About a Vampire (Argeneau #22)(13)


by Lynsay Sands

Dropping the wallet back in her purse, Holly unfolded the notepaper and read the words scrawled on it.

Holly,

Sorry about the window. Anders didn’t have keys and had to break it to get in. I’ll call and arrange for the repairs.

When you need me, I’ll be here.

Justin

Holly crumpled the note and peered up, then down, the street. There was no sign of Justin. The note said he’d be here, not if she needed him, but when she needed him. And he’d be here? Here where? And who was Anders?

Swallowing, she backed up a ­couple feet, then turned and hurried back into the house. Slamming the door closed, Holly locked it, then stood there for a moment, unsure of what to do. Should she call the police?

And tell them what? That after picking her up when she fell and knocked herself out, and after apparently watching over her for two days and nights until she’d regained consciousness, he’d then had the audacity to return her car and purse?

That last thought made her frown, and Holly moved to the round mirror above a small hall table halfway up the pale yellow hall. She quickly unwound the T-­shirt that covered her greasy hair and then leaned in to examine her scalp in search of the head wound that had knocked her out.

There was nothing. Not even a lump let alone a great gaping wound to explain such a long length of unconsciousness. Straightening, she stared at herself for a moment and then turned and walked upstairs. The main overriding emotion she was experiencing was bewilderment and confusion. She was home safe and sound, but had no idea what had happened. How could she have been unconscious for two days and nights and not have any kind of wound to show for it? Had she hit her head at all? And if not, what had happened? Had she been drugged? If so, how? When? For that matter, where?

These questions rolled around and around her mind as she walked into the upstairs bathroom, turned on the shower, stripped and stepped under the stream of steaming water. How and where could she have been drugged? She had been headed back to the office. She hardly would have changed direction and gone elsewhere dressed in her pajamas as she’d been. She would not have gone to a coffee shop or anywhere where she might have had a drink to be drugged. Heck, she wouldn’t even have run into the corner store in her pajamas. The only reason she’d felt able to go to the office that way was because she’d known nobody would be there and—­Holly froze in the process of shampooing her hair as it finally occurred to her that she had missed two days of work. Her husband may not have noticed that she was missing, but the office certainly would have.

Cursing under her breath, she quickly rinsed the shampoo out of her hair and turned off the water. In the next moment she’d pulled the shower door open, stepped out and snatched up a towel to wrap around herself as she hurried across the hall to the bedroom. There was a telephone on the nearest bedside table and Holly snatched up the receiver to quickly dial the cemetery office. It wasn’t until the answering ser­vice picked up that she recalled that it was past office hours and it would now be closed.

Sighing, Holly set the phone back in its base without leaving a message and stood to return to the bathroom. She’d have to go into the office in the morning and try to clear everything up, she thought as she brushed her teeth. She was actually surprised that they hadn’t called the house to ask why she wasn’t showing up for work. Or maybe, like James, they hadn’t noticed her absence, she thought, rinsing the foamy toothpaste out of her mouth. That didn’t seem likely, but if someone had suggested that James wouldn’t notice if she went missing for two days, she would have laughed at the very thought. Of course he would notice. He was her husband. They lived together. How could he not notice?

Very easily, apparently, because it had completely slipped his attention, she thought grimly as she set her toothbrush on the edge of the sink. That’s when she spied her engagement and wedding rings. She didn’t remember taking them off before showering. She must have taken them off the last time she showered, and forgot to collect them again. She had a habit of doing that. She really needed to get them sized. They were both a bit loose and she worried about losing them down the open tub drain when she showered so took them off before getting in. The problem was she kept forgetting to put them back on afterward, which meant she was ringless almost as often as she wore them.

Ah well, she knew she was married, so supposed it was fine. Holly moved back to the bedroom and dropped to sit on the side of the bed. She just couldn’t believe James hadn’t even noticed she had been missing. If the situation had been reversed, she certainly would have noticed his absence. Wouldn’t she?

Suddenly terribly depressed . . . and exhausted, Holly glanced toward the open bedroom door and the bathroom beyond. She’d left her borrowed clothes on the floor and should really go collect them. She should dress and eat and check her blood too. But all of that seemed like too much effort. She’d just rest first, Holly decided and swung her feet up on the bed as she reclined. A little nap and she’d feel better.

Justin watched until Holly lay down and closed her eyes. He then settled to sit on the roof of the back porch. It was directly outside the bedroom window, resting about three feet below the window ledge. It had given him a perfect view into the room.

Lucian had said he was to watch over her. It would have been easier had Justin been able to read and control her. He could have waited inside then. This way he had to stay outside, on the roof, and hope none of her neighbors noticed. The thought made him glance around at the neighboring houses. Most of the upstairs lights weren’t on yet. It was early enough that the inhabitants were relaxing after dinner, settling in front of the television or curled up with a good book. Most wouldn’t be heading upstairs until bedtime. That was lucky for him. It was mid-­spring. The days were getting longer and the nights starting later which meant that while the sun was setting, the night sky was still light. He would be noticed here if anyone looked.

Justin scanned the houses again, aware that he’d have to keep a sharp eye out until it grew dark, then he would disappear into the shadows. Until then, he probably stuck out like a sore thumb. Movement drew his gaze to the house directly behind Holly’s and he spotted a wide-­eyed teenage girl staring out at him from an upstairs window. He met her gaze, slipping into her thoughts just as she opened her mouth, probably to call out to her parents. A moment later the teenager turned away and went about her business. She wouldn’t recall seeing him. Nor would she look out the window again. He’d seen to that.