"You are. I know you love me."
"No! I can't...handle this right now. It's too much." She ran to the door and wrenched it open.
"Heather." He zipped up his pants and dashed into the hallway. She was halfway to the cellar door. "Heather, don't leave the building. It's too dangerous outside."
She stopped and glanced back at him with an incredulous look. "It's dangerous inside. I'm living with a bunch of freaking vampires!"
"We're good Vamps." He walked toward her. "We would never hurt you. We have sworn to protect you. Please, promise me you won't leave."
She gave him a wry look. "I promise. Believe me, I'm trying very hard not to do anything foolish." She turned and strode to the cellar door.
Jean-Luc sighed with relief. She understood that leaving the house would be foolish. Unfortunately, she was also implying that a relationship with him was foolish.
He would just have to change her mind. Somehow, he'd win her back. He'd show her he could be trusted. He'd prove to her that their love was not foolish.
Heather dashed up the stairs to the ground floor. Vampires? How could that be? But why would Jean-Luc lie about something so awful? I know you love me. His words pricked at her. No! She couldn't love a vampire. Vampires were monsters who preyed on the innocent to survive.
She slammed the cellar door behind her and strode down the hallway. Vampires. In Texas. Maybe she should call Immigration. She rushed past the doors to the design studio. Good Lord, her boss was a vampire. And fantastic in bed. She winced and tried to erase that last thought.
I know you love me.
Dammit, she was not going to fall in love with a blood-sucking fiend. A line from an old movie came back to torment her. It required a few sniffles and a thick country accent. I always fall for the wrong kind of man.
Yep, that was her. She'd gone from a control-freak husband to a vampire lover. At least a vampire couldn't control her during the day. He was dead. A giggle escaped her mouth. Good Lord, she was losing her mind.
She halted halfway across the showroom when the door to the security office swung open.
Robby exited and gave her a worried look. "Are ye all right, lass?"
Vampire. She stepped back.
He frowned. "Doona be afraid."
Right. He was just a huge, hulking vampire with a sword on his back, a knife in his sock, and fangs in his mouth. She turned and ran up the grand staircase. As she crossed the catwalk, she noticed him standing in the showroom, watching her.
Dammit, she was not going to be afraid. She was at war with fear. She slipped inside her bedroom.
"I have a pistol pointed at your ass," Fidelia's voice whispered in the dark.
"It's me." Heather locked the door. "We need to talk. Keep your gun handy."
"I don't have my guns in bed. I was just bluffing."
"Get them." Heather fumbled across the room to the bathroom. "And come in here. I don't want to wake Bethany."
A minute later, Fidelia waddled into the room, her purse clutched to her chest.
Heather shut the bathroom door and turned on the light. "We're in big danger."
"I thought so." Fidelia dropped her heavy purse on the marble vanity. Her hair shot out in different directions, and her voluminous hot-pink nightshirt boasted the words Hot Stuff. "The cards have been warning me."
Heather perched on the edge of the bathtub. An unfortunate memory flashed in her mind. Jean-Luc's bathtub had been incredible. And there was room in there for two. She shook the thought away. "I snuck into the cellar to find out what they were hiding."
"Uh-huh." Fidelia lowered the toilet lid, then sat on it. "Was the sex good?"
Heather's jaw dropped. "Excuse me?"
"I'm psychic." Fidelia pointed at her. "And your shirt's on wrong side out."
Heather glanced down, and heat flooded her face. She quickly changed the subject. "I discovered something important. I was right about Jean-Luc being centuries old. He was born in 1485."
Fidelia nodded her head slowly. "That explains a lot. That's a lot of experience. He must have been good in bed."
Heather scoffed. "That is quite beside the point."
"So he was good?"
"Fidelia, his eyes turned red. They were glowing."
Her face paled. "Santa Maria." She crossed herself quickly. "Did you see the white gnashing teeth?"
"No, but he has them. He's a vampire. They're all vampires. Except Phil. And poor Pierre. Even Louie is a vampire."
Fidelia's brown eyes widened. "Are you sure? Did Juan-Luc confess?"
She pressed her hands together, close to her mouth, whispered a prayer in Spanish, then crossed herself again. "I have always sensed there were...others, but I never - " She stiffened. "Did he bite you?"
"No. I never saw his fangs come out." Heather grimaced at the thought of ugly canines jutting from Jean-Luc's beautiful mouth.
Fidelia leaned forward to examine her neck. "You have no marks."
"He didn't bite me," Heather insisted. "He said he was in complete control."
"Control, yes." Fidelia sat back, frowning. "I have heard they would be very good at mind control. He could bite you and then wipe it from your memory."
"I don't think so. Jean-Luc said he doesn't allow any biting in his house. They all drink blood from bottles."
"Really?" Fidelia's dark brows lifted. "Then none of these vampires attacked you?"
"Juan-Luc didn't use mind control to force you to do things against your will?"
Heather shook her head, feeling her cheeks grow warm. He'd made her scream, but she'd done that willingly enough. "I don't think he was controlling me. I was sorta out of control. I yelled at him and slapped him."
"Did he yell back?"
"No." Heather shifted her weight on the edge of the tub. "He asked me not to leave the house. He's...worried about our safety."
Fidelia took a deep breath. "Let me get this straight. He didn't attack you or bite you or control you at all?"
"Then why were you yelling and slapping him?"
"Because they're vampires. Isn't that reason enough?"
Fidelia shrugged. "As far as I can tell, they've tried very hard to make us comfortable, and they're serious about keeping us safe. They lost one of their own today."
"Pierre was mortal."
"He was their comrade, and they were upset by his death. It could have happened to any of them. Or to us. We're all in danger."
Heather sighed. "So you think we should stay here? Unite with these...vampires against the common enemy?"
"Louie's a vampire, no? I say our best protection is more vampires. We should definitely stay here."
Heather nodded. "I agree. But as soon as they kill Louie, we're leaving."
"And what about Juan-Luc? You like him, no?"
"I can't date a man who has survived for centuries by biting women and sucking their blood."
"I bet he gives one hell of a hickey."
"Fidelia! The man is a monster."
She reached for her purse. "You want me to shoot him? I'll kill him tonight."
"No!" Heather jumped to her feet.
Fidelia gave her a knowing look. "You failed that test, chica."
Heather gritted her teeth. "It's not what you think."
"That he's very good in bed?"
She sat with a huff. "It has nothing to do with attraction. I simply abhor violence in general."
"You slapped him."
"I was upset. And I feel kinda bad about it now."
Fidelia leaned forward on her elbows. "When did he confess? Before or after the sex?"
"After." Heather rubbed her brow. She was getting a headache.
"Ah. So that is why you slapped him. The bastard. He took his pleasure from you and satisfied his own needs before telling you the truth."
A dull pain throbbed at Heather's temple. "Actually, he never got - I mean, he spent the whole time pleasuring me."
"Oh!" Fidelia's eyes lit up. "That Juan-Luc. He is muy macho."
Heather sighed. She'd had the biggest orgasm ever. Not that she ever intended to think about it again.
"So he never tried to bite you, and he didn't seek his own pleasure." Fidelia tilted her head, considering. "Then why did he take you to bed?"