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“I survived this long. So can you,” he said softly. “You're smarter than you give yourself credit for and if you could just curb your tendency to take the easiest route-”

“I do not,” she protested.

He looked at her pointedly. “You don't just go with your whims and take whatever option seems easiest?”

“Okay, when you put it like that,” she admitted. “But my need to run away seems to be coming in handy. ”

Laughing at this comment, he reached out and took her by the shoulders. “You just need to not depend on your good luck to pull you through. ”

“Good luck! Give me a freaking break. I have the worst luck known to man. Or woman. Or small dogs and cats. ” She shook her head and broke away from him to keep walking.

“You have better luck than you think you do,” Cian said firmly.

Turning back toward him, she said, “Yeah? Prove it?”

“You found me. ”

“Yeah, and awakening your inner vampire, scaring the shit out of your girlfriend, and screwing up your life. ”

“Then that's my bad luck,” he corrected her. He smiled and walked up to her.

In her heels, she was a little taller than him.

“I train you. You leave. I go back to planning my wedding. You get smart and outwit The Summoner and we both live happily ever after. ”

“I think happily ever after is bullshit,” Amaliya responded.

Chapter Fifteen

Cian hadn't known what to say to Amaliya after she declared happily ever afters as bullshit and resorted to walking in silence. All night he had felt on edge with her, as though he was standing on uneven ground and about to crash. Watching her hunt had made him want to take her so badly and taste her new blood, that he had to concentrate with all his will to restrain himself. He had only broken down a few times, but had luckily pulled himself back.

He had to admit to himself that being with another vampire was liberating and intoxicating. It made the night seem that much more vibrant and the world around him so much more alluring. He had been locked away in his tightly controlled world with Roberto and Samantha and had removed himself from the predatory need that he now felt rippling through him.

Amaliya walked slightly ahead of him, drunken with her new blood, and obviously feeling pretty damn good from the alcohol that had laced it. She seemed a bit tipsy to him. Twirling around on her high heels, she gave him an alluring smile. He wasn't even sure if she was aware of her seduction of him. She just seemed to flit along on her whims. Flipping her hair back over her shoulders, she returned to walking along before him.

The enormous man was on her before Cian could even blink. The human form came out of the shadows and punched her hard across the side of the face. She staggered back, her expression startled, but then it grew horrified.

“Rob!”

The man gripped her by the throat and lifted her off the ground. A terrible gurgling noise came from the man that almost sounded like speech. Cian realized the attacker was actually dead and that could only mean The Summoner was nearby.

Amaliya twisted in the creatures grip as its dead fingers began to sink into her flesh.

Cian rushed forward and struck the creature with a brutal blow to the temple. It barely faltered as its fingers crushed Amaliya's throat and blood began to spout from her neck. Unable to scream, Amaliya's hands and feet scrabbled at the creatures body as she tried to wrench herself free.

Gripping the creatures fingers, Cian began to try to pry them free of her throat. Blood streamed over the dead man's hands and made Cian's grip slippery. Growling in frustration, he began to break the digits one by one. If he didn't hurry, the dead thing would decapitate Amaliya and end her.

Struggling in the shadows, the three supernatural creatures fought with desperation. Amaliya gasped as one hand came free from her throat, but the creature immediately began clawing at her ribcage, trying to push its broken hand into her flesh to rip out her heart.

With a furious cry of frustration, Amaliya hissed, “Let me go!”

Cian was breaking the creatures wrist, when it staggered backward and shook its head. Her hands covering her gashed neck, Amaliya's eyes were glowing not red, but white.

“Rob, fuck off,” she growled.

The creature was actually a very large man that was obviously very dead. His vivisection scar and the damage Amaliya had inflicted on him just a few nights before were clear on his white, enormous belly. He was naked and grotesque. The thing tossed its head back and forth in frustration, its broken hands clawing at its head. It staggered forward again, but Amaliya hissed, “Back off” and it fell back.

A low cry issued forth from its mouth, then it charged toward her.

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