“Are you seriously asking me if I think vampires are real?” Kat asked. She crossed her arms across her chest waiting for him to start making fun of her.

Des shrugged. “It’s a legitimate question,” he replied easily. He walked around the table and picked up a bookmark with the Evernite brothers looking as if they carried the entire weight of the world on their shoulders. He didn’t understand what all that emotive face making was all about, but it seemed to attract women like a mating call. He put the bookmark down and glanced over the table at Kat, “As a modern 21st century woman, do you really think such creatures could exist in our world?” 

Kat looked around for help but remembered she was on her own. Raven and Arisia had left to finish up their last minute set-up. The event would be starting in less than thirty minutes, so they’d asked if she would be okay a hundred times before leaving her alone with her new stalker.

She was a little more confident that he wouldn’t kill her in front of so many people, so she’d nodded and shooed them away. Before leaving, Arisia had turned to the handsome stranger and held up her cellphone, snapping a quick picture before asking his name.

“Desmond,” he replied, flashing a wicked grin.  

Arisia’s fingers had tapped like lightning without bothering to look back at him, “Desmond what?”

“Isn’t it customary to ask for my phone number next?” he’d asked. His voice had a teasing quality that Kat was pretty sure sent most girls aflutter. She was annoyed she found it a little charming herself.

Thankfully Arisia wasn’t as susceptible. “I don’t want your number, guy-I’m-not-sure-isn’t-a-stalker-after-my-best-friend. I want your information in case something happens to Kat. That way I can give it to the police so they can shoot your ass on sight.”

“I don’t think the police can simply shoot a person on sight without justification,” he'd countered. 

Arisia harrumphed. “You must not be from around here then. Last name,” she repeated.

“Amore.”

 “Fake,” she remarked, but typed it down just the same.

“Wrong. Totally legit,” he said before turning his attention back to the main reason he’d come into the bookstore. He bowed a little in Kat’s direction, “You, however, can call me Des.”

Now they were alone and Kat was desperately wishing she’d chosen to go off with Arisia and Raven. Something about Desmond Amore set off all of her internal alarms. Her instincts weren't quite telling her to make a run for it, but they were definitely telling her to get her sneakers on and get a good stretch in.

“You haven’t answered my question,” he said.

She sighed, steeling herself for the argument that was sure to ensue.  “I think our world, this whole universe, is a lot bigger than we give it credit for.  There’s still so much we don’t know about our own planet. Why couldn’t such a creature exist?”

“Then, you do believe in them?” he pressed, wanting to hear her say it.

Kat stood up straighter and held her head up. She wasn't about to let some hot stranger make her feel silly just because she believed vampires could be real. There were plenty of other people in the world that believed in crazier stuff. One of her aunts spent every summer camped out in the foothills of New Mexico in order to catch a glimpse of a UFO. She definitely believed the truth was out there. In comparison to what some people were into, vampires weren’t nearly so strange.

She nodded once, “Yes. I do.”

Instead of laughing as she’d half expected him to do, Des only nodded his head in understanding.

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