Home > Meant to Be Immortal (Argeneau #32)(15)

Meant to Be Immortal (Argeneau #32)(15)
Author: Lynsay Sands

While CJ had never heard the name before Mac had spoken it, there were several companies with Argentis in the title and it took her a minute to find the one she wanted. At least she thought it was the one she wanted. It had offices around the world, including Toronto, New York, and Europe, and seemed to be the mother company of a bunch of different enterprises: blood banks, courier services, transportation, construction, scientific exploration . . .

Good Lord, it was very diversified, she thought as she scrolled through the website. There wasn’t really very much to see at the site though. Any time she clicked on one of the sublevels on the menu, a box popped up asking for a membership number, and then said if you didn’t have membership to click here to enroll. Not wanting to enroll, she went to the bottom of the first page and clicked on the contact tab, then quickly wrote down the number to call in New York for information. She’d have to call and ask about Mac and his working history and so on. It wasn’t really her job. Simpson should be doing this, but she suspected he was probably sound asleep in his bed right now, and judging by his less than stellar performance at the fire tonight, she wasn’t counting on his following up on gathering information on Mac himself tomorrow.

That thought had her next typing “Macon Argeneau” into the search engine, but nothing much of interest came up there, just Macon, Georgia, and some fiction series that she’d never heard of that was apparently about a family named Argeneau. Next, she tried “Macon Argeneau, Hematologist,” and got a lot of hits for various hematology centers, so she started to go through the listings in case his name was farther down on the list of headings that popped up.

Six

“Yes, Bastien, I said fire. The house I just moved into burned down. The whole place went up in flames. And that would have included me if I hadn’t filled the tub with water and submerged myself until the firemen could get me out,” he announced, still a little shaken at how close he had come to becoming one dead immortal.

“And you are sure the fire was deliberate?” his cousin asked, concern in his voice.

“Yes. I read from the minds of a couple of the firemen while I fed off of them and I gather they think gasoline was splashed around the house and poured through the mail slot of the front door,” he said grimly.

“You fed off the hoof?” Bastien snapped with alarm.

“I did not have much choice,” Mac said stiffly. “My blood supply went up with everything else in the fire and the situation was desperate. I was boiled alive, Bastien,” he announced grimly. “It was a most unpleasant experience and left my skin a mottled mess of pussy blisters and—” He broke off, not wishing to recall the shape he’d been in when they’d finally dragged him out of the tub of boiling water and carried him from the house. He’d been conscious when they’d entered the bathroom, spraying their icy water everywhere. Mac had leapt to stand in the tub the moment the nearby flames were extinguished. But that was as far as he’d got before he’d started to lose consciousness.

Fortunately, two of the firemen had reached him before he’d passed out and fallen back into the boiling water in the tub. The pain their grasp on his blistered parboiled arms had caused had pushed him briefly back to full consciousness and he’d roared in pain and then the world had gone black.

“I fed from every one of the couple of dozen firemen there and it wasn’t enough to fully heal me,” he finished, rather than further describe the state he’d been in.

“All right. I get it. It was an emergency situation,” Bastien said suddenly, drawing Mac’s thoughts back to the conversation he was having with his cousin and the head of Argentis Inc.

“Yes,” Mac breathed unhappily.

“Are you all right now?” Bastien asked after a hesitation that told Mac it was only one of many questions the man had and he’d had to take a moment to prioritize them in his mind.

“A little low on blood still,” Mac admitted. “And not completely healed, but well enough I look fine on the outside. At least where my clothes aren’t covering me.”

“Right. I’ll have blood delivered to you right away. It should be there in an hour or so depending on how far you are from the nearest Argeneau blood bank.”

Mac licked his lips at the thought of it, but then breathed out with frustration and said, “That might be a problem.”

“Why?”

“Because . . .” He paused and turned to look toward the closed French doors to the salon, before continuing the turn until he was facing the window in the room. Walking to it, he checked to see that it would open, winced when it squealed in protest, and let it ease back down. He wasn’t surprised when there was a knock at the bedroom door and CJ asked, “Mac? Are you all right?”

“Fine,” he assured her. “I was just checking that the window locks.”

There was a moment of silence, and then she said, “Okay,” and he heard her footsteps move away.

“Who was that?” Bastien asked in his ear.

