Chapter Thirty-Five

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With all my hunter's instincts, you'd think I'd know when there was someone in my bedroom. Maybe my instincts only kicked in when I was in danger. 

I was lost in the nightmares that crept up every night since I'd been apart from Luke, when a pair of lips touched my cheek. I startled awake.  

Luke sat beside me, his face beautifully limned with silver moonlight. I was sure it was a cruel dream, my subconscious taunting me with what I wanted the most but couldn't have. Then Luke stroked my cheek, his face creasing in a smile. 

"Luke," I whispered and flung myself into his arms. He was real. He was really here. "What are you doing here?" 

Luke untangled himself from my embrace. His eyes were serious, so serious that my stomach dropped like a stone. 

"Something's wrong," I said.  

"Samuel's missing." His voice hitched slightly, like there was a torrent of emotion inside him and he was barely holding it back. 

"What?" Fear surged through me. 

Luke told me what Samuel had planned the night before and what he had gone to do. "But he hasn't come back," he finished. 

"I'm sure there's a good reason -" I started to say. 

"No," Luke cut me off. "There's no way Samuel would stay out for two nights and not let Elena know he was okay. He's in trouble, I know it." 

I opened my mouth, though I had no idea what I was supposed to say, when a commotion downstairs stopped me. Raised voices and the sound of a door slamming reverberated through the house. 

Luke looked at me. "What's going on?" 

"I have no idea." 

I pushed myself off the bed. A quick glance at the other side of the room revealed Sophie's bed was empty. She often pottered around at night making sure everything was clean and tidy, and everyone was comfortable, so the empty bed didn't surprise me. The commotion downstairs did.  

"Stay here," I told Luke. 

He looked like he wanted to refuse but we both knew it was too dangerous. He'd taken a big enough risk just by coming here. 

I tiptoed downstairs. All the noise seemed to be coming from the kitchen.  

"Hurry, restrain him," I heard Ava yell. 

I peeked round the kitchen door. The blood turned to ice in my veins. 

Noah and Marc were dragging a battered and bloodied Samuel into the room. Caleb stood to one side, watching with his usual vicious smirk. His hands were bloodstained.  

"What's going on?" Ethan whispered behind me and I nearly jumped out of my skin. I'd been so distracted by what was happening I hadn't even heard him coming up behind me. Ethan looked past me to the kitchen and his mouth opened wide in surprise.  

"Ethan, Kiara, there you are." Clara flung the door wide. Her eyes sparkled with violent promise. "Get in here. We've got a live one." 

Two pairs of eyes met mine as Clara ushered me into the kitchen. Caleb's were bright with mocking laughter. He couldn't know who Samuel was but he knew how I felt about vampires. He was loving this. Samuel looked at me and in his eyes I saw only acceptance. He wasn't going to give away that we knew each other in case that put me in danger. No matter what happened to him. 

Tears sprang to my eyes.  

"Where's your clan?" Caleb snarled. 

Samuel shook his head.  

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