About a Vampire (Argeneau #22)(6)


by Lynsay Sands

“Or she could have been bringing them down for the guy working the ovens and dropped them when she saw us,” Anders said now.

Lucian considered that and then nodded slowly. “That’s possible.”

“But she was in her pajamas,” Bricker repeated, unable to get past that fact. The pajamas had been flannel, for God’s sake, and she’d had on fluffy furry slippers too. He’d tossed the offensive items out once he’d got her back to the hotel and stripped her for the turn. No woman of his was wearing pink flannel pajamas and fluffy slippers.

Shaking his head over her apparel, he glanced to Lucian to note that he stood unnaturally still, his head cocked. “What is it?”

“She’s awake,” he announced with a frown.

Bricker was on his feet at once and headed for the door.

“Wait. Bricker! There’s more you need to know,” Lucian growled, but this time Justin didn’t listen. His life mate was awake. He needed to get to her, and not even Lucian Argeneau was stopping him.

Holly opened the door and rushed out only to come to a startled halt when the door opposite opened and a man was suddenly before her in the hall. He appeared so quickly she almost wondered if she’d blanked out for a moment. No one could move that fast.

“Oh, hello. You’re not just awake, you’re up.” The man’s words brought her wide eyes to his face. He sounded surprised, but no more surprised than she was at his words. He acted like they knew each other, but she hadn’t a clue who he was . . . Had she encountered him when she’d come to the hotel? If so, maybe he could tell her what condition she’d been in and who had brought her. That thought uppermost in her mind, she murmured, “I—­Yes.”

Holly then simply stared at him. He was definitely attractive, with dark hair and laughing eyes. He was dressed in black jeans and a black T-­shirt. Copies of the clothes she was wearing, she realized as his eyes dropped down over her borrowed ensemble.

“My clothes don’t quite fit you, do they?” he asked with amusement.

“Your clothes?” she asked with alarm. This was the owner of the room she was presently occupying? And apparently the one across from it too, since he’d just come from there, she reasoned.

“Yeah.” He grinned. “Don’t worry, though. I’ll go out and pick up something more appropriate for you later, after we talk.”

“Oh, no, no that’s not necessary,” Holly squeaked, hustling quickly backward when he began to move toward her. She realized her mistake at once. She had backed farther into the room she’d been trying to exit, allowing him to enter. Now he was between her and the exit. It only got worse when he closed the door. Somehow his presence in the room seemed to make it shrink.

Biting her lip, Holly continued to back up until she bumped into the desk chair. She promptly dropped to sit in it, her gaze skating nervously around the room before returning to him. He’d said he’d get her more appropriate clothes after they talked, but she was less interested in clothes than she was in talking, or at least in getting some answers. Holly had about a million questions floating around in her head right now. Little things like, who was he? How had she got here? Who had removed her clothes? Why had she been naked in the bed? Had she been alone in the bed the entire time she’d been in it? How long had she been in it? Where were her clothes?

They went on from there, but that pretty much covered the main ones she’d like answers to. She peered at him warily, and asked, “Who are you?”

“Oh.” He offered her a crooked smile. “I suppose I should have introduced myself. My name is Justin Bricker.”

“Justin Bricker,” she echoed in a murmur and didn’t recognize the name at all. She was quite sure she’d never heard it before and he didn’t look familiar either.

“How are you feeling?” he asked, stopping next to the desk and eyeing her with concern.

“Fine,” she said automatically, only then pausing to pay attention to her body and see if that was true. It was mostly true. She felt like a dried-­out sponge, but other than that, and a slight headache, she was fine. Was there a reason she shouldn’t be? Like maybe some drugs that had been slipped to her and would explain her memory problem? That thought in mind, she asked warily, “How should I feel?”

For some reason the question made his lips quirk with wry amusement. “Well it’s different for different ­people. Some wake up with a raging headache, probably from dehydration. Others just have a terrible case of dry mouth and otherwise feel better than they did before.”

“Before what?” Holly asked sharply, suspicion rife within her. She did have a slight headache and definite dry mouth.

“Before the turn,” he explained patiently.

“Before the turn?” she echoed with confusion. “Before my turn at what?”

Justin Bricker’s eyes narrowed and he was silent for a minute and then asked, “What exactly do you remember?”

“Of what?” Holly countered, a wary sensation creeping up the back of her neck. There was something about his sudden solemnity that was worrisome.

“What is the last thing you remember?” he asked instead of answering her question.

Holly briefly searched her mind for memories and came up with the same she’d had on first waking. She recalled brushing her teeth before bed, realizing she hadn’t tested her blood yet, going out to the car to look for her purse and the tester in it, and then heading back to the office when she didn’t find either in her car. She was obviously missing the memories between that and landing in a strange man’s hotel room . . . naked in his bed.

“I was headed back to the office to get my purse,” she said quietly.

His eyebrows rose and Holly suspected that meant she was missing a lot of memories, and probably important ones. She always missed the important stuff.

“Do you remember getting to the office?” he asked.

She performed a brief sweep of her memory and then shook her head before asking, “Did I get there?”

“Yes, you got to the office,” Justin assured her and then pursed his lips and shifted before adding, “We think you had papers with you when you came down to the crematorium. Is it possible you found papers you felt needed to be delivered at that hour?”

Holly considered the question and then asked, “Was there a round metal disk attached to the corner?”