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A Trail of Echoes(A Shade of Vampire,Book 18)(12) by Bella Forrest

I bit my lip. “The thing is… if we’re going to try this, it would make sense to do it while we are away from The Shade, away from our humans, floating on a boat where you can control me…”

Caleb shot to his feet, wrapping a sheet around his waist. He stared down at me incredulously. “Is this supposed to be a joke?”

I shook my head.

He breathed out sharply. “What if you turned out exactly like him? Then what?”

“Then we’d have the opportunity to experiment on me, and figure out how to make me normal.”

He looked at me in disbelief. “Rose, this is supposed to be a honeymoon. Honeymoon. Do you know what that word means? I’ll tell you what it doesn’t mean. A crazy, dangerous experiment in which neither of us understand what the hell we are doing and which could end up with you turning into a rampaging bloodsucker for all eternity.”

Despite the seriousness of the subject, I couldn’t help but find amusement in Caleb’s exasperation.

“If things got really, really bad,” I said, “we could return to The Shade and I could just take the cure.”

Caleb scoffed. “‘Just take the cure.’ You speak of it like it’s popping a pill. You have no idea how painful it is.”

“I do have an idea. My parents told me how much it hurts.” I got up from the bed and walked over to him. Reaching for his hands, I held them gently and stopped him pacing.

He looked down at me, concern filling his eyes. “But just like turning into a vampire,” he said, “it doesn’t matter how much people have told you about the experience. There’s no way to prepare for the agony.”

“Maybe, Caleb,” I replied softly. “But please understand… I need to try this, for my brother’s sake and mine.” I reached up to kiss his jawline. “And for our peace of mind.”

He wet his lower lip. “And what about our children?” he asked, his brown eyes boring into mine. “Say for the sake of argument the turning did go fine, then what? If we want children, I would have to become a human in a few years anyway. What’s the point in your becoming a vampire now when you would have to turn back soon? You’d be putting yourself through an unnecessary amount of pain—and risk.”

“Because I don’t want to wait that long. I’m fed up with living in uncertainty about our future and about my brother. I just want to at least do what’s within our power to try to understand the situation.”

Caleb turned his back on me and faced the window, leaning an arm against the frame. I remained in my spot a few feet away from him and didn’t say a word. I needed to let him think.

When he finally turned back around to face me, I was relieved to see a look of resolve in his eyes.

“I understand what this means to you, Rose. I understand how hard it must be for you to have your twin go through what he has and to be living in such uncertainty. But it comes down to this: I’m not willing to inflict unbearable torture on my new bride during her honeymoon.” He paused, a spark of sarcasm in his eyes. “Call me old-fashioned…”

“Then do it right at the end,” I shot back, “just before we return.”

He narrowed his eyes on me.

“That way,” I continued, “we can enjoy a long, peaceful honeymoon with no hurry to return. You can turn me when we come back, just a few miles from The Shade. So if things get really bad, you can take me back there quickly.”

He still looked wary, but apparently he was struggling to find an argument against this compromise.

I walked up to him again, wrapping my arms around his waist and pressing my bare form against him. I kissed his chest, letting my tongue graze his skin. “Please, baby,” I whispered.

He looked down at me, until finally he muttered:

“Your father is going to skewer me.”

Chapter 9: Derek

I stood in the Armory with Xavier and Ibrahim, eyeing the walls covered with weapons. Some had been newly developed by the witches, while others were as old as The Shade itself. I still remembered some of the stakes from the Battle of First Blood. They had aged well.

While each of us moved about and picked up a weapon every now and then, my thoughts drifted to my twins.

Although I hated the idea of both of them being away from The Shade at the same time once again, of course I couldn’t deny Rose her honeymoon. She and Caleb more than deserved it. They had been through so much recently…

“Do we have enough?” Xavier asked, bringing me back to reality.

I eyed the weapons in each of our hands. “Yes,” I said. “We’re done here.”

I left the Armory with the two men and stepped onto the training grounds outside.

Although we had witches protecting us from the hunters, I couldn’t help but feel uneasy about the fact that they were still watching us. If I knew exactly what their intentions were, it wouldn’t be so bad, but not knowing… It was eating away at my nerves. It went against my every instinct as a ruler to just shut my eyes to them, even though our barrier was impenetrable to them.

So I had to change that. And there was only one way. Sofia was nervous about what I had planned, but she understood why I needed to do it and didn’t bother attempting to persuade me otherwise.

We assembled all the weapons on the ground that were suitable for use against hunters, and I picked three of the most deadly ones—guns—and holstered them in my belt.

Then I turned to Ibrahim. “Let’s go.”