Lindsay. Where are you?

“I’ve always believed your ability to feel human emotion is an asset to us,” Damien said.

Beside him, Malachai nodded.

Geoffrey, a seraph of few words, shrugged. “I’d be lying if I said I’ve never found a mortal woman attractive.”

Wings flexing restlessly, Adrian took several moments to decide what to say. “Perhaps we should recall all the Sentinels to the Point. Together, reflection may give us the answers and strength we seek.”

“I take strength from you, Captain,” Malachai said with quiet conviction.

How was that possible, Adrian wondered, when he didn’t have any strength to give? He didn’t know if there were hidden reserves left within him, he felt so tapped out.

Lindsay. Where are you?

The vein pulsed and throbbed with life, pumping nutrient-rich blood through the maid’s industriously working body.

Lindsay heard every beat of the woman’s heart as if she had a stethoscope to her ear. Her canines elongated and her mouth watered. Her hands fisted against the driving urge to feed.

Nearby, Syre sat on the love seat with his elbows resting on his parted knees and his forehead in his hands. His face was downturned, but Lindsay knew his gaze was bleak. He was grieving, his pain a palpable thing in the hotel room.

Torque stood in front of the small refrigerator at the wet bar, guarding the empty blood bags they’d used while watching her complete the Change. He studied her too closely, searching, as if he might find his sister in her, or some other miracle.

As for Lindsay, she sat at the small dining table and waited for the red-haired murderess to make an appearance. Impatient and anxious, the fingers of her right hand spun her cell phone on the tabletop. The red light blinking above the screen told her she had unheard messages from both Adrian and Elijah, but she felt no urge to listen. She was too far gone with hunger, like a junky jonesing for a fix. She was shaky and nauseous. Her body craved sustenance, but her stomach roiled at the thought of ingesting blood.

“It’s all in your head,” Torque had told her just that morning. “Have a taste and you’ll see.”

He was kind and considerate to her, as was Syre, but she felt like an imposter. As comfortable as she’d felt with Adrian, she felt equally awkward with the vampires. They didn’t know she’d spent the majority of her life hunting their kind. They didn’t know she wasn’t going to stop until she took out Vashti.

That slaying would mark the end of her life, she was pretty sure. They’d kill her then and that would be a blessing. There was nothing left for her anymore. Her parents were dead, she had to suck on veins to live, and Adrian would hate her if he saw her. He’d killed Shadoe—the woman he had loved to obsession and fallen from grace for—rather than see her become a vampire.

Outside the room, the wind moaned along the open hallway circling the inner atrium. The plaintive sound broke her heart—Adrian was in mourning, too.

The maid hurried out of the suite as if the hounds of hell were breathing down her neck. She couldn’t fail to feel the tension in the room. Lindsay wondered what the woman would do if she knew she was being contemplated as a great afternoon snack.

As the door began to swing closed, it was suddenly thrust inward again. Vash strode in on four-inch-heeled boots as if she were queen of the world.

Lindsay felt bloodlust and aggression explode inside her. Her nostrils flared, her eyes zeroing in on the woman she’d been waiting forever to kill. Her senses were so powerful now they overwhelmed her, but she wouldn’t get the opportunity to grow into them. She’d be permanently out of commission in about thirty minutes.

Vash tossed her long hair over her shoulder and shot a glance at Lindsay. She froze when their gazes met, her face taking on a look of disgruntled resignation.

“Aw, shit,” she muttered, the instant before Lindsay launched herself across the room.

She tackled the vamp into the love seat, narrowly missing Syre, who darted up and out of the way with impossible speed. The sofa snapped down the middle, folding around them like a taco. Sandwiched in the middle, Vash could do little to protect her jugular. With canines extended, Lindsay bit deep. Her fist pierced the cushions of the love seat, her hand searching for a length of broken wood from the frame. Vash writhed beneath her, cursing in a gurgling voice.

The vampress’s memories hit Lindsay with the force of Niagara Falls—Vash’s history, carried in her Fallen blood. The life force both Sentinels and the Fallen needed to survive.

Lindsay released her in a rush, stumbling backward to sit heavily atop the coffee table. She wiped her bloodied mouth with the back of her hand and felt the room spin from the rush of feeding and the surprise of discovering Vash’s innocence.

