk of the car before Drina realized she didn’t have keys, but Harper was already there beside her, handling the matter. They each took half the bags and carted them into the house. Stephanie was immediately on them, taking as many bags as she could handle and traipsing out of the room to dump them in the dining room before returning for the rest.
“I put the kettle on to make cocoa,” she announced as she gathered the rest of the bags and turned away again. “Hurry up and get your boots and stuff off. We can have cocoa and cookies while we sort through all this and decide what you should wear tonight, Drina. I think it should be the black dress and FM shoes with those fishnet stockings.”
“What fishnet stockings?” Drina asked with surprise, but Stephanie had already rushed out of the entry again.
“The ones she threw in the cart while you were in the changing room,” Harper answered for her, his voice dry.
“Oh,” Drina murmured, and wondered if she’d have the nerve to wear the outfit she’d bought today. She’d only really allowed Stephanie to convince her to buy the dress and shoes to make sure Harper was thinking about what she would look like in them. But really, they weren’t quite her style. The dress was a little too low cut at the neckline, and a little too high at the thigh, and the shoes looked like they’d be killer to wear. Fortunately, she did have a dress and shoes of her own with her. Although she had to admit it was a bit conservative since she’d brought it for the wedding. It wasn’t really Night Club material either . . . at least not if the Night Club was anything like Noche.
Sighing, she hung up her coat, and quickly shucked the new, ridiculously high-heeled, thigh-high boots that she’d also allowed Stephanie to talk her into. She then padded into the kitchen, leaving Harper still working on the laces of his second boot.
Stephanie was pulling down mugs from the cupboard, presumably for the cocoa, but Tiny was also there. The big mortal was bent over and peering into the oven at something that was emitting really delicious smells.
“You’re up early,” Drina murmured, blinking as she took in his present garb. The man wore flowered oven mitts and a matching apron. He should have looked ridiculous, but since he was wearing only jeans and his bare chest was barely covered by the apron on top . . . well it was oddly sexy, she decided with a slight shake of the head.
“I’m mortal,” Tiny reminded her with amusement. “Daytime is my time.”
“Yes, but I thought you and Mirabeau—”
“Tiny and I conked out around four in the morning and were up by noon,” Mirabeau announced, entering the kitchen from the living room. Her expression was grim as she asked, “Where were you guys?”
“We went shopping and out for lunch,” Stephanie announced happily, busily dumping a pale brown powder into the five mugs she’d collected.
When Mirabeau raised a cold eyebrow in her direction, Drina said, “Just to Wal-Mart, and I called Lucian first to be sure it was all right.” She then added, “I apologize for not leaving a note, but I thought you were day sleepers and expected we’d be back long before anyone woke up.”
“See, I told you there was nothing to worry about, Beau,” Tiny chided gently as he retrieved a tray of little circles from the oven. “Now stop looking at Drina as if she murdered your kitty and come have a cookie.”
Mirabeau blinked at Tiny’s words and then relaxed. She even managed a smile for Drina. “Sorry. I was just worried when we got up, and you were all gone. The only reason I didn’t have Lucian on the phone and Teddy Brunswick out looking for you was because Tiny checked the garage and saw that Harper’s car was gone.”
“I should have left a note, and will in future,” Drina assured her.
“And your cell number too,” Mirabeau said at once, moving over to slide an arm around Tiny and press a kiss to his bare arm. Her voice was somewhat distracted when she added, “We should have exchanged numbers the minute you guys arrived last night. Then I could have called you at least.”
“I’ll write mine down now,” Drina decided, and moved to the refrigerator, where a magnetized notepad took up a corner on the front. She immediately scribbled down her number on the pad, and then turned to hand the pen to Mirabeau, saying, “I don’t know Anders’s number, but we can have him put his here as well when he gets up, and then anyone who wants it on their phone can do so, but it will be on the fridge if anyone needs it.”
Nodding, Mirabeau slid away from Tiny, took the pen she offered, and then pulled a cell phone out of her back pocket.
“Both our numbers are new. We lost our phones in New York, so Lucian sent us new ones,” she admitted on a grimace and began to punch buttons, presumably in search of her phone number.
“My phone’s in my back pocket, Beau,” Tiny rumbled as he began to slide cookies off the metal cookie sheet and onto a plate.
Mirabeau immediately moved over to slide her hand in and dig out his phone. Drina turned away to hide a smile when she saw that while Mirabeau was retrieving the phone with one hand, she hadn’t been able to resist gliding her other hand under the top of his apron and over his bare chest.
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“What smells so good?” Harper asked, coming into the kitchen from the pantry.