She could feel Adam behind her, watching, waiting.
Her fingers fisted. "You realize-this could be you."
He didn't respond.
Her gaze darted to the hospital tray near the bed. Someone had put flowers on the tray. Roses.
Sean's glasses were next to the vase. Lenses repaired now, black frames in perfect condition.
She'd gotten his glasses fixed yesterday. She wanted them there, waiting for him, when he woke up.
"The demon did this." Not a question.
Maya nodded anyway and then she leaned in close to the bed. Her mouth was inches from Sean's ear when she whispered, "I got him. I wanted you to know, I-I found him." He won't ever hurt you or anyone else, again.
For an instant, she thought she saw his eyelashes flutter and her breath caught in her chest.
His eyes didn't open. Hadn't opened, not for two days. At least he was out of the Intensive Care unit. The doctors had told her that he would get better.
Sean had barely escaped death.
Now it was time for him to stay the hell away from her.
Maya backed away from the bed. Turned her attention to Adam. "Take a good look at him," she said, her voice hard. "Because this could happen to you. If we go after those vampires, and they attack-"
"I'm not worried about getting hurt." His gaze didn't drift toward the bed. The intense stare stayed locked on her. "You don't need to warn me. I know exactly what I'm doing."
"Do you?" Heavy doubt coated the words.
"Yeah, I do."
He'd been warned. Maya shrugged. "Sean was my day watcher. Had been for the last five years." Despite what most people thought, sunlight couldn't actually kill a vampire. That was just some crazy legend that had been circulating thanks in large part to Hollywood.
Bram Stoker had hit closer to the truth about vampires and daylight. Vamps were weaker during the day, basically only having strength equal to that of a human. Sure, they could still shift their fingernails into claws and drink from prey, but rousing the energy for those acts was a major drain.
Because of that weakness, most of her kind had decided to rest in the daylight hours and hunt and play during the night.
Maya generally followed that rule. But she liked to have someone around, watching her back while she rested.
With Sean out of commission, she'd be on her own.
She cast one last look down at Sean's still face. Shouldn't have happened like this. She should have protected him.
Maya turned and left the room.
Adam didn't speak until the door closed behind them. "You were avenging him. Earlier tonight, that's what you were doing at the feeding room."
Didn't take a genius to figure that out. It wasn't like she normally hung out in the feeding rooms.
Those places, oh, shit, they were hellish. The humans, twisting, moaning, begging for the bites. It made her sick.
And the vampires…Hurting their prey. Enjoying the pain.
Since she was a vampire, Maya knew she fell in the same category.
"We need to get a few things straight," she told him, casually resting her arm against the wall.
While her pose was relaxed, she was actually starting to feel a bit dizzy and she needed the support.
"If I help you-"
"If?" He growled, shoulders stiffening.
She ignored the interruption. "Then I'm the one in charge, got it? You might think you know vampires because you've stumbled onto one or two in the dark and lived to spread your tales, but believe me, you have no idea how vicious some of those bastards can be."
"Oh, I think you'd be surprised by what I know."
Maya sucked in a quick breath, then lunged, grabbing Adam and shoving him against the wall on the other side of the corridor. "Shut up, Slick, and listen. Vampires kill. It's what they do. Most don't do it quickly, either. They like to play with prey. Make the humans cry, beg. Then the vamps rip them apart."
Her right elbow pressed against his chest. Adam stared down at her, eyes glittering with anger.
No, not anger. Rage.
"I'm strong enough to fight them," she said. Well, usually. When she hadn't been bleeding out all night. "They'd make a meal of you."
She wanted him to understand. This wasn't some kind of game. If they went after the ones who'd taken his niece, he could die.
He had to follow her orders. To. The. Letter.
His teeth clenched as he gritted, "I'll do what you say."
So he wasn't pleased with that deal. Too damn bad. "I've taken on retrieval jobs in the past." She hadn't been helping anyone or doing the jobs out of the kindness of her heart. Because there wasn't any kindness left in there.
She'd done it for the cash. Even vamps needed money. There was the little matter of needing money to pay for the safe houses.
Ah, money. "My fee is two hundred grand."
Maya blinked. Okay, so she had a rich boy on her hands. Now for the second payment requirement. "And I'll need your blood." No sense in her having to go out and hunt for food when she had a perfect source right in front of her. If he wanted her help, well, then he'd have to bleed for it.
Now there was hesitation. And struggle. She saw it in his eyes.
Doesn't like the idea of a vampire tasting him.
Not that she particularly blamed him. Back in her human days, the idea of a vampire tasting her blood hadn't been on her top ten list, either.
But times had changed. She had to keep her strength up if she was going to be chasing vampires-
especially considering the fact that those vampires would have access to fresh blood.
Maya lowered her arm, but didn't step back. Even this close to him, she still couldn't catch his scent. Damn odd. "As much as I need." She didn't plan to drain him, or even take enough to weaken him. "Don't worry. You won't even notice it's gone."
His head jerked in a brief nod.
Maya took that for the agreement it was. "You'll have to stay with me," she said, already making plans. "And I'll need to know every detail about the vampires who took your-"
"Why do I have to stay with you?"
The man sure liked to interrupt. An annoying trait. "For your safety, of course." He probably didn't realize it, but just by going into that feeding room and talking to her, he'd already captured the attention of many in the vampire realm. If one of the vampires who'd taken his niece happened to find out about their connection, well, then they'd both be in for a bloody fight.
"Um, of course."
She waited for him to argue, but he just said, "I'll need to stop by my hotel. Pick up some things."
Whatever. As long as they were fast, he could pick up his goodies.
She stepped back.
