Eve cast him a pained look and turned her back on him. She wrapped her arms around herself again and shook her head. She looked smaller like that. More vulnerable.
It was strange for him, but Tor found himself drawn to stepping closer to her and gently asking, â€œDonâ€™t you want to see your sister?â€
â€œI do,â€ she said and sighed. â€œI do want to see herâ€¦ but I donâ€™t know how sheâ€™ll react to seeing me again. She thought I was dead. Itâ€™s been five years, Tor.â€
The sound of his name rolling softly off her tongue shocked him almost as much as the news that she had turned five years ago and hadnâ€™t seen her sister in that time. He hadnâ€™t known, but now that he did, he understood her reluctance to jump on a plane and meet her sister again.
It wasnâ€™t the only reason behind her reluctance though.
He could see the cold hunger in her again as she turned to face him and her dark eyes locked with his. She hid it well, but it was there, layered with purpose and determination, and a drive that seemed familiar to him.
On top of that burning need that drove her ever onwards was one that held her back.
The need to avoid accepting what she had become at all costs. At the Vehemens mansion, she wouldnâ€™t be able to hide from it any longer. The hunter would have to face the truth. She had become a vampire. She had become the very creature she once hunted and loathed.
Movement out of the corner of his eye drew his attention to the front of the hangar. The stewardess and co-pilot placed their long dark coats over their heads to shield them from the downpour and rushed across the small strip of tarmac to the plane.
The jetâ€™s staff made it on board.
Thunder rumbled in the distance.
Not the distance.
His senses focused and everything slowed to a crawl.
A violent growl filled the silence, beginning in the belly of the jet, and grew in volume to a deadly roar. Brilliant blinding light drove the darkness back, orange and white flares stinging his eyes.
Tor reacted on instinct to the split-second warning, turning away from the coming blast.
Eve stood immobile, her eyes widening in horror as the eruption tore the Cessna apart, the inferno illuminating her face and warming her pale skin.
Tor lunged for her as the heat of the blast rolled over him and pulled her into his arms, pinning her close to his body and taking the brunt of the explosion on his back. Shards of metal sliced into his skin and flames licked at him, only his damp sweatshirt stopping them from burning him. He lifted Eve in his arms and bolted into the dark hangar, not slowing until he was close to the other end, shrouded in the shadows.
He set her down behind a stack of crates to conceal her, dropped their bags, and began checking her over, working methodically from her head downwards. His back stung, every laceration burning, but he ignored his own pain, shutting it out as he focused on Eve.
â€œWhat happened?â€ she whispered, her eyes glazed as she stared ahead into the darkness behind him. â€œWhat happened?â€
She asked that question ten times over before he had even reached her wrists in his visual check of her.
A shudder went through her and she shook her head. She trembled beneath his fingers, her bare skin clammy and freezing to the touch. Shock, and it was hitting her hard.
â€œWe couldâ€™ve been killedâ€¦ we couldâ€™ve been killedâ€¦ and I never would have had my revenge.â€
Torâ€™s head snapped up and he stared into her wide dark eyes as she looked beyond him. Suddenly, the emotions he felt in her and that showed in her eyes made sense and he knew why they felt familiar.
He understood how powerful a need for vengeance could be. He knew how it could drive a person to great lengths, make them do things they would have found objectionable in the past, and make them live with something that would have normally torn them apart.
Eve wanted to bathe her hands in cold blood and annihilate someone. Who?
Tor took hold of her shoulders and shook her, trying to get her to shift her focus to him and come out of her trance.
â€œWho do you want revenge on, Eve? Could they have done this?â€ It had to have something to do with her. None of his enemies knew that he was here. The attack at the club had to be about her too. Someone wanted her dead. The same someone she wanted dead. â€œCould they have done this, Eve?â€
She jerked her head up, her eyes shooting to meet his, and stared blankly at him for long seconds, shaking beneath his grasp.
She swallowed hard. â€œYes.â€
â€œYes, they could have?â€ He needed to be sure.
She nodded. â€œI thinkâ€¦ they sent the vampires who attacked me at One too. They want me dead.â€ A mirthless bark of laughter escaped her soft lips. â€œFeelingâ€™s mutual. Got to make them pay.â€
She began rocking and he held her tighter, tried to keep her focus on him so she didnâ€™t slip back into shock. He looked past her, to the burning wreckage of the plane. Someone really wanted her dead.
