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The big man carried her through the house and finally up a stairway that ended in a massive room. A fireplace dominated the room on one end, which made no sense since San Antonio never had weather that needed one. Hoisted over the back of a leather couch, she was dropped onto it.

Several of the girls from outside wandered in to look at her. Speaking in Spanish, they leaned over and studied her. A few looked disappointed and one said, “Vampiro. ” She realized they had been hoping for a nice meal. Two of the girls were quite fair and she figured they had a lot of European blood. The third looked like a pure indigenous Mexican. She was very tiny, with coal black hair, and strong features. From the way she carried herself, it was obvious she was the one in charge.

“Look, I am just passing through, ”Amaliya said firmly. “I didn't mean to break any rules. ”

The woman leaned over her, her long black hair brushing over Amaliya's skin. It smelled of cinnamon and vanilla. “Mistakes happen. Unfortunately, Santos doesn't like excuses,” the woman said in a husky voice.

Just then a man in black slacks and a white shirt entered the room. He was not very tall, but he carried himself as though he were a man of great power and influence. His hair was dark brown and curly, while his eyes were brown flecked with amber. His skin was dark, yet had a pale undertone. She wondered how old he was. It was obvious he had not been in the sun in a very long time. Waving a hand, he dismissed the women before taking a seat across from her. She assumed this was Santos.

“Habla Espanol?”

Struggling to sit up, she shook her head. “No. Sorry. ”

“What kind of name is Amaliya?” He tossed her driver's license onto the coffee table.

“Russian. But my Mother messed with the spelling a little. ”

“You Mexican?”

“Part. My grandmother. ”

“And you don't speak Spanish?”

She felt a little defensive and finally managed to get upright. “I was raised in East Texas with my Polish family. My Mom was half German, so we weren't, you know, straight up anything. ”

“I see. ” His expression was cold and odd.

She was hunched over lopsided, but he didn't seem to care.

“And why are you in my city?”

“I got ditched here,” she answered. “I was on the way out of town when your guys nabbed me. ”

“Who ditched you?” He was eerily calm and cold.

Amaliya felt hesitant to say Cian's name even though he had her removed from his city. “I'm not sure. ”

Santos moved so fast, she didn't even see him coming at her. Suddenly, she was on the floor and her jaw felt broken. Slowly, calmly, Santos leaned down next to her as she spit blood on his tiled floor.

“Who sent you?” The Master of San Antonio pulled a kerchief from his pocket and began wiping up her blood in a nonchalant manner.

“No one,” she gasped. “No one sent me. ”

This time she saw the blow coming and tried to duck away. He was far faster than she was. He hit her so hard her head smacked into the tiles and the world spun around. Blood began to slide into her eyes as she gripped the floor with her tied hands, and tried to steady herself. The pain was excruciating and she could not concentrate on anything other than it ripping through her.

Numbly, she realized that Santos was still speaking to her. He struck her again before she could determine what he was saying. This time she felt her cheekbone crack and blood bubbled out of her mouth as she gagged.

“Who sent you?”

There was no way she wanted him to hit her again, so she whispered, “The Summoner. ” It was a gamble, but Cian was afraid of the bastard who had made them. Maybe Santos would be also.

Santos calm demeanor disappeared and he drew back from her. Numbly, she noticed he was splashed with her blood. Wiping his hands on his black trousers, he said something sharply in Spanish to the big guy in the yellow shirt waiting nearby. Amaliya was busy spitting up blood when she was heaved up into the air again. This time the big vampire gripped her under her armpit and held her off the ground.

Santos appeared in front of her again. “Who sent you?”

“The Summoner,” she managed to get out.

“Break her arm,” Santos ordered.

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