But they might still be in the building. He unlocked the door, ran into the hall, and crashed into Phineas. He grabbed him by the shoulders. "Thank God ye're still here."
Phineas was shaking. "Oh my God, man, I think I killed her."
Phineas's face crumpled. "I didn't mean to. She was just so hot. And I lost control. I'm not used to being like this - "
Angus shook him. "What did ye do?"
Tears ran down Phineas's face. "I know it's the number one rule, but I lost control."
"I didn't mean to! God, I'm afraid I killed her."
Angus slammed him against the wall. "Ye killed Emma?"
Angus stared at his new employee as relief washed through him. Phineas hadn't bitten Emma. She wasn't dead. At least, not yet. "Where is Emma? She should be with you."
A door nearby opened. "Woo-hoo, Dr. Phang!" A blonde dressed in a lacy black teddy leaned against the doorframe. "When do I get my turn?"
Angus recognized her as one of the silly mortal women he'd met a few nights ago. Either Lindsey or Tina, he couldn't remember which.
Her eyes widened. "Oh, I remember you. You're the gay Irish guy. If you're still looking for Austin, you're out of luck. There's some kind of foreign princess hiding out in his place."
"Get back inside and shut the door," Angus ordered.
The blonde huffed. "You are so rude. And you're like totally wasting your time with Dr. Phang. He's a ladies' man. In fact, he was so good with Tina, she's still unconscious."
It was all becoming clear to Angus. His new employee had been busy tupping Tina when Emma decided to leave. Angus grabbed him by the shirt and pushed him against the wall. "Ye left yer post."
"I - " Phineas winced. "It was just for a few minutes. Emma was okay with it." He glanced at Austin's apartment. "Ask her. She'll tell you. Everything's cool. Except for Tina. She's looking kinda bad."
Angus stepped closer and gritted his teeth. His fist twisted Phineas's shirt. "Ye left yer post. I've seen soldiers killed for that."
Phineas gulped. "I'm sorry, man. It won't happen again."
"What's up?" Gregori sauntered down the hall toward them.
Angus released Phineas and turned toward Gregori. "Where the hell have ye been? Have ye seen Emma?"
"No, she's with - " Gregori gave Phineas a worried look. "I was parking the car. What happened?"
"Emma is gone." Angus bit out the words.
"What?" Phineas glanced at Austin's apartment. "She was just here a few minutes ago. How'd she get away?"
Angus seized him by the neck. "She got away because ye left yer post!"
Angus released Phineas and took a deep breath. "I'll deal with this later. I have to find her. She's headed to Hudson River Park."
"Great! You know where she's going." Gregori gave him an encouraging smile. "It'll be fine. I'll drive you."
"Nay. I'll call her and teleport." Angus reached in his sporran for his cell phone. "Gregori, I need ye to clean up the mess Phineas made." He glared at his rookie employee.
Phineas winced and rubbed his throat. "I'm really sorry, man. Tina was just so hot. I didn't mean to hurt her."
Gregori frowned at Phineas. "You hurt her? Where is she?"
"In here." Phineas shoved open the door to Tina's apartment.
Lindsey squealed and jumped back. Phineas led Gregori inside while Angus remained in the hall, calling Emma on his cell phone.
"Emma!" Relief flooded him so strongly, he stumbled back a step. "Keep talking. I'll teleport to you."
"Not now," she whispered. "I'm in a taxi."
"I care. I don't want to be in a wreck. I'll call you as soon as I get to the park. Give me your number."
He did. "The devil take it, Emma. I told ye to stay hidden."
"I'll be fine. I'll call you soon." She hung up.
"Robby, I want ye and Jack to go to Hudson River Park, to the area around the heliport."
"What's going on?" Robby asked. "Connor called and said something was wrong, but he dinna know what."
"The Malcontents may have murdered some mortals. Emma's on her way there." Angus gritted his teeth. "Alone."
"We're on our way." Robby rang off.
Cursing some more, Angus strode into Tina's apartment. Lindsey was hovering by a doorway, trembling.
"Excuse me." He slipped past her.
She jumped back with a squeal. "There's blood on her neck!"
Tina was sprawled on the bed. Phineas was tugging a sheet up to her chin.
"Aye." Angus frowned at the twin punctures on her neck. "I can still hear her heart beating."
"You can?" Phineas gazed at Tina, confused.
Angus gave his rookie an irritated look. "Ye have a lot to learn, lad." He turned to Gregori. "Teleport her to Romatech for a transfusion, then bring her back."
"I'm on it," Gregori assured him. "Were you able to reach Emma?"
"Aye - " Angus stopped talking when Lindsey leaped into the room, waving a foot-long, plaster Celtic cross in front of her.
"Begone, you demons!" She aimed the cross at each of them. "Go back to hell where you belong!"
Angus sighed. "And when ye're done," he continued to talk to Gregori, "be sure to erase their memory."
"What?" Lindsey shook her cross like it might be broken. "Why didn't it work? Aren't you guys like vampires or something?"
Gregori motioned for Phineas to pick Tina up. "Let's get going."
"Where are you taking her?" Lindsey dropped the cross and fell to her knees. "Oh my God. You're going to change her into a vampire, too. She'll be young and hot forever." Her face brightened, and she jumped to her feet. "Sign me up!"
Angus shook his head as he left the room. "The vampire world could never survive you two."
The police had cordoned off the entrance to the heliport, so Emma asked the cabbie to drop her off nearby. She wove through the noisy crowd, headed for the nearest police officer. She fished in her tote bag for her ID badge. Her hand grazed her cell phone, and she considered calling Angus, but there were too many people jammed together for him to teleport there safely or unnoticed. She located her ID and showed it to those who remained stubbornly in her way.