Adam rubbed his chest. "I'm surprised."
"By what?" Maya's head cocked to the right.
"I mean, I'm surprised you trust me enough to bring me into your home."
Home. Right. She didn't have a home. They were going to the last safe spot she knew, and the place was closer to a hovel than a home.
But she knew what he really meant. Taking him with her was a big step. Generally, she trusted two humans in the world, and one of them was currently unconscious back in his hospital room.
But, once she'd tasted Adam's blood, she'd be linked to him.
Trust wouldn't be an issue then.
"Before I sleep, I'm gonna need to drink from you." Her mouth grew dry at the thought. "After that, trust won't really matter." Because if she wanted to, then she could control him through their blood link.
He nodded once, curtly.
"Don't worry. I promise, it won't hurt…much."
His gaze fell to her lips. Lingered.
A curl of heat rose in her stomach.
What the hell? Maya shook her head. She was covered in blood. Weak with hunger. And the sun would be rising soon.
Time to go.
"Come on. I need blood."
His hand lifted to his throat.
She growled. "Tempting. Very tempting. But if I drink from you now, I'll drain you." Since she hadn't actually drained anyone dry, yet , she'd rather try another option.
They were in a hospital. Blood was nearby, right down the hall, actually. Just waiting for her.
Time to break into the blood bank.
Adam stalked the small interior of Maya's safe house. The place was shabby, too small, and covered in dust.
She'd taken him there after their brief pit stop at his hotel. She'd driven too fast, speeding over the deserted streets and traveling past the edge of town.
This wasn't the house she'd used when he'd watched her for the last few days.
This place was a dump.
But a very, very secure dump.
There were a grand total of three rooms in the house, but the whole place was wired with state-
of-the-art security. Cameras outside the house. Motion sensors. Steel doors and windows with automatic locking shutters.
The little vampire obviously believed in being prepared.
He figured as far as backup houses went, it could be worse.
It could also be a hell of a lot better.
The shower stopped, the crashing of the water dwindling to a faint trickle. He heard a rustle of sound. Muttering. Then Maya opened the bathroom door and stalked toward him.
Adam stared at her, a bit surprised. She'd finally gotten rid of all the blood. Her smooth skin was shining, glistening with drops of water. She'd secured a white towel loosely between her breasts.
The bottom of the towel barely skimmed her thighs. When she moved, the terry cloth shifted, revealing and concealing in tempting flashes.
Adam swallowed and realized with a bit of shock that he was getting aroused by a vampire.
When she'd touched him on the street, rubbing her body against his and drifting her fingers over his throat, he'd felt a stirring in his groin. When she'd put those red lips on his flesh and licked, his cock had jerked to attention.
Now, all it took was a flash of thigh, and the lust he felt stirred to life.
What was happening to him? This wasn't part of his plan.
Screwing a vampire definitely hadn't been on his agenda. No matter how soft her skin looked or how red her lips were or how-
Maya walked past him. Her bare shoulder brushed his arm, and the contact seemed to send an electric current through him.
She stopped at the bed. Dropped the towel and treated him to one fine view of her ass.
And of the black dragon tattoo that blew flames at the base of her spine.
His lust seemed to double.
Oh, he hadn't been expecting that.
His hands lifted and he stepped toward her. The need to touch her suddenly burned through him.
The lady obviously wasn't the modest sort and if she hadn't wanted him to play, she wouldn't have stripped.
She had a good ass. Tight. Firm. Just the right size for his hands to grip and caress.
His fingers skimmed over her flesh.
Maya jerked on a T-shirt that he hadn't even noticed lying on the bed. Then she spun around and caught his hand. "I don't remember giving you permission to touch, Slick."
He swallowed. His cock pressed hard against the edge of his zipper. "Thought the striptease was an invitation."
She snorted. "When I give an invitation, you'll know it."
He clenched his teeth and fought to rein in his desire.
She pushed him back. Reached behind her, maneuvered a bit, and pulled up a thin scrap of lace.
Probably supposed to be some kind of underwear.
His control slipped, just a bit. Now it was his turn to grab her, to wrap his hands around the silken skin of her upper arms and to yank her against him. "You like teasing men?"
Her chin lifted. "This place is the size of a shoebox. It's not like either one of us will get privacy while we're here."
But she could have changed in the bathroom. That walk across the room, the falling towel, the bare ass, it had all been designed to get to him.
To turn him on.
"Baby, if you wanna fuck, all you have to do is say so."
Her mouth tightened. "I'll remember that lovely little tidbit."
Adam drew a deep breath, smelled her. Damn flowers. How did she do it? No other vampire had ever carried a scent like-
Understanding hit. The little vampire wanted her drink.
She thought she could control him that way. Thought she'd be able to look into his mind, link with him.
Drinking from a human gave a vampire enormous power over the victim. Enough power to glimpse into the victim's mind. To see memories. To touch dreams.
Once a vampire drank, well, she'd have control over the prey. She'd be able to get him to do whatever she wanted.
No wonder Maya wasn't too worried about trust being an issue.
If he'd been human, well, she would have been right to think that way.
But since he wasn't, all bets were off.
There'd be no control. Unless he was the one doing the dominating.
"You've probably heard talk about what happens when blood's exchanged."
Not really an exchange if he didn't get to taste her. Not that he was particularly into that, but-
Her eyes met his directly. Blue, not hunter black. Not yet. "I'll just take enough now for a bond.
That way, if you get into any kind of trouble while we're working together, I'll know."
If only he believed her.
Adam had never met a vampire who didn't lie. He tilted his head back. Gazed up at the cracks in the ceiling and muttered, "Take your drink." For all the good it will do you.READ MORE >>