“Right you are! At least nightmares get the blood pumping,” Rowland said devilishly.
“Excuse me.” Beckham placed his hand on her arm, and she jolted from the sparks that flew between them. She met his heated gaze. “I’m going to…get a drink. Would you like anything?”
She nodded. “All right.”
She watched him leave, her heart beating furiously in her chest. How did one touch ignite her so? How could his words and actions be so contradictory?
Her eyes followed his progress across the room.
“And you say you’re not fucking,” Sophie said crudely.
“Sophie!” she snapped.
“What? Just look at the way he looks at you! That’s a man ready to eat you right up.”
Reyna looked over at Rowland anxiously and then back to Sophie. “You are ridiculous. It’s not like that…at all.”
Such a lie.
“Tell yourself whatever you want, but in that dress every guy in the room is watching you,” Sophie said with a hint of jealousy. “And Beckham is not blind.”
“He might as well be,” she grumbled.
“Oh, but he’s not,” Rowland said, walking past Sophie. When he moved into position right next to Reyna, he leaned forward and breathed into her ear, “Nor am I.”
Reyna shivered in disgust and yanked away from him hard. Sophie glanced between them, but either she was a twit and didn’t understand Rowland’s objective or she didn’t care so long as he continued to buy her expensive clothing.
“I will find you later, love,” he murmured. “Be sure of it.”
Rowland wandered off, but Reyna couldn’t eradicate the sinking feeling of despair at his words. She needed to find Beckham and fast. The last thing she ever wanted was to be alone with Rowland. She cast her eyes around the room, looking for Beckham. His height and bulk made him easy to pick out, even in a room full of vampires. He was standing at the bar with a glass of some kind of whiskey in his hand. She watched him tip back the entire glass, grimace slightly, and then pass it back to the bartender, who refilled it quickly.
The bartender began filling a glass flute with champagne when a woman approached Beckham. He spoke with her comfortably, relaxing in a way he never did around Reyna. The woman placed her hand on his sleeve, and he didn’t move it. What the hell?
Even from behind, Reyna could tell she was pretty. Her dress was solid royal blue with a tight bodice and empire waist, with ruched taffeta to the floor. Her hair was held up in some fancy design off her neck, but still let some of the loose dark curls fall down her back.
Then she turned around and Reyna’s mouth fell open slightly. She was not pretty. This woman was dazzling. Slender like a ballerina with a perfect heart-shaped face, button nose, and full pink lips.
She seemed to be searching someone out, but finally shrugged and said something to Beckham. To Reyna’s surprise, he tilted his head back and laughed.
She couldn’t rectify that with the Beckham she knew. He never laughed. He was stern and solemn. There was no humor in him at all. In fact, as far as she knew, he didn’t even like people talking to him. Let alone trying to make him laugh.
Without even realizing it, ice seemed to fill her veins. All the heat that Beckham swept through her system was replaced by this ache…this inexplicable ache. Who was this woman?
“Sophie,” she murmured, trying to keep herself calm. “Who is that vampire woman?”
“Which one?” She looked around to try to figure out who Reyna was talking about.
“The one talking with Beckham at the bar.”
“Oh,” Sophie said softly. She looked at Reyna with stark sympathy on her face.
“That’s Penelope Sky.”
“Penelope Sky.” Why did that name sound familiar?
“Yeah. She’s the mayor’s daughter. And human not vampire,” Sophie corrected.
“Human,” Reyna said hollowly. Beckham was that comfortable with another human, and he couldn’t even get near her! What the hell? How did it even make sense?
“Yeah,” Sophie said. She patted Reyna’s arm twice.
“Well, he seems awfully comfortable.”
“Not surprising since they’ve been dating on and off for at least a year,” she said as if it were the most normal thing.
“What?” Reyna cried.
Shock hit her like a tidal wave. Beckham was dating someone?
After the kiss that they had shared, she was sure she was breaking ground with him. Now, she was second-guessing everything. He didn’t feel comfortable with her. He didn’t even want to be around her. He avoided her, kept her at a distance, and he had made it perfectly clear that he didn’t want anything to do with her besides a professional relationship. All because he was dating Penelope Sky. The mayor’s daughter. Fuck…it hurt. Way worse than she thought it would.
“Honestly, do you not pay attention to tabloids?” Sophie asked.
“They were the talk of the town this summer. A human and a vamp. As you can imagine, it was everywhere. I guess you don’t get that information outside of the city.”