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A Dawn of Strength(A Shade of Vampire,Book 14)(8) by Bella Forrest

“I really like you too, Kailyn,” I whispered.

Inhaling deeply, she gripped my shirt and parted my lips with her tongue, allowing me to taste her fully.

A gruff bark broke through the world Kailyn and I had lost ourselves in. We turned to see Shadow bounding toward us. I looked past him, expecting to see Eli, or perhaps Abby, who usually went for walks with him. Instead I saw… Adelle.

She had a mortified expression on her face. “I’m sorry,” she muttered, taking a step back. “I had no idea you were up here… I-I didn’t mean to intrude.”

“Hey,” I said. “It’s okay. These things, uh… happen.”

Kailyn and I slipped an arm around each other as we walked toward the redheaded witch.

“How’s Eli?” I asked, fighting to keep my voice casual.

“He’s fine,” Adelle replied, her eyes fixed on the dog.

It was a pointless question—I already knew he’d recovered some time ago from the snapped neck I’d given him as well as from the ghoul’s influence. All the couples on the island who’d been affected by the ghoul had forgiven each other and moved on from that dark time.

“Good,” I said.

An awkward silence followed, but Adelle didn’t let it last long. Still avoiding my gaze, she said, “I’d better get going. I have a lot of homework to mark today.”

“Sure. Have a good day.”

“You too.” Adelle’s eyes travelled from my face to Kailyn’s for but a moment before she hurried away with Shadow. It was long enough for me to detect something odd in them. As Kailyn and I made our way back down the mountain, I couldn’t help but wonder what it was I’d seen. Embarrassment, certainly. But there was something else, too.

Something that looked surprisingly like… jealousy.

Chapter 5: Derek

It was a strange feeling to have my daughter back on the island with us, yet staying under a different roof. Since her return, I’d wanted nothing more than to keep her at home with us in our treehouse. But I had to remind myself that she was no longer my little girl. It was clear that during her time away, she’d matured in ways I hadn’t been prepared for, ways that would likely take me a while to get used to. While a part of me was happy to see her standing on her own two feet, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of melancholy too.

After she left the apartment with Caleb, our home suddenly felt too big for Sofia and me. Tears welled in Sofia’s eyes. I wrapped my arms around her and drew her in for a hug.

“Our baby’s all grown up,” she murmured.

“That she is.” I sighed, looking wistfully out of the window.

Sofia raised her head and gave me a watery grin. “We sound so… old.”

I raised my brows in mock offense. “Speak for yourself.”

She giggled as I scooped her up in my arms and carried her to our bedroom. I placed her in the center of the bed. Her long auburn hair strewn over the pillows, she was just as beautiful to me as the day I’d first laid eyes on her. She was, and had always been, my fire during the longest winter. My moon during the darkest night.

“I guess I do still feel like a seventeen-year-old,” she said softly. “Especially when you look at me like that.”

I leant down over her, lowering my head until my mouth was inches from hers. “Like what?” I whispered.

“Like that,” she breathed.

I closed my lips around hers. She gripped my hair and arched her back, allowing me room to slide my hands beneath her. Careful not to break our kiss, I pulled her upright so that she was kneeling on the mattress before me. I was about to unzip her dress when there was a loud banging at our front door.

Breaking apart, Sofia and I exchanged anxious glances. Who would disturb us at this time of night?

As I hurried through the apartment, I could only guess that it might be Rose back for something she’d forgotten. But as I reached the front door, it was Eli standing outside. The expression on his face made my stomach flip.

“What’s wrong?”

“There’s something in the news that you need to see.”

“What?” Sofia asked, appearing at my side.

“Just come,” Eli said grimly.

Eli was one of the few people on the island who monitored the news of the world outside. Everything about his demeanor made me recall the last time he’d come to report news to us—when Rose and Ben had first been reported missing in Hawaii. I prayed that it wouldn’t be as serious this time, but Eli’s expression gave me little reason to believe that it wasn’t.

We raced with Eli toward his apartment. He led us straight to his study and grabbed the remote of his TV.

“You may want to take a seat,” he said.

Sofia and I did nothing of the sort. We stood as close to the screen as we could without getting in Eli’s way. But when the TV flickered on and he finished flicking through the channels, I wished I’d taken Eli’s advice. Replaying over and over again in slow-motion was the footage of a dark-haired vampire rushing through a park square, knocking a young woman off her feet and tearing through her throat as he sped away again. The clip was being repeated over and over on almost every news channel Eli flicked through.

“A witness managed to film the attack with a phone camera. The footage was submitted to the local police and uploaded to the internet.”

The shock of a vampire being caught on camera during an attack and broadcast to the world for the first time in history, combined with who this vampire resembled so closely, left Sofia and me speechless. I just kept watching the loop, willing my eyes to be mistaken.