The Immortal Who Loved Me(Argeneau, book 21)(21) by Lynsay Sands
Basil frowned too and started to shake his head, but then his eyes widened slightly and he said, “I guess they must.”
He seemed shocked at the idea, and for a moment they were both silent, and then Sherry let out the breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding and said, “So, Atlantis fell, your people joined the rest of the world, grew fangs and— Oh, hey!” she interrupted herself suddenly. “Stephanie said Leo and his men were no-fangers. She said she was an Eden something or other too and then said she was immortal, so I’m not sure—”
“Edentate,” he explained. “It is an immortal without fangs.”
“Wouldn’t that be a no-fanger, then?” she asked with confusion.
“No. No-fangers are from the same batch of nanos as Edentates, but while the no-fangers were insane, the Edentates are the ones who survived the turn with their sanity intact. They are very like us, just without the fangs.”
“There was more than one batch of nanos?” she asked with interest.
“Yes. The first round of experiments with nanos were much less successful. One-third of the patients died, one-third came out of the turn insane, and only one-third came out seemingly fine. However, those who survived the turn from the first batch—insane or not—well, they never developed fangs after the fall. Most of them who survived the fall died when they didn’t produce fangs.”
“Was turned by Leonius Livius, a no-fanger,” he explained quietly. “So was her sister, Dani. Fortunately, they both survived the turn with their sanity intact.”
“Leonius is the Leo from my store?” Sherry asked, and he nodded.
“Anyway,” Basil said, “when the first batch of nanos showed such poor results, they changed the programming, and the new improved nanos were the ones that immortals who later produced fangs came from. It’s very rare for a turn to die in the process, and no one comes out of it insane . . . well, unless they were insane beforehand,” he said with a smile.
“Right,” Sherry said quietly. “You’re an immortal . . . with fangs?”
Sherry hesitated, and then asked, “Can I see them?”
He blinked in surprise, and she suspected he wasn’t often asked that. Maybe even never, she thought wryly. Sherry doubted vampires ran around playing “You show me yours and I’ll show you mine.”
“Basil! Sherry! Pizza’s here!”
He stood abruptly, offering her his hand as he said, “I guess I shall have to show you later.”
Sherry accepted his hand and stood, but she glanced at him curiously as they left the sitting room. She got the definite feeling he was relieved to put off showing her his fangs. She wasn’t sure why, though. The man was reacting as if she’d asked him to strip naked for her.
But then, she thought suddenly, maybe for vampires, fangs were like genitals. Certainly he wouldn’t have been encouraged to flash them around anymore than mortal men were encouraged to whip out their penises at a party. Perhaps that’s all it was, she thought, and then let the worry go as they reached the kitchen and she saw all the people there. Lucian, Leigh, Stephanie, Bricker, Sam and her Mortimer. There were also two other couples there she didn’t know. A dark-eyed and dark-haired man who she would have guessed was Italian was leaning back against the counter with his arms around the waist of a woman leaning back against him. The woman was beautiful, with silver-blue eyes and dark brown hair laced with red, and she looked familiar. Sherry suspected she’d waited on her in the store a time or two.
“That is my sister-in-law, Marguerite, and her mate, Julius,” Basil murmured, noting where she was looking.
Sherry nodded and turned her attention to the other couple, who were sitting at the big kitchen table at her end of the room. Well, the man with dark hair and silver eyes was sitting at a chair at the table. The woman was sitting in his lap. Sherry peered curiously at her, noting the chestnut-colored hair up in a ponytail and her golden-brown eyes, thinking she’d seen her before too.
“You have, Sherry,” Bricker said suddenly.
“Excuse me?” she asked, glancing to the young man with confusion.
“You have seen Nicholas and Jo before,” he explained with amusement. “Just not up close and probably not clearly. They were in the—”
“SUV,” Sherry finished for him, recognizing the names now. They’d been the hunters in the SUV that followed Leo and his boys. She glanced to the pair with concern. “Were you able to catch those men? Is the woman all right?”
Nicholas’s mouth turned even grimmer at the question, and it was Jo who said, “No. Leo crashed the car and then he and his boys fled on foot in different directions. But we had to stop and help the woman. She was pretty banged up.”
“Will she be okay?” Sherry asked, recalling the terror on the woman’s face when she’d found her friends dragged out of the car and herself trapped in that backseat with Leo’s boys.
“Yes,” Jo assured her, and then grimaced and added, “Eventually. She really was badly banged up. The emergency room doctor thought she would need months of physiotherapy.” She forced a smile and added, “But that’s better than what Leo and his sons would have done to her.”
“And what he will do to his next victims,” Lucian said grimly.
Jo frowned and scowled at the man. “I know you think we should have left her and chased after Leo, but she was trapped in the car and it was on fire. She would have burned alive if we hadn’t stopped.”
“It was in downtown Toronto,” he said heavily. “There were plenty of mortals there to help her.”
“They couldn’t have got her out of the car, Lucian,” Jo snapped. “Nicholas had to bend metal to get her out. Mortals couldn’t have done that.”
“So you saved one woman and let Leo run free to claim numerous other victims,” Lucian said grimly. “I doubt the families of his future victims will think it was a fair exchange.”
“You were not there, Uncle,” Nicholas growled. “We did what we thought was right at the time.”
“You mean you knew you should have followed Leo, but did what your softhearted wife thought was right,” Lucian snapped.
“No, of course he didn’t,” Jo said at once. “I didn’t ask him to stop. I was going to do it myself.”
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