Home > Runaway Vampire (Argeneau #23)(6)

Runaway Vampire (Argeneau #23)(6)
Author: Lynsay Sands

“How is he?” Mary asked.

The man paused and turned to close the door behind them. Mary frowned as she noted the marks on his neck, but then glanced to the brunette as she said brightly, “He’s fine. The EMTs are with him now.”

“But—” Mary paused and glanced toward the RV as the generator came on. They probably needed extra light, or to plug in their defibrillator or something, she thought and then realized they’d left everything but the stretcher and the orange bag out here when they’d gone in to assess the situation.

“What are they . . . ?” Her question trailed away as she swung back to see that while she’d been distracted, the Jensons had taken the opportunity to slip away and were now on the way back into the restaurant.

Letting her breath out on an exasperated hiss, Mary glanced back to the RV and had just started forward when the door suddenly opened and the EMTs started out. She could hear the sound of a shower from inside before the door closed and glanced to the two men with bewilderment as they moved to their rolling stretcher.

“Are you going to be able to get that inside?” she asked when one man moved to the head of the stretcher. “It’s kind of tight in there.”

“No need,” the EMT said lightly, offering her a shiny smile. “He’s fine.”

“He’s not fine,” Mary argued quickly. “He was nearly dead. He—you aren’t just leaving him?” she protested as the man began to drag the rolling stretcher back toward their vehicle. “He needs help.”

“He’s fine. The blood was all show,” the second EMT, the driver, said reassuringly, following the stretcher back toward the ambulance.

“But—” Mary turned to peer at her RV with dismay, wondering what she was supposed to do with the man. Wait for him to come out seemed the most sensible answer. She found it hard to believe he was just fine as everyone kept saying, but if he was, she presently had a huge naked man in her RV. And in her shower from the sounds of it, she thought grimly She’d have to fill up the water tank, and empty the gray tank once she reached the campground, and—who was she kidding, she wasn’t going anywhere until the man presently enjoying her shower got his butt out of her RV. Mary wasn’t forgetting the shiver of trepidation she’d experienced when her gaze had met his. There had been something about his expression, the concentration, and the deep dark black eyes with silver flecks that almost seemed to glow . . .

No, she wasn’t going inside until he came out. If he came out. What if he just drove off with her RV? She’d left her damned keys in there, Mary recalled. And her purse. The man could just drive off with her vehicle and have himself a relaxing holiday in her RV.

She should go in and get her keys while he was in the shower. Not that she was sure he was actually in the shower, she thought. Mary couldn’t imagine he was in shape to manage such a task. But everyone kept saying he was just fine, she reminded herself and started to open the RV door, only to pause with it barely cracked as she realized the sound of rushing water was gone.

She’d just wait for him to come out, Mary decided, easing the door closed again as she heard movement inside. The hum of the generator stopped and she shifted nervously, wondering what she should say when he did come out. If he came out. Surely he would come out?

Bailey whined beside her and nosed at the door, suggesting she thought Mary should go in, but Mary shook her head. “We’ll wait,” she said quietly, turning her back to the door, and watching idly as a speeding black van slowed abruptly on the highway and put on its blinker, indicating its intention to turn into the lot. It would have a bit of a wait, she noted. The oncoming traffic was pretty thick, perhaps from the ramp onto the I-10 just up the road. Then she whirled toward the RV door again with horror as she heard the engine start up.

“Oh, no freaking way,” Mary muttered, and dragged the door open to rush in. She had just stepped off the automatically descending metal steps and onto the wooden ones inside when she was nearly knocked off her feet by Bailey as the shepherd raced past her to get inside first.

Grabbing for the counter on her left and the passenger seat on her right to steady herself, Mary scowled at the dog, who had settled in her customary position between the driver’s and passenger’s seats. The dumb dog didn’t seem to realize that the man at the wheel shouldn’t be there. In fact, Bailey was staring up at him with something like worship, her tail thumping the floor and tongue hanging out.

She’d have to have a talk with the dog later, Mary decided as she moved away from the door and stepped up onto the RV floor to scowl at the young man in the driver’s seat.

Mary’s scowl was replaced by shock as she noted the change in him. Gone was the pallid, blood-soaked victim struggling for breath that she’d first spotted in her bedroom. This man was flush with color, his long dark hair wet from the shower and slicked back from his face. He was no longer dragging in raspy, labored breaths, but breathing just fine. He also didn’t have a drop of blood on him . . . anywhere. Mary knew that for certain because the one thing that hadn’t changed was that he was still buck naked, and his bare ass was presently in her driver’s seat.


“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Mary snapped, moving forward to loom threateningly over the young man. She would do him some serious harm if she had to, but no one was taking her RV from her. “Get your bloody arse out of my seat!”

“I showered the blood off. Sit down.” Even as he spoke the calm response, the RV jerked forward, nearly sending her tumbling to the floor. Catching the edge of the dinette table, Mary steadied herself and then grabbed the back of the driver’s seat to hold on as she scowled down at the seated man.

“I realize you showered,” she said with irritation. “I wasn’t being literal. Just get out of my—crap!” she muttered as he jerked the steering wheel right and she lost her hold on the driver’s chair and stumbled sideways, her hip hitting the side of the table. Then he swerved back again and she tumbled to the right this time, toward the steps. He reached out and grabbed her arm, saving her from a nasty tumble, and then steered her toward the passenger chair. Mary dropped into the seat for safety’s sake, but immediately turned to scowl at the young man.

“Look,” she began, finding it difficult to be stern after he’d just saved her from possible broken bones.

“I apologize for commandeering your vehicle,” the man interrupted and Mary narrowed her eyes as she noted his accent. Italian, she thought, as he continued, “I would have just slipped out of the RV and taken flight on foot when I saw that my kidnappers had tracked us. However, I feared they might do you harm in an effort to find out where I had gone. I couldn’t just leave you to their less than tender mercies, so until we lose them, I must stay with you.”

Mary blinked as his words sank through her brain. He would have fled on foot but had stayed to ensure her safety? Well, that was somewhat reassuring. It made it less likely that she was in any danger from him . . . if it was true.

“Kidnappers?” she asked finally, vaguely aware that he was steering them out of the truck stop.

“The black van behind us,” he said grimly.

Mary glanced at the screen showing the rear camera view to see that there was indeed a black van moving up behind them. She was quite sure it was the vehicle that had been waiting to pull into the truck stop when she’d heard the RV start up. Now it was following them out of the truck stop.

“I saw them waiting to turn into the truck stop through the window when I got out of the shower,” her naked guest said quietly as he straightened out on the highway and put his foot down on the gas. The engine revved and then began to whine in complaint as it was forced to a speed it wasn’t used to or even really meant to travel at. He eased up slightly on the gas as he explained, “The men in that van kidnapped my twin brother and myself the night before last. I managed to escape and was fleeing them when you ran me over.”

Mary winced at the comment. She had run over him. She could still recall the way the RV had bumped over something in the road. And he’d had tire tracks on his chest. Yet now he was sitting here, steering her RV around as if he’d suffered little more than a minor bump or bang.

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