“No need to explain. I want to work tonight.”
Paula laughed. “Then you’re crazier than me.”
As she watched Paula go, guilt tugged at her conscience, and Fawn wondered if she should have told Paula first about the prince telling her not to come to work.
But if she had, it could have made Paula retract the offer.
Fawn squared her shoulders. It’s going to be okay, she told herself. There were only a few hours left in the night shift, anyway, and all she had to do was keep her head down, finish Paula’s job, and she would be gone without anyone knowing she had even been there in the first place.
Good plan, right?
Conversation between her two selves concluded, Fawn hurried back inside, making sure to avoid the usual paths Igor, Noah, and Emery normally took. The three seemed to be the only ones who knew about her temporary work ban, and as long as none of them saw her, she was safe.
Changing into her uniform as fast as she could, she went straight to the main house’s living room and began mopping the floor. As expected, they were far from the pristine condition she had left them in earlier, the tiles splattered with spilled wine, vomit, and creamy…white…stuff…she would rather not name.
Fortunately, the living room was surprisingly empty, allowing Fawn to do her job more efficiently. Cleaning the floor section by section, it was when she neared the end of the hallway where the prince’s study was that she heard it.
The hairs on the back of her neck stood up.
Then she heard it again.
A faint cackling sound.
Holy. Sweet. Haunted. Crap.
She had heard from the night shift staff that the prince’s mansion was haunted, and that once in a while they would hear cackling and screaming coming from nowhere. She looked around her and still found herself alone, but now, the living room seemed more terrifyingly imposing than usual. The high ceilings made her feel like anything could lurk in the shadows above her, and when she heard a girl scream, Fawn nearly screamed herself.
Scared to death now but knowing she couldn’t just ignore it, Fawn slowly forced herself to follow the sound. Finally, she made it to the front doors, and that was when she saw a girl sobbing on the floor, half crawling as she tried to free herself from several men.
Fawn started to scream for help when a hand suddenly covered her mouth.
Terror struck her, and she began struggling as hard as she could.
Her attacker spun her around, and that was when she saw who it was.
FAWN SAT HUDDLED IN one of the chairs across the desk, the shudders racking her body born out of shock and terror instead of the cold. A shadow fell on her, and when she looked up, the Prince of Darkness was offering her a shot of brandy.
“You’re in shock. Drink this.”
She shook her head.
He said pleasantly, “Drink it or I’ll make you drink it.”
“H-how do I know it’s not drugged?”
Impatience flashed in his gaze, but a moment later he had downed the shot of brandy himself. Turning away, he took the decanter and placed it on the desk. “Watch closely.” He poured himself another shot and downed it in similar fashion. He poured a third serving and offered it to her again. “Satisfied?”
She reached for it, but her hands shook so badly that by the time she had brought it to her lips, the contents were nearly gone and she was only able to take a small sip. Even so, it was still enough to have her choking at the way the liquid burned her throat.
The prince appeared faintly exasperated. “Let me guess. You don’t drink.”
“And of course that’s not an exaggeration, I suppose?”
She shook her head.
He released a low sigh. “You should never have worked for me.”
Yes, she thought numbly, recalling what she had seen in the entranceway. She should never have worked for the Prince of Darkness because everything that people said about him was true.
When the prince made a move towards her, Fawn couldn’t help tensing, expecting the worst.
The prince noticed this, too, and he stilled.
Igor’s words echoed in his mind.
It’s unusual for you to be so worried over one of our staff.
However galling it was to admit, the prince knew Igor was right. And if he was smart, he should use this opportunity to get rid of her.
“W-what happened to the girl b-being attacked?”
And now, the opportunity was knocking on his door, begging to be seized. It would be so damn easy, the prince thought tautly. Make her believe she saw what she thought she saw, and she would never want to see him again.
“Did you let those men r-rape her?”
If he were smart, he would say yes. If he said yes, that would be it. She would be terrified of him and she would leave. His obsession with her would be over.