Jodie integrated well. Maybe even better than she had when she’d initially come to Elle. Back then, she had gotten her first real taste of what the world was like now. And realized the good that she could do working with Elle. She still didn’t like Washington. He had been one of the doctors who had experimented on her when she had been kidnapped at a young age. But she was coming around. And it was good to see them all working together for the last week.

“Why don’t we have communication with the other safe houses?” Jodie grumbled. “It’s been a week since New Year’s. Shouldn’t someone be able to reach us?”

Tye sighed. “I wish I knew. Meghan and I have checked a lot of the safe houses we knew. Some of them look like people were in them, but now they’re empty. They look abandoned.”

“Where could everyone have gone?” Jodie inquired. “Are there places other than the bunker?”

“Yes,” Washington said. He frowned. “But for safety reasons, we weren’t supposed to know where they all were. So much of the information that Elle had—what do you say?—went down with the ship?”

“If we had Tony, we might’ve been able to access it,” Meghan said. Tony was Elle’s resident techie, but he had been at the bunker on the day of the explosion.

“You think it might be on a server somewhere?” Reyna asked. “Or in the Cloud?”

She was still wrestling with these terms. After years without Internet or cellphones or anything like that, she was picking up all these new things as quickly as she could.

“The main servers were in the bunker,” Washington said.

“There had to be backups though, right?” Gabe suggested.

“But we don’t know where those are either,” Tye pointed out, crossing his arms and sitting back.

“We need a fucking break,” Jodie snapped. “Where haven’t we looked? What can I do? Do we not have cellphones or something? Technology should help.”

“We’ve called all the numbers we have. A lot of the phones were burners so they couldn’t be tracked. We really didn’t plan to be this disconnected from one another,” Tye said with a grimace.

Reyna leaned back in her chair and kicked her feet up on the antique dining room table. She ignored Washington’s pointed stare at her audacity. Getting Jodie back had been a win. Not only was she Reyna’s closest friend and a link to the Visage prison experiments, but Jodie had special blood too.

Reyna’s blood was the very rare Rh null negative with so few matches in the entire world. And unfortunately, one of those was William Harrington. But Jodie’s had the potential to unlock a possible blood antidote—which would make it so that vampires could drink anyone’s blood, not just their blood type match, and have the same benefits.

Yet, despite having Jodie back, they were still just a pathetic crew of six now.

Six people to take on all of Visage.

A week ago when she’d stepped out of the shower, she had felt so certain that they could do this. Now she was wondering what the hell she’d been thinking. She knew it was still possible to stop Harrington. But was it hubris to believe that six people could succeed where an army had failed?

She shook her head. She didn’t have answers. There was a link that she was missing. But she didn’t know what it was. She needed to figure it out though, or else they were going to be stuck.

“What do you think, Rey?” Jodie asked. The nickname that her brothers used hit her like a punch to the gut.

“I think we need to think about this more. We’re missing something.” Reyna stood from her chair. “It’s almost dinner. Why don’t we all come back after dinner and play out a list of our next moves? We can go from there.”

Reyna trudged from the room. Sitting around and talking in circles wasn’t helping her. She wanted to walk the grounds to clear her head, but what she really missed was her camera.

Beckham had given her a camera when she had first lived with him. He’d said it would give her perspective. And it sure as hell had. She could use a piece of that perspective right about now.

Her feet carried her up the steps and to the landing where Beckham’s bedroom was. She had investigated it some, but the smell alone made it difficult to even be in there. She hadn’t been sleeping much to begin with. Nightmares haunted her every time she closed her eyes. They made her want to scream like a teakettle to escape. But no, she was traped in a cage of her own making—a musky smell, fierce handwriting, black suits, an inexplicable presence.

Beckham was the other side of her coin. And now she was one-dimensional.

But she would come up with a solution to this problem. She went to the bookshelf and gently ran her hand along the leather bindings. She’d already surveyed them, but she couldn’t get enough of it. They smelled like fresh parchment and long days tucked away in alcoves devouring the material. She kept hoping one of the books would reveal a trapdoor. It would swing open and reveal all of Beckham’s secrets. An easy way to fix everything. A deus ex machina.