I’m going straight to bed. I’m exhausted. Work is getting to me. But I had a great day. Still, Lord! I need some sleep.”

“You’re not having dinner?” Tara asked.

Ann looked at her, preoccupied, but still smiling and cheerful. “No, no. I had quite—yes, quite!—a lunch. I’m not hungry, just tired. What a day! I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow.” She frowned suddenly.

“Were you out with Daniel, Tara? You have hay in your hair.” Tara reached instinctively for her hair, seeking the hay, as she felt her cheeks burn. “I, uh, yes, I was out at the stables.”

Ann was too distracted to do more than nod. “There—you’ve got it. Hay all gone. Oh, well, love you both, I’m going up to bed.”

She blew them kisses, then turned away.

They heard a growl.

“Eleanora! Bad dog. It’s me, Ann!” she heard her cousin say.

She turned to her grandfather, frowning. Jacques had put down his fork. His hand, resting on the table, trembled.

“Grandpapa?” Tara said anxiously.

“I’m all right, I’m all right But I think I must get to bed.”

“Of course.”

“Call Roland for me, please.”

“Right away.”

Tara went out and found Katia who immediately called for Roland who came and smiled and gently assured Tara that Jacques was fine, just worn out It had been a very long day for him.

She promised her grandfather that she’d be in to say goodnight.

She helped Katia pick up the plates in the library, then wandered up the stairs, thinking she would check on Ann before saying goodnight to her grandfather.

She tapped at her cousin’s door, and when there was no answer, she opened it, popping her head in.

Ann’s room was dark. Her cousin was already in bed.

Tara silently walked into the room.

The balcony doors were open. The garlic bulbs had been impatiently cast into a pile in the corner of the room.

Tara hesitated, trying to discern her cousin’s features in the darkness. Ann was definitely and soundly sleeping.

Tara decided that it couldn’t hurt to close the balcony doors and replace the garlic. She did so, then tiptoed out.

She went into her grandfather’s room. He was in bed, and like Ann, appeared to be sleeping. His eyes were closed. Tara thought of his great age, and his tenacity and passion for life—and determination that he was part of the Alliance, a Resistance fighter for good against evil.

She kissed his forehead, checked his balcony doors and the garlic hung above them, then crept out.

She was tired herself, but restless, and her mind was moving with incredible speed. Aware of her afternoon, longing to go back over each moment, yet not wanting to think and analyze tonight, she drew out her easel and pad, and sat with pencils to sketch.

Disturbing pictures flew from her fingers onto the page.

Images ...

A churchyard, stones askew, graves split open. She stopped. Another sketch. A wolf. Huge, snarling, teeth gleaming, massive, hard.

A bat... flying like a shadow overhead.

The shadows then covered a Paris street, the path they had walked on the night she and Ann had gone to La Guerre.

She paused, then began to sketch again.

A man’s face ...

She frowned. She had drawn someone she had met. She couldn’t quite place the image she had created with her subconscious mind.

She glanced at her watch. Late. Time to shower and get some sleep. The tension that was tightening within her seemed to warn that the day to follow would be long and hard. She went in to shower.

Bits of hay still clung to her clothing. There were a few more fragments in her hair. The scent of him seemed to linger about her.

She went to bed thinking that it was still true that she barely knew the man. And yet, if he were to walk out of her life as suddenly as he had appeared in it, she would be disconsolate.

He wasn’t going to walk out of her life so quickly. He believed in vampires. Believed that vampires were killing in Paris ...

She tossed and turned, and at last fell into a fitful sleep.

* * *

Lucian drew the car to a halt. “Near here,” he said.

Brent got out on the passenger side. “Looks like a lot has been abandoned in this area.”

“There.” Lucian pointed to a street sign. “I saw that sign. Clearly.”

“Lead the way.”

Lucian did. They came to a house set back from the street. A fallen board stated one French word for condemned: CONDAMNE.

Brent followed as Lucian crawled over the sign.

“We’re too late, of course. Way too late.”

They stood in a foyer. Before time had rendered the structure dangerous, the place had been beautiful.

There were delicately carved wall panels. The ceilings were covered with now peeling and fading frescoes.

They were both quiet for a moment, listening, waiting. Brent nodded toward Lucian, and moved to the left.

