The Reluctant Vampire

Chapter Two

Drina paused before the bedroom door Tiny had directed her to and eased the door open. The moment she did, someone sat up in the near bed. Mirabeau, she guessed, and backed up as the woman got up and moved to join her in the hall.

"Our replacement?" Mirabeau whispered as she slid the door silently closed. She wore joggers and a sleeveless T-shirt: comfortable enough to sleep in but ready for action if necessary.

"Drina Argenis," Drina said with a nod, offering her hand.

"Mirabeau La Roche." They shook hands, and then Mirabeau asked, "Lucian said Anders was coming with you?"

"Yes, he's downstairs with the others," Drina said. "I came up to relieve you. I'll sleep in Stephanie's room from now on."

"I can't say I'm sorry to give up that job. I haven't slept a wink," Mirabeau admitted dryly.

"I don't think I will either. At least not tonight," Drina admi ed on a sigh. She hadn't slept at night since

. . . well, actually she didn't recall ever sleeping at night. Shrugging, she added, "Although tomorrow night may be a different story. By then I may be exhausted enough that I do actually sleep."

"Let's hope," Mirabeau said, glancing toward the stairs.

"Go on," Drina said with amusement as she picked up her suitcase. "Tiny is no doubt ge ng antsy waiting for you."

Mirabeau nodded and turned away. "Good night."

"Good night," Drina murmured, and eased the bedroom door open to slip inside. The room wasn't completely dark, the curtains were heavy, but a faint glow from the streetlights outside was s ll slipping around the edges. Between that and her eyesight, Drina could see almost as well as if it were daylight. She set down her suitcase beside the bed, briefly considered changing her clothes, but then decided the sweater and jeans she wore would do. She didn't want to wake Stephanie, and wasn't likely to sleep anyway, she thought as she eased to sit on the side of the bed.

"Aren't you going to change your clothes?"

Drina turned sharply and glanced over her shoulder as the young girl in the next bed shi ed onto her side facing her and raised her arm to rest her head on her hand.

"You can turn on the light if you like. I'm not asleep anymore."

Drina hesitated, but then supposed if they were going to be roommates, she should at least introduce herself to the girl. Standing, she moved around the bed to sit on the side facing Stephanie as the girl reached over to turn on the lamp on the bedside table. Habit, Drina supposed. As an immortal, Stephanie should have been able to see as well as Drina did.

The sudden light was briefly blinding, but a er blinking several mes, Drina found herself peering at a pe te blonde. She'd been told the girl was fi een, but Stephanie looked younger. She had a lovely face, but a child's body, still somewhat gangly and flat-chested.

"Hi." Stephanie shi ed to sit cross-legged on her own bed. "You're Alexandrina Argenis, but prefer to be called Drina."

"And you're Stephanie McGill," she said calmly, supposing that Lucian must have told Mirabeau and Tiny who was coming, and they'd passed it on to the girl.

"They didn't tell me," Stephanie said with a smile.

Drina blinked. "Excuse me?"

"You just thought that Tiny and Beau told me who was coming, but they didn't. I read your mind."

Drina sat back slightly, her eyes narrowing. The girl certainly sounded as if she'd just read her mind, but it wasn't possible. Drina was old, older than her uncle Victor, and Stephanie was a new turn. The teenager couldn't possibly read her.

"Maybe it's because you've met your life mate," Stephanie suggested with a shrug. "That usually makes you guys readable, doesn't it?"

"Er . . ." Drina instinctively shook her head in denial.

"Marguerite suggested you to Lucian because she thinks Harper is your life mate."

"Crap." Drina sagged where she sat. The kid really was reading her. That was the only explana on since Marguerite had said Lucian hadn't wanted to know who it was so long as it wasn't Anders. She and Marguerite were the only two in the world who knew.

"Plus me," Stephanie said with amusement.

"Plus you," Drina agreed on a sigh. Apparently just mee ng the man had been enough to start affec ng her. Great.

"It was smart you've played it cool and didn't just blurt out that he might be your life mate. Harper's going to be a hard nut to crack," Stephanie said suddenly. "He'll fight this life-mate business."

"Why do you say that?" Drina asked warily.

"Because it isn't grief that's making him so miserable over Jenny. It's guilt. He thinks if he'd never met and tried to turn her, she'd s ll be alive. It's ea ng him up. He doesn't think he deserves to be happy. He thinks he needs to suffer for her dying. He'll fight it and avoid you for the next couple of centuries until he feels he's suffered enough if he finds out you're life mates . . . unless you creep up on him."

