Vlad stood outside Kathryn’s house, a quaint little…hovel. He shuddered in disgust. Why anyone would live in a disgusting place like this? His mansion was a hundred times better than this shack. Perhaps he could persuade her to move in with him at some point.
Slow down, old boy, he chided himself, you’re getting ahead of yourself here. You haven’t even met the girl yet.
Straightening his black overcoat, he walked up the steps to the front door and knocked. He almost gasped out loud when the door opened and he got a look at her for the first time. Delicate features, porcelain skin, curly auburn hair…she was beautiful. A rather bold statement for Vlad to make, considering that he hated everyone. “Good evening, Ms. McGuire,” he said, reaching out to take her hand in his, “My name is Vladislaus Strauss. I have heard about you from my niece, Lilith Vatore.” He bent over and kissed the back of her hand.
“Mr. Strauss, what an unexpected visit,” Kathryn said, looking over her shoulder into the house. She stepped out onto the porch and closed the door. “May I ask why you are here?”
“I wanted to stop by and talk to you. My niece told me about your conversation the other night, and I thought that perhaps I could answer your questions better than she could, given that I have been around longer.”
“As much as I would love to talk to you, I’m afraid that this isn’t a very good time.”
“My apologies,” Vlad replied, “I did not mean to interrupt your evening. I was just in the area and thought I would drop by.”
“It’s all right,” she assured him. “I appreciate the opportunity to meet you. Could we have this discussion at another time?”
“Certainly! Perhaps dinner at my mansion later this week?”
“Will your niece and nephew be there?”
“If it will make you feel more comfortable, that can be arranged.”
“Yes, I think it would,” she admitted.
Vlad handed her a cream-colored business card. “You may reach me at this number. Please give me at least twenty-four hours’ notice before you come, so that I might provide a proper meal.”
“Yes, of course. Thank you.”
“I look forward to our next meeting then,” Vlad said, bowing slightly before turning and walking away.
Kathryn watched him disappear into the darkness as she pulled out her phone and dialed a number. “He’s made contact. I’m in.”