Mr. Moretti appears shocked at the stony look I throw at him.
“Why are you angry?”
“You’re making fun of me again.”
“I am making fun of you?” He sounds so convincingly confused.
It just makes me hate him more. Makes me want to cry, too, but I’ll be damned if I’m letting him see how much he’s hurt me.
“I would have believed you if you said you were attracted to me. You’re a highly sexual guy.”
“I think there’s an insult there somewhere, yes?”
I choose to take the safe and bite-proof way out by pretending he hasn’t said anything. “But to say that I’m irresistible---”
A sense of humiliated fury makes me relapse. “Fuck off,” I snarl, hands clenching at the effort I exert not to cry in front of him. All these years of never even saying ‘shit’, wasted because of this --- this dog!
He stops laughing right away. Lifting me from the bed, he settles me on his lap with ease even as I struggle.
This is starting to feel familiar, I think.
He tips my chin up. “Be honest. You feel the attraction between us, yes?”
I can’t stop him from forcing me to look at him, but I can definitely refuse to answer.
My heart jumps at the word. It’s the first time he’s said it out loud, the first time he’s referred to himself like that. For a moment, it resurrects the fangirl in me, and I just know I’m staring at him with stars in my eyes.
“Why are you looking at me like that?”
I smile sheepishly. “I just can’t believe I heard you call yourself a Lyccan.”
A frown settles on his face. “What else should I call myself? I am a Lyccan.”
He sounds so defensive I feel like I have to apologize. “I’m sorry, I know---but it’s just…you know.”
His frown becomes more pronounced. “I hate the way you’re looking at me right now. You make me feel like a freak.”
“No,” I protest, utterly aghast that I actually made him feel like that. “I don’t and won’t ever see you that way!” It feels impossible to explain, but I try anyway. I just want to erase the hurt in his eyes that he’s trying to hide.
“You’re…you’re like a dream come true to me.” I feel myself turning redder with every word.
“Do you mean that?” he demands.
He still doesn’t believe me.
I say it so simply, so surely I guess he’s finally convinced. But he still shakes his head, murmuring, “You make me feel so…” The glare that follows surprises me.
“What did I do?”
“You confuse me, and I don’t like it,” he answers right away. “Enough with this nonsense. I’m attracted to you. It’s because of your scent, the alluring curves of your body, the feel of your skin – it’s the whole package.”
My jaw’s back on the floor and I don’t think it’s ever coming back up again.
“Can’t you feel how badly I want to f**k you?”
Umm, yes. I can. I definitely can. So much I can’t think straight now.
“So answer me,” he says in such a commanding tone I’m turned on even more. Oh boy. Does that make me a natural-born M or something?
“What can I do to convince you to be my wife?”
He’s really asking me that? He really wants me to be his wife?
Impatient at my inability to speak, Domenico Moretti adds forcefully, “Perhaps I have not been clear enough. As my wife, you will have my eternal allegiance, my protection, and my fidelity. Everything you need I will provide for. Everything and everyone you care about will be also under my care. In return, I only ask for your fidelity, your trust, and your loyalty. I need you to perform the duties expected from the wife of a future pack leader, but those I am confident you will learn in time.”
His words leave me reeling.
“I want to give you more time to think about this, but I can’t wait for you forever. Time is against me.” He pauses, as if finding the next words difficult to speak. “We are at war, Misty. My kind. Your kind, too, but your leaders don’t know it yet because in this war, your race is but a pawn. We can kill you so very easily.”
I shiver at the picture he paints.
“It is in my power to prevent that war but I will need your help for it. If you marry me, you will know the truth of my words for yourself. You will know that I haven’t lied. That it’s a war that can obliterate your entire race.”
Totally exciting stuff, I can almost hear God laughingly say inside my mind. Isn’t that what you wanted? And there’s nothing more exciting than war, is there?
This time the sensible and the right thing to do would be to say ‘yes’. My honor is at stake. I have to say ‘yes’.
But --- this is marriage. It’s a permanent one, if Domenico Moretti’s to be believed. If he stops and wins the war, I’ll still be married. I need to think about this carefully.
I pause at my thoughts, knowing I’m lying to myself. The truth is, I’m thinking this is my only chance in life to be selfish. Against all odds, Domenico Moretti needs me. The sensible thing would be to ask for his wealth. But I don’t want to be sensible. I don’t want to be practical by being wimpy. I want to be selfish for a change.
“If I refuse, you won’t sack me, will you?” His extremely offended look makes me gulp. “Sorry. I had to ask.”
“If you were a man, you would have been dead by now,” he says very nicely.
“I said I’m sorry,” I mumble, gulping again.
“Your condition,” he says instead. “What do I need to make you marry me?”
“I want you to do something outrageous,” I hear myself saying.
Mr. Moretti straightens, which startles a whimper out of me because it just pushes his erection closer to the junction between my thighs.
His nostrils flare in reaction. His fingers skim my back as it moves up to clasp my neck so he can pull me close.
Shick. I think I just had a mini-orgasm.
When he moves to kiss me, I remind him – both of us - breathlessly, “My condition.”
“Fuck.” He lets me go with a frustrated and hungry look in his eyes. “Say it then,” he growls when I’m still silent.
Here it goes.
“I want you to make everyone think that I can make someone like you---” I bite my lip, suddenly struck by doubt. Am I really doing the sane and right thing here?