The Immortal Who Loved Me(Argeneau, book 21)(62) by Lynsay Sands
Basha just grinned and brought them back to the subject at hand. “So, it would have been against the law for an immortal to have dallied in Sherry’s parents’ marriage?” she said. “But we think he fathered Sherry, who was born a year after her parents got married.”
“Which means the immortal had a relationship with a married woman and is subject to the punishment,” Basil said, pointing out the obvious.
“What if he didn’t use his immortal abilities to have the affair?” Marcus asked. “What if he didn’t use influence, or mind reading, or mind control? Is the punishment the same?”
“It doesn’t matter,” Basha said before anyone could answer to that. “If she was born a year after her parents married, then she was conceived during the third or fourth month of their marriage. They would have been in the honeymoon stage still, and probably still madly in love. He had to have used influence and mind control.”
“Unless Sherry’s mother was a ho,” Bricker pointed out.
“I didn’t get that impression from Sherry’s memories of her mother,” Basha said dryly.
Bricker shrugged. “Well, she’d hardly be a ho when she was older. That doesn’t mean she wasn’t when she was younger.”
“It’s doubtful she was willing,” Lucian said quietly. “I suspect he used undue influence.”
“You think he raped her?” Stephanie asked with shock, drawing their attention to the fact that she’d reentered the room and stood several feet away, listening, with Harper and Drina behind her.
“He wouldn’t have had to rape her,” Bricker said quietly. “We are oddly attractive to mortals. Bastien once told me it was thanks to special pheromones the nanos produce in us. He thinks they were originally meant to assist us when we needed to feed off the hoof.”
“That wouldn’t have been enough,” Basha said with certainty. “Especially when they were so newly married. He must have used some mind control to overcome her conscience and any reluctance she felt.”
“Which is rape,” Stephanie said grimly, and scowled around at them as if they were each responsible as she added, “I know he probably made her enjoy it, and I know you guys are so used to controlling mere mortals and making them do what you want that you probably don’t think it’s rape, but it is.”
Silence filled the room briefly, and then Harper cleared his throat and placed a soothing hand on her shoulder before saying, “But that doesn’t really explain why he’d want her away from Port Henry. If we’re even right about all of this—it is all guesswork after all,” he pointed out. “And we wouldn’t have guessed any of it if he hadn’t scared her back here.”
“I guess we’ll find that out when we talk to him,” Lucian said grimly, and glanced to Basil. “Sherry will know Zander’s address.”
“Doesn’t he work at the store?” Drina pointed out. “It’s daytime. He should be there if he’s assistant manager. Especially with Sherry away.”
Lucian shook his head. “We’ve got hunters in the store and sent the workers home in case Leo and his boys returned. He should be at home, or at least not at the store.”
“Right.” Basil stood and moved silently out of the room to head up the hall to the room he shared with Sherry. All it took was a quick glance inside for his heart to drop through his body and hit the floor with a resounding thud. The room was empty and the bathroom door was open, showing that it was empty too.
Whirling, Basil hurried back the way he’d come, only to pause at the last door before the archway to the living room. The door was cracked open. He pushed on it, revealing a small closet-sized area with a big yellow steel door in the opposite wall.
An emergency exit, he realized.
“Here you are, lady.”
Sherry glanced around to see that they were stopped in front of her store. As it turned out, it hadn’t been far from Harper’s apartment after all. She could have walked, but she hadn’t recognized where she was when she’d left the building, so she’d flagged down the cab . . . and then spent the entire short ride trying to grasp the fact that she might be the daughter of an immortal rather than the man she’d grown up calling Dad, and if that was the case, that she was a child of rape.
“Lady?” the driver prompted.
“Oh, sorry. What do I owe you?” Sherry muttered, and reached for her purse when the driver told her how much. That was when she realized that she didn’t have her purse. She was pretty sure she didn’t have any money in her pockets either, but desperately began to check them anyway as she searched her mind for a solution to her problem. She then glanced sharply to the front passenger door when it opened and Basil asked, “How much?”
Sighing with relief, Sherry slid out of the backseat as Basil paid the driver.
“Thank you,” she murmured when he closed the door and turned to her. “I wasn’t thinking straight I guess. I forgot I left my purse behind.”
“You left me behind too,” he said quietly, taking her arms and peering solemnly into her face. “Why?”
“I . . .” Sherry shook her head helplessly. “Like I said, I wasn’t thinking. I just ran.” She grimaced and then added, “I heard what you guys said about his raping my mom. I didn’t want to face anyone . . . and then I didn’t want someone else to talk to him. I want him to tell me himself. I need him to explain, Basil.”
“I know,” he murmured, and pressed her head to his chest with one hand while with the other he rubbed her back soothingly. “I understand, but I’d like to go with you.”
Sherry didn’t respond for a moment, and then she suddenly pulled back and peered up at him with a frown. “How did you know I’d come here?”
“I didn’t. I came out of Harper’s building just as your taxi pulled away and followed.”
“In another taxi?” she asked, looking around for one.
“No. I ran,” he admitted dryly. “Fortunately, it was only five blocks and your driver managed to hit every red light.”
She stared at him wide-eyed for a moment and then shook her head. “I’m sorry. I should have—”
“It’s okay,” he said firmly, squeezing her arms.
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