Lena’s shriek rang through the room, and Alex almost grabbed Father Jackson, ready to fling him far away from her daughter. Instead, she gripped her crucifix so hard it cut the palm of her hand. The pain steadied her, as if inflicting damage on herself could somehow bleed it away from Lena.
The younger Lasham’s face twisted, as if to distort itself into a parody of her child. Then the hazel eyes flew open. Her gaze found Alex and stared at her with an expression the mother had never seen on her daughter’s face before: utter hatred.
Through gritted teeth, Lilith snarled, “You would destroy your own child to get to me, Segreto?”
Alex’s jaw clenched tight enough to hurt. She had to, to stop the scream welling up from her guts to fill her throat. My baby, my little girl, don’t hurt my Lena!
Father Jackson waved his crucifix before Lilith’s eyes. “I order you to depart this child of God, Lilith. You have no claim on her body, and you must relinquish your influence now.”
Lilith winced but gave no ground. “Child of God? She is of my blood, watered down as it may be. She is not human. She belongs to the sisterhood of first woman, descended not of Eve!”
Alex couldn’t hold back. “She is descended from Eve through me, and it is the greater part of her. You have no claim on her. You will let her go!”
The priest drew the sign of the cross over Lena’s forehead. “You are commanded to return to whence you came, Lilith. God commands you. Christ commands you. The Holy Spirit commands you.”
Lena’s body writhed, held in place by her bonds. Her eyes rolled back until only the whites showed. Lilith’s voice still sounded strong as it issued from her lips, however. “Fuck you. She will die. The Segreto will die. All children of the black-hearted Adam and the usurper Eve will die, and I will take what was rightfully to be mine!”