Rhys and the men led them into the clubhouse. When her niece saw her, she squealed, running from behind the bar to envelope Destiny in a hug.
Wiping joyful tears away, she stepped back. “Why are you here?”
“Can we sit down? It was a long way here from Rocque’s home.”
Destiny could see the burning curiosity in Broni, Rhys, and the others’ eyes as she gestured to a large table where everyone could sit. Rhys didn’t sit, standing protectively behind his wife.
“Vlad wants us to ask for your group’s cooperation.”
“Who’s Vlad?” Adam spoke out as Rhys and Broni remained silent. Balder’s eyes held fear.
Destiny knew there wasn’t a way to make the words she was about to speak any less frightening, so she just said, “He’s an earth spirit, as is Rocque—” Destiny gestured to Rocque, who was sitting by her side.
“He’s king of the vampires.” Her delicate explanation was cut off by Rocque.
“Then the answer is no. You and everyone who came with you can leave.” Adam glowered at them from across the table.
“Adam, I know you don’t know me, but you know Broni. Would she let anything or anyone hurt the club?”
“What aid we are asking for will also help your club.”
“How?” Adam still looked as if he wanted to toss them out the door, but he seemed willing to wait until she answered his questions. Rhys and Broni also silently waited to give their opinions until she had her say.
“The vampires need a safe place to stay. Many of their homes have been destroyed. Vlad has been able to keep his vampires from massacring what’s left of the humans, but if they don’t find a sanctuary soon, he won’t be able to hold them back.”
“They damn sure aren’t staying here!”
“No. Nor do they want to. Rocque and I have found them a small town in Colorado where they can live without being discovered. What they need is a way to get there.”
Adam stared at them, his mouth opening and closing as he tried to find words. “Can’t they just fly?” Adam finally asked, then looked at Broni, who was trying not to laugh.
“They can fly,” Broni answered.
Adam lifted a questioning brow to her.
“The vampires can fly, but their food source can’t. It will slow them down on the journey.”
Adam paled. “Do I want to know what their food source is?”
Adam scraped his chair across the floor as he shoved it back and stood. “I’ve had to kill brothers who have turned into fucking Drearien. I’ll be damned if I’ll feed what’s left to fucking vampires. Are there really vampires?” Adam raked his long hair back to stare down at Broni.
“Oh, yes, they exist.” Broni nodded. “Destiny, I don’t see how we can help. We can’t allow them to take humans that have sought our protection.”
“They don’t want your humans. They want the Road Demons.”
Adam sat back in his chair. “They can have the Road Demons. Tell them to have at it.”
Destiny’s lips twitched. “Broni?”
Broni bit her lip. “They won’t hurt us?”
“No.” Rocque’s face hardened. “That’s why my warriors and Destiny are here instead of sending a message. We’ll make sure everyone within your gates is protected. You have another day to go outside and bring in survivors you want to protect. The vampires won’t touch anyone who doesn’t belong to the Road Demons.”
“It won’t be easy. The Road Demons have amassed a large group.”
“Vlad knows that. It’s going to take a lot to sustain them. They plan to cut themselves off, and Rocque can use his powers so they can’t be found.”
Adam, Rhys, and Balder stared at each other.
“How are they planning to get there?” As the leader of the group, Rhys asked the question they were all waiting answered.
“Vlad is asking for a few of your RVs.”
“All of them.”
“No. We need to keep them in case we need to get out. As it is, we’d have to leave some behind.”
Broni looked saddened at Adam’s refusal. Unlike Adam, she could sympathize with the vampires. She had watched many of their struggles since creation. Unlike the human myths, they remained aloof from humans. There were only a few hundred left, and those ones were focused on the survival of the species as a whole. They remained hidden behind the legends of old to keep other immortals away. While they used humans as their food source, it was from humans who volunteered their services.
Most of the humans had left them to return to their own families, wanting to be near them as the world grew more chaotic, leaving the vampires homeless and unable to replenish their food source without breaking Vampire law.
“How about the semis?” Broni offered hesitantly. “We could—”
“The semis provide a barrier for the gate,” Adam cut her off, looking at Rhys and Balder. “But I know where we can get more. It’ll put a target on them as they drive. There will be bands of survivors who will try to take them. Road blocks are everywhere just for that purpose.”
“Anyone who tries to attack the vampires will get more than they bargained for,” Rocque said drily.
“Then it’s up to Rhys if he thinks those semis are reachable, as long as you can guarantee the safety of those who remain behind our gates.”
Destiny noticed Adam was staring at a pretty young woman and a little girl who were eating at a smaller table.
“We can.” Destiny swung her gaze back to Adam, sensing his concern for the woman.
He looked away when the woman saw him staring.
“It won’t be easy. The Road Demons have regrouped since our last attack. We lost Jace when we went after the ones outside. They’re heavily armed and hungry. The sight of the semis going through town are going to lead them right to our door. We’ll have to fill at least two of the semis with food. While the Road Demons are going to
be a food source for the vampires, they’re going to need their own source of food.”
Everyone around the table agreed.
Sleepily, Destiny listened as the men discussed their plan to reach the large trucks. Rocque had kept them moving to reach the compound, just stopping for small rests, so she hadn’t had a good night’s rest since Rocque had taken her. While she wanted to spend time with Broni, she felt herself drifting away in exhaustion, barely noticing as Rocque placed an arm around her shoulder so she could rest her head on his.
She blinked when she felt him shake her awake. The table was empty, and he was staring at her.
“Broni told me where we could get some sleep.”
She rose, seeing that the candles had been lit.
Rocque’s warriors had made pallets on the floor. He told each of them goodnight as they passed. Disconcertingly, she didn’t argue with him as they went to a hallway that led to an open doorway. A candle was lit, and the bed looked welcoming enough that she sank down in its saggy depths.
“You can go now.” Yawning, Destiny imperially gestured for him to leave.
Rocque cocked a lofty brow as he shut the door behind him.
“I thought you always slept with your warriors.”
“I’m making an exception tonight.” Sitting down on the bed next to her, he took off his boots, kicking them away. Then he stood up to unsnap his jeans.
Destiny felt the flutter of attraction as Rocque removed his jeans. She coolly regarded him as he went to the other side of the bed, pulling the sheet down.
“Blow the candle out,” he said as he placed an arm over his eyes.
She wasn’t the only one tired. He looked weary.
Blowing out the candle, she got under the sheet and bunched up the pillow under her head.
Staring up at the dark ceiling, she couldn’t fall back asleep. Her thoughts churned at the feel of him next to her.
“I can’t go back to sleep,” she complained out loud.