Demon Gates (Helena Hawthorn Series #2)

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Unstable pt. 2

The instant the car stopped, Lucious grabbed the grumbling vampire and shoved him outside. He grasped him by the collar and made his way towards the warehouse with floor-to-ceiling windows.

“You’ll regret this. I am part of a much bigger group!” the vampire shouted and added a lot of words in German which Lucious took as an insult.

Too much time had been wasted on the journey. His patience was wearing thin. With a cold expression, Lucious paused and grabbed the vampire’s wounded shoulder, digging his fingers into his raw flesh.

The silver bullet there shifted. The vampire howled and spat on the ground with burning rage in his dark eyes.

A half-smile stretched Lucious’ lips. “If you do that again, I will cleave each limb off, one by one, until you have nothing but a torso and a head left. Are we in agreement?”

The vampire bit his lower lip in response.

“Good.”

“Lucious, it may be best if you let the hunters do this. I don’t want you to repeat what happened in 1888,” Alexander suggested, concern shining through in his grey eyes.

“Do you honestly believe I am willing to trust their ability over mine?” Lucious snapped at his friend. He knew Alexander was not at fault for this situation. There was no need to blame the only person who had been helping him throughout this endless mess, but he could not contain the unsettled feeling in his chest.

Alexander’s lips pressed into a grim line. He opened the glass door for them to enter.

The scents of new cars and motor oil assailed his sense of smell. Lucious furrowed his brow at a budding headache. “Where is the basement?”

“I wouldn’t know. I have not been here before,” Alexander replied.

The hunters carefully made their way into the showroom after them—the female had become visibly paler. Lucious had given her enough blood to heal quicker, but the blood loss he could do nothing about. His hold on the vampire’s collar tightened. He didn’t have time to babysit the hunters. They were not his problem.

Lucious scanned the showroom full of shiny new cars—an unnecessarily expensive commodity humans wasted money on. He spied a few open offices above and below the large winding metal staircase across the room and headed for it. Next to the office on the left, behind the wall that separated a single reception desk, was another door which he pushed open to find wooden steps leading into the basement.

As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, the vampire in front of him began struggling. Without a word of warning, Lucious caught the back of the vampire’s neck and pushed him down the steps. Once he heard a satisfying hard fall of a two-hundred-pound vampire, he flicked on the light switch.

An energy saving yellow bulb lit the dusty room full of alphabetically labelled boxes stacked atop of broad wooden shelves. Spare folded chairs were stacked against the wall, and he picked one up.

“It would be best if you tell me where Reaver’s hideout is to save yourself the pain,” Lucious said.

The vampire crawled away. “I can’t tell you what you’re looking for. She put a spell on us.”

“I don’t believe you.” Lucious unfolded the chair and slammed it down. “Sit!”

The vampire shook his head. His eyes darted from Lucious to the stairs. “I am speaking the truth. I cannot utter her name without her permission.”

Damned witches. He tried to push the fear of losing Helena away, but it crept up on him. I won’t lose anyone else. Fear’s crippling effect brought forth more anger and his irises glowed brighter.

“Where has Reaver taken her?” Lucious forced out through his teeth as he picked up the cowering vampire off the floor. A pack of cable ties sat on the shelves, and Lucious sneered. Damn the bloodlust or the need to save his woman. He needed to see this man suffer.

Lucious grabbed the pack, tore it open, and secured the struggling vampire to a chair.

“This is your last warning. Where have they taken her?” Lucious’ emotions drained from his face and voice. He felt detached from his body, this room, and the frightened vampire staring at him. This was business, nothing more. He needed the information, and, if this vampire denied him it, he had no other choice but to do what he did best.

“I swear, I can’t say it!” the vampire screamed.

Lucious patiently watched him. A witch’s spell had different strengths and time limits. The more powerful the user was, the longer the spell would hold. The young girl they met tonight couldn’t possibly possess much power. To be on the safe side, there was another way to break him out of Reaver’s hold—immense physical or mental suffering.

“This is nothing personal,” Lucious said, going on one knee next to the vampire. He studied the wounds on his thigh with interest. One of the silver bullets was lodged in the bone while the other’s trajectory showed it went right through. Both wounds were healing at a human’s pace, leaving a silver residue behind with which hunters coated their bullets.

Lucious retrieved his gun. He pressed it to the closing wound and sighed as he pulled the trigger to the vampire’s shouts for him to stop.

The gunshot was almost muffled by the proximity, but the vampire kept crying out in agony and cursing between his wails. Fat tears rolled down the man’s face and spit dribbled onto his dimpled chin.

Lucious returned his attention to the wound as he secured the weapon behind his back. It had been a while since he last done this. His nostrils flared. The scent of blood invaded him, clawing at his throat. Lucious forced his fingers into the newly formed wound, ripping the muscle and dermal tissue.

“Please…stop!” the vampire cried. “I can’t tell you! The spell, the spell is—I swear!”

Disregarding his pleas, Lucious tore his thigh open until he found the femur.

Someone gripped his shoulder, and Alexander’s voice reached him. “We must talk.”

“I am busy.”

