“I hunted beautiful brunettes,” he spat. He fingered her dark hair with emphasis. “That’s what I liked. You and Penelope and many, many others. I looked for them. I fucked them. And then I killed them.”
She swallowed hard. “You’re not going to kill me.”
He stared at her blank-faced.
“And you didn’t kill Penelope. Why?”
“I picked up photography again,” he admitted. “I’d done it as a child long before I was turned. And everything changed when I looked through the lens.”
“That’s why you gave me a camera.”
“You saw a different perspective. You saw the light.”
“Penelope wasn’t any different than the other girls. She was never different. I simply opened my eyes. And when I did, she happened to be there.” He slowly reached out and touched her face. “It was another year before I found what I was looking for.”
“What’s that?” she whispered.
Reyna reached up onto her tiptoes and pressed their lips together. He hesitated. His mouth frozen in shock that she’d still want to kiss him after those revelations.
“Becks,” she said softly against his lips. Coaxing him to relax. She didn’t like his past or the things he’d had to endure. But he had been a different person when he had gone through those things. He was a different man when he was with her. He’d told her his deep dark secrets and she still wanted him. She still wanted this.
“Little One,” he said. “I did want to tell you that I could get away for your brother’s wedding.”
She reared back and a broad smile lit up her face. “Really?”
“If you’ll have me.”
She smiled and fell into him, wanting nothing more than this moment. She pushed all of her emotions into one blissful kiss. And finally, slowly, he relaxed and kissed her back.
Four days later, all she could think about was the wedding. And her impending date with Beckham.
She knew that the mission to scout the camps was happening before the new year. She knew that her brothers were on the mission. She knew there were a million other things that should fill her head.
But today she would be happy.
She stretched and mewled like a kitten as she opened her eyes to the new day.
She had forgotten about it in the midst of the festivities, but now here it was. It had never been a big holiday with her brothers. They’d never had much. But still they usually managed something. And Meghan had helped her pick out things for them this year.
Even though Christmas always made her giddy, she hadn’t really expected to get presents from anyone. So she was blown away when she saw a pile of presents on her desk, including an unusually large black box.
She grabbed her sweats from the floor and dragged them on as she dashed across the room. She surveyed the rest of the presents, but her hands trailed to the black box first. On top of it was a single white rose.
Her heart stuttered. Beckham.
She smelled the rose with a sigh and then lifted the lid on the box. Her gasp was audible. Her hand went to her throat and she bit her lip. Slipping her hand inside, she lifted her camera out of the box. The note inside read Perspective. She was giddy at the sight. The familiar weight of the camera made her feel as if she were holding on to an old friend. Something she had desperately missed.
A knock on her door broke her from her reverie. “Come in!”
Jodie stood in the doorway. Reyna brought the camera to eye level and pressed the button. A picture of Jodie, with her perfect dark skin, wild curly hair, and dismayed expression appeared on the screen.
“Whoa. Fancy camera. Where did that come from?” Jodie asked. “Wait…let me guess—vampire boyfriend?”
Reyna laughed. “Yes. Becks got it for me when I was living with him. I used to wander around the city and take pictures of all the things that I wanted to change in the world.”
“You’re so dramatic.”
“Pretty much. Anyway, I figured Visage must have confiscated the camera or something because Becks never brought it back. I guess he was just waiting for the right moment.”
“Makes a perfect Christmas present. This is the first Christmas I’ve celebrated in a long time,” Jodie said with a frown. “I just wish that June was here.”
Reyna nodded. They had not been having good luck locating Jodie’s cousin. Reyna hoped for Jodie’s sake that June was still out there. Jodie had made so much progress. It was amazing to think of the fierce combative person she had been when they had taken her out of Visage. They both had changed a lot. For the better.
“I feel like we’re really close,” Jodie said. “But Meghan is distracted with other stuff. That mission thing the guys are going on.”
“Yeah. I wish I knew more about how to locate someone,” Reyna reached out and took Jodie’s hand. “I’m sure you’ll have a breakthrough once you have more help.”