Chapter 3

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Della felt the embarrassment seep out of her as something else seeped into her. And it wasn’t just Steve’s tongue. It was . . . passion. It was the feeling of being alive. It was hope that her sad little life wasn’t over. Since being a vampire, since she’d lost Lee, she’d thought she couldn’t feel this anymore. Or maybe she just thought she wouldn’t feel it anymore.

     Someone cleared their throat. Realizing the familiar disapproving sound came from Lee, she put a hand on Steve’s chest and reluctantly pulled back.

She met Steve’s eyes briefly. She knew he’d kissed her to save her ass, but she also knew he’d enjoyed it as much as she had. The evidence was there in his warm brown eyes. Even with one of those eyes bruised, she saw the just-been-kissed heat in his gaze.

     She turned to Lee. Only to realize she still didn’t have a clue what to say to him. “Uh, hey. I . . .”

     “What are you doing here?” Lee asked. “Besides making out in the middle of a restaurant?”

     Hadn’t he just been kissing his date?

As crazy as it was, Della saw something in Lee she hadn’t seen before. Her dad. Or at least his disapproving attitude. Had Lee always been that way and she just now noticed? Or had he changed?

“What’s wrong? Can’t you talk?” he asked.

His words ran amok around her head and she couldn’t decide how they made her feel or how to respond. And if she did decide she wasn’t sure her tongue could take speaking orders, it was still in shock at having just had company—Steve’s tongue.

“We were having dinner,” Steve answered for her. “Actually, we’re celebrating our three-month anniversary.” His gaze went to Della.

     “Three months?” Lee asked as if annoyed she’d started dating so soon. But hell, the guy was engaged. Where did he get off thinking . . . She opened her mouth to say something again but Steve jumped in first.

“I’m sorry,” Steve said. “I didn’t introduce myself. You must be an old friend of Della’s. I’m Steve . . . ?”

     Lee ignored Steve and looked at Della. “I thought you were at that school.”

     That school? Could he not even remember what school she’d been attending? “I am.” She finally got two words out. “We . . . just slipped out.”

     “So you met him at school?” Lee asked and damn if he didn’t sound upset. Anger started to spark inside her again. He had no right to be upset. None!

     Steve spoke up again. “Love at first sight.” He glanced at her and ran his warm hand around the curve of her waist and pulled her a little closer. His gaze shot back to Lee. “Still don’t know how I got so damn lucky.” If so much honesty didn’t resonate from his voice, it might have sounded false. For a second she wished she had listened to his heartbeat—another little vampire talent. Had Steve been interested in her at first sight?

     Lee’s fiancée rose from her chair behind them and stopped at his side. Della couldn’t help but notice how pretty she was—pretty in a very traditional Asian way. Her hair was longer, sleeker, and blacker than Della’s. Her facial features were doll-like. Beautiful and perfect—a tiny nose, a bow-like mouth, and slanted black eyes that sparkled with intelligence. No doubt, Lee’s parents had chosen well.

     Or had Lee chosen her? Had he planned to break up with Della all along? He’d seemed pretty happy sitting next to her until Della showed up.

Not that he looked too happy now. He frowned when the girl slipped her arm through his, but he did the right thing and introduced them. “Mei, this is Della, and her . . . friend.” The word friend came out sounding like a four-letter word. “Her friend who obviously likes to fight, if his black eye is any indication.”

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