"Maybe we can get them on a health code violation," Garrett suggested. "Or tax evasion."
Sean pointed a finger at Emma. "Check on that."
"Yes, sir." She made a note on her legal pad. Maybe Angus was right, and Sean was wasting everyone's time. But if she brought up the subject of Casimir and the prospect of a global vampire war, Sean would wonder where she'd gotten her information. Instead of listening to her, he'd blacklist her like he had Austin.
"All right, dismissed," Sean finally announced. "Off to your assignments." He hurried from the office.
Emma assumed he was headed for his stake-out apartment across the street from Roman's townhouse. Alyssa was still gone, trying to locate covens in nearby towns. Alone in the office, Emma set to work on her assignment. The health department and IRS would be closed for the day, so she prepared some inquiries into Romatech Industries and faxed them to the correct offices. She would have to wait till tomorrow for a response.
She wandered about the office. Tension was building inside her. No doubt she was nervous about spending more time alone with Angus. She gazed out the window at the night sky and wondered what he was doing. Would he come to her apartment again? Would she be able to resist him?
She returned to her desk and checked the police reports from the night before. A few murders, quite a few assault cases, but not a single event in Central Park. Robby and Giacomo were doing a great job. But there had been the incident with Alek and the woman he'd attacked. Emma considered calling the number Phil had given her, just to see what had happened to the poor woman. She was reaching for her cell phone when it jangled.
"Emma, is it safe for ye to talk?"
Her heart stuttered at the sound of Angus's voice. "Yes, I'm alone here. I was just wondering about the woman we found in the park last night. Is she all right?"
"Aye. She was fine when Connor left her at her flat."
"I talked to Phil earlier," Angus continued, "and he says the day was uneventful. Ye were no' followed or watched. We can assume the Malcontents havena figured out yer identity yet."
"Ye should be safe as long as ye stay hidden in Austin's apartment. Doona, under any circumstances, go to Central Park. The Malcontents will be there, looking for you."
"Jack and Robby are there again tonight, keeping it safe." Angus paused. "I was tempted to have them watch ye instead."
"No, no. I'll be fine. Please don't leave the park unguarded." Emma couldn't stand the thought of more innocent people dying.
"All right. Shanna's doctors have arrived, and I'm getting them settled in the townhouse before taking them to Romatech. I can meet ye at Austin's apartment in about an hour."
"Okay." Flashes of last night's bathtub scene rushed through her mind. No wonder she was feeling tense.
"I'm sending Phineas and Gregori to escort ye home. Phineas hasna finished his training, but he can fight well, and I know ye're one hell of a fighter."
"I'll be fine. I'll see you soon." She hung up, realizing how much she liked his worrying over her. It was unnecessary since she could take care of herself, but still, she liked it. Too much. And soon she would be alone with him all night long. How far would she go? Would she take a vampire as her lover?
Shortly afterward, she received a call from first-floor security. Phineas McKinney was waiting for her. She locked up the office. Hopefully, Sean wouldn't mind her leaving work early. If he complained, she was tempted to quit. She could always have her old job back at MI6. Besides, if she lived in London, she might be closer to Angus. She groaned. Why was she making plans for their future? They had no future.
She exited the elevator and halted when she saw Phineas. His hair had been cut. He'd shaved and was wearing clothes identical to the ones Phil had worn earlier. Apparently khaki pants and a navy Polo shirt was the MacKay uniform for those not wearing kilts. Phineas even sported a navy windbreaker with the words mackay security and investigation embossed in small letters on the upper left-hand side.
"Wow, Phineas, I hardly recognized you." She circled him while he grinned and puffed out his chest. "You look so official."
"I am." He flashed his ID badge. "Cool, huh? I'm even going to get a permit to carry a piece." He lowered his voice to a whisper. "With silver bullets."
Emma smiled. "I'm glad you like your new job."
"My mission for the night is to escort you safely home." He saluted the security officer as they left the building.
A black Lexus was waiting by the curb, and Phineas opened the back door for her. She climbed in and was greeted by the driver.
"Hi, I'm Gregori." He twisted in the front seat to face her. With a smile, he extended a hand.
"How do you do?" Emma shook his hand while Phineas climbed into the front passenger seat. She did a double-take on Gregori. Somehow, he looked very familiar.
Gregori grinned. "So you're the hot babe that has Angus all worked up."
"Excuse me?" Emma blinked when recognition struck her. "I know who you are. You were the host on the DVN reality show."
"Yep, that was me." Gregori adjusted his tie. "But tonight, I'm your chauffeur. Where to, sweetie?"
Emma smiled as she gave him the address. "Do you work for Angus?"
He snorted as he pulled out into traffic. "No way. I'm the vice president of marketing over at Romatech. Have you seen the commercials for Roman's Fusion Cuisine? I make those."
"I was headed to SoHo to check on some property we're having made into a Vamp restaurant when Angus asked me to give you and Phineas a ride."
"I see." Emma nodded. A Vamp restaurant? Surely the menu would be a bit limited? But then it was certainly much better than attacking humans.
"Don't worry about your safety," Gregori continued. "I've been taking some karate and fencing lessons. I got sick and tired of Connor acting like I was some kind of wimp."
"I had my first fencing lesson last night," Phineas said. "It was cool." He tuned the radio to some hip-hop music.
Gregori started drumming on the steering wheel in time with the music while Phineas wiggled in his seat.
These were vampires? Emma watched in disbelief. They just seemed so... normal.
Gregori drove by Austin's apartment and surveyed the street in dismay. "I'll never find a place to park." He circled the block.
Emma leaned forward. "There's no need for you to stay if you have business elsewhere. Phineas and I will be fine."
