Domenico raised a brow, unused to being contradicted.
She raised one brow back even though her heartbeat went a notch up in speed. She was trying very hard to remember that he no longer her boss but her fiancé. That gave her certain rights. Right?
“You’re going to be stubborn about this, aren’t you?”
He shook his head. “Never mind. If that’s what you want then fine.”
She blinked at his cool tone. “Are you angry?”
Domenico paused to consider her question and didn’t need more than a moment to realize that he was. Surprisingly, he was indeed angry although words like frustrated and irritated were probably more apt.
He had been looking forward to spending the night with her. Although he knew he would not take her virginity - a rare prize among Lyccans since their kind typically had sexual intercourse far earlier than humans did – before marriage, Domenico had nevertheless anticipated spending the night with Misty in his arms.
And yet here she was, apparently unaffected and uncaring. He understood her predicament – it would be her first time to be in his home and to do so alone would be awkward for her. He also knew he was acting spoiled, but he was unable to help it. Domenico was so used to women falling all over their feet to do his bidding that Misty doing otherwise was a huge, unwelcome shock.
Misty was still staring at him.
“No,” he said finally. “I’m not.” But his tone implied otherwise.
Misty fell silent, not knowing how to respond.
Half an hour later, his car stopped in front her home. “T-thanks,” she said awkwardly as she stepped out of the car.
Domenico did not follow her out. Giving her a brief nod, he murmured, “I’ll see you tomorrow.” And then the car was driving away.
Misty had a very, very strong urge to cry.
Domenico stared at the victims’ bodies, taking note of the bullet holes in their foreheads. Accurate and neat – mid-range distance, maybe, and not even a sniper was used. The killer obviously meant business.
“What do the forensic reports say?” he asked.
Another Lyccan, the pathologist spoke bleakly. “Silver bullets. Whoever the murderer is, he knows he’s dealing with our kind. No signs of struggle either.”
Or she, Domenico thought, too distrustful to rule out the possibility that a female could be behind the massacre. Staring at the lifeless bodies that crowded the morgue, Domenico exhaled a furious breath. That there had been no struggle meant the entire group had known who the killer was and probably trusted that person, too.
It confirmed what he long suspected: they had a traitor in their midst, and one whose face was familiar to most Lyccans. Someone famous then, but that could be any of a hundred or so individuals.
Beside him, Ricardo Hernandez cursed. He had lost even more than Domenico did to the massacre, with three of his younger pack mates dead. “This is the fourth incident of this kind,” he muttered.
“They’re getting bolder,” Domenico murmured.
“Do you think it’s the Caros, double-crossing us?”
He shook his head. “There’s no way to be sure. All I know is that we have to tighten security even more.”
There was a slight pause before the older man looked at him questioningly. “Have you given thought about my proposal?”
A double meaning. Ricardo had long been friends with Domenico’s father and a month ago, Ricardo had proposed that their packs be united with marriage, specifically desiring a union between Dio’s eldest Domenico and his eldest Rafaella.
Under any other circumstance, Domenico would not have hesitated to agree, would not have even considered marrying Misty if Dio had also happened to be dead set against the union. Ricardo’s pack was just as powerful as the Morettis, and if they had allied themselves with a marriage, no other Lyccan pack would have dared stood in their way.
But Dio was in favor of it, and for that alone Domenico knew he would only agree to the alliance if it was the very last resort for saving the future of his kind.
He chose his words carefully, not wanting to offend Ricardo because he liked and respected the other man. “While I am truly honored---”
Ricardo sighed. “It’s all right, son. I knew it was wishful thinking on our parts.”
“If things were different,” Domenico said truthfully, “I would not have even a moment’s hesitation.”
The next day, Misty got off the cab and was immediately drenched by hard torrents of rain. In the corner of her eye, she saw Janice being assisted out of a Mercedes Benz by one of the guys from 7/F. Clearly, William Grant was out of the picture.
As she ran for cover, hands over her bent head in a futile effort to keep herself from getting wet, Misty heard Janice tittering behind her. Tears burned her eyes. She had not been able to sleep the entire night, troubled by Domenico’s cold demeanor. She wondered if it would always be like this whenever she did not do something he wanted.
She went inside, flushing at the gaping looks of the doormen whose gazes searched for a sign of Domenico behind her. When they didn’t, they looked at her with pity, but she did her best to ignore that.
Her usual luck caused her to take the elevator with Janice, whose cruel laughter made it uncomfortably clear for everyone what she was thinking about.
“Poor Misty,” Janice drawled in the pseudo-whispery tone that she had long perfected. “Have you disappointed Domenico Moretti already?” She smoothed her hand over the side of her dress, yet another skintight creation made of silk, as if emphasizing the slimness of her figure.
Misty didn’t answer, preferring to stare straight ahead even though she felt like a fat cow next to the glamazon.
The rest of the day proceeded too slowly for her. Misty wished she could bury herself in her work, but she was already a week advanced. Lunch time, she stayed at her desk, taking out her lunch box.
For today, she had prepared for herself a huge helping of mac and cheese and grilled corn on the side. It was one of her favorite combinations for comfort food, something she tended to indulge in when she was feeling in the dumps. Right now, that was an understatement for how Misty was feeling, especially with the ill-concealed pity in people’s gazes.
“I told you it wouldn’t work,” Janice was smugly telling Hannah, her voice loud enough for more than half of the office to hear.
Why didn’t she just get a megaphone and be done with it, Misty wondered. Or just post it on the public Facebook page of Moretti Inc.? It would be less hard on her vocal chords at least.