“I’m sorry, but I’m not bothering the leader of the country’s vamps to see if she can find out who your friend had a date with.”
Brooks glared at me. “This isn’t like Candy. She’s never even been five minutes late to a shift. My gut’s telling me something’s really wrong.”
I softened my features and tried to look sympathetic. “I know you’re worried about her, but there has to be another solution besides bothering Nyx.”
“I could ask Rhea if she knows anything about this girl,” Adam said. Rhea was his aunt, and she was also the head of the mage Hekate Council.
“That would be so great, Adam,” Brooks said. I frowned at the exaggerated gratitude in his tone because it was clearly a passive-aggressive shot at me.
“Sure. What’s her last name?”
“McShane,” Brooks said.
Adam blinked and went pale. “Wait…is her real name Cadence?”
Brooks nodded. “How did you know?”
I tilted my head. “Wait…isn’t that…?”
Adam swallowed and nodded. “Yeah,” he said in a tone as grave as a cemetery.
Giguhl’s nose perked up like a bloodhound on a juicy scent. “What?”
I crossed my arms as pressure started to build in my chest. Adam paled and backed away a step. “I, uh, used to date her.”
“When?” Brooks asked, looking as intrigued as Giguhl.
“A while ago,” Adam said.
“How long is a while?” Erron asked, joining in with the interrogation.
Adam backed up another step. Out of striking distance. “About three years ago.”
Giguhl’s mouth dropped open. “That’s right before you met Sabina!”
Adam eyed the door. “I sort of broke up with her right before I met Sabina in L.A.” Lucky for him, he’d already told me about his relationship with Cadence McShane or he’d already be knocked out on the floor. Still, knowing the history didn’t erase my instinctive jealousy at hearing Adam talk about a woman he loved.
“How long before?” Brooks asked.
The mage shot the changeling a you’re-not-helping glare. “Like a week. That’s why I volunteered for the mission to find Sabina. Cadence went a little…nuts when I broke it off.”
“How serious was it?” Erron asked. “Women don’t usually go nuts unless they feel screwed over.”
Those green eyes measured the distance to the door again.
“Adam?” Giguhl prompted, tapping his hoof.
He blew out a breath, as if surrendering to impending doom. “We were engaged.”
The room fell silent as all eyes turned to gauge my reaction. “Relax, I already knew about it.”
Audible sighs of relief filtered through the room, as if they’d expected me to murder the mancy any second.
“In that case,” Brooks said, “does this mean you’ll call Nyx after all?”
I frowned at him. “Why?”
Giguhl made a disgusted sound. “Adam’s ex-fiancée is missing. The girl he screwed over to be with you, I might add. You have to help find her now.”
“He didn’t screw her over to be with me. They broke up before he even met me,” I said, my voice holding a hint of warning. “But if Adam wants to help, he’s welcome to.” The mage in question cringed, hearing the warning in my tone—the one that said his reaction to that statement would determine whether he would spend the rest of eternity sleeping on the sofa.
He touched my elbow. “May I speak to you?”
I knew if I agreed, he’d talk me into it. He’d remind me that I was a good person, not some petty shrew who let jealousy rule her actions. But the shock of finding out Brooks’s waitress was the same woman Adam had planned to spend the rest of his life with before I came into the picture hadn’t worn off. I wanted to wallow in it a little while. I shook my head at his request. “I’m feeling exhausted all of a sudden. I’m going home.” Before he could respond, I turned to Erron. “Thanks for the drinks.”
And with that, I used magic to flash out of the house before anyone could argue with me.
* * *
About two seconds after I flashed into our bedroom, Adam followed. That was the sucky part about being in love with a mage. “I knew I should have gone somewhere else.” I started to flash out again, but he grabbed my arm.
“Don’t. We need to talk.”
I shook my head. “We can talk about it tomorrow.”
He crossed his arms and raised that infuriating eyebrow. “Now, Sabina.”
The old me would have been yelling and pacing around the room. But the problem with growing up and gaining some self-awareness was being able to recognize when you were acting like a brat. “I know it’s stupid.”
He sighed and took my hand in his. “Not really.”
I jerked my gaze toward his. “Really?”
“I’ve had to deal with one of your exes, too, remember?”
I wasn’t eager to talk about how I’d almost ruined my chances with Adam before we really even got started by briefly reigniting an old flame with Slade Corbin. Time for a change of subject. “I just don’t see why we have to be the ones to find her.”
“Because our friend asked us.”
My shoulders dropped. I knew he was right, but I was so exhausted I wasn’t ready to think about jumping into the drama. His hand caressed mine in a soothing motion.
“I hate that this happened tonight.” He moved closer, wrapping his arms around my waist. I stayed stiff but didn’t fight him off. “You’ve been gone so long and I was looking forward to an enthusiastic homecoming celebration.” His forehead tipped to touch mine.
“Don’t,” I said. “Don’t try to seduce me into feeling better.”
What I really meant was I didn’t want any sort of gentle lovemaking. I knew it wasn’t his fault Cadence McShane had reentered our lives, but the petty part of me wanted to punish him for daring to love someone before I came along.
I’d been quiet for so long, he mistook my lack of encouragement as rejection. He began to pull away, but I grabbed his lapels and pulled him in for a punishing kiss. Unlike our passionate joining of lips when I’d first arrived earlier, this was a clash of tongues and lips and teeth. Despite the nips of pain, it was no less arousing.
I pushed him back toward the bed. He didn’t struggle. Smart of him. If he wanted my forgiveness, he was going to have to let me take the lead this time. I wasn’t interested in timidly lying back while he worshipped my body. I wanted to brand him with my body. Remind him that he belonged to me and me alone.