Vance shouts something as Arion flings the knife, and my eyes screw shut as it flies at me.
A harsh grunt has my eyes cracking open, and an exhale of relief comes out of me when I see the knife suspended in mid-air next to my face. But then my eyebrows lift as Damien comes into view, blood dripping around the knife wound in his hand that was apparently reaching for me.
He glares at Arion as he rips the knife from the center of his palm.
“You can see me?” Damien growls at him.
“Everyone can see you right now,” Arion answers with a shrug.
I open my lips again to speak, but I remember why I can’t this time. I made a gypsy promise. Gypsy promises come at the cost of gypsy pride if broken, even when one is tricked into a promise under false pretenses.
“You don’t get to save her,” Arion adds with a smirk, his eyes trained on me. “She’s free to go, so she doesn’t actually need saving.”
“Then I think it’s time she left. You and I should have a talk,” Vance says to Arion, even as Damien steps out in front of me.
Swallowing thickly, I carefully hop off the bar.
I start to leave, but then remember the fact I now have a vampire stalker to add to my list of monster problems. It’s best to show respect in a home of a gypsy alpha vampire, regardless of the circumstances that brought me here. Especially if I want to stay on his good side.
Something tells me that leaving Shadow Hills right now would be damn near impossible. I have a feeling he’d hunt me just to carry through with his really insane plan of me somehow reuniting the band of monster brothers he’s stalked from his grave. Literally.
I used to think my life was complicated. I feel silly now that it’s actually gotten extremely complicated.
Damien hisses out a breath when I move toward Arion, and Arion’s lips twitch as I approach.
“Violet,” Vance bites out like he’s chastising me.
Arion just smirks down at me when I reach him, and I get up on my tiptoes as he leans down. Without overthinking it, I quickly press a kiss to his cheek, the way my mother instructed me to do if I ever visited another gypsy’s home.
His arm snakes around my waist before I can withdraw, and the show of respect backfires when I worry he’s not going to let go.
“I’ll see you later, sweet gypsy,” he murmurs close to my ear before releasing me.
I’m not sure if it’s a threat or simply a warning, but I turn and walk away the second his grip loosens.
Vance’s jaw is grinding as I near him, and his hand comes up to my chin, cupping it and gently halting the retreat I really want to make.
His eyes flick over my cheek that hasn’t started healing yet, and he cuts a lethal gaze toward Arion.
“The bloke who left that mark should be ready soon,” I hear the freshly risen vampire answering from the right, instead of the left, where I expect his voice to come from.
My eyes dart to where Arion is standing behind the bar as Vance releases my chin. As if summoned, the doors open on the other side of the room, and a large keg rolls in, loudly sloshing around.
“Ah, there he is. Anyone else want a drink?” Arion asks as he goes to lift the keg with one hand.
The doors behind him close without anyone ever coming into view.
My stomach churns when I realize Lurch’s blood must have been drained into that keg.
Without hesitating more than I already have, I turn and walk out, hearing Arion talking behind me.
“I knew I’d come back to a mess if you weak-balled prats were in charge all on your own for a damn century,” Arion is saying conversationally. “I have quite a few people to kill, it seems.”
I walk a lot faster, ignoring the chill up my spine as I take in the gravity of the situation. For at least the next two years he was supposed to be buried, anything he does will be all my fault, because I was the stupid, trusting gypsy who made eye contact and let a ghost lead me.
Damien takes two seconds to join me at my side, following me out to my van that has been parked in the driveway like I drove myself here.
My knees give out before I can make it halfway there.
END OF BOOK 1.