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“Did that bad man get her?” The old woman sounded close to crying.

“What do you know about this bad man?”

The woman didn't answer, but spoke to someone in Spanish. There was a long pause.

“Hello?” It was a male voice this time, with a West Texas accent.

“Yes, who is this?” Jeff felt his confusion mounting. Amaliya was not an ordinary vampire if she had actually visited her own family and not killed them in the madness of the first days.

“Who is this?” The voice was strong and a little belligerent.

Jeff felt his patience waning, but he said calmly. “I am a friend of Cian's fiancée. We came to the apartment looking for him and Amaliya, but they're not here. ”

“Did Sumner get her?” The man's voice was now alarmed.

“You know about The Summoner?” Jeff was flabbergasted.

“Professor Sumner? Yeah. He made her into a vampire. If you know this Key-inn guy then you gotta know they're vampires, right?”

Jeff moved to sit down again, feeling a little overwhelmed. Never in his life had he met such a group of people. Usually, people did not believe in vampires. He could hear the two voices on the other end talking swiftly in Spanish.

“Who is this again?” Jeff finally asked, breaking through the conversation on the other end.

“Sergio, her cousin. Look, my grandmother is frantically worried and we just hit Austin. Can we meet you guys somewhere? We're worried and it sounds like there is a good reason to be. ”

Jeff' liked the lower timber of the man's voice. He sounded competent and strong, like Jeff's father. “Yeah. Let's do that. Why don't we meet at Kerby Lane on South Lamar? Do you know where that is?”

When Sergio told him no, Jeff quickly gave him directions while Samantha paced back and forth in front of him, wringing her hands.

“All right, we'll see you within the hour,” Jeff said, and hung up.

“What is going on?”

“It's Amaliya's grandmother and cousin. They came to Austin to rescue her,” he answered.

This whole situation was growing more and more bizarre and he had no idea how he was going to keep the three of them from running off and doing something crazy. He had no emotional investment in the situation other than making sure Cian continued to honor his father's agreement, but he had to admit to himself, he was growing fond of Samantha. Since last night, he could see that her inner core had been laid bare. Her chirpy self was diminished and he could really see her steel.

“So we're meeting with them?” She fussed with the collar of her pink shirt and looked at him with a very strained expression.

“I don

't think it will hurt. They're here to save her like we're here to save Cian. ” Jeff reached out to her. “Come on. It won't hurt to at least meet with them. ”

With a soft explosion of breath, she shook her head. “This isn't supposed to be happening. It was all okay a few days ago. We were going to be married!”

“I know. Come on, Sam. Really. We can't do anything more here. ”

She looked close to crying, but nodded her head. Reluctantly, she took his offered hand.

Jeff gently led her out of the apartment that was empty and devoid of life and quietly shut the door behind them.


Kerby Lane was quite busy when they arrived. The late dinner crowd was out and they had to wait to get a table. The waitress was just about to lead them to their seats when a tall man and a small Mexican woman came in the door.

“Sergio?” Jeff asked.

“Yes. Yes. ” The man came forward and thrust out his huge hand. “You're Cian's friends?”