“I take over the world.”
“Beckham kills you. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. You will be dead within twenty-four hours. If you go through with this, you die.” Reyna’s head lolled. “Beckham will kill you. He will hunt you down and end your worthless existence. You think you’re going to get Visage out of this bargain? Now that you’ve tasted my blood? If you kill me?”
“That’s your version of things.”
“If you let me go,” Reyna continued, “you’ll get a head start. We can go back to being enemies tomorrow.”
Rowland laughed. “We never stopped being enemies, ma cherie.”
“At least that we can agree on.”
She closed her eyes, ignoring the pain from her neck and felt for Beckham. He was closer than before. Much closer. He was coming for her. She didn’t want him to come in here. Then he would be in the same position she had pretended to be in with Jodie. She needed to get Rowland to release her before Beckham came inside. Because that was precisely what Rowland wanted from her.
“Worse,” Reyna finally struggled out. “We can do worse to you.”
“Worse than killing me?” he asked with a laugh.
That was when she saw her opening and pressed into his ego and his sense of self-preservation. “We can cure you. Make you nothing more than a worthless human. Force you to live out your days…just…like…me.”
Rowland reared back in shock. “He would never.”
“Oh, but I would. And I just did.” Reyna took a deep breath. “This is my promise to you, Rowland Batiste, if you do not leave here this minute, you will be hunted and cured. Forced to live your life as a human.”
Reyna felt the tension in his grip on her. Practically heard the indecision working through his mind. He hadn’t considered that option. Hadn’t ever considered being anything but a vampire. He was too proud to allow it to happen.
Rowland threw Reyna onto the ground, took one last look at her, and said, “Until next time, ma cherie.”
Then he bolted out a side door. Reyna flopped on the ground, attempting to get up to follow him, but Katarina was already on her way. She fled through the same door and out of sight.
Reyna rolled onto her back and groaned. She pressed her hand to the wound, glad that the vamp venom was healing the wound so it wouldn’t continue to gush out her precious blood. She felt weak and weary. Completely and utterly spent.
That was the moment that Beckham barreled in, taking up the entire doorway with his massive body and surveying the glass room. His chest was heaving. His shirt ripped in innumerable places. Blood coated his body. She didn’t know if it was his or Bronwyn’s. He looked like a beast, wild and savage.
“Are you okay?” she squeaked out.
“You look like death and you ask of my well-being.” Beckham approached her cautiously, but when he got a look at her neck, he swore. “Who did this?”
“That double-crossing bastard. I’ll kill him.”
Reyna reached out for him. “Don’t. Kat went after him. I need…heal me.”
Beckham frowned. “I…can’t. I can barely sense you.”
Reyna’s eyes fluttered closed. “Okay. I’ll be okay. The blood will replenish quickly.”
Beckham swore again, violently, and helped her into a sitting position. “I can try,” he offered.
“No. Conserve your energy.”
She threaded her fingers into his hair, bringing his lips down to hers.
“You…cured…me,” a voice came from the front of the desk.
Beckham sprang up, ready to defend Reyna with his life. When he saw Harrington slowly moving into a sitting position, his eyes widened in horror.
“He’s alive,” Beckham said.
“I used the cure,” Reyna said.
“But it was gone…”
“Genevieve had one more. She gave it to me before we left.”
“Why wouldn’t you tell me that?”
Reyna frowned. “I thought he deserved to pay for his crimes. That killing him would be too easy. That was why I had Jodie broadcasting everything he said to me. So he can’t come back and say he didn’t intend to do everything he said.”
Harrington was staring at his hands as if he’d never seen them before. “How could you do this?”
“I outsmarted you, old man,” Reyna said with a smug smile. “And now you’re just a sickly human again.”
“Reyna, we cannot keep him alive,” Beckham said. “Do you know what people will do if they find out? You leave a deposed king alive and you are risking him rallying support to put himself back on the throne.”
“He’s right,” Harrington said with a quirky smile at Beckham.
“Stop it. This is what Washington would have wanted. He was trying to tell me from the start that I just needed to open my eyes. This is justice, Becks.”
Beckham glanced away. “No one will accept this.”
“Reyna,” Harrington said. “Come here, my dear.”
“Don’t you dare,” Beckham said.
“What do you have to say? This is the end of the line for you.”