Demon Gates (Helena Hawthorn Series #2)

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Seeking Danger pt. 3

When the steel doors of the lift slid open to reveal Alexander’s apartment, Helena’s breath hitched. Over a dozen people were walking around the room with strange devices in their hands and large headphones covering their ears. She raised a questioning brow to an equally confused Andrew.

Alexander emerged from the mass of people in black suits. On his approach, Helena asked, “Are you filming a crime drama here?”

He checked his watch and studied Andrew, obviously disregarding her previous question. “Stay here and watch them sweep the place for bugs. I don’t trust those hunters. I’ll take her with me to see the saint.”

“I’m coming, too,” Andrew protested.

“I don’t believe that’ll be necessary,” Alexander replied.

As always, everyone was ignoring what she wanted and did as they pleased. With a disgruntled mumble, she brushed past them and headed for her room.

“Where are you going?” both of them asked at the same time, and she could swear they sounded almost identical.

She lifted her hand into the air, jingling the stones around her wrist. “To cleanse my bracelets while you two decide on who’s going to babysit me.”

“You took the words right out of my mouth,” Alexander said.

Helena shot him a withering look and entered her room. She rummaged through her duffel bag, retrieving the plastic sandwich bag into which she had dumped the blessed salts. Once the bracelets were off, she dropped them inside. Dark tendrils streamed out of the amber stones. They sought her fingers and vanished. She struggled to keep hold of the bag, not wanting to have Lazarus’ energy clinging to her like a disease.

The beautiful sunset colour returned to the stones, and she slipped the bracelets back on.

Outside of her room, Alexander had his back resting on the opposite wall. “What took you so long?”

Helena bit back a snide remark and prayed for patience with this infuriating man. “Take me to Nadine, Alexander.”

He pushed away from the wall. “I’m contemplating whether or not to bring the hunters with us. They may be a good distraction for the saint to prevent her from turning my staff into badly burned toast.”

“No. Maya’s healing, and Ben needs to look after her. I don’t think Nadine came here to attack anyone unless you aggravate her. Let me talk to her first,” Helena said, her confidence returning.

Alexander’s dark brows drifted together into an almost pained expression. “As much as I despise it, it is my job to keep you alive. Isn’t it logical to have measures in place to prevent a disaster?”

“I know you don’t care about what I think but could you, this once, trust me on this?”

They stood there like two gladiators in a Colosseum, assessing each other before the fight in search of any weak spots.

Alexander’s lips pressed into a tight line. She could see it was hard for him to do, but he gave a nod and started walking.

Taking this as her first minor victory, she ran after him, fighting a smile. It won’t be easy, yet, one day, she would get him to trust her. If Andrew managed to earn his trust, she could, too—eventually. Not exactly the lifetime goal she ever thought she would have when she first came in contact with him. But, since Andrew respected him and, Lucious was his good friend, it would be foolish of her to keep fighting that vampire. He had helped her out a lot and rubbed it in like salt into a raw wound.

They took the lift to the second floor where Alexander led the way through a series of curving corridors to an office-like area. The sign on the door read, ‘Boardroom’ and he pushed the door open for her.

“Ladies first,” he said.

Helena couldn’t tell if he was mocking her or not. She spied Nadine, sitting alone at a giant round table that dwarfed her delicate frame.

Nadine lifted her gaze from her journal and stashed it into her bag. She shot Helena a tired smile. “You’re here.”

“Yeah, I’m sorry it took so long.” Helena edged around the table. She settled into a leather seat next to Nadine and studied Alexander as he watched the saint with a predator-like gaze.

“Leave, vampire. This matter is between Helena and I,” Nadine said with venom in her voice.

“I cannot be certain you will not roast her when I turn my back, so I will have to decline your kind offer.”

Helena shook her head. This was going nowhere. She recognised Alexander’s worry, but she knew Nadine wasn’t here to hurt her. Torn between what she should say, she was saved by Alexander’s phone going off.

His eyes settled on the smooth screen, and he shot Helena a brief glance of…concern?

She was about go over to him when he raised a hand. “Have it your way, saint. I have to take this call, but if you harm a single hair on her head, I’ll make a meal out of you.”

Alexander left the boardroom, and the door clicked shut behind him.

Nadine faced her. “Are those creatures always this assertive?”

“You don’t know the half of it!” Helena complained and fell back into her chair. “I can honestly say he alone can drive me mad in less than a minute.”

“I did warn you not to go with the vampire. You should have trusted me to protect you.”

Helena stifled a chuckle. “I thought I was keeping you safe at the time.”

A musical laughter escaped from the saint’s pink lips. “That is quite a conundrum. Both of us were trying to save one another, yet neither knew of the other’s intentions.”

Helena imagined what her world would have been like if she didn’t return with Lucious. Perhaps, Michael would remain by her side, and the nightmares would have ended long ago. Maybe the women in Andreaz’s harem would be alive and well, too. Her expression fell, and Helena stared at her lap. A sudden urge to contact Laura and make sure she was alright took over as her phone seemingly gained a few pounds in her pocket.

“Did I say something to upset you?”

Helena refocused her attention on the girl. “No, it’s not that. I was wondering what my life would be like if I did go with you back then.”

“Don’t dwell on the past and concentrate on the matters at hand, Helena. I learned to…forget the painful events and move on. Otherwise, we can’t push forward and lose ourselves to the darkness in our hearts.” The pained tone Nadine spoke with made Helena’s heart ache. Whatever this girl had been through had to have been awful enough to separate her from the rest of the world.

“Why did you come here?” Helena asked in an attempt to wipe away the hardened expression on Nadine’s face.

The saint bowed her head. Her dark fringe fell over her eyes like a veil. “I wanted to thank you for informing me of Reaver’s attempt to capture me. I won’t say this to the vampire you came here with, but I am sorry for eliminating two of his men. I had to show my power to prevent them from dragging me elsewhere.”

Helena’s brows jumped. “You killed two of Alexander’s men by yourself?”

“Of course. I would have done the same thing to the vampire I met at your apartment, but you stopped me.”

An image of Lucious’ dead body did not sit well with Helena. She shifted in her suddenly uncomfortable leather seat. “Do you know how we can stop the demon?”

“You have found an Arcanae Mortum?”

“It wasn’t easy, believe me,” Helena admitted with a nervous laugh.

“I see...”

“Do you know of a way to get to him?” She nibbled on her lower lip, waiting for Nadine to answer the question that had been brewing in her mind since they got their hands on the weapon. With Lazarus gone, she could return her life to normal. No more nightmares that left her waking in a cold sweat or worrying about the bracelets she needed to purify.

“You must pass through a Demon Gate and enter the Demon Realm if you wish to do so,” Nadine explained, her expression growing grim. “It is not a simple task. Death often finds those who attempt the journey into the realm of darkness.”

Helena dismissed the warning, storing it at the back of her mind for later. Her life was in danger regardless if she was attempting to kill a demon or waiting for him to take her soul by force. With those being her only two choices, she would rather try killing him and fail than wait for the monster to plot his next scheme.

“Do you know where the gates are?”

Nadine eyed her with pity. “Yes, I can sense them as they can sense my presence. To pry one open, we would need a lot of power. If you can find a Circle of witches, I can use them as conduits to amplify my powers.”

“And here I thought one witch was enough trouble, now I am forced to seek out more of them,” Alexander complained from the doorway.

“The sooner we can take care of the demon, the faster you’ll be rid of me,” Helena said, annoyed that she didn’t notice him coming back into the room.

Alexander chuckled. “I have a nagging feeling you will find other ways to bring danger to yourself and Lucious, young lady.”

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