The Immortal Who Loved Me(Argeneau, book 21)(8) by Lynsay Sands
“I was born in Atlantis, Bricker,” Basileios said patiently. “The hundred year rule wasn’t in place yet at that time. It was only created after the fall, after Leonius Livius’s efforts to make an army of his progeny.”
“Right,” Justin growled. He was silent for a moment and then said, “So, Katricia is your daughter? You’ve been mated before?”
“I was mated briefly in Atlantis. However, she wasn’t Katricia’s mother. We had no children and she didn’t survive the fall.”
“So, you’ve been mated twice,” he commented. “Nice.”
“Actually, no I haven’t. Mary Delacort, the mother of my children, is an immortal who is a good friend and nothing more.”
Bricker glanced at him sharply. “You had kids outside of a life mate relationship?”
“You make it sound so naughty,” Basileios said with amusement, and then pointed out quietly, “I lost my life mate in the fall, Bricker. I have been alone a very long time. Lucian had his guardianship of the family and immortals and mortals in general to help keep his sanity and humanity. I did not have that. I needed an anchor, someone to care for, a reason to get up in the evening. If I could not have a life mate, then children to care about and look out for was the next best thing.”
He glanced out the window and added quietly, “My children are probably the only reason I didn’t go rogue like my brother Jean Claude.”
Justin glanced at him again, and then asked curiously, “And this Mary? She didn’t mind?”
“Fortunately, Mary was in much the same situation. Well, not really fortunately for her, I suppose,” he added with a frown. “But you know what I mean.”
“Hmmm,” Justin released a deep sigh, and asked, “So what is your fantasy life mate like?”
Basileios glanced at him in question. “I’m not sure I understand what you mean?”
“Well, you must have pictured her in your mind over the millennia. What did you imagine your life mate would look like? Tall, short? Thin, curvy? Blond or dark-haired?” he explained, and then added, “And what kind of personality did you imagine? Funny, smart, feisty, sweet . . . ?” He glanced at him curiously. “What did you dream about?”
Basileios considered the question solemnly. Of course he had imagined someday having a life mate and what she might be like. He had never really imagined the whole package, but he supposed he had some ideas. “I prefer blondes to dark-haired women, and I prefer smaller women, short and petite with an agreeable personality, sweet and biddable.”
“Biddable?” Justin snorted. “Man, someone’s stuck in fifteenth century BC. Women nowadays are not biddable.” He paused briefly and then added, “Well, maybe if you found yourself a mail order bride from somewhere women are expected to do as they’re told you might. But I hear once they’re in Canada or the U.S. for any length of time, they get infected with our women’s attitude and sass.”
Basileios shrugged. He suspected he’d be happy with his life mate despite what she looked like or her personality type. That was what life mates were all about, after all. The nanos selected the one you could be happy with.
“Now me,” Justin said suddenly, “I don’t care if she’s smart or funny as long as she’s a tall, curvy, dark-haired gal with sass and a nice ass.”
“Ah,” Basileios said quietly. It was the only thing he could think to say. After all, no matter what a life mate looked like prior to the turn, they would be at least somewhat altered after it, and whether that alteration included a “nice ass” depended on their genetics. It was also a petty thing to be concerned about when it came to a life mate. Which just showed him how young and immature the boy was. He’d grow up, though, and time would teach him what was important in life and what wasn’t.
Sherry stared at the girl across from her with amazement. “You already called? When? How?”
“I used the phone in the office here while I was waiting for the pizza and pops,” Stephanie explained. “I had to get help to the people in the store, and make sure a clean-up crew was sent to wipe memories and handle the mess.” She tilted her head, smiled and added, “And I wanted to talk to Marguerite and have her send something for you.”
“What?” Sherry asked suspiciously.
Stephanie grinned and then said, “Basil.”
“Basil?” Sherry asked incredulously. “Your surprise for me is basil?”
Stephanie nodded her head.
“What am I supposed to do with it? Put it on my pizza?” she asked with bewilderment, and then tilted her head. “Or does basil work like garlic to keep vampires away?”
Stephanie laughed and then explained, “Basil the person, not the spice.”
“Oh,” Sherry said, and then, “Oh!” Frowning, she shook her head quickly in denial. “No, no, no, I don’t want a man. Why is it everyone wants to set me up with someone?” she asked plaintively, and then mimicked a much higher voice and said, “‘Oh Sherry, my cousin is in town and he’d be perfect for you.’ ‘Oh Sherry, my son is single. I think you’d like him.’ ‘Oh Sherry, you’re such a sweetheart, you should be with a man. I have a neighbor who’s single. Why don’t I just arrange a dinner and . . .’” She grimaced and shook her head. “I am so not interested.
“Besides,” she added quietly, “this is no time to be setting me up on a date. For heaven’s sake, my store is a shambles, a woman may or may not be dead or at least badly injured, and we’re hiding in a pizzeria from a pack of two-legged wild dogs. Could you pick a worse time to decide you’re cupid? This is a serious business, Stephanie.”
“So are life mates,” Stephanie countered at once.
Sherry pinched the bridge of her nose between thumb and forefinger and murmured, “Right, of course they are. What are life mates?”
“Among our kind—”
“‘Our’ kind?” Sherry interrupted sharply.
“Vampires,” Stephanie said pointedly.
“Oh, right.” Sherry forced a smile. For a moment there she’d forgotten the kid thought she was a bloodsucking fiend. Hell, she might even really be one for all she knew. When had her life turned into a takeoff of Fright Night? Shaking that thought away, she said, “Your parents aren’t vampires, so you weren’t born one.”
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