She spotted one high up on the windowsill of the eastern wall. Too high to reach, so she shoved the table underneath.
She ventured a quick look at Angus. "Yes?"
"Ye're perfectly safe for now. I still canna move. And I found the flask ye left me, so I'm full."
Safe for now. How long could he retain his gentlemanly demeanor before primal survival instincts took over? Would he attack her like the ones who had attacked her parents? She hated the thought of being dinner. Still, she didn't blame Angus. He couldn't help it. He was what he was.
"We'll get through this... somehow." She glanced up at the camera. "But I really don't want an audience."
She climbed up on the table and reached between the silver chains to grab the camera. "I bet these chains burned the vampire who put this here."
"Most likely it was mortals who hung all the silver and placed the cameras. The Malcontents have probably taken control of the nearby village, using the mortals for food and labor."
Emma pivoted on the table and examined the sparkling room. "It must have cost a fortune."
"'Tis easy to steal when ye can teleport."
Emma slanted him a wry look. "And you know this how... ?"
He grinned. "My sneaking about is legitimate work for my company."
"Right." She sat and slid to her feet. "With all your powers, you were never tempted to do anything naughty."
His smile faded as his gaze grew more intense. "I have been tempted greatly of late."
Her cheeks grew warm. Time to change the subject. "I know a good place for this camera." She sauntered behind the screen and dropped it into the chamber pot.
She strolled along the northern wall of their cell, searching for another camera. "How old were you when you were transformed?"
She grabbed a silver chain and tugged hard. It held firm. "And you said you were married?"
"Aye. I tried going home after Roman changed me, but my wife couldna accept me. She was afraid of the creature I had become."
Emma glanced at him. "I'm so sorry."
"Are you? I believe ye intend to reject me for the same reason."
Wincing, she turned back to the wall. Time to change the subject again. She spotted a tiny camera over the door. "Were you able to watch your children and grandchildren grow up?" She dragged a chair over to the door.
"I kept an eye on my descendants, trying to protect them, but I could never be there during the day." A pained look haunted his face. "I lost so many at Culloden. And those who survived suffered greatly from the oppression to follow. Many left for America, and I lost track of them."
He closed his eyes briefly. "Nay, the truth is I was weary of watching them suffer. I dinna have the heart to keep up with them any longer."
"I'm so sorry. At least you still have Robby."
"Aye, he'll inherit the company and my castle if I perish."
"Nothing's going to happen to you. We're going to be fine." She stepped up on the chair and ripped the camera off the wall. "You're lucky you still have family."
"Do ye have no one, Emma?"
"A few cousins in Texas, but I hardly know them." She jumped down from the chair and headed toward their primitive bathroom. "My father worked for North Sea Petroleum." She dropped the second camera into the chamber pot. "He was stationed in Houston when he met my mum. My brother and I were born there, so we both had dual citizenship."
She gave him a wry look as she came around the screen. "But I bet you already know all about me from checking out my profile at MI6."
He smiled. "I like hearing it from you. How long did ye live in Texas?"
She scanned the west wall as she talked. "We moved back to England when I was seven. My brother was ten. My dad always liked working abroad, and sometimes he would take Mum with him. My brother and I would stay with Aunt Effie in Scotland."
"And yer aunt had psychic powers, too?"
"Yes. She was my dad's sister. They both had it. She's the one who taught me how to contact Dad over a long distance." No cameras on the west wall. Emma moved to the north wall. "She died four years ago. She left me her cottage by Linlithgow."
Emma sighed. "He died in a motorcycle accident when he was sixteen."
"And then ye saw the deaths of yer parents in yer mind."
She turned to glare at him. "Are you trying to cheer me up? 'Cause you're doing a lousy job of it."
"I'm sorry. I know what it's like to mourn." He extended a hand to her. "Ye're no longer alone."
"You can move?" She walked toward him.
"I have feeling back in my arms, but no' my legs." He reached for her hand and tugged. "I have a few things to say."
She sat beside him. "Yes?"
"See if any of the chains can be torn from the wall. If ye can remove enough of them, I may be able to teleport us out."
"Okay." She started to stand, but he tugged her back down.
"I canna send psychic messages through the silver, but ye can. Doona do it at night, though, for the Malcontents will hear ye and find a way to stop you. Ye'll need to send yer messages during the day while they sleep."
"But the good vampires will be sleeping, too. Who will hear me during the day?"
"I'm hoping ye can reach Austin. He's somewhere in Eastern Europe."
"Okay, I'll try." She started once again to get up, but he held tight to her hand.
"One more thing. Austin's wife was a vampire, but Roman was able to change her back."
Emma nodded. "You mentioned that before. But I gathered you weren't interested in having the procedure done on you."
"Nay, it wouldna work on me. Roman can only do it if he has a sample of the mortal's original DNA, and mine is long lost. He would need a blood sample taken before ye were transformed."
She blinked. "You think I might get transformed?"
"I think we should be prepared for the possibility. If Casimir transforms you, wait till ye can escape, then go to Roman so he can change ye back."
"It won't get that bad. We'll escape before Casimir arrives."
Angus squeezed her hand. "Emma, I have pledged to protect ye from harm, but we're outnumbered. Casimir and his followers are vicious, and I'm no' invincible."
"Nothing will happen to you. I won't let it."
He smiled sadly. "I love yer fierce spirit, lass, but we must be prepared. Let me do this, so I'll have the peace of knowing that ye can be made mortal again if the need arises."
She frowned. "What do you want to do?"
"We need a small sample of yer blood, and ye need to keep it hidden on you. Not me. If I'm killed, everything on me will turn to dust." He raised her arm and pushed back her sleeve. "We should do it now, while I'm no' too hungry. That way, I willna lose control."
