I HAD ONE other phone call to make before I flew off into the sunset with Jason. I dialed Micahs cell phone, because when he did the out-of-town trips it was the best way to get him.

Hey, he said, and that one word was full of affection, happiness, contentment.

Hey, yourself, I said, and my voice had the same tone. Id felt that way about Micah almost from the moment I met him. Weird, especially for me, the poster child for panic when I was attracted to a man. Wed learned only in the last few months that it had been the ardeur, my very own version of vampire powers, that had taken away my reluctance. In a way, Id rolled Micah and myself. But neither of us regretted it; maybe that was vampire powers, too.

I asked him how the trip was going. He told me he liked the new leopard, and so did his bodyguards, Mel and Noah. Good to know.

But you didnt call to ask about the new wereleopard, he said.

Couldnt I call just to chat?

He laughed, and I could picture his face. He was back to having his summer tan, which made him dark enough to pass for something other than Caucasian. But his features were entirely too Northern European, to really pass for anything else. His face was delicate, and so was he, at my height exactly. His eyes were chartreuse leopard eyes, from where a truly evil man had forced him into animal form long enough so his eyes never changed back. Id killed the evil man, and Micah had moved in. Wed been a couple ever since.

I told him the Readers Digest version of what was happening with Jason. Im sorry to hear about his father.

Me, too.

How did you get volunteered for this trip?

You dont think Id come up with it myself?

No, he said, and there was no doubt in his voice.


Hmm, he said.

You sound upset.

That youre going off with another man to meet his family? Hmm, let me think, why would that upset me?

Are you telling me not to go?

I would never do that.

But, I said.

But nothing, telling you what to do isnt the kind of relationship we have. But Im allowed to be a little jealous that youre getting to go home with Jason.

Jean-Claude said the same thing, sort of, but his family is centuries dead. Its not possible for him. You never talk about your family.

When Chimera was alive, he used peoples families against them. He tortured them, or made them into wereanimals so he could control them. To keep my family safe, I had to pretend I hated them. I did a good job of it, Anita. I doubt theyd want to see me again.

I heard such regret in his voice. You never know until you try, Micah.

Well see.

If it works out, Id love to meet your family.

Really, you dont seem much interested in your own.

Im allowed issues with my own family; that doesnt make me hate everyones family.

Okay, buTHE sounded cautious.

Really, Micah, Chimeras dead, he cant hurt you or your family anymore.

I know that, you killed him for me.

You wanted me to kill him.

Yes, I did. And there was that note in his voice, that tone, that said he was all right with the violence that I did. Hed watched me kill Chimera, and hed been just peachy with it. There were so many reasons that Micah and I worked as a couple. One of those reasons was a certain ruthless practicality in both of us.

I would go home to see your folks, Micah.

Would we bring Nathaniel, too?

That stopped me. We all three lived together, butI dont know. I guess that would be your call.

Ill think about it, all of it, the family, and whether I have the guts to show up after all these years with you and Nathaniel. Put that way, I could sort of see his problem. It was sort of similar to Jasons problem, actually. Perception is all.

Im sorry if my going off with Jason bothers you.

Im sorry it bothers me, too. I need to work on that.

Micah, I love you.

I know, and I love you, too. Give my love to Nathaniel. You better start packing.

Micah, I

No, its all right, Anita, really. Do what you need to do for Jason. But I guess I really would like to introduce you to my mom and dad, my brother and sister. I just never thought it was possible.

A lot of things are possible, Micah.

I guess. Ive got to go. I love you, Anita.

I love you, too.

Give my love to Nathaniel.

I will.

He hung up, and left me not sure how to feel. Guilty that it bothered him, yes, but more puzzled. Hed almost never mentioned his family. How was I supposed to know thaTHE even wanted to see them? Sometimes the hardest part of dating this many men was juggling everyones emotions. People talked about the sex, because sex was easy; hearts were hard.