...From where Martin sat in the magic circle, he studied the image that filled the door frame. It was him. Why had he expected differently? Although he hadn’t taken the time to get a good look at the vampire that night, he recognized the black hair that hung round his shoulders. Vampires were usually quite beautiful, and this one was no exception.
“Hello, Martin.” He actually smiled. For only a fraction of a second, sharp deadly fangs glittered at him, then retracted.
“Was that for effect?” Martin asked casually, amazed at how calm he felt now that the actual moment had finally arrived.
The vampire walked in and closed the door. “It could be. Was it successful?”
Six-foot-four or so, he was solidly built with broad shoulders and a narrow waist. The casual beige blazer he wore over his faded jeans and dark T-shirt hung beautifully on him.
“If you were trying to terrify me…well then no, not really effective at all. I’ve seen fangs before,” Martin told him. It was true. He’d seen many vampires. Although, normally witches and vampires didn’t socialize, they cohabited in the land of Kindred Hallow fairly peacefully except when someone…
“Except,” the vampire interrupted his thoughts, “when laws have been violated.”
“You read my thoughts.”
“Rude of me, I know. I apologize.”
He had blue eyes. Martin could see them clearly now. There was a brilliant quality to them not found in humans. He knew those eyes could see far more than his. They could pick up the slightest movement, the tiniest particle.
“So, what took you so long?” Martin asked him, trying to keep the panic out of his voice.
“It didn’t take me long at all. You forget we don’t have the same sense of time. Plus, I only took up this case a few hours ago.” He came closer.
It might have been his proximity. The calm left Martin and was replaced by terror. It was crawling up his throat and threatened to choke off his air. “So, they sent incompetents after me before?” He’d managed to elude three assassins in the last few months.
“Basically, yes.” He walked around the bedroom, picking up this and that, examining it, then putting it back down. “I always say if you need a job done well, do it yourself.”
Martin narrowed his eyes.
“Shall we get on with it then?”
Martin squared his jaw, his thoughts racing. There had to be some spell to stop him.
The vampire kicked at the herbs with the toe of his black boot. “You know this won’t stop me. Is this the best you can do, witch, or do you prefer warlock?”
Martin sucked in some air. “Nowadays, we’re called either. That doesn’t bother me. What I really prefer is a trial.”
“A trial is the best way but the council has deemed that to be impossible. Maybe if you’d come forward before and confessed your crime.” He met Martin’s gaze again meaningfully.
“And…ah…don’t you have a…mind of your…own? Does the council control everything? Can’t you give your opinion since…”
The vampire pulled back his head. “Good try...”