Home > Vampires Are Forever (Argeneau #8)(13)

Vampires Are Forever (Argeneau #8)(13)
Author: Lynsay Sands

Blinking, Inez suddenly whirled away and hurried into her room to retrieve her purse. Digging inside, she pulled out her cell phone and punched the speed-dial number to call the office. Her call was answered on the second ring and she immediately asked to speak to Wyatt.

"Ms. Urso," his secretary said with surprise, obviously recognizing her voice, "I thought you had flown to Amsterdam to help Mr. Argeneau's cousin."

"Yes, I did and I'm calling from there," she said calmly. "Is Wyatt in?"

"Yes, of course. Just one moment."

Inez paced the length of her room as she waited, her footsteps slowing when she heard the click of the phone being answered on the other end.

"Inez. How is Amsterdam?" Wyatt Kenric, Inez's direct supervisor, asked jovially.

"Fine, fine," Inez said and shook her head, finding it hard to believe the good-tempered man was an immortal...and that she'd worked with him so long without realizing it. She should have realized there was something fishy. He worked evenings, leaving her to run things during the day. How many company presidents did that? Sighing, she pushed the question aside and dove right in, saying, "Look, Wyatt, we got a delivery of blood here at the hotel, but I think there might be something wrong with it. What does S.E.C. stand for under the blood type?"

The sudden silence on the line didn't surprise her. She'd expected as much and now forced a light laugh and said, "Oh, I'm sorry. Of course, you don't know. I'm Thomas's lifemate. He's explained about Atlantis and everything."

Inez actually heard his breath whoosh out over the line. He sounded both relieved and startled as he said, "Really?"

"Yes. He couldn't read or control me. In fact, they almost called you in to wipe a memory from my mind, but then Thomas explained everything and...well...here we are in Amsterdam."

"Well, congratulations, Inez. I'm happy for you. Tell Thomas I'm happy for him too," Wyatt said.

"I will. He's in the shower at the moment. Actually, that's why I called you rather than bother him. I was hoping to have this all cleared up before he got out."

"Oh, yes, the blood delivery," he murmured, sounding a little less jovial. "S.E.C. you say?"

"Yes," Inez murmured. "I don't really know enough yet to know if that should be there or not. It might be perfectly all right, but the other blood he had didn't have that on it, and it's in bright red letters, so I wondered..."

"You did right to wonder," Wyatt said seriously. "S.E.C. stands for Sweet Ecstasy Concentrate. You don't want him drinking even one bag of Sweet Ecstasy, at least not in the concentrated form."

"Sweet Ecstasy," Inez repeated, hoping she sounded as if she'd never heard the term before. "What is that? Would it hurt him?"

"Sweet Ecstasy is the immortal version of a Viagara/ Spanish fly mix," he explained. "It's blood full of oxytocin, dopamine, norepinephrine, phenylethylamine, and various other hormones and pheromones. The donor blood has been dehydrated, removing at least half the liquid so that it's a concentrated chemical mix. It's then used to make Sweet Ecstasy drinks, where the concentrated blood is combined with a sweet soda as a mixer and served in a glass. One bag of the concentrate is used to make several drinks, at least four, sometimes six if the owner of the club is cheap. If Thomas drank a straight bag of the concentrate it would be the equivalent of four to six drinks of the cocktail."

"I see," Inez said quietly.

Wyatt gave a chuckle. "It's a good thing you noticed the S.E.C. before he had any. If he'd just slapped a bag to his mouth without checking you'd have your hands full."

"My hands full," she echoed, wondering what that euphemism meant. Was Thomas suddenly going to turn into some kind of ravening, horn-dog vampire, dry humping every piece of furniture in the suite? Or did problem mean-?

"I'll call the Amsterdam office and have someone rush over some proper blood for Thomas," Wyatt assured her. "With any luck they'll have it there before he gets out of the shower."

"No, that's all right, Wyatt," she said in a panic. "I don't want to trouble you. I'll take care of it. Just give me the number and I'll call right away."

"Don't be silly. I'll handle it. It won't take me a minute to call."

