Everett nodded and quickly looked away from her. He snapped his fingers at a man across the parking lot, and soon a sleek black Town Car drove up to the front of the valet.
“Here you are,” he said, his voice switching to a formality. She didn’t understand what she had done wrong.
She reached for his arm to stop him. “Is everything all right?”
The car parked in the front.
“Allow me.” He escorted her over to the vehicle and popped open the back door.
“Reyna, you are here with our most distinguished guest. I thought…well, it doesn’t matter.” He smiled.
“You thought what? That I could use a friend? Because that would be accurate.”
He laughed. “A friend. You’re not from the city, are you?”
“No,” she answered truthfully.
“I can tell.” Everett sighed and then pulled a card from his suit pocket. As he helped her into the car, he slipped the piece of paper into her purse. “A few of us are going out this weekend to a club nearby. Give me a call if you want to join.”
“Okay!” she answered a little too earnestly. She coughed and then backpedaled. “I mean, yes. Uh…if I can get away.”
“If not, then there’s always another time.”
She nodded. “Thank you.”
“No, thank you.”
She sank into the backseat and Everett shut the door. She reached into her purse and withdrew the plain white card. She ran her fingers over the letters. Everett Taylor. She almost jumped with joy that she had plans this weekend. Real plans. With humans.
The car door opened again, and Reyna quickly stuffed the card back into her bag. She scooted over to the far seat as Beckham sat down.
Beckham immediately pulled his phone out again and directed all of his attention to it. She was certain he was addicted to the thing. How could one person spend an endless amount of time glued to a screen? He missed everything with his face buried in his phone. She didn’t care if he had lived in the city for the last two hundred years. Well, she didn’t know how old he was. There was still so much to see!
With her eyes still directed out the window, she asked, “Where are we going anyway?”
Reyna cringed at the thought of going to Visage headquarters with so many vampires all in one place. “Oh. Just work? That’s all? I got all dressed up for us to go to your work?”
“You consider that dressed up?”
She ran her fingers down the silky material. “Yes. Very.”
He laughed humorlessly. “Work. That’s all. We’re having a special presentation this morning. You’ll be involved.”
“Me?” she squeaked. “Involved how?”
“You’ll be part of the presentation. Maybe say a few words. Just do whatever I tell you,” he said distractedly.
“Sorry,” she said, shaking her head. “There are two things I don’t do: needles and public speaking.”
His head popped up from his phone. “You’re afraid of needles?”
She shuddered. At least she had gotten his attention. “They give me the creeps.”
He gave her the funniest look as if he couldn’t believe that anyone could be afraid of needles.
“Look, it’s a common fear.” She fidgeted in her seat uncomfortably.
“Do you miss the irony in being afraid of needles when you’re working as a subject for a vampire?”
She cut her eyes over to him and forced herself not to touch the spot on her neck where he had nicked her last night. “I think a vampire would have to bite me for it to be ironic.”
“Don’t tempt me, Little One,” he growled.
Reyna straightened quickly. That wasn’t what she had meant.
“So…is that my new nickname or something? Is Reyna too long?” she asked, trying to lighten the mood and stop thinking about the powerful man sitting only inches from her. If she kept pushing him to feed on her, he might actually do it. Then she’d really test her fears.
“Reyna is perfectly adequate.”
He returned to his phone, and she thought that was the end of the conversation. Her gaze went back out the window to the bleak city all cast in the early morning glow. It was eerily beautiful in its own way.
Then his hand brushed her dark hair off her shoulder and all thoughts of the city evaporated. Goosebumps erupted on her skin. With her hair out of the way, he touched the tender spot where his fangs had pierced.
Reyna didn’t move. She didn’t even breathe. She just felt the power of his touch vibrate through her body. His fingers moved from her neck up to her chin, and he forced her to look at him.
“Look at how you tremble.”
A smug expression crossed his face. He seemed pleased that his touch frightened her. But she couldn’t keep from feeling that way. He tilted his head in assessment, and then seemed to find what he was looking for.
“Yes, Reyna, you are my Little One.”