Pretty When She Dies

Page 48

Roberto cast a disdainful look at Cian's sleeping chamber. Amaliya's phone and car keys were right where he had left them the night before. His Master was a complete idiot and Roberto was disgusted. Sliding off his jacket, he slung it over a chair and went into the kitchen to make himself some coffee. The sun was low over the horizon and the loft was awash in morning light. It was refreshing to his senses after sulking around the Magnolia Cafe all night. He had tried to amuse himself with a book, but had ended up sipping endless cups of coffee and contemplating leaving Cian.

Of course, if he did that, he would begin to age again and eventually die. He was not ready to do that. His relationship with Cian was always a bit odd. They had come together out of necessity. Cian needed shelter; Roberto wanted to live forever. For years they had enjoyed the wild life in Mexico, living rich and fine among the vampires there. They had what Roberto considered adventures until the modern age gripped hold of the world and drove it into the boring reality it was now.

Cian was happy to stay secure in Austin and build up his mini-empire. Roberto had hoped that one day they would strike out again to new territory, but he could not be certain now. Cian's obsession with being normal and human had dissipated now that Amaliya was on the scene. That was quite a relief, but it was clear that he was changing into someone Roberto did not know.

Cian was not reverting to the man he had been before. Roberto had found Cian beaten down, nearly destroyed by the vampire hunters. A man who was broken and without a home. Roberto felt he had helped cultivate the former slave into an educated and sophisticated man. But now Cian was changing and this time Roberto was not certain that he could influence his Master, nor keep his elevated position in his life.

Amaliya had changed everything.

Rubbing his brow, he felt the need for more coffee. He rarely slept, but he was tired now. But he refused to sleep until he sorted out his thoughts and devised a plan of action. Obviously his plan from the day before had failed miserably. He had not been able to be rid of the interloper and now Cian was being an absolute fool.

He poured the coffee slowly into a cup and frowned as he stared into the dark liquid reflecting the morning light. He should have convinced Cian to kill Amaliya the very first night he brought her to the apartment. Now he was uncertain of what to do. He was tied to Cian unless he found another alternative to secure his immortality.

He would miss his time with Cian. For years he had loved Cian as a brother, but then again, he had killed his real brother long ago. Love and hate were not so different when passion was involved.

The doorbell rang and he arched an eyebrow. It rang again a few seconds later and he gently laid the cup on the counter. He slowly walked down the hallway, curious as to who could possibly be at the door. Neither he nor Cian was particularly social and Samantha had her own key.

Peering through the peephole, he saw one of the pretty blonds that lived in the building waiting in the hallway. Roberto had spoken to her on occasion. He had figured out swiftly that she was more interested in his elusive master than in him. It had disappointed him for he thought her breasts were wonderful and in need of caressing. He was very surprised to see her lingering outside their door.

Removing the chain and unlocking it, he slowly opened it. “Heather? Can I help you?”

She looked a little unsure of herself for a second, then raised the gun and shot him in the chest. “No, I have it covered.”


The two dead homeless men The Summoner had sent to help her, stepped out from around the corner, and moved to gather up Roberto's body.

Somewhere in Heather's muddled mind, she was screaming, but the rest of her thoughts were consumed with The Summoner and his commands. He was powerful and she must obey his power. She could feel him, in her apartment, waiting for her. He didn't have to sleep anymore. He had said he was beyond that now and his legions walked both the day and the night.

She wasn't dead yet. She had wondered at first if maybe she was dead. But her heart was still beating unlike the two huge men busy wrapping Roberto up into the hallway rug. Those two men were truly dead. She rubbed the gun against her leg nervously.

What she was doing was wrong, right?

She wasn't sure anymore.

The Summoner called out to her through the darkness of her mind and she moved toward the elevator. Looking down at the gun, the thought of shooting him flickered through her mind. But he needed her. He had told her so.

She needed to obey him. Serve him. Love him. Until he killed her.


