Demon Gates (Helena Hawthorn Series #2)

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Bittersweet Memories

Lucious stormed into the Russian Roulette. Tanya, Alexander’s childe, said something, but he didn’t care what it was as he brushed past her. The rage in him wouldn’t subside. How could she tell him to leave? He came here to keep her safe, and she claimed the protection of the Council’s lackeys was enough for her.

He burst into Alexander’s office.

Alexander didn’t look up from his paperwork as he said, “It’s nice to see you, too, Lucious. Next time, knock. Never know what I might be up to in here.”

“It has been a while, lover,” Zafira piped in. She stood behind Alexander, her hand resting on his shoulder.

Lucious observed her. “Am I to believe the real reason you returned was to save Helena from the demon?”

She pouted. “Oh, it’s Helena now? You are getting awfully close with your human.”

“You know we are bound to each other. I have no choice.”

“You had a choice before you made the bond, Lucious.” Her voice rose. “Why did you do it? Why let some human girl become a part of you when you let no other woman in?”

Lucious was stumped. It was his first time hearing that Zafira had any romantic interest in him. Their relationship was always physical. Emotions were never important to her.

“Children, please stop. If you’re having a relationship crisis, deal with it elsewhere. I have paperwork to get through,” Alexander said, his grey eyes blazing with irritation.

Zafira gave him a peck on the cheek, glared at Lucious, and stormed out of the room.

Drained, Lucious collapsed into the seat across from Alexander. He took in a deep breath which did not help to calm him. Instead, it made him wish he had someone to throttle.

Alexander dropped his paperwork next to his laptop and raised a brow. “Zafira aside, I take it you’ve met with your human?”

“Why ask the question when you already know the answer?”

Alexander chuckled. He opened the drawer where he kept his alcohol and produced two crystal glasses along with a bottle of old scotch. He expertly poured their drinks, something they shared every time they were together. “You left your sire’s side to be with her. Any normal human would find it romantic or be swayed by your wish to protect her. Guess that’s not how it went for you.”

“Not exactly, no.”

“How about we drug her and keep her asleep? She will be harmless while we figure out what to do with the link.”

Lucious took a sip of his drink. Alexander’s out-of-the-box idea wasn’t something he could object to, not when she insisted on him leaving her side. He shook his head. He couldn’t be cruel to her. It would weaken her almost non-existent defences against the demon. From that afternoon, he could no longer feel the strange power buzzing around her. Her guardian was truly gone along with his protection.

“I’ve got other ideas if that one is too much,” Alexander offered.

One big mouthful was enough to finish his drink. Lucious swallowed the scotch, warming his parched throat as he pushed the rushing thoughts back. “Anna told me Helena must remain strong if she wants to keep the demon at bay long enough for us to figure out what to do.”

Alexander swirled the drink, his expression pensive. “I’m not a demonology expert. A handful of our kind pays attention to those from other realms. The fact a demon could cross into ours and have solid form baffles me. I suggest you mark her in the meantime.”

Marking a human was a dangerous business. It made the human obedient, but the process initially required both parties to be willing. She would not be able to disregard his commands. Yet, marked humans always grew to hate their owners. Many killed themselves if the vampire wasn’t careful enough.

“I don’t think that’s necessary.”

“You are too soft on her. She is an unpredictable danger magnet. Some control wouldn’t be a bad thing. She may thank you one day.”

Lucious shifted in his seat. Their conversation was becoming uncomfortable. “What about my childe? Where is he?”

Alexander finished his drink and poured them a second round. “I sent the kid to America to study Management. I must say, Andrew is something else. He’s not only managed to get used to humans in these past six months without a single incident, he also has a great head on his shoulders. You should be proud of your childe.”

“He managed to control the thirst in less than six months? Impossible…”

Alexander smirked. “Improbable, but not impossible. I can’t help but anticipate what he will show us next.”

Drumming his fingers on the armrest, he contemplated what this meant. Andrew couldn’t be a normal kid. Few vampires in history had overcome the thirst in such a record time. Then again, those gathered around Helena were never normal. He stood abruptly. “Keep an eye on him and keep him away as long as possible.”

“He is due back in two weeks, Lucious. I can’t make him stay any longer, and I don’t intend to torment him because of your indecisiveness. Make up your mind regarding your childe and the human, the sooner the better.”

“You like him that much?”

“Like I said”—Alexander knotted his fingers on his desk—“he’s a smart kid and is very earnest in his work. I say, let him be with your human and improve your relationship instead of keeping them apart.”

“I will think on it. Thank you for the drink.”

Lucious left the office. His anger had dissipated and was replaced with doubts and worry. From his pocket, he retrieved a small necklace from a velvet bag Vincent gave him before he left for Ireland. The Councilman said it belonged to Helena. Lucious stared at the intricate design of vines wrapped around an amber stone. The more he studied it, the more he noticed the protective barrier around the object.

It would suit her. He rested his side against the wall. Was the link the only reason he wanted to be next to her? Could it truly summon such possessiveness in him?

Alexander’s offer replayed on his mind. If he marked her, he would be able to keep her close. She would have no choice but to listen to him. Yet, she would never forgive him for taking away her free will. He raked his fingers through his hair. It had grown over the time he spent away from her, and she didn’t seem to notice. He snorted inwardly. What did it matter if she thought about him?

She is a human. She is food! He chanted the words in his mind, hoping they would ultimately sound like the truth.

The string between them trembled anxiously. She was scared. Lucious cursed under his breath. He was not going to sit around and wait until she let him remain by her side.

“Damn her,” he growled and headed for the apartment.

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