They made a slow circuit around the room, taking in everything they had all learned about the ballroom. It was so much larger seeing it in person than when she had been staring down at the blueprints. Plus, the room was packed. She hoped that she’d be visible in the masses.
Gabe had just reached for champagne for both of the girls when a voice broke through the speakers.
“Your mayor, Penelope Sky,” the person said.
Applause sounded all around them. Their eyes shifted to the stage as Penelope Sky stepped out. She looked…radiant. For a woman who had just had her heart broken, she looked even more stunning than normal. Her typical blue dress was so pale it was almost white. Her mask was a matching color that covered her entire face. She looked like a snowflake—utterly unique and otherworldly beautiful.
Gabe directed them into the place they’d designated so anyone could find them. It was a perfect spot to be seen. A step above the rest of the room with a light overhead. There were several around the room, but they’d picked this one because it was closest to an exit.
Reyna stepped into the spotlight. She cleared her mind, ignoring Penelope’s final steps to the microphone. She wanted to see if she could sense Beckham in the same way that he could sense her. She had never even considered it before this moment. But if she was his blood match, then he was hers.
She tuned in to that sense she had always had of him. That moment where everything had always felt right. Where she inherently knew him. It bubbled up inside of her. An awareness. A sense of rightness.
Then she turned her head. And there he was.
He was standing between Cassandra and Rowland to the right of the stage. As if in acknowledgment, he faced her, cocked his head to the side, and a small smile graced those perfect lips.
She forgot to breathe as she realized…it had worked. She couldn’t wait to tell him. Her soul mate. Oh God!
“Ladies and gentleman,” Penelope said, drawing Reyna’s attention back to the matter at hand, “thank you so much for being here tonight. I regret that my father couldn’t be here tonight to be master of ceremonies. I know it was one of his favorite occasions. I am so happy to be here to continue his legacy. As with every New Year’s Eve, the mayor brings an honored guest up onto the stage. I’m pleased tonight to have the CEO and president of Visage, William Harrington.”
Penny turned to greet Harrington as he strode onto the stage. This was the moment. She waited to see if he would find her in the crowd as he strode across the stage. If he could sense her, then he would do it now. But his eyes never flickered toward her. He just continued until he reached the microphone.
Reyna gritted her teeth and forced herself to applaud along with the rest of them. This was the first time she had seen him since she had escaped. He looked…healthy.
It made no sense. He shouldn’t look this healthy when he didn’t have her blood. He still leaned on his cane, but she’d seen him fake that before. His face wasn’t pasty. His hair was full. All he needed to do was straighten his back and she knew that insane monster would reappear for everyone.
It was clear that the crowd disagreed with her. They cheered enthusiastically for him. He’d fooled them all. The entire world. He’d made them think that the blood type cure was the only way for vampires to use their intelligence—but Beckham had explained that not all vampires functioned on the same level without the cure. Harrington pulled humanity from the brink of collapse with Visage employing humans, but no one knew that he had caused that depression. He’d offered this Blood Census as an olive branch to help with all registered vampires, but it was just a scheme to find more Rh null negative humans.
William Harrington was not an altruistic savior.
He was a lethal, manipulative, conniving bastard.
And he’d had centuries to perfect his act so that everyone in this room salivated at his very presence. But she knew better.
“Thank you so much, Mayor Sky,” Harrington said with the soft voice he used with a crowd. “I’m so pleased to be here as an honored guest tonight. Visage is a beacon in this city. It employs many of the people here in this room, including my senior vice presidents in attendance tonight.” He gestured to the side of the room where Beckham stood flanked by Rowland and Cassandra. “At Visage we always strive to be cutting edge. To bring bigger and better to the world, to our employees, to our shareholders. This year alone we’ve rolled out a new permanent enrollment with senior staff and then all of corporate. This is set to go fully public in the new year.”