Demon Gates (Helena Hawthorn Series #2)

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The Quinns pt. 2

Alexander was kind enough not to ask any questions on the way to his apartment, which Helena found to be both confusing and relaxing. As far as she could tell, his place remained the same: extravagant, spacious, and expensive.

When she stepped out of the lift, she helped Maya get to the sofa in the living room.

Maya grasped her hand. “Don’t let it get to you. You didn’t do anything wrong.”

Helena snorted, pulling back. “If I went in first, this situation could have been avoided. They could have lived.”

“You don’t know that. If they had orders to kill you, they would have done so without batting an eye.”

“Is that what you’re going to do once you go back to being a hunter?”

Maya’s face fell. “I can’t go back. Ben helped a vampire kill other hunters. If anyone finds out, we will be shot on sight. It’s freelance hunting for us from now on.”

“How would they know you were involved?”

“The bullet holes, Helena. Hunters make their own bullets. That’s why Ben agreed on taking the bodies out of your place. Now that they’re left behind, we will be put on a wanted list.”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t know…”

“It’s alright. It may not have been the best choice, but it was the right one. Your friend’s parents needed a proper burial.”

Ben plopped on the sofa across from them and studied the girls. “Stop mulling over the semantics, Maya. I trained you to trust me, so trust me. I’ll deal with the problems when the time comes.”

“But, Ben.”

“No buts. Think of it as a bad week—an insufferably long and tiring week—and try to recover your strength. We have a demon to hunt now that we have the weapon.”

Helena lowered her gaze and took Maya’s hand in hers.

Maya leant in and whispered to Helena, “I wanted to say this earlier, sis. Your hands are ice cold. Are you alright?”

This wasn’t the first time she was told this. Her mother pointed it out a few times when their hands brushed at the café or at home. Perri hinted at it, too.

“It’s because of the link. I don’t know why, but since I created it my body temperature dropped to thirty,” Helena admitted.

“Could you be turning into one of them?” Maya asked.

Helena found Ben’s eyes focused on her, and her gut twisted. She couldn’t answer as she didn’t know enough about the link. With Michael’s disappearance, there was no way of getting any more information about it. Not like he would share any of it.

She stood abruptly, separating from Maya’s warmth. Too many friends had been lost since she created the link. Andrew died, Laura became a stranger, Michael vanished without an explanation, and Nadine seemed wary around her because of the vampires. How long until Maya and Ben leave my side, too?

“Helena? Is that you?” a voice she recognised drifted in from the entrance.

She froze. It had been too long since she had heard it. She wished for it and dreaded hearing it for the past six months of her ever-changing life. Slowly, she turned to face the man in question. “Andrew?”

His shocked expression didn’t last long. It was replaced with a boyish grin. He closed the distance between them with his unnatural speed and scooped her into his arms, trapping her in an iron embrace.

“I’ve missed you, Thorn,” Andrew said into her hair. “You can’t imagine how much.”

Helena wrapped her arms around him, enjoying the softness of the business suit he wore. She revelled in the fresh scent of his cologne. It wasn’t a dream. This was the real Andrew. He had returned to her.

Maya cleared her throat. “I take it you two know one another? Just how many vampire pals do you have?”

Helena’s smile fell, and she withdrew from Andrew. He wasn’t the same guy she knew. Their last encounter surfaced to the forefront of her mind, and she cringed at the memory of his teeth sinking into her neck and tearing at her sensitive flesh.

“I’m sorry, who are you?” Andrew asked.

Maya assessed him with a measuring stare and grinned. “I’m someone who kills your kind, and that’s my partner over there.”

Andrew’s face hardened. His eyes lit with an alien green glow as he faced Helena. “You brought hunters into Alexander’s home?”

“Calm down,” Alexander chided as he entered the room. “They’re in the same demon-infested boat which was why I couldn’t see you when you returned from America. Vienna is not a place I will be returning to anytime soon.”

Andrew’s irises bled back to their natural forest-green, and he shot Helena a sheepish smile. “I didn’t mean to—”

“It’s fine. I’m sure there’s a lot we have to talk about.”

“And you two can get to know one another again in my office. I’ll join in on the drama shortly,” Alexander suggested.

