Cool gift, but… “If he’s that good, why doesn’t Antonio send him on assignments? It would be a hell of a lot easier to get answers if we had someone like him with us.”

“Ryder never leaves The Hollow. He’s only five months old, so he’s not in control of his bloodlust yet. Antonio keeps him isolated, just as he would with any newborn.”

“We’ll have the Deliverer, too,” David reminded us. “She might know stuff.”

“Then let’s get these humans to The Hollow.” When Jude stepped forward, her eyes flashing with anger, I gave her a pointed look. “Jude, you will get your vengeance, I promise you. But we need Ryder to sweep through their memories first. We need what info they have so we can find out what they know. Once we have it, they’re all yours. Okay?”

Her nod was reluctant, and I couldn’t blame her for being so impatient.

“There’s something I want to know first.” Jared turned back to the male Medic. “What were you going to do with the baby once you had it? Is there someone waiting for it right now? Bear in mind that I’ll know if you’re lying to me.”

“No one’s waiting. We can’t do it at a moment’s notice, so we were always given a week to get a baby. Once we had one and we were confident it would survive the Caesarean, Erik would send a message on his cell phone and then they’d message him with a location for him to drive to with the baby. He never took me or Sandra with him.”

“Good,” I said. “No one will suspect anything if this lot doesn’t show up with a baby today. When is the latest they’ll expect to be contacted?”

“In four days.”

“Think Ryder will be done within four days?” I asked Jared.

“Let’s hope so.” Jared sighed. “This place needs cleaning up. We don’t want human forensics finding Salem’s blood or any traces of us. It would probably be easier to just teleport it to the ocean or something. First, I want Harvey, Max, and Damien to search the vehicle. Look for any files or paperwork or anything that might even seem important. If I’m tied up, one of Antonio’s guards will teleport in and pick you guys up in a couple of hours.”

I looked at Salem, who was still holding Sandra, and at Reuben, who was still restraining Mark. “When we get back, take them straight to the containment cells. Make sure they’re put in separate ones. Ask Denny to do the same with Weird Wendy.”

Once Jared had teleported everyone, with the exception of Harvey, Damien, and Max, back to The Hollow, he and I made a quick stop at our apartment.

“I need to get this Belly and these clothes off,” I grumbled, not too happy with having splatters of Erik’s blood on my sweater. Catching sight of myself in the large oval mirror, I stopped. A pang of sorrow ran through me as I realised that this was the closest I would ever get to being pregnant. Never would I look like this, never would I know what it was like to carry and raise a child – my child, mine and Jared’s child.

I hadn’t considered whether I’d ever want kids before now. Although I wasn’t the most maternal person, I would rather not have had the choice taken away from me. Now that it was, I realised exactly how much I had wanted a child someday.

Obviously having sensed my change of mood, Jared appeared and slipped his arms around me. “What is it?”

I twirled in his hold. “Just thinking.”

“About what?”

“Don’t you regret that you’ll never get to have kids?” I didn’t like the way his face seemed to shut down.

He backed away, shrugging. “I don’t think I’d have been good at parenting anyway.”

“Why do you say that?”

He sighed, shrugging again. “I just don’t. Some people shouldn’t have kids.” And with that odd little comment he disappeared back into the living area.

Suspecting it was something to do with his mother and making a mental note to ask him to elaborate later, I changed into my white tank top and combat pants. It was then that we sought out Antonio. To my surprise, he wasn’t in one of his parlours. He was sitting on a bench in his indoor botanical gardens with Luther, Wes, and Lena. As usual, his guards and dogs also lingered close.

After hearing Jared’s account of what had happened, Antonio shook his head sadly. “I was hoping to find that Jude was wrong about vampires being involved in such an awful thing. I think it is now safe to say that she was correct. I’ll get Ryder to…”

Antonio’s voice seemed to fade away as my attention was snagged by the pulse beating in Jared’s throat. I couldn’t seem to look away from it, I felt literally mesmerised by it. Watching it throbbing had me licking my lips, had my stomach clenching. Then everything went black.


Shock seized and froze my entire body as Sam suddenly dived on me and latched on to my throat. It was nothing like her usual bites. There was nothing teasing or sensual about the way she sunk her teeth down hard, gulping my blood like she’d die on the spot if she didn’t. Antonio tried to pry her away, but she locked her limbs around me and growled.

She f**king growled!

Worse, in spite of the pain, her Sventé saliva was making me horny as shit and I was going to come in my jeans if someone didn’t detach her from me quickly.

It took the combined efforts of Antonio, Wes, Luther, and the guards to wrench her away. She fought their hold – kicking, scratching, and punching them. All the while, she hissed, growled, and snapped her teeth. Her pupils were completely dilated and she was shaking. She looked…crazed. The bottom fell out of my stomach as a heavy weight hit my chest. Shit, no.

I cupped her chin hard, but she managed to escape my grip. Then she curled her upper lip at me; it was a warning and a challenge. I framed her face with my hands, holding it still. “Sam, stop!” She didn’t. “Sam, I said stop!” My words didn’t even seem to register. Her focus was now solely on my throat. If the others weren’t still restraining her, she’d have been latched on to my throat again.

“Maybe you should try slapping her,” suggested Wes.

I shot him a scowl. I had no intention of hurting her. But that did give me an idea. Not knowing what else to do, I released a small harmless electrical discharge – something I hoped might snap her out of it. Her body jerked, but not in pain, in shock. I did it again, and again, and again, breathing a sigh of relief when her struggles stopped.

Tags: Suzanne Wright Deep In Your Veins Vampires