The last person was dressed in a sharp charcoal gray suit. This must be Sydney. She had her back to the door, a bold move. All Reyna could see was that she was tall, though not as tall as the doctor, and had dark hair slicked back into a ponytail. This woman ran the entire Elle organization?

“This must be Reyna,” the fighter said. He whistled low. “Everything suddenly makes sense.”


Sydney slowly turned around to face Reyna. She was imposing. Everything about her was sharp and hard and controlled. Arrogance danced in her eyes.

Reyna took a half step backward. She should have known. Should have prepared herself for this. But she had asked the wrong questions. So how could she possibly have known in advance?

The leader of Elle was a vampire?

“Gabe, go see Tony about this. See if we can get eyes on the subject,” she said in a crisp clear voice. A commanding tone that said she was in charge and if she ever had to raise her voice, you were done for.

“Sure thing, boss,” he said with the cocky grin Reyna had seen in the ring.

He winked at Reyna as he slipped past her. “See you around.”

She sincerely hoped not. He had bad news written all over him.

Gabe shut the door behind him, leaving Reyna alone with two very keen, very intelligent, very domineering vampires.

“Miss Carpenter,” Sydney said, straightening her already impeccable suit and taking the stairs down the platform, “please come in. It is a pleasure to finally meet you.”

“Hi,” she said. She took a step forward and then another, forcing herself to show no fear.

Sydney stuck her hand out for Reyna to shake. She looked at it a beat too long before placing her hand in Sydney’s. It was cold to the touch and clearly strong. Very strong. Callused in all the right places that said she knew hard labor and was skilled in her work. You didn’t get hands like this without years of rigorous training.

“You have met Dr. Washington before, I believe,” Sydney said. She gestured the doctor forward; he nodded at her.

“Yes. We’ve met.”

Washington had saved her from Harrington the first time. Sydney had saved her from him a second time.

“Thank you,” she said immediately. “Both of you, actually, for what you did to help me.”

Sydney had a severe face, but her lips quirked up at her comment. “We’re glad that our mission was successful and that you were able to be brought back safely. The cost could have been greater. It’s fortunate that we only lost four sleeper agents to retrieve you.”

Reyna’s mind whirred. “Sleeper agents?”

“Meghan, Tye, and Xavier were all in key positions in Visage. Washington had been working in the Visage hospitals from the beginning. All were scrubbed from Visage after their work for you. Luckily, we have other people working there so it’s not a total loss.”

“But most unfortunate,” Washington said.

“You know Harrington wouldn’t have let you live,” Sydney said to him.

“William and I have a complicated history. I do not know if he would have killed me had he had the chance.”

“You knew Harrington?” Reyna blurted out in surprise.

“My dear girl,” he said with a flash of fang, “I was his closest friend. His only friend for most of his wretched years looking for a match such as yourself.”

Reyna’s mind spun. “But…you work in opposition to him.”

“Penance.”

For what?

Sydney seemed to read her mind. “You must not be aware that Dr. Washington here discovered the blood type cure.”

Reyna nearly fell over. “You discovered the cure?”

She was standing before the man who had found out that pairing a vampire with a human of the same blood type “cured” their baser tendencies. This was how Visage had become an enormous company that employed humans. This was how Harrington had taken over.

“Quite by chance really. I was a scientist before I was turned. When I met William, sheer force of will kept him from catapulting into the animal so many of our kind succumb to. He has always been,” he said, stopping to consider, “a sanitary type of man. A germaphobe before the word existed, of course. It set him on the path to asking why this happened to him. A question so few had the mental capabilities to ask. And then when we connected, he had a means to figure out how to change it.”

“Enough of a history lesson for the day, Roger,” Sydney said.

“So…this is your fault?” Reyna couldn’t help but ask.

Washington frowned. “I suppose it is.”

“But he is working to right the wrongs of his past,” Sydney said. She gestured for them to take a seat at the end of the conference table. “Which is where you come in.”

“How do I fit into this?”

“You are the key to Harrington’s blood. There is something special about you.”

“I really don’t think that’s true. It’s chance that our blood types match.”

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