"Nay." Angus stood and swung his claymore onto his back. "I made sure she left the park. She willna be killing anyone tonight."

"And tomorrow night?" Connor stepped toward him. "Did ye talk to her? Convince her to stop for good?"

"I'll see her tomorrow." Angus pushed open the kitchen door. "Tell Roman no' to worry. I'll take care of Emma Wallace." He left, leaving the door swinging behind him.

"Wait." Connor slipped through the door on a swing and joined him the foyer. "What kind of person is she? Will she be easy to persuade?"

"Nay, she feels strongly about her work. She's verra stubborn. And proud."

Angus arched a brow. "If ye're saying we're somewhat similar, I've already realized that."

Connor lowered his voice. "Do ye want help?"

"Nay." Angus didn't realize how abrupt his response had been until Connor regarded him with raised eyebrows. He cleared his throat. "I'll handle this on my own."

"I thought our side of the story might be easier for her to believe if she heard it from more than one person."

"Nay." Angus gripped the newel post at the base of the grand staircase. Why this sudden possessiveness when it came to Emma Wallace? Was it due to his pride that he refused to consider her more of a challenge than he could handle? Or was it more? "I'll take care of this. Alone."

Connor inclined his head. "As ye wish."

Angus moved to the center of the staircase spiral where he could see the landing on each floor. It would be faster to teleport to the fifth floor than climb all the stairs.

Angus whipped around to glare at his friend, but Connor just gave him a knowing look. Bugger. Angus switched his gaze back to the fifth-floor landing. "Will Roman mind if I use his office?"

"Nay. Ye plan to do some research on Miss Wallace?"

"Aye. If I can figure out what motivates her to be a slayer, then remove that motivation, then - "

"She would stop slaying," Connor finished the sentence. "A good plan."

"I hope to make her an ally."

Connor stepped toward him, a doubtful look on his face. "That's a far step, from slayer to ally."

"We brought Austin Erickson over to our side."

"But he was never an actual slayer. Miss Wallace has killed our kind four times that we know of. She's a fiercer enemy than Austin ever was."

"Aye, she's a challenge, but make no mistake." Angus lifted his chin. "I willna be defeated."

"Good night." Angus teleported to the fifth floor, then entered Roman's office. While he waited for the computer to boot up, he helped himself to a bottle of synthetic blood from the mini-fridge. Type O, the same blood type as Emma. Some Vamps considered it too bland and common for their tastes, but Angus had always preferred simple meals. He warmed up a glass in the microwave, then removed it, sniffing the fresh, wholesome aroma. Just like Emma. She came from strong stock. Strong enough to sustain a man forever.

He wandered back to the desk, sipping from the glass. By the time he met her tomorrow night, he'd have all the information he needed.

He could hardly wait for the battle to begin.

Emma dropped her bag of stakes on the kitchen counter, then headed to the fridge to look for breakfast. Or supper. Or whatever you called it after working all night long. Her stomach rumbled with hunger as she opened the refrigerator door.

"Brilliant," she muttered as she stared at one tiny container of low-fat yogurt and a bag of wilted lettuce. She'd forgotten to drop by the store on the way home. It was all that Scotsman's fault. Angus. All the way home, she'd wondered about him - was he a vampire or not?

With a sigh, she grabbed the strawberry-flavored yogurt. Was she overreacting? Angus could be just a normal guy. Yeah, right. She ripped the foil top off the yogurt and stuck a spoon in the container. There was nothing normal about Angus. He was clever, handsome, dreamy in every way, but was he alive? She glanced toward her front door. All three deadbolts were locked, and the blinking light indicated the alarm system was on. Still, a vampire could teleport anywhere.

In her tiny SoHo apartment, she was across the kitchen and in her living room in five steps. She left the yogurt on the coffee table and wandered to the window to peer through the blinds. Dawn would be breaking soon, and she would be safe during the day.

The street was empty except for a row of parked cars and a few early risers who had taken out their dogs. The dogs were doing their business around trees while their sleepy masters waited, a cup of coffee in one hand and a plastic doody sack in the other.

Emma closed the blinds and wandered toward her bright red loveseat. Maybe she should get a dog. Then she wouldn't always be alone. It was hard to have any sort of relationship when she had a job she couldn't discuss and secrets she couldn't share. Unfortunately, her slaying activities might no longer be secret. If Angus was a vampire, he'd know exactly what her stakes were for. The next question was - would he spill her secret to other vampires?

She dug his business card from her pocket. It was white, with a clan crest in the upper left-hand corner. The tartan was a blue and green plaid just like the kilt Angus had been wearing. His name was listed under MacKay Security and Investigation, addresses in London and Edinburgh.

MacKay Security and Investigation? That sounded familiar. She opened her laptop on the coffee table, and accessed her files from work. The Stake-Out team logo came on the screen, and she did a search for Angus's company. While she waited, she spooned yogurt into her mouth.

If Angus's company was based in London and Edinburgh, why was he in New York? The search ended. Angus MacKay's company provided security for Romatech Industries.

Emma swallowed hard. This wasn't absolute proof that Angus was a vampire, but it certainly proved he was in league with the enemy. Romatech was owned by the most powerful and rich vampire on the East Coast, Roman Draganesti. Emma's boss, Sean Whelan, had a ton of info on Roman. He was coven master of the East Coast Vampires, inventor and producer of synthetic blood at Romatech, and Sean's son-in-law.

Sean was spending all the Stake-Out team's time and resources in his quest to find and rescue his daughter. Emma disagreed with his primary mission, but didn't argue with the boss. She simply did her job at the office, then went out hunting afterward. Killing vampires should be the primary mission. It was the reason she'd joined the Stake-Out team.