“It wasn’t you!” She gripped her pounding skull, feeling dizzy and disoriented by the onslaught of eons of recollections that didn’t include her mother’s death.

Vash regained her footing, one hand pressed to her spurting throat. “That’s your second free pass, you crazy bitch. Next time you come at me, it’ll cost you.”

“Whatever,” Lindsay muttered, crushed by the realization that she was once again facing the task of finding a needle in a haystack. Subsiding on blood for years while she did so held no appeal. She’d become the monster she hunted, and while she searched for her mother’s killer it would be the sickest hypocrisy to do to others what had been done to her. “Do me a favor and put me out of my misery.”

“Fucking A,” Vash said, just before nailing Lindsay in the head with a roundhouse kick.

Lindsay never saw the carpeted floor rushing up to meet her.

Adrian tossed his duffel bag on his bed and freed his wings, stretching them in an effort to ease the debilitating tension gripping his shoulders. He was heading toward his bathroom for a shower when a knock came to his open bedroom door.

Pausing, he faced Oliver, who looked as grim as every other face he’d seen over the last three days. “Yes?”

“You’re going to want to deal with this, Captain.”

The graveness of Oliver’s tone renewed the painful tautness in Adrian’s spine. “What is it?”

“There are vampires at the gate.”

Seething, Adrian exited onto the deck and flew to the end of the driveway, setting down just in front of the wrought-iron barrier. The guardhouse was empty, his property devoid of lycan presence. His solitary approach was reckless and foolhardy, displaying how little value he placed on his own life at the moment.

A town car with dark window tinting waited out on the main road, its nose already pointed back down the hill. Torque stood on the other side of the gate, along with Raze.

“Where are your dogs, Adrian?” Raze growled. The massive vampire’s lip curled as he surveyed the view from behind dark sunglasses.

“Don’t need them to deal with you.”

Torque rocked back on his heels. “I’ve got a present for you.”

Foreboding spread with icy tendrils across Adrian’s skin, but he affected boredom and said evenly, “Unless it’s Lindsay Gibson, I don’t give a fuck.”

“It is. And she’s dying.”

Adrian’s pulse skipped with life for the first time in days. Torque would not have brought Shadoe here. Only Lindsay—a woman Syre had no real connection to. But still, Adrian had to be sure. “Shadoe?”

Torque shook his head. “She’s gone. And Lindsay won’t feed. Aside from a chunk she tore out of Vash, she hasn’t drunk a drop. Her heartbeat has slowed to the point where I thought she was already dead by the time we got up here.”

Adrian was over the gate and ripping the door off the car before Torque could say more. Lindsay lay across the backseat, her once golden skin now pale as alabaster. He shielded her from the sun with his wings, completely disregarding the easy target he presented with his back to two vampires. She was still as death, her chest barely moving.

“Syre returns her to you in honor of Shadoe,” Torque said quietly. “She carried Shadoe’s soul. We owe her something for that, and you get to collect.”

Reaching in, Adrian shrouded her with the blanket tangled around her limp body and pulled her from the car. He held her close against him, then flew up and over the gate.

“You’re welcome!” Raze yelled after him, but Adrian was already rushing into the house.

He took her to his bedroom and tucked her into the bed, willing the drapes shut to block out the sun. Lindsay was as cold as refrigerated marble, and just as lifeless. He shed their clothes with a thought and crawled in beside her, pulling her close to impart the heat from his body. A violent shiver moved through him as her chilled frame pressed against his.

“Lindsay,” he whispered, burying his lips in her crown. She smelled wonderful, and he breathed her in with a shuddering inhale. Tears wet his face and her hair, the quiet of his room shattered by the serrated noises spilling unchecked from his aching throat.

He pulled back enough to examine her, his shaking hand pushing wayward curls away from her face. Her bloodless lips were slightly parted, revealing the tiniest tip of fang. His heart squeezed in his chest. “Neshama, don’t leave me.”

Adrian pushed his finger into her mouth, slicing the pad with the point of a razor-sharp canine. He slid the bleeding digit deep and stroked it across her tongue. “Feed,” he coaxed. “Feed or you will die, and kill me with you.”

