He wasn’t healing.

Chapter 27


“Beckham!” Reyna cried. She lifted his chin and stared down into his eyes. “What’s happening? Why aren’t you healing?”

“Slow. It’s…slow.”

“Why? Has this happened before?”

“When…I healed you.”

Reyna’s heart was torn asunder. Using his healing abilities to save her had made him weaker. It changed something in his vampire processes that slowed things down. Made him more…human.

“You didn’t heal me tonight,” she whispered in fear.

He shook his head once and then coughed as pain shot through him. Fucking bullets. What the hell could have happened that would make him equally as weak as when he healed her at Graves’ place?

Then it hit her.

“Oh my God,” she whispered. “I moved…fast. Like…vampire super speed fast. I think Penelope’s escort even thought I was a vampire.” Reyna’s hand went to her mouth. “You gave me your speed.” He nodded. “You need to heal. Drink from me.”

She held her wrist out to him. He glanced at it. She watched him swallow once harshly. His fangs exposed over his bottom lip. She expected him to refuse, for them to argue about it.

Instead, he grabbed her wrist, sank those fangs into her wrist, and drank deeply.

“Oh,” she gasped.

The blood flowed from her body into his. And like winter snows thawed into spring streams, the wounds began knitting together. Blood stopped flowing. It still coated his chest, but was already drying against him. He looked strong, sturdy, and not at all like he was in danger of bleeding out.

And then the endorphins hit her from the bite. A freight train straight to her heart. The immediate rush a tidal wave as flight or fight kicked in. And yet even as she felt it, all she wanted to do was curl up into Beckham’s lap and never leave. Never see him like that again. One death was enough for her for a lifetime.

Abruptly, Beckham wrenched back. Her blood lingered on his lips, dripped down his fangs. His black eyes were ringed with light as power radiated from his very being. Their blood sang as like responded to like.

Despite the carnage around them, all she could think was that she wanted to fuck him right here in this dirty convenience store bathroom. Life-or-death situations sure put things in perspective.

“You could have died,” she accused.

“Unlikely.”

She narrowed her eyes. “Your wounds weren’t healing.”

“They would have.”

“Why do you have to argue with me?” she demanded. So much for fucking.

“I wouldn’t have died. Something as simple as a bullet couldn’t take me down. The sooner you realize that the better.”

Reyna took a step back and crossed her arms over her chest. “Well, since you’re doing so well, why don’t we talk about you ghosting me? Then you protect me with your life against Penelope. Say I’m yours.”

“You are.”

“I am,” she said with a sigh. “I really am. I always have been and I always will be. But I cannot function with you leaving me out of the loop or taking your anger out on me with your silence.”

So of course he was silent.

“I didn’t like seeing you with her tonight,” Reyna said, unable to speak Penny’s name right after Becks killed her. “I hated it. But I’m not running away from you because I’m jealous and uncomfortable.”

Beckham’s nostrils flared at the insinuation. He stood from the small toilet seat. His immense height eclipsing the tiny bathroom. Suddenly he was towering over her, taking back the upper hand. Still, she refused to back down just because he was half-naked, covered in blood, and looked like a scary fucking vampire.

But when his eyes caught hers, something in them softened.

“When I’m with you, I feel. Intensely.” Reyna smiled at that. “The only time I have ever felt that intensely was when I was killing.”

Her smile dropped.

“Even when I was human, I didn’t have this same passion. I was empty. You have more humanity in your pinky finger than I’ve ever had in my whole body. It’s why I have protected you and coddled you and tried to keep you alive. I never wanted to see that light go out. I never wanted you to become the ruthless killer that I was. To lose the optimism that only someone so young and human could ever feel.”

Tears pricked at Reyna’s eyes and she tried to tamp them down.

“I became a vampire by choice, because I didn’t care about my own life. I was a worthless piece of shit. A detriment to my family’s good name and a shameful fucking embarrassment. And I didn’t care. But they did.” He met her gaze head-on. “And how did I repay their feelings? I tortured Bronwyn. She was young and innocent and I was a sadistic vampire. I took everything from her that she loved, put her through immense physical pain, and shattered her mind until she was utterly insane. Then I fed her madness with brutality, teaching her the ways of war, shaping her into a proper soldier. When she could take no more, right before her whole spirit would be broken, I turned her. Then I tested her loyalty, by unleashing her on our parents. I didn’t do it myself. I thought it would be worse if she did it. I loaded the gun and pulled the trigger. She was the bullet that snuffed out their existence. She passed. I made her my own unfeeling second-in-command and gave her an army to feast her insanity on.” He tilted his chin up. “And I enjoyed it. Reveled in it. It was all I was ever good at.”

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