Will stopped and scented the air again. There were two vampires nearby; one belonged to the Penton scathe, and one didn’t.
He ignored both vampires and skirted to the back of the street where the burned shell of his house still smelled of smoke and ash after three days. Aligning his position with the oak tree twenty feet behind what was left of his chimney, he paced forty steps into the woods.
A thorny bramble that had been draped over a small, scrubby bush pricked his fingers when he pulled it back. Grasping the trunk of the bush, he eased it from its loose grasp in the soil, exposing the top of a metal box.
The loud click of a cocked pistol preceded the cold press of steel against the back of his head by less than a second.
He inhaled, annoyed. A rookie mistake. He’d gotten so engrossed in his task he’d let someone slip up on him.
* * *
Randa grinned, enjoying the disgusted look on Will’s face. “If I were your father, I’d already have the silver spoon back in your mouth, Willy. He’d have you trussed up like a rodeo calf by now, hauling you back to wherever it is he lives when he’s not terrorizing innocent people.”
Will Ludlam was the kind of guy Randa Thomas had hated as a human, and she didn’t like him a bit more as a vampire. Less, in fact. Not only was he a spoiled rich boy, he was now a virtually immortal spoiled rich boy. He had probably been a blue-chip jock in school with a 4.0 GPA and a string of girls trailing his every step.
Plus, he annoyed the hell out of her. The consummate smartass.
“No, if you were my father, you’d have slit my throat—not enough to kill me, but enough to make sure I couldn’t fight back.” His voice was soft, calm. “Then you’d hand me over to your sadistic, freakshow of a second-in-command Shelton, who would play with me until I couldn’t take it anymore. Only when I was good and broken would you return the silver spoon to my mouth.”
Good God, would any father really do that? Will didn’t sound as if he were joking. Randa relaxed her stance for only a split second before the world tilted and she hit the ground, landing on her back with Will stretched out on top of her in a full body press. And he had her gun.
“Damn it.” She pushed against him but it was like pressing on bedrock.
He propped on his elbows and grinned down at her. His hat had fallen off in the scuffle and the moonlight glinted off his hair, making it look silver instead of a naturally streaked blond. And he had dimples, as if God hadn’t already rewarded him with enough in the looks department.
“And if I were my father, you would be dead. Or worse. Believe me, with Matthias, there’s always much worse. Give up?”
She squirmed again, but froze when she realized he was getting turned on by her movements. There was definitely more of him pressing on her than there had been a few seconds earlier.
He laughed, a white glint of teeth in the moonlight. “Oh, don’t stop moving, sweetheart. This is getting more and more interesting.”
Yeah, she could feel exactly how interested he was getting. She felt a very un-vampirelike flush of heat as he wedged a knee between her legs. Damn it. She clenched her teeth at her body’s betrayal—which he’d be able to sense. She hated being a vampire; there was no sense of privacy. “Get. Off. Me. Now.”
Will lowered his head and, damn him, inhaled deeply, with his face pressed against the side of her neck. Her carotid artery also thumped in a very unvampire-like cadence. She waited for the smartass comments to start.
Instead, he lifted his head and looked her in the eye. She could swear his heartbeat sped up, although it was hard to tell over the pounding of her own. Well, this was awkward.
He blinked and opened his mouth to speak, then closed it again.
Well, that was one good thing. Will had been stricken dumb, at least for a moment. It wouldn’t last.