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“I say we go right now,” the old woman insisted.

“Grandmama, the vampire would eat us,” Sergio said in a harsh whisper.

“Amaliya could be dead by morning,” his grandmother hissed right back.

“Yeah, what she said. They could be dead by morning,” Samantha said with a pout. “We should go now. ”

Jeff laid down the menu and turned to Samantha. “Do you trust me?” It was a gamble, but he hoped she'd answer yes.

Her bottom lip quivered a little and she looked at him with wide eyes. “Kinda. Maybe. ”

“Okay. ” He tried another tactic. “Who's the experienced vampire hunter?”

“You are. ”

“Okay. We go in the morning. ” His voice was very firm and everyone at the table looked a little startled by his tone. To his surprise, they nodded slowly in agreement and seemed a little more respectful in their gaze as he signaled for the waitress. “We eat. Then we plan. ”

“Can't we plan now?” the old woman said, and he made a mental note to f

ind out her name.

“Nope. We eat first. Plan later. ” Again his tone was strong and no one argued. He caught Samantha staring at him with consternation and smiled at her slightly. “Hey, the blood and gore can wait. They got good gingerbread pancakes. Possible last meal and all that. ”

She pouted at him but turned her gaze back to the menu.

The stealthy looks in his direction were somewhat comforting and for the first time, he felt like a true leader.

Now, if he could only figure out how to keep them alive.

Chapter Twenty-One

The Lexus RX, Cian’s luxury SUV, wove its way down the road through the Texas Hill Country. Inside, Cian drove as Heather sat behind him and held him at gunpoint. The barrel of the gun pressed against his skull just behind his ear made Amaliya wince. She was sure she could snatch the gun away from the zombie girl. But she wasn't so sure that the gun wouldn't go off and kill Cian before she had a firm grip on the weapon. Amaliya wasn't willing to take that chance.

Turning her gaze back to the black road sliding by under the harsh glare of the headlights, she set her boot heels against the dashboard. Crossing her arms, she set her jaw and thought of all the wonderful things she would do to The Summoner. She had a wonderful idea of ripping his balls off and stuffing them up his ass.

“That's a truly evil smile,” Cian said suddenly.

She looked at him and smirked.

Despite the muzzle pressed against his head, Cian grinned back at her as if he could read her thoughts.

His smile made her heart pulse in her chest and a nice little throb started between her thighs.

Shit, she thought, I really like him.

Heather sat behind Cian, one arm wrapped firmly around the headrest of his chair as she held the gun against his flesh. At one point he had taken a turn rather quickly, but Heather had managed to keep her balance. This had resulted in her slamming the grip of the gun against his skull hard enough to crack it. Blood was pooled around his neckline, but he had healed. It had been a good try, but Heather was more The Summoner now than she was herself. He was possessing her from afar and her actions clearly projected this.

“Hey,” Amaliya said to Heather and the girl's eyes didn't even glance toward her.

“She's not really in there,” Cian said in a low voice.

“I'm so going to kick his ass,” Amaliya answered.

Cian's hazel eyes flicked toward her and again she felt her heart stutter as his dark lashes framed those beautiful orbs. “I would more than enjoy seeing you do that. ”

“I'm going to kill him,” Amaliya said firmly.

She was pissed and beyond fear. At least beyond fear for herself. She was sick and tired of being beaten up, bled out and killed. First The Summoner, then Rob, then Roberto and finally Santos. She was seriously sick and tired of being the one thrown around. Yeah, she got the best of Rob the first time, but the second time, the zombified asshole had nearly killed her.