Inez bit her lip. She hadn't foreseen this possibility, but should have. She thought frantically for a minute, and then said, "Oh, hang on Wyatt, there's someone at the door."

Inez pressed the phone to her chest and paced her room once, then twice, then lifted it to her ear and gave a laugh. "It seems I called you for nothing. That was the A.B.B. guy. Apparently he realized his mistake. We got the cooler meant for some place called the Night Club?"

"Ah," Wyatt said slowly.

Perhaps it was her paranoia, but Inez was positive she heard suspicion in his voice. The funny thing was she hadn't really lied about anything. Everything she'd said had happened, just not in the time range she'd claimed. Now she felt like she had to give him some kind of verification that she was telling the truth.

"Yes," Inez continued, hoping her voice didn't sound as stilted as it seemed to her. She had always been a rotten liar and felt like she was lying now, even if she wasn't really, well sort of not really. "He's replaced the blood, but I promised him I'd call and make sure he wasn't in trouble for the mistake. He didn't say who his boss was, though. Do you know?"

"Yes, yes, I'll take care of that for you."

"Thank you Wyatt," she said, relaxing. He'd call, find out everything she'd said was true, and take care of her promise to keep the delivery guy out of trouble too.

"It's not a problem, Inez. I know you two are busy trying to locate Marguerite. This will leave you free to do that. Good luck with that by the way. Marguerite's a fine woman and I know Thomas is very fond of her. I hope you find her safe and sound."

"So do I, Wyatt," she said solemnly.

"Right. Well, I'll get off here and take care of that other matter for you," he said, then hesitated briefly before asking tentatively, "Will you be returning to work once you've found her?"

"Of course," Inez said at once, startled that he'd even ask the question.

"Good, good," Wyatt said at once. "I just worried that...well, Thomas lives in Canada and...Never mind. Good luck on your hunt. I'll see you when you get back."

There was a click as he hung up and Inez flipped her cell phone closed, but then just stood there staring at it, Wyatt's words ringing in her ears.

Thomas lives in Canada and...

That hadn't occurred to her. This lifemate business had seemed so perfect with the complete lack of a necessity to bother with awkward first dates and everything else, but it didn't resolve issues such as the two of them living in separate countries.

Surely, that wasn't really an issue though, Inez thought with a frown. She had a career here in the U.K. She was a vice president with an excellent salary and wonderful prospects while he just delivered blood in Canada and doodled music on a notepad.

No, it wouldn't be an issue, Inez decided with a faint smile at herself for thinking even for a minute that it might be. Thomas wouldn't have any problem moving here to be with her. Everything would be fine. She was just borrowing trouble in her usual manner, spotting possible problems before they could become problems.

Shaking her head, Inez slid her cell phone into her purse and started out of the room, coming to a halt in the hall when she heard the muffled sound of a door closing in Thomas's room. Not the soft thud of the bathroom door closing, but a suction type sound, the insulation around the door to the hall had made when it opened and closed.

Frowning, she moved to his door and pressed her ear to it, disturbed by the silence beyond the wooden panel. The shower was now silent and Inez didn't hear him moving around or anything.

Biting her lip, she knocked lightly at the door. "Thomas?"

Inez waited a moment, but when she got no answer, opened the door and peered into the room. The lights were off. She flipped them on, her gaze moving over the empty bed and to the dark and equally empty bathroom.

Cursing, she started toward the door leading out into the hotel hall, but then realized she didn't have her purse and hurried back to her room to collect it knowing she might need her pass and the key to the hotel suite. She hurried out into the hall through her own door then, pausing abruptly when she saw the elevator doors closing.

"Damn," Inez muttered, sure that by the time another elevator arrived he'd be exiting the lobby and lost in the crowds out on the street. She didn't know her way around Amsterdam and even if she did, had no idea where he was going.

That thought sent her back to the hotel room door. She used the card key she'd received when they'd checked in and rushed inside, heading straight for the table in the living room and the notepad on it. A smile claimed her lips when she spotted the bold writing on it. He hadn't taken the note. A quick glance told her they were the latest coordinates for Marguerite's phone and no doubt where he was heading.

