Let Them Eat Cake Newsletter Excerpt Continued!

Slow down, sweetheart. Are you okay? Are you safe?” Brian frantically cut her off.

“Yeah. I should be. I think it’s gone. It should be gone.”

“You are not making me feel warm and fuzzy, Maria. Use those creepy vampire senses and make sure you are safe. Then tell me where you are, and I’ll bring an arsenal, that way Matt and I can back you up.”

Maria took a moment to scan the area again. Nothing. No evil presence, no lurking menaces. She felt sure she would sense the same malevolent aura she experienced earlier if it was out there.

I hope.

While she didn’t sense the killer, she did detect a couple of humans out for a stroll. She took another few minutes and set psychic wards on the entrance to the dead-end alley.

The process of warding only took a few minutes. It was a simple task and allowed her mind to wander.

Because she didn’t want to be in that alley she thought of Ricardo, the Druid Mage who taught her the basics of warding, almost a century ago.

She had just moved to Ireland and was renting a small castle that had almost no windows. He was sitting by her bed when she woke up one night. Which had scared the crap out of her.

When he quit laughing, Ricardo told her that she needed to learn how to ward her place of rest. When she explained that she didn’t know how to do magic, he laughed at her again.

Ricardo, one of the most powerful magic users she had ever met, had a mean sense of humor.

He stayed with her for a few days, teaching her that warding wasn’t magic but the innate supernatural ability that was part of her vampire powers. He explained that warding was a simple warning system built into the DNA of most paranormal creatures. If she learned to weave strong wards she would be able to turn people away from an area. If her wards were weak, she would feel it if someone breached those wards and have time to run…or prepare to fight.

He taught her to inscribe the air while she thought about protection and projected a sense of danger. She learned to infuse the ward with her innate strength and a spine-tingling sense of peril. The simplest wards would keep most humans and Others from even knocking on a warded door.

Or entering an alley.

She blinked. Coming back from her pleasant trip down memory lane to focus on the alley where death waited. The alley was warded, and humans would stay away. That was a good thing, she did not need to deal with mass hysteria at this point. It wasn’t in her job description.

“Maria. Where did you go? You are scaring me, sugar.”

“I’m here. I’m okay. The coast is clear, and I just made sure all the little blood donors stay away.”

“Okay, humor. That means you are doing better. Where are you so I can come and get you?” he demanded.

“You are not leaving the house tonight. Where is Matthew?” she asked, frightened for her friends.

“Right beside me, putting a backpack of toys together in case you need them. I don’t know why we have tons of these death-packs in the house if you leave without taking one. It defeats the purpose.”

“You’re right, and I promise you can nag me later. But I need you to stay at home. I don’t understand what the hell is going on and until I do I want you two locked up and safe. If you feel strange or hear anything out of the ordinary I need you to call out to me and promise you won’t investigate without me. Do not wait. Do you hear me, Brian? No Rambo-Esque moves tonight.”

“Honey, I don’t do butch. I’ll call you if I need you. Now, what else can I do that will get you home quickly.”

“I don’t remember where I stopped on my list of demands.” Maria could feel Brian’s concern and near panic at her words.

“You asked me to contact a hunter.”

“Right. Call Charlotte. She’ll take the order from you—just explain that I need one and don’t have time right now to talk to her myself. You can promise that I will get in touch with her soon, but we unquestionably need a hunter and we need one as soon as possible. Oh! And call Bill, the Chief of Police. Tell him it is very important that he meet me at the coffee shop on Third and Main. Explain that I went out unarmed and ask if he would bring a gun I can borrow for a few hours. Tell him to make sure he is armed and to bring a camera. The threat seems to have disappeared for now, but I don’t want to be without a weapon if it shows up again. Oh, and you can explain that I don’t think the problem is human, but it is possible that whatever “it” is could be killing humans and I really need his help.”

“You are going to freak him out, Maria. You’re freaking me out. You never need help. Let me bring—”

“No. I can’t, Brian. I don’t want you or Matthew to leave the penthouse. You could put your lives in danger. Just stay where you are, I’ll be fine.”

Brian turned away from the phone and looked at Matthew. “Bill will meet her. He said it will take him about forty-five minutes to get to the coffee house. Did you send the email about the meeting tomorrow?”

Matt grinned up at him, his green eyes glowing with amusement. “The Broadcast message was sent to the entire Council including the human advisors, with acknowledgment of receipt requested. I also used the new voice call gadget you set up to dial the home and cell phones of those who either don’t do email or don’t do it often enough to be of use. It will play the recorded announcement. Great idea you came up with, sweets.”

Brian nodded. The device he created would call everyone and give each person a digital voice message about the meeting and then record their answers. They would still have to physically reach out to the supernatural creatures who couldn’t figure out how to “press one for yes” in response to Maria’s summons, but there was only a handful of those.

Matt shrugged, “Now what? We leave her alone with one human man to face whatever scared the shit out of her? Scared her enough to ask for help?”

Brian looked at him, noting Matt’s eyes were wide in feigned anxiety. He snorted. “Hell no. Leather up bad boy, we can at least take a death-pack to the coffee shop. I need a latte anyway. Did you put her stakes and little Uzi machine gun thingy in the pack?”

“Both of those, along with her throwy stars and a couple of wicked-looking knives. You know she is going to be royally pissed at us when we show up, right?” Matt asked.

“Yep. But then she does royally pissed, so well. We’ll take the tank; our Hummer is built for nights like this.” Brian moved with stubborn intent in the direction of the door. No one would be allowed to harm Maria without him and Matt having something to say about it.

Maria’s human servants charging to her rescue, he thought with glee. Whether she wants us to or not.