Coming here had been a mistake.
Chess was a game of strategy. You were meant to outmaneuver your opponent. Force them to make sacrifices and then go in for the kill. You never expected another piece to enter the board and throw all your strategies to hell. There was no way to anticipate this.
Graves tossed the priceless necklace next to his book on the table as if it meant nothing to him, and carefully pulled his gloves back on. Reyna’s eyes rounded. What the hell?
“What did you do to me?” Reyna gasped out.
“I took your payment.”
“I…I don’t have anything to give.”
“True. Material possessions. It is a good thing for your sake that I don’t only deal in the material.”
“Are you going to answer our questions now or do you intend to keep putting your hands on my girlfriend?” Beckham snarled.
“Girlfriend.” Graves frowned, sending his features into shadows. “Such an interesting term you picked.”
“The term wasn’t the point.”
“I thought you’d prefer to go with blood match. Or perhaps soul mate.”
Reyna’s jaw hit the ground. Beckham looked just as shaken. How the hell could Graves know that they were blood matched? No one outside of their group at Elle knew that much. It was an incredibly small number of people they would trust with their lives. It just…wasn’t possible.
“How?” she murmured.
Graves waved his gloved hand in the air dismissively. “I suspected. But wasn’t certain until I saw you together. It’s been…a while since I’ve seen one. They’re always so…temperamental.”
“You’ve met another match?”
Reyna couldn’t believe it. Graves had known another match. He might know more about what they could do or what they were capable of.
“Here and there. They don’t normally last very long.”
Her eagerness overrode all logic.
“One usually kills the other,” Graves said. “Very Romeo and Juliet, without all the family interference.”
“Are they always vampire and human?”
“The ones I’ve met. If they were two humans, they probably wouldn’t have the sensory abilities for it. I think it’s something with the virus that triggers it.”
“Have any of the humans ever been turned?”
“Reyna,” Beckham snapped, drawing her back to reality.
Graves leaned back against his table and eyed them as if he suddenly understood everything. “You’d like to be made?”
“It’s out of the question,” Beckham said. “That’s not why we’re here.”
Reyna’s mind filled with the savagery of Brian and how he might never come back from that. She didn’t think that would happen to her if she turned. But the very brutal truth of being turned had very recently been thrown in her face. It made her squeamish and hesitant.
“Maybe,” she finally said.
“This is not why we’re here,” Beckham repeated to deaf ears.
“Interesting. Do you think your abilities would follow with the change?” Graves asked.
Reyna nearly doubled over in shock at the words. How did he know?
“What abilities?” Beckham asked. Apparently he’d forgotten that they weren’t supposed to be asking these questions.
“Depends on how developed you are.”
“Other blood matches had abilities?” Reyna whispered.
“Oh yes. I can think of all sorts of things you two could accomplish together.”
For a price.
Reyna could read it all over him. For more information about that, he’d need more payment. And as much as she wanted to know—she was dying to know—she didn’t trust him. It made her nervous for what else he would ask.
She took a step back. Reined in her eagerness. Put a lock on it and bolted it down.
She and Beckham could figure this out together. They could discover the rest of their blood match as a pair. They’d come this far. It was enough to know there were others. That people had gone through before what they were experiencing now. That there was someone else out there who had answers to this. Even if she’d have to pay the price at a later date.
“We want to know about William Harrington,” she managed to get out.
“Ah,” Graves said. He almost seemed put out that they’d shut the inquiry down. “What about Mr. Harrington?”
“We want to kill him,” Beckham said tersely.
“He’s high on many lists.”
“He’s at the top of ours.”
“What will killing Mr. Harrington do exactly?”
“He’s up to something. Something big,” Reyna said. “Surely you know about the feeding camps that he’s calling housing. He’s killing people and ruining lives and he’ll take over the world if he can.”
“People go to those camps willingly. In fact, they go to Visage willingly.” Graves’ eyes raked her skin like hot coals. “Surely you of all people know this.”
“They go willingly because he has created a world in which people need him!”
“That’s very smart of him.”
“Smart,” Reyna deadpanned.
“It is smart,” Beckham said. “Harrington is a very intelligent man. He knows what he’s doing and how to spin things to his advantage. There’s no dispute. However, we know that Harrington is working on something else…something big. Do you know what it is?”
Reyna sucked in a breath. “You know what he’s working on?”