Nightshine, p.44
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       Nightshine, p.44

         Part #4 of Kyndred series by Lynn Viehl
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Page 44


  “He’s contributed to some campaign funds of local and state officials involved in environmental protection. Looks like a PR move to tie in with his waste-disposal holdings. ”

  Genaro looked out at the marina the car was passing, and saw a deckhand casting off a bowline from a charter boat. Two tourists were seated behind the captain, already drinking beer. The casting perch above the helm was shrouded with a fitted canvas cover that looked mildewed around the seams, as if it hadn’t been removed in some time. They’d be drunk by the time they went around the restricted zone to waters where they could fish without getting arrested. . . .

  “Don, check into these the campaign donations,” Genaro said. “I want the officials’ names, titles, job descriptions, and any legislation they’ve been involved in. ”

  “What are you looking for?”

  “Protected habitats, wildlife reserves, or any area with restricted access. Anyplace Energúmeno could operate from with impunity. ” He leaned forward to tap on the glass divider, and when the driver lowered it, he said, “Take me to the police station downtown. ”

  “We’ll need some time to do the research, sir,” Delaporte was saying.

  “We’re out of time. Put everyone you have on this, and get it to me before the end of the day. ” He ended the call and sat back, mentally reviewing the maps he had seen of the city. As the driver stopped in front of the station, he glanced out to see a woman sitting alone in the shadowy courtyard of the café across the street. Although he couldn’t see her features, the scarlet poppy she wore tucked in the hair above her left ear drew his gaze.

  You should have tried the wine. . . . Energúmeno does not allow us to leave the compound. . . . As soon as you walk through the gates, you will forget me.

  “Wait here. ” He got out of the car and watched the girl as he crossed the street. She didn’t try to run, only offering him a gap-toothed smile as he approached.

  Genaro pulled out a chair and sat down. “Did he send you, or leave you behind with the other useless women?”

  She sipped from a glass of red wine, licking a drop from her upper lip. “You have an interesting mind, señor. No other man has ever remembered me after I compelled him to forget. ”

  “Compelled? You drugged me. ”

  She set down the glass. “You must leave Mexico now. ”

  “Tossing me in a prison didn’t work,” he told her. “Neither will threats from your employer. ”

  She studied him for a long moment. “My master could have killed you from the moment you arrived in Manzanillo. You do not interest him anymore. Go back to America, señor. ”

  When she rose, he stood and seized her wrist. “I’m not finished with you. Where is he? What has he done with the Kyndred?”

  Instead of looking frightened, she chuckled. “If only my master had given me permission to compel you to go. ” She lifted her hand.

  Genaro grabbed her wrist, but instead of gouging her nails into his neck, she rested her hand against it. A terrible longing devoured his anger as he gazed into her beautiful eyes and remembered her lovely name.

  “Forgive me for shouting, Quinequia,” he said, bringing her wrist to his lips. “It’s because I want you. ”

  “I will tell you a secret, amigo. When I touch them, all men want me. ” She leaned closer, resting her luscious curves against him. “You are cold and vicious, and care for nothing but power, but I could make you my lapdog. At least for a little while. ”

  “Yes. ” He nodded, eager to please her. “Take me with you. Let me care for you. I can’t lose you. ”

  Her breath, sweet with wine, touched his lips just before she kissed him. Genaro enfolded her in his arms, avidly working his mouth over hers, delirious with desire.

  “Very nice for such a nasty man. ” Quinequia pulled back and looked down. “Now you will release me. ”

  His arms fell to his sides, and panic made him blurt out, “Don’t send me away again. ”

  “No, unfortunately, I cannot do that. ” She gripped his throat with both hands. “Listen to me, Jonah Genaro, and obey me. You will not search the islands. The man you seek is not there. ”

  “Not there,” he agreed, his voice dull.

  “Bueno. ” Quinequia’s eyes burned into his. “You will forget our meeting, and when I leave here, you will never think of me again. ”

  “Forget. ” The word tore at him, but the pain ebbed almost immediately as her face blurred. “Never again. ”

  She led him back to the table, helping him to sit in the chair. “Good-bye, señor. ” She took her hands away, turned her back, and walked across the street to his car.

  Genaro sat and looked at the empty wineglass across the table until a man touched his shoulder. He glared up at his driver. “What is it?”

  “You’ve been sitting here for a while, sir,” the man said, his expression uneasy. “I just thought I’d see if you were all right. ” He tugged at his collar, as if it felt too tight.

