Craved (Book #2 of the Vampire Legacy) (10 page)

BOOK: Craved (Book #2 of the Vampire Legacy)
9.71Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

She feared she might transform again, might be overwhelmed with a desire to feed on him, as she had been with Blake.

But to her relief and surprise, the desire never came. She couldn’t understand why, and she was beyond grateful. Her prayer had been answered. She was normal again.

Suddenly, to her surprise, Sage backed away. He suddenly took two steps back, turned from her, and faced the river. As he did, he raised one hand to his chest, and looked to be in pain.

She was confused. Had she done something wrong? Was he sick?

“What’s wrong?” she asked.

She came over and placed a hand on his back, wondering if he was okay. She was shocked: as fate would have it, the roles had reversed. He was the one that was suddenly backing away—not her.

“I’m sorry,” he said.

“What is it?” she asked, wondering if it was her. Had he changed his mind?

“I wish I could tell you,” he said. “I’m sorry,” he added. “But I have to go.”

Scarlet stared back, shocked.

“Did I do something wrong?” she asked.

He shook his head.

“It’s not you,” he answered. “It’s my…family.”

“Your family?” she asked, confused.

He closed his eyes, as if in pain, and slowly shook his head again.

“I’m sorry. Here. Please. Take my car. Bring yourself home. You have to leave now. I’m sorry.”

She looked at him as he held out the keys to his Lamborghini, flabbergasted and hurt.

“I can’t take your car,” she said, shocked. “I don’t even have my driver’s license. And it’s like a million dollar car.”

“It’s okay. Take it and bring it back tomorrow. You have to go now. I’m sorry. Please. Go.”

He held out the keys to her, and would not even look in her direction.

Scarlet’s heart was breaking. She had never felt more confused.

She reached up and took the keys, her hand shaking.

She slowly walked across the patio, heading back towards the house. Her heart was breaking, and at the same time she felt rejected, crushed. And more perplexed than anything.

If anyone should understand suddenly feeling sick, suddenly running away, it should be her. But she didn’t. She didn’t understand it at all. And she already felt tears welling up as she realized she might never be with Sage again.




Caitlin sat on the airplane, waiting for it to take off, and checked her cell yet again. She felt so guilty for leaving Caleb like this, especially with Scarlet missing—and felt especially guilty leaving the country. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d gone overseas, especially without Caleb. She couldn’t help but feel like a criminal, fleeing in the night. She was starting to have doubts if she was doing the right thing.

Caitlin kept trying to text and call Scarlet, as she had the entire way to the airport. She’d tried texting and calling Caleb, too. Neither answered. Caleb, she assumed, was just mad at her; but Scarlet, she feared, was out of touch. She felt that if there were any good news, she would have heard already. Her heart sank further as she sat there.

She hoped that when she got back, she could patch things up with Caleb. Explain it all to him, that he would believe her this time, understand. And that they could get their marriage and family back on the right track, put this whole nightmare behind them. When it was all over, she vowed to herself, she would burn her vampire journals, and never look at them again.

She reminded herself that she was doing this for Scarlet. She pulled out the torn page from her folder and examined it beneath the bright overhead light. She read it again and again, reading and re-reading the ancient ritual to cure a vampire. It seemed authentic. She prayed that it was. And she prayed that Scarlet, out there somewhere, hadn’t turned anyone yet. If she had, this ritual would be useless. She only hoped she could get to Paris, find the other half of the page, and get back in time to rescue her daughter.

“I’m sorry ma’am, but you’ll have to turn off all electronic devices,” came the voice.

Caitlin looked up and saw the flight attendant looking down at her, waiting. She checked her phone one last time:

No new messages.

Reluctantly, she powered it off, as the attendant left.

As the plane began to taxi, she felt a surge of anxiety. Was she just wasting time? Would this old bookstore in Paris even have the book? If so, would they have the missing page? Would the old woman even let her in? Was this all just a wild goose chase?

And most of all: if she found it, would it work?

Caitlin second-guessed herself even as the plane lifted into the air. She looked at her watch and realized she had nine hours until the plane touched down in Paris.

Those nine hours couldn’t come fast enough.




Sage sat there, on the wide stone patio, watching the moon drop against the Hudson. He had hardly moved since Scarlet had left. He couldn’t help feeling as if he’d messed it all up—and at the worst possible moment.

His heart was breaking inside. He felt closer to Scarlet than to anyone he’d ever encountered in his time on earth, and it had all been going so well. Looking into her eyes and kissing her had been the highlight of centuries.

And then, at the worst possible time, he had gotten struck with the pain. This last year, this final year of his life, the pains had been getting worse, coming more frequently and getting stronger the closer he came to his death date. Now, with just weeks left to live, the pains had become more intense and unpredictable—not just for him, but for every member of his clan. They came out of nowhere and sometimes, they were crippling.

