“No,” Mindy said, and scooped up a chip dripping with cheese and sliced jalapeños. “It’s not the books. I’ve been reading too many of Dad’s reports.”

Chase picked up his soda. “Reports?”

“His medical reports,” she said. “I went by his work a couple of weeks ago and he was with a patient so I went and waited for him in his office.” She leaned in and spoke quietly. “There was a file open on his desk and it was about some virus that made people crave blood. Human blood.”

Tami almost choked on a nacho. “So you’re saying that vampires actually exist?”

“No, I didn’t say that,” Mindy said. “I’m saying a virus exists that makes people crazy and they want to drink blood. You can call it anything you want.”

Chase chuckled. “I think you just read it wrong.”

“I didn’t,” Mindy said. “I mean, maybe it was about one of his patients in the loony house, but …”

“Dad’s a nephrologist, meaning a kidney doctor, not a shrink. His patients aren’t in the loony house.”

Mindy took a big sip of her drink and rolled her eyes at Chase’s disbelief. “Hey … I’m just telling you what I read.”

“To be fair,” Tami said, “crazy people could have bad kidneys. I don’t think kidney disease is prejudiced against the mentally unstable.”

Chase chuckled, and studied the girl’s sassy smile. That’s part of what he liked about Tami, she said some of the most unexpected things. “I guess they could,” he admitted.

Tami picked up a chip and Chase realized how great it was just being here. With her. Watching her eat. He bet he could watch her clip her toenails and be happy.

“You know,” Tami said. “I heard once that there are bars that actually cater to people who want to drink blood. Yuk! What kind of person would drink blood?”

“The kind that’s really thirsty,” a dark voice said at the end of the table.

They all turned to the voice. Eric stood there, tall, but not as tall as Chase. And blond.

His sister stared up at him with some kind of love-struck grin. “Anyone ever tell you that you look like Josh Holloway?” his sister asked.

“Yeah, all the time.” Eric grinned. “I’m lost. You wanna find me?”

What? That was so lame! But Mindy smiled. Chase sneaked a peek at Tami. And while she did seem to be admiring the guy, she didn’t look nearly as taken as his sister. Perhaps she preferred dark-haired guys over blonds. He could hope.

“So you made it,” Eric said, his gaze locked on Mindy.

“I told you I would,” his sister said, a goofy smile still plastered on her face. Holy crap, he hoped he didn’t smile at Tami that way.

Eric looked over at the other table and called out a greeting to a couple of the vampires eating pizza. Then he looked back at their table and finally acknowledged Chase and Tami. Chase nodded a hello. Picking up his hot dog, he tried to push away his aversion for the guy. Like it or not, it appeared as if they would be spending the rest of the afternoon with him. But when he looked back and found Eric staring at his sister as if he’d found a present and was ready to unwrap it, Chase wasn’t sure he could push his dislike—or his distrust—of the guy aside.

That was okay, he’d just have to pretend. But one thing was for sure, he wasn’t going to let Eric get his sister alone. Something about this guy just smelled like trouble.

Chase didn’t like trouble.

November 1, 10 a.m.

News Flash

Emergency crews head out hoping to find survivors

Three Search and Rescue (SAR) teams, as well as volunteers with the Mountain Rescue Association (MRA) trained in emergency care, started their trek up Mount Jacobs hoping to arrive at the wrecked Cessna 210 carrying Dr. Tallman’s family and family friend, Tami Collins. According to Jake Steins, who has led several similar rescue missions in this area, it is still questionable if they can get to the wreckage in the current weather conditions. If all goes well, they expect to arrive at the crash site in six to eight hours.

While no signs of life have been seen by helicopters that have flown over the site, there is evidence of a recent fire. It is unknown if the fire came as a result of the crash or if survivors built a fire to ward off the cold or signal for help. The community, family, and friends are holding out hope that the passengers are simply huddling in the wreckage to escape the storm and the freezing temperatures.

“Sometimes all you can hang onto is your faith,” said a friend of the Tallman family.

October 31, 1 p.m.

Chapter Three

“Sit down and join us,” Mindy said and scooted over, patting the bench seat next to her.

Eric didn’t hesitate to take the invitation, only the jerk took the invitation a little too far. Hell, Chase didn’t think you could get a piece of sock lint between the dude and his sister.

Chase shot the guy a frown, hoping he’d get the message, but he obviously didn’t understand because he proceeded to put his arm around Mindy, letting his hand dangle down her shoulder practically touching her right breast.

Thankfully, even Mindy seemed to not like it, because she leaned forward to snag another nacho, displacing his hand from her shoulder.

Not wanting to call the guy out just yet, but damn close, Chase focused on eating his hot dog. But not happy, he forgot his manners and shoved the rest of the bun and meat into his mouth.



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