â€œWhy do you want them to pay?â€ he whispered and smoothed her tangled hair from her face, accidentally smudging soot across her cheek. â€œTell me, Eve.â€
Her eyes met his again and a flicker of red ringed her irises. â€œHe betrayed me.â€
Cold stole through Torâ€™s veins in response to the anguish in her eyes and the hurt in her voice. He clenched his teeth and suppressed his desire to growl.
He knew a little about betrayal.
Tor slung their two bags over his shoulder and lifted her back into his arms, settling one around her back and one under her knees. She sank against him, her head on his shoulder. The feel of her weakly clutching his black sweatshirt, tugging it into her fist, only served to darken his mood.
He hoofed it out of the back entrance of the hangar, pausing only long enough to scan his surroundings and ensure no one was watching them. Rain lashed down on him, soaking him in an instant, and Eve began chanting things about betrayal, revenge and the explosion, muddled things that warned she was slipping away from him again.
He held her closer to him, trying to shield her from the worst of the weather as he sprinted across the quiet airport, heading back towards the city. He slowed when he reached the perimeter fence and Eve trembled against him.
Tor looked down at her and something in the region of his heart melted a little at the sight of her soaked to the skin and clutching at him, muttering incoherent things to herself.
He needed to keep her focused and he only knew one way to do that, and it went against his nature.
He needed to talk to her and let her know that he was here, with her, and knew intimately what she was going through.
Tor swept his gaze over his surroundings, got his bearings, and began walking towards an area of Paris he had stayed in before and knew to be safe.
He drew in a deep breath, his lungs burning at the sudden invasion of oxygen after so long without him using them. He had long ago given up the pretence of breathing, but he needed air now, so he could do something else he hadnâ€™t done in a very long time.
He exhaled hard to give himself the strength to go against his nature and do what was necessary to keep the beautiful woman in his arms with him.
â€œI know a little about betrayal.â€ The words came out quiet, a soft admission that part of him hoped she didnâ€™t hear.
No luck there.
She lifted her head, that dark gaze landing on his face and not moving from it. It burned into him, making him intensely aware of her and every spot where she pressed against him and where his hands clutched her. He wasnâ€™t sure when he had begun holding her so tightly, so close to him, his fingers pressing into her ribs near to her breast and into her soft supple thigh.
He cleared his throat, derailed his dangerous train of thought, and focused on their destination.
â€œI was betrayed by a fellow vampire once. He left me to die at the hands of a hunter.â€ Tor almost smiled when Eve tensed in his arms, a glimmer of fear going through her. â€œI almost lost my arm and came close to losing my head.â€
â€œWhat happened to him?â€ she whispered.
â€œThe hunter?â€ He frowned down at her and she shook her head, the edge to her eyes saying she knew what had happened to the man who had been foolish enough to try to kill him. She wanted to know what he had done to the one who had betrayed him. â€œI hunted him down, and I did what he failed to do to me. I took his life. I killed him with my bare hands. Justice was served.â€
â€œJustice.â€ She drew the word out and her expression softened, her dark eyes brightening, as if she liked the sound of that.
He liked it too. He liked the thought of dishing out justice to the man who had betrayed her trust and the vampire who had done this to her, shaking her world, turning her into something she despised, even though it wasnâ€™t his place.
The thought was sweet though and too tempting to ignore. Things that had bothered him about her fell into place like puzzle pieces and spelled out the reason behind many of the emotions he had felt in her and her behaviour.
She had agreed to come with him because she had seen him kill, had seen what kind of man he was, and had viewed him as an opportunity to seek out the vengeance she needed.
Under normal circumstances, he would have disappointed her and told her that his mission came first, but as he stared down at her, he began running through everything that had happened tonight and everything he knew about her, and normal went out of the window.
He couldnâ€™t take her back to Oslo when she had vampires on her trail. A small voice, a tiny sliver of his heart that wasnâ€™t dead to the world and all feeling, whispered that his concern about the safety of his bloodline wasnâ€™t the real reason he was going to do something he had never done in three centuries of life as a hunterâ€”bend the rules.
Tor told himself he wasnâ€™t bending the rules. He was simply taking a different meaning from his mission parameters. He had been charged with her safety and Lincoln had warned she might need protecting from herself.
