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Even though I was supposed to be forgetting him, the whole time I was sitting there opposite Anna, that brown-eyed vampire was the only thing on my mind.

Chapter 34: Rose

After our visit to Anna’s house, our parents went directly to the Great Dome to call a meeting with their closest advisors. They were to discuss Kiev, and what to do about protecting the island long-term from Annora.

Ben and I walked alone in the woods back toward our penthouse. We didn’t say much to each other as we went up the elevator. We both retreated to our rooms. I looked around my room for my mobile phone. Then I went directly to my parents’ chambers and took their phone too. Stuffing both into my coat pocket, I left the apartment again and hurried down to the forest ground.

Anna’s revelation had told me to hold onto what I believed deep down to be true: that there was more to Caleb’s story than anyone realized.

I felt too restless to stay in the penthouse now. Hell, even walking around the island wasn’t enough to soothe the storm that was now raging within me. I knew that only one thing would solve my unease once and for all.

There was only one person on this island who could help me this time. And it wasn’t Corrine.

It had begun to pour with rain. Mud splashed and soaked my ankles as I ran through the forest, the hem of my dress soaking up the wet soil. Brushing aside the damp hair from my face, my eyes fixed ahead, I blazed forward.

I rushed toward the guest houses north-east of the island where I’d overheard our guests were staying. By the time I’d arrived, the entire bottom of my dress was soaked, my hair dripping.

I looked around at a row of townhouses that had been built along the beach especially for when we had extra visitors. There were about twenty houses, all built in a row.

Which one do I knock on first?

I figured that the first door to my right would be as good as any, so I knocked. A tall vampire came to the door. He had stubble on his face, and kind brown eyes. Matteo Borgia. “Rose Novak?”

I nodded and shook his hand. “I’m sorry to trouble you,” I said. “But could you tell me where Kiev is staying?”

Matteo poked his head out of the door and looked to his right along the row of houses. “Just two doors down,” he said, indicating the correct house.

“Thanks,” I said, and backed out of the gate.

He looked at me curiously before he finally shut the door.

I stopped in front of Kiev’s door, breathing deeply, trying to steady my nerves. I knocked, my throat feeling parched.

Footsteps approached and then the door opened slowly.

And there I was, standing in front of the dark legend that was Kiev Novalic. It was the first time I’d been in his presence all alone.

“Kiev,” I said, feeling uneasy as he looked down at me. I held out my hand, hoping it would break the ice. It only made things even more awkward when he didn’t take it. I lowered my hand and cleared my throat. “May I come inside?”

He frowned, then stepped back wordlessly and swung the door open for me to enter.

The inside was much like Anna’s house—and all the other humans’ townhouses. I walked through to the living room, still feeling his gaze on me. I walked to the edge of the room, leaving as much space between the two of us as possible, and looked at him.

Now that I was alone with him in this small room, the insanity of what I was doing rolled over me in waves. But I didn’t budge an inch. I knew I had to do this if I ever wanted to get my peace back.

I had to close what had been opened.

I couldn’t go on living in limbo like this, with so many doubts floating around in my head about the young man I feared still held pieces of my heart and mind.

“What do you want?” Kiev’s tone was harsh, piercing through the silence like the crack of a whip.

Running my hands along the back of an armchair, I leaned against it for support.

“I need the help of your, uh, girlfriend.”

He raised an eyebrow.

“It won’t take more than a few hours,” I said quickly. “But I need her to help me retrieve… something from one of Annora’s islands.”

He crossed the room, closing the distance between us like a panther.

“You have guts,” he said. “Like your mother.” He paused, his eyes drilling into me. “But why would I ask Mona to help you with this?”

I held his gaze, refusing to flinch. “You want to make amends with my parents,” I said.

His jaw twitched. “What is it you want to retrieve? Something of your parents?”

“Uh, well, it’s not actually a thing. It’s a… a vampire. I just need to speak to him for a short while.”

“People on that island are your parents’ enemies. If it really was my intention to make amends with your… parents—as you assume—this would be the opposite way to achieve it.”

He had me there. I’d talked myself into a corner.

I bit my lower lip and there was an awkward silence. “Well,” I muttered. “You could do it to make amends with me. You stole my twin, you know.”

He folded his arms across his chest as he continued staring at me. I thought he was going to ask me to leave, but instead, I could have sworn that his expression softened a little.

“Mona,” he called out. “You have a visitor.”

Floorboards creaked overhead and Mona appeared in the room a minute later. She wore a dressing gown, her blonde hair bunched up above her head in a messy bun.

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