It was a whole new Morganville. It looked . . . cheerful. Hopeful.

“What brought this on?” Claire asked. “All these new houses?”

“They’re for the new members,” Hannah said. Her voice was calm and level, and it didn’t give away anything at all. Her deputy, the one wearing the Daylight Foundation’s rising sun pin on his collar, glanced back at Claire. “By joining the Daylight Founda- tion, they can receive free new housing if they want it. It’s attracted a lot of enthusiasm and support. Half of these people working out here are volunteers.” She slowed the cruiser and made a left turn.

“There’s something to be said for leaving the past behind and building a new future, don’t you think? Especially in a town whose history is as dark as Morganville’s.”

Claire didn’t want to agree, because she still felt there was a lot she didn’t know and didn’t fully understand, but what Hannah had just said made sense— or it would, if she trusted the Daylight Foundation even a little bit.

Speaking of the Daylighters . . . they’d renovated one of the old warehouses and built themselves a brand- new headquarters.

It was a large building just ahead, fresh and gleaming with paint and shining metal, with a big rotating sign on top of the roof. It shone soft gold in the sunlight as it turned— the same symbol that was on the Daylight Foundation pin the deputy wore.

A simple image, something that should have looked hopeful. Sun- rise, a new day, all that.

Claire didn’t believe it. What she did believe was that the build- ing, for all the cheerful way it had been painted, looked like it would be easy to defend if it came to a fight. The windows were all high, narrow, and didn’t look like they opened at all. Thick walls, too. In fact, if you ignored everything but the construction, it could just as easily have been a prison.

Hannah pulled up in the generous parking lot— a newly paved one, still fresh and black, with bright white stripes marking off spaces. There were about fifty cars already present, but they filled less than a third of the available slots. You could put half the cars in Morganvil e in here, Claire thought, and have room left over for mas ive bus parking. Two police cruisers were already in place, plus Hannah’s and the one pulling up in the next slot that carried Shane and Dr. Anderson. She thought she might have recognized a few other vehi- cles, but nothing jumped out at her with any certainty.


There were, she realized, no vampire- dark- tinted cars in the lot at all. Not a single one.

Hannah turned the engine off, but neither she nor the deputy got out immediately; instead, Hannah twisted to look at Claire and Eve through the mesh. “Here’s how this is going to go,” she said. “You’re going to behave yourselves, get out, and walk with us into the building, and you’re going to act like civilized young ladies while we introduce you to the man in charge.”

“Or what? You’ll put a note in my permanent record?” Eve scoffed.

“Or you’ll end up handcuffed, maybe Tasered, and the end re- sult will be exactly the same, only with a lot less smiling,” Hannah said. “So I’d really rather skip all the unpleasantness and make this as painless as possible for you.”

“Oh, sure, you’re only thinking about us,” Claire said. “I un- derstand completely.”

Hannah gave her a long, troubled look, as if she understood that Claire’s apparent surrender was more worrisome than Eve’s open aggression. “I’m trying to help you kids,” she said. “Don’t make me regret it.”

“I’m not a kid, and you ambushed my husband,” Eve said. “I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that there are plenty of things you’re going to regret. Probably very briefly, though, if that makes you feel better.”

Hannah exchanged a shrug with her deputy. “Well,” she said, “I tried. If you want to make it difficult for yourselves, that’s certainly your right, I suppose.”

The two of them got out, and Hannah opened Claire’s door, grabbed her by the arm, and shoved her against the cruiser with firm strength.

Then she zip- tied her hands behind her. “Sorry,” she said. “But I can read the tea leaves. The two of you aren’t going to go quietly.”

Shane was making trouble, too, trouble enough that Claire heard the deputy in charge of him at the other car cursing as he tried to manhandle her boyfriend into submission. Hannah let out an impatient, frustrated growl and spun Claire around to face her. “Calm him down,” she said. “Do it now.”

Claire lifted her chin. “Why?”

“Because if you don’t, he’s going to get hurt.”

Claire looked past her. Shane must have thrown an elbow before they’d gotten him under control, because the deputy had a bloody nose. Now Shane was dodging and kicking, trying to get past the man’s defenses again. Probably just to get to her, because there was no way he’d be getting out of the handcuffs he was wearing.

“Shane,” she said. “Don’t.”

Hannah, moving slowly and calmly, unsnapped the strap on her holster and drew her gun, which she held at her side. She stared straight at Shane. “She’s right,” she said. “Don’t make me raise this weapon, Shane.”

