Read Finding Midnight Online

Authors: T. Lynne Tolles

Tags: #vampire, #demon, #paranormal romance, #witch, #dragon, #fallen angel, #hellhound, #new adult

Finding Midnight



Finding Midnight




T. Lynne Tolles





Troll Publishing


Copyright 2014 T. Lynne Tolles

August 6, 2014


Smashwords Edition

ISBN 978-0-9829876-7-4


Cover art: Jennifer Meyer

Digital formatting: Author E.M.S.


All Rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced or
transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,
including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage
and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the
author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews,
is illegal and punishable by law.


Publisher’s Note:

This is a work of fiction. All names,
characters, places, and events are the work of the author’s
imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to real persons,
living or dead, locales or events is coincidental.


T. Lynne Tolles



Table of




Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17


About the Author



Chapter 1


Summer Raines looked over her shoulder
getting one last look at Holy Cross Orphanage where she’d spent the
first twenty-one years of her life. In one hand she held the keys
to the “pawmobile” and in the other she held a mysterious manila
pouch hidden among the swaddling when the nuns found her on the
steps of the orphanage.

A barrage of emotion and memories raced
through her head—the old squeaky iron bed, the smell of chalk and
bleach, the scratchy worn blankets, and the midnight giggles with
Tori. These were in her past now. Starting the SUV, the blast of
cool air from the vent hit her face. She suddenly felt the traces
of tears she hadn’t realize she had shed.

She pulled out of the orphanage’s parking
lot and headed out onto the street. The fibers of the light brown
carpet that covered the small SUV moved in unison as wind rushed
through them. The giant flopping ears that adorned the vehicle
making it look like a giant dog on wheels, jerked around violently
as did the tail that Summer saw moving around from her rear view

Dr. Stuart, Summer’s boss and the owner of
the veterinarian clinic called Paws and Whiskers, was quite a
character and thought an auto that looked like a dog was the
perfect way to advertise the clinic—that and a license plate of
“PAnWSKR.” Of course,
drove a nice BMW, while Summer, his
vet-in-training, drove the Paw Mobile, as he called it. Summer
would never admit to Dr. Stuart, but she actually kind of liked it.
After all, it was a new vehicle; she didn’t have to pay insurance
or monthly payments and it was more or less hers to use.

Sitting at one of the many stop lights in
town, Summer thought back on the conversation she’d had with Sister
Mary Louise about the mysterious pouch she’d given her that now lay
on the seat beside her.

“Summer, my sweet girl…what a glorious day
this is. I’m so proud of you, I think I might just explode,” the
young sister said as she embraced Summer tightly.

“Thank you, Sister,” Summer said with a
slight bow of her head.

Sister Mary Louise pulled away, cupping
Summer’s cheeks as she had done so many times, and sat on the edge
of the creaking bed. With excitement, she slapped her thighs
through her black garb.

“This is an exciting time for a young woman.
You are about to embark on the world as an adult, and start making
decisions of your own on the path God has set in motion for you.
Very exciting, indeed.”

“And sad, too,” Summer pointed out.

“Now…let’s not dip into the pool of
self-pity. It’s time for you to spread your wings and take flight
like all little ones must.”

With a crack in her voice, Summer admitted,
“But I don’t even have a place to go.”

“Aw, but you do, dear. Arrangements have
been made for you to live at Midnight Manor.”

“That creepy house on the other side of

“It’s not creepy; it’s in need of some love,
that’s all. Besides you won’t be in the Manor, but in a cottage on
the grounds—and it’s free,” the sister said.

“Free? How bad is it?”

“It’s cute, albeit in need of painting
inside and out. Ms. Midnight said you could use any furniture in
the barn. There is already a bed, a small sofa, and a little
kitchen table inside the cottage. I’m sure you and Victoria will
have it whipped into shape and looking adorable in no time. The
only stipulation is that you run errands on occasion for Ms.
Midnight and maintain her herb garden.”

“Herb garden?” Summer asked with lilt of

“Yes. I thought that might pique your
interest, my little green thumb. Ms. Midnight is getting up there
in age and it is has become harder and harder for her to maintain
it. It’s quite overgrown now, but I understand it was once rather
lovely.” Sister Mary Louise reached inside her pocket, revealing
two keys on a keychain.

“This small one is for the gate to the
property, and this bigger one is for the cottage,” she said as she
handed them to Summer. “Sister Margaret cleaned the cottage a bit
and had groceries delivered, so you should be all set.”

“Tonight? So soon?”

“No time like the present,” the sister said.

“I don’t know. It just feels so rushed,”
Summer said wiping a welling tear from her eye.

“It’s a good thing, my dear. You must have
known once you graduated, the Reverend Mother would push to free up
your bed for another child in need.”

“Well, yes, but I didn’t think it would
happen so quickly, after all, I have to work this afternoon.”

“I thought you’d be excited to have your own
place,” Sister Mary Louise said, rather puzzled.

“I am and I’m grateful. It’s just happening
all so fast,” Summer said.

“Yes. Sometimes God throws a curve ball at
us, and it can seem a little scary because we don’t know what he
has planned. But he does have a plan, a glorious plan, and he’s
always there to pick you up when you fall. Of course, I’m here too,
and I’ll be checking on you whenever the Reverend Mother will
allow. You’ll be fine, my dear. I know you will. Oh…I almost forgot
the most important part,” the sister said, scrambling for something
in her pocket.

That’s when she received the unopened
envelope sitting on the passenger seat, staring at her. What was in
it? Why was she so scared to open it? She didn’t know, as she
glanced at it, blank worn paper and the lump made from its
contents. It would have to wait since she was pulling into the
parking lot of the veterinary office and she was already late.

She locked up the SUV and raced into the
office. When she rushed through the door, a bucket of glittering
confetti and shredded office paper showered her. She slapped a hand
over her heart, alarmed and surprised by the congratulatory
greetings, and toot toots of silly little party horns.

“Oh my God, I…Thank you everyone,” Summer
said, still taking in the surprise. Tori tooted her horn, two
inches from Summer’s ear and jumped up and down. Victoria Cobb was
Summer’s best friend and a fellow resident of the Holy Cross
Orphanage. She worked as the receptionist at Paws and Whiskers and
obviously had a marvelous time concocting the confetti and shredded
paper to perfection.

Summer thanked her with a hug and plucked a
few pieces of paper from her friend’s hair. This week the color of
choice was black and it played well with her, torn, extreme, Goth
attire craze. No one but the sisters at Holy Cross and Summer knew
the true color of Tori’s hair.

Though the two girls were opposites in many
ways, the pair of friends kept each other grounded. Summer reminded
Tori that not all people were bad and Tori reminded Summer that not
all people were good.

Among the others patting Summer’s back and
hugging her were Dr. Stuart, Katie Petersen who helped as a nurse
and aid, and Tommy Sinclair who delivered supplies. Katie had made
cupcakes and helped Tori with the banner taped over the
receptionist desk for all to see, “Congratulations, Summer!” and
all over were signatures and paw prints of animals she had helped
to make better.

Summer was admiring and reading the names on
the sign while drinking a cup of soda when Tori hopped over and
pointed to a very special paw print.

“Aw,” Summer said when she saw the name next
to the three-toed print.

“That’s right. Even Baron signed,” Tori
said. Poor Baron had been caught in a metal trap and no one, not
even his owner, was able to get near him in his pain, but Summer
calmed him by humming a lullaby she learned as a girl. She had been
a teen back then, but she always had a magic touch with

A few more congratulations were said before
they had to get back to work, and Tommy, the delivery boy, had to
leave for the next stop on his route.

Adjusting her lab coat and washing her hands
of sweet sticky frosting, Summer asked, “So what’s on the docket
today, Doctor?”

“Oh, just the usual. A couple of routine
check-ups. Mr. Smitt is bringing in Dragon Lady again. Poor man
doesn’t understand why the iguana is shedding its skin. I don’t
know how many times I have to tell him it’s normal, but he’s so
worried he’s sun burning her with the heat lamp and that is why
she’s peeling,” Dr. Stuart explained.

“I suppose it’s better he shows her too much
attention than not enough,” Summer replied.

“So true. Then later this afternoon I have
surgery lined up for a neuter on the Olsens’s new pup, Hercules.
After that, do you want to go to Pepe’s Pizza and celebrate your
graduation? It’s on me.”

“Can I take a raincheck? Seems I’m moving
into a new place this evening. The sisters at Holy Cross got me set
me up at Midnight Manor.”

“Nice area, that side of town. A little
spooky, but nice,” the doctor noted.

“Yeah. I’m a little nervous about it, since
I’ve never seen the cottage I’m supposed to live in. All Sister
Mary Louise said is that it needed some love and paint, both inside
and out. What does that mean anyway?” she said while prepping a
tray of things for the checkup.

“Hmm. Knowing the sisters, it probably means
a good scrubbing and a LOT of paint. We could schedule your pizza
celebration at the cottage later this week and make it a
BYOPB—Bring Your Own Paint Brush—and have Pepe’s delivered. Between
you, me, Tori and her new beau, we’ll have that place painted in no
time. It’ll be fun,” he said as he puttered around the lab.

“That would be really great, Doctor

“Good, then we’ll set the wheels in motion
for that. In the interim, my little apprentice, why don’t you take
Mrs. Hamilton and Oscar to room two,” Dr. Stuart said.


The rest of the day was business as usual—or
as usual as it was in an animal clinic. Between appointments,
Summer had asked Tori to come with her to the cottage. Tori agreed
and rearranged her date plans with her boyfriend, Nick, so he would
pick her up at the cottage. Summer was thankful she could count on
Tori whenever she needed her.



Chapter 2


It was early June and the days were getting
longer and longer, so by the time Tori and Summer headed for the
cottage, it was eight o’clock but not dark yet. While driving,
Summer asked, “So what’s the breaking news you mentioned to me
before I headed into surgery with Doctor Stuart?”

“Oh right. You know how I was telling you
that I felt Nick was hiding something,” Tori said.


“Well, it’s huge. I caught him in a lie and
we got into what looked to be a big knockdown, drag out fight when
he stopped suddenly and admitted he was a vampire.”

“Oh, come on. I may be gullible, but I’m not
falling for that, Tori.”

“I didn’t believe him at first either, but
then he explained the logistics of it and even showed me his
fangs,” Tori said, practically squealing.

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