He waited endless moments. When she didn’t move, Adrian withdrew and slit the pad of a second fingertip, pushing both bleeding fingers into the cool recesses of her mouth.

Her lips quivered.

“Yes, neshama sheli. Drink. Come back to me.”

A low, thready moan escaped her. Her throat worked on a tiny swallow.

“Drink of me,” he urged. “Take what you need.”

Another soft flex of her throat. Her eyelids fluttered, the skin so translucent he could see the fine network of blue veins coursing through them. They lifted, revealing the amber irises of a vampire. Her gaze was unfocused, her breathing still far too shallow.

He began to withdraw his fingers, but her tongue moved, pinning them to the roof of her mouth. She was too weak to hold him, and he pulled free, his lips curving with a grim smile when she mewled in protest.

Turning his head, Adrian traced his bleeding fingers over the thick artery in his neck. Her mouth followed blindly, open and rooting like a hungry babe. He caught the back of her head in his hand and directed her.

Her tongue licked back and forth over his pulsing vein, plumping it and arousing him in the process. When her fangs pierced his skin, his cock hardened instantly. Her mouth drew on him in rhythmic pulls, sending lust and desire radiating outward from the place where she fed. Her skin began to warm, her body gaining strength with every gulping swallow. Her groan vibrated against him and he jerked with the rush of sensation.

Lindsay began to rub against him, purring, succumbing to the sexual pleasure vamps found in feeding. Slinging her leg over his, she ground her sex against his thigh, leaving a slick trail of moisture behind.

He reached for her hips, further aroused by imagining the years ahead, endless days with the woman he loved forever by his side. “Put me inside you, Linds. Ride me till you come.”

Her fangs slipped free of his skin. “Until you come,” she breathed, mounting him.

Her tongue licked across the twin punctures, closing them. Reaching between them, she wrapped her warmed hands around his cock and positioned him at her entrance. She sheathed him in a deft, hard thrust of her hips that made him arch his back with a hiss of pleasure.

“My god . . . Adrian.” She nuzzled her temple against his, her breath hot as it blew across his ear. “I’ve missed you so much.”

Then she froze.

When she didn’t move and barely breathed, Adrian lifted her torso away from his to search her face. “Lindsay? What is it?”

She covered her mouth with her hand, her amber eyes darkening with shock and horror. “Oh! I’m sorry, Adrian. I—”

He took her face in his hands. “For what?”

As she shook her head, her eyes overflowed with pink-tinged tears. Her arms covered her breasts, a display of shame he couldn’t bear to see. Her tight, wet sex slid upward along his cock when she moved to leave him. “I’ve changed. I’m not—”

Adrian rolled and pinned her beneath him. “I want you more now than I ever have.”

“You can’t . . .”

“Oh yes, I can. I do.” He captured her arms above her head and kneed her thighs wider. He withdrew from her clinging depths with exquisite leisure, torturing them both. Then he hammered into her with a quick, hard thrust.

She gasped, her eyes wide and beautiful. A vampire’s eyes, with Lindsay’s pure, selfless soul shining behind them. Eyes that saw him as clearly in the darkness of his shrouded room as he saw her.

He pulled back and thrust again. “The feel of you feeding from my neck has me so damn hot for you. Feel how thick I am? How hard you’ve made me? You turn me inside out.”

Her thighs tightened around his hips, clasping him sweetly.

His eyes closed in gratitude at her acceptance. Hunger curled like heated iron around his spine, and he groaned. The feel of her was so sublime it burned through him, restoring life to him just as his blood had done for her. “What you are doesn’t matter to me. It never will. It’s who you are that I love.”

Her fingers dug into the backs of his hands, bringing a sharp bite of pain as newly formed claws pierced his flesh. That turned him on, too. His cock lengthened with his appreciation, filling her until she writhed. He was home, his soul completed by the proximity of hers—his Lindsay, so brave and selfless.

Enraptured by the feel of her beneath him, around him, he drove into her with powerful lunges. He watched the pleasure weight her eyelids and slacken her lush mouth. His wings spread out and away from the bed, quivering with the raging desire that built with every deep thrust.