To Have: Vampire Assassin League #19
Nigel’s voice faded. “Oh come on, LizBeth. Allow me to call you that just this once. You’re ruining my image here. Fine. I’ll pay the price.”
    “Do you have a point with all these numbers, Nigel?” Akron asked.
    “I’m making an impact statement here, Sir. And following it up by saying that when I find my mate I am not just letting her up and leave.”
    “I think it was very honorable of the prince.”
    “Well, I think it was short-sighted and stupid. She’s his mate. He only gets one. When I get my mate, I’ll hogtie her before I’ll let her leave me.”
    Akron chuckled. “I am heartily looking forward to that momentous occasion, Nigel Beethan. You have no idea. I believe it could be one of the most edifying spectacles of my existence.”
    “You’re supposed to be on my side here, Sir.”
    “We have a side? Truly? What is it?”
    “The prince has his mate. He allowed her to leave him. And I’d really like to know why. What did he do? And why the hell did he just let her go? And, while I’m at it, how long do I have to wait, anyway?”
    “Nigel. This is not about you. It’s about Prince Daron. And his immediate problem. And unfortunately, we have taken too much time. We’ll call you right back, Your Highness. New cell.”
    The phone went dead. Daron set it on the ground beside him and had another one palmed before it vibrated. Akron was speaking as the link went live.
    “Oh...sometime between now and seven hundred and twelve years.”
    “Seven hundred and twelve!”
    “You asked for a number range, Nigel. There you are. A number range.”
    Oh, come on, Sir. I have to wait seven hundred and twelve years for my mate?”
    “In comparison to Prince Daron, that amount is a pittance. Your Highness? You back on the line?”
    “Yes,” he answered. He was focusing on the building. Something wasn’t right. Medical Evacuation helicopters were emergency vehicles. This one had shut the rotors off and was just sitting there. Perhaps that meant Evelyn didn’t need it. His heart lightened slightly. And another semi-painful flash arced through his head, right behind his eyes.
    “I don’t know what you did, Your Highness, or when. I only know that the consequences of allowing your mate to leave are multiplying while you are apart.”
    “I told her about us. About mating. I told her about eternity. I told her about grief and death. I think she wanted to call her family.”
    “Ah. Interesting supposition. Entirely accurate, actually. Strangely enough, there are several avenues for her to do just that in the ranger station, and yet not one call has gone out to New Jersey. Not a word of that particular state has even been mentioned. Don’t you find that odd, Prince Daron?”
    “They’re denying her access to the phone?” Anger made his voice sharp.
    “No. I believe she has decided that she no longer wants to contact her family. That is the impression I am getting here. So. I really need to ask, why aren’t you doing anything about it?”
    “I’m waiting for a sign.”
    “Really? What sort would you like, Your Highness?”
    “I don’t know. I’ve never had a mate. And I have the worst pain in my head.”
    “Ah. Good. That’s a good indicator that you aren’t a complete failure at telepathy. You are simply right at the bottom of the learning curve.”
    “Your mate has been concentrating and saying your name for about...oh...eight minutes by my clock. I don’t know what else she has to do. I heard her easily. Why else do you think I’d be calling you?”
    Daron flashed up from the ground. He had to consciously stop his progression skyward. He’d never felt such joy. Light. Wonder.
    “Your Highness! Prince Daron!”
    Akron’s voice was a bit louder than usual. Daron glared at the cell in his hand for a moment before answering.
    “Before you run willy-nilly into the ranger station, I need to give you some advice.”
    “She’s my mate. She wants me. I don’t

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