Darkness Dawns

Page 54

He leaned closer, eyes cold as ice. “‘Now we can be a family again,’ he was telling her. ‘We’ll be together for eternity, Catherine. You, me, and the baby.’ The sick bastard had tried to turn a pregnant woman but, driven by bloodlust, had savaged her throat too badly instead!”

Bastien’s heart began to pound.

No hint of deception bled forth from Roland. There was irritation over Bastien’s refusal to listen, disgust over Blaise’s actions, and anger over the death of the woman and her babe, yet nothing that indicated he wasn’t telling the absolute truth.

“And there were others,” Roland persisted. “At least six other women murdered just in the two weeks I hunted him.”

Mouth suddenly dry, Bastien forced himself to speak. “Were they pregnant?”

“The last three were. Noticeably. If the earlier victims were, you couldn’t tell by looking and I didn’t check.”

Something inside Bastien started to crumble. His disbelief. His faith in his friend. He felt sick.

It couldn’t be true. It couldn’t. Everything that had driven him for the past two hundred years could not have been a lie.

“What is it?” Sarah asked cautiously.

He met her gaze, wondering if the pain and nausea invading him now was similar to what she must have felt when she had hit her head. “Cat was pregnant when she died.”

Sarah bit her lip, her eyes turning sorrowful. “Your sister’s name was Cat?”

“Short for Catherine.”

Roland sighed heavily and stepped back.

Bastien met the immortal’s gaze. “If you didn’t kill her … who did?”

Roland shook his head regretfully. “You already know the answer to that.”


Chapter 18

Sarah watched the emotions flitting across Bastien’s battered face. Even though she was angry at him for kidnapping her and trying to kill Roland, she couldn’t help but feel sorry for him.

He had been trying to avenge his sister’s death and instead had learned that his brother-in-law and best friend was the one who had murdered her, and he had his enemy to thank for bringing him to justice.

What a mess.

“Why?” he asked Roland. “Why would he kill her? He loved her. I know he did.”

“The bloodlust is very strong in the beginning, even stronger in vampires than it is in us.” Roland shook his head. “He may have only intended to take a sip and lost control. It’s how I killed my wife.”

Sarah wished she could find a way to erase that memory for him.

Seth, Marcus, Lisette, and Étienne entered the next room.

Their faces were Jackson Pollocked with scarlet streaks and blotches. Lisette and Étienne’s rubber suits glistened wetly and sported numerous neat cuts. Marcus’s clothing was torn in several places and boasted large damp patches. Seth’s clothes, though stained, were completely intact.

All four, from the knees down, looked as though they had waded through a vat of blood.

As they strolled forward to stand just inside the entrance of the small room Sarah, Roland, and Bastien occupied, Bastien stiffened and straightened his shoulders.

Marcus took in the chains on the wall, as well as Roland’s and Bastien’s bloody dishevelment, with speculative eyes.

Lisette moved to stand beside Sarah. “Are you all right?”

She nodded. “How about you?”

“I could use a shower.”

Bastien stared at Seth. “You’re the daywalker.”

“Yes.” Seth looked past Sarah at the painting, his face grim. “I know this comes inexcusably late”—he met Bastien’s combative gaze—“but I would like to offer my sincere condolences on the death of your sister.”

Bastien’s look turned uncertain.

Seth’s words, his expression, his body language broadcasted nothing but genuine regret.

Kindness was surely the last thing Bastien had expected from the leader of the Immortal Guardians.

“Where are my men?” Bastien asked in a low voice.

“Are they your men?” Marcus asked. “Did you transform them?”

When Bastien refused to answer, Seth said, “No, he recruited them after others transformed, then abandoned them.”

“Where are my men?” he asked again.

Marcus, Lisette, and Étienne looked away.

“They’re dead,” Seth informed him flatly.

Bastien blanched. “All of them?”

Sarah wondered how close he had been to them, if he had considered them his friends.

“All but one of the humans—”

“You said you didn’t kill humans!” Bastien shouted, turning on Roland before Seth could finish.

“I said we didn’t kill innocents,” Roland corrected.

Lisette nodded. “And those men were not innocent, Bastien. They were depraved. They just hid it well.”

