The Immortal Who Loved Me(Argeneau, book 21)(45) by Lynsay Sands
“I gathered,” she said wryly.
“It’s the life mate thing. You and Basil really are life mates,” Stephanie informed her.
Sherry didn’t comment and kept her gaze firmly fixed on what she was doing.
“You should see what Sherry bought today, Steph,” Elvi said. “She got some pretty nice outfits.”
“I like the one she has on,” Stephanie said with a nod, and Sherry glanced self-consciously down at herself. It was the ripped jeans and the sweater with the large holes baring the shoulders. She thought they looked good too, but she still wasn’t used to wearing such casual clothes, or clothes that were this overtly sexy either. Business dressy didn’t exactly lend itself to sexy. Well, okay, business dressy could be sexy, but she didn’t usually think of herself that way in business clothes. She wore them to look professional. These did look good on her, though, and on the plus side, if she’d damaged them at all when she’d fainted, you couldn’t tell.
“You fainted?” Stephanie asked, and Sherry glanced to her as the girl’s eyes narrowed and then suddenly widened. “You saw Leo!”
“What?” Sherry squawked with amazement, even as everyone else in the room froze and barked the same word.
“Sherry?” Basil asked with concern, moving toward her. “You saw Leo today? Here? In Port Henry?”
“No,” Sherry assured him. “I would have told you if I’d seen him.”
“You did see him,” Stephanie insisted. “But not in Port Henry, in London, while you were shopping. It’s the last thing in your head before Basil was waking you up on the dressing area floor.”
Sherry shook her head. “I didn’t. I’d remember that.”
“Not necessarily,” Basil said quietly, concern evident in every line of his body.
“Of course I would,” she insisted.
“He could have wiped himself from your memory,” Elvi told her gently.
“Then how could Stephanie be reading it?” Katricia asked with a frown. “If he wiped it from her memory, it shouldn’t be there for Steph to see.”
“Unless there’s a trace image of it in her mind and Stephanie’s able to pick up on it,” Drina suggested, and Sherry could feel the anxiety that suggestion caused in the room. She knew they were all worried sick about Stephanie already. Suggesting she had more skill would only increase those fears they had for her.
“Or maybe Sherry is blocking the memory,” Teddy said quietly. “Victims often block horrifying memories. But it would still be there for Stephanie to find.”
“Or maybe I had a nightmare while I was in my faint,” Sherry suggested. “I mean the man is like some kind of Freddy Krueger character and certainly featured in my nightmares last night, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I dreamt about him while I was unconscious. But I definitely did not see the man.” She stared around at the people in the room, all of them staring back with varying degrees of concern, and then sighed with exasperation and demanded, “Well, can any of the rest of you see Leo in my head?”
“Sherry, we can only read what you think of,” Elvi said quietly. “If you’ve blocked it from your mind or had it wiped, the rest of us won’t be able to see it.”
“Maybe you can,” Basil countered, and caught Sherry’s arms to turn her toward him. “What were you thinking just before Stephanie said you had seen Leo?” he asked.
Sherry frowned and tried to recall, but frankly, after all the excitement of the past few minutes, she couldn’t remember what she’d—
“I said I liked your outfit,” Stephanie said suddenly, prodding her memory.
“Oh, yes,” Sherry murmured and recalled wondering if it were a little young for her and then thinking that with the holes and threadbare state, no one would be able to tell if she’d done it any damage in the fall when she’d fainted and—
“I saw it,” Dree cried. “It was just a flash, but Stephanie is right. Sherry opened the dressing room door and Leo was there.”
“I saw it too,” Katricia said quietly.
“But how could that be? How did he get past you two unseen?” Elvi asked with dismay. “Victor, you said you were watching the entrance to the change room.”
“I was,” Victor assured her firmly. “That’s why I didn’t try to read Sherry’s memory to see if anyone had caused her faint when we found her. No one had come or gone. She was alone.”
“I did not see anyone enter or leave the dressing area either except for Elvi,” Basil added, backing him up. “But if the girls are seeing the same memory . . .”
“I saw it too,” Harper said solemnly.
“So did I,” Victor admitted. “But I do not see how he could have got to her. It doesn’t make sense.”
They were silent for a moment and then Teddy shifted and said, “He could have followed you to the store, saw her choosing clothes, and slid into one of the empty dressing rooms, knowing she’d probably try them on.” Mouth tightening, he pointed out, “Then all he had to do was wait for you to leave, approach her, and then slip back into whatever dressing room he was hiding in until you left. That way, he wouldn’t have had to pass you two at all.”
“Damn,” Basil breathed, goose bumps rising on his skin at the thought of Leonius alone with Sherry. He could have done anything to her.
“And if that’s the case, he probably followed you back here from London,” Teddy pointed out now. Expression grim, he moved to peer out the kitchen window at the dark backyard.
Drina and Tricia moved to the front windows to peer out, and Harper turned to head out of the room. Sherry supposed he was going to look out the side windows of the house, but noted that he retrieved his cell phone from his pocket as he went.
“No!” Elvi protested, sounding almost desperate. “Leo couldn’t have followed us back. We’d have noticed.”
“Sweetheart,” Victor said quietly, turning off the burner under the meat and moving to slip his arms around his wife. “He could have. We weren’t watching for him. We thought he was in Toronto.”
“Yes, but—” Her gaze shifted anxiously to Stephanie, and she said with frustration. “What was he doing in London? He’s supposed to be in Toronto.”
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