Love Like Blood(Royal Blood #5)

By: Amity Cross

The truth may hurt for a little while,

but a lie hurts forever.





Part I





Blood Lust





The enemy of my enemy is not my friend.





Chapter 1





Lorelei





The motel room smelt like mothballs, stale beer, and piss.

I leaned against the wall, peering through the curtains at the darkened street below.

There was movement behind me and the sound of springs coiling as a heavy body sat on the bed.

I glanced at The Hangman before allowing the curtain to flutter back into place.

Why had I aided the man again? My father was dead, word had already begun to spread, and I was now free. I was still bound to many things, but a master was not one of them.

His name was Vaughn. He stirred up things I didn’t understand. He knew me. He knew who I had been before...before this. Something buried and long forgotten had bid me to save his wretched life.

Where did I have left to go? Who did I have but myself?

Nowhere and nothing.

A woman with no name, no memory, no past, and no way of telling truths from lies. What was I meant to do now?

Drift or implode.

Even I was smart enough to understand that something wasn’t right.

I was broken.



* * *



I watched the woman named Mercy, the woman I had been tasked with gleaning information from about the defector Xavier Blood, and I almost felt a sense of respect. The way she defied everyone and everything, even the most excruciating pain, to remain loyal to him.

It was almost admirable if not stupid. I knew of love, but if I’d ever felt it, then surely I’d remember the fire I saw in her eyes.

I looked inside my heart and only saw blackness.

Then they had brought in The Hangman—the elusive, slimy worm that he was He’d been savagely beaten, but even in my coldness, I could see he was a handsome man. Handsome men had no place in my world unless I was contracted by my father to kill them.

The Hangman had stared up at me with an unfathomable expression. One laced with recognition and shock. He spoke my name with a reverence I had never thought any man could possess.

Lorelei…

Greggor had called him Vaughn and had taunted his prize in front of him—that prize was me

I didn’t remember… It was all lies.

Pain splintered through my mind, a pain so sharp I almost faltered. My lips parted as my breathing hitched, and that was as much indication as I would allow to surface. It was already too much. Pain was weakness. Pain was death.

Vaughn…



* * *



Leaning against the wall by the window, I peered out into the night. A lone sentry on the edge of the world.

I bunched my hands into the sleeves of my top like a teenager with identity issues. It wasn’t in the least bit ironic that half that statement was completely true. Without my father and Royal Blood, I didn’t know who I was, let alone what I was meant to do. No orders meant no direction.

For the first time, I was on my own—at least, in the life that I could remember, that is.

The sound of a 747 roared overhead as it came into land at the airport, which was three miles west of our location. Red and white lights flashed on each wingtip as it soared through the blackness, and I blinked hard. Red and white. There was something about those colors that stirred up something in my mind. Something slippery that was just outside of my reach.

“Lorelei?”

It was the first time he’d used my name since the room in the compound. The room that was meant to be the last resting place of the scoundrel known as The Hangman. The room where I was meant to kill him.

Letting the curtains flutter back into place, I turned back to the bed. He was trying to sit up against the headboard, but his injuries seemed to be making it difficult.

After leaving the compound in Bristol, I’d taken The Hangman and driven him far away from that place. After finding a roadside motel, I’d taken the car and dumped it two miles northeast. All distinguishing marks had been removed from the vehicle months ago by Royal Blood, the engine number filed off, and any serial numbers wiped clean. The plates were fake, but I’d unscrewed them and tossed them into a bin on the way back to the room where The Hangman had slept, unaware that I’d ever been gone. He’d been utterly spent, exhausted from his time in captivity and from whatever had transpired before.

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