Elenora’s eyebrows rose and she gave Sebastian a pleased look. “I may buy her an island after all.” She shifted her gaze to Tessa. “We should do this immediately. This isn’t something we can wait to find out.”
Tessa stood. “Take me to her. Right now.”
Sebastian hadn’t been down to the Basement of Nocturne Falls in so long that Julian accompanied them. Only town employees with approved access could enter, which of course Sebastian was, but he rarely carried his keycard. This was more Julian’s territory anyway, being the vast array of underground passageways that allowed much of the behind-the-scenes activities in town to take place.
And unlike Sebastian, Julian, always had his keycard on him.
He led them down the steps from one of several secret entrances tucked here and there around town. When they reached the bottom, Julian spread his arms wide. “Welcome to Nocturne Falls’ best kept secret, Tessa.”
“Wow.” She glanced down both sides of the hall. “You could drive a truck through here.”
“You can and we have.” Julian smiled proudly as he took off to the left. “This way to the detention center.”
Tessa and Sebastian fell into step behind him. She looked at Sebastian. “What else goes on down here?”
“Through a room off one of these enormous tunnel the gargoyles who entertain the tourists at the fountain are hydraulically lifted into place.” He looked over his shoulder. “I believe that’s in the other direction. Also, many of the supernaturals who walk the streets posing for pictures and giving the town color use the passageways to come and go without fear of being followed by overeager tourists.”
She nodded. “I think Disney uses tunnels like these.”
“That’s where we got the idea,” Julian called back. “Although I don’t think Disney has special holding cells built to accommodate supernaturals of any variety.”
“No, probably not,” she answered.
They turned a corner. Deputy Cruz was standing guard outside the locked door that led into the cells. Julian pulled out his keycard again.
Sebastian gave the man a nod. Cruz was a solid deputy and a panther shifter, but Sebastian didn’t know much more than that about him. “All quiet?”
Cruz shook his head. “It was. Then she woke up.” He grinned at Tessa. “I understand you were responsible for that. Nice work, valkyrie. Wait until your sister hears.”
“I can only imagine.”
“Here you go.” Julian pushed the door open and held it for her.
Sebastian wished he and Julian could go in with Tessa, but she’d said the best result would come from one-on-one interaction so that no one else’s emotions would interfere with sensing Evangeline’s true motives.
“Who’s there?” Evangeline called out.
They ignored the question. Sebastian squeezed Tessa’s hand. “You won’t have to get close to her to talk to her. When you’re done, knock on the door and Julian will open it again.”
She gave his hand a squeeze back. “I won’t be long.”
She slipped inside.
Tessa had expected a dark, dank cell. Why she’d pictured something that skewed medieval dungeon, she had no idea.
The room before her was bright white and more space ship than jail. Evangeline reclined on a wide molded bench on the other side of the thick glass that separated the free space from the confined. Small round holes perforated the wall at eye level. More for sound than air, Tessa guessed, seeing as how vampires didn’t need to breathe.
Evangeline scowled at her. “What do you want?”
Tessa walked to the halfway point between the door and the glass wall. “Just to ask you some questions.”
Evangeline snorted. “Good luck with that.”
Anger washed off her in waves. “It could make a difference with the council.”
Evangeline gave Tessa the side eye. “What do you know about the council?”
“Enough.” The woman’s curiosity rose a notch. “Why did you want Sebastian’s ability to walk in the sun?”
The question earned Tessa an eye roll. “I’m a vampire, you twit. We all want to walk in the sun again.” Evangeline shifted, swinging her feet onto the floor. “Can you imagine what it would be like to give that up? When I saw Sebastian in the papers and realized he was out in the sun…” She shook her head. “I was his wife. He should have shared that ability with me.”
“You knew losing the sun was the price to pay for being a vampire. But you also should have understood that Sebastian didn’t owe you anything.”
Evangeline barked out a laugh. “He’s been giving me everything I wanted since we married. Why should his daywalking ability be any different?”
“You could have asked him.”
She huffed out a sigh. “Once I figured out all of the Ellinghams could daywalk I knew that option was out. You don’t know what a tight grip Elenora keeps on that family. And she hates me. There was no way she’d agree to sharing that with me.”
“So you assumed she was the one behind it?”
“Elenora controls everything that family does.”
Tessa had yet to see evidence of that. She crossed her arms. “Did you miss the sun so badly you actually would have killed Sebastian for his secret?”
Evangeline glared at her, then turned away. “I’m not answering that.”
But she already had. Indecision had whirled off her, finally solidifying into a positive. Tessa ground her teeth together to keep from lashing out as anger heated her belly. How dare this woman put her own happiness above the price of Sebastian’s life? “One more question and I’ll leave you alone.” Unless she had been working with someone. Then Tessa would have to do her best to pull that information out as well.