How could he possibly explain that to Scarlet? What was he supposed to say? Was he supposed to tell her that he was an Immortalist? That he had been alive for nearly two thousand years? That he was struck with pain because he would be dead in just a few weeks? That his family had sent him here, to this place, to try to manipulate her, to gain her trust, to find out her secrets—and then kill her?

Of course, that was something he would never do. The moment he’d laid eyes on her, he knew he could never harm her. On the contrary, he’d felt that she was the love of his life, and only regretted that he’d met her with such little time left to live. Even if it meant his own death, he would go the end of the world to protect her. He would never try to get the necklace. If he did, then his clan would surely kill her. And that he could not allow.

So instead, he’d had to send her away like that, so abruptly, without even having a chance to explain. The thought of it broke his heart.

He sat there, slumped against the stone, head in his hands, and barely moved.

“There you are,” came the disapproving voice of his father.

“Figured we’d find you here,” echoed his mother.

Sage looked up, too tired, in too much emotional pain, to care. Still, his stomach twisted and turned at the sound of their voices. He could already sense their upset.

“Leave me alone,” he said, lowering his head.

A split second later, they managed to cross the entire balcony, and his father yanked him by the arm to his feet.

“You had her here,” he hissed, “and didn’t even try to obtain the necklace.”

“You acted like a stupid schoolboy in love,” his mother added.

“We have no time,” his dad said. “Don’t you realize? She holds the key. And you—you sit here playing your pathetic schoolboy games.”

“I’m sorry,” he said, trying to buy time, to think of how to deter them. “I was waiting for the right time. Then I get struck with the pains.”

“She’s the one we’ve been searching for for two thousand years. She holds the key to life, for all of us. You must get her to give you the necklace. Do you understand me?”

It was his father, placing a firm hand on his shoulder, staring down and talking down to him like he always had, for thousands of years.

“And what if I don’t?” Sage snapped back, feeling rebellious. He’d had enough. He was tired of being bossed around by them for these thousand years. “What are you going to do? Kill me?”

“Worse,” his mother snapped. “We’ll kill that little girl you like so much.”

Sage felt his stomach drop at the thought.

“What good will that do you?” he asked. “The necklace must be given voluntarily for it to work. Killing her won’t do you any good.”

“Well, if she won’t give it, then we have nothing to lose, do we?” his mother asked with an evil smile.

Sage examined their expressions and could see they were serious. The thought of their harming Scarlet was like a knife in his heart. He could see they were getting desperate. They were approaching death, too: he could see the color in their cheeks fading, their bones becoming more pronounced. In a few weeks, they’d be dead. They had nothing left to lose. They were different people now than they were centuries ago. And he feared they meant what they said.

He had to think of a way to stall them. Just long enough so that he could rescue Scarlet, get her far away from here.

“I promise, I’ll get the necklace,” he said. “Just don’t harm her. Just give me a chance.”

“You have until tomorrow night,” his dad snapped. “If you don’t have it by then, she’s dead. Lore will gladly do the job.”

The two of them turned and marched back into the house. Sage walked them go, then turned back to the river, looking out, contemplating what to do next. He had to save her before it was too late.

“Well well well,” came the voice.

He turned and saw Lore ambling towards him. He was clapping, in an exaggerated way.

“Nice theater. Mom and dad bought it, didn’t they? Can’t fool me, though. You’re not going to even try for that necklace. I can tell by that lost puppy-dog look.”

He sneered as he got closer, slowly circling him, his leather boots clicking on the stone.

“You’re pathetic,” he added. “Always have been. Romance died in the Middle Ages, in case someone forgot to give you the memo. She’s just human meat. Like all of them. Even if she is a vampire, who cares? She’s not one of us.”

“Stay away from me, Lore,” Sage said, feeling his anger well up. He was in no mood for this right now.

“Gladly. I’ll stay away from you—far away, when we’re all dead. In the meantime, I’m not as stupid as the others. You can bet I’ll kill her the second they give me the green light—if for no other reason than to rile you up. Besides, I like doing things like that. In fact, I like it so much, I might not even wait until tomorrow night. After all, what are they going to do? Punish me?”

He broke into laughter.

Sage couldn’t take it any longer. The centuries of Lore’s mocking and teasing had finally gotten to him: without thinking, he leapt into the air, reached out and strangled him. He carried him through the air, slamming him into the stone railing.

The railing shattered, and the two of them went down, off the edge, plunging dozens of feet below, and landing hard in the grass.

Lore spun around, and choked Sage. Sage kneed him in the gut, then reached around and knocked him off.

The two of them lay there, on their backs, beside each other, looking up at the moonlit sky, catching their breath. Sage wiped blood off the corner of his mouth. It was useless, he knew that: Lore couldn’t be killed. Just like him.

“I love you Sage, you know that?” Lore said, breaking into light laughter.

Just like him, Sage thought. In Lore’s sick, demented mind, this was love.

“Stay away from her,” Sage spat, getting to his feet slowly, limping across the lawn.

As he walked, already Lore’s mocking laughter filled the moonlit sky.

BOOK: Craved (Book #2 of the Vampire Legacy)
9.71Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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