One Lucky Vampire Page 39

“Registered?” Jake asked with a frown.

“Yes. You see, there’s a law that if you work in a remote wilderness area, where your life can be under threat by wild animals, you can get a special license to carry weapons, like rifles and handguns.”

“And you have one of those special licenses,” Jake guessed dryly. He now understood the old saying “crazy like a fox.” The bastard might be nuts, but he was smart too.

“Yes, sir, I do,” he said with a grin so wide it was almost painful to see. “That and a family with the resources to hire an excellent lawyer who is quick and very good. I was out within hours.”

Jake was really beginning to dislike this guy’s smile.

“Of course, it helped that the security tape showed you moving toward me before I even reached to adjust my gun so it was no longer digging into my ribs.” He smiled and offered, “Well, at least that’s what I told them I was doing.”

Jake didn’t respond to the comment. He was trying to decide what to do. The man had had a gun before and probably did now, no doubt tucked into the arms he presently had crossed. Jake wasn’t too concerned about being shot dead, that wasn’t a worry unless Ball-Cap Boy blew his head completely off, which would take a sawed-off shotgun or an equally powerful weapon, he was sure, and this man couldn’t be hiding one of those on his person. Jake suspected he had his handgun though, and while that wouldn’t blow his head off, it could incapacitate him temporarily and leave Nicole alone in the house and at the mercy of this nut. He didn’t want to risk that, so had to move carefully.

“It also helped that I told them that I’d run into you before,” Ball-Cap Boy continued conversationally. “When I was out on a date with your live-in girlfriend.” He grinned widely. “And that you’ve had it in for me ever since.”

Jake didn’t react on the outside, but inside he was mentally kicking himself. He often had dealings with the police on the job, and knew a good number of them by name. However, busy feeling sorry for himself as he’d been, and thinking himself a monster, Jake hadn’t encouraged any friendships since leaving California. So, while many of the officers had given some personal details about their lives in an offer of friendship, mentioning wives, girlfriends, or kids, Jake hadn’t responded in kind. As Dan had said in the elevator the day they’d encountered this man, he didn’t know a thing about him and had thought him without family. It would be the same with the police. Had he bothered to befriend the men he worked with and encountered on the job, they’d have known this man was lying about a live-in and hesitated to let him go to cause trouble again.

“How did you find me here?” Jake asked abruptly, turning his attention to the situation at hand. Self-flagellation was really a waste of time and useless in a situation like this. He could kick himself later.

“The angels led me to you.”

Jake was aware that his eyelids flickered at this claim, but all he said was, “Oh?”

“Hmmm.” The man nodded. “My lawyer wanted to talk after he got me released. He took me to a bar downtown and sat trying to convince me to let my parents help me, which translates to locking me up,” he added bitterly and began to rant. “They don’t believe the angels talk to me through the radio and that I have a purpose in this life. They think I’m crazy, that I’ve spent too much time alone up north and it’s affected me. That I need to take those stupid pills the doctor gave me again. But I’ll show them. They’ll understand when I carry out the charge I’ve been given. You screwed up the first service I was supposed to perform to make this a better world, and for a minute my faith was shaken. How could God allow that when I was doing his work? But when I saw you coming out of that restaurant across the street with that brunette, I knew the angels had led me there. I understood that the devil would, of course, not want me to carry out my mission, and that you and everyone you associate with are in league with him.”

Crazy as a loon, Jake thought grimly, but knew the brunette that Ball-Cap Boy had seen him with was Marguerite, when they’d left the restaurant where they’d dined together.

“So you followed us,” Jake guessed. It was the only explanation.

Ball-Cap Boy nodded. “I left the lawyer with his mouth wide open and followed you. I had to hire a taxi to do it.” He smiled. “I told the taxi driver the brunette was my wife and the two of you were having an affair. He was very sympathetic. It seems his wife ‘stepped out’ on him, as he put it.” He shrugged. “We followed you to that car rental place and while she was returning her car, I rented one, and then I followed you back here.”

“And poisoned the hot tub?” Jake asked, and then said with certainty, “No, not then. You didn’t have the poison with you in the rental car.”

“No,” he agreed. “But I saw the hot tub that night. Disgusting things,” he added with a shudder. “Only whores and whoresons use those. Poisoning it was the only thing to do.”

Jake frowned. He was recalling his first night here when he’d arrived with Marguerite. The door had been unlocked when they’d arrived, he recalled. They’d locked it, and then when he’d checked later it was unlocked again.

“You followed us here, you weren’t here before us?” he asked, despite knowing he couldn’t have been.

Ball-Cap Boy looked at Jake as if he were the one who was crazy. “I told you I followed you. The angels led me to you, they don’t give out addresses.”

Jake didn’t react to that, his thoughts were on the fact that the door had been unlocked when they’d arrived. Nicole had claimed she’d locked it behind Marguerite when she’d left, but it had been unlocked when they’d arrived. The only answer was either Nicole had only thought she’d locked it, or she’d locked it and then unintentionally unlocked it when she’d turned the key back to take it out of the lock. But he knew Marguerite had locked it when they’d entered. He’d even checked it himself afterward. Yet it had been unlocked again later.

“You were in the house,” he said with certainty.

“The studio door was cracked open.”

Jake frowned. Marguerite had searched the main floor while he took the upper when their calls hadn’t drawn Nicole out. Marguerite must have just stuck her head into the studio, or maybe she even just glanced through the French doors. Whichever the case, she hadn’t noticed the sliding glass doors being open.

