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A Dawn of Strength(A Shade of Vampire,Book 14)(15) by Bella Forrest

Vivienne bit her lip, blushing. “You suppose wrong, Derek,” she said.

Derek’s eyes widened. “A-Are you sure?” He moved closer to her, placing his hands on her shoulders.

She nodded. “We’re both quite sure. You’re going to be an uncle.”

Derek pulled Vivienne into an embrace, joy filling his eyes.

“Oh, Viv!” I gasped.

I hugged her once Derek had let go of her. Beaming, Derek slapped Xavier on the back. “Thank you, my friend,” he said. “You’ve just improved my day considerably.”

Xavier grinned. “Really, Derek. The pleasure was all mine.”

Chapter 9: Micah

Once the conversation with Rhys had finished, I didn’t have long to decide on my next move. They were gathering vampires and witches to join them, that much I knew. But how exactly were they going to travel to The Shade? Would they just vanish themselves there or would they pile into vessels and travel? The latter made more sense to me. After all, the vampires would need some place to stand while the witches worked on penetrating Mona’s spell.

But I couldn’t be sure. And I only had one shot at making it out of here with them. I couldn’t mess this up. So I bet on the latter, and began to race back down the mountain toward the island’s harbor with as much speed and stealth as I could manage.

On reaching the jetty, I noticed several submarines that hadn’t been here when I’d left for the castle. I looked from the submarines to the boat I had travelled here on. A boat was clearly easier to escape from. If I got detected hiding in one of the submarines, I’d be trapped inside the metal container, whereas at least boats were above water and I could smash my way out without too much difficulty. But would they choose to take a boat over a submarine?

I had no idea. As my body began to transform back into my humanoid form, the trees rustled behind me. I was running out of time. I didn’t have time to wait and see which vessels they chose, or I would end up being left behind. So I leapt into the nearest vessel to me—the yacht. I hurried down beneath the deck, hoping the witches had brought it back here because they intended to use it. I entered the bathroom and, closing the door behind me, slipped into the narrow closet beneath the bathtub where I’d hidden before.

Now all I could do was wait.

I breathed out a sigh of relief when footsteps sounded on the deck above. The yacht sank slightly as more and more people boarded the yacht. My breath caught in my throat as I heard people descending the stairs. I barely dared breathe as they passed outside the bathroom door.

I was beginning to relax a little as the footsteps disappeared down the corridor when the doorknob rattled. I clasped my hands over my mouth and nose and remained deathly still, trying to avoid making even the slightest noise.

The door creaked open and steps sounded on the floorboards a few feet away from me. There was a sharp burst of water as the tap turned on and off. Then cupboards began to open and close.

“Roman,” a male voice called. There were more footsteps as another person entered the room. “Do you smell that?” he asked.

The two men sniffed the air. “I smell… wolf.”

Oh, no.

I guessed that these must be vampires to sense me locked up in a cupboard… or perhaps they were sensing me when I’d stayed down here before, even in my wolf form. To my horror, the door of my closet banged as someone kicked against it. I gripped the handle and pulled it toward me, even though I had locked it. It was a flimsy lock by any standards, and wouldn’t last five seconds with any real pressure from a vampire.

I grabbed the handle and pulled it toward me. He tugged again, harder. My grip loosened. One more tug from him, and it would pop right open.

“What are you doing down here?” a shrill female voice called. It sounded like Julisse. “Everyone is supposed to be above deck.”

The vampire trying to break into my cupboard loosened his grip and stepped back.

“Why do we smell wolf, Julisse?”

“Because there was a wolf traveling on this boat with the Novak girl before we hijacked it,” she said impatiently.

I thanked my stars as they all left the bathroom and closed the door behind them. A few minutes later, I found myself once again being slammed about in the cabinet as the yacht began traveling at supernatural speed.

We just need to get beyond the boundary, and then I can get away from these people.

There was no window in this bathroom that I could smash, but there were windows in the bedrooms a few doors along. I just needed to dart in there undetected, smash through, and escape. Somehow, I was confident that I’d manage it. I just had to hope that nobody else would come down here in the meantime. And that, once I did escape, I’d be able to reach The Shade in time to at least warn the people there what was happening… not that I was sure there was much we could do about it even if I did manage to reach the island in time.

Chapter 10: Rose

Caleb and I quickly reached the Vale’s town square. Jumping off his back, I gripped the ladder leading up to the bell tower that stood in the middle of the ornamental fountains and started to climb. I arrived at the top and grabbed the rope attached to the huge metal bell. I tugged on it as hard as I could. My eardrums stung as the bell’s ringing pierced the air. I kept ringing until the square was packed with humans who’d hurried out of their homes.

I lowered myself a little, stepping down from the bell, but remained high enough on the ladder so I could take in the whole crowd. There were many more humans who weren’t here yet, of course. But with the help of everyone here, we’d be able to quickly gather everyone together if they listened.