Home > Runaway Vampire (Argeneau #23)(4)

Runaway Vampire (Argeneau #23)(4)
Author: Lynsay Sands

She started to shift her attention to the closet again, but paused as she saw that Bailey had jumped off the opposite side of the bed and stood in the small bathroom, licking—was that a shoulder? Mary squinted and then leaned forward to get a better look at the floor on the opposite side of the bed, her eyes widening as she realized that she was peering at a very large, very naked man lying half in the bedroom and half in the bathroom. His bottom was what was lying in the bathroom and it was his ass, not his shoulder, that Bailey was diligently licking blood off of.


“Bailey,” Mary breathed, alarm and worry rushing over her as her poor brain tried to sort out how this man had come to be here. He certainly hadn’t been there when she’d set out that morning, and there was no way he could have got in while she was driving. The only time she’d left the RV without locking the door was when she’d hit something on the—

Mary stiffened as realization slid over her. This was what she’d hit. She’d run over this man. That was the only thing that made sense. Certainly the blood now covering him suggested he’d been in some sort of accident. But how the hell had he got himself into the RV without her seeing him?

She started to crawl onto the bed, intending to see how she could help him, but immediately paused when he turned his head and opened deep black eyes to stare hard at her. She met his gaze briefly, then backed slowly off the bed. The man was pale as death, coated with blood from top to bottom and there was even more of it soaking into the carpet and pooling on the tile floor around him, but his eyes seemed almost to glow silver with life and she was suddenly afraid of him.

Mary stared at the man briefly, telling herself that she was not going to be able to help him, that this man needed serious medical care, an ambulance and hospital, surgery and gallons of blood. She spun away, calling out, “I’ll get help.”

She tripped back across the littered floor to the door, then paused and glanced back to call, “Bailey!” When the dog didn’t immediately appear, she said more sharply, “Come to Mommy, now!”

This time the dog did listen and came bounding out of the bedroom and toward her. Relieved, Mary unlocked and opened the door, then took the steps to the pavement and waited for Bailey to follow before closing the door again. She automatically reached for her keys, intending to lock the door, only to realize they were still in the ignition. Mary briefly considered going in to get them, but then simply turned to Bailey and ordered, “Sit. Stay.”

When Bailey sat next to the stairs and peered at her solemnly, Mary nodded, muttered, “Good girl,” and hurried for the truck stop entrance.

There was a gas station/store on one side and a restaurant took up the other. Mary rushed for the door to the restaurant and burst inside, only to pause and take stock of the situation. She noted with some surprise that there were a good dozen people seated at the tables, some in groups of two or three, some alone. It was more than she’d expected at that hour and her gaze slid to the clock on the wall to see that it was after eight. It seemed she wasn’t the only one traveling at night.

There were also two waitresses: the younger one stood next to a table, apparently taking an order, while the other, an older lady, stood behind a long counter lined with stools. Since the second one was looking her way, Mary hurried to the counter and blurted, “There’s a naked man in my RV bedroom.”

Amusement curved the waitress’s lips and she said wryly, “Lucky you.”

Mary blinked in confusion and then explained, “No. You don’t understand. He’s injured.”

“Got a little rowdy, huh?” The waitress teased lightly.

“Rowdy?” Mary echoed with bewilderment and then flushed as understanding struck. The woman thought she was saying he’d been injured during sex or something. Good Lord! “We weren’t—lady, I’m sixty-two years old. The boy is young enough to be my son,” she said indignantly.

“Well, double lucky you then,” the waitress said dryly. “But it’s not nice to brag about a steak meal in front of a gal who’s been on a fast for a decade.”

Mary clucked with exasperation. “I’m not bragging. He’s really hurt. There’s blood all over the place. He needs help, but my cell phone is broken. I—”

“Call an ambulance, Joan.”

Mary turned sharply at that order and peered at the woman now standing beside her with a man at her back. They were a young couple, the woman pretty with long brown hair pulled back into a ponytail, while the man had short, fair hair and a solemn expression. Mary had noticed them when she’d entered, but hadn’t noticed that they were wearing hospital greens. She did now, and felt relief as the woman smiled at her soothingly.

“Hello, I’m Dr. Jenson and this is my husband, Dr. Jenson. Why don’t you take us to your friend and we’ll see what we can do until the ambulance gets here.”

“Yes,” Mary said with relief and turned to lead them out of the restaurant, but as she pushed through the door, she explained, “He’s not a friend. I don’t know him. I just found him in the bedroom of the RV when I stopped here. I think I may have hit him. He’s bleeding badly.”

“What did you hit him with?” the man asked, his voice a deep baritone as they crossed the parking lot.

“The RV,” Mary answered, noting with relief that Bailey still sat where she’d left her. The dog was good about obeying orders, but the way things had been going—

“I’m not sure I understand,” the man said slowly. “You found him naked in the bedroom of the RV . . . and then what? Threw him out and ran him over?”

“What?” She glanced back with amazement. “No, of course not. I think I hit him with the RV and while I was out looking to see what I’d hit, he must have crawled into the RV. I didn’t find him until I got here.” Pausing at the RV, she opened the door, and hurried inside to lead the way back to the bedroom. She hadn’t really needed to, as everything was compact and a straight shot from front to back. In truth, Mary led the way because she wasn’t at all sure the man would still be there. She could hardly believe he’d been there to begin with and half suspected he’d been some kind of hallucination brought on by the stress of the trip or something.

However, when she reached the open door of the small bedroom and moved up against the bed to peer over it, he was still there on the floor on the other side, broad shoulders wedged between the bed and wall, and butt hanging out into the bathroom, bare as the day he’d been born.

“Oh dear.”

Mary glanced around and realized she was blocking the way. Squeezing into the small cubby space between the bed and wall on this side to get out of the way, Mary glanced from the woman to the man on the floor and back before offering, “Maybe I should open the slide-out.”

“It might cause him injury,” the woman said, climbing onto the bed on her knees and starting across the surface to the other side.

“Lisa’s right,” the man said solemnly, taking Mary’s arm to urge her out of the cramped room. Even with her squeezed to the side, there wasn’t room for him to pass. Really, with the slides in, there wasn’t room to turn around in this section of the RV.

“Why don’t you go watch for the EMTs and let us see what we can do here first,” he suggested gently but firmly as he pulled her back toward the door.

Mary went willingly. In truth, she was happy to go. The sight of the man’s twisted body and all that blood was likely to give her nightmares as it was, and she certainly didn’t expect he’d survive. She didn’t want to bear witness to his death. It was bad enough that she may be the cause of it.

“Send the EMTs in when they get here,” the man instructed quietly as he stopped and leaned past her to open the RV door.

Mary merely nodded and descended the steps to the pavement. She heard the door close behind her and glanced back anxiously, then peered down at Bailey when the dog nosed her hand.

“It’ll be all right,” she murmured and gave the dog a pat, but wasn’t at all sure that was true. If the man in her bedroom was what she’d hit with the RV, and he died as she feared—that was vehicular homicide, wasn’t it? Or did there have to be intent to be homicide? Perhaps it was manslaughter or something. She had no idea, but it was something.

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