Frantic, confused, and scared-fucking-shitless, I went to the one person I believed could fix just about anything. Antonio double-blinked as I, suddenly, appeared directly in front of him on the veranda. “Sam…I can’t feel her.”
He stiffened in his seat. “How can you not feel her?”
“I don’t know. But our connection…it’s not like it broke. It’s just like she’s not on the other end of it anymore. Like she fell off the face of the Earth or something. I can’t sense her at all – not what she’s feeling, not where she is.”
He shot to his feet, looking almost as anxious as I was. “Did you feel anything from her just before this happened? Fear?”
“There was a little anxiety, but before I even had a chance to think about acting, she was gone. Just like that.” I clicked my fingers.
“Have you been to your apartment?”
So distracted by the panic circulating through me, I hadn’t even realised that Wes was behind me until I heard his voice. I spun around to face him. “She’s not there.”
Pacing, Antonio asked, “Were there any signs of a struggle?”
“No. The front door was wide open, but that’s all.”
Wes placed a supportive hand on my shoulder. “You do understand what this might mean, don’t you, Jared?”
Yes, I did know, but I wasn’t going down that path. “There’s no way. There’s no way that she’s dead. I’d know it.”
“But you said she’s not on the other end of your connection anymore,” he said gently.
“That doesn’t mean she’s dead.”
“Not much else could break it so abruptly.”
I growled, pulling away from him. “Well what else could break it so abruptly? Because she’s not dead!”
“She’s not! I’d know it, I’d feel it – connection or no connection, I’d feel it if she died!” And I was one hundred percent sure of that. No, she wasn’t dead. And the second that the connection snapped back into place, I’d go to her.
Haste footsteps had us all looking to our left. If there was one person I hadn’t expected to see, it was this guy – at least not yet, anyway. He looked absolutely livid.
Feeling like I’d just been spat out of a vacuum or something, I triple-blinked. When my eyes came back into focus, I instantly stiffened. Who wouldn’t if they found themselves in a strange place with five strange vampires? My instinct was to conjure my whip, ready to defend myself if need be. That was when I realised that I couldn’t move.
“No need to be alarmed, Samantha,” a tall Pagori with black hair assured me. “We mean you no harm. If you allow us to explain, you will see that we speak the truth. My brother is going to unfreeze you now. I am trusting that you will not attempt to attack anyone. If you do, he will be forced to freeze you again, for our safety.”
Experimenting, I tried crossing my legs. It worked. “Where am I?”
“What’s the last thing you remember?”
As I spoke, I wasn’t so much answering him as I was trying to figure things out for myself. “I was on my way back from the shop, heading for my flat…I knew a vampire was up there…Was that you?”
Looking oddly pleased with my answer, he replied, “No. I suspect the vampire in there was the one who attacked you. My name is Quinn. My brother here is Wyatt. The vampires around you work for us.”
“I was attacked? Let’s start from the beginning. How the bloody hell did I get here, and why am I here at all?”
The brothers exchanged an odd look before Quinn flashed me a bright smile. “I’m afraid that your memories will be a little shaky for a while. The process of bringing someone out of a comatose state can have that effect.”
“You were comatose until just now. I am guessing that the vampire responsible had been waiting for your Sire at the flat and was surprised by your entrance – it would seem that he upset the wrong people.”
Victor had a terrible habit of doing that. “Are you one of those ‘wrong people’?”
He appeared truly offended. “No, Samantha. Definitely not. We were strong allies of your Sire.”
Well then I definitely didn’t like these people. I had an urge to get up and pace around. Having five Pagori vampires standing over me wasn’t making me feel relaxed, but perhaps the best thing to do would be to act as though I was at least open to trusting them. The last thing I wanted was to get frozen again.
“We heard about the plan to attack him, went to the flat to warn him, but unfortunately we were too late to help him. We found you and brought you here so that we could—”
“Wait a minute. Victor’s dead? Then why am I not in agony? They say if a vampire’s blood-link with their Sire is broken, the pain’s excruciating.”
“Perhaps it is because you were comatose at the time.”
Oh this was bloody unreal. Attacked in my own flat. Surely I’d remember something like that. But as I tried to reach for Victor through our blood-link, I realised that the link had been severed. He had to be dead.
“I brought you here and one of my vampires used his gift to awaken you. How do you feel?”
He seemed truly interested…in a very paternal way. I didn’t like it. “Confused.”
“The confusion will wear off soon.”
“Right. Well, as much as I appreciate your help and stuff, I should head home now so—”
“It would be an extremely bad idea for you to return to the flat, Samantha. The person who attacked you and your Sire could be waiting there.”
“I’ll take my chances, thanks.” I moved to stand, and every person in the room tensed. What was with these people?
“Please, Samantha. I failed to protect your Sire, but I do not wish to fail you. I want only to protect you.”
“Yeah?” I said doubtfully. Maybe I shouldn’t be so suspicious, but there was something about this bloke that I didn’t like. If these people truly had any wish to help me, it wasn’t out of the kindness of their hearts. Crossing my arms over my chest, I suddenly became aware of something. I was wearing silk. Looking down, I studied the silky black robe, briefly noticing the white lacy underwear beneath it. “Whose clothes are these?”
If I wasn’t mistaken, Quinn seemed a little stuck for words. Like a kid having to think fast on his feet because mummy had caught him out on a lie. “They’re not yours?”