Home > Runaway Vampire (Argeneau #23)(9)

Runaway Vampire (Argeneau #23)(9)
Author: Lynsay Sands

She nearly asked, almost where? But managed to bite back the question.

“Now. You put your foot on the gas pedal and I will slip my foot out from beneath yours.”

Relieved to have something to think about other than what she was quite sure was poking her in the bottom, and the fact that young men were such a horny mess of hormones they could be turned on by tired old women like her, Mary tried to put her foot on the gas pedal and found she couldn’t. The boy had long legs and had pushed the seat back. She couldn’t reach it.

“Scoot forward,” Dante instructed.

Mary didn’t have to be told twice. She shifted forward on his lap so swiftly one would have been forgiven for thinking he’d lit a lighter under her butt. Once she was perched on the very tip of his knees with as little of her behind touching him as possible and the steering wheel digging into her belly, she was able to reach the pedal. She pressed her foot down hard, half on his foot and half on the pedal itself and heard Dante suck in a quick pained breath behind her.

“Sorry,” she muttered, unable to infuse even the slightest bit of apology into her voice. Poke her in the bottom with his body parts, would he? Hmmph. Take that, horny boy.

“Now grasp the steering wheel,” Dante instructed.

Mary raised her hands and grasped the wheel above his hands, careful to avoid touching him.

“Good,” Dante praised. “Now, all you need do is concentrate on keeping your foot on the pedal and steering straight, I will do all the work.”

“That’s what she said,” Mary heard her husband’s old line in her head and smiled weakly, wishing something fierce that he was there right now. He would be the one sitting in Dante’s lap if he was, or no one would be. Joe had been a brilliant man. He would have come up with a way to handle all of this without so much—

“Who said what?” Dante’s confused question interrupted her thoughts and Mary glanced over her shoulder to see that he looked as confused as he sounded.

“What?” she asked uncertainly.

“You said, ‘That’s what she said,’” he explained. “To whom were you referring? And what did she say?”

Mary’s eyes widened as she realized she’d spoken the words aloud, and then she just shook her head and turned to face forward again. “Never mind. It was nothing. I was just muttering to myself.” Scowling at the stretch of highway ahead, she added, “I thought you were getting up to make your call?”

A moment of silence followed, as if he wanted to question her further, but then he agreed on a small sigh, “Si. Keep the RV going this speed and steering straight. I will be as quick and careful as I can.”

Mary merely nodded and waited. But when his hands released the steering wheel and suddenly dropped to her bottom, she stiffened and jerked the steering wheel again.

“Steady,” Dante admonished. “I am going to lift your bottom and slip out from under you.”

“I can probably—” She’d been about to say she could probably lift her own bottom by standing on the gas pedal, but swallowed the words as he slid his hands under her butt cheeks. It was probably done quickly, but to Mary what followed seemed to take forever as he lifted her up off his lap, his fingers squeezing her butt cheeks with more than necessary familiarity, and then his body seemed to slide forward before sliding sideways under hers, the pokey part rubbing across her bottom toward the right before it was out from under her.

“Steady,” Dante repeated by her ear and Mary shifted her attention back to the steering wheel that had somehow started to turn to the right as well. Straightening it out, she tried to ignore the fact that he seemed really slow about setting her down on the edge of the seat. Letting her breath out on relief, she glanced toward him and cursed. “You—”

“Uno momento,” Dante breathed, interrupting her complaint that he’d lost his afghan and was now completely naked again.

Mary almost swallowed her tongue then when he practically laid his head in her lap as he felt around under her seat for something. At first she thought it was the afghan he was trying to reclaim, but when she realized it was lying on the floor next to the seat, she snapped, “What the hell are you doing?”

“Trying to find the lever to adjust your seat,” Dante explained and then jerked upright just in time to avoid getting his head crushed by the steering wheel when she hit the button on her armrest to adjust the seat herself.

“It’s automatic,” she said shortly.

“Ah. Good,” he murmured, and stood. Much to her relief, he recalled the afghan and arranged it around himself as he straightened. At least, Mary was relieved until she glanced to the side and saw that she’d been right about what she’d thought had been poking her in the bottom. The man had a boner, and it was presently poking through one of the holes in the spider-stitched afghan. He might as well not be wearing the damned thing at all. Good Lord!

Mary turned her eyes quickly forward again, wishing she could burn the sight she’d just seen from her memory. But she couldn’t even remove it from her gaze, the damned thing seemed burned into her retina and there was now a big dancing penis bouncing around in the middle of her view of the road ahead.

“So not cool,” Mary muttered to herself.

“What was that? Did you say you are cold?” Dante asked with apparent concern and Mary instinctively started to turn to him to answer, caught a glimpse of his penis poking out of the colorful afghan, and jerked her head forward again.

“No,” she said firmly. “Go make your call.”

Dante hesitated, but then said, “I will be quick,” and finally snatched up the phone, ripped off the top paper from the memo pad, and moved away.

“Take your time,” Mary muttered under her breath, and meant it. She needed a little breathing space from the man. He wasn’t her type—too big, too young, and just too damned sexy—but he hadn’t been the only one affected by the past few minutes. If women could have boners, she’d be sporting one too and that was just pitiful. Dante was young enough to be her son . . . maybe even her grandson. She had no business responding to him at all.

And she wasn’t, Mary assured herself. She was just reacting to the night’s excitement: the accident, and then the danger and excitement of finding herself with a man whose kidnappers were now hunting them. No doubt she was experiencing an adrenaline rush and was simply mistaking that for a response to the man—the only man—with her. She’d heard, or perhaps read somewhere, that high-risk adventures could lead to swift bonding and sexual attraction and that’s all this was, Mary assured herself. She just needed to keep her head on straight until this was all over and everything would be fine.

Four

Dante moved to the back of the RV and sat on the edge of the bed to punch in the number to the Enforcer House. Something cold and wet pressing against his leg drew his attention to the fact that the dog had followed him, and now sat on the floor at his feet, her head on his knee. Petting the beast absently, Dante glanced toward the woman in the driver’s seat. As he listened to the phone ring at the other end of the line, his mind was chasing itself around inside his skull like a dog chasing its tail. He needed to keep Mary safe from their pursuers, needed to save Tomasso, needed to pass on the information they’d learned, needed to . . . claim his life mate.

Christ, who would have thought he’d find her now in the middle of all of this madness? It hadn’t even occurred to Dante that Mary might be his life mate when he first hadn’t been able to read her. He’d just assumed it was a result of his injuries and lack of blood. But he’d had no problem at all slipping into the thoughts of the doctors and the others and taking control of them. In fact, he’d controlled several of them at a time and with ease, and yet when she’d stormed back into the RV after he’d fed and got his strength back, he still hadn’t been able to even peek into her thoughts, let alone control her.

His body’s reaction to her nearness was another rather telling point that suggested she was his life mate. Those brief moments when he’d held her on his lap, her intoxicating scent wafting into his nose and her warmth imprinting on his groin . . . He still had a damned erection from the encounter, and he was quite sure she’d felt something too. He’d heard her heartbeat accelerate and her swift, shallow breathing. Oh yes, he was quite certain Mary Winslow was his life mate. He just didn’t know what, if anything, he should do about it at the moment. There were so many things that needed tending just now.

   
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