He eyed her curiously as if trying to decipher what was hidden beneath. “Is that what you want?”

She swallowed. This was dangerous territory. She didn’t want to have this conversation again. She didn’t want to think about the kisses he had trailed down her neck. How despite how afraid she should feel, when he looked at her like that, her insides ignited. It was a strange paradigm.

“I’m just trying to figure you out.”

“I thought I made it clear that you shouldn’t,” he said. His gaze was intent and deadly.

“I’m bad with instructions,” she muttered.

“I’ve noticed.”

“Well, did you just get me to please your boss?” she asked the question that had been rattling around in her brain since she had found out that Beckham hadn’t even wanted a Permanent Subject.

“Would you be upset if I said yes?”

Reyna stumbled at the response. “Wait…really?”

She hadn’t thought that Beckham would really agree to something like this for work. She hadn’t thought anyone could bully Beckham into anything. He was formidable to say the least.

Beckham took a few slow steps toward her. Prowling like he was stalking his prey. She took an unsteady step backward and reminded herself that he wasn’t going to bite her. If he hadn’t already, then she didn’t think he would right now. That first time had been an accident. He…didn’t even want her. And she shouldn’t hope that he would want her.

“Do I look like I’m eager to have someone in my space? Someone I have to constantly watch?” he asked, standing so close to her she had to tilt her head back to look at him.

Her stomach twisted as his nearness seemed to encase her, trapping them in a bubble. He had such a powerful presence that she never ever forgot that he was a vampire when they were this close together. Sometimes when he got this close to her, it became overpowering. But for the first time, she saw beyond the deadly façade to the man beneath. He might be terrifying, but he was also terrifyingly beautiful—body chiseled from stone, razor-edged cheekbones, pools of onyx, effortless masculinity that oozed from every pore.

“No,” she finally whispered, tearing her thoughts from the man before her and focusing on the discussion at hand. It was obvious Beckham wasn’t the type to want anyone here in his penthouse. She shouldn’t be upset that he didn’t want her, but feeling useless was infuriating. Being useless in her job was something else entirely.

“So, what?” she asked. “You’re not going to drink from me because I’m in your space?”

“I can do what I want with you, Little One.”

The way his eyes landed on her body wrapped in a tiny swathe of clothing made her feel completely dirty.

“I am not a whore,” she got out with conviction.

“Of course you’re not,” he said.

She glared back at him, finding only the monster in his gaze. “Fine. Drink from me. Don’t drink from me. Die of starvation for all I care. I’m going out tonight and if I don’t leave now, I’m going to be late.”

She sent him a scathing look and then walked to the elevator. She pressed the button and tapped her foot impatiently.

After she had stepped inside and the doors were closing, he finally said, “Be safe tonight, Little One.”

Chapter 13

Reyna arrived downstairs late and beyond irritated. Beckham worked her up like no one else she had ever met. His very presence set her on edge. Most of the time she wanted to slap him and then she got lost staring into his handsome face. And she didn’t even like him. But the tension was so thick she never knew which way the pendulum was going to swing.

“Wow,” Everett said when she walked outside. His jaw dropped open. She smiled at his reaction and assessed him. He was dressed casually in a pair of dark jeans and a blue striped button-up rolled to his elbows. Maybe she was overdressed.

“Good wow?” she asked.

“Great wow. You look amazing.”

“Thanks!” She beamed.

“You look way too good to be going out with me and my friends.”

“Oh…should I go change?” she asked uncertainly.

“Absolutely not. If Mr. Anderson let you out in that tonight, then I’m not letting you walk back inside.”

Reyna laughed. “Beckham. Call him Beckham. Mr. Anderson sounds like a parent or something.”

“Sure. Whatever you say.” Everett offered her his arm. “My car is parked in the back. Habit.”

She placed her arm on his sleeve and followed him to where an old Mustang was parked.

“This car is amazing,” she breathed.

“Thanks. Original body. I fixed it up with my dad. He was a mechanic before the economy tanked. Hard to afford fuel for her, but to and from work isn’t that bad.”

Everett opened the side door for her, and she sank into the seat. Since leaving the Warehouse District, this was the first time that she wasn’t in a car with a hired driver. She felt more normal here. Less like she had to be a doll for the show. She wasn’t anyone’s pet. She was just Reyna tonight.

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