“Screw you,” he said in a ragged pant and gave Hannah a defi- ant grin.

She raised the gun, all right.

She pointed it at Claire.

Shane froze in place, his grin fading fast. “You’re bluffing.”

“Probably seems that way,” Hannah said. “But you know me well enough to know I don’t point a weapon unless I’m ready to shoot to kill. I like you, Shane. I like your girl, here. But you’re testing me, and I really don’t think that’s a good idea.”

He stayed still. The deputy got hold of him and wrenched his bound hands up high enough to make Shane stand on tiptoe, his face twisted in pain. He put a hand on Shane’s shoulder. “Walk, punk,” the man growled.

Shane walked.

Claire did, too. Eve had fallen into a watchful silence, but even so, Hannah had her zip- tied as well. That was almost certainly a wise move. People underestimated Eve a lot, because of her funny sarcasm and cute- as- a- button face, but they did it at their peril.

They left Dr. Anderson handcuffed and silent in the car be- hind them, and Claire wondered about that.

Someone had put in a fresh sidewalk to the door of the ware- house, and there were newly planted bushes and sprigs of trees around it. Even so, walking up to it felt like walking up the steps to one of those old- time gallows; she didn’t know what was going to happen to them once they were inside. The thick glass doors had the rising sun symbol on them, and the words the daylight foundation beneath it.

And, in gold lettering, all are welcome in the light. That sounded nice . . . unless you’d met their followers under less well-lit circumstances. Say, in a lab where they were ripping vampires apart.

Hannah opened one of the double doors, and a breath of chilled air raised goose bumps on Claire’s bare arms. She had ex- pected cavelike darkness, but as her eyes adjusted from the bright outdoor sun, she realized that it was nearly as bright inside, thanks to a giant skylight over the central atrium in which they stood.

Bathed in the glow was a wooden desk with the Daylighters sym- bol on the front of it, and a well- dressed older woman who smiled kindly at them.

“Mrs. Hodgson?” Claire blurted. She knew the woman; she was a neighbor on Lot Street, where their old Victorian house was located. A nice lady, always puttering in her garden with her flow- ers and waving to them pleasantly. She’d brought over cookies for Christmas a couple of times. Snickerdoodles.

“Claire? Eve? And oh, my, Shane, too.” Mrs. Hodgson looked politely distressed at the sight of their restraints. “Now, don’t you worry at all. There’s absolutely nothing to be afraid of here. You’re in the light now. You’re safe.” She got up from the desk, revealing that she was wearing a fitted suit that was straight out of the 1960s, complete with a strand of shiny pearls, and came around to clip badges on their shirts. “I’ll just take care of putting your IDs on.

Can’t let you in here without identification, can we? There, now.

That wasn’t so bad, was it?”

“Thanks, Doreen,” Hannah said. “Let him know we’re here, won’t you?”

“Absolutely. Can I get y’all anything? Some water, maybe?”

“Beer,” Shane said. “Shiner Bock if you’ve got it.”

“Oh, now, you stop that,” Mrs. Hodgson said. “You’re far too young to drink, you scamp.”

This wasn’t a situation where any of them were inclined to be smiling, but Shane did, a little, and shook his head. He mouthed the word scamp to Claire, his eyebrows raised.

She raised hers back.

“Just some water might be nice,” Hannah said. “Thank you kindly.”

She led Claire over to a padded chair nearby and pressed her into it; Eve got seated next to her. The deputy kept Shane standing.

The anteroom was pretty plain, dominated mostly by the desk manned by Mrs. Hodgson, but there were some photos on the walls— Claire squinted against the glare from the skylight and made out the shapes of several people in one of the pictures, standing in front of this very building— but in the early stages of renovation, it looked like. She could make out that one was Hannah, and one was the new Morganville mayor, Flora Ramos. Apart from that, the others were a mystery— except that she noticed a pattern, and a recurring face. A short man, slight build, nothing really remarkable about his features.

Doreen Hodgson came back bearing water bottles, and follow- ing behind her was the same man, in the flesh.

He wasn’t very imposing in real life, either— shorter than Shane by at least four inches. He wore a plain black suit and a white shirt; the only spots of color on him were his very blue eyes— almost the same startling shade as Michael’s— and a red silk tie and pocket square. His face had a vaguely Eastern European shape to it, but that was really all that Claire could tell about him.

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