Reyna’s eyes rounded and she gestured for him to continue.

“There are any number of abilities that you could possess working together. Before you I would never have guessed that you could sense each other across large distances. I wouldn’t even begin to consider how that could happen. Perhaps some sort of biological transmission.”


“We don’t need to know how it happens, just what could happen,” Beckham said.

“Knowing how something works is the first step to uncovering life’s greatest mysteries.”

“We’re a bit short on time for life’s greatest mysteries,” Reyna reminded him. “We want to use this as a weapon. Something that will help us take down Harrington. You must have some ideas.”

Washington frowned as if the thought of taking down Harrington repulsed him. He knew that Harrington was bad enough to work against him, but he still had trouble thinking about him dying. It was written all over his face.

“Off the top of my head, I would consider mind reading, emotional shaping, feeling, or projecting, enhanced touch, and sharing of each other’s perceived strengths. The other option is that there are no other added benefits beyond what you have already discovered and you simply need to sharpen that quality. Attune yourselves to the other. I truthfully do not know, but think that stretching your abilities is a worthwhile endeavor.”

Reyna’s mind whirred to life with all that information. She didn’t know how she felt about any of it. Reading Beckham’s mind might be awesome, but did she really want him to be able to read hers? And what the hell did emotional shaping mean? Could he make her feel a different way based on how he felt? And all she could think about were his strengths—enhanced sight, hearing, strength. Those would definitely help them out if she was in a bind.

“We’ll give you the blood samples,” Beckham said as if he had already worked out everything Washington had suggested. “Make Reyna’s quick.”

Reyna blanched. Oh right. The blood donation part.

She had two fears—needles and public speaking. She felt like on a micro level she was overcoming the public speaking. Talking to the group of Elle members was pretty much no sweat. She didn’t know how she would do if she had to address an audience of strangers, and she didn’t really want to find out.

But needles…

She didn’t think she’d ever overcome that. She’d wanted to vomit that time they’d taken her blood and she was selected to be Beckham’s blood escort. And she’d never gotten over the trauma of Harrington drawing her blood and doping her with vamp venom twice a week for two whole months. She didn’t think that even something as simple as donating her blood to science was about to change how she felt.

Needles gave her the creeps. Plain and simple.

But Beckham held her hand and stroked confident whirls on each pad of her fingers. She ignored the jolt of pain as Washington pierced the vein. She counted backward from a hundred and tried to pretend like she was somewhere else. That sometimes helped. A little.

“I hate this,” she whispered.

Beckham clenched his jaw. “Me too.”

“Why are you so tense?”

His eyes flashed with annoyance. Not at her. But at the fact that she’d noticed.

“Oh,” she whispered. “You haven’t fed enough. You don’t have to be here. You can go.”

“I will not leave you.”

“Beckham, if you are in need of sustenance,” Washington said, “Genevieve brought over some blood packets. I know it is not a preference, but if you warm it up, it will do the trick.”

“I’m fine.”

“I would advise you to go now,” Washington said. Anger tinged his every word as he spoke to Beckham. It was a tone Reyna had never heard from him before. “You are still weak from your healing. Reyna cannot sustain you alone. Nor should she. And you are endangering her by smelling her sweet blood while hunger pangs you.”

Beckham stormed to his feet. “Do not presume to tell me that I am weak. Or speak in any way about my relationship with Reyna.”

“Becks,” she muttered, reaching for his hand and kissing him. “It’s okay. We’re almost done. Go eat and then come back so we can train.”

A muscle twitched in his jaw. She could see him fighting with himself. With the need to protect her and with his mounting hunger.

Then he took one last look into her dark chocolate eyes and left the room.

“Is he going to be okay?” Reyna asked a few minutes later after Washington had completed drawing her blood. “I’ve never seen him so in need of blood. Even when I’ve seen him hungry, he wasn’t like this.”

“Vampire healing takes a significantly less amount of time than human’s. We can endure much more than your bodies can, but it also comes at a higher price. The worse the damage, the more it requires of the body to heal it. The more blood and the more time. If Beckham truly almost died and came back from the brink, a feat few vampires can achieve, then he needs more time. And he needs more blood.”

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