The Lost Saint Page 75

I almost laughed, but then I stopped myself, because I knew it would come out as a sob. I was quiet for a while as I composed myself. “Yeah,” I said. “Yeah, that would be awesome.”

I heard Daniel’s chains rattle as he changed positions. I took a deep breath and concentrated some power into my eyes until my night vision returned. I found Daniel kneeling on the concrete in front of me. I didn’t know if he could see me in the dark, but he had one of his special smiles—the one that said he was truly happy—on his lips.

“So you’ll do it?” he asked.

“Do what?”

Daniel shifted so he was on only one knee now.

“What the hell are you doing?”

“Grace Divine, when all this crap is over, and we’re out of college, and you take some time off from kicking bad-guy butt, will you marry me?”

He might as well have just kicked me in the chest the way all my breath seeped out of me and my heart seemed to stop beating. “You can’t be serious.”

“I’m as serious as I’ve ever been.”

I laid my head against the concrete floor, unable to respond. What did he think he was doing? How could he ask me to make promises for a future we had no chance of having? Didn’t he know how this ripped my heart in two?

“Yes,” I finally whispered, because even though I knew our getting married would never happen now, I wanted him to be happy—if only for a moment.

I rolled over and closed my eyes. I willed myself not to fall asleep again. I didn’t want to dream about rescue again. No more fantasizing about my life beyond the next few hours. Instead, I pictured Daniel going off to Trenton, then moving into that apartment on his own and becoming a designer.

I wasn’t leaving here, but if I could help it, Daniel would. Maybe I could create enough of a diversion to give Daniel a chance to escape. Maybe Caleb would be thrown off guard enough by my choice to die that Daniel could find a chance to get away. Maybe someone could be bribed to help us—if only we had something to bribe him with.

I reached my hand out toward Daniel, still unable to touch him. “Will you promise me something? A real promise. Not the kind that gets broken.”

“Okay,” Daniel said hesitantly.

“Promise me that if you get a chance to escape, you’ll take it. No matter what.”

“There’s no way in hell I’m going to leave you behind.”

“But what if it’s too late for me—”

“That’s not going to happen.”

“But what if it does? If it’s too late for me, and you get a chance to run, promise me you’ll get away from here as fast as you can? You won’t hesitate, or look back? You’ll run to my family and take them someplace safe?”

“Yes,” Daniel said. “But only—”

A loud clanking noise cut him off, and the door slid open. Eight of Caleb’s boys entered the room.

CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE

In the Lion’s Den

A MOMENT LATER

They were all shirtless, Caleb’s pack. I didn’t know why. Maybe just to show off their impressive muscles or the SK tattoos on their shoulders or biceps. Three came to me, and another three went to Daniel. The last two yanked Gabriel up from where he lay.

One unlocked my shackles while the others held me tight. I kicked and flailed, as did Daniel, but Gabriel didn’t resist as they dragged us out of the dungeonlike room. They walked us up a flight of stairs. I went limp and refused to move, hoping my resistance might create some type of distraction for the others, but one of my captors merely grabbed me and threw me over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. I could see the rippling muscles down his back, but I still knew where he was vulnerable. I was about to slam my fists into his kidneys when another guy grabbed my hands and held them in an iron-tight grip.

Gelal, I thought, sizing him up. This one I could kill if I needed to. But the one holding me was most definitely Urbat. He stank like a rabid dog.

My ride flipped me over when we got to the top of the stairs, and tossed me to the ground. I didn’t hesitate and scrambled to my feet, but then two of the guys were holding me again. Jude stood there watching the whole thing, unmoved. Caleb stepped out of his room and met us on the balcony overlooking the warehouse floor. An evil grin spread across his face.

“I hope you two enjoyed your time together. I know we enjoyed watching it.”

One of the guys holding me laughed.

The security camera. Of course, they had been watching.

“It was quite touching, watching you two blather on about true love and all that rot. Although perhaps we should have made your chains longer. Some of us were hoping for a little skin after that kiss.” He gave me a once-over with his eyes that made me want to vomit. His gaze lingered on my legs, making me wish my dress were about four feet longer. “Although I’ll have more time for exploring that later.”

Three more of the guys laughed. They sounded like sick hyenas.

Daniel thrashed in his captors’ hands. “Don’t you dare touch her!” he shouted at his father.

“Oh, don’t worry. We’ll be gentle—at first. It’s been a while since we’ve had a girl in our home.”

“Probably because they don’t last long once you get your paws on them,” Talbot growled from the shadows just beyond Caleb. I noticed him there for the first time, his hands tied with cording and two of Caleb’s Akhs holding him. The last time I’d seen Talbot, he’d been the guard at our door. Why was he tied up now?

“That’s why I wouldn’t bring her to you,” Talbot said. “You don’t deserve to have her.”

Caleb snapped his long fingers, and one of Talbot’s captors punched him in the gut. Talbot doubled over and coughed.

“Talbot was supposed to turn you during the last couple weeks. He usually has a talent for it. But apparently you have more influence over him than he had over you. That’s one of the reasons I decided to wait until this morning to turn you myself. Not only is anticipation one of the best parts of the game, but I also wanted to see who was still loyal to me. I expected one of them to try to free you last night, only I’d expected it to be your brother, not my own beta.”

So that was why Talbot was tied up again. He’d tried to rescue us. Perhaps that commotion I’d heard at the door hadn’t been a dream after all. Yet my own brother stood by Caleb’s side, unrestrained, unwilling, unwanting to do anything. Maybe I’d been wrong about there still being good in him.

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