Sergio was intent on sleeping in. It was Saturday morning and his wife had taken the kids to visit her relatives. Because he had to work a double shift the night before, he had been given a reprieve from his glowering mother-in-law. She absolutely hated him because of his Mexican blood and he absolutely hated her because she was a bitch. He had woken up long enough to kiss his kids and wife goodbye, then had collapsed onto the sofa to sleep the morning away.

As he dozed, he was dimly aware of the cat lying on his back, kneading his shoulder as her tiny claws lightly scratched him. The sound of the neighborhood kids playing outside tried to pull him from his light slumber and he grumbled. He'd give anything for there to be Saturday morning cartoons again so the kids would be inside being little TV zombies. Then at least he could sleep deeply.

A loud banging on his front door made him jump. The cat yowled and drew blood as she scampered off.

“Thanks a lot, Tinkerbell,” he muttered, and wondered why he had let the kids name the cat.

Grumbling, he sat up and stared at the door. There was no one visible through the glass panes set in the door in the shape of a fan. Deciding he must have dreamed the banging, he lay back down.

The door shook as the banging started again. This time his grandmother's voice joined the harsh knocks.

“Sergio! Sergio! Open the door!”

Blinking, he sat up again and rubbed his eyes. “Grandmama?”

“Open the door!”

Pulling his undershirt down over his stomach, he staggered to the door, unlocked it, and swung it open.

His tiny grandmother stood on the stoop clutching her big tote bag with the flag of Texas on it. She was dressed in jeans and a T-shirt with a picture of the Virgin of Guadalupe on it and her tiny feet were tucked into bright pink sneakers. “Get dressed. We're going to Austin.”

“Huh?” He rubbed his eyes again and tried to figure out why his grandmother was bugging him on a Saturday morning at the ungodly hour of nine AM.

“Amaliya hasn't answered her phone in two nights and something is wrong. Get your gun.”

“Grandmama, I want to sleep in,” he muttered, and was shoved aside as she barged in.

“No time to sleep.”

“Hey, why do I need a gun?” He shut the door and stared at her in confusion. Sergio's muddled brain couldn't take all this in quite yet and he sat down in his recliner, blinking tiredly.

His grandmother sat down on the sofa and the cat instantly appeared on her lap. “I gave Amaliya that phone.”


“And she called me and told me about this Cian.”

“The Key Inn?”

“No. It's a name. Cian. Anyway, she said he was going to help her. But she hasn't answered her phone in two days and now I am worried.”

“You know, Grandmama, technically, she is already dead,” Sergio said timidly. The events of the other night still haunted him and he tried hard not to think of it too much.

“I don't care. She's alive in a new way,” his grandmother answered. Her lips set into a firm little line as she lifted her chin. “And we're going to go find her and save her.”

“Grandmama, I don't mean to upset you, but Amaliya is not the most reliable person in the world.”

“Maybe not. But she's our blood. And she is my granddaughter and your cousin and we protect family.”

Sergio looked at her through bleary eyes trying to figure this whole thing out when something occurred to him. “Hey, how did you get here? She took your car!”

“My boyfriend brought me,” his grandmother answered primly.

“You have a boyfriend!” Sergio suddenly felt very awake. “You have a boyfriend?”

“Yes, I do.” His grandmother rubbed the cat under her chin vigorously and made soft noises to the furry creature as she obviously ignored Sergio's reddening face.

Sergio waited a beat, then said explosively, “Who?”

“Juan Carlos.”

“The old guy who rides around on the moped. He brought you over on the moped?”

His grandmother rolled her eyes and pointed at him with a gnarled finger. “Get dressed. Get your guns. We're going to Austin.”

Sergio leaped to his feet. Not to run for his gun, but to look out the window. “Where is he?” He had a strong desire to go outside and shake the old guy and threaten him something good.

“He left. I told him you would take me to Austin. But we need to go to my house. I have my stuff packed.”

Sergio blinked and turned to look at his sweet, tiny grandmother. He knew she was feisty, but he was realizing she had this whole other life he was not aware of. “You have a boyfriend and didn't tell me.”

Copyright © novelfull All Rights Reserved.