Home > Runaway Vampire (Argeneau #23)(16)

Runaway Vampire (Argeneau #23)(16)
Author: Lynsay Sands

Clucking her tongue with irritation at her thoughtlessness, she turned to face forward again and listened to Dave’s cheerful chatter about how busy the winter had been for them with all the snowbirds coming and going.

“But when you called last week and asked if you could move your booking forward, Carol worked her magic and managed to rearrange our other bookings for you,” Dave informed her.

“I appreciate that,” Mary said quietly. “But I told her I’d take anything you had available. I didn’t want to put you out.”

“You didn’t. She was happy to do it. You know Carol,” he added affectionately.

“Yes,” Mary said with a smile. It would be hard to find a woman with a bigger heart than Carol had. She’d become a dear friend over the years. They both had. Which was why Mary had booked two nights here this time. She’d already decided she wasn’t doing this again. The trip just wasn’t the same alone. Knowing this would be the last time she made the trek back and forth, she’d wanted to have a nice last visit with this couple who had been so good to her and Joe over the years. But with Dante to worry about, Mary now wasn’t sure she should stay the extra night.

“Good God, woman, what did you do? Drive thirty all the way from Padre Island?”

Mary smiled at that greeting from Carol as the petite bottle blonde pulled her into a hug the moment Dave ushered her inside the office.

“I’m sorry,” Mary said as she hugged her back. “I know it’s late. You probably wanted to close shop and go relax hours ago.”

“Nonsense. We keep the store open late,” Carol said at once, stepping back to scowl at her. “We were worried about you is all. Started thinking we maybe should call the sheriff’s department and see if there was an accident on the highway or something.”

Mary grimaced at the word accident, but just shook her head. “I’m fine. Just slow.”

“Hmm, well you come sign in and we’ll get you a nice drink to soothe your nerves from driving,” Carol said, leading her to the registration counter. “Dave, fetch her a rum and coke on ice.”

“Oh, no,” Mary protested at once. “Thank you, but I still have to hook up and put out the slide-outs and stuff.”

“Let your nephew take care of that. That’s what he’s here for,” Dave said lightly, moving into the office to fetch glasses.

“He doesn’t know how to do any of that . . . yet,” she added when both Carol and Dave turned to peer at her in surprise. “This is his first day in the RV.”

“Oh,” Dave smiled wryly. “How’s he liking it so far?”

Mary merely shrugged helplessly and turned her attention to the clipboard waiting on the countertop. It was her registration, already mostly filled out by Carol for her. Mary merely had to sign it. She did so, then pulled out her credit card and offered it, but Carol waved it away.

“You can do that when you leave, Mary. We trust you.”

Mary hesitated, but then decided it might be best to pay up front. She wasn’t sure what would happen in the morning and didn’t want to have to make explanations if they did leave early. This way, she was covered. Smiling, she shook her head and held the card out insistently, saying lightly, “I’m used to doing it at the start and I’m not getting any younger, my memory isn’t as good as it used to be. Best do it now.”

Shrugging, Carol took the credit card and rang it up.

“Well, if you won’t have a drink with us now, promise you’ll come by for breakfast in the morning,” Dave demanded, then added, “On the house.”

“That would be nice,” Mary said and meant it. At least that way if anything happened to force her to leave early she’d have gotten in a bit of a visit with them first.

“Good,” Carol said firmly as she handed her back her credit card. “We’ll hold you to that. Dave will come fetch you and your nephew if you aren’t both here by eight.”

“Understood,” Mary said with a tired smile.

“Ah, honey, you’re exhausted,” Carol said with concern, then glanced to her husband. “Dave, maybe you better take her back to her RV and help her hook up. She looks ready to fall over.”

Nodding, Dave grabbed a large flashlight off the counter and walked back around the counter to usher her to the door.

“See you tomorrow morning,” Carol called as they left.

Dave kept up a steady chatter about people at the campground that she knew from previous stays as he drove her back to the RV, but she noted that he kept sending worried glances her way. It made her wonder just how bad she must look. Pretty bad, she decided when he stopped at the RV and turned to her to ask, “How’s your health, sweetheart? Everything okay?”

“I’m fine,” she assured him on a weak laugh. “I’m just tired. I’ll be right as rain after a good night’s sleep.”

“Good, good,” Dave said, but didn’t look like he believed her.

With his help, hooking up to the power, water, and sewer was quick work. Mary thanked him for his help, hugged him and promised she’d be by for breakfast in the morning, and then waved him off, before turning to peer at the door to the RV. There were no lights inside, but she wasn’t terribly surprised. Dante probably didn’t know where the switches were.

Sighing, Mary walked to the door, opened it and started inside, hitting the switch on the counter next to the steps as she ascended them. Letting the door close behind her, she then paused and glanced around. Dante and Bailey weren’t there.

Still out for their walk, she thought. After being cooped up in the RV all day, Bailey would probably drag Dante all over the campgrounds. She just hoped Dante didn’t let her chase the deer or any of the other wildlife.

Shrugging that worry away, Mary moved to the panel on the wall before the bedroom door and pushed the button for the living area slide out. The front half of the RV’s left wall immediately began to slide outward, taking the dinette and couch with it. Once it was all the way out, there was a good three or four foot span of open space between the furnishings and the kitchen counter along the opposite wall. Mary then turned to peer into the bedroom as she pressed the button for the second slide-out and watched as the wall at the head of the bed began to move out, taking the bed with it. When it stopped there was room enough to walk around the end of the bed, open the drawers, and whatnot. The cramped RV was now a more spacious little house on wheels.

Relaxing a little, Mary turned on the water heater, and flipped on some lights, then moved to the coffee machine to make herself a cup. She set out a Keurig cup and a mug for Dante as well, but didn’t make it. She doubted he’d appreciate cold coffee. He might even prefer a cold drink.

After setting her coffee on the table, Mary retrieved her sandwich from the front dashboard where it still sat. She had just picked up the plate, and had started to turn back toward the table when she spotted her phone. Dante had obviously put it back in its holder before taking Bailey out, she thought and snatched that up as well. She carried both items to the table and slid onto one of the dinette’s booth seats to eat.

Even after having sat out for half an hour or so, the sandwich was as good as it had first looked and Mary found herself gobbling it down. It seemed like no time before she finished the first half, and that’s about the time that she began to realize how much she’d needed to eat. It was almost nine now, which meant it had been almost nine hours since lunch. Her brain had obviously needed the nutrients, because it was suddenly thinking more clearly than it had since she’d run over Dante. The day’s events ran through her head like a film and she began to get more and more uncomfortable as it went. She had a complete stranger traveling with her, one who was slightly delusional and possibly dangerous.

Where was he going to sleep tonight?

And how well was she going to sleep with him in the RV with her?

Mary sat back at the table with a frown, and then her gaze dropped to the phone and she recalled the calls he’d made. Three of them in all, she thought. Picking up the phone, she opened it to the recent calls page and peered at the number he’d called.

The area code was 416. It had seemed familiar when he’d first spoken it to her, but now it suddenly clicked in. Toronto, she thought. Her daughter lived there and had that area code. FBI based in Canada? Mary’s mouth tightened and she tapped the number, making the phone redial it.

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