Gregori double-parked, then glanced back at her, frowning. "I'd better stick around until Angus comes. You two go in, and I'll join you as soon as I park this beast."
Emma and Phineas climbed out onto the sidewalk. She looked around, but there was no one watching them. They hurried into the apartment building while Gregori drove slowly away.
In Austin's apartment, Phineas made a big show of examining each room carefully. He checked all the kitchen cabinets and the refrigerator. Emma bit her lip to keep from laughing. Did he think someone was hiding in the fridge or perhaps the cutlery drawer?
"Kitchen is secure," he announced, then jumped into the living room, assuming a karate pose. "Cool, huh? I learned this last night."
"Lovely." Emma entered the secure kitchen to warm up some Chinese food left over from the night before.
Phineas checked under the sofa cushions, then proceeded into the bedroom. Five minutes later, he emerged and pronounced the entire apartment was safe.
"What a relief. Thank you." Emma set her plate of Chinese food on the coffee table in front of the couch.
"I'm going to check the hall." Phineas opened the door. "Lock up after me."
"Okay." Emma flipped the locks, then returned to the couch. She settled down with her Chinese food and turned on the telly. A cop show was winding down, and the perpetrators were getting dragged off to jail. She glanced at the VCR to check the time. Angus would be here soon.
The television show was suddenly interrupted by a late-breaking bulletin from a local news station. Three murdered bodies just discovered in Hudson River Park. Emma sat forward.
The newscaster announced they were cutting to the reporter on the scene by Pier 66. Emma set her plate of food aside as the picture shifted to the park. A crowd of curious onlookers surrounded the female reporter. Lights from parked police cars flashed red and yellow in the night sky.
"The bodies were discovered just moments ago," the reporter shouted into her microphone. "We've heard that their throats were all slashed, but we're waiting for confirmation on that. What is interesting, though, is that all three bodies appear to have been moved. They were discovered nearby on the heliport pad. We can only assume that whoever committed this heinous crime wanted the bodies to be found quickly."
Emma jumped to her feet. It was the Malcontents. She was sure of it. They'd simply moved to another park. Three murders? Shit!
She had to know more. She needed to check the victims herself. Even with slashed throats, she could often detect the bite marks. Of course, she knew to look for them. And the bodies would also be completely drained.
Dammit! Why couldn't those bloody bastards take a pint and go on their way? But no, they had to kill their victims. They enjoyed killing.
She searched her purse for the card Phil had given her, then called the number.
"No. But I wanted to tell you that the Malcontents are killing again. Three bodies were just found at the heliport in Hudson River Park. I'm taking Phineas with me to check it out."
"What? Wait! Angus will want to come with you."
"He can meet us there. I'll be perfectly safe. There are a ton of police there."
"I'll be fine," Emma interrupted. "Just tell Angus where we are." She hung up, then dashed to the front door. She heard voices outside and peeked through the peephole. Oh no! Tina and Lindsey were outside, and they were dragging Phineas toward their apartment. He didn't appear to be struggling.
Emma flipped the locks and opened the door. "Phineas!"
"We have your bodyguard!" Tina announced.
"Dr. Phang." Lindsey tugged him down the hall. "He's so cute."
"Not as badly as we do." Lindsey pulled him inside their apartment.
"Phineas." Emma marched toward them. "This is important."
"Just five minutes." Phineas gave her a pleading look. "That's all I need." He glanced at the two blondes. "Make that ten."
"Phineas!" Emma hit the door with her fist, but only heard giggling on the other side.
Fuming, she strode back to her apartment. She paced about the living room. How long would it take Angus to get here? And since when did she wait on men to protect her? She was a black belt, dammit. She'd killed four Malcontents single-handedly. And there were a bunch of cops on the scene. A reporter was there and a ton of bystanders. Nothing would happen to her.
She grabbed her tote bag of stakes and locked the door behind her. She was not going to cower in her apartment in fear. She would be perfectly safe.
In fact, she almost wished she would see Alek. The bastard needed to die.
The two Vamp doctors had arrived at Roman's townhouse, and as honored guests they both expected some personal attention from the CEO of MacKay Security and Investigation. Angus assured them they would be safe during their stay and introduced them to Connor and his security team. As soon as the doctors were happy with their guest rooms, they wanted a tour of Romatech and the birthing room Roman had prepared for his wife. They were both very excited and honored to be the first doctors to deliver a half-vampire baby, but already they were arguing about procedure. Angus was beginning to think Roman had made a big mistake by sending for two doctors instead of one.
Dr. Schweitzer from Switzerland was very pleased with the birthing room, but Dr. Lee from Houston demanded more equipment be on hand just in case. Roman was busily making a list of everything Dr. Lee wanted when Angus's cell phone rang.
He excused himself and stepped into the hall as he retrieved the phone from his sporran. "Aye?"
"Angus." Ian sounded agitated. "Miss Wallace just called. She and Phineas are going to the heliport at Hudson River Park."
"She thinks the Malcontents have murdered some mortals there."
"The devil take it," Angus muttered. He'd told her not to go out. "Is Gregori with her?"
"I doona know. She called just now," Ian continued quickly. "If ye hurry, ye might be able to stop her."
"I'm on my way." Angus snapped his phone shut.
Connor cracked the door to the birthing room and peeked out. "Is there a problem?"
"Could be. If ye doona hear from me within thirty minutes, send Robby and Giacomo to Hudson River Park."
Connor's words faded as Angus vanished. In a few seconds, he was in Austin's apartment.
"Emma?" He zoomed into the bedroom, checked the bathroom, then ran back into the living room. Bugger. He was too late.