“Great. Thanks for that.” Meghan shook her head at Jodie, who shrugged.

Reyna needed to pull herself together. After everything she had been through and everything she’d endured, she wouldn’t fall apart over a guy. Not even Beckham Anderson. She was finally free. Well, as free as she could be at this point. She would have to find out the truth about the engagement some other time. Whenever the hell Beckham decided to show his face. Right now she needed to concentrate on getting better and maybe actually trying that acclimating thing Meghan had mentioned when she first got here.


“You know,” Meghan said as they started walking away, “we have a therapist who works here too.” Reyna clenched her jaw. Jodie fidgeted. “It might help if you two talk about what happened with someone.”

“We don’t want to talk about it,” Jodie cut in.

“I understand,” Meghan said at once. “I was just offering so that you knew you had the option.”

Reyna wasn’t about to talk to a therapist about anything that happened. Not about Beckham or Harrington or Rowland or the needles or the venom or the prison cell. Or…or B. Reyna shuddered at the thought. None of it. Revealing what had happened at Visage meant reliving it, and she definitely wasn’t prepared for that.

She’d do better trying to move on and find a new place for herself in Elle. Her brothers had already done it. She might not like their path, but at least they had one. She hadn’t been content in Beckham’s penthouse as a cooped-up doll and she wouldn’t be useless here either. After everything she’d gone through, it would be nice to have something to do again.

* * *


Reyna sat in an all too familiar chair inside the sterile white medical facility. Jodie paced relentlessly around the room like a caged animal. Reyna’s own fear should have spiked at the settings, but the only thing she really felt was numb.

She had been here before. Not this building, of course. But it was set up much the same as the Visage rooms. The chair was less comfortable, straight-backed and forbidding. Harrington wasn’t going to walk through the door, but the equipment was the same. The gentle beeping of the machinery was the same. The sounds and sights and smells…it was all the same.

Meghan trotted around the room as if her two patients weren’t ranging between feral and catatonic. “Let me get the saliva and we’ll be good to go.”

“Venom,” Reyna corrected.

“What?”

“I call it vamp venom.”

“Fitting,” Jodie chimed in. She was picking up various knives and syringes and then putting them back down. Over and over.

Meghan laughed, smacking Jodie’s hand away from a needle she’d picked up. “Vamp venom it is, then,” she said before she disappeared into a giant walk-in refrigerator.

“This place is the same, huh?” Jodie asked.

Reyna nodded. “Same company probably built and outfitted it.”

“Probably so.” Jodie poked the heart-rate monitor. “You okay about your boy?”

Boy. Reyna almost laughed at that. She didn’t think anyone had referred to Beckham as a boy in a very, very long time. He was a man. A hulking brooding vicious vampire. He’d earned his reputation with fear and intimidation…and murder. The innocence of childhood was long gone.

“I don’t even know what I expected,” she confessed.

“Obviously that he wouldn’t propose to some bitch behind your back.”

Reyna couldn’t help her laugh then. “Yeah. That. I mean…I was only gone eight weeks.”

Jodie’s eyes rounded. “Eight weeks is a lifetime in there.”

It was.

“How long were you there?”

Jodie shut down and turned her back on Reyna. “He was pretty and all, but maybe you could hook up with a human this time. Find one who doesn’t want to eat you for breakfast.”

Reyna didn’t correct her. She was probably right. Things would be easier if she wanted someone other than Beckham. The problem was that she had never wanted anyone like she wanted Beckham. She hated cutting through the red tape between them.

Meghan returned then. She fit the venom to the IV and prepped Reyna’s arm. Reyna tensed as she waited for the inevitable needle. Jodie blanched at the sight and disappeared from the room.

“I am so glad that I was working that day you came in for testing,” Meghan said, drawing Reyna’s attention back to her face. “I was the nurse who ran the test on your blood and found out how special you are. I changed out your file from Rh null to O negative. We’d been looking for you for so long. It was perfect timing too since Beckham had to take a permanent escort and he’d been putting it off. It was the first day I learned he worked for Elle.”

Reyna’s mind was whirring to life with the new information. A sharp prick jolted her back to reality.

“Ugh, needles,” she groaned.

“Don’t worry. The worst is over.” She glanced at Reyna. “So, I don’t know all the details about what’s up with you and Beckham. Only that Elle placed you in his custody for protection to begin with.”

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