Beckham’s circle spoke furiously to him in a corner for a few minutes before splitting into teams with the other vamps and exiting the room. Beckham nodded once at her and then followed them out. She knew he wanted to supervise and make sure that everything was going as planned. She liked that he was a bit of a control freak…and yet still let her take the reins.

Reyna turned then to her own team—Gabe, Meghan, Tye, and Jodie.

“Like old times, huh?” Reyna asked.

Jodie threw her arms around Reyna. “We’ve got your back.”

Meghan smiled brightly. “I’m ready.”

Gabe winked and slung an arm over Meghan’s shoulders. Tye crossed his arms and gave her a cool nod. These were her people. Her team. She wished that she could tell them how much they meant to her, but she could see in their eyes that they already knew. She didn’t have to say a word.

Tye tossed the keys in his hand. “I call getaway car.”

“Shotgun!” Jodie yelled as she pushed past Meghan and Gabe toward the car.

Reyna took a deep breath and glanced around Beckham’s little subterranean modern condo. He’d been right when he’d said it wasn’t big enough to house everyone. The place was smaller than the mansion. But it would have to do as their new base for the women, children, and sick who were staying behind. Genevieve had agreed to remain and guard the place. Which meant both Brian and Laura were staying. Reyna was relieved by that at least. Some of them would be safe…for now.

Beckham reappeared in the doorway then. “Are you ready?”

She swallowed and nodded. “Yes.”

He crossed the threshold and pulled her into his arms. “I love you.”

“I love you too.”

She melted into his touch. Their bodies becoming one. She needed this comfort. To know that she was loved as she went out to take on the world.

“We can do this together,” Beckham said.

“You’re right. We should have always done it together.”

“Just don’t hesitate. You’ll only get one opportunity.”

“I know. We’ve gone over this.”

He tilted her chin up to meet his deep obsidian eyes. They were the hardened eyes of a warrior, with the fierce determination of someone who had gone into battle time and time again and come out ahead. His experience far outweighed hers. He knew what this felt like and he enjoyed it. The thrill of battle was a drug to him. It was all over him. If she reached for his emotions, she could revel in them like a pill for her anxiety.

But she needed her anxiety. Her stress. Her total awareness of every fucking thing that could go wrong.

She’d gone into battle once already against Harrington.

She’d lost.

Beckham had died.

If she wasn’t aware of that, then she would be going into this with false confidence. She was terrified. And she needed to be. The last time she’d faced Harrington she’d been cocky. Young and inexperienced, not yet completely weathered by the reality of her world. Somehow still completely naive to the severity of her world. To the ruthlessness of William Harrington.

She wasn’t walking into this half-cocked. She had a plan. She had a team and backup and the whole shebang.

She was about to walk out onto the chessboard and play the hardest game of her life. Her fear would be safely tucked in her back pocket while she used every ounce of strategy to keep herself alive.

Beckham brought his lips down to hers. The kiss was short and soft and raw. Jarring enough to drag her back to earth. He brought his hand to her heart, which beat steadily.

“Just remember, I’m always right here.” He moved her hand up to his heart. “And you are always here.”

“Always,” she repeated.

He nodded. “Good. Showtime.”

A voice cleared behind them. They both turned around and found Genevieve standing in the hallway that led to the bedrooms. “Excuse me. Would you mind if I had a quick word with Miss Reyna before you depart?”

“Of course,” Beckham said deferentially. “I’ll wait in the car.”

“I won’t be long.” Reyna crossed the room to where Genevieve was standing. “What’s going on?”

“I have been a vampire for a long time,” Genevieve said. “I was not long on Master Washington’s property before I was turned. He treated me with kindness and respect even before I became one of his kind. What you are doing today is what he always wanted.”

“I know,” Reyna said, choking back the sadness over his death. She couldn’t even believe it was possible. The man who avoided war found that it caught up to him after all.

“Believe me when I say I understand your need to even the score. Master Harrington never deserved Master Washington’s friendship. He abused it for his own gain. He was a wonderful man until you had something he wanted. And you are now what he wants.” Genevieve grasped her hands. “Despite what he has done, think first of yourself, dear.”