"Excuse me. Homeland Security." That usually got people out of the way.
She finally made it to the crime scene tape and a police officer. She flashed her badge and shouted to be heard over the noise. "I need to see the bodies!"
"You'll have to talk to the captain first." The officer pointed at a man in a trench coat about a hundred yards away, next to an ambulance. Two medics were loading a gurney with a body bag.
Emma ducked under the tape and strode toward the captain. She'd gotten about ten yards when another officer yelled at her to stop.
After another fifty yards, she passed by a police car. She narrowed her eyes against the glare of its flashing lights.
A uniformed officer stepped away from the car to block her path. "This is a crime scene."
She lifted her badge. "Homeland - " She gasped when he seized her upper arms.
"This will be a very bad crime scene."
A Russian accent. She'd caught it too late. Stunned, she gazed into Alek's face. The flashing red and yellow lights made his smile look evil.
"Do you like my costume? The officer no longer needs it." He tilted his head toward the car.
It was difficult to see with the strobe lights flashing in her eyes, but Emma spotted a man in the front seat, his head twisted at a bizarre angle. Without warning, she rammed her knee into Alek's groin.
He stumbled back. She aimed a series of punches at his chest, then spun and kicked him in the face.
"Oh my God!" Someone in the crowd shouted. "She's attacking a police officer!"
Emma turned to see two officers running toward her. Her badge - where was it? She'd dropped it when she was punching Alek.
"Looking for this?" Alek jumped to his feet, her ID in his hand. His smile was tinted with blood. He licked the blood from around his mouth, then zoomed away, taking her badge with him.
Emma dove into the crowd and worked her way in the direction Alek had headed. Pier 66. She dug her cell phone out and called Angus.
"About time!" he thundered. "Where are you? Are ye all right?"
"Yes, I'm fine. Let me find a good place." Behind the crowd, she spotted a local news van. She ducked behind it. "Okay, you can come now. The Malcontents are definitely behind these murders. I saw Alek here. In fact, he tried to capture me, but - " She stopped when Angus appeared beside her.
He caught her by the shoulders. "Are ye all right?"
"Yes. I gave Alek a bloody nose, and he ran away."
Angus laughed and pulled her into an embrace. "That's my girl." He leaned back to give her a stern look. "Doona ever frighten me like that again."
"I can take care of myself." She smiled. "But I'm glad you're here."
"Is Alek still in the vicinity?"
"He ran toward Pier 66." Emma dropped her cell phone into her bag and retrieved a handful of stakes. "We need to take care of him. He's killed at least four tonight, including a police officer." She jammed the stakes into her belt.
"Nay. I want ye to stay here. Or better yet, go back home."
"I'm not leaving you." She looped her tote bag around her neck and one shoulder. "If we don't finish off Alek tonight, he'll keep killing."
Angus frowned at her. "Verra well. But first we call backup." He punched in a number. "Robby, we're going after Alek. Pier 66. Hurry." He dropped his phone into his sporran. "Ready?"
Angus led her toward the pier, using cars and Dumpsters for cover. They hurried along the back wall of a warehouse.
Emma cursed silently. How many people did Alek plan on killing tonight?
Angus peered around the corner. "There's a small building on the river's edge. The scream came from behind it."
Emma took a quick look. It was a place that rented Jet Skis. She removed a stake from her belt. "Let's go."
They ran along the side of the warehouse, hugging the shadows, then divided to approach the target. Emma took the southern route and peeked around the corner. A rectangular pier jutted out over the river. There, in the dim moonlight, she could see a woman pinned beneath a man dressed in a police uniform. Alek. The woman lay still on the wooden planks while he rested on top of her and nuzzled her neck.
Angus zoomed toward them and pointed his claymore at Alek's neck. "Release her."
Emma eased onto the pier, looking carefully about. No one else in sight.
"Must I?" Alek asked calmly. He levitated off the body.
Angus glanced at the woman, then stepped back. "Emma, get out of here, quick!"
Emma backed up, reluctant to leave Angus on his own. The woman rose to her feet, unharmed. Her fashionably slashed jeans rested low on her hips. Under her black leather jacket, her red halter top barely covered her breasts. She flipped her long, dark hair over her shoulder and gave Angus a look filled with hate.
This was personal, Emma realized. She turned and gasped when a line of shadowy figures levitated around the pier. Six vampires. They'd been hiding underneath, and now they landed lightly on the wooden railing.
She flexed her fingers around her stake, widened her stance, and bent her knees. A total of eight vampires against her and Angus. If they could just hold out until Robby and Giacomo arrived.
A vampire leaped through the air, his sword drawn. Angus charged, knocked the sword aside with his claymore, spun, and skewered the vampire through the heart. With a scream, the vampire burst into a cloud of dust that drifted down onto the pier.
Two vampires dashed toward Emma. She sidestepped the first one, then turned to kick him in the back. That propelled him forward and made him crash into the building. Continuing her turn, she spun to face the second assailant and met him with her stake in his chest. He turned to dust.
The first vampire recovered quickly and charged. He kicked the stake from her hand. She ignored the pain and pressed forward with a series of punches. He was too quick at dodging for her to land a solid hit. Suddenly she was grabbed from behind. She kicked backward to break the vampire's grasp, then grabbed another stake from her belt. When he seized her again, she rammed the stake into his ribs. Howling, he released her. She swiveled and plunged the stake into his heart. Dust again.