Drina stared at her blankly, amazed to hear such wisdom from someone so young. Stephanie suddenly grinned and admi ed, "I'm not Yoda or something. I'm just repea ng what Marguerite said to you."

"She did say that, but I wasn't thinking it," Drina said with a frown.

"Yeah, you are. It's nagging at the back of your mind and probably has been since she said it. That and the thought that it just figured you'd finally encounter your life mate, and instead of it being easy like you'd expect finding an immortal life mate should be, it's going to be even more delicate than it would be were he mortal." She grimaced. "I know the feeling."

"Do you?" Drina asked quietly.

"Oh, yeah. Nothing lives up to your expecta ons," she mu ered, then grimaced and said, "Like, before

. . . when I was human, I used to fantasize what it would be like to be, you know, different. Special. I even once or twice fantasized about what it would be like to be a vampire. I thought it would be so cool. Strong, smart . . . no one would pick on you, no one could make you do anything you didn't want and all that bull." She sighed and shook her head. "It isn't like that at all. Sure, I'm stronger, and the kids at school couldn't pick on me, but I'm not in school, am I? And there seem to be even more problems than when I was human."

"You're s ll human, Steffie," Drina said quietly, feeling for the kid. Marguerite had told her all about the girl as part of her effort to convince her to accept the assignment. She knew that last summer Stephanie had been a happy, healthy mortal with her whole life ahead of her . . . un l she and her older sister, Dani, had been taken from a grocery-store parking lot in co age country by a group of no-fangers. The girl had been terrorized and turned against her will, and now her whole life had changed. While Lucian and his men had rescued her, she was now Edentate, immortal but without fangs, and she could not return to her previous life. Like Dorothy caught up in a tornado and dropped in Oz, Stephanie had lost her family and friends and been dropped in the middle of an en rely different life not of her choosing. She'd had a rough shake and didn't deserve what had happened to her. And Drina wasn't at all surprised this wasn't what the girl had envisioned when she'd imagined the impossible fantasy of being a vampire. Realizing that the girl was staring at her oddly, she asked uncertainly, "What?"

"My brothers and sisters always call me Steffie."

"Oh, sorry," Drina mu ered. Her brother's name was Stephano and she always called him Steff. She supposed she'd just automatically turned it feminine.

"Your brother's name is Stephano?" the girl asked with interest. S fling a yawn, she lay back in the bed.

"You'll have to tell me about him, but tomorrow. I'm really red now. Some mes, this reading-thoughts business is exhausting. Good night."

"Good night," Drina murmured, as the girl rolled onto her side away from her and se led into her bed. She then hesitated a moment, considering whether she should take the me to change now or just turn off the light so the girl could get to sleep.

"Go ahead. The light doesn't bother me," Stephanie mumbled. "Besides, while I know you don't think you'll sleep, you'll stand a better chance of doing so if you're more comfortable."

Drina shook her head and stood to grab her suitcase and toss it on the bed. She wasn't used to having someone reading her mind. She was old enough most people couldn't. And she definitely didn't like it. She would have to guard her thoughts more carefully, she supposed, and then stopped thinking altogether and just concentrated on quickly changing into a pair of white joggers and an equally white tank top.

"Good night," Stephanie mumbled, as Drina closed her suitcase and set it back on the floor.

"Good night," she whispered back and crawled into bed, then turned out the light and lay down. Even as she did, Drina knew she was about to spend a very long night fre ng over what to do about Harpernus Stoyan. She'd heard of reluctant mortal life mates, but this was really one for the record books. Only she could wind up with a reluctant vampire life mate.

Harper didn't think he'd been asleep long when he was suddenly awake again. Frowning, he peered toward the window, no ng the sliver of bright sunlight trying to creep around the edges of the blackout blinds. He listened for what might have disturbed him, but silence curled around him like a blanket. He was actually dozing off again when a muffled peel of laughter brought his eyes open once more. Frowning, he sat up and listened more intently, but the house was silent, without even the sounds of creaking stairs or floorboards reaching his ears. No one was moving around inside the house, he decided, but then another laugh reached his ears, and he turned toward the window, where he was sure the sound had come from. Harper peered at the blinds for a moment and then slid out of bed and padded across the floor to the window, which looked out over the garage and driveway at the back of the house. Sunlight streamed in the moment he tugged one of the slats down, and Harper blinked against it, squin ng un l his eyes adjusted. He then scanned what he could see of the driveway and backyard. It was a moment before he found the source of the sounds he'd heard, and then Drina came into view on the sidewalk beside the garage. She was slip-sliding her way toward the driveway, her running shoes giving her no trac on on the icy concrete. Her clumsy efforts elicited another peel of amusement from somewhere out of sight.

