“Nowhere is barred to me. All you had to do was ask.”

“Forgive me, but asking you for anything is a bit like pulling teeth, Becks. You don’t make any of this easy.”


“I know. I am not an easy man to be around.”

She frowned and nodded. That was true. And also…false. He was so easy to be around at times. When he let his guard down. When he didn’t hide his relationship with another woman. As much as she wanted to claw his eyes out for that one…and for kissing her despite it all…she knew that she didn’t really have the right.

Part of her wanted to hold on to her anger and remember how it had flared up when he kept pushing her aside. She didn’t want to be taken advantage of if he was with someone else, but she also didn’t want to be away from him. She liked being near him. She liked his broody company. Even though she hated never knowing exactly where she stood.

But staring up into his eyes as black as night wrapped a spell around them both, and she was not going to be the one to break it.

“Will you take me?” she whispered.

Their shared gaze turned heated. Her words held more than one meaning and until they left her mouth, she hadn’t realized how much she wasn’t talking about the photographs. She might have wanted to close her heart off to him, but her body certainly wasn’t listening. The backseat of the car suddenly felt stifling hot, and the short distance between them crackled with desire.

Beckham broke her gaze and stared down at his silent phone. She let out a strangled breath, and tried to pull herself together.

Jesus, Beckham…

“By the way,” he said, “what the hell are you wearing?”

Chapter 22

Beckham let Reyna keep the clothes.

She half expected her baggy T-shirts, jeans, and Converse to disappear from her closet the next day, but they remained safely tucked away. In fact, they were freshly laundered and returned to that same location.

But since Beckham had picked her up, she hadn’t gone back out into the city. She knew that she could, but she was waiting for Beckham to take her. She was secretly thrilled about the idea. Beckham never did something out of his schedule that he didn’t want to. And if he wanted to take her to see some more of the city that she could photograph, then she knew it had to be good.

Plus, the excitement of uninterrupted time with Beckham away from his work and his colleagues and Penelope…did sound inviting.

While she waited, she spent a lot of time studying the images she had taken while out with Everett. She posted a few of the fighting ring to her site and wondered obsessively if anyone was looking at them.

She particularly loved the close-up she had gotten of the smaller guy fighting. His face was so clear, and he had this defiant smirk. It was a perfect candid. Humanity rising above despite the circumstances. The world they were living in was horrible enough. It should be noted that there was still some hope out there.

Not that she was the shining example of that. Visage wasn’t hope. Visage was a Band-Aid, covering up the real problems so many were suffering from.

The elevator ding pulled her out of her melancholy. She quickly exited out of all the images on her computer. The fighting images disappeared and then the mysterious blood bank images followed. She had been sure to keep those in a separate locked file. She didn’t want them to end up online.

Beckham opened the door without knocking, and she quickly closed her computer. It was late. She hadn’t expected him to come see her. All she was wearing was a pair of tiny silk shorts and a tank top. She knew that she wore small tight dresses around him all the time, but she felt so much more exposed in her sleeping clothes.

“Have you put pictures anywhere but on that website I set up for you?” he asked. No greeting. All business.

She shifted her weight on her bed. “No.”

“Where are they?”

“They’re in storage on my computer and then online. Why? You said that was all right.”

“That’s fine. Just don’t ever show them to anyone. Ever.”

Reyna sighed. “Um…but I went out with Everett taking pictures. He was there at the fights with me, and we went to a homeless shelter.”

“Did you tell him that the website was you?” he demanded.

His tone was so sharp she jumped. She knew that he hadn’t wanted her to tell anyone, but Everett had figured it out. She never would have told him otherwise.

“He guessed.”

Beckham scrunched up his forehead and made a circle in her bedroom. His hands were balled into fists at his sides. He looked ready to punch through a wall…or a person. But she didn’t understand why he was so mad. She hadn’t told Everett. He had figured it out. She hadn’t meant for it to happen. But it wasn’t life or death.

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