“Keep going through the pictures,” Edward said, as if the others weren’t really there. Ted played well with others; Edward didn’t.
The next picture was worse, as if someone had torn the throat out but didn’t quite know what they were doing, so there was a fang mark left to one side of the meat that had been someone’s throat.
“The vamp is figuring out how strong they are, and what that strength can do to a human body,” I said.
“He’s getting a taste for it,” Edward said.
“Was that supposed to be a pun?” Logan asked, his voice accusatory.
“No,” Edward said, “just accurate. You should try it sometime.”
“Accuracy.” That one word was low and cold with anger. What the hell had Logan done to earn that level of anger from Edward?
“Who the hell are you to come into our city and tell us that we aren’t accurate enough for you?”
“I didn’t say that everyone was inaccurate, Logan, just you.”
“Please, pretty please,” Edward said in a serious voice. He wanted Logan to take a swing at him. What the hell had happened in Ireland to make Edward as Ted fish that hard for a fight? It wasn’t like him to mess around on the job like that. I was the one who usually mouthed off.
I did the only thing I could think of to help; I swiped to the next picture he’d sent me. There was another dainty bite on a neck, but on the opposite side of the same neck was the bigger set of bite marks, not the one that was messy, but the first one that I’d thought had degraded in the tearing-out of throats.
“Does this next victim have two bite marks on it from both of our first vampires?” I asked. No one answered me, so I raised my voice. “Ted, talk to me!”
“Yes, the first two vamps seem to be working together.”
“Did that victim die?”
“No,” Sheridan answered. “He wandered into a hospital because his neck was bleeding, but he couldn’t remember how he got injured.”
“They’re starting to figure out how to work together,” I said.
Logan’s voice was strident. “Some expert you are, Blake. You were wrong about the second vampire. It’s not the one tearing out throats.”
“You’ve got at least three vampires on your hands,” I said.
“Did you hear me, Blake? You were wrong!”
“I heard you, Logan. I’m okay with being wrong if it gets us better information to catch the vampires that are doing this.”
“Two of them haven’t hurt anyone too badly,” Sheridan said.
“Have any of the victims been attacked a second time?”
“No,” Pearson said.
“I told them to put protection details on the earlier victims,” Edward said.
“Did they do it?”
“They’re having a little trouble convincing their bosses to approve the overtime.”
“Jesus, don’t they realize that the vampires can call their one-bite victims out again?”
“I explained it to them.”
“What we have a hard time understanding is, if this is true, then why isn’t America overrun with vampires? If one bite enslaves a person, then you should all be slaves by now. You yourself are engaged to a vampire, Marshal Blake. If it were that easy to be enslaved, I don’t think you would still be trusted as a police officer,” Pearson said.
“If you donate blood willingly without being completely bespelled by the vampire’s gaze, then he can’t enslave your mind and call you at his whim. Done willingly with the minimum of mind tricks, it’s not much more than a hickey or a love bite.”
“Do you donate blood to your fiancé?”
“I’ll answer your question if you’ll answer one of mine about your sex life,” I said.
“I’m not asking about your sex life, Marshal.”
“Yeah, you are.”
Micah squeezed my hand and looked a caution at me. He was right; if I wasn’t careful I’d be telling them more about my love life with Jean-Claude than I’d shared with my friends on the force here. Sometimes avoiding a question reveals more than just answering. I was sort of screwed on this one, very damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
“They call it coffin bait in the States,” Logan said.
“Coffin bait is the equivalent to a badge bunny, someone who will fuck any cop just because they’re a cop. I’m actually only dating one vampire currently, so I don’t qualify as coffin bait.”
“How insulting a term is that considered to be in your country?” Pearson asked.
“He’s basically called me a whore who will let any vampire both fuck me and bleed me, so pretty damned insulting.”
Micah had let go of my hand so he could stand up and start massaging my shoulders through the robe, because I’d suddenly become very tense. Imagine that.
“I’ll apologize on Logan’s behalf and on behalf of all the Dublin Gardai.”
“Gardai?” I made it a question with an uplift of the word.
“That’s what the Irish police call themselves,” Edward said. “Gardai is plural. Garda Síochána, literally Guardians of the Peace. Only between twenty and thirty percent of them are even trained with weapons.”
“No, I’m not.”