Home > Runaway Vampire (Argeneau #23)(14)

Runaway Vampire (Argeneau #23)(14)
Author: Lynsay Sands

Grateful for small mercies, Mary walked hopefully to the pump, but of course it was prepay. The pumps were prepay in Canada too. You either paid at the pump with a credit or debit card, or you prepaid. At home she would have just used her credit card, but Mary never used them in the States. She’d get soaked when it came to charges and exchange by her credit card company. Despite that, she almost used her credit card anyway this time, but in the end, headed for the building.

Mary glanced toward the highway as she walked, searching for the van. But it hadn’t made an appearance. Yet. Her gaze then slid to the RV and she saw that Dante was lying on the roof at the rear end of the vehicle, his bare ass shining under the glare of the station lights like some kind of beacon. Closing her eyes, she shook her head and then turned and slid into the station to pay for the gas. It didn’t take more than a moment. The attendant was busy reading an auto magazine and barely glanced up to ring up her request and take her money. He wasn’t even interested enough to look out the window to see what kind of vehicle might need so much gas.

Beginning to think they might make it out of there without causing the scene she’d feared, Mary headed back out to the RV, her gaze steadfastly avoiding Dante on her roof and shifting to the passing vehicles. If anyone was taking note of a naked man lying on his belly on the roof of an RV, you couldn’t tell. The cars were just cruising by, none of them with any sign that he’d even been noticed.

Marveling over that, Mary set about the business of pumping gas into her vehicle, her attention shifting between the pump and the oncoming traffic.

“There is no need to fret. I will control them if they come.”

Mary glanced up at that announcement to see Dante peering over the back of the roof at her. Nodding, she said wryly, “Good to know.”

His eyes narrowed, but Dante didn’t comment and merely ducked back out of sight, presumably to continue watching for the kidnappers, so he could control them. She shook her head at the thought. As if anyone could control another human being with his or her thoughts.

Muttering under her breath, she glanced from the spinning numbers on the pump to the passing traffic and back. The van had dropped back in traffic, which when she thought about it was weird. It wasn’t like the RV had been speeding down the highway. It simply wasn’t capable of speeding. She’d been driving the speed limit, maybe even a little under it, yet the van had backed off, going under the speed limit to do so. What were they up to? she wondered with a little concern and then glanced to the pump with surprise when it clicked and stopped pumping. She’d reached the amount for which she’d prepaid, which should just about fill it up, by her guess.

Removing the handle, she set it back in the pump, then quickly screwed the gas cap back on and closed the cover.

“Go ahead and start out.”

Mary glanced up at that instruction. Dante was peering down at her again.

“I’ll climb in once we’re on the road again,” he said and then pulled back out of sight before she could comment. Mary glanced to the building, and then shook her head and walked around the RV to the door.

Bailey was waiting by the door when she opened it and Mary had to urge the dog back to get in. Locking the door, she then sat in the driver’s seat, started the engine and pulled away from the pumps. She eased up to the road and paused to wait for traffic to clear. It wasn’t as busy as earlier in the day, but there were still a good number of cars passing . . . and then a pickup passed with a dark van behind it.

Mary narrowed her eyes on the two vehicles, but they flew past without slowing and didn’t pull over farther down the highway that she could see. Once they were out of sight in the distance, she started to turn her gaze back to the oncoming traffic, only to whip her head around in surprise as Dante came swinging in through the passenger window. Her timing could not have been worse; she got an eyeful of the man’s junk as his hips were framed in the opening before he dropped into the seat.

“They’ve driven past,” he announced. “But they went by too fast for me to take control.”

Mary simply gaped at him.

“They may be planning to ambush us further up the highway. Maybe I should drive now,” he suggested. Dante had landed sideways in the seat with his knees pointed her way and his lap fully exposed.

He shifted forward on the seat now to get up and Mary snapped, “No, you’re not driving. You’re going to sit there and cover up that dangler you keep waving in my face before I cut it off.”

Dante’s eyebrows rose, and then he calmly leaned to the side to pull the afghan out from under Bailey who had again settled on it. He pulled it across his lap, started to spread it out as he had before, then seemed to realize how ineffective that made it and left it in a pile over his groin.

“Seat belt,” she said more calmly now.

Dante hesitated and she suspected he was considering insisting on driving, but then he simply turned in the seat to face front and did up his seat belt.

Satisfied, Mary glanced out to see that there was an opening in traffic, and hit the gas harder than she should have, sending the RV careening out onto the highway at a speedy 10 mph. Apparently the opening wasn’t as big as she’d thought, that or the approaching car was far exceeding the speed limit. Whatever the case, the driver laid on the horn in protest.

Mary sighed to herself and ignored it to concentrate on driving. That was difficult to do with Dante seated beside her. Honestly, she’d never seen a man so comfortable being naked. She’d always considered her husband a confident man, but even Joe hadn’t wandered around and swung through windows with his Johnson out. Hell, he wouldn’t have stepped out the door of the RV naked, let alone climb around on the roof like some hairless monkey . . . a very buff and handsome hairless monkey.

“You should let me drive,” Dante said quietly. “They may be planning to ambush us further up the highway.”

Mary opened her mouth, closed it, and then sighed to herself as she looked at her sandwich. She really should have let him drive, then she could be eating her sandwich, which really looked delicious. Fortunately they’d nearly reached her planned destination, and she did intend to stop. The question was, what she was going to do about Dante once she did? Mary didn’t have an easy answer to that. The man thought he could control people. It might be a result of his head injury, but she wasn’t sure head injuries could lead to delusions. She’d have to research that once they’d stopped, she decided. In the meantime, she needed to see how deep his delusions ran.

“Dante, if you can control your kidnappers, how did they kidnap you?” she asked in a conversational tone.

He hesitated beside her and she suspected he wanted to continue to pester her about driving, but then he sighed and said, “We were taken by surprise. They must have been waiting. The first we knew of their presence was when the darts hit us.”

“Right,” she murmured, staring at the red rear lights of the cars ahead on the road. After a moment, she pointed out, “But when you woke up in the cage, you couldn’t have been taken by surprise. Why didn’t you just wait for them to enter the room and take control of them then?”

She felt him look her way, but kept her gaze on the road and after a moment he patiently explained, “There was a square panel in the metal door to the room at about eye level. We feared they might open it and shoot us without our getting a look at them and being able to control them.”

“I see,” she murmured. Mary considered that briefly, than commented, “So you have to see them to control them.”

“Of course,” he said as if that should be obvious.

Mary didn’t comment, but her thoughts were now spinning through her head as quickly as the numbers had spun on the gas pump. Dante had seemed so sane at first. Well, mostly, she thought with a frown as it occurred to her that perhaps the whole “I’m being chased by kidnappers” maybe sounded a little farfetched now, but it had seemed plausible at the time. The man had been running around naked, for heaven’s sake. And that black van had seemed to be following them. Now though, she was beginning to wonder if anything he’d told her had been true. Had he really been kidnapped?

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