"I try not to."
She took another gulp of water. "I don't believe you. You invaded my mind last night."
"I did?" He looked doubtful. "I doona remember that."
"You did." She lifted her chin. "I cannot allow such a threat to continue."
"I threatened you? What did I say?"
"You... you wished me good night."
His mouth curled up. "Och, how insulting of me."
"That's not the point. You entered my mind without my permission."
"I dinna try to. Believe me, ye would know if I tried. Ye'd feel a blast of cold air tunneling between yer eyes. Did ye feel that last night?"
"No. But why should I believe you?"
He frowned. "Verra well. I'll show you."
A swoosh of frigid air blew toward her with enough power to knock her back a step into the footboard. She immediately strengthened her wall of defense, but still, she could feel his presence, swirling about her, seeking entrance, powerful yet restrained. A terrible suspicion crept into her thoughts. If he unleashed his full power, she might not have enough strength to withstand it. "That's enough!"
He tilted his head, studying her. "Did ye feel that last night before I wished ye good night?"
She inhaled deeply and let it out. "No, I didn't." There was no mistaking a true psychic assault from him.
"There's only one explanation. I wasna broadcasting my thoughts, but ye picked them up. Ye're a powerful receiver."
She already knew that. She'd caught her father's last minutes in Moscow, even though she was in Edinburgh. The memory hit her like a punch to the gut. She'd seen her mother murdered through her father's eyes. Heard her father's last words before dying. Avenge us.
Angus stepped toward her. "Are ye all right?"
"I - no." She turned her back to him so he couldn't see the pain in her eyes. She skirted the bed and set the water bottle on the bedside table. Her father's dying words kept echoing in her head. She had to do this. She had to kill Angus MacKay.
She glanced up to see Angus watching her with a confused look. He could probably tell she was upset about something. "I'd like to talk, if you don't mind." She sat on the bed, close to her pillow, and turned to face him. Her robe fell open as she rested one bent leg on the bed in front of her.
His jaw shifted. Heat blazed in his eyes as he approached her. "Are ye trying to get me in yer bed, Miss Wallace?"
Her pulse quickened. "I thought we could talk, maybe get better acquainted."
He paused beside the bed, frowning. "Ye hate vampires with a passion. They murdered yer parents, and ye've been seeking revenge ever since."
"I call it justice." She closed her eyes and rubbed her brow. Shit. She should have known he'd see through this.
"If it helps, I can tell ye that I'm having my operative in Moscow investigate the matter."
She lowered her hand. "You are? You'd do that for me?"
"I want to know who's responsible."
She stood. "Thank you. I have tried and tried to find out, using my resources in MI6, but they don't know about vampires, so there was no information."
"I'll do what I can to help ye find the culprits. I'm hoping once ye've had justice, ye can stop the slaying."
He tilted his head, studying her. "Can ye stop, Emma?"
She sat on the bed. How could she stop when vampires were killing night after night? Didn't the other innocent victims deserve as much justice as her parents?
Angus sat beside her. "Ye have to stop. 'Tis suicidal to keep attacking an enemy who is stronger and faster than ye are."
"I've done all right so far."
"Ye canna catch them by surprise any longer. They'll start hunting for ye in groups. Ye canna survive if several attack ye at once."
She clutched the comforter in her fist. "What if you never find the ones who murdered my parents? You think I should just give up?"
He gave her a stern look. "Aye. Ye must."
Rage simmered inside her. "And I should just let those monsters feed off people? Rape women? Murder the innocent?"
"Leave vampire justice to Vamps like me. I'm much more capable than you."
"You think you're so much tougher than me?" Emma slammed her hands against his shoulders and knocked him back onto the bed. She jumped on him, straddling his lap.
"Emma, what are ye doing?" He started to sit up, but she shoved him down, pinning his shoulders onto the bed.
His mouth curled. "Ye like to be on top? Ye only needed to say so."
She ignored him as she reached under her pillow for the silver handcuffs. They were sideways on the bed, so she couldn't lock his hands over the headboard like she had hoped. No matter.
"Is that silver?" he muttered.
She snapped a handcuff around his wrist. She grabbed his other arm to bring his hands together. Just as she clicked on the second handcuff, she heard him inhale with a hissing breath. A burning smell wrinkled her nose, and she glanced at the first wrist she'd imprisoned. The silver was sizzling against his bare skin, cooking the raw flesh into ugly red welts.
"Oh, I'm sorry." She tugged the sleeve of his duster underneath the handcuff to insulate his wrist. His other wrist was safe, the silver wrapped around his sleeve.
She detected anger and pain in his sharp green eyes, although his voice remained soft and calm. In fact, he seemed very calm for a man who was being restrained. Maybe the silver was sapping his strength like kryptonite.
"I'm no' verra experienced with such games, but shouldna ye be wearing a black leather corset and high-heeled boots? And ye forgot yer whip."
"This is not kinky sex, and you know it."
The corner of his mouth tilted. "It should be. Will ye no' honor a dying man's last wish?"
She snorted and whipped the silver chain from under her pillow.
He smiled slowly. "Yer idea of foreplay is killing me."
Unbelievable. She was getting ready to kill him, and he was amused? She crouched on the floor where his feet were dangling off the bed and wrapped the silver chain around his ankles. With his legs restrained, she stood, her legs straddling his knees. "Still think you're tougher than me?"
With a blur of speed, he sat up, looped his handcuffed wrists around the back of her neck, and pulled her forward. He fell back onto the bed, taking her with him.