Inez ripped the top page off the pad and whirled away to rush for the door. She'd need a map of Amsterdam before she could find the spot, but she would find it and then she'd find Thomas.

He'd probably be annoyed that she'd come after him, but if he was going to be her lifemate, he might as well know right now that she didn't like to share. She wasn't going to leave the foolish man wandering around alone megadosed on Immortal Spanish fly. Especially not in Amsterdam.

Chapter Six

Thomas tapped his fingers impatiently against his leg as he waited for the tram. He could have walked the distance from the hotel to the city center easily, but the tram would be faster, and the faster he got there the better.

He'd hoped that once he was out of the hotel and away from Inez some of the need coursing through his body would ease, but it wasn't working out quite that way. It was a struggle for him not to turn around and march the twenty feet back to the hotel and back up to their suite. The only thing stopping him was his worry for his aunt and the knowledge that if he did march back in, he wasn't likely to stop marching until he reached Inez. And then he would probably still keep moving, just taking her with him, stripping away every bit of clothing she wore as he went. If they reached a bed or some other soft surface before he had her na**d, she would be lucky, because the moment he had them both free of their binding clothes he was likely to crawl all over and inside her body.

Thomas knew he wouldn't be able to help himself. He was now sporting a killer erection and one that wasn't going away anytime soon. He'd never experienced need like this before. He'd thought the hunger was irresistible when he'd gone too long without blood, but in comparison, the effects of the Sweet Ecstasy were devastating. He felt like he was dancing on the edge of a knife, need lancing through him in pulsating waves.

His gaze slid around the few people near him waiting for the tram, gliding over one woman then another, noting their interested smiles with complete indifference. Horny as the Sweet Ecstasy was making him, Thomas knew they couldn't slake his thirst, it was Inez he wanted. Sweet Inez with her full, pouty lips, her curved body, and all her passion. He wanted her na**d beneath him, her warm body embracing his, her need as hot and unbearable as his own.

Of course, she wasn't likely to have any need for him at all yet, let alone one as unbearable as what he was suffering. She hadn't had any Sweet Ecstasy. If anything, the woman was more likely to be screaming blue, bloody murder...or to be more literal, rape, as he bore her down to the carpet in their suite.

Grimacing, Thomas glanced up the road, relieved to see the tram coming. The further he got away from Inez and temptation, the better. When the tram stopped, he allowed the others to board before him, then retrieved his pass and followed. Despite the hour, the tram was busy. Tourists traveled around the city at all hours of the night, enjoying the pleasures on offer like naughty children who unexpectedly found themselves free of parental supervision for a weekend.

Thomas glanced over the seats still available as he slid his pass back into his pocket, then moved toward a pair of empty seats near the middle of the tram. He dropped into the aisle seat to discourage anyone from deciding to join him. They would have to be a bold person indeed, since they'd have to crawl over him to get to the window seat. Just to ensure none of the women smiling so prettily at him felt a sudden desire to do so, Thomas crossed his arms over his chest and glared around briefly, before turning his gaze out the window to wait for the tram to move.

It didn't leave the stop right away, but sat idling for a couple of moments. Thomas had just noticed this and glanced to the front of the tram when the driver opened the doors again. Realizing he must have been waiting for someone running for the tram, Thomas turned his attention back to the window, mentally reviewing the map he'd purchased in the hotel lobby. Marguerite's cell phone had last been tracked to the heart of the oldest part of Amsterdam, De Wallen. It was also known as Walletjes ("little walls") or Rosse Buurt...the Red Light District.

Thomas couldn't imagine what Marguerite would be doing there. Not that it was what one would expect from the title. It wasn't grubby or seedy. All in all it was a rather unique neighborhood with rows of buildings on either side of the canals. Bridges crossed the canal at intervals, and walkways ran along each side, lined with bars and night clubs along with sex shows and the infamous red-lit windows displaying scantily clad women inside. Most people would be surprised at how clean and attractive it all was.

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