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The guy stares at me for a blink, then grabs his girlfriend by the hand and starts to run, and I shuffle them to the side of the building, my back to them, my eyes on the males. Noah’s in front of me now, and he’s already morphed. One of the males leaps and tries to get past me to go after the humans, but I grab his leg and snatch him down. He lands on his back, and I’m on top of him. He surprises me, though. He’s stronger than I imagine. He grabs me by the throat and flings me against the building. My head hits, and I know it’s gonna hurt like hell in the morning. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Noah. He’s got the other one. This one flies at me, and I yank my silver out of my waist sheath and jab the tip into his skin. His eyes grow large as he stares at me.

“Is she controlling you?” I ask. When he doesn’t answer, I shove the blade in a little more. He grunts. “Who is she?” I growl. What’s her fucking name?

The vampire stares at me with bloodred eyes. “Carrine,” he says, and his voice is gurgly sounding. A smile tips his mouth upward. “She will kill you.”

“I don’t think so.” I shove the blade into his heart. He falls against me. He’s already convulsing when I shove him off, and the moment I’m clear of him I see Noah tear the other one’s head clean off. Not pretty. He throws it down onto the quivering body and looks at me. In a blurring instant, his face shifts back. Flawless and perfect.

“You know,” Noah says. He glances at the piles on the ground. “This is getting pretty goddamn old.” He cracks his neck, as if there’s a kink left over from his monster shifting. “What’d he tell you?”

I go over, kick the blade away from the messy pile of vampire leftovers, and clean it off on the pavement. Then my pants. So freaking sick, but I don’t want to leave my blades behind. “Her name is Carrine. And apparently, according to him”—I incline my head—“she wants me dead.”

“Yeah, that’s nothing new,” Noah says. He glances skyward; it’s the first time I notice that dawn is near. “You hear anything else?” he asks.

I listen for a moment, then shake my head. “No, but I’ll feel better if we run the rooftops, slip through a few streets before dawn breaks.” I shove the blade back in its sheath and walk to Noah. “I don’t know who Carrine is, but something else is going on here.”


I shrug. “Well, if I knew that answer we wouldn’t be standing here.”

Noah’s face is shadowy, but I see him grin. “Let’s go.”

We head out. Run rooftops. Leap from building to building. We even cross the river, scale St. Andrew’s Cathedral, and make a few laps along the river Ness. It stays silent the rest of the night. Well, all except for the fire department and clean- up crew still gathered outside Hush 51. What a mess. We keep our distance, though, and the closer it is to daylight, people are beginning their day and we’re forced to slow to their pace. Nothing else occurs. No random vampires. No appearance of Eli and Carrine.

Just thinking his name with another female, vampire or not, hurts.

With Noah and me covering opposite sides of the street, we sweep the city center once more. Gulls scream and light on the rooftops, and as I inhale, the salty scent of the firth sweeps over me. Reminds me of home. God, I miss that stinky, pukey-smelling marsh.

The next couple of days are surprisingly uneventful. No killings, not even a hint or scent of Eli and Carrine. We comb every club, seek out every rooftop, every darkened alleyway, and all along the river Ness. Nothing. The weekend is over now, and locals are returning to their weekly routine. Me and Noah are just turning onto Montague Row when the November sun peaks over the city’s crest. I stop and turn, staring. Ever since I’ve been in Scotland, I think I’ve seen the sun maybe three times. I want so badly for all this bullshit to go away: the killing of innocents, the mystery of Eli. And how will I ever get the images of him kissing that female out of my head? Jesus, I hate jealousy, but I’m human, even if just partly, after all. I can’t help some emotions. And watching the two of them kiss, touch?

I close my eyes for a brief second, and the sun rises and gleams through the clouds, shining on my face. My skin heats, just a little, and I inhale. For a moment, I’m lost. The sounds of the city, horns blasting, the low hum of conversation that hardly ever leaves me now. The wind is chilled and brisk this morning, and with it rides the sounds of seals barking from the firth.

I snap my eyes open, suddenly aware that I’m standing on the drive of our guesthouse, with my eyes closed. Looking like an idiot. Feeling way more vulnerable than I should ever, ever allow myself.

Noah’s silver eyes are studying me with such intensity, such depth. No pity there. Only compassion. His eyes soften. “You’re far from looking like an idiot,” he informs me, once more delving into my thoughts. “Far. And don’t go digging around in my head, either.” He grins. “You might not like what you find.”

