He shoved me until my back was against the island, his knees straddling me.
“Miss me?” He licked my cheek and pressed something metal against my chin.
“If you make a sound, I’ll pull the trigger and splatter your brains on the ceiling. Nod if you understand me.”
I nodded, too afraid to blink. His hand crushed my lips, but the gun barrel was still foremost in my thoughts.
“You’re coming with me. I own you. See, I’m the Sovereign now. You’re going to serve me until your cunt is worn out and your will is broken. Then I’m going to spill your blood for all to see. Like christening a boat. I’m going to rebuild it all.” A crazed light burned in his eyes. “And your boys in the library? They’ll be punished, too. But you’re the prize, the one I want. They’ll try to come after you. I’ll kill them and make you watch.” Spit flew from his lips, and he almost vibrated with excitement.
“Come quietly, or I’ll kill them all now. So what’s it going to be? Will you behave and come with me?”
“Do you promise, Stella?”
I nodded again.
“I’m going to take my hand off your mouth. Make a sound and I’ll kill you. No hesitation.” His soulless eyes made me believe every word.
He pulled his hand away slowly. I took a shuddering breath, but didn’t make any noise.
“Good girl. Now get up.” He pulled me to my feet and leaned close to speak in my ear. “I’m going to fuck you as soon as I get you where no one will hear you scream. Keep that in your mind. Hold onto it for me.” He pulled me away from the island. “Out the back door.”
Pushing me ahead of him, he shoved the barrel between my shoulder blades. Blood pooled around Renee as her unseeing eyes stared straight ahead. I walked past her, biting back my grief, and turned toward the rear of the house.
The door from the hall opened and Teddy walked in. “Stella, Laura sent me—”
The gunshot deafened me. Teddy fell to his knees, crimson spreading along his stomach as he stared up at me.
“Teddy!” I whirled and knocked the gun from Dylan’s hand, and then darted to the knives lined up along the wall over the stove. I pulled two down as yells erupted in the hallway. Dylan ran. I followed.
His feet thundered down the back steps and out onto the lawn. I couldn’t let him get away. He was fast, but I was faster. His bulk slowed him down as I sprinted after him, his blond hair glowing in the bright moonlight. Everything inside me was numb—everything except the need for vengeance.
I gained on him, my feet sure on the grass as he ran past the garage toward a car parked under the oaks. I pushed harder until everything burned. When I finally caught up with him, I cut a slashing arc across his back.
He screamed but kept running. I shoved my hand out, embedding a knife in his thick torso. He slowed stumbled. I slashed him again and dropped to his knees, only a few yards shy of his car.
I circled to his front and kicked him so he landed on his back, the knife penetrating deeper. Bloody bubbles rose from his lips as I settled on top of him.
Someone yelled my name. I stabbed downward. Dylan screamed weakly. I withdrew the knife and did it again. I stabbed and stabbed until Sin grabbed my wrist and pulled me to my feet.
“Stop. It’s over. Stop.”
“Renee? Teddy?” A car reversed out of the garage and squealed tires, passing us and almost knocking us over with the draft.
“Renee is gone. Teddy—” His voice broke.
I dropped the knife and wrapped my arms around him.
“Lucius took him.”
“I left Dylan alive. This is my fault.” I shuddered, everything shaken all the way down to my soul.
“No.” He stroked my hair as Laura ran out the front door and collapsed on the stairs, head in her hands. “You didn’t do this.”
“Renee.” A flash of her kind smile on the first day we met struck me like a slap in the face. “Are you sure? Maybe she—maybe…”
“No. Shh. She’s gone. I’m sorry.”
I stared down at Dylan, blood covering his throat and face. Pulling back, I looked down at my red hands, the blood seeping into my shirt and jeans. I shook even harder.
“You’re in shock. Come inside.”
“We need to go to the hospital. We have to help Teddy.”
Sin locked his arm around my waist and guided me to the porch. “We will, but we can’t take you like this.”
“We have to—”
“Lucius has him. We’ll leave as soon as you’re okay.” His voice remained calm as he hurried me up the front steps.
“Laura, I’m going to get Stella cleaned up. Pull my sedan around. We’ll all go to the hospital as soon as we’re done.”