“You know it’s been a week and a half, Becks.”

“Have you been here irritating me for only that long? You make it seem like a lifetime, Little One.”


“I obviously can’t hang out with those people who hate me anymore. I can’t stay locked in your apartment. I think I need to do something. Anything,” she breathed.

Beckham huffed loudly. “Then use the credit card and go shopping. Buy a mountain of clothes to fill your closet. Make friends with other employees, who understand what you are doing and won’t judge you for it. Just do something that befits your new station in life.”

“My new station?” she asked incredulously.

“Yes, Reyna! I’m not sure what part of this you’re missing. You have more money than your wildest dreams could ever have imagined. Use some of it.”

Thinking of herself as wealthy, because she happened to work for Beckham and live in his penthouse, made her feel ludicrous. The only benefit of living with him was that the compensation she did receive for the job she wasn’t performing she funneled right back to her brothers. At least them receiving the money made it all worth it.

“And you want me to go shopping on the black credit card? The unlimited credit card?”

“It’s unlimited for a reason,” he said dryly.

“You know I have more clothes than I could ever want in my closet, and absolutely nothing comfortable to wear.”

Beckham slapped his phone down in his lap and glared at her. “I am trying to work. What do you want from me, Reyna?”

Well, that was a loaded question if she had ever heard one. The list of things she wanted from him that she couldn’t possibly utter grew daily. Her eyes unconsciously dropped down to his lips and then back into those endlessly dark eyes. He clenched his jaw.

Yeah. Out of the question.

“I just need to do something. Maybe get a job?”

“No,” he said, shaking his head.

“What? Why?”

“You have a job already.”

Reyna laughed in his face. “Right now I’m getting paid to sit around in your penthouse all day and deal with your attitude and obsession with your cellphone. That’s not a job. I can’t live cooped up with you with nothing to do. I’m restless.”

“Everyone else would die for the opportunity I’m providing. Why must you be so difficult?”

“I’m obviously not everyone else.”

“Obviously.”

She sighed and felt the space between them heavily. “I didn’t bargain for never leaving or doing anything or seeing my brothers!”

Beckham shook his head incredulously. “Do you not understand the danger? Did last night reveal nothing to you?”

She lifted her chin. She knew he was talking about the attack, but all she could think about was the feel of his lips on hers. As she fell asleep last night, she had replayed that moment over and over again in her mind. She had been even more restless afterward. One taste was not enough. Could never be enough.

“Last night simply showed me what I already knew. Some people are good and some are bad. Some vampires are bad and some…” Reyna reached out and touched his hand across the car. “Some are good.”

Beckham pulled his hand back as if he had been burned. “That’s where you’re wrong. Everyone is bad. You just don’t know it yet.”

“I don’t believe you.”

“Then allow me to give you perspective.”

Beckham leaned forward and spoke softly to the driver. The car swung around. She sat up curiously, wondering where he was taking her. The longer they drove, the worse the neighborhoods got in the city. The area where Beckham lived had seemed better than where she lived at home…safe almost. The streets were clear and people walked to and from buildings during the day with their heads up as if they knew that no one would bother them.

Here…that was not the case.

The streets were filthy. Covered with debris and garbage and even sewage in some places. Graffiti was spray-painted across the brick walls in various colors and schemes. A cursive L in a circle was repeated over and over again. People huddled together in ragged clothing that seemed haphazardly thrown together in an attempt to cover them. The few people who walked the streets were hunched over, holding their sparse belongings, as if it were life or death. Beggars were on every corner. Though there was no one to beg from. They were all wasting away—stomachs sunk in, ribs protruding, teeth missing. There were no children playing on the sidewalks. There was just grime and more grime.

She had thought that the warehouses had been bad. At least the people there had suitable jobs albeit with horrible hours. All she saw here was despair.

“Hey, baby, want something nice,” a girl called from the street.

Reyna saw three young girls wearing scantily clad outfits, their necks were raw, and they did nothing to hide the fact. They couldn’t have been older than her. Some of them didn’t even look fully grown.

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