Stephanie, Harper decided, sure it was the girl even though he couldn't yet see her. Turning his gaze back to Drina, he frowned as he took in her winter wear. She wore jeans, which were fine, but the running shoes were completely unsuitable, and her coat was far too lightweight for this weather. She also had no gloves or hat on, which suggested to him that she hadn't been prepared for a Canadian winter when she'd set out on her journey from Spain.

She'd probably thought she would just a end the weddings in New York, spending most of her me in the hotel, the church, or cars and wouldn't need heavier gear, he thought, and then winced as a snowball suddenly shot from somewhere off to the side and slammed into the back of Drina's head. The hit took her completely by surprise and made her jerk. In the next moment, her feet went out from beneath her and she was on her behind on the icy concrete. She was also cursing a blue streak in Spanish that he could hear even over Stephanie's uproarious laughter.

Concern rushing through him, Harper let the blind slat slip back into place and hurried out of the room, pausing just long enough to pull on a pair of jeans as he went. Once downstairs, he almost rushed outside bare-chested and in just the jeans, but the chill that hit him when he opened the kitchen door, and the sight of the snow-laced screen door, made him rethink that and hurry to the closet in the pantry. S ll, he was quick about pulling on boots and a coat, and didn't bother doing up either before rushing back through the kitchen and out onto the deck.

The walkway was empty, and there was no sign of either female as he crossed the deck. For one moment, Harper could almost have believed he'd imagined the whole thing he'd seen from his window, but then he spo ed where the snow had been disturbed by Drina's fall, as well as the footprints leading around to the driveway. He followed them quickly around the garage, and stopped abruptly. Stephanie was in the front passenger seat of the SUV, bent over and peering at something under the driver's side, but it was Drina's derriere waving around in the open driver's door as she fiddled with something under the dashboard that brought him to a halt.

The woman's bu was snow-covered and bobbing about like an apple on a river's surface as she worked at whatever she was doing. It was an interes ng sight, he decided, and then gave his head a shake and continued forward, becoming aware of their conversation as he approached.

"Are you sure you know what you're doing?" Stephanie was asking, half-amused and half-worried. "I could always just creep in and find the keys."

"I have done this before," Drina assured her from under the dashboard, her voice sounding annoyed. "I can do this. It is just that your cars seem to be wired differently than ours in Europe."

Stephanie snorted at the claim. "I hardly think they wire them differently. How long ago did you last do this?"

"Twenty years or so," Drina admi ed in a mu er, and then cursed in Spanish, and added determinedly, "I can do this. We will go shopping."

"Is there something I can help you ladies with?" Harper asked, pausing behind Drina's bobbing derriere and just resis ng the urge to brush the snow from it. Really, her bu must be cold, encased in snow like that.

Stephanie glanced to him wide-eyed, but Drina s ffened, her bobbing stopping altogether. She stayed frozen for a moment, jerked her head upward, cursed as it slammed into the steering wheel, and mu ered under her breath as she backed out of the vehicle. Of course, he was right behind her and didn't move out of the way quickly enough. Her rear end rammed into his groin, and she trod on his feet. Gasping an apology, Drina immediately stumbled forward again to get off him, lost her foo ng, and started to go down. In his effort to save her from the fall, Harper managed to get his own feet tangled up with hers and found himself crashing to the icy pavement with her.

"Are you all right?"

Harper opened his eyes at that concerned query and turned his head to see that Drina had pushed herself to her hands and knees beside him and was eyeing him worriedly. Her coat was open despite the cold, revealing a low-cut silk shirt that gaped slightly thanks to her posi on. It le him an extra-ordinary view of full, round breasts encased in a lacy white bra that looked rather fetching against her olive skin. Blinking, he tore his gaze from the delectable sight and glanced past her to Stephanie, who was nearly killing herself laughing in the SUV, and then he sighed and said dryly, "I'll live."

"Hmm." Drina's eyes dri ed down to his bare chest, where his coat had fallen open, and he saw one of her eyebrows rise, but then she scrambled to her feet and offered him a hand.

"Sorry," she muttered as she helped him up. "You startled me."

