“Please, no,” she cried. “Please, please, no. No, no, no, no, no.”

“Oh yes, you will be a delicacy.” Rowland bent down and kissed her on the lips. She recoiled from his touch and refused to yield. “How I love this game, but I was told not to play with my food.”


Her head was jerked back, exposing her throat. His fangs bore down toward her. She felt the touch of his mouth on her neck. She knew then that it was over. This would be her first vampire bite…and probably her last.

Then time slowed. The door to the room burst open. Rowland lifted his head to see who dared disturb his private room, and Reyna caught a glimpse of Beckham looming in the doorway. He was a murderous shadow in all black. His face a storm cloud ready to release.

“Let her go, Rowland,” Beckham barked.

Rowland laughed dangerously…on the edge of madness. But he made no move to release Reyna.

“She is mine,” Beckham growled.

“Then come take her from me,” he challenged.

Beckham took one deadly step forward, and Rowland moved to puncture her neck. Reyna screamed, but before Rowland’s fangs reached her, he was yanked off of Reyna and hurled across the room. His back hit the wall, and he landed in a crouch on the ground.

“You would fight me over her?” Rowland asked.

“You leave me no choice.”

Rowland seemed to come to the same conclusion. Neither of them waited, they launched themselves at each other, moving so fast, they were a blur. Reyna had thought Beckham’s fight with the rogue vampire in the alley had been too fast to follow, but this was something well beyond that. Rowland and Beckham were both excellent fighters. They were on equal footing. Both deadly and terrifying, with pasts that spoke for themselves and had earned them the highest positions at Visage. She didn’t stand a chance of keeping up with the fight. Punches were thrown and blocked, bodies thrown against walls that shuddered and released plaster from the ceiling, and furniture broke into pieces at their assault. It was like a synchronized dance except lethal.

Reyna tried to stay out of the way of what was happening. She crouched in a corner, hugging her tattered corset to her chest. Neither of them slowed down as their attacks turned more and more brutal. Finally, everything seemed to slow down to the one moment when Beckham landed a perfectly executed hit to Rowland’s temple, and he dropped like a ton of bricks. Whatever Beckham had done had left Rowland completely immobilized.

Reyna knew he wasn’t dead…that Beckham wouldn’t want to kill him, but in that moment, she kind of hoped for it.

“What is going on in here?” someone called, entering the destroyed room.

Reyna hadn’t even noticed that they had drawn a crowd. She held her corset tighter to her and curled deeper into her corner. She just wanted to leave. She wanted to forget this night had ever happened. Beckham adjusted his suit and faced the man, who was pushing everyone else out of earshot.

“Nothing. It’s been settled,” Beckham said.

“You know the rules, Mr. Anderson. No fighting of any kind.”

“I’m well aware of the rules. Mr. Batiste was taking possession of my property without my permission. I was within my rights to…stop him.”

The man glowered at him. “Fine, but we must ask you to leave, as you have made quite a spectacle of yourself.”

“No one in, no one out,” he reminded them.

“We must protect our own. We’ll take you out the back way.”

Beckham still looked murderous, and the man seemed ready to relent at any minute. But rules were rules apparently and Beckham had just broken one of the cardinal ones to save her. Finally, he nodded his head.

Beckham turned to address her, and he seemed to realize she was mostly naked and shaking. “Oh Reyna.”

He walked across the room and helped her to her feet. She glared at him, but couldn’t seem to stop herself from shaking at what she had witnessed. Beckham shrugged out of his jacket and quickly threw it around her shoulders. The jacket smelled like him, and she pulled it tight around her. He placed his hand on her lower back, but she stepped away from his touch. He might have fought for her…saved her, but that didn’t make up for all the other bullshit.

She was done. She was so done. Beckham Anderson had no right to her body or her mind any longer.

“Reyna,” he said, his voice straining.

She shot him an ugly glare and then teetered across the room. She made it only about halfway to the door before her legs gave out and she started to fall forward. Beckham was at her side in an instant, holding her up. She tried to wrench away, but the adrenaline was wearing off. She felt ragged and exhausted, humiliated and exposed, and angry. She felt so angry. But her body wasn’t listening to her. Her legs were not working.

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