Chapter Four

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Samuel leaned back in his chair, raking his hands through his blond hair. It always struck me how different Luke looked compared to his parents. Samuel and Elena shared similar colouring, though Elena's hair was a deeper shade of honey. Luke on the other hand was all black hair and steely eyes, night to their day. It wasn't surprising since Elena and Samuel weren't his biological parents, but every time I saw them together, I was amazed again at how starkly different they were to each other. I looked more like his parents than he did.

"There's something else we haven't discussed," Samuel said. "The body Kiara found tonight."

My stomach plummeted. In light of everything else that had happened, I'd almost forgotten about that poor man. I should have made an anonymous phone call to the police to let them know the body was there, rather than leave it for someone else to stumble upon and become scarred for life. I hoped Leon had done it, for the sake of the dead man and any family he might have, if nothing else.

Samuel didn't ask me if I was sure it had been a vampire kill, and I appreciated that. When I'd lived with Noah's team, I'd grown used to anything I said being derided, dismissed, or just plain ignored. Samuel did none of those things. He respected me enough to listen to me, and he'd never doubt me over something like this.

"We've lived peacefully in Dalwick for months now, and the only case of vampires attacking humans was Madeleine and her rogues. There's no reason why any of the local vampires would suddenly decide to start killing, which means the most likely scenario is that someone new has come to town." His eyes bored into us, one at a time. "Someone who doesn't think twice about killing humans."

My stomach dropped even further, ending up somewhere in the vicinity of my feet. Something else I hadn't considered. My own stupidity was starting to irritate me. If it turned out that Leon couldn't be reasoned with and his death was the only option left to us, then I couldn't afford to make these kinds of mistakes. I had to keep my eye on the ball.

"It's probably one of Madeleine's rogues," Ethan said.

Madeleine had hated vampire hunters, but she'd hated my family in particular thanks to Ava killing Madeleine's bloodthirsty son years ago. In revenge, Madeleine planned to kill me and then have her gang of clan-less vampires slaughter the rest of my former team. But the team and Samuel's clan had joined forces against the rogues. I don't know how many died in that final fight, but a handful of rogues managed to escape, scattering into the night once I killed Madeleine. None of us had seen or heard from them since then.

"I don't think so," Samuel said. "None of them acted until Madeleine pushed them to do it; without her, they're leaderless cowards. I can't imagine them coming back for revenge now."

Luke's eyes darkened, like a shadow falling across polished metal. "But if it's not one of the rogues, then who is it?"

It was a question none of us could answer. Whoever the killer was, they couldn't have chosen a worse time to come to Dalwick. Leon was out for blood, and this mystery vamp had been stupid enough to kill an innocent man and then leave the body out for a vampire hunter to find. It was going to be a lot harder to convince Leon that vampires weren't all murdering monsters now that he'd seen that dead guy.

Samuel and Elena exchanged a look, a moment of wordless communication, and Elena nodded. "Tomorrow, Samuel and I will ask around the other local vampires, see if anyone knows anything," she said.

It was hardly a plan, but it was the best we could do for now.

"In the meantime," Samuel said, pushing back his chair and climbing to his feet. "I suggest some of us get some sleep."

He didn't need to mention names - Ethan and I both knew he was talking about us. Although we lived with vampires, we were both still human and our bodies were wired to be active during the day, dormant at night. It wasn't late - probably only about ten - but already I was exhausted. I had college the next morning and if I didn't crash soon, I'd fall asleep in class tomorrow.

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