"My fault," he assured her, taking a moment to brush himself down. He then straightened and glanced to the open door of the SUV. "What were you doing?"

"Er . . ." Drina flushed guil ly and turned back to the vehicle. "I need boots and a heavier coat, and Stephanie needs a few things too, so we were just going to head out shopping."

"Hmm." His lips twitched, and then he said, "So you were going to hot-wire the SUV?"

Drina clucked with irritation at being caught, and then said with exasperation, "Anders has the keys, and I didn't want to disturb him to get them."

"Ah." Harper glanced from her embarrassed and defiant face to the vehicle and back, and then he asked,

"Do you have a license to drive here? Or even a Spanish driver's license?"

"Bah!" Drina waved the ques on away. "We don't need them. If a police officer tries to pull us over, we just control them."

"Ah, yes." Harper nodded. He'd expected as much and explained apologe cally, "But you can't do that in Port Henry. You can anywhere else, even London, but not here."

"What?" She glanced to him with surprise.

"Lucian promised Teddy that his people would follow the laws while in Port Henry, and none of us would use mind control on Teddy or his deputy," Harper explained.

Drina narrowed her eyes, and pointed out dryly, "Which isn't promising he won't himself."

"No," Harper admitted with a grin. "But Teddy didn't catch that at the time."

"Hmm," she said with irrita on, and then glanced to Stephanie's worried face and grimaced. "Don't worry. We'll still go. We'll just call a taxi."

Stephanie looked dubious. "Do you think they even have taxis here? I mean, it's a pretty small town."

Drina turned to him in question. "Do they?"

"Actually, I don't think they do. Or at least if they do, I haven't heard of one," Harper admi ed, and when Drina's shoulders began to sag with what appeared to be defeat, he found himself saying, "I can take you in my car."

She appeared as surprised as he was by his offer. Truly, Harper had no idea where that had come from. He'd just blurted it without really even thinking first.

"Don't you sleep during the day?" Drina asked with a frown. "Speaking of which, what are you even doing up?"

Harper just shook his head and turned away to start back up the drive, saying, "I'll just throw on a shirt and grab my keys and wallet and be right back."

"My laughing woke him up, but he didn't want to make us feel bad by saying so," Stephanie announced. Drina turned to glance at the young girl in the SUV. Seeing that Stephanie's attention was on Harper as he hurried across the deck toward the kitchen door, Drina quickly swiped up a handful of snow off the SUV's roof and worked it into a ball as she asked, "Which laughing woke him? Your laughing when I was slipsliding around on the sidewalk? Or your laughing when you hit me with the snowball, and I went down like a ton of bricks?"

Stephanie turned an unrepentant grin her way. "It was funny," she began, and then her eyes suddenly narrowed and dropped to search for Drina's hands.

Realizing the girl had read her mind and knew what she was up to, Drina quickly shot the snowball at her, but Stephanie was faster, whirling and ducking at the same me so that the ball missed her and hit the passenger window instead.

"Too slow," Stephanie taunted.

Drina shrugged. "That's all right. I'll get you when you least expect it."

Stephanie chuckled, unconcerned by the threat, and slid out of the SUV to walk around and join her. "He has a nice chest, doesn't he?"

He certainly did have a nice chest, Drina thought, and she'd been hard-pressed not to simply throw herself on top of it and drool all the way down to the top of his jeans when she'd seen it. But she'd restrained herself, and now merely shrugged, asking, "You noticed his chest, did you?"

"Not really. Mostly I noticed that you noticed," Stephanie responded with amusement. Drina rolled her eyes with disgust. This being easily read business was going to become a serious pain in the arse at this rate, she decided.

"You played it cool, though," Stephanie praised her. "He didn't even have an inkling you were drooling inside."

"I wasn't drooling," Drina assured her dryly.

"Oh, yeah. You were," Stephanie said on a laugh.

Drina sighed. "All right, maybe a li le inside." She shrugged. "What can I say? It's been half a millenniun since I've even noticed a man's chest."

Actually, it had been longer than that, she realized and hoped to God her hymen hadn't grown back in the intervening years.

"Oh my God! That doesn't happen, right?"

Drina blinked at that horrified exclamation and glanced at Stephanie with confusion. "What?"

"The nanos don't . . . like . . . fix your hymen a er it's been broken so that every me you have sex it's like the first time?" she asked with a bone-deep horror that left Drina gaping.

"Good Lord, no!" she assured her. "Where on earth would you get an idea like that?"

Stephanie sagged with relief, and then explained, "You were just thinking you hoped yours hadn't grown back."

