Willa didn't know how long she had been standing on the sidewalk. It was dark and she waited just outside the Carpenter Mansion that Ethan had occupied. Only one dim streetlight burned through the fog and there wasn't a car in sight. What was she doing on the street at this hour alone? It wasn’t that late, just after dusk, but it
seemed like it midnight or after. It had been a long day.
Oh yes. Waiting for Demitri. He should be here just any minute and this is where she had met him last night. He was a handsome man--at least in the dark he seemed to be--but why was she here? After her miserable day, she should be in bed and trying to sleep away the fatigue that pulled at her eyes.
A misty fog traveled upon the ground. It was just like the one she had seen last night before she fell asleep. It swirled around her feet and then gathered in front of her. The fog grew tall, like a smoky pillar, and then took on the shape of a man.
“Willa, you have come.”
She faced him. Deep shadows cut across his face. “Yes. I suppose I did, but I don't remember coming here and I don’t really know why I decided to get out on a dreary night like this. I should be in bed and sleeping.”
“But you are here and that is all that matters. Walk with me.”
Willa moved into step beside him. Neither spoke. She didn't know where they were going, but she had to go. She had to stay with Demitri.
Demitri opened the door to Ethan’s mansion. She stepped in and gazed around. It was beautiful and filled with antiques and rich furnishings. She had been here. But when? Oh, yes. With Shawn. But she didn’t remember being inside the house.
Demitri faced her. “I'm glad you are here.”
She turned and met his gaze. “What am I doing here?”
“You came to find the vampire.”
She glanced around the large entrance hall and peered up at the huge crystal chandelier. The teardrops sparkled in the light and drew her into a hypnotic stare. “Yes. The vampire.” Even to herself, she sounded like she had just awakened.
“Well, you have found me,”
She smiled up at him. “Yes, Demitri, I have found you.”
He leaned his dark head and placed his lips on hers. They were cool, but not too cool. She couldn't move away, and she didn't want to move. Her arms went around his neck. His lips traveled across her chin and down her neck.
Demitri. A vampire.
His kiss enchanted her and she could not anymore pull away than if he had drugged her. She was a zombie. Sweet sensuous sensations swept across her, radiated out from her neck where he kissed her and traveled across her body.
He bit her. It happened so quickly she hadn't thought about it. There was a moment of pain, and then pure bliss. “Demitri,” she whispered. “Just a little.”
But he wasn't stopping. He drank and drank. Blood began to run down her neck. It ran warm against her skin. It was her warm blood and way too much. He should stop now before…
But he wasn’t. The ecstasy had disappeared and now real fear gripped her. She beat on his broad back. “Demitri. Stop. You have to stop. You're killing me. Demitri!”
~ * ~
Willa shot upward in the bed. Perspiration ran in rivers down her neck and her nightwear was soaked. The room was dark and so hot that there didn't seem to be any air. She wiped her wet neck. Just sweat and not blood.
A dream. That's all it had been…a horrible realistic dream. She wrapped her arms around her. She’d have to put on another tee shirt.
Willa flipped on the bedside lamp and padded across the floor toward the kitchen door. It was so danged hot in here. The circulation wasn't good to her bedroom and when she closed the doors to the living room and the kitchen, the cooled air didn't flow through the bedroom. That's why she was so hot and she wouldn’t leave them
closed at all now. With the bedroom sandwiched in the middle, she had needed the breeze from one end of the apartment to the other.
After she opened the living room door, she flung off the soaked oversized shirt and dug in her bag for another one—one much lighter in weight than she wore now.
The sweat running down her neck must have made her dream of blood. Why else would she have such a dream? Had her research had conjured up a vampire? And of Demitri! A total stranger. It wasn’t likely that he was a vampire, even if she had met him at night. That would be way too coincidental; but, then again, she was standing
outside Ethan’s house when he showed up and scared out of her second skin.
“Oh, man. What a nightmare.” She just couldn’t stop shaking. It would take forever for her to get back to sleep and she had loads of research to do tomorrow.