My Defender (Bewitched and Bewildered Book 8)(6)

By: Alanea Alder



Ellie shook her head. "That could be the terrible twos or teething."

"Dr. St. John said something along those lines, but two of the three children are over the age of five and are not prone to tantrums. Is there any way I could talk you into coming here to take a look?"

Ellie felt her throat constricting. "You want me to come to those itty-bitty tiny caves?" Ellie was already starting to feel sick.

Kari laughed. "It is not like that at all. In fact, everything is really open. They have huge ceilings that must be twenty to twenty-five feet high; there are no little cramped caves here, just big open rooms, I swear."

"I may have to bring some equipment." Ellie chewed on her lower lip.

"I could send warriors to help you pack."

"Warriors?"

"My mate, Declan, is a unit warrior here. I am pretty sure they will volunteer to help."

Ellie hesitated. "I have to bring my gram."

"Of course, she is also welcome."

She took a deep breath. "I'll do it," she confirmed before she could change her mind.

"Wonderful! Chicago is the closest portal, is it not?" Kari asked.

"Yes, I think there is a portal just outside the city. Could you meet with Dr. St. John and email me a list of the available equipment and symptoms? That way I can just bring whatever else is needed from my own lab."

"I will have him do that right away. We actually just recently started bringing in a lot of heavy equipment to set up an infirmary."

"Why do vampires need an infirmary?" Ellie asked.

"You know, it has been that type of week. Let us just say that after a few close calls and a lab fire, we suddenly found ourselves needing a lot of medical care."

Ellie was dying to hear about what happened. "You have to tell me everything when I get there."

"I promise, it is one hell of a story."

"I'll wait on the doctor's email and start packing some of the essentials. When do you need us?" Ellie asked.

Kari was quiet for a moment. "I really think you should get here as soon as you can."

Ellie caught the very thin thread of concern and urgency in her friend's voice. "We'll be at the portal tomorrow at eleven a.m."

"Perfect!" Kari exclaimed. "I cannot wait to see you again."

"Me too." Ellie ended the call and stared at her phone. What on earth had she just gotten herself into?





*****





Ellie pulled into the driveway, turned off the car, and looked up at the modest two-story brownstone wondering how she was going to explain all of this to her grandmother. After the death of her parents, her grandparents became her world. When they lost her grandfather, she and her gram became inseparable; Ellie didn't know what she would do without her rock steady support.

Climbing out of the car, she trudged her way up to the front steps. When she opened the door, she smiled. The scent of freshly baked bread mingled with the mouth-watering aroma of the special blend of savory spices her grandmother used in her famous beef stew. She made her way to the kitchen. "Hey Gram."

The tall woman turned to her. There were many days she had wished she had inherited her grandmother's height. Instead, she took after her mother, which meant she was shorter and rounder.

Her grandmother wore her graying hair piled up on her head in a messy yet stylish bun. She was elegant in a way Ellie could only dream of.

Her grandmother frowned. "What on earth are you doing home at this hour? Aren't you supposed to be at work?" she asked.

Ellie gave self-deprecating laugh. "I quit," she announced.

Marjoram Johanson's eyes widened. "Oh dear! All right, sit down and tell me all about it." She pulled off her apron, went over to the coffee pot, and started the pot to brew. Above the coffee pot, she opened up the cabinet and pulled down two old mugs. One had a cartoon character of a baby elephant; the other had a cartoon character of a momma elephant. Ellie loved those mugs. Her mother had bought them for the two of them to use during their morning coffee. After she passed away, her grandmother continued using them to keep her memory alive. They were the mugs that Ellie drank out of when she was feeling sad, and they always seemed to make her smile.

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