Chapter Five

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No

This wasn't over. I wasn't going out like this.  

I snapped my head back, catching the vampire somewhere on the jaw. I heard a muffled curse through the pain spreading across the back of my skull. The vampire's grip on me loosened. I slammed my elbows back into its midsection. The muscles there were so hard it was like elbowing solid rock. Pain shot through my arms but I ignored it. 

The knife. I had to find my knife. 

Hunkering down, I scrabbled across the floor. My fingers touched cold metal. Snatching the knife up I spun to face the vampire. Its fingers clamped round my wrist, holding me at bay. I tried another kick but the vampire dodged. I threw myself forward, using my own momentum to drive the vampire back and chopped my free hand down on the inside of its elbow. It wasn't enough to make the vampire let go. It twisted my wrist to one side, keeping the knife as far away as it could.  

We grappled for possession of the knife, the muscles in my arms screaming as they strained against the vampire's superior strength. But I wasn't backing down. It wasn't like the vamp needed the knife - it could rip my throat out with its teeth - but I needed it and I wasn't giving it up. 

The vampire hit me with its shoulder and I stumbled off-balance. The next thing I knew I was on the floor, the vampire on top of me. Pain bloomed through my head where it had hit the floor. The vampire pinned both my hands on either side of my head. I tried to thrash but the vampire was a solid weight covering my body; I might as well have been lying under a stone slab.  

I clenched my teeth so hard my jaw hurt. This was bad, really, really bad.  

A moment passed and I didn't feel the pain of fangs tearing into my throat. I sucked a shallow breath into fear-clogged lungs. 

"Get on with it then," I snarled. 

I'd always known I would most likely meet my death at the hands of a bloodsucker, but I'd be damned if I'd let it tease me like a cat with a mouse.  

"Kiara." 

I froze, ice creeping through my body. How could the vampire know my name? Slowly, I lifted my eyes to the vampire's face. Its beautiful, devastatingly familiar face. 

"Luke?" I gasped.  

For a moment I forgot how to breathe. Shock was a physical thing, wrapping hands round my neck and cutting off my air supply. I had to be mistaken. This had to be some trick of my mind, my feelings for Luke somehow overlapping with my desire to kill the vampire. Luke couldn't be the creature I'd come here to kill. 

One of his hands left my wrist. That would have been the perfect time to fight back but I was frozen. Luke's hand slid round to the back of my head, his fingers tangling in my hair.

"Are you okay?" he whispered. 

I couldn't speak. The ice in my veins was melting, replaced by something hotter and more fierce. Rage. I'd never tasted the bitterness of betrayal before and now it filled my voice, metallic and foul. It had all been a game to him. He must have known who I was since our first fight here, and he'd been playing me ever since. 

"Get off me," I snarled. 

Luke sat back on his heels. Coldness rushed over me where his body had warmed. I pulled myself into a crouching position, ready to run or fight. 

Silence stretched between us, thick and suffocating.  

"Why aren't you attacking me?" I demanded. 

Luke's brow furrowed. "You attacked me. Both times." 

"What are you doing here?" 

"I could ask you the same question." Luke's eyes fell on the knife I'd dropped. It lay between us, gleaming silver. "Except I already know the answer. You came to kill me." 

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