She couldn’t continue to stand here. She couldn’t go back in time. Nothing she did could fix this situation.
Beckham’s death would not be for nothing. All of this would not be for nothing. She had come here to kill Harrington. And he’d gotten the better of her…of all of them. But if she died here, what would happen to the world?
“Reyna, please,” Gabe said.
She turned clear, devastated eyes to him and nodded her head.
He released a harsh breath of relief. In that moment, she realized that she had scared him. That he’d thought he’d lost her. He didn’t know how right he was. But she would have time to think about that later. Right now she needed to survive this. They needed to get through this moment. The next one she couldn’t even consider. She wouldn’t ask herself the questions that were already haunting her. She compartmentalized them into one space in her brain, kicked off her other shoe, and took off sprinting after Gabe.
Barefoot and in nothing but a strapless dress and Beckham’s suit coat, she was freezing. But she didn’t dare stop. She would deal with the subfreezing temperatures later too.
They made it to the end of the block and nearly ran smack dab into Meghan. Her fiery red hair was a halo around her head. Her silvery dress obscured by a black bomber jacket that went nearly to her knees.
“What took you so long?” Meghan gasped, moving into position next to them.
“I’ll tell you later,” Gabe said.
Reyna glanced over her shoulder. Her eyes rounded in horror. “Fuck.”
“What?” Gabe asked. He followed her line of sight and cursed violently. “We need to pick it up.”
Reyna measured her breathing and increased her pace. Rowland was following them. It was lucky that he hadn’t reached them considering vampires ran at incredible speeds. Much faster than humans. Unless Beckham throwing him into the brick building had actually hurt him. She’d seen Rowland crumple at the hit. It had taken him a long time to stand up again. But he’d stood.
Reyna glanced back one more time to see that the crowd seemed to be helping keep Rowland off their back. Between the New Year’s Eve mob and the mayhem from the gunshots, he had no clear path. And everything was so haphazard that he had to physically push people out of his way as he attempted to weave through the crowd. No one was making it easy on him.
But after that glance, she couldn’t keep looking. Not if she wanted to get through the crowd herself.
They ran down three blocks, weaving in and out of traffic and taking turns and corners, hoping to lose Rowland and trying to get away from the mass of people to reach their getaway car.
Gabe checked once more and flashed them a victorious smile. “I don’t see him.”
Reyna nodded and Meghan shot both of them a quick grin. But Reyna couldn’t get rid of the uneasy feeling in her stomach. She chewed on her lip and tried to measure her breathing. She didn’t want to be caught unaware.
“Almost there,” Gabe said. “Just this corner.”
They whipped around the next corner faster than any of them had ever run before. An unmarked black van idled on the street. As they rushed toward it, the back doors flapped open.
And then Reyna saw him.
Rowland had come out of nowhere at the end of the street. No longer meandering, he launched himself toward them. He saw the van. He knew that they could get away and she knew he had every intention of stopping them.
It felt as if everything happened in slow motion. Meghan reached the van first, vaulting forward and careening into the empty interior. Gabe was next jumping inside. Reyna was the last and the slowest, her breathing jagged. No matter that she’d spent months training for this very moment. Her time on the treadmill hadn’t actually seemed to prepare her for running outside, barefoot, in unbearably cold temperatures.
She knew Rowland was almost upon her. She didn’t dare look over her shoulder. But she could tell it was too close for comfort.
Meghan had her gun out, pointing it toward them. Gabe placed his hand on it.
“You’ll hit her!”
Meghan shook him off, lifted it again, and aimed. Gabe reached his hand out toward Reyna, and with only a short distance between them she used her last burst of energy and threw her body toward him.
His hand locked on her wrist. Her knee hit the metal bumper. Her shoulder was tugged so hard she swore it felt as if it dislocated as he hauled her inside. She was nearly there when she felt a hand clasp her ankle.
“Go, go, go!” Gabe yelled at Tye, who was driving the getaway car.
He moved to wrap his arms around her chest as he tried to pull her farther inside. But Rowland was definitely stronger. Then the van kicked into drive and suddenly they were all thrown off balance. Gabe scrambled to get his footing again, but even with them rumbling down the street and Rowland having no leverage, he was still pulling her from the van.