She was slowly going out of her mind.
When the marquis finally lifted his head, she wasn’t sure if she was relieved or disappointed. The way she had panted!
Oh, but the way the kiss made her feel!
The marquis tipped her chin up, and her cheeks flamed as soon as their gazes met. She tried to look away, but he didn’t let her. “I can stare at you all day long, milady.”
His lips twitched. “You know I’m telling the truth.” He lowered his head and kissed her again. “I can do this all day, too.”
So could I, she thought uneasily.
I’m glad to hear that, the marquis replied in her mind.
Oh! She had forgotten about his ability to hear her thoughts. Again!
“You cur!” She pulled away with a gasp, but he laughingly dragged her back for another kiss. “Stay,” he murmured after. “I still need to fix your hair.”
He smiled down at her. “You probably hadn’t noticed, but the carriage has long stopped, milady. We’ve arrived, and so has your student.”
“What?” She thought of asking him how could he have known that but decided not to bother in the end. He was the Marquis of Lunare. It would be easy for him to sense things like that. Her fingers flew to her hair, and she let out a cry of dismay when she realized that it had become completely undone. She looked down at her dress, and another cry escaped her. Everything was so dreadfully crumpled.
“Relax, milady. You look beautiful—-”
“I do not, and you know it. Instead, I look like a h-hussy—-”
“Well, that, too, but just for me.”
“Oh, shut up, you—-” She broke off when the door suddenly opened and the marquis’ coachman bowed to them in greeting.
Soleil quickly pasted a smile on her face, not wanting anyone to think she was a shrew.
Ilie helped her out of the carriage. “Milady?”
“Y-yes?” she replied absently, her mind still focused on finding ways to make her hair look just a bit more presentable.
“They’re all here.”
“I know, you already told me that—-”
“I don’t just mean your student, milady.”
Slowly, Soleil looked up…and did her best not to let her jaw drop open.
Curses. Double curses. Triple curses.
Why didn’t the blasted man tell her that when he said everyone, he meant the most important denizens in this side of the realm?
Her new student, Miss Zari Baltimore, was easy enough to recognize from the photos Soleil had seen of her. Petite, with an almost boyish figure, the girl had long, ash blonde hair and large gray eyes that were almost too bright to stare directly at.
A soul seer coming to her powers, Soleil thought.
Beside the girl was an enigmatic-looking gentleman, someone who seemed to be more at home in the darkness than anywhere else. Dressed entirely in black, the dark-haired Lord Alexandru Gheorgiu was almost too captivatingly handsome to be the kingdom’s most infamous hunter. The way his sleepy, green-eyed gaze surveyed his surroundings was languid and graceful, but Soleil wasn’t fooled. Those were the eyes of a killer, one who wouldn’t hesitate to crush anyone or anything that stood in his way.
Standing slightly apart from the couple were the two other men making up the Galere.
Lord Mihail, the Marquis of Sangre, bore a marked resemblance to his younger brother, Lord Alexandru, but his features were more classically defined. He had a broader build as well, his bearing more stoic than predatory.
Lord Adrijan, the Marquis of Aquarius and the youngest of the Galere, had an air of tranquility about him, as was inherent of his kind. He had a boyish appeal about him, with his smiling good looks, so much so that Soleil had to remind herself this was also the man who could command the oceans and seas to his will. He was not one to be underestimated, and he would not have been made a part of the Galere if he were.
The two marquises had bowed at the sight of her, murmuring their greetings, but neither of them moved from their position, their stances alert and protective towards the couple between them—-
The Duke of Brimstone, Soleil thought uneasily. That long golden hair, the Viking-like bearing, and those strange eyes that seemed to alternate between shunning and reflecting all the colors of the rainbow – even if it had been her first time to see the duke, she would have still recognized him, with the kind of power emanating from him.
This was the man prophesied to bring about the world’s destruction if he did not find his heartkeeper in time—-
Soleil’s gaze moved to the petite, pretty brunette standing beside the duke.
So the rumors were real, Soleil thought.
Yes, Ilie answered in her mind, and his gaze became impassive. The rumors were indeed real. Georgina McCartney, a human, was the demon duke’s heartkeeper…and Ilie’s.
“Although I am certain the information provided in our welcome kit is more than sufficient, I hope you don’t mind if we go over our kingdom’s history just a bit. Knowledge of the kingdom’s rules is essential for anyone either residing in or visiting Chalys.”