Mac sank to sit on the window ledge and admitted, “The problem. Her name is CJ Cummings. She’s a detective with the SIU in Mississauga. She was helping collect evidence at the fire and got roped into guarding me for the night. She’s presently in the next room, between me and the suite’s exit, and I can’t read or control her. It will be impossible for me to get out of the room and meet with the courier.”

Bastien blew a soft whistle down the line. “You have met your life mate.”

“Yes,” Mac breathed, a soft smile struggling to spread his lips.

“Did Mom suggest you rent a house in Sandford?”

Mac frowned at the odd question. “What? No. She suggested I look for a house or cottage on Pelee Island,” he answered. “Why would you ask that?”

“Oh, it is just that she has a tendency to hook up immortals with their life mates lately, and I wondered—Never mind,” he interrupted himself. “Obviously she had nothing to do with it this time.”

“No. She didn’t,” Mac assured him.

“Right,” Bastien murmured. “I am guessing you have not told this CJ Cummings about us?”

“Hell, no!” he said with exasperation. “That’s not something you spring on a woman on first meeting, Bastien. I need to gain her trust and interest before I even broach that subject.”

“Yes. Of course. Well, do not worry. I shall make sure to send an immortal with the blood delivery. He can control Ms. Cummings for you so that we can get you the blood you need. And I will call Uncle Lucian and apprise him of the situation. He shall no doubt have Mortimer send a couple of Enforcers down to investigate and sort out who tried to kill you.”

Mac grunted at that. Mortimer was the head of the Immortal Enforcers, basically the police for his people. They were a necessary group. Mortal police certainly couldn’t manage their kind and ensure they followed immortal or even mortal law. Mac’s kind called themselves immortals, but most of humankind who did not carry the nanos that kept them alive and well and un-aging would call them vampires. They certainly resembled the vampires of lore. They didn’t age, didn’t grow ill, were extraordinarily strong, fast, and able to see well in the dark. They also could read the minds of, and control, mortals and even immortals younger than themselves . . . and they needed more blood than their bodies could provide to satisfy the nanos that worked so hard for them. That meant feeding off of mortals with the fangs the nanos had given them. At least it had before the development of blood banks. Now they were supposed to feed only from bagged blood except in an emergency like the one he’d encountered tonight. But their depending on bagged blood, and the nanos behind their extraordinary abilities, were the only real difference between immortals and vampires . . . and the fact that they were all alive. They were not the dead soulless creatures of myth. Merely enhanced humans, really.

“Is there anything else you need?”

Mac pushed his thoughts away and shook his head. Then, realizing the other man couldn’t see it, he said, “No. Thank you. I— Wait, I need clothes and a toothbrush, hairbrush, a razor. Basically, I need everything, and I’d buy it all myself but all my ID and credit cards went up in the fire.”

“I’ll take care of it and get you new ID and bank cards,” Bastien assured him.

“Thank you,” Mac said sincerely, and then cleared his throat before approaching work matters. “I’m afraid this will set my work back a bit. It will take some time to find another house and arrange for new lab equipment and such.”

“You might as well leave that until you sort out this life mate business,” Bastien suggested.

“What?” Mac said with surprise. “Why?”

“Because if you are able to claim your Ms. Cummings as a life mate, you might wish to live in Mississauga. It’s where you said she was from,” he pointed out. “There’s no sense setting up a lab there, just to have to set up another one in Mississauga.”

“Oh. Yes,” Mac agreed thoughtfully.

“So, I’ll just consider you on temporary leave until you sort out your personal life,” Bastien said now.

“All right,” Mac said quietly, and felt weird doing so. He hadn’t taken leave in a long time. A very long time. He didn’t even take vacations. It wasn’t because he needed the money; he had more than enough to last several mortal lifetimes. The truth was, while he technically worked for Argentis Inc., he had a lot of freedom. He worked when and how he liked, but he’d made work his whole life the last several centuries. It was the only thing that had interested him, and he couldn’t even imagine what it would be like not to be tinkering about in his lab with his experiments. It was definitely going to be interesting.

Distracted with these thoughts, Mac was only half-aware of Bastien’s words as he said he’d call later to check on him and said goodbye. It was the absolute silence in his ear that made him finally pull the phone away and look at it to see that the call had been ended.

   
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