“I’m far stronger than Goliath, human. He was a fool to let such a beautiful woman go. A fool to order her death.”
“You know what I think? I think that you’re a sick old man.” I spat in his face. “A pathetic monster!”
Fury overtook his features then and he brought me away from the wall before slamming me back with all the force his old body could possibly possess. I screamed out in agony as sharp pain shot through my side and already injured arm. Dane pulled me towards him and then slammed me again in anger. I crumpled against the wall, injured and hopeless. He was going to kill me here. I closed my eyes, summoning the most precious images I could imagine. Perhaps it was knowing that death was near that gave me the strength to ignore the crashing pain within my head and think of the people dearest to me. My grandmother smiling and alive, unwrapping yet another toffee with the lily brooch pinned against her breast. June and Abriella, surrounded by the other servants but far away from this house and away from the murderous Dane. Finally I thought of Ashley. My Ashley, with the familiar loose strands of hair caressing his face. I pictured the tenderness he often had in his gaze.
“I’d advise you against killing my maid.”
His voice was like silver. At first I thought that I was hallucinating. But no, I really was hearing that wonderful voice cutting through the air. He really was here to save me again. My eyes snapped open.
Like the first time he’d said those words Ashley had a look of blazing fury in his eyes. Only this time the fury was mixed with a terrible hatred. Both magnified his terrifying beauty.
I’d expected Dane’s grip to loosen with Ashley’s appearance. I’d expected him to behave as Isaac had that time in the lonely corridor. Instead his hand tightened around my neck. My pulse beat heavily; I could hear it my head. Was he actually still trying to kill me with Ashley standing there? I tried to take a breath but only the slightest slither of air made it down my throat. A fog of darkness was beginning to cover my gaze but I saw Ashley through the slits in my eyelids. That look of tenderness was in his eyes, but he was running. He was closing the distance between me and him with impossible speed.
I didn’t hear the punch but I felt it jerk Dane’s body. Then came the relief from Dane’s grasp that I’d been expecting. I staggered away from Dane, not knowing which direction I was heading, just knowing that I had to put as much distance as possible between myself and the old vampire. I inhaled, letting the air fill my lungs and clear my sight completely. Ashley grabbed Dane by the collar and slammed him into the wall that I had occupied moments earlier. Dane struck back at lightning speed. His fist made contact with Ashley’s jaw and my scream was so weak it sounded like a gasp. Unknowingly I backed away from the fight, towards the dining room door.
I couldn’t bear to see Ashley’s pain. It felt so wrong to standby and do nothing to help. But I knew that there was nothing that I could do and my heart ached at the position he was in. I took another step back. Dane pushed into Ashley with his full weight and I snapped my eyes shut unconsciously. I couldn’t watch him in pain.
A sinister tingle spread down my spine. Despite the sounds of conflict I could hear from Dane and Ashley’s fight, I didn’t miss the faint thump of a door hitting the doorframe behind me. I sensed a presence appear at my shoulder. I didn’t open my eyes, I didn’t turn around. I already had strong suspicions of the sight that would greet me.
“You do cause quite a bit of trouble, my dear.” Isaac’s buttery smooth voice trickled into my ear.
He was closer to me than I’d expected. I flinched and he responded with a throaty laugh that I knew would haunt my dreams.
“At least I assume you’re the reason that Goliath’s son is engaged in a fight with his servant. From what I’ve heard, you’ve made quite an impression on young..."
Before he could utter Ashley’s name I cut him off. I span, my rage at Dane fuelling me, and brought the palm of my fist firmly into the weak spot on the back of his neck. Isaac’s white eyes widened in surprise as his whole body slumped as if all of his muscles had lost the strength to hold him up. I didn’t give him time to recover. Jabbing my elbow into his ribcage twice, I forgot my previous anger at Dane and focused solely on this vampire who’d threatened my existence more than once. Isaac’s pointed face that had been so smug moments earlier was creased in pain and shock. Did I really have the strength, both of mind and body, to knock him unconscious?
|Alex Pettyfer||as Ashley Sancruor|
|Emma Watson||as Elizabeth Bourne|
|Matt Lanter||as Joe Williams|
|Victoria Justice||as Abriella Marino|
|Danielle Panabaker||as June Anderson|
|Steve Buscemi||as Goliath Sancruor|
|Anthony Hopkins||as Dane|