“So this is what we’ve been fighting all this time,” she sighed.  “He just looks like a man.  Men can be reasoned with sometimes.  Not you, of course.”  She tossed him a sly look.

“Appearances are on the surface, my dear.  He’s very different from us.  Very deadly to us.  It’s important to remember that when you deal with him, especially now.  I am hopeful, though, we may yet keep him alive long enough to reason with him.”

“How long before he wakes up again?”

“Should be another two hours or so.”

“So I’ll be okay in here by myself for a little while.  Long enough for you to get his labs?”

“Emelia, you promised.”

“I know.  Just asking.”  He let out an exaggerated sigh and finally nodded, sending a mock salute as he left the room.  She turned back, looking again at the vamp’s tattoos, wondering if they had some meaning or if they were just body art.  Perhaps he was different from the other vamps because they have different classes of people or like human men and women were different.  Still they’d encountered the same results with autopsies of the females, all black-eyed, single-heart, etc.

“Gabriel,” she whispered, trying out his name.  His eyes opened at the soft sound.  Emma’s feet rooted to the ground.  She wanted to back away, but her body wouldn’t obey, her heart a hummingbird beating against her chest.

Several moments passed before Emma finally took a deep, unsteady breath and saw he just studied her curiously with those silver eyes, no growls or snarls, no bared fangs.

“You can’t hurt me right now,” she said more to reassure herself.  “You’re strapped to this table, so you can’t hurt me again.”

His gaze roamed over her, lingering over her full rosy lips, deep emerald eyes and heart-shaped face.  He said nothing.

“Can you understand me?”  No response.  “Do you know where you are?”

She saw no fear, not even a little.  The irony struck her that she’d been so terrified of him earlier when he was the one kidnapped, maliciously wounded and strapped on a table in an empty white chamber to be drugged and stabbed with needles and waking to a strange woman staring at him.  Something about the situation pulled at her in an odd way