Andrew took Helena’s hand and strode past Alexander into the hallway. Taking the second door on his left, he pushed Helena into the office and closed the door behind him.

“I have to agree with the old man. We need to talk,” he finally said.

Helena hugged her sides. “I know. So much has happened. I don’t know where to start.”

“How about with why you haven’t contacted me in six months?” Andrew asked, sounding hurt.

“What are you talking about?”

He grasped her arms. “I’ve sent you countless messages, I called you, and you never answered. Is that why you reacted the way you did when the hunter mentioned what I was? Are you repulsed by me?”

“That’s not it. I never received those calls or texts. And, don’t you hate me for asking Lucious to turn you?”

Andrew’s grip on her arms relaxed, and he wrapped her in another hug. “I get it now. It’s fine. As long as you’re not the one who hid from me, I can forgive anything.”

The door opened, and Alexander ambled in. “You two are getting back together quicker than I expected.”

Andrew peeled away but didn’t let go of her. “Care to explain why we didn’t get each other’s messages, Alexander?”

Helena looked from one stern face to another. She glared at Alexander. “You did this?”

“I didn’t do anything. Andrew is not my childe, and you are not my human. The request to keep you two apart came from Lucious.”

Her face paled, and she looked away. “He wouldn’t…”

“Yes, he would!” Andrew snapped. “I can’t stand that bastard. Why couldn’t you ask Alexander to be my sire instead?”

“I didn’t exactly have much of a choice at the time. You were dying, Andrew!”

“I’m already dead, Helena. I drink blood and take pleasure in it for Christ’s sake!” he yelled back.

“Ah, don’t worry too much about it,” Alexander interjected. “She had spent a lovely night with Lucious in Vienna. Everyone had to leave to not feel awkward later.”

Helena shot him another glare. “Don’t get involved in this.”

“You slept with my sire?” Andrew ran his hands through his caramel-brown hair and laughed. “This is unbelievable. I spent the past six months doing my best to conquer the burning thirst, and you were sleeping with Lucious?”

Helena crossed her arms. “What gives you the right to say things like that? You and I never dated.”

“Children, I suggest you use the power of logic. The only reason Lucious wanted you two apart is because he wanted to tame this shrew,” Alexander said, waving at Helena. “Did you honestly believe he was infatuated with you? As far I as I recall, he said he doesn’t love you.”

“You were listening?”

“I couldn’t let him out of my sight after what he did to our captive. Lucious is in a bad place right now. He doesn’t need you to jerk him around and drag him to Hell with you. He barely made it out of his first descent and is already falling back in. Why do you think that is?”

Her stomach dropped as Alexander continued, “It is because you seek out danger instead of staying put.”

“Enough, Alexander,” Andrew warned and shielded her with his body.

“I’m merely stating the facts. I don’t deal in anything else.” Alexander left the room.

Helena stared at Andrew’s broad back. He was the man in the room with her, yet her mind sought someone else. She wanted Lucious to appear and deny everything Alexander had said. But, the truth remained blatant and bare before her eyes. She could no longer hide from it, not when Lucious admitted to not loving her.

Her heart jolted in its prison and her eyes watered. “I’m an idiot.”

Andrew’s face softened, and he lifted her chin. He brushed the loose strands of her hair out of her eyes. “I was serious when I said I had waited for you. When I see my sire, I’ll be sure to punch his lights out for doing this to us. But first, I want you to try to forget about him. He’s not worth your tears.”

She processed his words and had to agree. She was too stubborn to see the signs and the truth behind those eyes that sent shivers through her or those soft lips that caressed her nerves with electricity. “I need some time. I can’t—”

“Rest assured, Thorn, I’m not leaving your side.”

“You should quit it with the nickname. I never liked it.”

Andrew pouted and ruffled her hair. “I’m going to spend a lot of time trying to figure out the things you like and don’t like from now on. So, cheer up. In the world’s eyes, I’m good-looking, young, and a successful businessman.”

She playfully swatted his hand away. “I can agree with two out of three of those things.”

“Oh, and which one do you believe is not true?”

“That would be telling,” she replied, and, this time, her smile was genuine.

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