“And you think I can?”

Evidently Harris can’t or won’t answer that question, either.

My turn now to stal, my brain racing into overdrive, as I rearrange silverware, straighten the sugar bowl and creamer.

I have no idea what I’m supposed to say to Harris. That Wiliams was indeed two hundred years old — a two-hundred-year-old vampire, to be exact — and he was kil ed by another vampire who was even older? That sitting across the table from him drinking coffee is yet another vampire? Not so old, but even stronger than either of them. One who had fought Wiliams many times and won. One who was kidnapped by Wiliams’ kil er, and in turn, kil ed the bastard when he tried to rape me.

I feel Harris watching, waiting. I throw out the only lame explanation I can think of. “Maybe there was someone else in the car.”


Harris doesn’t mock me, though. He simply says,

“Someone two hundred years old?” A shake of the head.

“The DNA belongs to Wiliams. There’s no doubt about that.

The comparison sample was taken from a hairbrush found in his locker at SDPD. The big question isn’t who the DNA belongs to, but how it could be two hundred years old.”

“And you’re asking me, why? Ask the Feds. The lab must have made a mistake.”

“Could be.” Harris pushes away from the table. “They’re running a second set of tests.” He stands, lets a moment pass. Then, “I was sorry to hear about your boyfriend, Lance something?”

I look up. That’s an abrupt change of subject. “I didn’t know you knew Lance.”

“I didn’t. Just heard he was kil ed. I’m sorry for your loss.”

Does he know more than he’s letting on? Lance was a wel — known model. He was also a vampire and the one who arranged for me to be kidnapped by his sire. A bitter betrayal that left a wound that stil festers. I loved him.

It didn’t stop me from kil ing him.

The laws that govern vampires are different from the laws that govern humans. To the real world, Lance was kil ed in an automobile accident. His cremated remains were sent to his family in South Africa. The family that knew him as an eighty-four-year-old under a different name. So far, no one’s made the connection.

Stil, when I meet Harris’ eyes, I see the unspoken accusation.

Men I become involved with have a nasty habit of disappearing. Or dying.

o Harris, Wiliams and Lance were prominent men in my life. His scrutiny raises feelings I don’t want to acknowledge.

Feelings of pain, treachery, betrayal.

Then, in what can only be described as epic bad timing, a male voice cal s out from the head of the stairs. “Anna, what’s going on down there? I thought you were coming right back up.”

Harris’ eyebrows leap. “New boyfriend? You don’t waste much time.”

Shit. Stephen was headed for the shower when I came downstairs. I figured I would have gotten rid of Harris by now.

I shrug.

“Does this new guy have a name?”

Why, so you can keep an eye out for an obit? I shrug again. “I don’t think that’s any of your business.”

Which precipitates a staring contest.

Harris breaks eye contact first. “Okay. You’re right. Your personal life is none of my business. Wiliams’ death is. I know Wiliams was a good cop and a good leader. What I don’t know is much about his private life. You were closer to him than most. If there’s anything you can tel me to help clear this case, I’d appreciate the help.”

He drains his cup. I wait. He starts for the door.

“His kil er is stil out there. Until he or she is caught, I’l be keeping a close eye on anyone who had contact with Wiliams during those last days.”

The words are spoken casual y enough, but the meaning is clear. I fol ow him to the door, eyes on his back, understanding.

He’l be keeping an eye on me.

I close the door and lean my head against it.

Great. Harris is never going to solve this case because there’s nothing to solve. Does that mean I’m going to have him on my ass forever?

There’s that word again. Forever. This time, I don’t feel like smiling.

I trek back into the kitchen, refil my own coffee cup, grab an extra mug for Stephen and head upstairs.

He’s on the phone.


I hold a mug out to him and he takes it, smiles a thanks, and keeps talking.

I plop down on the edge of the bed and watch him.

Stephen and I have been together for a little over a month.

He’s human, but after being thrown together on an astral plane, barely escaping with our lives, and kil ing a monster who fol owed us back to earth, a bond was formed. It seems sil y for an immortal thirty-year-old to cal someone a boyfriend, and “lover” sounds frivolous, but that’s what he’s become to me. Friend and lover.

I pick up the thread of his conversation and realize what I’m hearing.

He’s leaving.

When he rings off, and looks at me, he knows I know.

“It’s just a week,” he says. “The network wants me to anchor the evening news while Katie is on assignment.”

He says it like it’s no big deal, like it’s business as usual.

But I see the excitement shining from his face. For a coanchor and lead investigative reporter on the local circuit, it’s a very big deal.

“Wow. So next week, I’l be seeing you on the evening news?”nt

He puts the mug on the bed stand and sits down beside me. “You could come with me.”

I trace the angle of his jaw with my finger. “Tempting, but I imagine you’l be pretty busy.”

He slips his arms around me and pul s me close. “I’m going to miss this.”

I lay my head on his shoulder. “Me, too.”

Damn it.

Me, too.

WITH STEPHEN GONE, I HAVE NO PLANS FOR THE DAY ahead. I eye the bed, wondering if I should crawl back under the covers.

There’s an ache in my gut, though, and I know I’ve waited too long. It’s been a month since I fed from the blood of the demon Stephen and I kil ed.

Two months since the first anniversary of my becoming when I assumed the mantle of the Chosen One. I’ve gone about my daily routine as if nothing had changed when in reality, everything has changed.

I move out to the deck off my bedroom and sink into a chaise. The sun is hot on my face. It feels good. I can almost feel my blood warming though I know that’s an il usion. Only feeding and sex warm a vampire’s blood.

And it’s been hours since Stephen and I made love.

He would have let me feed from him, if I’d asked. He knows and accepts I’m a vampire. But sometimes I enjoy simple human coupling. Let’s me enjoy the il usion that I’m normal if only for a little while.

I sip coffee. A few blocks away, the ocean sparkles under a flawless summer sky. I live in Mission Beach, near the boardwalk. I love it here. The sea is vibrant, alive. People drawn to it are vibrant and alive, too. Kids at play in the sand, surfers bobbing on the waves, sunbathers eschewing warnings of dire consequences to bake pale skin to a toasty brown. Al share a common bond. They are human. They belong.

I drain my cup, rise to go inside. I’m feeling the effects of lack of blood. Like a diabetic without insulin, my body is slowing down, my mind becoming sluggish. I’d better cal Culebra and make sure he can arrange a host to meet me at Beso de la Muerte. I can’t afford to let myself become vulnerable — not anymore. Not to anyone.

Вы читаете Crossroads
Добавить отзыв


Вы можете отметить интересные вам фрагменты текста, которые будут доступны по уникальной ссылке в адресной строке браузера.

Отметить Добавить цитату