“I was really impressed with the girl’s paintings,” Ball-Cap Boy said now, surprise in his voice. “I expected them to be orgy scenes and such, but they were well-done portraits. Of course, I realized then that the angels had left the door open for me so I could see my next targets. Obviously, a servant of Satan would only paint other minions of hell.”

“Christ,” Jake muttered, thinking of the portrait of Christian and Caro. The man was saying they were now a target too, along with the actress and the politician.

“Don’t you dare utter Christ’s name in vain,” Ball-Cap Boy barked, suddenly on his feet, the gun Jake had been sure he had in view and pointing straight at him. Ball-Cap Boy had held it tucked between his arms and body, hidden until he was ready to reveal it, which was exactly what Jake had suspected.

He eyed the weapon warily, very aware that Nicole, as one of Satan’s minions, was also a target now. He definitely couldn’t afford to be incapacitated, even for moments. Trying to turn the man’s thoughts from his anger and get answers at the same time, Jake asked, “Did the angels lead you out of the house through the front door?”

Ball-Cap Boy looked at him with disgust. “Don’t be ridiculous. I decided to go that way myself after the brunette went upstairs and I’d searched the main floor. It was closer and easier than marching through the snow.”

“Right,” Jake murmured, but at least he knew how the door had got unlocked after Marguerite locked it. “And you tried to run over Nicole in the Canadian Tire parking lot?”

He shrugged. “She’s in league with you.”

Jake nodded grimly. “And you messed with the SUV’s brakes and accelerator?”

“Well, I would have just shot you, but the police are still suspicious of me, and you aren’t my primary target. I can’t get caught until I complete my mission and kill all the politicians in the world.”

Jake’s mouth twitched. As missions went, he couldn’t really say that was a bad one. Jake wasn’t big on politicians. Politics seemed to be peopled with greedy, larcenous, uncaring morons who couldn’t run a corner store let alone a country. Geez, there were at least two mayors of major cities in just this province right now who were in hot water. One was accused of using government funds for the wedding of one of his children, the other of using his position to strong-arm funds for some pet charity of his or something. Charity was good, but using such tactics to get money for it made people think maybe he was getting a percentage of the donations. Why else risk your job?

“Unfortunately, you are turning out to be difficult to kill,” Ball-Cap Boy said with a perplexed frown. “I mean, I wouldn’t expect the devil to make it easy, but I don’t know how you managed to survive the hot tub. I saw you get in, and thought for sure I’d succeeded when you started vomiting blood. I went away thinking I’d come back in a day or so to take care of the girl, but when I returned you were on your feet and those two behemoths were here.”

“So you followed us to the mall and messed with the SUV while we were inside shopping,” Jake said.

“Yes.” He scowled. “But you survived that too.”

Jake wondered if the guy expected him to apologize or something, and then movement behind Ball-Cap Boy drew his gaze to the sliding glass doors and the woman easing into view on the deck outside. For a moment, he was so distracted by the outfit that he didn’t look at the face. Cripes, talk about a sex trap. The only cover the outfit offered was scraps of almost see-through black material over the three most important bits. They appeared to be held in place by crisscrossing straps or lacing . . . and were those thigh-high boots? There wasn’t enough material in them to put together to make a proper shoe. But then there wasn’t enough material in the whole outfit to make anything decent. Who the hell—?

His gaze slid upward, finding a fedora perched at a jaunty angle on long, wavy blond hair and then he focused on the face. Nicole! Jake suspected his heart stopped at that moment and he would never know how he managed to control his expression and keep his jaw from dropping to thud on the floor. She looked fricking amazing, hot as hell, sexy as sin . . . and boy was Ball-Cap Boy gonna want to kill her for that outfit. He could imagine him shrieking Jezebel! and shooting her full of holes. This was not good, not good at all.

“So I thought a personal approach was called for,” Ball-Cap Boy announced.

Realizing he was staring and likely to draw the man’s attention to Nicole, Jake shifted his gaze quickly back to the man as he waved his gun around. He opened his mouth to say something clever, but all that came out was, “Er . . .”

It was the best Jake could come up with, and, really, he thought that was pretty good considering his penis was reacting to Nicole’s outfit by trying to form a pup tent in his pants. Jeans are much more resistant to such things than jogging pants, he noted, shifting uncomfortably as his gaze skittered back to Nicole. She had slid through the door and was now raising something she’d been carrying at her side, something big and white and—a pillow.

Seriously? Jake thought with amazement. This wasn’t a pillow fight. What kind of person brought a pillow to a gunfight? Cripes, she was dressed for a pillow fight too . . . well, a sexy pillow fight that ended in toppling her onto the bed, ripping her panties off and thrusting—

“What the hell’s the matter with you?” Ball-Cap Boy asked suddenly, distracting him from his less than helpful thoughts. “You’re panting and your eyes look funny. Are they glowing?” he asked with a frown, taking a step closer.

“I’m possessed,” Jake blurted out on inspiration. That inspiration being that he mostly felt possessed . . . by his penis. It seemed to have a mind of its own and didn’t particularly care what kind of situation he was in. It wanted Nicole bad, and seemed to be trying to force its way through his jeans in her direction.

“Possessed,” Ball-Cap Boy looked alarmed. “But—”

“I didn’t want to stop you, the demon possessing me did,” Jake added, his gaze skittering from Ball-Cap Boy to Nicole and back. She was only a step behind the man now, and was raising her pillow as if she planned to smack him with it. Was she CRAZY? he wondered, and gave his head a small shake, trying to tell her with the gesture not to do it. You didn’t piss off the man with the gun and that was the only thing hitting him with the pillow was going to do. Dear God, when this was over, he was going to have a stern talk with her about self-defense tactics.

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