Home > Vampires Like It Hot (Argeneau #28)(15)

Vampires Like It Hot (Argeneau #28)(15)
Author: Lynsay Sands

“Yes,” Jess moaned, closing her eyes. “My iPhone is my camera, of course I took it. I wanted pictures of the sharks and stingrays and our swimming with them,” she explained, and silently mourned the loss of those pictures. All of her pictures from this trip were on it—the wedding, the wedding dinner, their excursions so far—and she’d lost all of them.

“I understand the phone,” Zanipolo said. “But your driver’s license?”

“Oh,” Jess sighed, and waved a hand vaguely. “Allison insisted I bring my driver’s license. She said she’d heard that you had to have photo ID if you wanted to rent anything on these excursions. She thought there might be Jet-Skis or Seabobs to try at the Seaquarium, and if there was, she wanted to rent one.”

“And her wanting to rent one meant you had to bring your ID?” Santo asked heavily, sounding like he didn’t like her cousin. She didn’t know how that could be, though; as far as she knew they hadn’t even met. Of course, they were in the same resort and might have had a brief encounter in passing. With Allison, a brief encounter in passing could be enough to cause animosity in the kindest person.

“Both of our driver’s licenses were in the waist belt,” she admitted unhappily. “That way we could both rent a Seabob. Unfortunately, I lost hers as well as mine, and she is so going to kill me for it.”

A moment of silence passed and then Raffaele cleared his throat and asked, “So these vampires have your room key?”

“Vampires?” she squeaked, peering at him with wide eyes.

“That is what you called them when we were in the water,” he reminded her.

“Oh, right.” She stared at him wide-eyed, suddenly understanding why these men were following her around. They thought she was off her nut because of the vampire thing. Clearing her throat, she forced a laugh. “Yeah. Vampires. Ha ha. That was a joke,” she lied anxiously, not wanting him to think her crazy, and then she stiffened as his question filtered through her mind. The vampires had her room key.

Vasco had her room key.

For a moment, panic assailed her, but then Jess realized that was okay. The room keys didn’t list the room number on them, so it wasn’t like he could use it to find her here. Unfortunately, he also had her iPhone and driver’s license, which meant he had tons of info about her, including her home address. But surely, he wouldn’t sail all the way to Montana to hunt her down? Well, no, he couldn’t. Montana was hundreds of miles from the ocean. No one could sail there. She supposed he could fly, but what would he do about his coffin?

Speaking of coffins, where had those been? Vampires slept in coffins; the ship was full of vampires. Where did they keep their coffins? Jess pursed her lips as she considered the question. She hadn’t seen one in Vasco’s cabin. But maybe they kept the coffins down in the hull of the ship where the tourists wouldn’t find them.

That made sense, Jess decided. But wherever it was, he wouldn’t fly to Montana to hunt her down without his coffin just in the hopes of a good lay. That would be crazy, she assured herself.

“We were heading down to the restaurant on the beach to get some food,” Zanipolo blurted suddenly. “Did you want to join us?”

Jess glanced to the man, tempted to say yes. Now that he’d mentioned food, she was starving . . . and had been for a while, she realized. She’d been suffering hunger pangs for hours, even while she was in the water, but had been too distracted with other issues to pay it any attention. Now that he’d brought it to her awareness with his invitation, however, she was tempted. But . . .

“No,” she said on a sigh, her eyes shifting to Building 2 and then the path again. “Thank you, but I have to wait for Allison.”

“I think she would be here already if she was returning directly to the room,” Raffaele pointed out gently.

“But where else would she go?” Jess asked with frustration. She’d kind of come to that conclusion herself, but had no idea where else her cousin could have gone.

“Maybe she went down to the restaurant,” Zanipolo suggested. “There’s a band playing tonight, and she and the others were probably hungry after their tour. They might have headed there after getting off the bus.”

Jess perked up at the suggestion. That actually made sense, especially since none of them had had supper. At least, she hadn’t seen anything that might suggest the vampirates planned to feed them after feeding off of them. The blood loss might even add to their hunger, she thought. And her not having any money on her wouldn’t be an issue. The resort was all-inclusive; all she had to do was give her room number.

“Yes, I think I will join you, then,” Jess said, standing up, only to hesitate as she glanced down at her outfit. A towel over a ripped T-shirt and bikini bottoms was hardly acceptable attire for a restaurant. On top of that, the rest of her was probably a sight too. She wasn’t wearing a bit of makeup, which Jess didn’t mind so much, but she also didn’t have a brush and her hair had dried au naturel. It was probably a mess.

