Home > Runaway Vampire (Argeneau #23)(13)

Runaway Vampire (Argeneau #23)(13)
Author: Lynsay Sands

When he merely stared at her, worry on his face, she said, “They’ve dropped back. I think they’ve given up on us. For all we know they’ve pulled off the highway and turned back to head to the house where you were kept,” she pointed out.

“But what if they are just feigning giving up?” he asked with a frown. “They could just be letting us think they have given up in hopes that we’ll stop somewhere and they can catch us unawares.”

Mary’s mouth tightened at the suggestion, and she glanced to the rear camera view, wishing it had telescoping abilities so that she could see if they were still back there or not. It didn’t, however, and after a moment she sighed and said, “We’ll have to take the risk. We need gas.”

Cursing, Dante stood and set her sandwich back on her plate, then glanced around as if for a spare gas tank they might use.

“According to the Garmin there’s a gas station not too far ahead. We should make it there,” she added hopefully and couldn’t believe she hadn’t noticed until now that they were so seriously low on gas. She usually kept an eye on it. Of course, this wasn’t your usual day, she excused herself. Besides, she wasn’t lying; she had intended to get gas at the truck stop. At least she had before she’d found Dante naked in her bedroom bleeding all over the place. After that she hadn’t thought of it once.

“You have no back windows,” Dante announced suddenly, as if that might have escaped her notice. “If you had back windows I could—”

“You could what?” she asked curiously when he paused. When he didn’t respond at once, she glanced around to see that he was poking at the air vent in the ceiling next to the dinette table. It looked like he was considering it as an escape route or something. She had no idea why. The man couldn’t possibly fit through it. Besides, where did he think he was escaping to?

“No good,” he muttered and moved back between the seats.

A glance showed her that he was now eyeing the passenger side window with interest. Even as she noted that, he settled in the passenger seat and then opened his window. The screen followed, sliding smoothly to the side.

Mary considered the hole it left and thought that he might very well fit through it. She just had no idea why he’d want to. Where did he want to go? He was safer inside than out . . . at least until his kidnappers broke in and shot them full of darts.

“How far until the gas station?” Dante asked suddenly.

Mary glanced to the GPS and frowned. “Maybe five minutes.”

Dante nodded and then turned to lean out the window and peer up.

“What are you thinking?” she asked with concern.

Dante settled back in his seat and glanced around to explain, “If they are feigning their lack of interest and do suddenly appear when we stop for gas, they could shoot me with their darts as soon as I opened the door,” he pointed out. “We would not have a chance.”

Mary bit her lip at his words, knowing he was probably right.

“However, they would not expect me to be on the roof of the RV,” he pointed out.

“The roof?” she squawked with amazement.

“Si. If I slip up on the roof now, I can watch for them while you get the gas. Then if they do suddenly appear, I can—”

“You are not getting up on the damned roof,” Mary interrupted with dismay.

“Mary,” he said solemnly. “We need to stop for gas, and for us to do so, I must get up on the roof.”

“How the hell is your being on the roof going to help us get gas?” she asked with disbelief.

He hesitated, but then sighed and explained, “If I can see them, I can take control of their minds and make them keep their distance or perhaps even capture them. But I must do so without their seeing me, else they will shoot me with one of their darts and all will be lost.” He glanced to the side mirror again and added, “It should be all right. They cannot possibly see me in the dark from as far back as they are now, and they will not be expecting this so I should have the time I need to slip into their minds and take control before they spot me and shoot.”

Mary tore her gaze from him and back to the road ahead, her mind filled with disbelief. After a moment, she heaved a sad sigh and shook her head. Of course, she’d run over the crazy guy. Gorgeous, but completely bonkers was her diagnosis. Such a shame.

Clearing her throat, she finally spoke in soothing tones. “Dante, I think maybe you hit your head when I ran you over. Why don’t we—Dante!” Mary gasped as she looked over to see his head and bare chest disappearing out of the window. The rest of his nakedness was following.

Mary reached instinctively toward him, but stopped and straightened the wheel when the RV swerved with her. Cursing, she shifted her gaze from the road, to each of the mirrors and then the rear camera view, but of course, none of them showed a view of the roof of the RV. Fortunately, none of them showed a naked-ass man rolling away from the RV after tumbling from the roof either, she thought and tossed a scowl toward the colorful afghan that was now pooled on the floor in front of the passenger seat.

“Down Bailey,” she ordered firmly when the dog jumped up onto the seat to peer curiously out the window after their absent guest. The dog jumped down at once to sit on the afghan and Mary shook her head, thinking with irritation that she really should have made him put on some damned clothes. He was obviously crazy and incapable of looking after himself. Why hadn’t she insisted he go to the bedroom and get some of her husband’s clothes and put them on, she asked herself grimly. But knew the answer was that she’d been reluctant to see anyone in her Joe’s clothes. She hadn’t even been ready to remove them from the RV and give them to charity, as she should have. It had been a year, and she still hadn’t removed a single item of his from either their home or the RV. She’d clung on to them as if keeping them meant he wasn’t really gone and that he would walk through the door one day with hugs and kisses and flowers.

Her gaze lifted to the ceiling of the RV as the sounds of movement overhead reached her ears. Dante was moving along the roof of the RV. Dear God, she had a naked-ass man on her roof! That thought kept screaming through her head as her gaze continually shot from road, to mirror, to mirror, to camera screen, but it went suddenly silent when she spotted the lights of the gas station ahead.

Five

“Damn,” Mary breathed, knowing there was nothing else but for her to pull into the damned station. She couldn’t afford not to unless she wanted to be stuck on the side of the highway, as helpless as Jonah in—what in this case would be—a beached whale. So she had to stop, and with a naked-ass man on her roof.

Mary muttered under her breath and slowed the RV to turn in. She was more than relieved when she saw that there were presently no other vehicles in the station. She would only have a shocked and probably hysterical attendant to deal with then, she thought with a grimace.

“My apologies, Mary. You will have to pump the gas. I must remain up here to watch for our hunters so that I may control them if they pull in after us.”

Mary rolled her eyes as that announcement floated through her open window. Not because she had to pump gas. She’d pumped her own gas all the way south and had intended to all the way back. What caused the eye rolling was his claim that he had to control their hunters. Really? Did he believe he could? Or that she’d believe he could? Dante was pretty but crazy and that was just sad, she decided, maneuvering the RV as close to the pumps as she could get. It seemed a terrible shame that God had made such a perfect specimen and forgotten to ensure his brain worked properly as well.

“Dear God, I have a naked-ass man on my roof,” Mary muttered the thought aloud this time as she put the RV in park and turned it off. Saying it aloud did not help. Shaking her head, she slid out of her seat and moved to the door. Bailey immediately tried to follow, but Mary gave her a firm, “Stay,” and managed to slide out without the dog escaping.

Closing the door with a firm snap, she glanced toward the gas station, expecting to see the attendant either plastered to the plate glass window, gaping like a fish out of water, or on the phone to the police. But the young man inside the building was looking down at something on the counter and didn’t seem to have even noticed their arrival.

   
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