The Immortal Who Loved Me(Argeneau, book 21)(6) by Lynsay Sands
Great, but not her real parents, Sherry translated as the girl turned her head away and dashed quickly at her eyes. Deciding a change of topic might be good, she said, “So, the police can’t help us here . . . but what about those Rogue Hunters of yours? We should find a phone and call them so they can hunt down this Leo and his men.”
Sherry just couldn’t call the man’s followers his sons. It seemed impossible that they were his children. They all looked around the same age. Brothers would have been more believable. Realizing that Stephanie wasn’t responding to the suggestion of calling in her Rogue Hunters, Sherry raised her eyebrows. “Don’t you think?”
“What?” Stephanie asked. Her blank expression as she turned back to face her made it obvious she hadn’t been listening.
Knowing the girl’s thoughts had probably been with her birth parents, Sherry asked patiently, “Don’t you think that we should call your Rogue Hunters?”
Stephanie shook her head and stared down at the pizza crust she’d been unconsciously tearing apart. The slump to her shoulders and defeated air about the girl were a bit alarming. Sherry had no idea what was going on exactly, but she did know this was no time for the girl to fall apart. Sitting back, she deliberately took on an annoyingly knowing air and said, “Oh, I get it.”
Stephanie finally really looked at her, her attention caught. Eyebrows rising, she asked with interest, “What do you get?”
“You,” Sherry said with a shrug. “I was a teenager once too.”
Stephanie snorted. “Please. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that tired old line. Like you crusty old farts all think just because you were young back in ancient times that you know what life is like for me. You don’t. You were young in . . . what? The sixties?”
“I wasn’t even born in the sixties, thank you,” Sherry said with amusement. “I’m only thirty-two.”
“Whatever . . .” Stephanie waved that away. “You haven’t got a clue about me.”
“Hmmm. How about I tell you what I think and then you can tell me I’m wrong? If I am,” Sherry added tauntingly.
Stephanie shrugged. “Whatever.”
Sherry tilted her head and eyed her for a moment, and then said, “So, you were wedding dress shopping with this Drina and her friend?”
“Katricia,” Stephanie supplied. “She’s Drina’s cousin, but also a Rogue Hunter. She’s getting married too, to Teddy, who is the police chief in Port Henry where I live. We came to Toronto for a girls’ weekend and dress shopping.”
“Hmmm.” Sherry considered that and then said, “And you say they let you go out to get something?”
Stephanie nodded, her gaze sliding away toward the front of the store and a frown flickering over her face.
Sherry suspected the girl was wondering where the two women were. She was too. Surely they’d noticed Stephanie was missing by now? And if they were in the area, the gunshots should have drawn them. She let that go for now, though, and simply said, “Well, I’m sure the bit about their letting you go out to get something is a lie.”
Stephanie glanced back to her sharply. “What makes you think that?”
“Kiddo, if these girls are Rogue Hunters, or vampire cops, and this Leo is after you, like you say, I’d guess they keep a short leash on you to keep you safe. They would not have let you wander off on your own. So, Drina was probably in a dressing room trying on a wedding dress, and Katricia was in there helping her with all the convoluted nonsense involved in putting one of those things on, or trying on one herself. You were probably sitting in the waiting area outside the dressing room feeling bored and neglected. No doubt you reached for your iPhone to either listen to music or watch a movie while you waited, and realized you’d left it in the car.” Tilting her head, she added, “It’s probably hooked up to the sound system in the car, which is why you forgot to grab it, so you thought you’d just slip out, get it and be back before they noticed.
“Unfortunately,” she added, “you didn’t get to the car before you spotted Leonius and his buddies and had to duck into my store for cover.”
Stephanie didn’t hide her surprise. “How did you know all of that?”
Sherry shrugged and reminded her, “You asked to use my iPhone earlier.”
“So?” Stephanie asked.
“So, you don’t have yours on you, so couldn’t have made it to the car.”
“Maybe I don’t have one and was getting something else,” Stephanie suggested.
Sherry shook her head firmly. “There are few teenagers around who don’t have cell phones nowadays. Besides, you specified iPhone rather than just saying cell phone, which suggests that’s what you have.”
“Okay, so how did you know I left my phone in the car, jacked into the USB?” she asked with interest.
“Because I’m always forgetting mine in the car for that reason,” Sherry admitted wryly. “I plug it into the USB so I can listen to music I like and then forget it when I get out.”
“Hmmm,” Stephanie murmured, but she was looking at her with interest now. “Or maybe you have some psychic abilities and that’s why I can’t read or control you.”
Sherry didn’t comment. Her mind wanted to rebel at the possibility of anyone controlling her actions or thoughts, but she’d watched the pregnant mother slit her own throat. No one would do that under their own impetus. She did believe the customer must have been controlled . . . and if she could be controlled . . .
Pushing these disturbing thoughts away, Sherry said, “So, all of this being true, you don’t want to call your Rogue Hunters because you’re going to get hell for slipping away from your protectors and putting yourself at risk in the first place.”
“Nah-ah,” Stephanie said with a slow smile.
Sherry raised her eyebrows doubtfully. “You won’t get in trouble?”
“Oh, yeah,” Stephanie said dryly. “Once Drina, Katricia, Harper, Elvi, and Victor are done raking me over the coals, Lucian himself will probably show up to completely demoralize me,” she admitted with unhappy resignation. “But that’s not why I’m not calling.”
“Okay,” Sherry said slowly. “So why don’t you want to call?”
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