Her nose bumped into his hard chest. "Oof." She breathed in the scent of cotton and soap. He smelled good and felt warm.
"Now this is more like it." His hands cradled the back of her head. "'Twould be grand if ye could work yer way down about ten inches."
She jerked her head up, but was stopped by his hands. She could only rest her chin on his chest while she glared at him. "Let go of me."
"Emma." His expression grew serious. "If ye really want to kill me, aim for the heart. Put yer ear to my chest so ye can hear it."
She scowled at him. "You can't have a heartbeat. You're dead."
"No." She caught his arms and pulled them over her head. He didn't struggle. She grabbed the stake from under her pillow and straddled his lap.
"Don't talk to me." She shoved his duster aside so only the thin cotton T-shirt covered his heart. Was it really beating under there? Did it matter? He was a vampire. He'd existed for centuries by feeding off women, controlling them, and using them.
She lifted the stake, ready to plunge downward.
She hesitated, expecting him to do something. Yell at her. Make a grab for the stake. Cover his heart. Invade her mind. Something. He just lay there, watching her with such sadness in his eyes.
She flexed her fingers around the stake. "I have to do this. You're evil."
He frowned. "I have lived a verra long time, lass, and there's one thing I have learned. We are all capable of evil."
She squeezed the stake in her fist. This wasn't evil. It was justice. She focused on the spot above his heart. Her eyes burned. "Are you just going to lie there?"
"Are ye really going to kill me?"
She lifted her eyes to meet his. There was no hatred in them. Only sadness and compassion. "You should hate me."
"How can I? I know too well the pain of grieving. I have outlived every mortal I ever loved."
She lowered her arm and dropped the stake on the bed. "I can't do it. You - you're too human."
She leaned forward and laid her ear against his chest. The rise and fall of his chest was oddly soothing. The pounding of her own heart slowly subsided, and she relaxed against him.
"Ah, Emma." His hands gently stroked her hair. "Can ye hear me?"
The steady beat of his heart thrummed in her ear. "How can this be? I thought you were dead. Or undead."
"My heart beats at night. Blood flows through me so I'm able to think and talk and... function."
She lifted her head and realized with a small shock that his eyes had turned red. She scrambled off him. "Don't get any ideas just because I let you live."
"I could have stopped ye at any time."
"I would have, but I wanted to see if ye would go through with it."
She closed her robe and tied the belt. "And now you're going to gloat because I failed."
"Nay, lass." His eyes glimmered with emotion. "I'm verra happy that ye passed."
She stiffened. "You were testing me?"
He sat up. "I wouldna want to be attracted to a murderer."
"I'm not a murderer. You are."
His eyes narrowed. "I have killed in the past for self-defense, but never for revenge. Unlike you."
He considered himself morally superior? Anger snapped inside her. She stood and slapped him.
"The devil take it, woman. Ye're trying my patience."
"You're trying mine. How dare you judge me? You're the one who's existed for centuries by exploiting people. I should have killed you when I had the chance."
His jaw clenched. "Ye never had a chance." He stretched his hands apart, and with a snap, the chain on the handcuffs broke.
With a small gasp, Emma stepped back. Humiliation seeped into her and increased her anger. Damn him. He could have escaped all along.
He kicked off his shoes, and the chain slipped to the floor. He stood to the side of the chain and lifted his cuffed wrists. "The key?"
She motioned to the key on the bedside table and walked away. Damn him. Arrogant bloodsucker. She strode into the living room, then stood by a window, peering out onto the street.
"Emma." His voice was soft behind her.
He stopped beside her at the window. "I doona want ye feeling like a failure. Personally, I was verra happy ye dinna kill me."
She glanced at his wrists and noted the handcuffs were completely gone. He was wearing his shoes once again. "You could have escaped at any time."
"And missed having ye sit on my lap in yer sexy knickers? Nay, I couldna have left, even with my life in the balance."
Did he really find her that attractive, or was he just humoring her? Probably the latter. She looked out the window. "I want you to stop seeing me."
With a sigh, he leaned against the wall. "And here I was, thinking ye might have grown to like me a wee bit."
She folded her arms across her chest. "I like you enough to make an exception for you and not kill you. But I can't let that stop me from slaying other vampires."
"Lass, how many times do I have to tell ye, ye canna do any more slaying."
"You can't tell me what to do. I expect you to respect my decision and let me live my own life."
"It's none of your damned business!"
"Ye're the most stubborn woman I have ever known."
"I'll take that as a compliment since I'm sure you've known thousands."
His eyes narrowed. "You doona know what ye're up against." He glanced out the window. "Do ye see that building there?"
He was pointing at the tallest building across the street. Emma gasped when his arms suddenly surrounded her. "What are you - "
Everything went black, and she felt a swirling sensation around her. Her feet stumbled onto cold concrete, and she grabbed at his coat to steady herself.
"What?" She looked around. She was no longer in Austin's apartment.
"Look below." Angus stepped to the side.
She peered over the waist-high brick wall. The street was far below, at least fifteen stories. They were on the roof of the building Angus had pointed to. "You teleported us?" she whispered.
His arms enveloped her from behind. Slowly they rose into the air. Their feet cleared the wall.
"This is levitation," he whispered in her ear. "All I have to do is drop you over the wall."
She closed her eyes. "You just want to protect your own kind."
"Those murdering bastards are no' my kind." They dropped back onto the cement roof. "I'm trying to save yer life."