Leila stood there, staring at the man she didn’t think she would ever have to confront again. He’d told her she was his lily, the beautiful flower he couldn’t live without… but he’d lied, hadn’t he?
Shifting away from him, she went over the reasons for not trusting him in her mind a thousand times. But in this case, she needed him. He was a requirement to save someone she loved so desperately. Farrah was more important to her than some petty moment between her and Mael.
Of course, it hadn’t felt petty at the time. Long ago, she’d buried that part of herself. And now, with him back in the picture—for what seemed to be long-term—she would have to face the heartbreak still haunting her all these years later. It had taken half a century for her to stop turning over and reaching for him in the night. She would need a lifetime to forget him. Thankfully, as a vampire, she had many human lifetimes to practice.
“Leila, you wanna look at this?”
She wasn’t sure how long Farah had been staring at her. Nor was she sure what, exactly, she’d said moments before. “Yeah, of course.” She blinked, bringing her thoughts back to the present. There were a million things to consider. One of Farrah’s clients was still missing. Concerning, especially since she was one of the Order of Immortals members’ daughters. Tarik was a pretty scary dude, from what Leila had heard. Presumably, Eire had been kidnapped by the hunters that Mael and Anwar had ended last month. But they had no idea where the humans had taken her.
Reluctantly, Leila approached the group of them as they hovered over an iPad while reviewing the traffic cam footage provided by the Order. It was a serious situation, which was the reason Leila didn’t need to split her attention between the matter at hand and the fallen angel who’d broken her heart. “Anything so far?” She asked the question while avoiding Mael’s all-too-frequent, lustful glances.
“You recognize this car?” Anwar asked. He was apparently an Atlantean warrior, a prince from the race that had spawned vampires. Leila supposed that meant she should thank him. But could she trust him with Farrah? Farrah was all she had left in the world, and Leila didn’t want her to end up like her. With a stone for a heart. Leila was against mating but not against Farrah’s happiness.
“I don’t think so… Why?”
Anwar cast a questioning glance in Mael’s direction.
“Because this guy, whoever he is, has been going to Melody for over a month. Night after night. Like he’s searching for something. And—” Mael hit the touchscreen, bringing up another set of cameras. The building was one step away from demolition. A slim figure appeared, stalking the perimeter, aggression in every step. “This is the warehouse where they held you and Farrah the day before the shit went down. Seems to be a human, but I can’t get a good view of his distinguishing features.”
Melody was her place, and she couldn’t stand the thought that someone had possibly used her bar to do harm to Farrah. “Hmph,” Leila said, then leaned down to get a closer look. She still stopped by her club often, even if every night recently was spent at the Vintage Modernism Authority, otherwise known as the Vampire Matchmaking Agency, or the VMA by clients. Even with Anwar and Mael bird-dogging Melody, she wasn’t quite ready to trust them with something she loved. Mael had already shown her who he was once. She didn’t need a second lesson. “I haven’t seen him. But I can run him by Mike, my regular bartender.”
“I bet,” Farrah said with a chuckle. She was attempting humor.
Leila had dabbled with Mike on one long-ago night, but that wasn’t something she wanted to admit. Farrah had had some suspicions, of course. “Let it go, Elsa. I’ll let you know what he says. Can you print me out a clearer image?” While she was asking Mael, she kept her eyes trained on Anwar. She couldn’t risk the possibility of exposing herself, and her secret longing, to the bastard. Mael had her heart on a string, and any one tug might just implode the raggedy thing.