He considered running down the fire escape stairs to the foyer and avoiding the congestion in the elevators. At this time of day it would take forever. The stairs wouldn’t tax him in the slightest. But it might draw attention to him. So he patiently waited for the elevator and stepped on with a dozen others and moved to the side to give them room.
The elevator stopped on the next floor, with more people getting on but by then his animal instinct was crowding him, making the hair on the back of his neck stand up. He was being watched. His heart thundered.
He made no sudden moves. Instead, as people pushed onto the elevator, he turned so his back was to the side wall of the car, giving him an excuse to look at everyone if he brought his head up.
He lifted his head and looked around.
She was standing on the other side of the car, almost completely obscured by the other riders because she was only just over five foot.
Mia. Shamira Menendez of San Diego, California.
His first aching thought was, You’re so fucking beautiful, Mia.
Then reality caught him in the chest. Mia was staring at him because she thought he was dead. She thought he died ten years ago, in San Diego.
And now she was watching him with tears in her eyes and all he could think about was his swelling cock and his exploding heart and how much he wanted to take up where he had left off…bending her over the counter, sliding his cock into her pussy and making her scream his name.
“Are you all right, sir?”
He tore his gaze away from Mia. “Excuse me?” he said hoarsely. He looked down at the gray-haired lady next to him.
“Your breathing is all funny,” she said. “Are you claustrophobic?”
Others were looking at him now. Becoming the center of attention was never a good thing for a vampire. Zack had drilled that into him. Seaveth was even more of a sergeant about it, now vampires were assimilating into human society. He swallowed. “I’m fine,” he said.
But he wasn’t. He looked at Mia. She was still watching. She knew it was him. There was no way to deny it. No escape. No bluff he could use to fool her. The knowledge gleamed in her eyes.
“Give him room, please,” she said. “Everyone, stand back a bit.” She was stepping closer, taking charge.
They all shuffled back, clearing eighteen inches. Mia squeezed between them and stepped into the space. “Take a deep breath,” she told him, her voice low.
He couldn’t tear his gaze from her face. The tears in her eyes pooled and one fell down her cheek. Just one. But she didn’t wipe it, or show any sign of emotion. Cool, calm, controlled. “We’re nearly there,” she added, speaking for the others in the car, maintaining the illusion of a claustrophobe in full panic mode. She knew as well as he did it was nothing of the sort.
As the doors opened, the others stood back, letting them exit first. She grabbed his lapels and hauled him from the car. He let her, for he stood a foot higher than her and outweighed her by nearly a hundred pounds. But her scent alone was wreathing his head and making his senses reel. Something with vanilla and…grapefruit? He could feel his incisors trying to descend and his mouth filling with vampire saliva to deaden her flesh so she wouldn’t feel the first piercing of his teeth. His cock was pounding with the agonizing need to slam her against the walls of the foyer and fuck her senseless.
He was almost hyperventilating with the dilemma.
Her hand rested on his chest. God, he could feel her heat through her hand. He swallowed.
“You’re supposed to be dead,” she whispered. No hello. No attempt to confirm who he was. She was that sure of him despite ten years.
He couldn’t afford to answer her, to even start the conversation. Instead, he stared at her, soaking up details. She had been eighteen when he left and even at that age, infinitely dangerous to his pulse. Now she was a mature woman and beyond dangerous. He could feel it in his heart, his mind, his cock. His whole body was responding to her like a nuclear magnet. She wore her dark hair down to her shoulder blades but styled in some mysterious fashion that just brushed over one eye and framed her high cheekbones and pointed chin. Her black eyes, still gleaming with tears, with their arched strong brows, were staring at him, giving him no quarter. They never had. And her lips…full, the top one like a cupid’s bow. He had dreamed about kissing those lips and woken sweating in his lonely bed all those years ago when he could sweat. Those lips still looked sweet, the teeth behind them white and beckoning.
Mia was wearing a dress. He had no way to describe it, except to say it wrapped her in roses and made the most of her figure. And she had a figure. Even at eighteen she’d had a figure. He had lusted after it. And in ten years, it had changed very little. Her breasts had not sagged. Her hips had not spread. And her waist was still as tiny as ever. It was that tiny waist he had grabbed as he bent her over the counter…
He realized his heart was thundering in his ears. With her hand on his chest, she must surely feel it too.
She was frowning, staring at him. “You haven’t changed,” she said. “Not at all.” And she stepped back, her hand falling away.
Alexander realized she had seen, then, he had not aged. This was one of the reasons that Zachariah and Diego had insisted he move to New York once Zack had made him.
Mia took another step backward and he could see her doing the mental math.
“Mia,” he began and stopped, mentally cursing. He’d just confirmed he was who she thought he was. Until that moment there had remained the possibility of pretending she’d made an embarrassing mistake. It would have killed him to do it but it would have been a way out. That chance was gone now. He closed his eyes. What a fucking disaster. He opened them again and took a last look at her. Beautiful Mia. She was starting to realize there was something dreadfully wrong. Horror was creeping into her expression. He needed to leave before she began to look at him like the monster he was.