She threw the basket at him. “Are you crazy? I’m not letting you bite me!”

“I don’t want to bite you. Your blood is the last thing I want.” He looked pained.

That stopped her short. “My blood’s not good enough for you?”

“That’s not it at all.” He didn’t try to walk after her. Ephraim remained where he was, but they both knew that he could get to her before she made it to the door so she didn’t try to run, yet.

“Wait, you do drink blood, don’t you?” This was getting really confusing.

He ran a frustrated hand through his hair. “Yes!”

“You don’t have to snap it was just a question.”

He held up a hand. “My apologies.”

She nodded her acceptance. “Why isn’t my blood good enough? I bathe, I eat healthy, I don’t use drugs, drink or smoke. I’m not a vampire or anything, but I would think that would make my blood attractive.”

His jaw dropped. “Are you trying to get me to bite you?”


“Then why-“

“Because you insulted my blood!”

He pinched the bridge of his nose and laughed.

“You think this is funny?” Madison demanded.

“No, I think this is the most trying conversation of my life.”

Madison grabbed the bun from her grandmother’s abandoned plate and chucked it at him, hitting him in the chest. She pulled a chair in front of her to keep it between them in the false hope that it would be enough to stop him. She knew it wouldn’t. It just made her feel better to do something.

“Hey! What was that for?”

“You keep insulting me when really you should be explaining to me why I shouldn’t scream at the top of my lungs for help.”

He sighed as he pulled out a chair and flopped down on it. “You want an explanation?”

“Yes, I think,” she waved frantically around the room and then at him, “that I deserve one don’t you think?”

Ephraim shook his head slowly. “No, I think you owe me a thank you.”

“A thank you?” she asked in stunned disbelief.

“Yes, a thank you. I just got rid of that douche bag for you.”

He was an arrogant son of a bitch. She half stepped out from behind the chair to tell him so when she remembered what he was. Something was different. “Hey, why are your eyes blue again and where did your teeth go?”

“Would you believe me if I told you that none of that happened and that you were hallucinating?” he asked, sounding hopeful.


He sighed heavily. “I didn’t think so.”

“And you didn’t get rid of him. Candy did when she spilled the beans.”

Ephraim cocked his head to the side to study her. “You really think so?”


“Are you sure?”

“Yes! How many ways are you going to ask me? Now tell me about your eyes and teeth?”

He shrugged. “I believe you said they’re blue and my teeth are white. What’s to tell?”

She groaned and stomped her foot. “You are so infuriating! You know what I want to know?”

“No I don’t,” he said innocently enough, frustrating the hell out of her.

“Yes, you do!”

He shrugged. She glowered. He glowered back. Finally she threw her hands up in the air. “Fine! You’re obviously playing a game so just tell me what you want and then answer my questions.”

“You’re awfully demanding,” he commented.

“And you’re annoying!”

“Fine, I have a few questions for you before I tell you anything.”

She held her hands. “Wait, why do you get to ask your questions first? I’m the one with the information. I know what you are and could tell everyone.”

He raised one arrogant eyebrow. “Go ahead.”

“What?” She hadn't expected that.

“I said go ahead. Open the door and go tell them that I am a bloodsucker. I’m sure you’ll give everyone a good laugh.”

“But….” He was right she would look insane. “Fine I’ll get David to back up my story.”

Ephraim laughed. “David will never be able to look at you without pissing himself and running the other way.” His expression became serious. “Besides, you should really leave him alone. He’s going to have enough to deal with.”

That reminded her. “Ephraim, I need to know what's wrong with his blood.”

“No, first I need to know some things.”

“Like what?”

“I know you didn’t sleep with him. I need to know if you did anything short of sleeping with him.” It pained him to ask her.

Her mouth dropped open. “You what? How would you know I haven’t slept with him and wait where do you get off? It’s none of your business what I’ve done with anyone!”

He seemed unconcerned with her questions. “I know you’re a virgin. I can smell it.” He tapped his nose. “Heightened senses and all that.”

She didn’t think it was possible, but she was more embarrassed now than she was twenty minutes ago at the dinner table when Candy made her announcement. It made her angry that he knew. It was none of his damn business.

“I’m not telling you a damn thing. If your sense of smell is heightened then you tell me what I did or didn’t do,” she challenged. Mistake. It was a mistake.

She saw a flash of color and then felt a cool breeze. Ephraim stood directly in back of her. She shrieked and tried to run when two large warm hands gripped her shoulders. “Hold still. This was your idea, remember?”

“I..I…didn’t mean…”

“Shush and hold still. I’m working here,” he mumbled, his tone filled with amusement.

He shouldn’t be doing this. He really shouldn’t. She was his weakness in so many ways, but she challenged him and refused to answer his questions. He didn’t have the patience for this game. He had to know if she was sick too.

Holding her still by her shoulders, he used his face to push her smooth hair away from her neck. The feel of her hair against his face was erotic. He closed his eyes and fought for control.

“No biting!”

“Shh, I’m trying to focus.” He ran his tongue over his fangs, sending them back. It was too tempting to be this close to her neck so he needed to work fast. He skimmed his nose down her neck, ignoring the impulse to run his tongue over her skin. His nose skimmed down her back and then over her backside.

Thank god she couldn’t see his huge grin as he did that. He considered staying there for a minute, but felt her tense beneath his hands. She would probably slap him or throw those damn lumpy potatoes at him. He released her shoulders and ran his nose down her leg.

“Finally-hey!” She yelped as he took her hand into his and smelled it. He released it and walked away from her.

“Well?” she asked expectantly.

He didn’t turn around as he made his way to the door. “You’re fine. That’s all I wanted to know. Thanks,” he said dismissively. He opened the door, keeping his eyes lowered as he disappeared to the left.