Surprise widened her eyes. ‘Oh. Thank you,’ she whispered.
And when he saw her perfect white teeth bite into her bruised red bottom lip a surge of heat spiked his pulse. One he couldn’t understand. Didn’t want to feel.
Jerking his hands away, he stepped backwards and cleared his throat. ‘Pietro will let them out. When I’ve had a word with Garcia I’ll join you.’
With a strained smile she nodded, and glanced at Lucas Garcia herself.
Thane wasn’t sure what he’d expected, but it was certainly not her embracing him like some long lost lover. He had to clench his fists to stop from tearing her off him.
‘Thank you so much, Lucas,’ she said softly, shakily. ‘For everything.’
Garcia pulled back and shot her a meaningful look that pricked Thane’s nerves. ‘Remember what I said, Luciana. Any time, night or day.’
Another of those frangible smiles, but she brightened it for Natanael and took his small hand in hers—as if she was physically unable to stop touching him. Thane felt an absurd pang of envy that filled him with self-disgust. Surely it wasn’t healthy or natural to feel envious of his son? Dios, he truly was black inside.
Those clasped hands swayed back and forth as they waltzed into the house, then he turned back to Garcia.
Voice stony, he bit out, ‘She will not be contacting you. Everything she needs is right here.’
As if in a standoff, they weighed one another up. One soldier to another.
Garcia’s midnight-blue gaze hardened. ‘You hurt either of them and I will come for you.’
Thane almost laughed. Almost. Instead he sneered at the other man. ‘If you had any sense, Garcia, you’d never set foot on my island again. I’ve allowed you into restricted airspace to bring my son to me. Next time it will be denied.’
‘Do you think that will stop me? I’ll be honest, here—I’m not getting a very good vibe between you and Luciana, so I’m not entirely convinced that leaving them here is the right choice.’
‘I care very little for what you think. My relationship with Luciana is none of your business.’
‘That is where you are wrong. She is family, and I will not have her here against her wishes. Are you understanding me?’
Thane’s mouth shaped to tell him she was emphatically not here against her wishes, but then he realised he’d given her little choice. Dios, he’d been so angry. Still was. Couldn’t remember half of what he’d said to her.
Whether or not Garcia picked up on his inner turmoil Thane wasn’t sure, but he abruptly let loose a sigh that marginally shrank his impressive shoulders.
‘Look, I understand this must be a shock—difficult for you.’
Thane wanted to ask him how the hell he would know how it felt, but then he remembered the man had just had a child of his own.
‘But know this: she has not had one moment of peace in the last five years. Knowing you were out there has tormented her. There is a reason they say ignorance is bliss. She’s had to live with her decision for years. Do not forget we have been enemies for a long time, Guerrero. She begged. She bartered. She made a pact. Just to bring Natanael into the world. I know she wanted your son more than anything in this life.’
Begged? Bartered? Meaning Henri had wanted her to destroy their son? For the umpteenth time in history Thane wished he’d pulled that trigger. Vibrated with the urge to rain a hellish firestorm on the man’s head. Crush him beneath his almighty foot.
Of one thing he was certain. He would do everything in his vast power to ensure Henri Verbault was erased permanently from his wife’s life. And his son’s too. Their relationship was officially at an end.
Dios, he was so vexed his insides shook. In fact blistering fury was all he could feel in every molecule of his body as it ran like red-hot lava through his veins. Anger towards every person who’d kept him from his son. He wanted to punish them all.
And that still included Luciana. Because she should have come to him five years ago. He would have protected her from the start.
Thane crossed his lethal arms over his wide chest. ‘You love your daughter, don’t you? How would you feel if she’d been kept from you for the first four years of her life?’
His voice was iron-hard but he was genuinely interested to hear this answer. What would a normal person feel right now? Should his insides be so black with hatred? Or was he truly twisted with darkness inside?