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Soul Mates 04: Secrets

By´╝ÜJourdan Lane

Chapter One

Donald Evans: Deceased.

Cause of death? Suicide.

I backspaced and erased 'suicide', then sat staring at the blinking cursor on the computer screen. It didn't feel right to see that word there, but without any evidence of foul play that was the only explanation we'd come up with. Donald's nude body lay in front of his living room window, the drapes thrown open wide. His body had been burned nearly beyond recognition, except that the friend who had discovered him recognized a tattoo that was still intact.

No suicide note had been located.

Donald and I had spoken on many, many occasions, and he was always happy. He didn't have that haunted look so many vampires had. Donald was generally happy just to be alive . and he loved his life as a vampire.

My gut told me there wasn't a note for a reason . that Donald shouldn't be dead.

I picked up the file Silver had left and opened it up. A stack of photos from the scene were paper-clipped to the top inside corner of the folder, and I pulled them free. In one photo after another, the only thing consistently out of place was Donald's body.

A half hour later, I was still staring at the file when the double doors of the study were thrown open. Sabaan stood between the doors, a hand on both. I could see him over the top of the file, but didn't give him the full attention he was craving. After a few moments, he sighed and quietly closed the doors behind him.

"Good evening, Sabaan."

"Come on, at least look at me!" I glanced up and he rolled his eyes. It hid the bright yellow part of his eyes and made them seem completely black, which could be so totally creepy at times. "Well, that's something, I guess."

I laughed and put down the file. "You're so easy to tease."

"So I keep hearing."

"How are you tonight?" I watched him sashay toward me, going around tables and couches as if he'd memorized the number of steps between each. His black hair was loose instead of braided down the back, and he'd shucked his custom-tailored clothes for a simple red silk robe. The robe hid his lean, tight figure . and his long, sexy tail . and if he'd been anyone else, it would have been unflattering. Sabaan could make a burlap bag look sexy. As he stepped around the desk, I noticed the dark circles beneath his eyes. "You look tired."

"I miss him terribly." He crawled into my lap and wrapped both arms around my neck. "It feels like he's been gone forever."

"It's only been a week."

He whined and buried his face into my neck. "I want him home."

"Me too, Sabaan." I held him close, but shifted a little so that the small horns on the top of his head weren't poking my neck. "He'll be back tomorrow night."

Lucien had gone to a funeral for one of his friends back in New York. The guy had been on Lucien.s old Enforcer team, and had met his death doing what he loved . keeping the streets safe from rogues. It was no secret that Lucien had loved what he did before he was sent to Texas, and part of me worried about him revisiting that part of his life. I was half-afraid he'd come back wanting to hit the streets again.

As much as I'd wanted to go and offer up my support, Lucien was hesitant about leaving the entire coven in Logan's hands for more than a few days. After much talking and negotiating, we agreed that I would stay, as long as he called to check in every night.

It hadn't exactly worked that way.

I'd heard from him twice . once for him to tell me that he'd made it to New York, and again when he called to say he'd be home. I couldn't help but notice the coldness and distance there'd been in the second call. I wasn't sure what was going on with him, but I'd chalked it up to it just being his way of dealing with the loss of a friend.

"Well, at least he's on a chartered flight and doesn't have to worry about getting stuck on a layover."

"Actually, he decided to fly home commercial."

Sabaan's entire body tensed. "What?"

"There was a conflict of scheduling with the charter company and he sent the jet back yesterday." He sat up, and I watched his expression turn from happiness to worry. "There's nothing to worry about, Sabaan."

"But he."

"Unless&" I looked up, suddenly worried about his reaction. Sabaan never hid things very well, especially if it was about something he was conflicted about. "Is there something you know that I don't?"

"No," he said instantly. "I just& I hate to think of him having to come home in a coffin."

"He's only in a coffin while he sleeps. There's a release for him to let himself out when he wakes, and he has two guards traveling with him, just to watch over him in flight." Sabaan looked positively sick, his pearlescent skin taking on more of a green color. I swear he was like a walking mood ring, skin changing colors with his emotions. "Relax. The moment he wakes, he's out of there."