“This form of questioning can wait. Come with me,” Alexander snapped.

Lucious stood and wiped the vampire’s blood on his tuxedo jacket. He followed Alexander out of the basement and into an office upstairs.

“Lucious, it feels wrong to do that to one of our kind. A quick death is much better than the torture you’re putting him through.”

“I have only just begun. It is the best way to break him out of Reaver’s mental hold,” Lucious countered.

Alexander stared at him blankly. “Are you serious? I have not seen you like this since the news of Anna’s death were fresh on your mind. It couldn’t be because of Helena, could it?”

Saying nothing, Lucious collapsed in a chair. He rested his elbows on his thighs and buried his face in his hands. “It’s not the same, Alexander. When my sire was gone, I was enraged. The need for vengeance consumed me. Here, I feel hopeless. There is anger coursing through me. The thirst is fighting back, but I need her to be here. I need to know she is safe.”

“How could you change so much after meeting Anna? What did she say to you?”

Lucious peeled his hands away and studied the concern on his friend’s face. “Do not look so worried. I am still in control of myself, of my feelings.”

Alexander raised a brow. “Isn’t it a little too late to try and fool me? You fell for her, and you fell hard. I warned you, yet you chose not to listen to my advice.” He sat on the glass desk and folded his arms across his chest. “Never get close to a woman. They have the power to destroy us from within.”

“Have you not forgiven yourself for Katharine’s death? Is that why you do not wish for anyone else around you to fall in love?”

Alexander fell silent and diverted his gaze.

“She means as much to me as Anna. I hope that answers your question.” Lucious started to rise.

“We need to contact Vincent’s home.”

Lucious paused and retook his seat. “Why would we contact the Council about this matter?”

“Not the Council. We seek out the servant who was with Helena on the day they visited the saint. She will know where the saint lives, and we could use her to barter for your woman.”

“And why would the saint willingly come to us?”

“It is worth a try, isn’t it? Helena considers them to be good enough friends to defend her. Perhaps the saint is of the same mindset. Plus, if that siren already read Helena’s mind, we can assume she knows where the saint is. If we warn her, she might help us.”

Lucious chuckled. “Did I ever tell you your plans are always strange?”

“I’m not the one who originally planned to use the saint as a trump card against the Council.”

“Fair point well made,” Lucious replied and waved his hand. “Go on. Make the call.”

Alexander offered the phone to Lucious. “It would be best if you make it.”

“Why?”

“Does not matter. Search for Vincent’s contact details.”

Lucious found Vincent’s number near the end of Alexander’s lengthy contacts list and tapped the screen to dial the ‘home’ number. He pressed the phone to his ear, listening to the dial tone.

A cheerful female voice greeted him. Lucious filled the maid in and, a minute later, Perri was on the other end of the line.

“Hello, Lucious. Is everything alright?”

“As a matter of fact, it is not. I need you to tell me the address of the saint you have visited with Helena.”

Silence fell between them. Is she going to respond or not? When he opened his mouth, Perri uttered a rushed reply, “Your friend has already tried to get that information from me, and I don’t believe Helena would want me to do this.”

Lucious raised a brow at Alexander who simply shrugged. It was just like him to check every avenue before moving forwards.

“Helena’s in danger. The saint is, too, if we do not inform her,” Lucious said.

Perri gasped. “Should I tell Master Vincent? He would want to know if something had happened. Perhaps he could—”

“No. Do not involve the Council in this matter. I need you to tell me the address, so we can contact her.” Lucious closed his eyes to keep his temper under control. “Please, help us.”

The quiet on the other end unnerved him. Unknowingly, he had squeezed the phone in his hand, hearing the plastic strain under the pressure. He was ready to go to Scotland and shake the answer out of her if it would get him what he wanted sooner.

Perri sighed. “This isn’t a joke? She is in danger, yes?”

Lucious forced out the words he never wished to speak. “Yes, she could die.”

The maid quoted the address, and Lucious ended the call. He rose from his seat. “While you are trying to get the saint, I will take care of our guest.”

“You should rest, Lucious. Your eyes, they’ve not stopped emitting light since you have found out about her being missing. You’re leaking your energy all over the place, too, which is giving me the chills.”

“I cannot. I must find her.”

Alexander grasped his forearm, stopping him from leaving. “Rest. I will get Tanya to bring the saint here. I know you are worried about Helena being away from you. But, are you more afraid of losing your life or hers?”

Lucious yanked his arm out of Alexander’s grasp. He had contemplated the answer over the months. Was she precious enough for him to sacrifice himself? And, every time, the answer remained the same. They were no longer two separate beings. They were one. The constant need to touch her or the urge to see her never went away. To him, the link may have been the reason why he had noticed her, but, after everything they had been through, she became the reason for him to keep going.

“I believe you already know my answer, Alexander.”

“If it is what I fear it to be, I suggest we hasten the search for information about breaking the bond the two of you share.”

Lucious left the office and sauntered into the mock living room in the middle of the showroom. He collapsed on the black leather sofa and raked his hands through his hair.

“I guess Zafira was right. That woman will be the death of me,” he muttered, closing his eyes.

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