At the mansion of Andres, Margo, Kirk and Drea find the situation is worse than they thought. They aren’t the only ones who have been targeted for violence. Not only that, Andres has a new pet, daughter of the dead fishmonger, Jay. Now, confronted with co-leader, Phillida, they find her hysterical over Andres’ upcoming marriage to Carley.
“If you don’t wish us to involve her, we won’t. However, I think you can trust her to help out. She is loyal to our people, even if you and she don’t get along. She would do it for all of us, to protect us.”
“Perhaps,” Phillida said quietly. “I’ll think about it.”
“I will go as a model,” Margo said. “I have done so before. I think I can still handle the strut.”
“Drea can handle our regular catering gigs with—the help.” He had almost mentioned Tommy. “We have only small parties coming up. No trouble for her.”
“One of those to disappear was Vincent,” Phillida said sadly.
Kirk and Margo knew Vincent was the first pet she turned. He had been with her for nearly 800 years. Though they were no longer lovers, they were the best of friends.
“He was working a show, modeling Andres’ fashions. He disappeared six weeks ago. This is not like him! He is not one to wander off.”
“Had he met someone?”
“No. He was involved with Rubina. She also has disappeared, shortly after he did.”
“This is serious. How many are missing?”
“Twelve of us?” Margo was appalled. “So many.”
Coupled with the things that were happening to them, this was disturbing news. Kirk didn’t feel he could tell Phillida about their situation now. It was more important to talk to Heinrich than ever. Excusing himself, he went in search of the 521 year old man. He found him in the library sipping sherry and smoking a hand rolled cigar.
“Kirk, delighted,” he said, giving the younger man a limp wrist. “You wanted to see me?”
“It’s about the disappearances—and something more.”
He told Heinrich about their recent experiences. As he spoke, the older vampire’s face clouded. Soon, he was so angry, he actually had color in his cheeks.
“And it has taken you so long to tell us? Surely these two things are connected!”
“We had no idea what was going on,” Kirk reminded him firmly. “We came here tonight to apprise you of our problems. We had no clue you had some of your own. Now that we both know, we can work to the common goal—figuring this out! I need anyone with military or law enforcement experience.”
“You know our kind don’t often tend toward upholding the law,” Heinrich said with a smarmy smile that left Kirk irritated.
“Perhaps not, but I’ll bet some of them did before they were turned. I need to talk to them. Can you arrange that?”
“This is a party, Kirk.”
“This is an emergency, Heinrich. Philly’s a wreck. Andres is so wound up in his new toy, he hasn’t a clue what’s going on. I think it’s time to clarify. We can’t protect ourselves if we don’t have the facts.”
Heinrich sighed exasperatedly. “Very well. Come. We’ll make the announcement together.” He led the way to the main room.
Kirk followed at a respectful distance. He adjusted his suit and tie, suddenly feeling very on display. He did not like public speaking, but he wasn’t in a position to avoid it. Someone had to. Unfortunately, it fell to him.
Heinrich led him to the grand staircase. When he got there, he clapped his hands for attention. Everyone in the room turned toward him. Kirk stood slightly to his left and a step behind him.