I read all of the ancient books he had and tried to absorb as much knowledge about our kind as I could before I had to move on. I couldn’t be around his darkness without feeling like I’d become just as black and soulless as he was. That was decades ago and long before I created the family I have today.

Now my territory covers the expanse of the city and we live in peace. My family has found their mates and seeing how happy they are makes me happy, too. It makes me realize that I made the right decision in bringing them into the fold and creating all that we have.

I ask myself as I lie here feeling powerless and weak, would Gordon River search the world for my one true mate and then lock her away from me? Of course, he would. He’s the cruelest man I’ve ever met and he’s power hungry. That’s a dangerous combination and the reason why I avoided him for so long. But if he has the woman that I’ve been dreaming of, my mate, then there is nothing I won’t do to stop him.

“Where is she?” I ask, and Ravana and Valen exchange a look. “Where?” I ask again, this time my voice stronger.

“The twins have a plan to try and get her,” Ravana admits and holds her hands up when I try to move from the bed. “No! You have to rest.”

“I can’t let them do that. They don’t know what kind of man he is.”

“The sun is up, Bishop. None of us are going anywhere,” Valen says, standing up and placing a hand on Ravana’s back. “You need to conserve your strength.” There’s a sad look in his eyes as he shakes his head. “We don’t know how much longer you have.”

Ravana lets out a sob and puts her face in her hands. I reach out and place my palm on the back of her head as she cries. While I love everyone in this family, Ravana and I have always had a closer bond. She is, after all, my blood. My niece I tried to protect from afar, but failed and had to turn her to save her.

“Don’t do that,” I say, trying to keep my voice light. “We knew this day was coming.”

She sniffs as she sits up and wipes her face. “I’m going to go call Juliet and make sure she knows you’re awake. She said Kane has been pacing the floors all night.”

With that, Ravana gets up and practically runs out of the room.

“She’s been by your side the whole time,” Valen says, taking her empty chair. “I don’t think she realized how much losing you would affect her. But I think finding out you’re the last true family she has left has hit her hard.”

“She’s always been special to me and I’m glad she has you now.”

“She thinks of you as her father.” He shakes his head. “You have to figure out a way to stay alive. She’s talking about letting you drink all of their blood to see if any of it works.”

“And what did all the mates say?” I ask and feel myself smile.

“I’ll be honest, it did not go over well,” he says, shaking his head.

“Mates are very protective,” I agree, and he smiles. “Drinking the blood of another vampire or human is sacred. It should only be shared between bonded mates. I understand Ravana’s desire to do whatever it takes to save me, because I’d do the same for my family. But drinking her blood or yours won’t save me. Only the taste of my true mate will do that.”

“And do you believe that this Gordon guy has her? Your mate?”

“I don’t know,” I say, glancing over to the picture I’ve drawn a thousand times.

The first time I slept after I was created I dreamed of her. For two hundred years she has come to me every night, in one way or another. Some nights it’s just visions of her and other dreams feel as real as if she were here beside me. It’s been torture knowing exactly what she looks like, down to the birthmark on her shoulder, but not being able to find her.

“I’ll only know if I’m close enough to scent her, but I don’t know how that’s going to be possible.” I move my legs and they ache with even the slightest touch of the sheets against them.

“If it’s up to the family, we’ll find a way,” Valen says, and he leans forward and grabs my hand. “You are the leader of all of us, so you have to fight.”

I nod because he’s right. Now isn’t the time to give in and let death take me away. I need to pull together all the strength I have left and find a way to get to her. My violet-eyed angel who’s been with me the whole time. If Gordon has her, it will be his final mistake.

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