Beckham still held Cassandra’s head. Her mouth still open in shock and fear. Her red hair blowing in the winter breeze.
He tossed the head at Harrington’s feet as if it were a trophy, wiped his bloody hands on his tuxedo pants and then turned to face Rowland. He lifted one hand and then beckoned Rowland forward.
“If you dare,” he snarled.
Harrington toed the decapitated head of his ex–senior vice president with disdain. “Now, you’ve made a mess.”
Beckham and Rowland weren’t listening. They were circling each other like champion fighters.
“It will be with great pleasure when I finally end you,” Rowland said. “After what you did with that little bitch.”
“You always were all bark and no bite,” Beckham said and then lunged.
“Enough!” Harrington said.
But neither of them were listening to him any longer.
Reyna’s eyes were round with fear. This wasn’t how any of this was supposed to happen. Beckham had snapped. Finding out that Bronwyn was alive all this time had wrecked him. He’d already died a thousand deaths for her. But this…this was catastrophic. She hoped after all this was over…he’d be able to come back from the brink.
Then Harrington’s hand was on her elbow. She shrieked and tried to wrench herself out of his grasp, but he was too fast. He put her body in front of his and held her in place in the same manner that Beckham had just held Cassandra. He was going to snap her neck.
Fear rolled off of her. As if sensing the trouble she was in, Beckham tore himself away from Rowland and rounded on Harrington. His eyes cleared. And he saw the predicament she was in. That he should have never allowed her to be in.
“Cease or I’ll kill her,” Harrington said.
“You won’t kill her,” Beckham said. He was breathless. The fighting was intense. He and Rowland were nearly evenly matched. “You need her.”
“As a matter of fact, I don’t need her. I found one other. A little old lady who has gone her entire life without ever having to get her blood drawn. No children. No surgeries. Truly miraculous. Thank Visage for the Blood Census.”
“But I don’t want to kill her, Beckham. Don’t make me the bad guy here.”
Reyna laughed a short hysterical breath.
Harrington ignored her. “Why don’t we act civilized, hmm? Let’s forgo our baser qualities for the moment. Look what we’re going to have to clean up.”
Harrington gestured to the dead body lying between them.
Reyna’s hands were shaking. She was cold. Very cold. And terrified. Harrington might be crazy enough to kill her. To do it anyway. Her hands trembled as they moved into the folds of her gown. She could take this gun out now. She could turn around and shoot Harrington. She wasn’t faster than him, but she could pull a gun on him and hit him at point-blank range.
Beckham’s eyes moved to hers and he moved his head marginally. Just enough for her to see that he was telling her no. Don’t do it.
She knew that she could get herself killed trying it, but she had to try. Except…Beckham told her not to.
“Fine,” Beckham said.
He didn’t want her to be in danger. She could see it in the way he prowled away from Rowland. Rowland straightened and paced a step away from him.
“There we are. Back to manners,” Harrington said. He released Reyna with ease. Harrington assessed her with cold calculation. “You are freezing.”
Yes. She was actually trembling now. Not just with fear. Cold was creeping into her bones. She’d thought that she would lure him outside and convince him she wanted to come back and then…it had all gone terribly wrong. Somehow Harrington had gotten the upper hand. She didn’t know how it had happened so suddenly.
Beckham slipped his coat off of his shoulders. He stepped forward, eyeing both Harrington and Rowland carefully before slipping it onto her small frame. It enveloped her, dropping down nearly to her knees. Blood soaked some of the expensive material and a trail from the collar smudged onto her collarbone. She could smell the tangy rust and recoiled from it.
Harrington stepped forward and patted Beckham affectionately on the shoulder. It was as if all was well in the world. As if he hadn’t just killed someone.
Beckham’s eyes narrowed and he brushed Harrington’s hand off of his shoulder. “Hardly. You kidnapped my sister and kept her hidden from me for years. You kidnapped Reyna and tortured her. You treated me like a son, and yet you never trusted me.”
“Trust,” Harrington scoffed. “The word equates to power. You had it. You’re my prodigy, Beckham. You are a son to me.”
“No,” he spat. “If you believed that then you would not need Bronwyn as a bargaining chip. Or Reyna, for that matter. I should have followed my instincts all those years ago and killed you the second you stepped foot in my city.”