Reyna’s hand went to her throat. She’d never seen anything like it. It was absolutely the most beautiful piece of craftsmanship she’d ever seen. Five rows of diamonds created a choker with tiny teardrop diamonds hanging from the last row. Then a V of glittering diamonds festooned the choker with five pear-shaped diamonds gradually getting larger the closer to the bottom, until the last diamond was roughly the size of a flat golf ball. The necklace was outrageous and extravagant and probably cost as much as a medium-sized Caribbean island.
“Where did you get this?” she gasped, her fingers hovering an inch away from the exquisite piece.
“It was my first conquest on my way to becoming a lord.” Beckham plucked the necklace from the box and gestured for her to turn around. “I always said that it was only fit to be worn by a queen.” She lifted her hair out of the way. He gently placed the necklace around her neck, the giant diamond settling right between her breasts. The choker clasped in the back. “And you are my queen, Reyna.”
“You make me feel like one.”
He placed a soft kiss on a part of her bare shoulder unobstructed by the necklace. Her heart fluttered at his words. She let her hair fall back down to cover the weighted necklace, which was sure to sink her.
“Perfect,” Beckham said. He draped her jacket over her shoulders and offered her his arm. “Ready?”
“As I’ll ever be.”
Beckham escorted Reyna out of the building. They found a limo idling outside. Reyna should have expected it. If this guy was as powerful as Gabe made him out to be then that usually came with wealth. Unease settled in her bones as the reality of what they were about to do hit her. She didn’t know who this guy was or what he would want or even if he would answer their questions.
But they needed any help they could get. And she hated even more being put in that situation. She wanted to rush into the action and bang heads together. Figure out how to stop this and just do it. Except that hadn’t worked last time. She knew it wouldn’t work this time either.
She had to outmaneuver Harrington, which meant she had to do things he wouldn’t anticipate. Barreling in and attacking him…he expected. But her blood match with Beckham was not on his radar. The anti-vamp cult not something he’d ever consider. This…new contact…totally out of left field.
She could do this.
She was bound and determined.
A driver got out from the front of the limo and came around to open the back door for them. He handed them each a black hood.
Beckham raised an eyebrow. “You expect me to wear this?”
“Not me. But if you want to meet your contact tonight, you won’t argue.”
Beckham snarled. Reyna put her hand on his arm. The last thing she wanted was for him to go full vamp on this guy. He was just the messenger. They would take it up with their stupid contact later.
“Becks,” she whispered.
“We’re on a tight schedule,” the driver said, and gestured for them to get in the limo.
Reyna slid into the backseat, and after a few tense seconds Beckham followed suit. She took a deep breath then slid the hood over her head. She shivered as memories of her kidnapping flooded her. The feel of the guy grabbing her arm. Him knocking her out. Blackness taking her over as she was dragged out of Everett’s apartment.
“Oh God,” she whispered.
Her breathing was uneven. She was pretty sure she was hyperventilating.
Logically she knew that this wasn’t the same. Not even close to the same. She wasn’t being kidnapped. She was willingly moving forward with this. Yet, her brain couldn’t process the two things. It couldn’t move past the horror and violation.
Beckham’s arm swept around her shoulders and he held both of her hands in his. “Breathe,” he whispered. “I’m here this time. No one will take you from me. Not ever again.”
“Becks,” she gasped.
“I’ll kill anyone who touches you. I’ll protect you. You’re safe.”
“I’m safe,” she repeated.
She took a strangled breath and then let it out slowly. She did it a couple more times before she finally believed herself. With Beckham’s arms safely around her she felt the panic attack subsiding. The residual effects of her PTSD draining out of her.
God, she hated this.
Beckham never released her. He held her the entire drive as they moved through the city and to wherever their contact’s headquarters were. Even if she could have seen through this hood, she knew the limo windows were tinted and night had fallen. Maybe Beckham would have been able to discern where they were going, but she sure couldn’t.
It was forty-five minutes before the limo finally came to a stop. Reyna heard the window separating them from the driver slide down. “You can remove the hoods. We’re secure.”