How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire (Love at Stake 1) - Page 26

"How do I know? I might have sung opera in my underwear. I have no idea what I did last night." Shanna rubbed her forehead, trying to remember.

"I only mention it because it might explain why he is sleeping so soundly."

Shanna gasped and scrambled to her feet. "Oh my God, what if I killed him with anesthesia?"

Radinka's eyes widened. "That is not what I meant."

Shanna grimaced. "I might have overdosed him. Or I was too heavy for him to carry. Either way, I think I killed him."

"Don't be silly, child. Why do you blame yourself?"

"I don't know. It's what I do, I guess." Shanna's eyes filled with tears once again. "I blame myself for what happened to Karen. I should have helped her somehow. She was still alive when I found her."

"She was your young friend who died in the restaurant?"

Shanna sniffed and nodded her head.

"I am so sorry. I know this is hard for you to believe, but once the anesthesia wears off, Roman will wake up, and you will see for yourself that he is perfectly fine."

With a groan, Shanna sprawled onto the couch.

"You like him very much, don't you?"

Shanna sighed, staring at the ceiling. "Yes, I do, but I don't have much hope for a lasting relationship with a dead guy"

"Mrs. Holstein?" a male voice spoke from the doorway.

Shanna looked over her shoulder and saw yet another guard dressed in khaki and navy blue. What had happened to all the kilts? She missed the Highlanders with their bright plaids and adorable accents.

"The packages have arrived from Bloomingdale's," the guard announced. "Where would you like us to put them?"

Radinka rose gracefully. "Bring a few boxes in here, and put the rest in Miss Whelan's room."

"In my room?" Shanna asked. "Why?"

Radinka smiled. "Because they are for you, my dear."

"But - but I can't accept anything. And you shouldn't put anything in my room when there's a dead body in there."

The guard rolled his eyes. "We moved him to his bedroom."

"Good. Then you may proceed." Radinka sat back down. "I hope you like what I picked out for you."

"I'm serious, Radinka. I can't accept a bunch of presents. It's enough that you gave me sanctuary for one night. I - I need to call the Justice Department and make other arrangements."

"Roman wants you here. And he wants you to have these things." Radinka turned to the guard as he entered, his arms piled high with boxes. "Put them on the table here, please."

Shanna stared in dismay at the boxes. It was so tempting to take them. She didn't dare go to her apartment now, so she had nothing but the clothes on her back. Still, she couldn't accept all these presents. "I really appreciate your generosity, but - "

"Roman's generosity." Radinka set a package in her lap and opened it. "Ah, yes. These are lovely. Do you like them?" Nestled in white tissue paper was a red lace bra and panties.

"Wow." Shanna picked up the bra. It was a lot fancier than what she usually wore. And a lot more expensive. She checked the tag. Thirty-six B. "It's the right size."

"Yes. Roman left me a note with your sizes."

"What? How did he know my bra size?"

"I suppose you told him while you were hypnotized."

Shanna gulped. Jeez, maybe she had sung opera in her underwear.

"Here." Radinka fumbled through her handbag. "I believe I still have the note." She passed the paper to Shanna.

"Oh, my." It had to be the last thing he had written before his death. Shanna scanned the note. Size 12. 36B. Roman had indeed known her sizes. Had she told him under hypnosis? What else had she done? Get her some brownies. She caught her breath, and tears welled in her eyes.

"What is wrong, my dear?"

"Brownies. He's so sweet." Correction - was so sweet. "He didn't think I needed to lose weight?"

Radinka smiled. "Apparently not. I left some brownies in the kitchen, but if you want any, you should hurry. The daytime guards were drooling over them. Those men will eat anything."

"Maybe later, thank you." Shanna was starting to feel hunger pangs, but each time she thought of eating, she was haunted by the image of Roman struggling to carry her down the stairs.

"Let's see what else we have." Radinka whipped open the rest of the boxes.

There were more matching sets of lacy underwear, a blue chenille bathrobe, a salmon-colored tank top and matching blazer, and a blue silk nightgown with matching slippers.

"This is better than Christmas," Shanna murmured. "It's really too much."

"Do you like them?"

"Yes, of course, but - "

"Then it is settled." Radinka stacked the boxes. "I'll take these up to your room and leave a note in Roman's office for him to see you when he wakes up."

"But - "

"No buts." Radinka stood and gathered the boxes in her arms. "I want you to go to the kitchen and eat. I told one of the guards to fix you a sandwich, so they're expecting you. Then I want you to have a nice, hot shower and put on some fresh clothes. By the time you're done, Roman will be awake."

"But - "

"I am too busy to argue. We have a million things to do at Romatech tonight." Radinka marched from the room with the packages. "I will see you later, dear."

Sheesh. Shanna had a feeling Radinka Holstein was a dragon lady at work. But she did have beautiful taste in clothes. It was going to hurt to return most of them, but it was the right thing to do. Did she dare venture out of this house? It would hurt a lot worse if the Russians caught her.

After Shanna ate her sandwich in the kitchen and tried her best to ignore the pastry box of brownies on the table, she went upstairs to her room. She opened the door and peeked inside. The bed was empty. Shopping bags and boxes were piled at the foot of the bed. She took a long, hot shower. Then, dressed in the chenille bathrobe, she went through the bags and boxes. It should have been fun, but she grew increasingly sad, knowing that the man footing the bill had just died.

Guilt needled her. She couldn't accept all these gifts. And she couldn't stay here. She needed to contact the U.S. marshal, Bob Mendoza, and then she needed to start a new life somewhere else. A place where she knew no one, and no one knew her. Again.

God, it was depressing. As part of the Witness Protection Program, she could never contact family or old friends. But she craved companionship. She wanted love. She hadn't realized how much until she had met Roman. Damn. It wasn't like she was asking for too much from life. She only wanted the same thing a jillion other women wanted - a career she was proud of, a husband who would love her, and children. Beautiful children.

Unfortunately, desperate times had altered her goal in life. Now each day was a survival test.

She wandered toward the window and its ugly aluminum shutters. She located a switch behind the curtains and flipped it. The shutters opened and dim sunlight entered the room.

The view was lovely. Below her was a tree-lined street and in the distance, Central Park. The sun was setting in the west, casting purple and pink streaks into wispy clouds. Shanna stood at the window and watched. A feeling of peace descended on her with the night. Perhaps she would live through all this. If only Roman was still alive.

Could Radinka be right, and he was simply sleeping off a large dose of anesthesia? Shanna winced. It was awful that she couldn't remember what she'd done to the poor man. Maybe she should stick around for a little longer. Either Roman would be declared officially dead, or he would miraculously wake up. Either way, she couldn't leave until she knew for sure.

She selected some clothes and dressed. Inside the armoire, she found a television. Good. She could veg out while she waited. She flipped through channels. Whoa, here was a channel she'd never seen before. An animated black bat flew toward her, then it froze into a logo that looked a bit like Batman. Underneath was a message. Welcome to DVN. On 24/7 because it's always nighttime somewhere.

DVN? Something Video Network? And what did nighttime have to do with a network being on air? The bat logo disappeared, and another line appeared on the screen. DV7V. If you're not digital, you can't be seen. That was odd. A knock sounded at the door, interrupting her thoughts. She turned off the television and went to the door. It was probably Phil. He seemed to be in charge of the fourth floor.