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“And this is your boyfriend?”

“Actually, we’re engaged’. ”

“Cian is getting married to a mortal?” Jeff raised both his eyebrows in disbelief.

“Yeah. So? He loves me!” She gave him a petulant look and crossed her arms defiantly over her breasts.

“Okay, just tell me what you know. ”

“You aren't going to stake him?”

“No. No. But we may have to kill the new vampire,” Jeff answered.

Samantha thought this over carefully and Jeff could see her coming to terms with the thought.

“Okay. I can live with that. ”

“All right. Tell me everything. ”

She did. In her perky, offbeat way, she rattled off the entire story. At times her eyes would flare open with great drama and other times slit with disgust. It was obvious she was upset. It was also very obvious she was certain Amaliya was a threat.

“And then he said her eyes glowed white, just like that Summoner guy! Which to me, says she is totally on the bad guy's side and that she is snowing Cian,” Samantha said at one point.

As he placed all his things in a big plastic bin, Jeff listened to every word she said with a growing sense of dread. The Summoner was well known in the secret societies that deployed vampire hunters across the world. He was legendary and reported dead every few decades only to reappear later on. He was notorious for playing games with people, stalking them for years, before finally destroying them. The Summoner had wiped out all the hunters in France within a matter of days a few years ago. The only reason this was a known fact was because The Summoner sent the dead vampire hunters after their English counterparts.

“When did she show up?”

“Wednesday. ”

“And it's Friday morning. Things changed that fast?”

“The first night, Cian was already being weird. Last night. . . ” She got tears in her eyes. “He went to bed without kissing me goodnight. Plus, he was mad at me. That never happens. Ever. ”

Jeff shoved the plastic lid into place and heard it pop. Standing up, he scratched his side, then sighed. “Okay. So. Cian is changing. Are you sure he's just not, you know. . . um. . . . doing it. . . with this new vamp and you're jealous?”

“He would not do that! It's worse than that. Seriously, she's making him-” She looked startled, her eyes widening even more. “Oh, God, she's making him dangerous. ”

Jeff leaned down and picked up the bin. “Okay. I just needed to make sure. My Dad really adored Cian despite him being a vampire. I don't want to undo what my father established with him. ”

As he knew she would, she fell into step behind him, clutching her bag tightly to her, as he walked out the back gate entrance into the alley parking area. His old Range Rover was parked in the handicap spot and she frowned at him.

“You shouldn't park there just because you are the speaker,” she chided him.

“Fake leg,” Cian answered and leaned down to rap on one of his calves. “A vampire tried to pull me apart to punish my father. ”

“No shit?”

To his surprise, she leaned over and examined his fake foot. “Wow, it looks real. You can even wear flip flops. ”

“You'd be surprised what they do now days,” he answered. He heaved the box into the back seat and turned to her. “Look, what you are telling me is extremely serious just on the basis of the possibility The Summoner is here. That is not a creature to be reckoned with. ”

“Does it hurt?” she blurted out, still staring at his artificial foot.

“Sometimes it itches,” he said with a grin.

“Wow. ”

He touched her shoulder to get her attention. “Listen. I think we need to talk more, but I need to get back to my store. I have a clerk out sick and the other one is off at one. Come by the store at eight. That is when I close the shop and do private consultations. I don't have anything scheduled for tonight. ”