"You're going to bite me?"
"Would ye prefer using the spoon on the table? We have nothing sharp here."
She took a deep breath. "Okay, what the heck. Bite me." She gritted her teeth and turned her head.
He snorted. "Emma, I have promised to never harm you. I'm a man of my word."
She turned back to him. "Then how... ?"
"Trust me." He brought her arm up to his mouth and licked the soft underside of her forearm.
Her arm tingled. Pleasantly. Very pleasantly. "How?"
"It needna hurt, lass. Only the evil vampires make it painful, for they enjoy inciting terror more than giving pleasure." He licked her again.
The tingling grew and shimmered up her arm. "Wow," she breathed. "Wicked."
Let me in. His mind spoke to hers.
She relaxed her psychic barrier. Why?
To heighten the pleasure. For both of us. He licked her again. Her whole body tingled.
He placed his mouth over her arm and suckled. She felt her blood rushing through her body as it was drawn down her arm to his lips. Gooseflesh prickled her arms and legs. Her toes curled under. Her hands fisted.
Each time he sucked, the pull inside her grew stronger and deeper. It pulled at her chest, then her stomach, then at the core between her legs.
Something pricked her arm and entered her. She jolted when it mirrored a probing sensation between her legs.
He lifted his head. Blood welled from two small puncture wounds. He grabbed the sheet off the cot. Two tiny droplets of blood ran down her arm toward her wrist.
He wiped them with a corner of the sheet. There. That should be enough.
"I'm still bleeding." More blood trickled from the wounds. Oddly enough, it didn't hurt at all. Her skin had become so sensitive that the trickle of blood felt like the tickling caress of a lover.
I can stop it. He placed his mouth over the wounds and sucked.
"Ah!" Emma squeezed her thighs together. It felt like he was between her legs. With each suck, she felt the tension rising.
Ye taste so good. I knew ye would. He swirled his tongue around the wounds, and her body jolted with spasms.
She collapsed, her head falling onto his thighs.
He let go of her arm and ripped off the corner of the sheet. "Here." He tucked the bloodstained cloth into her pants pocket.
She struggled to catch her breath. "What the hell was that?" She looked at him and was met with red, glowing eyes.
His mouth quirked. The tip of one his fangs showed. "Was it good for you, too?"
She smiled. "Careful, big guy. We don't have any dry cleaners nearby."
When Emma awoke, it was daytime. She lay on the cot for a moment, wondering how she'd gotten there. Her last memory was her lying on the floor, her head in Angus's lap while he stroked her hair and entertained her with tales from his past. He'd talked into the wee hours of the morning, and she must have fallen asleep. He'd straightened the cot and put her to bed.
She sat up and stretched. Sunlight was pouring through the little window in the eastern wall. It left a rectangular block of light on the western wall. She jumped to her feet, suddenly worried there was too much sun in the room. She spotted Angus, lying on the stone floor beneath the table.
"Angus." She ran to him and crouched beneath the table. His face was lifeless, his body still. She touched his cheek and was surprised by how warm it felt. Too much sun? Those damned vampires should have given him a coffin. But of course, they didn't care if he burned. Katya wanted him to suffer.
She hurried to the primitive bathroom. The cameras sat facedown in the chamber pot, and the urine was reddish, tinted with blood. Was that from Angus? She grimaced. This was more than she wanted to know about the vampire world. The wooden tub also had water in it. He must have cleaned up before his death-sleep.
By the time she used the pot, it was almost full. Hopefully, someone would come to empty it. And that would give her a good opportunity for escape.
She moved the screen to the table, curling it around the table to protect Angus from the sun. She retrieved the pillow from the cot and placed it under his head - not that he could feel the difference, but it looked more comfy.
She began reaching out telepathically. Austin, can you hear me? This is Emma. We need your help.
She repeated the message over and over as she methodically examined each wall, testing each silver strand for strength. Every now and then, she found one she could break loose, but never a group together. She doubted Angus could teleport through a six-inch square.
She estimated it was about noon when she heard the bolt scrape. She grabbed a chair and flattened herself against the wall next to the door.
It slowly creaked open. She waited for someone to enter, so she could clobber him. A tray of food was pushed into the room. It scraped along the floor, pushed by a garden hoe. The door started to close.
"Wait!" Emma dropped the chair and jumped in front of the door. "I need to talk to you. The chamber pot needs emptying."
A woman stood at the bottom of the stone steps, holding the garden hoe. The man next to her pointed a hunting rifle at Emma.
She raised her hands. "We'll pay you if you let us go." She motioned toward Angus with her head. "He's a very rich man."
The man and woman gazed at her blankly. Emma translated into Russian, but they didn't seem to understand. She noticed the puncture wounds on their necks. The Malcontents had them on a tight leash. She tried a psychic assault, hoping to break the vampires' control.
The man and woman gasped, then quickly shut the door.
"Wait!" Emma yelled. She heard their footsteps running up the stairs. "What about the chamber pot?
"Shit." She grabbed the tray and settled on the cot. Cold ham and fried potatoes. A jug of water.
Her gaze wandered to the table. She could see Angus's long legs jutting out past the screen. How hungry would he be when he woke up?
She redoubled her efforts to contact Austin. And she kept trying to find a weak spot in the walls. After a few hours, she grew sleepy, so she used the bucket of cold water to take a quick shower. It woke her up, and she kept working.
It was late afternoon when she heard a response.
Austin. She ran to the window as if expecting to see him peer inside. Where are you?
Budapest, Hungary. I heard you and Angus were captured. Any idea where you are?
We think in the Ukraine. Emma sighed. But we're not sure.
Can you describe the place?
She recited all the information Angus had told her. Countryside, forested hills, old stone house, rotting wooden barn. There was a pause. Austin?