Demon Gates (Helena Hawthorn Series #2)

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A Bird In A Cage pt. 5

Helena cleansed her bracelets with the blessed salts and relaxed on the sofa, stretching her bruised legs on the cushions. She finally got a hold of her laptop and didn’t know what to do now that she had the time to use it. With a shake of her head, she closed the lid. There was no point in using it if she didn’t have anyone to contact on the other side.

At least, her mother hadn’t stopped caring. She called earlier, asking if Helena wanted to attend the work party with Richard in her stead since her mother was planning on going on a city break for a few days with her friends. Helena declined.

The doorbell echoed throughout the apartment.

“I’ll answer,” Helena called out before Maya could rise from her seat. She seemed to be reading one of Laura’s romance novels and hadn’t put it down since she discovered the book.

Helena rushed for the door and swung it open. Once she set her sights on their visitor, her mouth stopped working. She had seen this woman before—the stranger who saved her from Lazarus.

“Are you going to let me in or what?” the woman asked in a clipped tone.

She stepped aside, and the dark-haired beauty waltzed in.

The woman flicked her loose curls over her shoulder, glancing at Maya sprawled on the sofa and back to Helena. “I have a message from Alexander.”

Helena closed the door. “Come in and…er…take a seat. Do you want tea or coffee?”

“I don’t want anything from you,” the stranger snapped. Nonetheless, she made her way to the sofa but didn’t take a seat.

Maya’s book was already on the floor and her other hand was on the gun behind her back.

“I didn’t get a chance to thank you,” Helena said.

“I didn’t save you because I wanted to,” the brunette said. She ran her hand through her thick, dark mane. “I don’t have time for pleasantries. Alexander wanted to know if you were going with his plan or not.”

Maya studied the uncertainty on Helena’s face and turned her attention to their guest. “How do you fit into Helena’s life? Are you Alexander’s childe?”

The woman scoffed, and her dark eyes narrowed on Maya. “If I was you, I would stop talking. Your hunter stench is giving me a headache.”

“I can give you a few silver bullets to the chest instead if you like?” Maya offered in an overly sweet voice.

“Don’t be foolish. I am entertaining you as is every vampire who walks in here. You are alone, your partner is elsewhere. A hunter without a partner is no threat.”

Maya’s smile faded. “Do you want to test that theory?”

“Stop it, Maya and you—what’s your name?” Helena asked.

The stranger glared at Helena. “I am Zafira, and you are not someone who can order me around.”

“I didn’t mean it to seem that way.”

“You’ve hurt my man, sending him into a descent, and now you pretend nothing has happened while you’re cooped up with two hunters. This is almost poetic.”

“Yo-your man?”

Zafira’s dark eyes bore into her. “Yes, my Lucious. If you ever do so much as touch him again, I will snap every one of your fingers and then some. Since I can’t kill you, I will have to wait until we find a way to break that bond between you. He is as eager as I am to get it over and done with.”

Helena’s words failed her. She took a shaky step back. Her heart ached more than the muscles in her body after a day’s training. The words Zafira said tore at her soul. How could she have been so naïve? He was with someone all along. It made sense that he had a vampire as his partner. What did that make her? Was he toying with her? Or was he desperate to keep her tied to him and decided to omit having a girlfriend? As rage and sorrow battled for dominance, she didn’t know whether she wanted to cry or scream.

Ignoring her heart, Helena didn’t let her voice waver. “We are going to Vienna to get the weapon. We will meet Alexander there.”

Zafira smirked and left with a couple of unpleasant parting words.

The evening training with Maya exhausted her to the point where she could no longer move. She tried to stop thinking about Lucious and couldn’t. The more she thought about him, the more her heart felt as if it was being pulled apart by demons. She had to let him go.

Not like he was mine to begin with.

Helena stood in the noisy airport terminal. The hunters got through customs with their guns and, as it turned out, they had military clearance for weapon transportation which they showed off at the security checkpoint. They were granted entry without any questions. In the meantime, she was stuck in the lengthy queue of people and their screaming children.

This opportunity gave her time to think. She had to create some distance between her and Lucious. It was for the best if they didn’t see each other. The ache in her chest plagued her, and her worry for him wouldn’t subside. Her mind forced her to run in endless loops which kept her awake last night.

She let out a heavy sigh. “Wherever you are, Lucious, I hope you’re feeling better.”

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