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Her first reaction was profound relief. It flooded every available brain receptor like a blast of narcotics. Relief that the beast who’d come so close to taking her life had paid with his own life, damn him. Relief that the creature that might have infected her — goddamn him again! — would infect no one else.

But her relief was followed immediately by horror. Horror at her own reactions. Horror at the actions of the dark Dr. Bowen. If he were right, if vampirism was a blood-borne pathogen, then her attacker was just a man. Granted, he’d treated her as though she were little more than a walking Tetra Pak, but he was nonetheless afflicted and in need of curative treatment.

And what of her? What if she were to develop this mutation? Would Dr. Bowen dispense with her as easily as he had her assailant? Would his brow be just as unruffled afterward? God, she’d seen Botoxed newscasters with more expression in their foreheads than this man was displaying. And this after admitting to a kill. Or at least, not denying it.

A kill.

She wet her lips. “I was thinking, if I’m feeling this good tomorrow, I’d like to go home.”

His eyebrows shot up. Expression at last.


Impossible? The single word caused a fist of tension to close around her stomach. Impossible because he didn’t judge her well enough, or impossible because he refused to let her go?

“What, am I a prisoner here or something?”

“Of course not.”

Another jolt of relief. “Then I want to go home.”

“Have you forgotten you may be infected? I’ll have to monitor you. We’ll need frequent blood checks. No, you must stay here.”

She propped herself up higher in the bed. “Of course I haven’t forgotten my exposure, Dr. Bowen. But I don’t see why I can’t go home. Send Mr. Grayson over as often as you like. Or send him over to stay with me. I just need to go home.”

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