Home > Immortal Unchained (Argeneau #25)(10)

Immortal Unchained (Argeneau #25)(10)
Author: Lynsay Sands

Sarita crossed the small space, set her knives on the counter just inside the door and knelt to gather the dropped items. She collected the matches and set them and the candle on the holder, picked it up, and started to get back to her feet, but she paused as she looked at the room before her.

Enough light was spilling through the doorway that she could make out shapes, and one in particular had caught her attention. There was a table in the center of the room . . . and there was a body on it. Sarita immediately thought of the last man she’d found on a table. Well, two tables really, at least at first.

Stomach clenching, she straightened slowly and reached blindly to the side with her free hand to feel along the wall for a light switch. Her fingers encountered a cool metal upper cupboard, and then just below that she found what she thought was a light switch. Relieved, Sarita flicked it upward, and was blinded all over again when overhead florescent lights buzzed to life at least ten times brighter than the room with one bald bulb.

Blinking rapidly, she caught snapshots of the room as she tried to force her eyes to adjust more quickly. Blink. The lab was very similar to the lab in the fenced-in area on the island. Blink. There was the metal table in the center of the room to her left. Blink. There was someone on the table. Blink. He was unmoving and naked and—Blink. Damn he was hot.

Three

Sarita wasn’t sure just how long she stood in that doorway gaping at the man on the table. But he was worthy of the time given. Because he was definitely not a cross-eyed drooler with a cowlick.

Well, actually, his eyes were closed and he was unconscious so she couldn’t be positive about the cross-eyed drooler part, but frankly, with a body like that, she could overlook a few flaws, Sarita thought and then blinked and gave herself a slap.

“Snap out of it,” she muttered. “He’s a vampire . . . scientific or not. And if Dressler was telling the truth, he’s been having you followed around for years like some creepy perv,” she added for good measure, because really, that bothered her. It wasn’t that she trusted Dressler and what he said all that much, but really, why would he lie about something like that? Still . . . how could she have been tailed by a private detective for fifteen years and not have known it? Crazy. Impossible. “God, look at that chest.”

Sarita rolled her eyes as that last part slipped out. She had no idea where it had come from. But seriously, he had an amazing chest. At least what she could see of it above the chains that were wrapped around both the table and his body from just below his elbow to his upper thighs. It was a lot of chain.

There was also an intravenous catheter taped to his inner elbow on this side, she noted. And strong, muscular legs were revealed below the chain skirt, tapering down to nice calves before chains began again at his ankles, covering several inches and then stopping at his feet.

Dr. Dressler had mentioned that these immortals were stronger than mortals, but this just seemed like overkill, Sarita thought and finally started forward. She stopped after only a couple of steps when she realized she was still carrying the candle. Pausing, she swung back to set it on the counter by the door, making a mental note not to forget it when they went back upstairs. They might need it again.

That thought gave her pause. When they went back upstairs? They might need it? Was she really planning to free the naked vampire on the table? Originally she’d just been curious to see him. She hadn’t intended to free him necessarily. Now though . . .

Turning back to face the room, Sarita let her gaze drift over the chains binding the man. He was supposed to be stronger, faster, and whatnot. He might come in useful in helping her get out of this place. And yeah, he was a vampire, but he had also been drugged and dropped here by Dr. Dressler just as she had. They had a common enemy. What was that old saying? The enemy of mine enemy is my friend?

Damned right I’m unchaining him!

Maybe, Sarita added, moving back to the table.

She glanced over the chains, but not seeing the end of it anywhere on top, started to bend to check under the table, only to pause as she spotted a drop of blood on the floor. Straightening again, she looked more closely at the chain around his lower arm. It was just above where the spot of blood was on the floor and she, at first, thought he must be wounded under all that chain. A more thorough examination didn’t reveal any evidence of blood on the table or chain, though.

Perplexed, Sarita glanced back down to the floor again to see that there were now two drops of blood, side by—

Three, she corrected as she stepped back, revealing another drop lying between where her feet had been.

She was the one bleeding, Sarita realized and quickly began to tug up the material of the negligee and robe she wore. She’d forgotten all about stabbing herself with the knives earlier. Her worries about getting the candle lit and being able to see again had pushed it from her mind. That worry was gone now, though. She had lots of light and took the opportunity to get a better look at the wounds.

A grimace claimed her lips once she got her nightgown and robe out of the way and could see the four slices along the tops of her thighs. Two of them were very shallow and already scabbed over with dry blood. Two, one on each leg, were bleeding freely. Not a lot, but enough that blood was dribbling down her legs in slow rivulets.

She’d clean them up and bandage them later, Sarita decided as she let the gown and robe drop back into place. They weren’t so deep as to be a major concern, but cuts could get infected and that was more likely in the tropics than anywhere else. It wasn’t just spiders and slithery creatures that thrived here. Bacteria enjoyed the wet, hot climate too.

Assuring herself that she’d tend to them the first chance she got, Sarita peered at the face of the man again and then reached out to gently pat his cheeks in the hope of waking him. There was no reaction at all, not even a stirring, so she tried again, patting his cheek more firmly. When that had no effect either, she flat out slapped him. Nothing.

Leaning over him, Sarita pressed a thumb against his eyelid and pulled it open. The man’s eye was the most beautiful blue she’d seen in her life. Seriously, it was gorgeous, as blue as the sky on a sunny day, but with streaks of silver shot through that almost seemed to shimmer. She was so taken with the color that it took a moment for her to remember why she’d opened his eye in the first place, but then Sarita forced her attention to the pupil and nodded solemnly.

“Drugged,” she muttered, releasing his eyelid and turning to look at the intravenous bag. His being immortal and all, she’d assumed it was an empty bag of blood. Now she saw that there was an inch of clear liquid still in the bag. Well, mostly clear, she noted, narrowing her eyes at the milky quality of the liquid inside.

Not just saline then, Sarita thought.

Turning her attention to the catheter in his arm, she ripped the tape away and slid the apparatus out. She let it drop to swing free next to the table, and then gave the insertion point a quick look to be sure all was well. A bead of blood had bubbled to the surface, but when she brushed it away Sarita couldn’t even see a pinpoint to show her where the needle had gone in. He healed that quickly.

Shrugging, she released his arm and peered at his face again, wondering how long it would take for the drugs to wear off. Probably a while, she decided and debated what to do next.

Sarita glanced around the room, spotted the refrigerator along the wall to her right, and walked over to open it. Blood. Lots of it. Not as much as had been in the refrigerator she’d seen in Dr. Dressler’s torture chamber, but a good thirty or forty bags.

Another sign that Dressler expected them to be here a while, Sarita thought and felt her mouth flatten. That was not going to happen. She was getting out of there as quickly as she could. She had things to do. She had to find her grandmother, and that could be a problem in itself. She hadn’t seen her in Dressler’s house or in the labs, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t there. Certainly, Sarita no longer trusted that the man had told her the truth when he’d called with the news that her grandmother had been injured in a fall. Wherever she was, Sarita had to find her and get her away from the crazy old geezer the woman had worked for since before Sarita was born. And then she fully intended to report the bastard to the Venezuelan police and see that charges were laid against him before she went home to her little apartment and her job. She’d have to take her grandmother with her, Sarita thought now. The woman would have nowhere to go here.

   
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