Demon Gates (Helena Hawthorn Series #2)

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Stages Of Madness pt. 3

Staring at the metal door, he waited for Zafira to return. He had made up his mind to spend the night with her to rid his body of the blood. Without her help, he could not be with Helena to protect her. He had one day left to get back on his feet, yet he still wanted to tear the throat out of any human he might set his sights on.

He heard the clicking of heels against the concrete and the door to his confinement opened.

Zafira peeked inside with a smirk on her bronzed face. “I see you have decided.”

“You know me well.”

She sashayed into the cell and closed the door behind her. Her eyes narrowed on him. “I am disappointed you did not fight this longer. Or are you using me so you can be at her side?”

“Isn’t that what you have proposed?”

Zafira glared at him. “You know I offered it because I care for you.”

“Spare me the drama, Zafira. I do not have the time for it,” he retorted, rising to his full height.

She closed the distance between them and planted soft kisses on his lips, his unshaven cheek, and trailed them along his sharp jawline. “You, my lover, are a pain in the ass to romance.”

“I thought you hated the idea of hearts and flowers.”

She snorted. “I guess you know me as well as I know you.”

“Let’s get this over with.” He wrapped his arms around her slender body and surrendered to her touch.

Lucious was spent. He could not even lift his arm when Zafira slid off him.

She grinned at him and put on her bra. “Even when you’re crazed with bloodlust, you’re still good in bed.”

“This is the last time.”

“That’s what you always say.” She got dressed and gave him a pleased smile. “Your eyes are back to normal. Looks like you can return to society.”

Lucious tried raising his head off the floor, but the best he could manage was a roll to one side. He found that his clothes were scattered around the cell, most of which were too far for him to retrieve without help.

“Mind tossing me my trousers?”

An evil glint lit her eyes as she lifted them off the floor with one finger. “Since I didn’t get you to be my man, I’ll be taking these as a trophy of my endeavour.”

“I’ll be left bare-assed if you do that.”

“You were fine with it at my Cambridge villa.”

Lucious rubbed his tired eyes. “I swear it is not my company you enjoy but the torment you dispense.”

She crossed the cell to the door and blew him a kiss. “I’ll tell Alexander to pick you up in a few. Hopefully, you can procure a sock or two by then.”

With a chuckle, he sat up. Every muscle in his exhausted body hurt, but the thirst overriding his mind was gone. At last, he could think straight.

His eyes shifted to his palms. He held Zafira in his arms, wishing it was someone else. Yet, he could not force himself on Helena. Not until she wanted him to be with her. And, with Andrew’s return drawing near, Lucious was running out of time to claim her heart. The way she looked at his childe when he was killed at The Rift tormented him. She had to have feelings for that boy as there was no other explanation for the agony reflected in her glistening eyes. Lucious had to accept this. He wanted her to belong solely to him, but he knew that once she meets his childe again, she will flee to Andrew’s side and abandon him in the dark.

Alexander burst into the cell and covered his eyes. “God, Lucious, you could have put on a pair of pants by now.”

“Very funny, Alexander. I’m certain you couldn’t miss Zafira’s gloating over the theft of my clothing.”

Alexander’s lips stretched into a smile. “She is a fox, and I am glad I have no dealings with her outside of the office.”

Lucious pointed at the remnants of his grey T-shirt. “Mind passing it to me?”

When Alexander tossed the top at him, Lucious was too slow to catch it and the material hit him in the face, sliding down before landing in his lap.

Alexander chuckled in the corner. “Once we get you out of here, you’ll have to sleep for a day or so. Vincent was quite specific about the procedure to get you back on your feet.”

Lucious held the cloth over his family jewels and raised a brow. “You went as far as informing the Council of my descent?”

“I only contacted Vincent. He assured me that nothing will be passed on to Anna or Eliza.”

“Very well.”

Alexander draped Lucious’ arm over his shoulders and lifted him while Lucious clutched the T-shirt in front of his groin. “Let’s get you into a bed.”

When Lucious woke up the next night, the link trembled with strange emotions he could not decipher. He sat up and glanced at the half-full blood bag laying on the nightstand. His eyes focused on the motionless, scarlet liquid in the clear plastic, and he shifted closer to it.

Once he realised what he was doing, he grasped his wrist with his other hand and scooted away, warily studying the bag.

Alexander entered the bedroom with a faint click of the door. “You can drink that much every four days until you adjust. It may weaken you in the long run, but you won’t have another relapse.”

Lucious nodded but did not touch the blood. Instead, he found clothes neatly arranged on the metal chair next to the bed and put them on. “Where is she?”

His friend sighed. “When will you stop asking about her? She is with the hunters. Nothing has changed. We are due to meet them in Vienna in six hours.”

“Have they already departed?” he asked, tugging on a pair of black jeans.

“Yes, and…” Alexander paused long enough to make Lucious turn around and face him.

“And what?”

“I made a deal with Reaver.”

Lucious grimaced. Reaver was a collector of sorts—a man who scoured the Earth for rare items which he locked away in his prized, secure vault to keep them from prying eyes. The man was not known to bail on any of his trades, and he expected the same in return.

Lucious froze in the middle of buttoning his ebony shirt. “What kind of deal?”

“The kind where we’ll give him the location of the saint in exchange for the demon blade.”

Lucious finished getting dressed as agitation set in. He picked up the blood bag, took off the cap, and gulped down the contents, leaving no time to enjoy the taste he had missed dearly. The second he finished, he tossed the empty bag back on the nightstand and faced Alexander once his temper was under control. “Are you bloody mad?”

“It was either that or no deal.”

“Helena is the only one who knows where the saint lives,” Lucious said. “She won’t betray her trust.”

Alexander reclined against the wall and crossed his arms. “Then convince her. It’s her life or the saint’s. Any normal person would choose themselves.”

“You do not know how loyal she is to her friends.”

“She won’t give up such information to me, but she might give it to you. Talk her into it. Tell her it’s the only way.”

Lucious sighed. “What are the chances of us succeeding without handing over the details?”

“Zero percent. It would be worse than breaking into the Council since there would be no one coming to our rescue when we get our asses handed to us.”

“Helena can do magic. She’s Wiccan.”

Alexander’s eyes widened. “Wasn’t she supposed to be human?”

“That was before she cast a purification spell that worked,” he snapped. “And what did you mean about the hunters trading her in?”

Alexander lifted his hand, silencing Lucious’ outburst. “Well, shit. Since she is a witch with a rare link to a vampire and can make such unearthly bonds, the hunters may, indeed, trade her without needing me to be there.”

“Alexander, I begged you to bring her here. Why didn’t you do it?”

His friend shook his head and lowered his gaze. “I thought keeping you apart was for the best. She kept calling, asking how you were, and I got tired of it and made the deal with the hunters and Reaver. I told you, she gets on my nerves.”

“And now she may be in danger because of your inability to control yourself,” Lucious hissed and grabbed a leather jacket off the back of the chair. He put it on and grasped Alexander by the arm, leading him out of the room. “Let us hope it is not too late.”

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