His dark eyes clouded with anger at having to prove himself. But he never let the words slip from his mouth. He just considered what to tell her.
“White roses are for new beginnings,” he told her, taking a step forward. “I used to focus solely on my phone because your presence was such a distraction.” Another step forward. “I can sense your blood.” They were practically touching now. “I can sense it right now. You. All of you. The smell of you. The taste of you. The way your body vibrates at my nearness.” He dipped down and brought his lips close to her mouth. “I am who I say I am, Little One. I am yours.”
The dam broke.
Reyna threw her arms around his shoulders and crushed her body against his chest. He tucked her in close, burying his face into her dark hair.
“You’re back. You’re really back,” she gasped as tears soaked through his shirt.
“Shh.” He stroked her affectionately.
“I don’t understand. I don’t…”
She pulled away to look up at him. They were facing down the impossible. Vampires didn’t return from the dead, yet Beckham was here. He shouldn’t be standing before her, but he was.
Their eyes locked and she lost sight of everything else. The pain disintegrated. The cold was gone. She didn’t even notice their breath fogging between them. Or the people he had brought with him. Or the trees. Or the gravel. Or the gate.
It was just her and Beckham once more.
“How are you alive?” she whispered. “I saw you die. I watched it happen.”
His brow furrowed at that. “Let’s get you out of the cold and I will explain everything.”
He gestured for her to begin walking. Her boots crunched against the gravel and the cold bit back into her consciousness. It was subfreezing temperatures and she didn’t even have a coat on. What had she been thinking?
Well, of course she hadn’t been thinking.
The four people who had come with Beckham formed around them as they moved forward. They all looked lethal and kept assessing their surroundings for threats. She wondered what their stories were, how they had ended up with Beckham, and what they were doing here with him.
She had a lot of questions.
“I can’t believe you’re really here.” She reached out and touched the sleeve of his jacket. He was solid and firm. Real.
“I am as surprised as you are,” he admitted.
“It isn’t every day that your boyfriend comes back from the dead.”
He arched an eyebrow. “Has it happened to you before?”
She laughed. It was the first time she had laughed in over a week. It made her feel lighter. As if she were walking on clouds. She glanced up at Beckham. “No. Just you.”
He wrapped an arm across her shoulders in response and they continued the rest of the way to Washington’s mansion. Gabe and Meghan were arguing out front. Reyna suspected it had something to do with her sprinting out of the house at top speed. But when they saw her coming back with Beckham and a retinue, both of their jaws dropped.
“Oh my God,” Meghan said.
“Is that…” Gabe let the question trail off.
“Yes,” Meghan breathed.
That was the million-dollar question.
“Meghan. Gabe,” Beckham said with a head nod.
“Is this some kind of joke?” Gabe asked.
“It would not be a very funny one.”
“It’s really him,” Reyna told them.
“Let’s continue inside. I will explain what I know,” Beckham said. He turned back to face the four who were following him. “Philippé, do a perimeter sweep. Katarina, check the defenses. Return to me when you’re finished. Gerard, Zoya, you’re on me.”
Then he strode into the mansion as if he owned the place, with Reyna at his side. The entire exchange left Reyna even more confused. More questions sprung up. She ached to ask them all, but at the same time she felt at peace. As if all her hopes and dreams had been answered. She had demanded a miracle. And she had received one.
The entourage assembled in the dining room. Gabe rushed to get Tye and Jodie, while Meghan found Washington speaking to a young woman in the kitchen. Their looks of shock at him appearing out of nowhere perfectly mirrored Reyna’s.
“Roger,” Beckham said, extending his hand to Washington.
“Beckham,” Washington replied with awe.
“And the lovely Genevieve,” Beckham said. His attention turned to the vampire woman Washington had brought from the kitchen. She was only about five feet tall and looked not a day over twenty. She wore her straw blond hair parted down the middle and in a braided bun at the base of her neck.
“Mr. Anderson,” she said demurely. “It’s a pleasure to have you back in residence.”
“You know each other?” Reyna asked in confusion.
“Yes,” Beckham answered.
“Genevieve has been a close associate of ours for a long time,” Washington said. “I trust her implicitly. As has Beckham.”