"No. You're on your own."
"Good." She pressed the new pad against the wound. "I can do this."
Paramedics rushed in, pushing gurneys.
"Over here!" Roman yelled.
Two paramedics wheeled a gurney over. "We'll take it from here," one of them said.
Roman helped them lift Radinka onto the gurney.
Shanna walked alongside her, holding her hand. "We'll tell Gregori. He'll come see you tonight."
Radinka nodded, her face pale. "Roman, will there be a war? Don't let Gregori fight, please. He's not trained for it."
"She's delirious," a paramedic muttered.
"Don't worry." Roman touched Radinka's shoulder. "I won't let anything happen to him."
"You're a good man, Roman," she whispered. She squeezed Shanna's hand. "Don't let him get away. He needs you."
The paramedics wheeled her away. Police officers arrived. Flashes lit the room as the crime scene investigators snapped pictures.
"Damn." Roman moved back. "I have to leave."
"Why?" Shanna asked.
"I don't think those are digital cameras." Roman grabbed Shanna's hand and headed for the door.
A paramedic stopped beside him. "Sir, you have severe burns. You should come with us."
"No, I'm fine."
"We'll take you in an ambulance. This way."
"I'm not going."
"I'm Dr. Whelan." Shanna smiled at the paramedic. "This man is my patient. I'll look after him. Thank you."
"Fine. Suit yourself." The paramedic rushed off to join the others.
"Thank you." Roman led her out of the cafeteria. "We'll go to the silver room." He opened a door to the stairwell, and they descended the steps. "This is so aggravating. I really want to see what kind of evidence the police uncover, but I don't dare stick around with all those cameras."
"You don't show up in a regular camera?"
"No." Roman opened the door to the basement. They walked down the hallway to the entrance of the silver room.
"I tell you what," Shanna suggested as he punched a number into the keypad. "I'll help clean up your wounds. Then I'll go back upstairs, see what I can find out, and report back to you."
"Okay." He peered into the retinal scanner. "I don't like to leave you unguarded, but I suppose you'd be safe up there with the police." He opened the door and ushered her inside.
She suddenly felt irritated. He was worried about her safety when he totally disregarded his own? "Look, I'm fine. The question is, how are you doing? You're the one with a strange, untested drug in your system."
"It's not untested anymore." He looked around for something to insulate his hands from the silver door.
"I'll get it." She shoved the door shut, flipped the silver locks, and scraped the bar into place. "We still don't know if that formula is completely safe. It sure isn't safe for you to be out during the day. You look awful."
"Why, thank you."
She frowned at the burn on his chest. "You're injured. You'd better have some blood." She marched over to the fridge and pulled out a bottle.
He lifted his eyebrows. "Are you ordering me around?"
"Yes." She put the bottle into the microwave. "Someone has to look after you. You take too many risks."
"People needed my help. Radinka needed us."
Shanna nodded, her eyes misting at the memory. "You're a heroic man," she whispered. And she loved him so much.
"You were very brave, too." Roman stepped toward her.
Her eyes met his. She wanted to wrap her arms around him and never let go.
The microwave dinged, startling her. She removed the bottle of blood. "I don't know if this is warm enough for you."
"It'll be fine." He took a long gulp. "There's other food here in the cabinets if you're hungry."
"I'm all right. We need to take care of your wounds. Finish up that drink, and then take off your clothes."
He smiled. "I'm beginning to like bossy women."
"And get in the shower. We need to clean you up." She strode into the bathroom. No mirrored medicine chest.. That figured. She dug through drawers until she found some antibiotic cream. "Here. Once you're cleaned up, we'll put this on." She straightened and turned.
"Aagh!" She jumped and dropped the tube of ointment.
"You told me to undress." He stood naked in the doorway, sipping from his bottle of blood.
She bent over to retrieve the tube of medicine. Her cheeks flamed with heat. "I didn't expect you to do it so fast. Or to stand in front of me." She approached the doorway. He didn't move. "Excuse me."
He turned slightly to the side so she could squeeze through. Barely. Her cheeks were now on fire. She was all too aware of what her hip was brushing against.
"Enjoy your shower." She strode to the kitchen and began opening cabinets. "I'm hungry."
"So am I." He closed the bathroom door partway.
Soon she could hear the sound of rushing water. Poor guy. Those burns were going to sting. She poured herself a glass of water and drank. She wasn't really hungry, just stressed out. Roman had said she was brave, and she was overcoming her fear of blood. But what about her other fear - the fear that their relationship couldn't work.
She paced across the floor. How many relationships did work? About half? There was never any guarantee. Was she just afraid of losing him? She'd lost Karen. She'd lost her family. Should she ruin her chance for happiness today because she was afraid Roman might leave her years from now? Should she let doubt destroy this beautiful, overpowering feeling inside her?
She loved him with all her heart. And he loved her. The fact that they'd found each other was a miracle. Roman needed her. He'd suffered for hundreds of years. How could she deny him a taste at happiness? She should be delighted to bring him joy, even if it couldn't last forever.
She stopped in the middle of the room, her heart pounding. If she was truly brave, as he believed, she would march right in there and show him how much she loved him.
She went to the kitchen counter and gulped down some water. Well, she had guts. She could do this. She kicked off her shoes. She glanced toward the bed. The comforter was thick and boasted an Oriental design in red and gold. The sheets looked like gold silk, very fancy for a hiding place.
She looked up. A surveillance camera. That had to go. She grabbed Roman's shirt off the floor and climbed onto the bed. After a few tosses, she managed to completely cover the camera. She jumped down from the bed and pulled back the comforter.
Her pulse quickened as she finished undressing. Naked, she eased through the bathroom doorway. Steam obscured her view, but she could still see Roman in the shower stall. His eyes were shut as he rinsed off his shoulder-length black hair. His chest hair was flattened against his wet skin.
The wound sliced across his chest. She wanted to kiss it and make it better. Her gaze lowered. His manhood was relaxed and nestled in the midst of black curls. She wanted to kiss it and make it.. bigger.
She opened the shower door with a click. His eyes opened. She stepped inside, and spray misted her body and hair.
His gaze swept down her body and back to her face. His eyes took on a reddish tint. "Are you sure?"
She slid her arms around his neck. "I'm very sure."
He enveloped her in his arms and planted his mouth on hers. The kiss was wild and hungry. No introductory pecks, no sweet build-up, just passion flaring out of control. He explored her mouth. His hands cupped her bu**ocks to press her against his swelling manhood.
Shanna stroked his tongue with her own. His hair was slick and wet as she pulled his head closer. She broke the kiss and scattered small kisses along the burn mark on his cheek.
He slipped a hand between them and caressed her breast. "You're so beautiful."
"Oh yeah?" Her hand glided down his fiat stomach till her fingers reached the tangle of rough hair. She curled her fingers around him. "I think you're beautiful."
His breath hissed with a swift intake of air. "Oh God." He leaned against the tile wall. "Shanna."
"Yes?" She slid her hand up and down the shaft. He was hard, but the skin was soft and pliant. Especially on the tip.
"I don't know how much of this I can bear."