Home > Runaway Vampire (Argeneau #23)(15)

Runaway Vampire (Argeneau #23)(15)
Author: Lynsay Sands

And what about that claim that he and his brother had volunteered to help an FBI task force? Mary had never heard of that before. Surely the agency wouldn’t send civilians into such a dangerous situation?

The truth was, now that he was claiming to be able to control people, everything he’d told her was suspect. It could all be a lie, or some sort of delusion his mind had created. He could be an escapee from a mental ward or something. That was certainly more plausible than his being an escaped kidnap victim, volunteer for the FBI, and able to control people with his mind.

Biting her lip, she glanced to the GPS and was relieved to see that they were approaching the turn for the campground. There she could stop dividing her attention between driving and what to do about Dante. She’d also have help in dealing with him. She and Joe had used this campground every year since they’d started driving south for the winter, stopping on their way down and on the return journey. She knew the owners, Dave and Carol Bigelow, very well. They were originally from Winnipeg and had been friends to her and Joe since long before the couple had retired, bought the campground, and moved here to Texas. Carol and Dave would help her if she needed it. Although, Mary wasn’t that concerned that Dante might be dangerous. He might be a little deluded maybe, but she didn’t think he was dangerous.

“Mary,” Dante said tentatively. “You seem a little agitated, and I hate to keep harping on this, but we need to be prepared in case they are planning to ambush us.”

“It won’t be a problem,” she assured him.

“But—What are you doing?” he asked with surprise when she slowed.

“I’m turning, Dante,” she answered patiently.

“Why?”

“Because we’re stopping for the night. I booked a spot at a campground just up this road.”

“But Lucian said to keep them chasing us,” he protested.

“Look in the rear camera view, Dante. Do you see anyone following us?” She shook her head. “That ship has sailed, and I’m tired. We’re stopping. At least I am. You, of course, are free to get out any time.” Turning to glance at him, she added, “Now, please go into the bedroom and find some clothes to wear. The last thing I want is for my friends to see me pull in with a naked giant in the passenger seat. I’m going to have enough trouble explaining you as it is.”

Dante considered her solemnly for a moment, and then stood up, gathering the afghan in a ball in front of his groin. Before moving away he asked politely, “May I use your phone again?”

“Yes,” she said quietly, and he picked it up out of the holder and moved toward the back of the RV.

The moment she heard the door to the bedroom area slide closed, Mary felt herself relax. It was only then she realized how tense he made her. And it wasn’t just his nudity that caused that tension, although that hadn’t helped. She really should have sent him to put on clothes much sooner than this, she acknowledged and wondered what he would put on. Joe’s jeans and dress pants probably wouldn’t fit him. They’d probably be too big in the waist, although she supposed a belt would handle that issue. But there were joggers too. As for shirts, again Joe’s dress shirts probably wouldn’t fit, this time being too small, but there were T-shirts that might be a bit tight but should do.

Spotting the sign for Dave and Carol’s campground, Mary pushed thoughts of Dante’s fashion choices aside and concentrated on slowing for the turn. She pulled into the driveway, passing the stone columns with the sign overhead and stopped beside the office, then threw the RV into park and was about to shut her down, when a shout drew her attention out the window to see Carol rushing to the RV, waving.

“We saved your usual spot, Mary. Go ahead and park. Dave is getting the golf cart. He’ll bring you back to register and have a drink,” she called through the window once she got close enough.

Mary nodded. “Thanks, Carol.”

“Our pleasure. See you in a minute,” she called with a big grin and turned to head back to the building. Mary watched her go, then shifted back to drive and started forward. Carol and Dave had been saving “their spot” for them for years now. A pull-thru spot on the end, surrounded by trees, it had a lovely view of the river. They’d always parked with the door and awning side facing the other RVs, welcoming friends they’d made over the years. This year, Mary wasn’t sure how she was going to explain Dante, so she pulled in with the door and awning facing the woods and the river. Basically, putting her back to the others.

Feeling guilty for it even as she parked that way, Mary glanced around, but not seeing Dave approaching yet on his golf cart, she pushed the auto button on the automatic leveling system and listened to the hum of the jacks lowering to the ground. The RV bounced a little one way, then another, then up in the front and then the back and then stopped moving and the green light came on indicating it was level. Releasing the breath she always held during this process, she turned off the engine and got up, then paused, looking for Bailey. The dog was nowhere to be seen.

Frowning, she moved to the back of the RV and knocked on the door. “Dante, is Bailey in there with you? She’ll need walking, and she hasn’t eaten yet, but Dave is coming to collect me to go register and—” She paused as the door started to open, and then she merely gaped at the man.

He had gone for joggers and a T-shirt as she’d expected and yet not what she’d expected at all. He was wearing her joggers and T-shirt. The man had donned her favorite pair of pink jogging pants that were so tight on him they were like a second skin. They also only reached halfway down his calves. The T-shirt fit no better. It was a white one with tiny pink and red roses all over it and the damned thing stretched tight across his shoulders and encased his chest like a stocking, a pink and white flowered stocking.

Dante should have looked ridiculous in the getup, and she was sure he probably did, but the clothes also drew the gaze to the breadth of his beautiful chest. At least it did if you could tear your eyes away from the way the tight joggers emphasized the huge bulge between his legs.

Mary closed her eyes on the sight he made, but once again found that the image appeared to be burned into her retinas and continued to dance on her eyelids.

“I shall feed and walk Bailey,” Dante offered quietly and Mary blinked her eyes open and merely shook her head. Not expecting her dead husband’s clothes to still be in the RV, he’d obviously just grabbed what he thought he might squeeze into from her closet and hadn’t even thought to check the closet on the other side of the bed. Mary was about to tell him that there were men’s clothes there when a knock sounded at the RV door.

“Dave,” she muttered, glancing to the door in a bit of a panic. She started toward it, then paused and whirled back. “My purse . . .”

Dante must have seen it when he’d found the clothes he was wearing because he immediately turned and pulled the door open to retrieve it. Handing it to her, he patted her arm. “Relax. All is well, I will see to Bailey.”

“Right,” she muttered, rushing toward the door, and then as she opened the door, thought to call out, “Her leash is hanging on a hook in my closet.”

“Talking to the dog now, Mary?” Dave teased curiously as she started down the steps.

Mary forced a laugh and shook her head, then said, “My nephew is driving back with me.”

The lie came out so smoothly you would have thought she’d planned it out. She hadn’t though; it just came to her on the spot, but she was grateful for it.

“That’s nice,” Dave said, smiling as he led her to the golf cart he’d driven from the office. “I could tell you found it a bit much driving down on your own when you stopped here in the fall.”

“Yes,” Mary said quietly as she got in next to him. “It was a bit more than I expected. It’s much nicer when you have someone to share the driving.”

“I can imagine,” Dave assured her as he headed the golf cart back the way he’d come. “I sure wouldn’t want to run this place without Carol helping.”

Mary smiled, and then found herself glancing over her shoulder back toward the RV. She hadn’t turned on the lights or let the sides out or anything. She should have done that, she supposed. It would make things easier for Dante. While there were hookups for water, sewer, and 50 amp power supplies, there were no night-lights around the RVs to give him light. He’d be feeling his way around inside.

   
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