“Give me one reason why I shouldn’t kill you,” Beckham said in his most threatening tone.

“Hello to you too,” Everett drawled lazily.

Beckham punched him in the face. Everett’s head snapped to the side and a sick crunch sounded. Beckham had broken Everett’s nose. Blood spurted out and down over his lips.

Everett coughed twice. “Always thought I’d look better with a bump in my nose. A little more devil-may-care.”

“Let’s try this again,” Beckham spat.

“Oh, I do love second chances.”

“Everett,” Reyna snapped. “Just talk to us. Why are you here? How did you get out? Why the hell should we trust you?”

“Never trust a spy,” he said with a lopsided grin in her direction.

“This is how he went on with us too,” Tye grumbled.

“If he doesn’t speak, then we don’t need him,” Reyna said callously. She wanted to believe that Everett had changed. But he was dangerous and a liability.

“I couldn’t agree more,” Beckham said.

Everett just laughed. It was more pain than anything.

Reyna could sense that Beckham was about to break his neck any second for the audacity of it all. His patience wore thin when it came to people who had hurt her.

She rushed forward and batted Beckham aside. His surprise was evident. She liked keeping him on his toes.

Reyna slid one of her guns out of its holster and leveled it at Everett’s head. “We’ve been here once before. You all bloodied up after a beat down you deserved and me questioning you. But unlike last time, we don’t actually need anything from you right now. You had something we wanted—information. You don’t have that this time. I’d wager the only reason you’re here is to save your own skin and hide out as long as you can. Because you’re not just on our shit list, you’re on Visage’s too. Must feel great to be hunted by everyone. And now we’re here and you’re cornered and you think your bullshit posturing will save you. I’m here to tell you that it won’t.” Everett’s expression shifted from laughter to a hint of fear. “So again, why shouldn’t we kill you?”

“We’re on the same side,” Everett ground out. “You know that Visage has my brother, Edmond. I’ve been gone too long. He’s probably already dead. You think I want to work for Visage? That I ever did? I’m not pro-Visage.”

“We’re not pro-Visage either. But you still haven’t told us how you’re in the safe house. Or even what you’re doing here.”

“An announcement went out in the bunker. A woman on the speaker issued an evacuation. My guards disappeared. I followed a crowd of people and made it here with them. I was on a low enough level to get to the vehicles. Look, I’m not super into joining your whole lot, because it seems like a good way to die. But the way I see it, I have resources, you have resources, we can work together.”

“No,” Beckham said.

“I know a place we can take these people,” Everett went on. “I have some friends. They’re not too keen on the whole vamp equality thing, but they have a facility big enough. They’re kind of hoarders too, so food isn’t an issue. Unless you have a better plan.”

Silence followed his statement. They didn’t really have a plan for the people in the safe houses. Washington’s home couldn’t house enough people and it didn’t have the resources. And after Harrington’s blood note, they couldn’t just leave the people here.

“Why should we trust you?” Beckham demanded.

“Don’t,” Everett said with a shrug. “But I have no reason to offer to help.”

“Exactly. So are you going to turn on us at a moment’s notice? Will these friends of yours keep our secret too? There are too many unknowns.”

“We need as many allies as we can get,” Reyna said.

“They’re not allies.”

“Send someone in that you trust to scope the place out before dismissing it. I know that you have people in the city.” She’d overheard him send Philippé and Katarina in after them for backup.

“Fine,” Beckham said, then disappeared into the kitchen, his phone to his ear.

“Don’t fuck this up,” Reyna told Everett.

“Do you think this is a good idea?” Tye asked.

“Do we have a choice?” Meghan asked.

“When you put it that way…” Tye said with a shake of his head.

It was only a couple minutes before Philippé and Katarina appeared at the safe house. With both Beckham and Philippé in one tiny living room, everything felt as if it were a miniature. Reyna couldn’t imagine having more people here. The two of them alone was imposing. And while Katarina might be small, she strutted into the room all cool grace and wicked smiles. Her blades secured to her back. Her hips swaying exaggeratedly.

“This the runt we have to babysit?” Katarina asked, checking Everett out. “Oh, look, you already got him ready for me. I love my men all tied up.” She nipped at him suggestively.

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