Was that what he wanted? To see her cry and beg? Sure she was terrified, but she wouldn't give him the pleasure of seeing it. She lifted her chin and glared at him.
"I shall, of course, rape you while I feed on you. It's more insulting to Jean-Luc that way."
Her stomach roiled, and she swallowed hard at the bile rising in her throat. Rape was a lot more insulting to her, but Louie obviously didn't care. She was simply a way to hurt Jean-Luc. She had no other value. Nothing to bargain with.
"I am ravenous now." Louie strolled back to the altar. "I must take the edge off my appetite. I would hate to accidentally kill you too quickly."
A heavy feeling of doom invaded her. She wouldn't be able to reason her way out of this. She tugged at the ropes.
"Come, my dear." Louie lifted a hand toward Sasha.
She ran to him. "Yes, Master."
He led her to the altar and pushed her sleeve up her arm. Heather winced at the sight of puncture wounds.
Sasha reclined on the table, her head close to the candles. Louie leaned over to lick the inside of her wrist.
Heather turned her head away, not wanting to watch. But when she heard a hissing sound, she took a quick peek. She gasped. His fangs were extended, long and sharp. He drove them into Sasha's wrist.
Heather shuddered. She couldn't let him near her. She strained at her ropes, wincing as they chafed and burned her skin. It was now or never. Louie was busy eating, and Billy was just standing there like a zombie.
A loud howling sound permeated the room.
Louie raised his head to listen. Blood dripped from his fangs onto Sasha's pale skin.
Another howl began, long and plaintive. It echoed around the stone walls. Birds, frightened from their nests in the rafters, took flight out the windows.
"We have company." Louie retrieved the pistol from the table and handed it to Billy. "Prepare yourself."
Louie returned to Sasha, lifted her arm, and bit her.
Heather slipped one hand free. Yes! She loosened the ropes on the other hand. She might just manage to escape.
Just then, a large black blur shot through an open window. It landed on the stone floor just a few feet away from Heather. She froze, unable to breathe.
It was a huge, dark wolf with long and shaggy fur. A growl vibrated in its throat.
Billy stepped back, his face pale.
Louie straightened. His fangs retracted, and he released Sasha's arm. It fell limp onto the table. Sasha appeared unconscious.
The wolf turned its massive head to look at Heather. It bared its teeth and growled.
She gasped. Red glowing eyes. White gnashing teeth. Oh God, this was Fidelia's dream of danger.
She could be killed slowly by a vampire, or mauled to death quickly by a huge wolf. Either way, it looked like her time was up.
Jean-Luc jolted awake, coughing as something foreign slid down his throat. Someone was grasping his chin, forcing his mouth open. He shoved the hand away.
"It worked!" a woman's voice shouted.
He tried to sit up, but a wave of dizziness knocked him back. Strong hands caught him. His vision was blurred with a greenish tint. A foul taste tainted his tongue. Mon Dieu, poison. He struggled to get out of bed, but his body wouldn't respond.
"'Tis all right, Jean-Luc." The strong hand moved to his shoulder. "It takes a wee moment to adjust."
He recognized Ian's voice, though the Scotsman's face was still a greenish blur. "What have you done?"
"I gave ye some of the stay-awake drug." Ian showed him the vial of green liquid. "The sun hasna set."
It was still daytime? Jean-Luc's vision cleared, and he noticed Fidelia hovering in the doorway of his bedroom. She was holding Bethany, whose face was streaked with tears. His heart plummeted. His worst fear - something had gone wrong while he'd rested powerless in his death-sleep.
"What happened?" This time his body obeyed his command to move. He slid to the edge of the bed, and realized he was still naked. "Turn the little one away."
Fidelia hugged Bethany, burying the little girl's face in her blouse, and Jean-Luc zoomed into his walk-in closet.
"Tell me what happened," he called out as he ripped the bandage off his right arm. The gunshot wound was gone. With vampire speed, he pulled on some pants and a shirt.
"I woke Ian up," Fidelia confessed. "I knew he had the drug in his purse - "
"Sporran," Ian grumbled.
"And I poured some down his throat," Fidelia continued. "I figured it couldn't hurt, you know. He was already dead. When he woke up, we came here to wake you."
"Where's Heather?" Jean-Luc stuffed his feet into socks and a pair of black boots. His chest constricted when he realized they weren't answering. He ran from the closet. "Where's Heather?"
Bethany started crying.
Fidelia's face crumpled. "Billy took her away. I think he's under Louie's control."
Jean-Luc's heart wrenched. God, no. His worst fear. But at least it was still daytime. Lui would still be dead, so Heather was safe for the moment. He grabbed his belt with the leather scabbard and buckled it around his hips. "How long ago?"
"About ten minutes." Fidelia shook her head. "I didn't know what to do. I wanted to follow them in your car, but I didn't have the keys, and I couldn't leave Bethany here alone, and Ian was dead on the floor - "
"You did right." Jean-Luc selected his best foil and slid it into the scabbard. "Where's Phil?"
"Billy shot him and stuffed him into the trunk of his car."
"All right." Jean-Luc joined Fidelia in the hallway. "Ian, if you have more of that drug, go wake up Robby and Phineas."
"Aye." Ian zoomed past them to the guardroom.
"You have to save her," Fidelia whispered.
"I will." He rested a hand on her shoulder. "You did the right thing."
Fidelia hung her head. "I messed up. I shot at Billy, but I missed."
"I want my mama," Bethany wailed.
"I'll bring her home, chérie. She'll be all right." He wished he could believe that.
Bethany wrapped her arms around his neck. When he realized she wasn't going to let go, he settled her on his right hip, opposite his scabbard.
"Come." He strode down the hall to the cellar kitchen. "You say Billy took her about ten minutes ago?"
"Yes." Fidelia followed.
"How long till sunset?" He turned into the kitchen. It was small, consisting of a fridge, a microwave, a small dishwasher, and a cabinet of glasses.
"I don't know." Fidelia paused in the doorway. "About five minutes, I guess."
"So Billy has given himself fifteen minutes to take her to Lui." Jean-Luc retrieved four bottles of synthetic blood from the fridge. "Lui's hideout could be fairly close." He set Bethany on the counter, so he could unscrew the tops off the bottles.
"I suppose." Fidelia grabbed one of the bottles to help him.
He set all four bottles in the microwave and turned it on. "Did you see which way Billy went?"
"I did!" Bethany raised her hand. "He went down the driveway."
"That's good." Jean-Luc smoothed back her strawberry-blond curls.
"They turned onto the highway, headed south," Fidelia said. "Last night I dreamed about an old stone church. I think that's where he's taking her."
"Where was it?" Jean-Luc removed a bottle from the microwave and guzzled down the warm blood.
"In the countryside." She leaned against the door-jamb, frowning. "It would be south of here." She straightened suddenly. "There's an old Spanish mission down the highway. It's only about ten minutes away."
Robby, Ian, and Phineas gathered around the doorway. They were all dressed and fully armed.
"We have a location." Jean-Luc handed them each a bottle. "A Spanish mission, ten miles south."
"Good." Robby turned to Phineas. "Ye'll stay here with the ladies."
"Oh, come on, man." Phineas grimaced. "I want some real action."
"And ye may get it if Lui comes back here for more victims," Robby muttered. "Ye could get more action here than ye can handle."
"I can do it." Phineas nodded. "Just let me at that sucker. He'll be sorry he ever messed with me."
"Phineas." Robby gave him a stern look. "If he comes here, the first thing ye do is send out a psychic message to us. We can teleport here in a second."