"Oh, I - That was - I was just having a sarcas c, self-depreca ng minute in my head. Gees." She closed her eyes briefly, opened them again, and said solemnly, "Girl, you have to stay out of my head."

"I'm not in your head," Stephanie said wearily. "You're talking into mine."

Drina frowned, pretty sure she wasn't trying to talk into her head.

"So why don't they?" Stephanie asked suddenly, a frown tugging at her lips.

"Why don't who what?" Drina asked, confused again.

"Why don't nanos repair the hymen when it's broken?" she explained. "I thought their job was to keep us perfect and all."

"Not perfect. No one is perfect," Drina assured her. "They're programmed to keep us at our peak, the best we each can be as inpiduals."

Stephanie waved that away impa ently. "Right, but if you break a bone, they fix it. Why wouldn't they fix the hymen if it was broke?"

"Well - " Drina paused, her brain blank, and then shook her head helplessly. "I don't know. Maybe the nanos don't think the hymen is something that needs fixing. Or maybe the scien sts didn't think to include the hymen as part of the anatomy when they programmed them," she suggested, and then grimaced, and added dryly, "I'm just glad as heck that they don't repair it."

"I know," Stephanie groaned. "That would be vile."

"Hmm." Drina nodded and gave a li le shudder at the thought, but then glanced at her sharply. "Have you had sex?"

"No, of course, not." Stephanie flushed with embarrassment.

"Then why so horrified at the thought of the nanos replacing the hymen?" she asked, eyeing her narrowly.

Stephanie snorted. "I read. It's not supposed to be fun to lose your virginity."

Drina relaxed and shrugged. "It's different for different people. For some it's painful, for others not so much, for some there's blood and others not. It may be all right for you," she said reassuringly, and then frowned and added, "But . . . you know . . . you shouldn't rush out there to find out which it will be in your case. You have plenty of time to try stuff like that. Plenty of time," she stressed.

"Now you sound like my mother," Stephanie said with amusement.

Drina grimaced. She kind of felt like her parent in that moment. Certainly, she suddenly had a lot more sympathy for parents having to give the sex talk. Dear God, she couldn't even imagine that conversation.

"Fortunately for you, my mother already gave me that talk," Stephanie said with a grin.

"You're reading me again," Drina complained.

"I told you, I'm not reading you. You're kind of pushing your thoughts at me."

Drina frowned and turned to ask her to explain what she meant, but paused to glance toward the garage as one of the doors began to whir upward.

"Harper must be ready to go," Stephanie commented. "You should let me take the front seat."

"I should, should I?" Drina asked with amusement.

"Definitely," Stephanie assured her. "We don't want him to think you like him or start worrying about life mates and stuff. Wave me that way as we approach the car. That way Harper will think you didn't care to sit in the front with him."

Drina smiled faintly but just nodded. It couldn't hurt, and she didn't care if she was in the front or not anyway.

"And you should sit right behind him, not behind the passenger seat," Stephanie whispered as the garage door finished opening, and they saw Harper waving to them from the driver's seat of a silver BMW.

"Why?" Drina whispered back, using the excuse of closing the s ll-open door of the SUV to delay approaching the car.

"That way, every time he looks in the rearview mirror, he'll see you," she pointed out. Drina peered at her with surprise. The kid was smart, she thought, and knew by the way that Stephanie smiled widely that she'd heard the compliment. Chuckling, she slid her arm around the girl and used it to steer her toward the car.

"You can sit in the front if you like," she said with amusement, steering her that way, and then breaking off to move up the driver's side of the car herself.

"You're sure you don't mind?" Stephanie asked with feigned concern, pausing beside the passenger door.

"Not at all," Drina said dryly and had to bite her lip to keep from laughing when the girl grinned at her over the roof of the car, out of Harper's view. Shaking her head, Drina opened the back door and slid in behind him.

"Thank you, Harper. This is really sweet of you," Stephanie said as she slid into the front seat. "Isn't it sweet, Drina?"

"Very," she agreed mildly.

"It's no problem," Harper assured them, smiling at Stephanie, and then mee ng Drina's gaze in the rearview mirror and smiling at her as well. "Just tell me where you want to go, and we're there."

"Well, Drina insisted we had to stay in town because she doesn't know her way around, so we were just going to go to Wal-Mart. But with you driving, maybe we could go into London," Stephanie said in a rush.

