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  • Home > Laurell Kaye Hamilton > The Anita Blake Series > Wounded (Chapter 13)     
  • Wounded(Anita Blake Vampire Hunter #24.5)(13) by Laurell Kaye Hamilton
  • “You’re like a walking example of what Frankie and I do, and how much it can help people. Frankie likes working with the pro athletes, and I do, too, but I really like helping ordinary people be more athletic, healthier, especially after an injury. It’s like they don’t know what their bodies can do until after the accident.”

    “It’s more that after you come so close to losing the use of your body, you want to use it more,” I said.

    She nodded. “That makes sense.”

    “Anita could talk to Tomas,” Micah said.

    “Only if you’re there to help me communicate the message,” I said.

    “I’ll help, too,” Nathaniel said.

    “I appreciate the moral support,” I said, smiling.

    “It’s not just that, Anita. I’ve been the victim as a child and a teenager, and survived. I know what’s it like to be hurt, bad, and not know if your body is going to come back.” I didn’t know every injury that Nathaniel had endured before I met him, but I knew that he’d run away from home after he’d witnessed his stepfather beat his older brother to death with a baseball bat. Nathaniel had been seven when it happened; by ten he’d been on the streets selling the only thing he had—himself. Saying Nathaniel had had a hard childhood was like calling the Titanic a boating accident.

    “You weren’t a lycanthrope as a child,” Mercedes said.

    “No, I was just human.”

    “How old were you when you became a shapeshifter?” she asked.


    I’d met Nathaniel when he was nineteen, only a year after he became a wereleopard. I hadn’t really done that math in my head. He’d always seemed so controlled, like he’d had years of practice with his beast when I met him. Enough control that he was already stripping and changing shape on stage at Guilty Pleasures with nothing between him and the audience but his self-control and club security, though that was more to keep the customers off the dancers than the other way around.

    “God, not even twenty; you were just a kid, too,” she said.

    “Everyone’s a kid once, Mercedes,” I said.

    She glanced at me. “You were about my age when you started working with Papa. I thought you were all grown up, but you’re only what, eight years older than me?”

    “I’m six years older than Connie, so I guess that’s about right.”

    “You’re my age,” Nathaniel said.

    She looked at him then. “I didn’t know you were that much younger than Anita, or maybe it’s just that she so doesn’t look thirty.”

    “Thirty-one,” I said.

    Micah took my hand, smiling. “Anita and I are the same age.”

    “Neither of you looks thirty,” she said, and she studied our faces as she said it.

    I looked back at her and wondered for the first time, Did we look younger than Mercedes? Lycanthropes age slower than human normal anyway, and thanks to surviving several attacks by rogue shapeshifters I carried several strains of lycanthropy in my bloodstream. I shouldn’t have been able to “catch” more than one strain of lycanthropy, because it protects its host body from almost all illness and injury, including other kinds of lycanthropy. I was a medical miracle because I didn’t change shape either. That might change someday, but so far I was a first for the medical journals, or so a few doctors had told me. We thought that my ties to the vampires, both metaphysically and romantically, had protected me from changing shape somehow, because vampires couldn’t catch lycanthropy, just like a lycanthrope couldn’t become a vampire. The two supernatural medical conditions canceled each other for modern lycanthropy and vampirism. Thousands of years ago, lycanthropes could catch vampirism and be both, but something about one of the two conditions had changed enough over the millennia that it didn’t work that way now.

    I’d met a few vampires who were old enough to carry both, and they’d all been either scary as hell or not human at all, ever. Humanoid, but not Homo sapiens, which had been a surprise—okay, a shock. Most of the scientific literature had thought that vampires didn’t even exist as a disease/condition until Homo sapiens. Some scientists thought maybe it went back to the Cro-Magnons, or the Neanderthals, but that was seriously disputed. I knew that vampires went back further than that, but I kept having to kill any vampire I met that old, because they were all crazy as hatters and more evil than Hitler’s plan to “better” the human race. They were also so powerful it could make my bones ache just standing close to them. Dead was better for them, and safer for the rest of us, but it would be nice to find a sane one who could talk to the paleobiologists, archaeologists, paleoanthropologists, and all the other “ists.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire