This is a dark romance, which contains scenes which some
might find disturbing. It is part one of a two-part duet. TRIALS OF TAMARA
be published May 7.
I was never really insane except upon occasions when my heart
touched ~ Edgar Allan Poe
Ever since mankind first learned to bang rocks together and spark fire,
have been driven to define themselves, to build neat little boxes and climb
They divide themselves up by religion, race, nationality. And even that's
enough. They make the boxes smaller and smaller. They come up with all kinds
bullshit ways to categorize themselves. Introverts, extroverts. Leaders,
followers. Morning people, night owls.
It's part of the human condition—the desperate desire to figure out where
belong. To know the truth of who you are, what you are.
Me? I'd kill anyone who tried to put me in a box. And I learned the only two
important distinctions very early on.
Predators, or prey.
Eat, or be eaten.
What difference does it make if you're an introverted morning person…if
gurgling your last breaths through the wide-open smile that I've carved in
Are you strong enough to survive an encounter with a predator? Do you
deserve to survive?
Those of us who are worthy, we take what we want and crush those who oppose
Money, power, prestige, women—we steal them away and use them as we wish.
We live on a different plane of existence. Our lives are both richer and
dangerous. We constantly seek new sensation. Our Everest-level craving for
stimulation drives us to take mad risks.
These days, there are other names for us besides predator—more civilized
describe us. More scientific. The one that fits me the best is a name that's
flung about far too casually these days, but it's accurate in my case.
I've taken all the major tests for psychopathy, including the PCL-R. I tick
all the boxes.
Grandiose sense of self-worth? Manipulative? Surface-level charm? Ruthless?
Check, check, check, check, check. Although I think "grandiose" is a little
unfair. I'd say "accurate". The things I've accomplished, the billions I've
earned, the heights I've scaled, the murders I've gotten away with again and
again—my sense of self-worth is certainly quite healthy, but it's not
It's well-earned. I don't even understand why they ask some of the
manipulate others to get what I want." Well, obviously. How else would you
what you want? By saying pretty please?
So how does one become something like me? A designer suit wrapped around a
piranha? Well, my father was a monster, and I am the clay he molded. Is that
nature or nurture? Would I have been capable of empathy and self-restraint
I'd been stolen as an infant and given to normal humans? I guess we'll never
I watched my brothers, both older and younger, those less worthy, fall one
one. Did I feel anything as I watched them gasp their final breaths? I don't
know anymore. I don't remember what feelings feel like. They're not useful
With each death, my father's gaze burned with scorn. My mother's lips
and tears shimmered in her eyes, but she didn't shed a single one. My father
a predator. She didn't want him to devour her.
I learned the lessons my father taught us, and I adapted, and I alone
Ginger Talbot is a fan of dark chocolate, dark romance, and talking about
herself in the third person. She's a restless soul who's wandered from coast
coast and can generally be found in the local bookstore coffeeshop, flipping
through the pages of a romance or thriller, and overindulging in lattes.
She majored in journalism and, in days of yore, worked as a newspaper
covering cops and courts, and then went on to work as a patient care tech in
emergency room. She's also done stints as the world's worst secretary and a
mediocre cocktail waitress.
Now she sits around all day making up stories about sexy, dominant Alpha-
and the smart-mouthed, sassy women who love to hate to love them.