There was just her.
She had to make it happen.
Reyna sat at the desk and pulled Beckham’s papers toward her. As she sat amongst his materials, she felt so connected to him. So close to him. A powerful emotion ripped through her. It started in her heart and expanded outward, encasing her entire body. This was Beckham.
She coughed as tears came to her eyes. Why did the connection have to be so strong even when he was gone? She didn’t want to lose it either though. Feeling him like this was a grasp at the real thing. It prolonged the inevitable. She knew one day she would wake up and realize that there was no more connection. That he was really and truly gone even from her.
A severed connection.
It struck her and she had to force herself from the chair.
This wasn’t helping. This wasn’t helping anything.
Reyna rushed from the room, desperate to be free of his ghost.
But as she raced down the stairs and outside into the brisk cold, the feeling only intensified. She wasn’t running from him. She was getting closer.
She clutched her chest. The sensation was so real. She’d felt it before but never this strong. Not even when he’d been alive had she felt the connection this strongly.
As if she could reach out and touch him, even though it was impossible.
She ran her hands back through her dark hair and turned her eyes skyward. She missed him something fierce. She was strong. She was ready to take on the world. But she wasn’t ready to move past him. Her heart ached for him. Literally. It was actually beating fiercely in her chest.
She shook her head in confusion and started walking. Why was she having this reaction? A tear slipped down her cheek as she kept going down the gravel road. She was nearly to the gate when she started running. She didn’t even know what she was doing, but she couldn’t stop.
When she rounded the last corner, the gate was hanging wide open. Fear pricked at her. They surely had not left that open. None of them would be so careless. And yet it was open. The only way into Washington’s mansion was open for anyone to come in.
She stilled her feet as she approached. Her heart was still pattering away and the feeling only intensified the closer she got to the gate. What was happening? Why was she walking right toward danger?
And then a figure appeared at her right. A vampire woman with ruby red hair and two wicked-looking blades. Another vampire woman was beside her—short and black with a shaved head. The next two men she recognized on the spot—Beckham’s driver, Gerard, and Reyna’s bodyguard. Both also vampires.
Her stomach twisted at the sight of them. She turned to face them. Fear was evident on her face. “What…what are you doing here?”
She felt him before she saw him. Reyna whirled around. Her hair flew wide as she did so. Her heart was in her throat. The sense of rightness overwhelmed her.
“They’re with me, Little One,” Beckham said.
Reyna’s hand flew to her chest.
Her mind raced ahead of her. Her heart ceased palpitating. Her eyes bulged and jaw dropped and she simply froze.
This…made no sense.
It was impossible.
People didn’t come back to life. Well, not more than once. Once a vampire was dead, they were dead. There was no coming back. There was no second life as another vampire.
Yet, there he was.
Her heart contracted painfully.
Her perfect Beckham. Tall, dark, brooding, with midnight eyes that whispered threats and echoed passion. A figure so imposing that others shrank back at the sheer size of him, the promise of death on the razor-edged planes of his face, and the confidence that oozed out of every pore. And that was before they even learned of his reputation. A person didn’t need to know it to recognize the threat before them.
And yet, he wasn’t a threat to her. He never had been. He never would be.
“How?” she finally gasped out.
“It is a long story,” Beckham said.
Reyna shook her head. She was still finding it hard to wrap her mind around what was happening. She wanted to run to him, to put her arms around him, to believe what she was seeing. But how could she?
She had watched him die. Seen his body slump to the ground and die before her very eyes. It wasn’t secondhand knowledge that she could refute. She had been there. She had cut open her own arm to try to save him and it hadn’t worked. How could he possibly be here right now?
“No. It’s…it’s not possible,” she stammered out.
“It appears that it is.”
“Tell me…tell me something only I would know,” she said. “You could be an…imposter.” She knew that was practically impossible as well. No one could pretend to be Beckham. She could feel down to her very being that it was him. She had sensed him upstairs in his bedroom and run the length of the driveway to reach him. It had to be him. And yet she needed to be sure.