If he could help her mete out her own brand of justice, it might help her come to terms with what she was now and might help her say goodbye to what she had been in her human life.
He might be able to convince her that life as a vampire was worth living, that her new life could be something good and there was reason for her to go on.
The ferocity with which he wanted that astounded him.
Something about the determined yet delicate woman in his arms had him going against everything, every rule and every instinct.
Her dark eyes locked with his, focused and sharp, making his heart kick in his chest.
He looked away and ignored the strange feeling and reaction, shutting it down. She was beautiful, but she was a mission. Nothing more. She could never be more and he was a fool if he thought she could be. He wasnâ€™t going to delude himself. This reaction was purely physical, a need born of a solitary life, and one he refused to act on with her. He would deal with it later. Right now, his mission was top priority.
She wanted revenge and he was just a tool she would use to achieve it. He would be that for her and nothing more. The moment she was safe from her betrayer, he was handing her over to her family and that would be that. She would become their Chosen Daughter. He would move on to the next mission and bed the first woman he came across.
â€œWhat happens now?â€ she whispered softly, her voice curling around him, stroking his ears and threatening to undo the work he had done to harden his heart.
Tor refused to look at her.
His eyes betrayed him and fell back to her face, taking in the luscious curves of her lips and the soft sweeping line of her jaw. He dragged his gaze away and locked it on the distance, determined not to let her bewitch him anymore.
She was a mission.
He had a feeling this was going to be the hardest mission in his long life.
It was going to push him to his limit and might just be the death of him.
â€œTor?â€ she said in a low, cautious voice, and he pretended not to notice the way the cold abyss in his chest warmed whenever she spoke his name, unsettling him and tipping him off balance. â€œWhat happens now?â€
Tor narrowed his eyes on the distance and set his jaw, dark thoughts of what was to come swirling through his mind and destroying all of his soft feelings as it painted a delicious picture, a tempting and satisfying portrayal of death.
â€œYou get your revenge.â€
Did you enjoy today’s tease?
Betrayed by one of her own and turned into a vampire, hunter Eve is consumed by her hunger for vengeance and has spent five years surviving hell, driven to take the life of the man she once loved. But just as she is about to close in on the hunter-turned-vampire, an event is set in motion that threatens to see him slip beyond her grasp foreverâ€”the leader of her bloodline has sent an escort to bring her to the familyâ€™s mansion. To a nest of the very creatures she once hunted and loathes.
A vampire assassin hardened by centuries of service, Tor is a man of discipline and loyalty, never straying from his mission or the rules set out for him, and has purged all his weaknesses, including his emotions.
But the moment he meets the broken, fiery female he is to escort to Oslo, something dangerous awakens in him, something possessive and powerful, and when he is pulled into a deadly game of cat and mouse with the man who betrayed her, Tor discovers he will do anything to protect the woman slowly claiming his heart and give her the vengeance she desiresâ€”even break all the rules.
Can Eve embrace her new vampire nature in order to have her revenge and find a reason to live again in Tor? Can Tor and Eve stop the man who betrayed her and the deaths of thousands of innocents? Or will he succeed in creating a new army of hybrid vampires who will rise up against the purebloods?
NOTE: This book can be read out of order with the rest of the series and acts as a standalone vampire romance novel
You can get your hands on the first book in this series, PROPHECY: CHILD OF LIGHT, for FREE right now on selected Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Nook and Apple iBooks Stores. Find out more at my Paranormal Romance Ebook Offers page.
If you haven’t had a chance to read any of the books in the Vampires Realm romance series yet, they’re all available at major ebook retailers and some are available in paperback, and you can find the links and samples of the books at my website:
Prophecy: Child of Light (Vampires Realm Romance Series #1)
Prophecy: Caelestis & Aurorea (Vampires Realm Romance Series #2)
Prophecy: Dark Moon Rising (Vampires Realm Romance Series #3)
Eternity: The Beginning (Vampires Realm Romance Series #3.2)
Spellbound (Vampires Realm Romance Series #3.1)
Reunion (Vampires Realm Romance Series #3.5)
Seventh Circle (Vampires Realm Romance Series #4)
Winter’s Kiss (Vampires Realm Romance Series #5)
Hunter’s Moon (Vampires Realm Romance Series #6)
Masquerade (Vampires Realm Romance Series #7)
Hunger (Vampires Realm Romance Series #8)