Sighing, she dropped back onto the bench. “You’d better go without me. I’m not dressed for a restaurant. They’d throw me out.”

Zanipolo immediately started to protest, but Raffaele said, “I have a better idea.”

Jess peered at him curiously, actually hoping he had a solution, because she was really hungry.

“Among the three of us, we must have something that you can wear,” Raffaele assured her. “We’ll go to our room and see if we can find you something. If we can, we can all go down to the restaurant. If we cannot, then Zanipolo and Santo can go themselves, look for Allison, and bring you back food.”

“Or,” Zanipolo countered, “you two can go to our room and see if we have anything for Jess to wear, and Santo and I can go down to the restaurant and wait for you,” he said brightly.

“He is very hungry,” Santo said solemnly.

Jess saw guilt flash across Raffaele’s face, and then he nodded. “Yes. Go. You’ve been waiting for your supper for long enough.”

Zanipolo grinned, but then said, “Call us if you can’t find anything for her to wear and we’ll bring back food right away. I’ll even order mine to go so Jess doesn’t have to wait.”

“Thank you, that’s very kind,” Jess said sincerely.

“Yes, it is,” Raffaele agreed. “Thank you, Zani. Now, go on. I’ll call you in a few minutes and let you know if we are coming or not.”

The two men started away, but then Santo stopped and peered back, his gaze sliding over Jess as she stood up. “One of my dress shirts is robin’s egg blue like your eyes.”

Jess raised her eyebrows and said uncertainly, “Okay.”

“I have seen women wearing what looks like overlarge shirts as dresses,” he explained quietly. “My blue dress shirt should be long enough on you to make a dress. It will be too large in the arms, but you can roll up the sleeves, and wear a belt, and the color would suit you. You may wear it.”

“Oh, I see,” Jess said, a wide smile claiming her lips. “Thank you.”

“What?” Zanipolo howled, turning on the large man. “Robin’s egg blue? Seriously? You never say more than one or two words at a time, three at most on the rare occasion, and the first time you speak more than that it’s about women’s fashion? Really?” He shook his head. “Damn, big guy!”

“Shut up,” Santo said mildly, taking the smaller man’s arm and turning him away. “Walk.”

Jess grinned as she watched the pair continue along the path, Zanipolo taunting the big man, and Santo strutting along, ignoring him. It made her think of a cartoon she’d once seen where a large bulldog was walking along ignoring a much littler dog who was yipping and hopping excitedly around him.

“Shall we?” Raffaele asked, and Jess glanced around to see him gesturing toward the buildings in front of them.

“Oh, yes. Sorry,” she said, moving onto the path that ran along the buildings. “You’re in Building 2, right?” She’d been a bit stressed when she’d rushed out earlier and wasn’t sure.

“Yes. And you?”

“Two as well,” she murmured. “But we’re on the fourth floor. You were three?”

He smiled faintly. “Yes.”

Jess nodded, and then searched her mind for something else to say. She didn’t know why, but she was suddenly nervous around the man. Not about her safety. They’d had her in their room while she was unconscious, and then once she’d woken up and hadn’t done anything to harm her. In fact, the man had saved her life. Still, now that it was just him, she was very aware that they were alone, and that she found him attractive, and really, she hadn’t been making very good decisions today when it came to attraction—

“You have had enough exercise today, I think.”

Jess blinked her thoughts away and glanced around to see that they were standing in front of the elevator in Building 2 and he was pushing the call button. Obviously, the comment had been to explain why they weren’t using the stairs. Smiling faintly, she murmured, “Thank you. You’re right.” Grimacing, she added, “I’m sure I’ll feel it tomorrow.”

“A good massage should help with that,” Raffaele said, ushering her onto the elevator when the doors opened.

“Yeah, too bad I won’t be here tomorrow to book one in the spa,” she said on a sigh.

“What?” Raffaele glanced at her sharply. “You have plans for tomorrow?”

Jess hesitated, and then admitted, “Actually, I was thinking it would be better if I leave Punta Cana and go home. I was hoping Allison would return, and I could get into our room, pack up, call to see what time the next flight is, and leave.”

“I see,” Raffaele said slowly, but then fell silent, his expression conflicted. She got the feeling that he didn’t want her to go, but thought it might be for the best.

   
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