Her hand slipped into the pocket of her dress and she removed the gun hidden against her thigh. Harrington’s eyes snapped to the cool metal clutched in her hand.
“What are you doing?” he demanded furiously.
Then she chambered a bullet and put the gun to her temple. “You’re bluffing.”
His eyes widened. His hands fluttered at his side as if he wanted to reach forward and snatch the gun from her hand.
“Just try,” she dared him. “See if you can get to me before I pull the trigger.”
“I already said that I don’t need you,” he said angrily.
“You do need me. You would never be so incredibly wasteful when a perfectly good blood match is available.”
“You know nothing.”
“A little old lady,” Reyna said. Then she spat the words he’d said to her in Visage all those weeks ago. “You exposed your queen. You should never leave your queen unguarded. The game isn’t finished.”
Harrington’s smug expression evaporated. She didn’t dare look at Beckham. She couldn’t look him in the eye when she gambled next.
“You let Beckham walk out of here alive and promise never to search for him and I’ll come with you now,” Reyna finally said.
“No!” Beckham cried.
“You think you can bargain with me?”
“It’s the only deal that I have to offer. My life for his.”
“Reyna, no. Don’t do this,” Beckham begged. “Your life is worth more than mine.”
“We can agree on that at least,” Harrington said.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered to Beckham. She looked back at Harrington. “I’m waiting for an answer.”
“I watched you for weeks, my little queen,” Harrington said. “I know that you are a survivor. You value self-preservation above all else. You won’t pull that trigger, and you will come with me regardless.”
“I’ll do it,” she said, her hand shaking where it held the gun in place. “I care more for him than I ever will for my own life.”
“Reyna,” Beckham pleaded.
Harrington raised an eyebrow. “Oh, is this love? How quaint.”
“You could never understand love,” Reyna spat.
“Love is a weakness. And I have no need for weaknesses, as I have no need for a traitor.”
A blue dress appeared at the door, snagging everyone’s attention. Penelope’s shocked face took in the scene around her—Cassandra’s dead body, Rowland slowly getting to his feet, and Reyna with a gun to her head, standing between the two most powerful men in the world.
“What is going on?” Penny gasped.
But the distraction was all Harrington needed.
He moved so fast that no one could even see what he was doing. No one could move to stop him. It wasn’t until the dust settled that Reyna saw he had Beckham’s head between his hands, that Beckham’s head was wrenched to the side with his eyes turned away from her, and then finally…Harrington’s triumphant smile.
She saw Harrington release him.
She watched Beckham’s body slump to the ground.
Then she screamed.
Reyna’s blood ran cold.
Her world tilted.
She swung off axis.
She was still screaming. She couldn’t stop screaming. She would have no voice and she’d still be screaming. In her blood, in her mind, in her soul. She would go on like this for the rest of her life. Never ceasing.
Not gone. Dead.
She choked on the word in her mind. Flinched from the harsh impossible reality.
She couldn’t breathe. She couldn’t think. She couldn’t possibly process any of this. Beckham was infallible. He was a giant among men—enormous in size and personality. He took over every room he entered. He was larger than life in every sense of the words. There was never a day that she feared for his life in the way that he had always feared so strongly for hers. Nothing could stop him. Nothing and no one could take him down.
How had she lived all this time and never considered his possible end? She’d considered hers enough times. She had thought of any number of ways in which she would die. She had even been okay with it tonight. She’d held the gun to her head determined to do what must be done. But not Beckham. Never Beckham.
The gun now hung limp at her side. A useless piece of equipment. It hadn’t saved her. It hadn’t saved Beckham.
She might as well use it Romeo-and-Juliet style, for she couldn’t imagine how she could go on living without Beckham in her life. Without him, it was no life at all.
Yet her hands trembled. She didn’t have the strength to lift the gun. Let alone to shoot it. Everything had just fallen to shit. It was over. It was all over.
She barely registered the fact that Penelope had fallen to her knees at Beckham’s side. That she was screaming at Harrington. Something about a deal. About this not being part of the deal.
Reyna watched as she cradled Beckham’s head in her lap. Tears ran down her beautiful face. She held him like a lover. Like someone who could possibly understand the anguish coursing through her.