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“Who?” Samson asked Blake.
“My guys found an unknown vampire lurking in the parking lot. They’re bringing him in now.”
When the assembled vampires’ eyes narrowed a few moments later, Katie realized that they could already hear the intruder being dragged in, though it took another few seconds for Katie’s ears to perceive the sound of the struggling individual.
Everybody was rushing toward the door, anticipating the suspect’s arrival. Their broad backs obstructed Katie’s view. Anxious to find out what was going on, Katie stepped onto a footstool and looked over the vampires’ heads, just as three of Blake’s men brought in a defiant vampire.
Oh my God! He looked ferocious, and the black hair, black lashes, and dark complexion made him look like the devil. His eyes glared red, and his fangs were extended. He was big, broad-shouldered and muscular. He wore casual clothes, but there was nothing casual about his demeanor. Power and strength radiated from every pore of his body. She was inexplicably drawn to that power. Drawn to the vampire beneath the surface.
The sudden silence in the room pulled her out of her observation and made her snap her gaze upward, back to the captive’s face. The strange vampire had stopped struggling and was staring at Samson.
“Luther!” Samson hissed.
It had been a bad idea to show up in San Francisco wanting to make things right, Luther realized now. Apparently twenty years had done nothing to lessen Samson’s hatred for him. Nor Amaury’s. Both his former friends glared at him as if they were ready to rip his head off. Maybe they should. Maybe it would all be for the better.
“Oh my God, it’s him, it’s Luther,” the tearful voice of a woman broke the hate-filled silence.
He didn’t have to break eye contact with Samson to recognize the voice: Delilah, the woman he’d almost killed so many years earlier.
“It was him, it was him!” she now yelled with a fury he didn’t quite understand.
If he’d known that everybody at Scanguards held a grudge for such a long time, he would have never come.
“I paid the fucking price,” Luther ground out.
What else did they want from him? The council had sentenced him to twenty years, though they could have given him fifty, but Amaury’s mate, Nina, had pleaded for leniency. Maybe she shouldn’t have. Maybe he didn’t deserve leniency.
“Release him!” Samson commanded the guards who were restraining him. When they hesitated, he added, “That’s an order.”
When the men took their claws off him, Luther felt a sense of surprise wash over him. Had he misjudged Samson?
A balled fist punched him in the face so fast and so hard that Luther was catapulted back. He lost his balance and crashed against the wall. Before he could jump back up, Samson was already on him.
“Where’s my daughter?” he yelled and delivered a second blow to Luther’s jaw.
Luther’s head snapped to the side, and he tasted blood. His own blood. “How the fuck should I know?”
When the next blow came, Luther blocked it with his forearm and pushed back. But Samson didn’t give up so easily. Fury coursed through Luther, giving him wings. He reared up and barreled toward his former friend, delivering an uppercut to Samson’s chin, yet still holding back his true strength.
Samson’s eyes blazed with unbridled rage, while his friends stood back a few paces, allowing their boss to do as he pleased. Luther gritted his teeth. He hadn’t come to duke it out with Samson as if they were two thugs. That hadn’t been his plan. Far from it.
But apparently it was what Samson wanted.
Another punch veered toward Luther’s temple. In a lightning-fast move he raised his arm, preventing Samson’s claws from reaching their target, while kicking his foot against his opponent’s knee. But Samson didn’t go down as expected. Sure-footed, he barely swayed before drawing back his arm for another blow.
“Stop it!” Luther yelled.
“What did you do to my daughter?” Samson repeated, flashing his fangs.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about!”
But his words fell on deaf ears. Samson’s claws came toward him. Luther moved, but the wall at his back and another vampire who stood too close made it impossible to get out of the path of the lethal instrument fast enough. Sharp barbs, as deadly as knives, sliced across his shoulder, leaving deep cuts from which blood oozed instantly. The metallic scent permeated the air in the corridor, inciting the need in the assembled vampires to show their vampire side.