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I wondered if Kiev would have given in to this request had it come from my brother. Somehow, I doubted it. It was no secret that he’d had a crush on my mother—perhaps he still did—and I reminded him of her. While all Ben did was remind Kiev of my father.

Kiev looked me over once more before stalking out of the room. Mona sat down on the sofa opposite me.

“Rose Novak… Yes?”

“Yes.”

“Well? What do you want?” she asked.

“I would like to ask a favor of you,” I began. “I need you to fetch someone for me. A vampire. Caleb Achilles is his name. He’s the leader of the same island you rescued my parents from. I need to talk to him.”

“He’s an enemy of this island. Why would you want to meet him?”

“Mona, it’s… complicated. I just ask this small favor of you. I only need to talk to him for a few minutes.”

She frowned at me. “But if I stole him away from the island, where would you meet him? Here, in The Shade?”

“Oh, no,” I said quickly, shaking my head. “There’s no way I could bring him here. There’s a rock formation a few miles out to sea, outside the boundary of our spell. You could find him and then drop him off there. Then come for me.” I described to her exactly where Caleb’s quarters were located in the castle to the best of my memory. “I also ask that neither of you mention this to my parents.”

“But is he safe?” she asked, eyeing me. “You want to be alone with him on the rocks?”

I paused, considering her question.

“You don’t need to be there,” I said, with conviction I didn’t understand. “I have two of the phones that Corrine has programmed to be able to communicate with The Shade.” I reached into my pocket and handed her one.

She stared at the phone as if it was some kind of alien object. “I’m sorry,” she said, running a finger over the screen. “I’m not used to all this human technology yet. This is the first time I’ve entered the human realm.”

“Well, it’s really not difficult.” I showed her how to select my number in case she needed to call me, and made her practice answering a phone call from me. It didn’t take more than a few minutes for her to feel comfortable using it.

“So I’ll phone you when I need you to come for me,” I said.

“All right,” she replied. “But we’d better be finished before the meeting I have with Corrine later. I’m due to meet her in a couple of hours.”

I nodded. “We’ll definitely be done.”

“Let’s do this now then,” she muttered.

Still wearing her dressing gown, she stood up and vanished.

The thought of being perhaps minutes away from seeing Caleb again released a swarm of butterflies in my stomach. I kept looking at the clock. My palms felt sweaty as I listened to it ticking.

Almost ten minutes later, Mona reappeared. Her hair looked more disheveled than when she’d left, but otherwise she looked unscathed. Furrowing her brows, she looked at me and nodded. “He’s waiting.”

“Okay,” I croaked.

I stood up. The floor felt like it moved beneath my feet as I approached her. I reached out and gripped her shoulder. As soon as our bodies touched, we vanished together.

My heart raced, not from the wind howling around me or my body being flung miles through the air at the speed of light, but the prospect of Caleb standing there once I reached the other side.

Chapter 35: Rose

When I opened my eyes, I was standing on top of a sharp rock. This bare island was perhaps only a few thousand square feet. The moon and stars were the only source of light. A dark figure stood near the edge, his back facing me.

Mona was gone. I reached into my pocket and squeezed my phone.

As I made my way toward him, he whirled around. His eyes widened in shock. “Rose?” His voice was hoarse.

Cautiously, I closed the distance between us until I was standing just a few feet away from him. Now I could see him better.

My eyes fell on his bare torso. The only clothes he had on were pants. I wondered what Caleb had been doing when Mona had stolen him away.

I was having trouble speaking. My throat felt painful.

“What are you doing here?” He still seemed too shocked to see me to suspect I could be behind it.

“I asked the witch to bring you here,” I said, steeling myself for his response.

But he barely reacted. He just stood staring at me in confusion.

“You lied to me about stealing Anna. Why?”

He leapt the remaining distance between us and gripped my shoulders. “Tell the witch to take me back, now,” he growled.

Not until I find closure.

He gripped my jaw, his other hand reaching for the back of my neck. “You’re in no position to be making demands of me, girl,” he said.

He was so close, I felt his cool breath against my skin. I reached for his hands and pulled against them. “Oh, I think I am,” I said softly. “You’re stuck on this island until I call for the witch.”

He breathed out sharply and released me. He turned his back on me and ran to the edge of the water. “What does it even matter?” he snapped.

Now it was my turn to snap. “As much as this may have all been a game to you, it wasn’t for me.” My cheeks burned with embarrassment for having admitted this in front of him.

He paced up and down, staring out at the ocean.

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