Home > Immortal Unchained (Argeneau #25)(8)

Immortal Unchained (Argeneau #25)(8)
Author: Lynsay Sands

“Bastard,” she muttered with a disgust that was directed at herself as much as him. While it seemed obvious he was a scumbag, she should have been more alert. She should have noticed the movement when he’d reached out to inject her, and she should have batted his hand away or something.

Taking a deep breath, she counted to three and reminded herself that she wasn’t Wonder Woman. No one was. She did the best she could and regret was a waste of energy that could be directed toward more useful endeavors.

“Right,” she muttered. “Let’s get on with it.”

Raising the letter, she started again.

Dear Sarita,

Your clothes were blood encrusted and ruined. Asherah cleaned you up and put you to bed.

It occurred to me once you’d lost consciousness that I didn’t explain the importance of your being a life mate. From what I can gather it appears a life mate is chosen by the nanos in their host, and are rare creatures that the immortal cannot read or control, and can live happily with throughout his or her life. They are also few and far between. Some immortals apparently wait centuries or even millennia to find theirs. While some have been fortunate enough to find one, lose them, and later, usually much later, find another, there are other immortals who never find even one life mate. So life mates are valued more than anything else in an immortal’s life.

It seems immortals—like gibbons or wolves—mate for life. Not because of any moral standard, but quite simply because another mate would not satisfy their needs. What I’ve been told is that life mates suit each other in every way, and that life mate sex is like no other—powerful and overwhelming to the point where both parties faint or pass out at the end. I suspect that the nanos must cause this by releasing a rush of the relevant hormones.

I also understand that life mates find each other irresistible, and in fact often spend weeks or even months in bed on first meeting. I tell you this so that you know there is no reason to believe I will think less of you if you find yourself doing the same thing, or even let the man bed you on your first meeting. I expect that.

Sarita snorted at the comment. She didn’t give a crap what a whackjob like Dressler thought of her. She’d sleep with whoever she wanted whenever she wanted. Although, frankly, she wasn’t a one-night-stand kind of gal or one likely to “drop trou” on first meeting someone either. Sarita’s father had been an old-fashioned type of man; he’d also been overprotective and insisted on meeting every male she’d ever dated. She knew without a doubt that he’d given every one of them the “hell hath no fury like a father whose baby has been groped by some horny teen” speech, quickly followed by the “I have a big backyard to bury you in” speech. She was lucky she’d got laid at all.

Shaking her head, Sarita turned her attention back to the letter, quickly finding where she’d left off.

“Yada yada first meeting,” she murmured as she found the spot.

Now, do not be alarmed. You are in the home my wife and I first inhabited on moving to Venezuela. We lived there for a year as we waited for our house on the island to be built. I had it renovated and updated some months ago in anticipation of this eventuality. I hope you find it comfortable and to your liking.

Everything there has been supplied for your use.

The refrigerator and cupboards in the kitchen are stocked full of food and will be refilled as necessary. The wine rack in the dining room is full of vintages I thought you might enjoy.

Sarita’s mouth tightened. It was sounding like he expected she would be there for a very long time. He had another think coming.

You have met your life mate, although it was long enough ago that you may not recall. Apparently you were thirteen when you first entered his restaurant in Caracas. He recognized that you were his life mate, but was gentleman enough not to claim you while so young. Instead, he decided to let you live your life and grow up first and put a private detective on your tail who, for the last fifteen years, has fed him monthly reports on your life.

“What?” Sarita gasped with dismay. Thirteen? That’s how old she was when her mother died. It was also when she and her father had moved to Canada. She tried to think of any restaurants they’d visited here in Venezuela before moving to Canada, but it had been fifteen years. Besides, with the trauma of what had happened to her mother, that year was kind of a blur in her memory anyway.

Sighing, she glanced back to the letter, reading the part about this life mate’s deciding to let her live her life and grow up. Big of him, she thought with disgust. As if she didn’t have a say in it? As for putting a private detective on her tail for the last fifteen years . . . well, that was just creepy. Stalkerish even. But just because Dressler said it, didn’t mean it was true. Not once in fifteen years had she noticed anyone tailing her around town or anything, and she was a cop, trained to observe things.

Sarita frowned briefly, but then continued on with the letter. “Yada yada, reports on your life . . . there it is.”

His name is Domitian Argenis. He is below.

“Below what?” Sarita muttered, and then read the next line.

I left the refrigerator downstairs stocked with blood for him.

For your own safety, I suggest you wait for him to wake up, feed him at least four bags of blood, and ensure he understands that you are not responsible for his being chained to the table, and that you are a victim and as helpless as he—

“Helpless my ass,” Sarita growled.

—before you unchain him.

Good luck. I expect to learn a lot from your stay at my home away from home.

Dr. Dressler

“Before I unchain him?” she muttered with disbelief. Some poor guy was chained in the basement? At least she assumed he was in the basement. “El Doctor” had said he was below and then mentioned a refrigerator in the basement, so she was guessing below was the basement.

“But where the hell is the basement?” Sarita muttered, scowling at the letter for not adding that bit of information. She hadn’t seen stairs anywhere in her tour of the house.

Dropping the letter, Sarita started around the desk, thinking she’d have to go through the house again. But she paused as she noticed a bookshelf at an angle in the opposite corner of the room. The edge of it was out an inch or so past the shelf next to it.

Eyes narrowing, Sarita walked over to the bookshelves, grasped the side of the one sticking out and pulled.

“Eureka,” she murmured as the shelf swung out like a door. “Hidden doors. Just what I should have expected from Dr. Whackjob.”

Stepping into the opening left behind, Sarita eyed the set of stairs leading down into darkness and scowled. “Cozy.”

A glance to the wall on either side did not reveal a light switch. Feeling along the wall on either side of the door frame itself didn’t either. It seemed she was expected to creep down blindly into the dark like an idiot.

Sarita stared briefly into the black hole, wondering about the man chained up down there. She wasn’t buying this life mate business Dressler had written about, but she was curious to find out what this supposed life mate looked like.

With her luck, he’d be some cross-eyed drooler with a cowlick, Sarita thought and then shrugged. Whatever. It didn’t matter. She wasn’t interested in being some vampire’s vampiress. She was curious to see him, though. But there was no way in hell that she was creeping down into that darkness without some sort of light.

Spinning away from the hidden entrance, Sarita headed back to the kitchen to search for a flashlight. But, of course, there didn’t appear to be one.

Slamming the last cupboard door with an irritated bang, she hesitated, and then sighed and moved to the drawer beside the sink. Opening it, she retrieved the box of matches she’d spotted there during her search. It was one of those big boxes of wooden matches with a striking strip on the side, and it was full, she noted, opening the box.

Taking them with her, Sarita walked out to the living room. She had a vague recollection of spotting candles in here on one of her trips through and—

“Aha!” she said with triumph, hurrying to the fireplace mantel where there were four large candles in holders lined up with some sort of brass decoration in the middle as the centerpiece. Snatching up one of the candles, she returned to the office.

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