"I don't think so, Stephanie," Drina said firmly when Harper hesitated. "It isn't just that I don't know the area. I think it's be er that we stay in town un l we're sure no one trailed you guys from New York. Here we at least have the house relatively close and can call Teddy Brunswick if we need help."

"But there are so many cool stores in London," Stephanie protested. "We could go to Garage or the Gap or - "

"I'll tell you what," Harper interrupted. "How about we try Wal-Mart today for the necessi es, and then maybe later in the week we can venture out to London if you don't find everything you need here in town?"

Stephanie heaved out a sigh. "Oh, all right."

"Good. So, do up your seat belts, and we'll be on our way."

Drina smiled wryly at Harper's relieved tones and did up her seat belt, then sat silently in the backseat as he maneuvered the car out of the garage and past the SUV.

"If you're the daughter of Lucian and Victor's brother, how come your name is Argenis and not Argeneau?"

Drina blinked at the sudden ques on from Stephanie, caught a bit by surprise, but it was Harper who answered.

"Argenis is just basically the Spanish version of Argeneau. They're deriva ves of the same root name,"

Harper said, sounding like a schoolteacher. "As each branch of the family spread out to different areas of the world, the name changed to fit the language of that area. Argenis in Spain, Argeneau in France, Argent in England, and so on."

Stephanie peered at Harper curiously. "So what's the root name?"

"I believe it was Argentum, which means silver in La n," Harper said solemnly. "It was because their eyes are silver-blue."

"They named people for their eye color?" Stephanie asked with disbelief.

Harper chuckled at her expression. "Back then they didn't really have last names. They were mostly first names and then descriptors, like John the barber, or Jack the butcher, or Harold the brave and so on."

"So it was Lucian the silver?" she asked dubiously.

"Something like that," Harper said with a shrug.

"Hmm." Stephanie swung around to peer at Drina. "And you're a rogue hunter in Spain?"

Drina nodded.

"Is it different than being a rogue hunter here?"

Drina raised her eyebrows. "I don't know. It doesn't appear to be so far."

"They have different laws in Europe," Harper put in quietly.

"Like what?" Stephanie asked, turning back to him.

"Bi ng mortals is not outlawed there," Drina answered s ffly when Harper hesitated. She knew that was the reason for the hesita on. It was a bit of an issue between the North American council and the European one.

"You can bite people over there?" Stephanie frowned. "So Leonius wouldn't be rogue in Europe?"

"I said bite, not kill or turn. Trust me, Leonius would be rogue anywhere," she said dryly, and then sighed.

"So long as they are discreet and don't unduly harm the mortal, immortals can bite mortals in Europe. Although," she added firmly, "while they haven't yet outlawed it, it is somewhat frowned upon by most, and the majority of immortals stick mainly to bagged blood."

"Have you bitten mortals?" Stephanie asked curiously.

"Of course," she said stiffly. "I was born long before there were blood banks."

"But since blood banks, have you bitten them?" Stephanie persisted.

Drina grimaced, but reluctantly admitted, "Only consenting adults."

Stephanie's eyes widened, and she squealed, "She means during sex."

Drina blinked. That hadn't been what she'd meant at all. She'd been thinking of the occasional formal dinners at the homes of council higher-ups, which some mes included willing bitees for the guests to feed on. It was something she wasn't very comfortable with anymore but was expected to par cipate in when forced to a end . . . and Stephanie should know that. She could read her mind. And she'd read it earlier, so knew it had been eons since she'd bothered with sex. Drina eyed Stephanie quizzically, wondering what the girl was up to.

"I don't know why everyone thinks it's so hot to get naked and sweaty and sink their teeth into each other," Stephanie was saying with disgust, and then she glanced at Harper, and said, "I mean, imagine you were alone with Drina ge ng busy. You're both naked and hot and she crawls onto your lap, her naked boobs jiggling in your face . . . Would you really want to plunge your fangs into them?"

"Er . . ."

Drina swung her gaze to the rearview mirror to see that Harper looked quite overset. His face was flushed, his eyes glazed, and then he suddenly swung the steering wheel and brought the car to a halt with a jerk.

"We're here," Harper choked out, prac cally throwing himself out of the vehicle and slamming the door with a resounding thud.

"You little devil," Drina muttered watching Harper stagger toward the store.

"Yeah, I'm good," Stephanie said with a grin. "Now he's thinking of having sex with you."

Drina turned her gaze to the girl, eyeing her thoughtfully. "You're kind of evil."

Stephanie took it as a compliment and grinned as she got out of the car.

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