  “I’m fine. ” He stood, inhaling deeply to clear his head. “Wait for me in the car. ”

  He watched the driver retreat, and then turned to pick up the wineglass. A faint red imprint on the rim indicated a woman had been drinking from it, but the courtyard was empty. The last thing he remembered was being in the back of the car as it pulled up to the police station, and checking his watch.

  He turned his wrist to look at his Rolex. Twenty-three minutes had passed, and he couldn’t remember a single moment of them.

  Genaro took out a handkerchief, wrapping it around his hand before he picked up the wineglass and carried it across the street with him.

  Inside the station he went to the command center and called one of the research techs over. “I want this analyzed,” Genaro said, handing him the glass. “Use the saliva for DNA typing and run the prints. Cross-reference both against our acquisition database in Atlanta. ”

  “Do you have any details to narrow the search field, sir?” the tech asked.

  “Just one. ” Genaro’s collar had grown damp with sweat, and he reached up to loosen his tie. “She’s female. ”

  By morning most of the islanders had recovered enough to return to their homes, where Charlotte suggested through Tlemi that they stay.

  “Pici’s contractions have stopped, and Ihiyo is stable,” she assured them. “If anything changes, I’ll send word. ”

  Xochi glanced at the other women and then replied in her language.

  “She say, you no need,” Tlemi translated, and tapped the side of her head. “We know. ”

  Colotl issued some instructions as well, but stayed behind with Tlemi as the other islanders left.

  The women looked after their patients while Colotl took Samuel down to the beach to show him his hook-and-line method of fishing. Although they couldn’t communicate without Charlotte or Tlemi, simple sign language sufficed, and they caught breakfast in a few minutes. Then Colotl gave him another, less enjoyable tutorial on how to gut and clean their catch.

  “How delightful,” he muttered, pausing for a moment to shake off the scales clinging to his hands and forearms. “With all the fish I eat, I must remember to give Morehouse a raise. ” As he applied the knife again, it slipped and sliced across the skin between his thumb and forefinger. “Damn it. ” He pulled off the strip of rag he’d used to hold back his hair and wound it around the gash.

  Colotl frowned and reached into the pouch he carried, taking out the long pointed leaf of a succulent plant, and gesturing for Samuel to apply it to the wound.

  “Don’t tell Charlotte, or she’ll break out the suture kit,” he joked as he unwrapped his hand. The rag had no blood on it, he saw, because the cut had closed before it could begin bleeding. For a long moment he stared at it, and then, as a chill ran down the length of his spine, he brought his fingers up to his mouth, touching the edge of his teeth. None of them had turned into fangs.

sp; “Samuel. ” Colotl gestured toward his mouth, tipping his head back and pushing a finger behind his front teeth, moving it from side to side.

  He imitated the motion, but felt only the roof of his mouth. He removed his fingers and shook his head.

  Colotl released a breath, looking as relieved as Samuel felt.

  “You guys went fishing and didn’t tell me?”

  Samuel glanced over at Drew, who was crossing the sand. “I thought I’d let you and Agraciana sleep in. ”

  “I appreciate that. ” Drew gave Colotl a wary look before crouching down to examine their catch. “Nice. I haven’t had fresh fish in years. Samuel, we’ve got a problem. ”

  “Is this new or preexisting?”

  “New. Earlier I took a walk around the house and the grounds. There isn’t any copper within five miles of this spot. Which is basically the entire island. ”

  Without copper, Drew couldn’t use his ability, which allowed him to manipulate the metal into any form he wished.

  “They’re running the houses off methane-fueled generators. ”

  “Yeah, I already checked them out. They’re solid steel, and all the wiring is fiber-optic. ” Drew kicked over a shell in the sand. “According to Gracie, copper is poisonous to the vampire. Figures he’d make sure the natives couldn’t get their hands on any. ” He frowned down at the sand.

  “Samuel. ” Colotl picked up the cleaned fish that he had strung together, and pointed to the villa. “Niccuiz. I take. ” He gestured toward the sun as if moving it to the center of the sky. “Tiyazque oztotl. Cave. ” He pointed to them and himself.

  “We meet at the cave at noon. ”

  Samuel exchanged a nod with him, and after the islander strode up the beach he turned to Drew, who was kneeling and sifting sand through his fingers over a small mound of the same. “Now is not the time to build sand castles, Andrew. ”

  “I’d make millions if I did. ” Drew stood and surveyed the rest of the shore. “Is it all like this? The whole island?”
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