Edgar Burgess has devoted his life to keeping New York free of vampires, and is usually successful at sensing and staking them… at least until the night his beautiful next door neighbor and unrequited love is enthralled and kidnapped by one. Finding Molly McKillip becomes his life’s focus at the expense of everything else.
Molly has always liked the rambunctious Burgess family, especially Edgar, but she never thought she would see them again after being lured away from her boarding house by a monster. Edgar’s rescuing her from a vampire den is a shocking and unexpected surprise, and it’s only the first one he has to deliver. Hearing him pour his heart out to her is the second. But before they can sort through their feelings for each other, they have one thing left to do: eliminate the vampire that’s still stalking Molly.
Something thudded hard against a stained glass window. Molly looked up and saw a vague black shape slam itself against the window again. “Ed? Did you stake that vampire?”
“No, he’s still out there.” He winced as Molly daubed holy water on the bite. “Vampires can’t enter consecrated buildings, even if they’re invited in. My new plan is to hide out here until morning, and then take you home.”
“But the vampire…”
“Will still be out later, and I’ll find him then. Right now, we’re safe.” His eyes fixed on hers, and Molly swallowed at the intensity reflected there. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d been kissed like that, even if it had to be interrupted by his injury.
“Do you have any other bites?” she asked, trying to keep her voice from shaking.
“Just scratches.” He held up his wrists, where thin ribbons of blood were already drying in reddish-brown streaks. “These shouldn’t be as bad as the bite.” Still, he cringed when Molly applied the holy water-soaked handkerchief to the wounds.
She pressed it to the bite again. “Hold this,” she said, then sat down next to him and lifted her skirt enough to reveal stockings and petticoat. In a moment of self-consciousness, she was glad that the church’s light was dim enough so he wasn’t likely to see how worn out and darned her underclothes were.
“Molly?” There was a teasing lilt to his voice.
“Give me a minute.” She pulled at her petticoat until she tore a strip of thin cotton away, then straightened her skirt. “I don’t have anything else to use as a bandage.”
She lifted away the handkerchief and wrapped the makeshift bandage around his neck. “Can you get the pin from my dress? I need something to hold this in place.”
His eyes lifted a fraction, but he reached for the brass beetle pinned to her bodice. Her skin felt hot at his touch even through her layers of clothing, but it was over too soon as he unfastened the jewelry. She pinned the bandage in place with shaking fingers.
“Now what?” she asked. “Do we just sit here?”
A thump from the bat against the stained glass window was her reply. She sighed.
“That was an older vampire, so he may be able to stay awake until just past dawn,” Edgar said. “I still don’t think it would be a bad idea to stay here for a little while.”
When would that be? “I’m sorry for all of this,” she said.
“Because if I hadn’t come out to the construction site tonight, you wouldn’t have left early and we wouldn’t have run into a vampire. And if you had, you would have had time to stake it without worrying about me.”
“I don’t always get vampires on the first try, Molly. This wasn’t your fault.” He laced his fingers through hers. “Remember when I said I’d always protect you? This is part of that.”
Once again, Molly was struck by how warm and alive he was, and by how much she missed having contact with another person. The kiss Edgar branded her with when he burst into the church was still on her mind.
“I meant what I said back at home.”
She knew what he was referring to, but that strange fear she felt when he confessed his feelings for her was gone. Hearing those words had been a sensory overload for her that day, but now that she had some time to process what had happened, now understood her own feelings for Edgar—she was all right with this. And she wanted more than kisses from him.