He came to a room where a recent fire was down to cold ash. He stood in the center of the room for a moment, then moved toward the once ornate sofa. He stooped down.

Droplets ...

Possibly wine.

But not He reached out and touched one of the tiny stains. Dried blood.

A sense of danger seemed to grip him. He rose quickly, striding back through the elegant foyer to the other side of the house. Lucian was there, black-coated back toward him as he inspected the contents of a desk.

Brent didn’t know what he had been sensing. He started to walk toward one of the draperies.

A sudden scream of rage tore through the dark silence of the house.

The creature, naked, wild-haired, wild-eyed, lips snarling and fangs barred, came shooting from the draperies like a whirlwind from hell. Brent was still at a distance. The creature was flying toward Lucian.

Brent took a step forward, pulling the sharpened stake from beneath his coat. The dirty, grotesque figure that had once been human could move like lightning. And still, he could move faster. His speed was natural, honed through the years.

Lucian turned. The vampire was but inches away, intent on slashing and biting, when Brent impaled it from the back. The thing wasn’t dead. Caught on the wooden spike, it thrashed and screamed in a frenzy. Brent pinned it to the floor, and bent down, avoiding the teeth. He gripped the hair. And ripped.

The head came free.

There was no blood.

Lucian crouched down, studying the body. He looked up at Brent “That was quite clean and neat. I was really all right, though, you know.”

“You’re not supposed to destroy your own kind.”

“Those were the old rules,” Lucian said bitterly.“The world, and the rules, have changed.”

“I don’t think there are any more here,” Brent said.

Lucian held still, then shook his head. “They wanted us to be here—they meant this one as a sacrifice.” Brent squatted down at Lucian’s side, studying the face on the dismembered head.

“What is it?” Lucian said.

“I’m not sure, the features are so distorted ... but there’s something familiar about this man.”

“Let’s hope he wasn’t a friend,” Lucian murmured.

“No, it’s not an old friend. But still... there’s something familiar about the face. Or would be if... I don’t know. Hopefully, it will come to me.”

Lucian looked around the room. “This wasn’t exactly a setup, but I have a feeling this fellow was left here on purpose. They know we’ll track them down eventually. Maybe they’re hoping to at least wound us, take us off guard. Rather insulting, however, to think we might be taken by such a raw and stumbling new recruit”

“Maybe they don’t have much else,” Brent suggested.

“There has to be someone behind this who has known and tasted power.”

“Think about your enemies. There must be a few.”

“A few? Hundreds, I would imagine,” Lucian said. He studied Brent. “What about you?”

“I can only think of one, and that was a very long time ago and he is dead. But you’re right. There’s nothing else here. We need to start moving.”

“Let’s go,” Brent said.

Ann was hot. She tossed off the covers. The room suddenly seemed stifling and filled with a wretched and horrible odor.

She sat up and looked around. The damned garlic was back at the windows. And the balcony doors were closed.

Impatiently, she got out of bed and walked to the doors, throwing them open. She pulled the garlic from the top, wincing as it seemed that the bulbs had thorns, as if they were roses, and they hurt her. She threw them as far from the open doors as she could and stepped out on the porch.


She heard her name. Or didn’t hear it She felt it Ann...

It was like a caress. The breeze, oh, it was the breeze! So good against her skin. It felt as if she were being held again, teased again, kissed and touched, all over her flesh.



There were fingers in the wind. Fingers that moved over her. They seduced and beckoned. And each time the breeze whispered her name, she felt it anew.


Yes, yes.

Come! Come to me.

Yes, yes, of course . ..

Officers Surrat and Martine were driving down the street, cursing the lack of light, when they saw the pair.

“Georges!” Martine said to his partner. “There— two men.”

“I see them,” Michel Martine replied, and he depressed the gas pedal further, then jerked the patrol car up on the curb, cutting off the two men on the street

“Is it him?” Georges Surrat asked his partner. Martine was an older man who had worked in Paris for years before being transferred to the village a decade ago. Surrat was young, and just learning the ropes.

“Yes, that’s him. Brent Malone. The American digger. Javet wants him. Careful, he might be dangerous.

Remember the corpse in the crypt?”

Georges nodded grimly, reaching for his side arm as the two simultaneously got out of the patrol car.

“Brent Malone!” Michel Martine spoke, his voice hard and determined. He’d dealt with a hell of a lot on the streets of Paris.