It’s tempting, I’ll admit. To dig, I mean. Ever since all of the vampiric venom latched on to my DNA, I’ve been able to see past events in others’ lives. All by a simple touch. I don’t have any control over where I go once inside that soul’s memory, but it’s almost as if I’m actually there, in person, standing and watching whatever event is occurring unfold. The guys who schooled us all in the use of a broadsword back in Edinburgh? Tristan de Barre in particular? Yeah, that was definitely something else to behold. He’d been a thirteenth-century knight who was murdered in his own dungeon, along with his men, the infamous Dragonhawk and his knights. In the vision I’d stood in a dank cell and watched, helpless to do anything about it. Then again, had I been able to, there’d be no Tristan de Barre today. And weirdly, although he was dead for centuries, there is a Tristan. Dead, wandering his lands with his men as spirits, then whack! His now wife, a forensic archaeologist, helped him break an aged curse, and he and his men were given another life. Another chance at mortality. Tristan and Gawan Conwyk, friends in life and in death, came together to instruct the WUP team in Edinburgh on the use of a broadsword. Sick teachers, both of them.

“Now, there’s something I don’t see nearly enough of lately,” Noah says as he unlocks the guesthouse door. He turns. “You, smiling.”

I walk past him. “Yeah, well, you know me, don’t ya?” I move into the kitchen, open the fridge, and grab the half-filled soda bottle Noah had bought for me the other day. When I crack the lid, it barely hisses; it’s flatter than what I like, but I guzzle it down anyway.

“All too well.”

I look at Noah, and for a split second I think to tell him about the voice I’d heard, warning me to leave instead of attack Carrine. The voice telling me that she and Eli would not kill, but would torture me. I open my mouth, but something else comes out instead. “I don’t get this, Noah. What do Carrine and Eli have to do with the rogue and newblood killings? I don’t see the connection at all.”

“I don’t know, either,” he offers. “But that’s what we’re here to find out, right? And to stop it.”

“Yeah, we are,” I answer. Then I throw the empty plastic soda bottle at the trash can. I throw it harder than I mean to, and I completely miss the can and hit the wall instead. It bounces and flings across the kitchen. I sigh and rub my eyes.

Noah grabs me by the shoulders and steadies me. Calms me. “Look at me,” he says.

With another sigh, I open my eyes. “I don’t get it, Noah. How can Eli look right at me and not know me?” I feel energy surging up inside me from the thought of Eli and the female together. Like a soda that has been shaken, and the lid is cracked and all the liquid fizzes out. That’s me, right now, despite having seen the hesitation in Eli’s eyes. Almost there . . .

“Riley, you have to get a grip, darlin’,” Noah says, and ducks his head to make me look at him. Liquid silver glimmers. “Because, when we have human bloodlust, that’s all there is. It consumes us. No matter what’s occurred, that becomes the focus. To somehow, no matter the means, get that human’s blood inside our bodies.”

I look away, because it hurts to think about this. He grasps my chin and pulls my gaze back to his. “All reason, morality, humanity—it all goes away. Memories? Gone. Our vision sees nothing but blood. We taste it in our mouth by just the scent of it beneath the surface of a human’s skin.” He smiles. “You know this. You experienced it, Riley. I’ve got the memory of a sore neck to prove it. Remember? You ripped into it when you were blood-lusting.”

Again, the need for comfort overwhelms me, and I slide my arms around Noah’s waist and lay my head against his chest. I’m not very fond of this neediness I have lately. It sucks. Makes me feel so useless.

His arms go around me, and his hand cups the back of my head. “I’m not going to lie and say I got all the answers,” he says gently. “But I will fight to the end to save Eli.”

It’s at that exact moment, it happens.

It’s weird that it hasn’t happened before now.

One moment, my cheek is pressed against Noah’s chest; in the next second, I’m standing in a mist-shrouded forest, the white vapor slipping through tall trees and underbrush. I look around me; nothing looks familiar. Ravens startle and fly away in a rush overhead. I glance around. At first, I see no one. Then I hear footfalls. Running. Breaking through brush.

Then I see Noah. He’s on foot, running through the trees. He’s wearing brown pants, boots, a cream-colored long-sleeved shirt, and a brown vest. His hair is different—long, gathered at the nape of his neck, no dreads. He wears a tricorn hat, and is hauling ass. In one hand, a hatchet. The other, a rifle. Three men in red coats are chasing him.

Revolutionary War. Noah is a militiaman.

A shot rings out through the wood, and when I look at the redcoats, one of their rifles is smoking. The other two fire at Noah. One misses. One hits him in the shoulder, knocking him sideways and down. I fight not to run to him; it will do no good. I’m a bystander, watching a memory that’s already happened.