Enoch’s lips pressed into a tight line.
“You have your dark angel look,” Voronika told him. He was an archangel, a warrior, with black hair and dark eyes. Caleb and Samiel, seraphims, looked like picture-book angels with golden hair and bright-blue eyes . . .and neither of them could be trusted. She came to rub his arm. “You’re ready to leave. Maggie’s looking done-in anyway. I’ll go with you, then Danny won’t have to drive me home.”
Enoch wrapped an arm around her shoulders and gave her a grateful squeeze. “Thank you. When we get home, I’ll call for Bart. He can send the vampires’ private plane to fly me to Caleb.”
“Do you know where Caleb is?”
“Close enough.” If Enoch was right, he was locked in his own complex, his gambling den of iniquity. Mortals mingled with vampires in the above ground casinos and pleasure rooms, but a vast sprawl of private apartments and lairs webbed underground and into the side of the mountain that the complex backed up against. Enoch had visited there once to help Caleb. It was a palace of gaudy grandeur.
Danny glanced out the hospital window at the sky—a sliver of a moon and a sprinkle of stars against a black backdrop--vampire hours. “Will Bart and Claudia want to go with you? Can you keep them safe?”
“Bart’s Caleb’s top general. I can’t turn him away.” He and his mate, Claudia—another general—had come to Three Rivers to help Enoch protect it a few times. Both Danny and Enoch respected and admired them, thought of them as friends.
Maggie had met them, too, and liked them. She bit her bottom lip, worried.
Enoch tried to reassure her. “I’ve worked with Bart so many times, he knows to stay out of my way when I shoot the Light. So does Claudia. We make a hell of a team.”
Still, the One had given Enoch an impossible job, trying to clean up Caleb’s messes. The vampires Caleb created sired vampires of their own. And those vampires sired more. On top of that, who would have guessed that he’d have to save Caleb from his own creations? But this time, his fellow angel hadn’t brought his problems on himself. Caleb’s anger was too genuine.
Maggie’s eyelids lowered, and she blinked herself awake.
Voronika smiled. “Get some rest. And congratulations.” She and Enoch said their goodbyes, then walked long, meandering corridors to the hospital’s near-empty parking garage. Enoch’s dark green Jaguar hummed in greeting. He was blessed with more money than he’d ever need. Not that he flaunted it like Caleb did, but dipping inside a warm car was a luxury he enjoyed. Mid-February in northeast Indiana brought foul weather and bitter cold.
It was a short drive to their apartment building that bordered the river. Once the elevator stopped at the hall for his penthouse, Enoch reached for Voronika’s hand. “I don’t expect any trouble here, but it wouldn’t hurt for you to be cautious.”
She raised a pale eyebrow. “Should I lower the metal grids for the balcony’s French doors?” Enoch had installed grids for every window and door to protect Voronika from rogue vampires when Vlad had come for her.
He shook his head. “They won’t protect you from an angel.”
“An angel?” Her voice choked on fear. When Caleb had ripped the grids off their beams to take her to Vlad, she’d had no way to defend herself.
“Not Caleb. Samiel. I don’t want him to use you as a bargaining tool against me.”
“You think an angel attacked Caleb?”
“That would be my first guess. When I turned him down, he must have decided to try Caleb. Samiel knows about you and Angel. You might want to pack a few things and take a small vacation. Any place you’d like to go?”
“To play in the sun? Not really. The sun doesn’t like me. But I wouldn’t mind booking into a fancy hotel with gourmet cuisine while you’re gone. I’ve gotten used to your cooking.”
He loved to cook and entertain. It relaxed him. “Maybe France? Bart’s jet could take you and Angel anywhere.”
“Done. I can’t visit the open-air markets, but you can hire someone to. It would be a great experience for Angel.”
His shoulders relaxed. The worry that had wormed deep inside him began to unfurl. He needed to leave. He could have taken Voronika and Angel with him, but he didn’t want them anywhere near Samiel, and he couldn’t protect them while he was gone. A trip was the best alternative.
Voronika stood on her tiptoes to kiss his cheek. “I’ll start packing. You call Bart.”
Enoch pulled his long, wool coat closer and stepped outside the French doors that led to their balcony. He sent a message into the universe and wasn’t surprised when Bart’s image immediately appeared.
“Claudia and I have already heard. Someone walked into Caleb’s fortress and killed any vampire who tried to protect him. Then Caleb disappeared. Can you feel where he is?”
“I think he’s still somewhere inside the casino complex. If you send a plane for me, I’ll meet you there. But don’t go inside without me. And I’d like another plane to take Voronika and Angel to France.”
“Good idea. Then we don’t have to worry about them. We’ll be in Three Rivers in two hours. Be ready.”
Enoch hated to do it, but he called Angel to tell her the news. “I’m sorry, but I want you and Voronika to leave Three Rivers when I do. Bart’s sending a plane to take you to France. You’ll miss your science fair.”
“France?” Her voice ended on a squeak. “Can Heidi come with us?”
Heidi lived close to Danny and Maggie, and she and Angel had become best friends.
“Sorry, not this time. Everything’s too rushed.”
Angel went silent a moment, then said, “I bet we’re staying in a fancy hotel.”
“With an indoor swimming pool so that Voronika can keep an eye on you without having to worry about the sun.”
“Are you coming to get me?”
“Let your friend and her parents know.”
He heard a huff on the other end of the line. “I’m not that rude. Give me a break.”
He smiled. Damn, she was one, neat kid. “See you soon.” He hung up and started calling to make arrangements for their trip. Then he drove to pick her up.
On the ride home, Angel pursed her lips, studying him. “You’re worried about us again, right?”
“I’d rather you weren’t in Three Rivers right now.”
“And you’re going off to save the world again, aren’t you?”
He laughed. “That’s a little melodramatic, but I have a job that needs done.”
“You’ll be back?” He heard the worry in her voice.
“I’m immortal. You can’t get rid of me.”
She sighed her relief. “Good, ‘cause I don’t want to.”
“I’ve hired a private chef to cook for you and Voronika. Eat something besides desserts three times a day.” The girl’s mother had been useless. Angel grew up on junk food and snacks. She’d choose cake over seafood every chance she got.
Angel grimaced. “You’re no fun.”
“Yeah, that’s what immortality does to you. At least try a little of whatever the chef makes. Deal?”
“Two bites,” she promised. “And then dessert.”
She didn’t deny it. By the time they got back to the penthouse, Bart and Claudia were waiting for them.
Enoch looked at the clock. “You’re early.”
“Romans don’t dawdle.” Both Bart and Claudia had been bitten and changed during Roman times.
Voronika rolled two suitcases to the foyer. “We’re ready.”
“Then let’s go.” Bart led all of them to the elevators and when they left the building, they separated into two, waiting cars. Enoch went with Bart and Claudia, Voronika and Angel with another driver.
Enoch winced when they went in opposite directions. He’d miss his two girls, but they’d be safe now, and he could concentrate on rescuing Caleb.