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“So, we can't go where we are not invited, huh? That explains a lot. My Dad told me to get out and it was like I was shoved out by an invisible force. I couldn't go into my grandmother's house until she asked me in. So it's another stupid vampire myth that is true, huh?”

He could see the pain in her expression as her words poured out of her and he wanted to reach out and comfort her. But he refrained. He knew Samantha was watching them and he didn't want to upset her more than she already was. “Yes, that is true. But we can pass over water,” he said, and pointed toward Town Lake. “It's just that vampire boundaries are often cut up by waterways back in Europe. ”

“I guess that makes sense,”

“Which is amazing when not much in this world does make sense. ”

“Like you and the Barbie?”

Cian stared at her and fought back his anger. She was trying to bait him.

“She's cute,” Amaliya decided. “Kinda perky cute. ”

Cian stared through the glass in the door at his obviously-pissed fiancée. Samantha and Roberto were giving each other the cold shoulder as Samantha fussed with a bouquet of flowers on the dining room table.

“Thanks,” Cian said finally, and went inside.

“Good evening, sir,” Roberto said from the kitchen. He was busy preparing a gourmet meal for himself and looked a little too smug.

“Roberto,” Cian said with a slight warning in his voice. “Is all well in our world?”

“Yes, sir. ” Roberto responded, meaning there were no major troubles with any of the businesses. “How is our little one?”

“Annoying,” Cian answered.

This brought a smile to Samantha's face and she turned toward him, showing off her handiwork with the flowers. “What do you think?”

“Lovely. Like you. ” He leaned over and kissed her cheek. She smelled too good to him and he knew he needed to feed very soon. His teeth were pulsing.

“I thought we could have a night in together. ” She threw a dark look Roberto's way.

“I can't. I'm taking Amaliya out to hunt. ” He touched one of the flowers lightly. The petal began to wilt and he immediately withdrew his hand.

Annoyed, Samantha plucked the petal off and threw it into a paper bag with the rest of the stems and leaves she had trimmed off. “Well, how long is this going to last?”

“Two nights and then she'll be on her own,” Cian said firmly.

“Really?”

“Yes, really. ”

“I don't like her. ”

“I noticed. ”

“You seem different with her here. Less like yourself. I can see it. I even felt it all day today. The sooner she is gone the better it will be,” Samantha said with great conviction.

Cian knew she was right. Amaliya was having an effect on him. Samantha's cheerfulness earlier and her desire to please him with the flowers were annoying him more than amusing him. Usually he loved to hear her chatter on and loved spending time with her. But ever since he had seen her tonight, he had been irritated with her presence.

Impulsively, he hugged her tight and tried to pull that wonderful human part of him out of the depths of his psyche. The part of him she made strong.

With a beautiful, wide smile, she held him close and kissed his cheek. “I love you, sweetie,” she whispered.

“I love you. ” He kissed her lightly on the lips. “But now I need to feed. ”

“Roberto says he's going to fix me dinner, so I'll be here when you get back,” Samantha said with a big grin.

Cian smiled at her lightly and rubbed her cheek, then slipped away from her. When he turned away, his expression grew grim as he realized how disconnected he was beginning to feel.

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