Bastien shook his head, his face full of denial. “What about the vampires? Did you kill them, too?”

“All but three,” Seth acknowledged.

The next thing Sarah knew, Bastien was beside her, yanking the sword from her hands and swinging it at Seth with phenomenal speed.

Seth vanished before the blade could strike home. The other immortals lunged at Bastien, then stopped short when Seth reappeared behind him. Wrapping one arm around the younger immortal’s chest and sword arm and the other around his neck, he deftly restrained him.

“Étienne, you and Lisette take the vampires and the human we spared to the network. They’re to be guarded at all times, but treated well. I’ll call later with further instructions.”

The network.

Sarah’s eyes widened. Chris!

She had forgotten all about him. He had been guarding her when Bastien had taken her. Had Bastien …

Were Chris and his men dead?

She couldn’t remember what had happened.

“Roland,” Seth went on, curbing Bastien’s struggles as easily as a parent would a child’s, “don’t kill Chris when you see him.”

Relief supplanted worry. Chris was okay, then.

Roland’s expression turned mutinous.

“None of us knew Bastien had found the tunnels,” Seth said. “Had he been aware, Chris would have been better prepared.”

Étienne frowned. “He got in through the tunnels?”


Roland glared at Bastien. “How the hell did you know about them?”

“It’s called surveillance, asshole,” Bastien snarled.

Sarah sighed. She supposed she could understand his hostility. He had just found out that Roland’s friends had killed all but four of his.

In the next instant, Seth and Bastien vanished.

The tension in the room left with them.

“So,” Marcus said, “someone want to clue me in? Unlike Seth and these two”—he motioned to Lisette and Étienne—“I can’t read minds. What happened to the sister?”

Roland motioned to the painting. “Shortly after turning vampire, her husband killed her. To cover his ass, he said I killed her, then transformed him. Hence Bastien’s thirst for revenge.”

Marcus stared at the figures in the portrait. “She was Bastien’s sister?”

Roland frowned. “You knew her?”

He looked uneasy. “No.”

“But you recognize her. How …” Trailing off, Roland groaned. “Don’t tell me.”

Marcus nodded. “She was at your house the afternoon it burned down and she was standing in the corner just now when we came in.”

Everyone followed his gaze to the empty corner opposite the portrait.

A chill skittered down Sarah’s spine. Roland had told her Marcus could see dead people. Had Catherine’s ghost been there, watching, the whole time?

“Is she still there?” Lisette asked uncomfortably.

“No, she vanished when Seth and Bastien did.”

Shoulders drooping wearily, Roland dropped his sai, crossed to Sarah, and took her in his arms.

Sarah clung to him, glad it was finally over.

As Roland rested his cheek atop her hair, she buried her face in his chest.

Behind them, Étienne spoke.

“Marcus, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. That shit is creepy.”

The moment Seth teleported Bastien and himself into the massive entrance hall of his castle in England, he released him.

Stumbling forward several steps, the newly discovered immortal swung around and raised his sword. “What …?” His faintly glowing gaze scoured his surroundings. “What did you do? Where are we?”

“My home,” Seth told him. “One of them, anyway.”

“Where are the others?”

“Still in your basement, where we left them.”

“Why have you brought me here?”

Seth read Sebastien’s mind without difficulty, feeling only slightly guilty for the intrusion. His new charge thought Seth was going to kill him and was digging deep to find strength enough to fight him.

“I didn’t bring you here to harm you, Sebastien. I brought you here to do what I should have done during the first few weeks after you were transformed: help you understand who and what you are and aid you in making a new life for yourself.”

Sebastien barked out a bitter laugh. “Are you kidding me? I had a life. I had a purpose, people I cared about, people I was trying to help, and you just slaughtered them all!”

David entered from the kitchen, munching an apple.

Sword held out defensively in front of him, Sebastien angled his body so that he faced both of them.

“You’re back,” David commented, studying Sebastien curiously and with a complete lack of fear or concern over his weapon. “How did it go?”

“It went,” Seth replied. “You may have cared for the men you commanded, Sebastien, but they didn’t care for you. They were using you, taking advantage of the safety you provided. They were not your friends.”

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