A Mate for Lance (The Program Book 5)

By: Charlene Hartnady

Chapter 1




Amber groped around in her purse for a few seconds before finally pulling out the envelope that she had placed in there earlier. She removed the A4 document, unfolded it and handed it to her friend. “Take a look at this.” Her heart was beating out of her chest and her hands felt clammy. She had to work to keep herself from wiping them on her jeans.

Isabel’s eyes widened as she read the document. A smile slowly spread across her face. Then she fell back on the couch clutching the paper to her chest.

“No, don’t…” Amber watched in horror as the paper made a crinkling noise as it was crushed against Issy’s body. “I might need that.” She pointed at the document in question.

Issy giggled. “I’m sure they’ll have your name down in their database or something.” She pulled the page from her chest and smoothed down its edges.

“Well?” Amber was seriously losing it at this point. “Is that what I think it is or am I imagining things?” It couldn’t be. There had to be some mistake. Had to be.

“Stop that.” Issy leaned forward toward Amber on the couch. Her eyes stern. Her whole demeanor serious. “I can’t believe you. Why is it that you can’t just accept how awesome and amazing you are?” She waved the paper around a few times. “Even when it’s in black and white.”

Amber leaned back into the couch and staring at TV, its black screen reflecting the whole living room. She took the document and reread it again. “I don’t know…” she said, after a few more minutes and shooting her friend a look. “It’s almost unreal.” She turned it over as though the ink would disappear. “Maybe this is all a big joke and I just don’t know it?”

Issy broke out into another radiant smile. “Don’t you dare do that. This is exactly what it looks like. You’ve been accepted into The Program. You are one lucky girl.” She threw her arms around Amber and hugged her tight. “It couldn’t have happened to a better, more deserving person. Those vampires must have excellent taste in women.”

Yeah right. It was a mistake. Any minute now, her phone would ring and someone would explain to her that it was all a misunderstanding.

Amber hugged Issy back. How could she not? The nagging in the back of her mind did not let up though. “It could be a mistake. Maybe they sent this to the wrong Amber.” Her voice came out sounding timid, only because she knew how her best friend would react.

“You did not just say that.” Issy pushed her away but kept her hands on Amber’s shoulders. Issy looked deep into her eyes. “You need to stop with the bullshit. Do you hear me?”

“Yeah…but—”

“No buts…you need to start listening to me. No buts. You are beautiful, intelligent…you are amazing.” Issy’s eyes shone with sincerity. “I, for one, am jealous as hell of your boobs. They make me wish I was into women. You have everything going for you. Everything.” Issy pushed a brown strand of hair behind Amber’s ear and she chuckled. “Besides, how many Amber Jane Merle Raithwhites can there be in Sweetwater?”

Amber couldn’t help it, even though her gut still churned and her heart still raced, she laughed despite herself. “Yeah, I guess so.” Maybe they did want her.

“Well, I know so. They chose you. Those vampires looked at your resume, met you what…half a dozen times…along with half the female population of Sweetwater and decided that they wanted you in their dating program. You’re hot. It’s about time you realized that.”

“It was three times. And hardly half of Sweetwater.” There had been a whole lot of women at the first interview. Ridiculous amounts.

“What?” Issy raised her brows.

“I had three interviews, not half a dozen.”

Issy gave a dismissive wave of her hand. “Three, six…twenty, it doesn’t matter. They want you Amber,” she reiterated. “Maybe now you’ll realize your worth.”

Issy had gone behind her back and submitted her resume by filling out an online form. Amber could still remember how horrified she had been when her friend had informed her that she had been accepted into the first round of interviews. Amber still couldn’t believe it.

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