The Immortal Who Loved Me(Argeneau, book 21)(11) by Lynsay Sands
“Here we are.”
Sherry turned forward again as Basil urged her out of the pizzeria and to the back door of an SUV illegally parked in front of it. She allowed him to usher her inside, and busied herself doing up her seat belt before she risked looking at him again. He’d settled next to her and was buckling up as well, so she glanced to the front of the vehicle where Stephanie was doing the same in the passenger seat.
“Do we know if everyone was okay at the store?” she asked no one in particular as Justin Bricker got into the driver’s seat.
“My daughter and Drina were headed there to take care of matters,” Basil announced quietly. “They’ll report when they are done, but I’m sure everyone is fine.”
Sherry stared at him blankly. “Your daughter?”
“Katricia,” he explained.
“Katricia who’s getting married?” Sherry asked slowly.
He nodded and smiled faintly. “She met her life mate at Christmas.”
“Teddy, the police chief where Stephanie lives,” Sherry said, recalling the girl’s earlier words.
“Yes.” He smiled. “She’s settled in Port Henry with him and helping him police the town.”
“Right,” Sherry murmured, but she was trying to wrap her mind around the fact that this man—who looked no more than twenty-five—had a daughter old enough to marry anyone. She didn’t care what Justin had said about adding two zeroes and so on, this man looked twenty-five. Clearing her throat, she asked, “And how old is your daughter?”
He paused and squinted toward the roof of the SUV briefly. “Well, let’s see. She was born in 411 AD, so that makes her—”
“What?” Sherry squawked with amazement.
Basil blinked and glanced to her with surprise.
Forcing herself back to calm, she asked uncertainly, “You’re kidding, right?”
“No,” he said apologetically.
“Right.” Sherry peered out the window. 411 AD. So if she got together with Basil, she’d have a stepdaughter who was . . . what? Sixteen hundred and some years old? Cripes. This was crazy.
“Do you have any children?”
“Good God, no!” Sherry blurted, jerking around in her seat to look at him with horror at the very suggestion. She wasn’t married, for heaven’s sake. Although, she supposed that wasn’t necessary for having a child nowadays, but the very idea of having children was terrifying to her. She spent most of her time at the store, working ridiculously long hours. She couldn’t imagine trying to raise a child, let alone more than one, with the schedule she kept. Maybe someday . . . when things were more settled . . .
Sighing, she shook her head and decided a change of subject was in order. “So how did you get named after a spice?”
Basil’s lips quirked with amusement. “Stephanie mispronounced it. My name is Basil,” he said, pronouncing it Baw-zil.
“Sorry,” Steph said from the front seat. “Katricia always just refers to you as Father. It was Cheetah who told me your name. I guess he mispronounced it.”
“Cheetah?” Sherry peered at her curiously.
“An American Enforcer who was delivering something or other to Mortimer,” Stephanie explained, and then glanced to Basil and added, “I don’t think he mispronounced your name on purpose. He’s from Cleveland. All of his a’s are pretty nasal.”
When Basil merely nodded and then turned his attention back to her, Sherry forced a smile and said, “So it’s Baw-zil, not Bay-sil?”
Basil nodded. “It’s short for Basileios.”
A car horn honked as he spoke, and she wasn’t sure she’d heard right. Tilting her head, she asked, “Bellicose?”
“No, not ‘bellicose,’” he said with a chuckle. “That is a temperament not a name. My name is Basileios.” He spoke slowly and loudly this time to be sure she heard.
“Basileios,” Sherry murmured, and then pursed her lips briefly as the name tickled her memory. “So you weren’t named after a spice, but some big snake from Harry Potter? Nice.”
He blinked. “A snake? What the devil are you talking about?”
“I think she’s getting Basileios mixed up with basilisk,” Stephanie said helpfully, turning in the front seat to grin at them.
“Basilisk, right,” Sherry said with a smile, and then shrugged. “They sound very similar.”
“They are not similar,” he said grimly. “My name is ‘Baw-sill-ee-os.’”
“Well, you said it fast the first time and it sounded kind of like ‘basilisk,’” she said apologetically.
“It did kind of, didn’t it?” Stephanie agreed.
“It did not,” Basileios said indignantly.
Feeling herself relax a bit, Sherry teased, “Well, if you’re going to go and get all bellicose about it, maybe we should just go with the spice and call you ‘Bay-sil’ after all,” she said, pronouncing it like the spice. And then she whispered, “Or Pep.”
Apparently, he had excellent hearing. Expression blank, he asked, “Pep?”
“Short for pepperoni,” she explained with embarrassment.
“As in you’re the pepperoni in her pizza,” Stephanie said, and burst out laughing.
Basileios stared from one to the other blankly, and then asked Stephanie, “You’re quite sure this woman is my match? There is no mistake?”
Stephanie laughed even harder at the question, but Sherry wrinkled her nose at the man. “Be nice, spice boy. I woke up this morning on earth. Five hours later I’ve stepped into the twilight zone. Cut me some slack here. I was just teasing you to let off a little steam.”
“Hmmm,” he murmured, and then allowed his eyes to rake down over her figure as he offered, “There are many much more pleasant ways to let off steam.”
Sherry went completely still as images of some of those more pleasant ways suddenly flashed through her mind. They were hot and sweaty flashes of them naked, her head thrown back, neck exposed as his mouth and hands traveled over her naked body.
Cripes, the flashes were so real it was like they were doing it right then. Sherry’s body actually responded as such, her breathing becoming low and shallow. Much to her dismay, her nipples even hardened and liquid pooled low in her belly and then rushed down to dampen her panties.
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