Sean was into collecting information. As far as Emma was concerned, the only info you needed to know was whether the suspect was a vampire. If he was, he needed to die.

She typed in the website address from Angus's business card. The home page for MacKay Security and Investigation came on screen. Beneath the title of the company, in small print, it read "Founded in 1927." At the bottom of the page, it listed the addresses in London and Edinburgh, then warned "Consultation by appointment only." There was an e-mail link.

Emma clicked on it, and the recipient was listed as Home Office. She wrote a short note.

This message is for Angus MacKay. Just wondering if you're dead or alive.

She debated whether to send it. What if he responded? Her pulse quickened at the thought. She clicked on Send. And winced. She shouldn't communicate with the enemy, but then she wasn't sure he was the enemy. His website was no help. It consisted of only one page. Clearly he wasn't offering any information about himself.

She opened her cell phone. With any luck, her old workaholic supervisor at MI6 would still be in the office. He always claimed terrorists didn't take the weekend off, so why should he? She punched in his number. Two rings. Three. She jabbed another spoonful of yogurt in her mouth.

She swallowed quickly. "Brian, this is Emma."

"Emma, love. How are you? Are the Yanks treating you well?"

"Yes. Thank you. I... I was wondering if you knew anything about a company based in London and Edinburgh. It's called MacKay Security and Investigation."

"I'll take a look. Hang on."

Emma ate more yogurt while she waited. What kind of case was Angus working on? He certainly wasn't attempting to work undercover. A man in a kilt with a claymore tended to stand out. It was a wonder half the women in Manhattan weren't following him around drooling. Or praying for a sudden, brisk wind.

Mum had always insisted that Dad wear black unders when wearing his kilt. Dad would then tease her that he'd forgotten, and Mum would drag him into the bedroom to make sure he was properly dressed. The inspection tended to take an hour or more. Emma smiled to herself. She'd been thirteen years old before she'd figured out what was taking them so long.

"MacKay Security and Investigation was founded in 1927 by Angus MacKay the Third. In 1960 the president is listed as Alexander MacKay. Then in 1995 Angus MacKay the Fourth took over."

"I see." So Angus was the son of Alexander and grandson of the founder, Angus the Third. Unless... he was all three? "Are there any photos of them?"

"No. They keep a low profile," Brian continued. "Don't advertise. Can't even find them in a phone book."

"Well, I suppose they've been in business long enough, they have all the clients they need. Here's something interesting... "

"The company performed some secret missions during World War II. Angus the Third was even knighted."

Emma blinked. "Really? I wonder what he did that the armed forces couldn't do."

"Don't know. And it looks like Angus the Fourth has done a few favors for the queen."

"You're kidding. Like what?" There was a pause while Emma could hear her former supervisor grumbling.

Emma stood and paced across her tiny living room. The more she found out about Angus, the more confused she became. He didn't sound like an enemy. "So his company has done top secret missions for our government and the queen."

"Yes, and - bloody hell. Angus MacKay has a clearance rating of nine. That's as high as my own."

And much higher than Emma's rating had ever been. "That's totally unheard of. The man's a civilian."

"I gather it has something to do with those top secret missions. At any rate, he's well trusted. What do you know about him?"

Other than the fact she wanted to undress him? "Not much." She should be greatly relieved to find out he was trustworthy. Good heavens, even the queen trusted him. But dammit, he provided security for the most powerful vampire on the East Coast. Who could protect Roman Draganesti better than another vampire? Chances were great that Angus was a vampire.

She perched on the loveseat. "Do you have a list of his clients?"

"Let's see. He provides security for several members of Parliament, a few bigwigs at the BBC, and a fashion designer in Paris."

Those clients didn't sound like vampires. Could he actually be human? Shit, she still didn't know for sure. "Thank you, Brian. You've been a great help." She pushed the off button and dropped the phone on the loveseat.

She paced about her small living room. How could Angus be a vampire when the queen trusted him? And what kind of services was he providing that an agent from MI5 or MI6 couldn't do? She winced. A vampire could do things a human agent could never do.

Her laptop made a chiming noise to let her know an e-mail had arrived. She rushed to the loveseat and checked the sender. Angus MacKay.

Her heart lurched. She opened the message.

Dear Miss Wallace, my office in London forwarded your note. Please meet me tomorrow night in Central Park at eight P.M., in the same vicinity where we met tonight. I will answer all your questions then.

That was it. Very businesslike. She was... almost disappointed. What had she wanted? More flirtatious banter? She'd enjoyed talking to him earlier before he'd turned dictatorial.

She sat there, frowning at his message. Then she typed

I'll be there. I'll be the one wearing the pants. Don't forget your purse.

She jumped up and paced around the room. What was she doing, joking with an alleged vampire? Did vampires even have a sense of humor? Well, Angus had joked with her in the park.

Her computer chimed. He'd answered? She ran to the loveseat and opened the mail.

I'll leave my sporran at home, if you'll leave your pants.

She gasped. That naughty man! She laughed, then stopped abruptly. He might not be a man. He might be the enemy.

She collapsed back against the cushions. What a stupid thing to do. Flirting with the enemy. Why did he have to be so damned attractive? She needed to get her priorities straight and plan her strategy for the next night. She usually killed vampires by catching them completely off guard. She wouldn't have that advantage with Angus. She would need... a trap. And a way to restrain him.

The jangle of her cell phone startled her. Had Angus found her number? "Hello?"

"Emma, Brian here. I just received an odd report from data security, and I thought you should know."

"Someone accessed the personnel files about ten minutes ago. They had clearance, but they didn't identify themselves, so a flag went up. Before security could break the connection, this person managed to download one file." Brian cleared his throat. "I thought I should warn you."