“Please,” she whispered against his lips shamelessly.

“Reyna,” he groaned.


“Becks.”

He gently moved back a step, holding her at arm’s length. “You make it very difficult to stop.”

“Then don’t stop.”

“I can’t lose control with you again.”

“You won’t.”

“You said that last time and it didn’t make it any more true.”

Reyna sighed. “It’s been so long, Becks.” She reached for the waistband of his pants and tugged him back against her. “I had…dreams about us.”

“Dreams?”

“Together,” she whispered. “Vivid dreams.”

Both of his eyebrows rose at that. “Incredibly difficult to stop.”

“I don’t want you to stop.”

“I have other things that I must do tonight. I can’t stay.”

“You’ll come back?” she whispered.

He nodded. “I’ll come back.”

“Soon?”

He nipped her bottom lip. “Very.”

“I hate this.”

“I know.” He pressed his forehead against hers. “Sydney recorded your conversation about what happened while you were in Visage.”

“What?” she gasped, wrenching backward. “Did you…did everyone…?”

“Just me. She let me hear it.”

Reyna’s cheeks colored. “I didn’t know she was recording.”

But Beckham was resolute. He ignored her embarrassment, and revealed the fierce predator that he so rarely unleashed. “One day I will rip out Harrington’s throat for what he did to you. That is a promise.”

And somehow that was a relief.

Chapter 18

Reyna hated that Beckham had to leave. That they’d had to cut short the reunion they should have had in the first place. She had so many questions still. So much that they needed to discuss. And also…her body was aching for more of him.

After a quick shower to wash the remnants of the club off of her skin, she changed, grabbed some lunch, and headed down to the medical wing. Meghan had said that Jodie was going to be fine, but she wanted to check for herself.

When she entered the sterile environment, she shuddered as memories flooded her mind. She waited for the feeling to pass before opening her eyes again. The medical wing was still there. She wasn’t back in Visage. No one was going to force her to do anything she didn’t want to do.

“Miss Carpenter,” Dr. Washington said, stepping out of a lab with a smile. “Good afternoon.”

“Is Jodie here?”

“She was released this morning with a bill of good health from Meghan. I believe she is likely sleeping off a hangover at the moment.”

“I see. Well then, I’ll just…” She gestured to the door.

“Could I steal a couple minutes of your time since you’re here?”

“I’m not going to donate blood,” she said hastily.

He waved his hand. “I simply wanted your opinion about something.”

“About something medical?” she asked suspiciously.

“Yes, I would like your insight.”

Reyna chewed on her bottom lip. This felt like a trick, but she couldn’t see what it could be.

“I’ll listen, but I don’t know if I have any insights.”

“Fair enough.”

Reyna followed Washington into a lab. It was white and clean, full of medical equipment. It looked like a science experiment gone wrong with microscopes, petri dishes, blood samples, test tubes, and an assortment of other things she couldn’t even put names to.

“As you may have remembered, last night at the meeting you sat in on, we briefly mentioned the presence of diseased blood in the population,” Washington began.

“Okay.”

“Some blood illnesses are common, such as anemia, which is usually a result of an iron or vitamin deficiency. Others are not so common, such as sickle-cell anemia or hemophilia. You’ve heard of all of these cases, yes?”

Reyna nodded. “I’m not an idiot.”

“Of course you’re not. I’ve seen your test scores. You would have gone on to a top university if they would have funded you. Ah, easier times.”

“You looked at my high school test scores?”

“Visage has access to everything, and since I was working for them up until you were taken, I had access to whatever I wanted. As I told you, I have known William a rather long time. He trusted me with top-level security.”

“So…did you already know about the other patients under Visage?”

Washington frowned. “Unfortunately, yes.”

“Then why didn’t you do something?” Reyna raged.

“I was doing something. I still am doing something.” He pointed to his lab. “This is what I’m good at. I’m not a fighter. I never have been able to stand up to William or his ambitions. I never could have gone in and retrieved you as bravely as Meghan did. But I gave her all the information she needed to get you out of there, and I worked on the inside for many, many years, as Beckham does now. Do not discredit my service to the organization because it does not align with what you wish it could have been.”

Reyna sighed. She understood what he was saying. But she still thought it was shitty that Elle seemed to forgive him for his transgressions against humanity just because he had grown a conscience.

“But as I was saying…blood diseases,” he said, returning to his lecture. “Many of these have no impact whatsoever on a vampire’s eating habits. Anemia is problematic to the human if they cannot produce enough red blood cells after having been fed on. Or hemophilia would be incredibly problematic for a human if their blood is unable to clot even with the added clotting components found in vampire saliva.”

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