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."I will not demand what I have no right to, Diana.You have already given me more than I can repay.I will understand if you tell me no."When she didn't reply immediately, his face fell a little.With a resigned sigh, he lifted her hand to his lips."Go to your rest, mademoi—"She turned her hand in his so that his kiss fell upon her palm and not on the back, and she cupped her hand around his cheek to raise his face to meet her eyes just as he had done with her, earlier this evening."As easily as that?" she asked, wonderingly."You go back to loneliness as easily as that?""I have," he said, fixing his dark eyes on hers, and covering the hand on his cheek with his, "had a great deal of practice.""You make me ashamed of myself.""Why?" he asked simply."What is there to be ashamed of?""I've been doing a great deal of feeling sorry for myself," she pointed out.She freed her hand from his, and took it into both of hers, marveling at the long, graceful fingers, the strength that was in it."You have had reason.""Maybe." She bent her head a bit, and her hair fell into her eyes again."Gods.I must look like a three-day-old corpse.""You look—"The tremulous tone of his voice made her glance sharply up at him, and she held her breath.She hadn't seen a man look at her like that since—since Dave.No, not even Dave.There had always been desire in Dave's eyes—but never the warmth of humor, and never, never, the respect and admiration she saw in André's."You are—very attractive to me.Will you consider me as a friend, Diana?"She felt herself smiling."I thought you already were a friend, André."He reached out and traced the line of her cheekbone with one gentle fingertip."Do you have any fears of me?"She shook her head, and let the couch take her into his arms."No.Not anymore.Just two questions.""Ask.""The first—I was under the impression that getting bitten too many times makes you a vampire."He nodded."A good question.The answer is, not.M'sieur Stoker was correct in that, at least.I could kill you, but I could not make you one of us by feeding.For that, there must be the blood bond—the exchange of blood.Which we have not, and could not, without your consent and cooperation."She sighed."Okay, I'll accept that.Now the second.Can a friend offer you a—drink? Maybe a little more than a drink?"He laughed, and kissed her eyes.***It was six when she went to her own bed.Since she knew Bob would be awake already, she called him and told him that she had spent a hell of a night—the truth, after all—and that she wouldn't be opening the shop."That's okay, Di," he said."I got some vacation days coming—I'll tell you what, make tomorrow your last day, take your pay out of the safe, and go back to book writing.If Annie isn't ready for work, I'll take it for a week.Annie said she thought you were sounding stretched a bit thin."She sighed."Annie was right." Some of her mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion must have leaked over in her voice; he queried her sharply, recommended a dozen vitamins, and told her in no uncertain terms to get herself into her bed.She did; and woke about two.She had expected to feel depleted; instead, she felt relatively alert, and a great deal easier in her mind and heart than she had in years.Certainly easy enough to get back to the perils of her heroine, and let the problem of the man called Hidoro stew in the back of her mind.She noted with a half-smile that André had repaired the mess that the two of them had made of the couch last night.That little nip of his had quickly led to other things.A neat fellow, not a slob like Dave was.If I have to have a vampire in my living room, it's nice to have one willing to pick up after both of us.I wish I could figure out what to do about The Problem.Gods; killer psivamps and a soul-eater—it's like the worst nightmare I ever had.Jeans and a leotard were the order of the day, seeing as she had no intentions of going anywhere but her living room.While she showered, she mulled things over.If what André says is true, the psivamps are at least as vulnerable to sunlight as he is.Did he say anything about them getting burned, though? I don't think so— that means it must be visual sensitivity.Okay, that gives us a weapon.If my shield-glow gets him, it'll keep them blinded, too.They can't jump me if they can't look at me.Hmm.She thought about that for a moment.I would bet that my shields will keep them off my head, too.So all I have to worry about is that enhanced physical strength.I'm martial-arts trained.They aren't.That may work against them, if they're counting on simple strength.I won't make the mistake of attacking first the way I did with André.She was ravenous—not surprisingly.That was twice in twenty-four hours she'd "donated," and though André hadn't taken much, it was enough for her to feel some aftereffect.After an enormous sandwich, she felt much more inclined to deal with work.She took her place behind her typewriter, turned on the radio, and resolutely turned off the rest of the world for a few hours.It was time for Captain Sommers to rescue himself from his exile on a desert island.When the telephone shrilled at her, just past four, it broke a concentration that was so intense that she jumped and squeaked, her heart pounding.Who on earth—She picked up the receiver.The voice on the other end was very familiar."Hi, Morrie," she said wearily.She listened with half her concentration while Morrie danced around the question he wanted to ask."No, Morrie.I really can't give you a firm turn-in date right now."She stared out the window at the darkening sky until he slowed down again."Well, my life just got a lot more complicated.Like with your nephew and the dybbuk.Only more so."Silence.Then, as she had known was inevitable, Morrie got excited.When Morrie became excited, half of his words were Yiddish and the other half mostly unintelligible.Only working with him as long as she had enabled her to understand him.He produced a choked-off phrase that only experience enabled her to interpret.She bit back a smile.I can't resist this."Well, for one thing, there's a vampire on my living-room couch."A squawk.Poor Morrie.He wasn't ready for that one."Calm down, Morrie, this one is on the side of—you should excuse the phrase—the angels.A good guy."Another squawk.Well, what do you expect? You knew about me when you took me as a client."How did I get tied up with Itzaak? These things just happen to me, Morrie."A whisper, in which she caught one word.She softened.Morrie, I never knew you cared."Morrie, you're a sweet man, but I don't think your rabbi could help.This one's a Catholic.I think.As Catholic as a vampire can get, anyway."A gurgle.Now we come to it.She sighed."Look, Morrie, I promise I will do my very best not to die and leave you with a half-finished novel on your hands."Morrie did not sound mollified.Di made a few more soothing noises, and finally got him to hang up, She went back to work, only to be interrupted a half hour later by someone buzzing her apartment from the foyer.Now what?She went down to the foyer herself, not trusting anything at the moment.If Jeffries had tracked André here—But it was only a messenger from Morrie's office.She half expected some kind of written remonstrance from Morrie—but the boy had brought only a large white paper sack from the deli on the first floor of Morrie's office building.Now what on earth? she thought, thoroughly puzzled now [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]