But the bite never came.

Then the pressure on her neck disappeared. Reyna’s eyes flew open. And she couldn’t believe what she saw. Her eyes widened in disbelief as Beckham held the vampire by the arm. The other vampire snarled and twisted, breaking out of Beckham’s tight hold. He lunged for Beckham, who moved so quickly that the pair of them were a blur. The vampire must have been starving, because with fresh blood in his system he had more power and speed than he’d shown only moments before. The two moved together. Beckham seemed to have the upper hand. His hands were thrust out, breaking down the other vampire’s defensives and leaving his spurt of energy to be wasted. Still they fought—blows landed and deflected, feet kicking, and bodies twisting and moving to try to break the other.


In a movement that Reyna could hardly even see, Beckham whirled the other vampire around so his back was to Beckham’s chest. Beckham placed a hand on either side of the vampire’s head. For a split second, the guy stopped moving entirely. He seemed to realize he was defeated.

And for the first time, Beckham’s face was illuminated in the streetlight. As she stared into Beckham’s endless dark eyes, Reyna’s gasp was audible.

His fangs were bared and he looked furious. Beyond furious.

Dangerous.

Ruthless

Deadly.

“Becks,” she whispered in horror.

But he didn’t seem to hear her. The only sound that followed was the sickening crunch as Beckham turned the vampire’s head to an unnatural angle. He fell to the ground. Dead.

Reyna’s mouth hung open. Holy shit! He had just killed for her. She couldn’t comprehend it. She was wavering in and out of consciousness. She grasped at it with straws desperate not to succumb to the darkness.

“Little One,” he said softly as he approached her. She watched him suck in a deep breath and then hold it as he bent down toward her. He scooped her up in his arms as if she weighed nothing.

“Everett,” she mumbled.

Beckham sighed and then nodded. He would take care of it. He didn’t even have to say a word.

“Thank you,” she whispered before darkness carried her under.

* * *


Reyna awoke to find herself laid out on soft cushions. Her body ached everywhere, and she had a splitting headache. As she tried to sit up, she groaned. A hand rested on her shoulder to lay her back down.

“Take it easy,” Beckham said.

She peeled her eyes open. Beckham was sitting next to her on the couch in the living room of his penthouse.

“Becks,” she said, her voice raspy.

She had never been this happy to see him. She couldn’t believe that she was here right now, that he had followed her, that he had saved her. All she wanted to do was reach up and run her hand down his beautiful face and apologize for ever doubting him. Her gratitude was beyond measure. In his eyes, she no longer saw the monster who had snapped the vampire’s neck in half, but a man searching her for signs of distress. A man who may have chosen to take a Permanent Subject against his will, but would no less take care of her for it.

Beckham averted his own searching gaze and reached over to the table for a glass of water. “Drink something.”

She took it without complaint and managed a few sips. “You saved my life,” she said, swallowing back the emotions threatening to take over.

“You were supposed to stay safe.”

Reyna didn’t know what possessed her to do it, but this time when the need to touch him took over, she didn’t suppress it. She reached her hand out to his face and placed it gently against his cheek. His skin was cool to the touch. Yet she felt like she was burning up. Whether from the life-threatening experience or the growing shift in what his nearness did to her, she didn’t know.

“Becks,” she repeated softly.

He turned his head away from her hand, refusing to look at her. “I lost control,” he said gruffly. “You shouldn’t have had to see that.”

“You saved my life.”

She wasn’t sure what part of that wasn’t clear to him. She could have died out there. She was so close to dying, and he had come in and saved her. Everything that had been foggy before was now clear. She didn’t need to fear Beckham. He wasn’t going to hurt her, and she needed to start to trust him. He wouldn’t have gone to such lengths to protect her if he was going to hurt her himself.

“You shouldn’t have even been in that position,” Beckham said. “You were in the club and then suddenly you were gone.”

“You followed me?”

He met her gaze again. “You were lucky I did. Otherwise I never would have found you when I did.”

“Yes. I was very lucky,” she whispered.

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