“I went out for a walk,” I respond, unable to think of a good reason why. Damn it. “Are you tracking me?” I don’t know why I ask. Bishop takes the role of my maker a little too far at times. I’ve noticed he’s stricter with me than the others, and it’s starting to ride my nerves.

“Of course, and you weren’t supposed to go anywhere unless you had someone with you.”

“I’m not a child,” I snap as I begin to walk. “And I won’t let you treat me differently because I’m a female.”

“You’re the youngest and you’re not as strong as the rest of us.” I can tell he’s trying to contain his anger because Bishop doesn’t like to be disobeyed.

“I can take care of myself. I was doing it before—”

“Before you were killed.” He cuts me off and I almost stumble over my own feet.

“I can’t believe you said that.”

“Goddamn it, Ravana. There is a slayer out there right now. I can’t believe you went against my orders. You’re the last one I thought would do this.”

That’s because I always do as I’m told, but tonight I needed out. I needed to breathe for a moment. “I’ll be home soon.” I hang up and turn the phone off. I know he’s right and I shouldn’t be out with a slayer running around. Two vampires are already missing and they’re not far from where our coven lives.

I slide the phone back into my pocket and keep walking. I leap the pavement letting my anger fuel my stride as I go home. It’s fully dark now and I’m walking through the trees when I have that feeling of someone watching me again. I come to a stop and jerk around, but there’s no one there. I inhale and I can smell maple syrup. It’s so odd. The sweet smell reminds me of warm pancakes and I love it. I’m anxious as I look around and my eyes dart everywhere. I don’t see anyone, but I decide that I need to get home as quickly as possible. I take off running as fast as I can.

When I see my house, I don’t stop to open the gate. Instead I leap over it and land on my feet, running at full tilt until I get to my front door. I scan my thumb on the lock and the door opens immediately. I slam it behind me then lock it again before I lean back against it.

There’s a weird tingling all over my skin and I feel hot. I take a deep breath and pull myself together. It was nothing. I’m sure between visiting the ghosts of my past tonight and a slayer on the loose, I’m on edge. That’s all.

“Ravana?”

My hand flies to my chest as Juliet comes fluttering into the room with Kane right behind her.

“Sorry, did I scare you?” She looks at me in confusion because yeah, I should have heard them. Or at least smelled them when I entered my home, but my mind was elsewhere.

“I was just surprised to see you guys here is all. I didn’t know Kane was letting you leave the house,” I tease.

He’s been in super-protective mode. I don’t blame him with the slayer out there and his new mate pregnant. Any vampire would be that way, and the longing for a mate hits me once again. Will there ever be a time when I see the two of them and don’t become jealous? I want someone to care about me like that, even if I’m strong enough to take care of myself.

“Oh, well, I wanted to come by and hang out. I thought you could use some company.”

I eye her in mild surprise. I was rude to her when we first met because I didn’t know she was Kane’s mate and was worried that she might find out what we were. Kane seemed like he was losing his mind and acted in ways I’d never seen before. I’ve said sorry, but sometimes sorry isn’t enough and it takes time.

“She was worried about you,” Kane says from behind her.

“You were?” I look to Juliet, and she gives a small shrug.

“You seemed sad, and us girls have to stick together around here.” She smiles at me. I can’t help but smile back at her. She really is sweet, and I love her for what she’s done for Kane.

“Come on, I’ll cook you something to eat,” I tell her. I reach out and take her hand. She gives mine a small squeeze and I can feel a bond forming between us.

“You cook?” she asks, raising an eyebrow.

“Oddly enough, I really love to cook, even if I can’t eat it. It relaxes me. I was a chef before.”

“I just might be here a lot more then, because lately I can’t get full.” Juliet pats her belly.

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