House of Royale (Secret Keepers #4)(10)

Such a cool fact. It was nice to finally know why some of these things happened to me.

Once I’d wrapped the towel around myself, I climbed into the back. Xander ended up taking the seat on the other side of me. Chase drove, with Maya sitting shotgun. I spent most of the trip staring out the window. Maya shot me worried looks every now and then, but mostly she just held hands with her mate and sat quietly. After some time, I felt Xander’s eyes on me, and had to shift around in my seat toward him. He had answers I’d sought my entire life. I wanted to know about the world under the sea, about my abilities. I wanted to know if I would eventually be able to stay under there, in the world of my heart.

“Do you live under the sea?” I asked softly.

His eyes were too beautiful; it was hard to concentrate when they were focused so intently on me. Luckily he had such a rotten personality. That helped me not look at him as anything more than a means to an end.

“Yes,” he said. “House of Royale is a world under the water.”

“They call it legreto,” Maya chimed in from the front. “Not water.”

I didn’t turn to her. Xander held my attention too strongly. “You sleep under there?” I hated the note of hope in my voice. I wasn’t a Royale. I was a human with a little Daelighter energy within me, but I wanted so badly to live under the sea.

He nodded. “Our ability to breathe below and above the water is what makes us unique on our world. So, when I’m in my house, I’m always beneath the water.”

My eyes burned as I tried to clear my throat. “I have to come up for air,” I whispered. “I can stay under for a long time, but not forever. I always—”

I broke off because he didn’t care about my hopes and dreams. It was better for me to keep it to myself.

Xander didn’t say anything more, but his gaze wasn’t quite so dismissive the next time he met my eyes. Eventually I turned back to the window, watching the island flash by. They had taken their boat out quite a way from their safe house, which was probably to hide the trail if anyone was following.

Chase eventually turned off, taking us inland, toward a small patch of rainforest. He had to use the four-wheel drive capabilities of the car to get over some of the rougher areas. I noticed through the trees there was an estate of huge beach houses, and when we pulled up and all got out, that was the direction they led me in.

Their secret lair wasn’t really secret or lair-like. It looked like an upmarket beach shack, one of those new builds trying to mimic the original island shacks in design and materials, only everything was too fancy and new to actually fit in.

My misgivings about this “safe house” were smashed when we took the side entrance and walked down into a basement of sorts. Okay, definitely not common in Hawaii. I didn’t know anyone with a basement. Xander led us toward an elevator … in their house. He had to use his handprint to open the silver doors. I was pretty sure this was the first elevator I’d ever been on, but, of course, I’d also thought I was born on Earth, so what did I know?

As I was about to step into the metal box, unexpected nerves had me hesitating. I had to take a deep, calming breath to overcome them, before I stepped inside. My hands remained tightly clenched as the doors closed, and when it lurched to the side, I had to swallow my shriek. I reached out and grasped a nearby rail to steady myself.

“Are you okay?” Maya asked.

I bobbed my head up and down. “Yep. Just … first time in an elevator.”

Thankfully we came to a halt not ten seconds later. It was a huge relief to step out, and I blinked at the large room filled with computers and huge screens up on the walls. It looked like those surveillance rooms in cop drama TV shows. I recognized a lot of the images that were flashing by in black and white. Lanai and Oahu were prominent.

“We’re tracking Laous’s movements,” Chase explained, crossing over to a set of three huge screens. He reached out and pressed an image, making it larger. It looked like a traffic camera, which had to be privately owned because outside of the main tourist hubs there was no need for cameras here.

“Facial recognition has picked him up a few times,” Maya told me as she joined her mate. “He’s definitely still looking for us, but so far has remained on Lanai.”

It was probably lucky they got to me when they did. Lanai was not huge; it would have been a miracle not to run into him. A sudden terrifying thought hit me. “My friend, the one I stayed with last night, is he safe? Will Laous somehow track me?”

What if he tortured Doc to try and find my location?

I was already heading for the door. Swimming from Oahu to Lanai would be no problem for me, especially if Doc’s life was at stake.

“Wait, it’ll be quicker if I get Lexen to check on him,” Chase said, pulling a cell phone from his pocket. “They’re on Lanai. What’s the address?”

I quickly told them how to get to Doc’s place, and then turned to the surveillance. “Can we get any images over that area?” I asked.

Chase was on the phone, so Xander stepped up, his hand moving superfast, tapping a sequence into a keyboard. It almost looked like coordinates, and then I jumped as Doc’s porch and roof came into sight.

“It’s a satellite image,” Xander explained, “so I’m limited, but it looks like everything is quiet there.”

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