“Those are blood whores, Reyna,” he said. “They’re addicted to the rush. Prostitute their blood and their bodies for the fix.”
Reyna looked up at him, horrified. She was certainly not anything like those women. How could anyone call her a blood whore just because she worked for Visage?
A fight broke out in front of their car. Two people clawed at each other’s faces.
“Don’t stop,” Beckham told his driver.
“What? Do you mean to run them over?” she snapped.
“If we stop, they will attack the car. It is dangerous to be in these parts…even for me. I cannot overthrow a mob, and my first priority is your safety.”
Her breath caught at the conviction in his words. It was in that moment that there was no pretense behind Beckham. He was taking control of a situation. Maybe he hadn’t even realized what he had said.
The driver started to pull around the fighting pair, when three more people moved into the streets. “Shit!” he growled. “Move.”
He revved the engine, forcing the people out of his way, but one caught Reyna’s door handle and held on. Reyna screamed and lurched toward Beckham. He wrapped an arm protectively around her shoulder and drew her close to him.
“Let me in, bloodsucker. I know you’re in there. You hoard your riches and leave us out here to starve!” the man yelled.
The driver took a sharp turn and the guy lost his grip, flew off of the car, and then rolled two or three times. She heard his screams and turned in her seat to see a rogue vampire feasting on him. No one moved to help him. No one moved to stop him.
She tore her eyes away from what was happening on the street behind her and buried her head in Beckham’s shoulder. “Oh my God,” she whispered, her body shaking from horror.
His hand trailed lightly up and down her arm until her fear subsided. “I didn’t mean to scare you. I just wanted to show you. The good isn’t out there, Reyna. Everyone is corrupt. Everyone is broken.”
“I’m not,” she whispered.
“Oh Little One, this world will kill the goodness left within your beating heart.”
“But it will not break me.”
“No,” he agreed. He leaned his head into her hair and drew a deep breath. “I will do that.”
Reyna was ripped out of her dreams by a nightmare of a vampire chasing her in the streets and tearing out her throat. She screamed and bolted upright in bed. Her hair stuck to her back. Her body was clammy. And she couldn’t seem to rid herself of the terrible sense of unease.
She was fine.
She was in Beckham’s penthouse.
It had been days since their visit to the dregs of the city. Days since she had been attacked by a vampire.
Nothing had happened. Nothing at all since then. But she couldn’t seem to shake the nightmares.
She hoped Beckham didn’t hear her. She didn’t want to bring it up to him. Not after the distance he had put between them. She had felt so safe and secure in his arms, even knowing he was a vampire and could easily do to her what she had just seen in the streets. But as soon as he had let her go, it was as if he had constructed a wall of impenetrable ice to keep her out.
So much effort went into it on his part that she had given up on trying to get through to him. He wanted her to be grateful for her position, and she was. But she still hoped for him…and hope was dangerous.
Rolling out of bed, she hopped into the shower to wash off the sweat. She draped a towel around her body and towel-dried her hair in the mirror. She wound her hair up in a knot on the top of her head and then went in search of something to wear. As soon as she entered her closet, she noticed a blood-red dress hanging by itself. She stopped in her tracks and glanced around. She hated when things just appeared in her room. It didn’t usually mean anything good.
She moved over to the dress and skimmed the silky material between her fingers. It was gorgeous and soft…and still so not her. A note was attached to the hanger and she snatched it up in her hand.
That was all it said. No further instruction. She sighed, knowing what the word meant, and pulled it on. The dress had a strapless sweetheart neck with a tight satin bow around the waist of the silky top. The skirt was tulle to her knees and made her feel like a ballerina. Though she was hardly graceful and hadn’t actually seen a ballerina since before her life had turned to shit.
After securing the dress at the back, she turned to exit her room, but found something else that hadn’t been there the night before. On her nightstand was a large blue box. She hurried over to it and procured the card.