Chapter 1

A gunshot pierced the air and another one followed.


Reyna Carpenter ignored it all. None of it mattered to her.

Beckham was dead.

He was lying on the ground and hadn’t moved an inch since Harrington had snapped his neck and dropped him onto the floor like a sack of potatoes. She’d opened her own wrist to feed him her blood. After all, they were a perfect blood match. She should be able to save him.

Instead, she had watched her soul mate die.

And there was nothing she could do to save him.

Tears never came. A sob caught in her throat and buried itself there. She couldn’t think or see or breathe or even feel. Everything was caught up in that one moment. Staring down at the man she loved with all of her heart and being ripped in two.

How could this have happened? Harrington had moved so fast. Beyond her ability to even comprehend and then in that second he’d ruined everything. She had thought that she hated him before. Hated him for kidnapping her, stealing her blood to keep himself alive, and abusing her. For the psychological torture.

But all that was nothing compared to this moment.

A commotion ensued all around her yet she couldn’t drag her eyes away from Beckham to find out what was going on. Did it even matter after this?

An arm grabbed at her. She tried to fight the person off. She screamed. She clung to Beckham. No. She couldn’t move. They couldn’t take her from him.

“Reyna!” Gabe shouted at her. “Reyna, look at me. I just shot Harrington. All the vamps are down. We have to go.”

“No! No! Get off me,” she screamed back at him.

“We’re all going to die if we don’t move now!”

Reyna tried to shrug him off of her, but it was pointless. Gabe was a fighter, an Irish mob boss, and one of the most fearsome leaders of the rebel organization Elle. She could no more move him than bring Beckham back from the dead.

He grasped her around the middle, then hoisted her into the air and over his shoulder. She reached for Beckham. Her hand outstretched into open air. Slowly her brain pieced together everything else that was happening around her. Harrington on the ground, blood pouring out of bullet holes. Rowland next to him trying to staunch the blood loss. The backstabbing traitor Penelope lying on the ground, also bleeding from a gunshot wound, hysterical. People were flooding out of the mayor’s New Year’s Eve party downtown. Everyone seeing the chaos and death and destruction.

Beckham.

She needed to be there with him. She fought against Gabe’s hands, trying to get back to him. But Gabe was strong and persistent. He refused to let go as he carried her farther and farther away.

As they were moving, her heel fell off and onto the patio floor. Just like Cinderella. Except instead of her going to the ball to find Prince Charming, her Prince Charming died at the ball.

“Put me down. Let me go back to him!”

“Reyna, fucking shit!” Gabe yelled at her.

Everything narrowed down to that moment. Beckham was gone. Gabe was taking her away from him. She kicked and clawed at him to release her. She couldn’t do this. Fuck! She couldn’t lose him. She refused for this to be her reality.

Gabe cursed and then dropped her on the pavement, tugging her hastily into a secluded alcove. He grabbed her roughly by both shoulders and stared down into her face. “Snap back to reality, Reyna. There’s nothing we can do right now. Harrington told the snipers not to shoot you, but people are going to be coming after us. If you want to live through the night, I need you to run!”

They were in the midst of mayhem. At the sound of gunshots on the patio they’d just vacated, the New Year’s Eve crowd had dispersed. Everyone was running in a million directions. She’d been so stuck on Beckham she hadn’t even noticed.

“Beckham,” she whispered.

“Live, Reyna,” Gabe pleaded with her, his voice tight. “All you can do is live.”

She hardly saw his sympathetic look as she stared over his shoulder to the patio beyond. Beckham hadn’t moved. Living didn’t feel possible. How could she live when he didn’t? Maybe it was outrageous to even consider, but she felt as if a bomb had detonated in her mind. Shrapnel tearing her apart from the inside out.

Then, to her horror, she saw Rowland stumble to his feet. His eyes caught hers across the divide. They promised blood and torment and destruction. Rowland was now Harrington’s only remaining second-in-command. He had always wanted Reyna—to break Reyna. She could see then and there that he would stop at nothing to get what he wanted this time.

Beckham couldn’t stop him. Harrington wouldn’t stop him.

Leaving now was the only way to escape a fate worse than death.

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