Gregori grabbed a piece of paper and scribbled down the address. "Here you go. You want us to come with you?"
Roman removed the handkerchief and tooth from his mouth so his directions would be clear. "Laszlo will drive me. We'll take VANNA with us so everyone will assume we're taking her back to the lab. You, Gregori, will go out with Simone as planned. Nothing will appear out of the ordinary."
"Very well." Gregori zipped over to his boss and handed him the address of the dental clinic. "Good luck. If you need any help, just give me a call."
"I'll be fine." Roman gave his two employees a stern look. "This incident will not be spoken of again, not to anyone. Do you understand?"
"Yes, sir." Laszlo picked VANNA up.
Roman watched the chemist's hand curve around one plump buttock. God's blood, with all that had happened, he was still hard. His body thrummed with desire, craving more blood and more female flesh. He could only hope that this dentist would be male. God help any mortal female who crossed his path right now.
He still had one fang, and he was afraid he'd use it.
It was another endlessly boring night at the dental clinic. Shanna Whelan leaned back in the squeaky office chair and gazed at the white ceiling tiles. The water stain was still there. What a surprise. It had taken her three nights to conclude that the stain was the exact shape of a dachshund. Such was her life.
With another loud creak, she straightened in her chair and glanced at the clock radio. Two-thirty in the morning. Six hours left on her shift. She turned the radio on. Elevator music droned forth to fill the office, an uninspired, instrumental version of "Strangers in the Night." Yeah, like she was going to meet a tall, dark, handsome stranger and fall in love. Not in her boring life. Last night, the pinnacle of her evening had been when she learned how to make her chair squeak in time with the music.
With a groan, she folded her arms on the desk and pillowed her head. How did the saying go? Be careful what you ask for because you might get it? Well, she had begged for boring, and boy, did she have it. In the six weeks she'd been working at the clinic, she'd had one customer. A young boy with braces. In the middle of the night, a wire had come loose in his mouth. His frantic parents had brought him here so she could reconnect the wire. Otherwise the loose wire could have stabbed the inside of the boy's mouth, resulting in.. blood.
Shanna shuddered. Just the thought of blood made her woozy. Memories of the Incident swelled in the dark recesses of her brain, gruesome bloody images that taunted her, threatening to come into the light. No, she would not let them ruin her day. Or her new life. They belonged to another life, another person. They belonged to the brave and happy girl she'd been for the first twenty-seven years of her life before all hell had broken loose. Now, thanks to the Witness Protection Program, she was boring Jane Wilson, who lived in a boring loft in a boring neighborhood and spent every night at a boring job.
Boring was good. Boring was safe. Jane Wilson had to remain invisible and disappear into the ocean of countless faces in Manhattan for the sole purpose of staying alive. Unfortunately, it seemed that even boredom could cause stress. There was just too much time to think. Time to remember.
She switched off the music and paced across the empty waiting room. Eighteen chairs, upholstered in alternating hues of dusty blue and green, lined the pale blue walls. A framed copy of Monet's Water Lilies hung on one wall in an effort to inject calm serenity into nervous patients. Shanna doubted it worked. She was as edgy as ever.
Usually busy during the day, the clinic was a lonely place at night. Just as well. If anyone came in with a serious problem, Shanna was no longer sure she could deal with it. She'd been a good dentist before the.. Incident. Don't think about that. But what would she do if someone actually came to the clinic with an emergency? Just last week, she'd accidentally nicked herself shaving her legs.
One tiny drop of blood and her knees had shaken so badly, she'd been forced to lie down.
Maybe she should give up dentistry. So what if she lost her career? She'd lost everything else, including her family. The Department of Justice had made it clear. Under no circumstances was she to contact any family members or old friends. Not only would it put her own life back in jeopardy, but it would endanger those she loved.
Boring Jane Wilson had no family or friends. She had one assigned U.S. marshal she could talk to. No wonder she'd gained ten pounds in the last two months. Eating was about the only thrill left to her. That and talking to the handsome young pizza delivery guy. She quickened her pace as she circled the waiting room. If she kept eating pizza every night, she'd puff up like a whale, and then the bad guys might never recognize her. She could be safe and fat for the rest of her life. Shanna groaned. Safe, fat, bored, and lonesome.
A knock at the front door brought her skidding to a stop. Probably the pizza delivery guy, but even so, for a second her heart had lurched in her chest. She took a deep breath and ventured toward the front windows. She peeked through the white mini-blinds she always kept closed at night so no one could see inside.
"It's me, Dr. Wilson," Tommy called. "I've got your pizza."
"All right." She unlocked the door. The clinic might be open for business all night, but she still took precautions. She only unlocked the door for legitimate customers. And pizza.
"Hey, Doc." Tommy sauntered in with a grin. For the last two weeks, the teenager had made a delivery every night, and Shanna enjoyed his adolescent attempts at flirtation as much as the pizza. In fact, this was the highlight of her day. Jeez, she was on the fast track to becoming pathetic.
"Hi, Tommy. How's it going?" She went to the office counter to locate her purse.
"I've got your giant pepperoni right here." Tommy tugged on the waistband of his loose jeans, then let go. The jeans slid slightly down his narrow hips, revealing three inches of silk Scooby Doo boxer shorts.
"But I ordered a small one."
"I wasn't talking about the pizza, Doc." Tommy gave her a big wink and set the pizza box on the counter.
"Right. Well, that was a bit too cheesy for me. And I don't mean the pizza, either."
"Sorry." With pink-tinted cheeks, he gave her a sheepish smile. "A guy's gotta try, you know."
"I suppose so." She paid for the pizza.
"Thanks." Tommy pocketed the money. "You know, we make a jillion kinds of pizza. You ought to try something new."
"Maybe I will. Tomorrow."
He rolled his eyes. "That's what you said last week."
The phone rang, splitting the air with its shrill sound. Shanna jumped.
"Whoa, Doc. Maybe you should switch to decaf."
"I don't think I've heard that phone ring since I started working here." The phone jangled once again. Wow, a pizza guy and a ringing phone at the same time. This was more excitement than she'd seen in weeks.
"I'll let you get to work. See you tomorrow, Dr. Wilson." Tommy waved good-bye and swaggered toward the front door.
"Bye." Shanna admired his low-slung jeans from the back. She was definitely going on a diet. After the pizza. The phone rang again, and she lifted the receiver. "SoHo SoBright Dental Clinic. May I help you?"
"Yes, you may," the man's gruff voice was followed by a heavy breath. Then another.
Oh, great. A pervert to brighten her evening. "I believe you have the wrong number." She started to lower the receiver when she heard his voice again.
"I believe you have the wrong name, Shanna."
She gasped. It had to be a mistake. Yeah, and Shanna is such a common name. People were always calling places, asking for Shanna. Who was she kidding? Should she hang up? No, they already knew who she was.
And where she was. Terror jolted through her. Oh my God, they were coming for her.
Calm down! She had to remain calm. "I'm afraid you have the wrong number. This is Dr. Jane Wilson at the SoHo SoBright Dental - "
"Cut the crap! We know where you are, Shanna. It's payback time." Click. The call was over, and the nightmare was back.
"Oh no, oh no, oh no." She dropped the receiver in place and realized she was mumbling louder and louder, working her way up to a full-fledged scream. Get a grip! She mentally slapped herself and punched in the numbers 911.
"This is Dr. Jane Wilson at the SoHo SoBright Dental Clinic. I.. we're under attack!" She gave the address, and the dispatcher assured her a squad car was on the way. Right. With an ETA of ten minutes past the time of her murder, no doubt.