A knock on the door brought me to my feet as the door opened and Caleb stepped into the small room. He was tall and masculine and everything I knew he would be—still, he took my breath away. I watched, awestruck, as he bowed slightly and stretched out his hand. Automatically I extended my own and he took it, bringing it to his lips for a soft kiss on my knuckles.
I was staring—I knew I was, but I couldn’t seem to stop. He was literally perfect; no wonder Kate had it bad. Did I look okay? Had my makeup smudged? Was I drooling?
Caleb: “Hm, ma’am? Are you alright?”
Me: “Huh? Oh—ah, yes. I—I stood up too fast… I’m…just a bit lightheaded is all.”
I really hoped he hadn’t caught my lie—how embarrassing would that be to be caught ogling?!
Me: “Tell me about yourself Caleb. Who are you and what is your role in the immortal world?”
Caleb: “I am the cousin to the Vampire King as well as his top advisor. A few years ago, I was given the title of Right Hand. It means that I am not only his top advisor, but also the successor to the throne and the second highest authority in the vampire world.”
Me: “That seems like quite an honor.”
Caleb: “Yes, it is. I’ve been Gabriel’s top advisor since he took the throne. He values my opinion.”
Me: “Now, you weren’t promoted to Right Hand until five years ago. That was right after you retired as General to the Slayer Army, wasn’t it?”
Caleb nodded; he knew where I was going with this, but he didn’t so much as shift in his seat.
Me: “But you didn’t retire on the best of terms. You stepped down because of a dispute between yourself and the daemon race. Can you tell me what happened?”
Of course I knew the answer—I’d done my research—but I didn’t think he’d answer. After a long minute, he spoke.
Caleb: “I insulted them. They felt as if I’d overstepped my boundaries in seeing that justice was served to one of their people. I retired to keep the daemons from going after the vampire race. It worked; they saw me as a ‘lone ranger’ instead of as the leader of an army. Soon after that, they pressed charges. It went all the way up to the gods before I was cleared.”
Me: “What was it that you did, exactly?”
Caleb: “Some say it was murder. Some say it was justice.” His voice was blank of all emotion, as if he’d used that line a hundred times before.
Me: “What do you say?”
Caleb: The corner of his mouth turned up in a smile. My questions weren’t annoying him; he was amused by me. “It depends on the day of the week.”
Me: “As the king’s advisor, do you know the details of the Assassin general’s latest assignment?”
Caleb: “Yes, I know about Kate.” He looked at me suspiciously. “She’s currently working undercover in a Dark Cell.”
Me: “I’ve heard that you and she are somewhat of an item.”
Caleb: “Uh, no. That’s not true. We’re coworkers, in a sense; we’re both advisors.”
Me: “You’re daughter seems to think you like her…”
Caleb: “My—you talked to Hannah?”
I nodded. Now I was getting into tricky territory. If I wasn’t careful, he’d up and walk—just like Kate had.
Caleb: “My daughter’s five. Of course she thinks I like Kate; I do—as a friend.”
Me: “A friend? A moment ago she was just a coworker.”
Caleb: “Semantics. You’re fishing, Ms. Reese.”
Me: “Why would I need to fish? I’ve already spoken with Kate. She’s told me exactly what’s gone on between the two of you.”
He squinted at me, probably trying to get a read on me. Of course I was bluffing but he didn’t know that.
Me: “The way I see it, the two of you have some serious chemistry and—”
Caleb: “You do realize that I can read your mind? It makes bluffing a moot point.”
Son. Of. A—
Caleb: “I should be getting back to work. I’m glad I could help you with your report, Ms. Reese. We should do this again sometime.”
I was still a bit shocked from the whole mindreading thing. How had I missed that? I knew all about vampire abilities and that Caleb was one of the most powerful of them all. Stupid, stupid...
Me: “Uh, huh. Sure.”
As he walked out, I realized—to my utter horror—he had caught me ogling him. Great.