“This is better,” he said, lighting one more candle and setting it down on a rickety old table.
“Seriously, what is this place?”
“Before Washington built his house on the hill, he’d purchased the land from a farmer who lived with his rather large family in this cabin. He allowed them to stay on until they passed away or moved. He wanted it to be his permanent home. Not something most vampires at the time were afforded.”
“The deaths are easier to conceal than in the city.”
Reyna’s stomach roiled. “Right.”
“Genevieve is a descendent of that bloodline. She lived here for many years after her children passed, but now has her own place farther removed from the memories.”
“I couldn’t imagine.”
“I hope you never have to,” he said quietly. “When I would reside on the hill, I would come down here to think sometimes. It freed my mind. I would like it to do so today.”
“Okay. So…how exactly are we going to train? I don’t think this is like running on the treadmill or using a punching bag.”
“I don’t think so either. But when I was turned, I didn’t have all the strength I have now. I developed my abilities. Honed them. It gave me an edge that others had no chance of surpassing as mindless drones. I want to try pushing our own connection in the same way.”
Reyna suddenly bubbled with energy at the prospect. She liked getting more information about Beckham in this process. He wasn’t usually so willing to divulge his secrets.
“Work it like a muscle. Even though it’s not a muscle.”
Beckham stripped off his jacket and tossed it across the lone chair. He folded his arms across his broad chest. His eyes were observing her in an all too familiar way. She’d seen him do it a number of times when she’d first started “working” for him. As if she were a puzzle he needed to solve, a question he needed an answer to.
At the time, she hadn’t known that was a good thing. She’d felt like prey trapped in a predator’s gaze.
Maybe she still was.
But now…she liked it.
“I estimated you at six miles away from me when I sensed you in the city the day you came to get Jodie.”
Reyna’s jaw dropped. “Six miles?”
“I thought it might be because of the extreme situation I was in, but I’ve confirmed it.”
“When did you do that?” she gasped.
“While you were sleeping.”
“It’s been snowing since we got back. You drove six miles away in this snow without anyone knowing?”
Reyna’s eyes doubled in size. “Through the snow.”
He nodded once.
“And really, six miles? How long does that take you?”
He grinned and lifted an eyebrow as if to say, Wouldn’t you like to know. Secrets, secrets.
“I always topped out around six miles. We could stretch that, but I think our time would be better spent figuring out if there are other things we can do. Other advantages we have.”
“I have a thought about that,” Reyna said. “When we walked into the safe house, I was worried. But I noticed how calm and in control you were. I wanted to feel that way and I kind of just…did. I don’t know if I did it because we’re connected, but it was like I tuned in to you.”
“I noticed that.”
“What are you feeling right now?”
He arched his eyebrow. “You tell me.”
Reyna gritted her teeth and concentrated. She hadn’t really done anything when it had happened last time. She had just wanted to feel Beckham’s confidence and she had. She’d wanted to be able to weather the storm and she had. She’d slipped right into it like pulling on her boots.
She assessed him. He looked calm. Not a bit nervous that she wouldn’t be able to do it. The opposite of how she felt.
Mostly she felt like an idiot. When she could feel him across a crowded room, it wasn’t like she was looking for him. It was like he was just there. She knew precisely where he was. She simply had to think about it and he was there. No process to it at all.
Still, she tried reaching out with her mind and feeling for his emotions. She tried to nudge against what made Beckham Beckham. Which mostly meant standing there and staring at him in deep concentration, and nothing happened.
She blew out a heavy breath. “Epic fail. There’s nothing. Maybe it was a fluke. Maybe I just was calmer and more confident because you were there.”
“I feel nothing from you. Though I can see frustration written on your face.”
And again. And again. And again.
She tried every way they could think of. She could sense him standing there. Could count every breath. Knew when he opened and closed his eyes. Could tell where he was standing in the room with her back turned and her eyes closed. But reaching beyond that was an exercise in futility.