Home > Zen and the Art of Vampires (Dark Ones #6)(11)

Zen and the Art of Vampires (Dark Ones #6)(11)
Author: Katie MacAlister

He had continued to hold my wrist bearing the moonstone. While it was a lantern, he didn't glance at it, but the second the ghost left, it reverted to the stone, and he clutched my hand even tighter.

To my surprise, rather than release me, he took a few steps into a bluish white pool of light cast by a portable lantern. I gawked when the light revealed him to be one of the two eye-candy twins, the one with short hair. The light hit him only on one side, but the planes of his face were hard and angled, a cleft cutting deep into his chin, his nose narrow, but not straight, as if it had been broken and not set properly. And then there were those lovely eyes, shining from within, beautiful pure teal blue with little spiky black bits that seemed to seep from his pupils. Oh, yes, they were gorgeous eyes... and they were focused on me with a look that had my color rising.

"I know it sounds crazy," I stammered, "but it's true. There really was someone behind you, only you couldn't see him and I could. I think it's because of the moonstone, but that's really neither here nor there. But I've bothered you enough for one night, and clearly you feel the need to go get checked for scabies or something. I mean, I would if some strange guy suddenly swooped down and started kissing me. Not that I have scabies, you understand. I'm perfectly scabies free. In fact, I'm not quite sure what scabies is, although I know if you're not careful you can get it from sexual partners. Oh, lord. I'm babbling. I'm sorry. I do that when I'm nervous, or embarrassed, and wow, am I embarrassed now."

The man stared at me like I had just turned into a tap-dancing llama, complete with top hat and cane.

"Sorry," I said again, making a little gesture of vague apology.

His eyes narrowed as he looked again at my hand.

"I'll just go now," I finished lamely, jerking my hand from his and scurrying away toward the street, my face hot with embarrassment. "What on earth is wrong with you, Pia? You babbled at that poor man, positively babbled like a deranged person. Dear god, I can't take you anywhere, can I?"

A sleek red car purred up to the curb.

"I bet I'm even redder," I muttered to myself as I hurried by the car. "I should just go home. I can't get any lower than thieeeeeeeeee!"

Before I could pass by completely, one of the doors opened and I was shoved from behind. I grabbed at the roof to keep from falling into it, but another shove at my back more or less folded me in half, resulting in me collapsing inside the vehicle.

Chapter 3

"Hey!" I yelled as I was tossed halfway across a leather seat, landing partly on it and partly on the floor. The door slammed behind me, and the car started off. "Hey!" I yelled even louder, clawing myself into an upright position. "What the hell is going on here?"

The other eye-candy guy was driving, his gaze meeting mine in the rearview mirror for a moment before he said something in what sounded like German to the Italian guy. The latter answered with one word. "Zorya."

"Oh, no, not you, too!" I said, goose bumps crawling up my arms and legs. "Look, you've made a big mistake!"

"I thought she was French," the driver said, his voice a pleasant baritone with a slight German hint to it. "She sounds American."

"She is American, and she's not very happy right at this moment, so if you would kindly pull over and let her out, she won't have to either scream, or go stark, staring insane, whichever comes first!" I said loudly, my temper finally frayed beyond repair.

"Kristoff - " the driving guy started to say, his eyes flashing from the road, to the mirror, to his buddy.

I grabbed for the door handle, so angry I was ready to throw myself out of the moving car to escape the two men. Quickly, the driver hit a button that locked all the car doors.

"Damned child locks," I cursed as I tried to pry the lock upward.

"She has the stone," the man identified as Kristoff said, his head jerking back toward me.

"It's not mine!" I yelled, shaking the stone at him. "I told the same thing to those other people, not to mention the ghosts."

"Ghosts?" the driver said, looking more interested than skeptical.

"Yes. People who drowned on a ship, I think. A long time ago, but I'm not whoever they're looking for, too. I've never seen this stone before. I think it came in a book I bought this afternoon, a book that a Frenchwoman was trying to find."

The unnamed man driving slowed down and pulled over in the parking lot of a darkened bank. "What is your name?"

"Pia Thomason. I'm from Seattle, here with a tour group." My cheeks flamed to life again. I didn't think I could stand the contempt that was sure to be in Kristoff's eyes if I mentioned what sort of group it was. "I bought a couple of used books this afternoon, and I think the bookmark must have been hidden in one of them, because I sure as shooting never saw anything like it before." Quickly I recounted the brief meeting with the woman in the square. "The bookmark is probably hers."

"Bookmark?" the driver asked.

"Yeah, it's a bookmark, see?" I pretended my hand was a book and slid the silken cord over it.

"I can assure you, Pia, it is not a bookmark," the man said, smiling at me in the mirror.

I couldn't help but smile back at him, charmed by the warmth in his expression. His face had a softer look to it than his harsh friend's, his green eyes slightly tilted up at the edges, with laugh lines radiating outward.

"That's as may be, but I assure you it's not mine. I was going to try to find the woman it belongs to, but there are so many people out, I doubt if I could spot her."

He watched me for a moment before turning to Kristoff, who regarded me with suspicious eyes. "She could be telling the truth."

"It's not likely," Kristoff answered. "She saw ghosts."

"That's likely to be due to the stone, since I've never seen anything weird before. Well, sometimes at the beach guys who think they are Speedo-worthy, but that's neither here nor there. And just an FYI - I hate being talked about as if I'm not here even more than I hate being stuffed into a car and driven off without my consent. I believe technically this a kidnapping, and I'm fairly certain it's illegal even in Iceland."

They both ignored me.

"She was running from the sacristan," the nice one said.

   
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