Recalling Domenico’s earlier instructions, she stammered, “I’m, umm, here to see Mr. Filippo Cavalier.”
“Do you have an appointment, Miss---?”
She gave her name, adding, “I’m sent by Mr. Domenico Moretti to serve as his substitute secretary.” Misty did not miss the way the woman’s eyes widened at the mention of Domenico’s name. Bad or good? It was impossible to tell for now.
“One moment, please.” The receptionist made a call, murmuring something in a language she guessed was something that belonged to Lyccans alone. After ending the call, she looked back at Misty with a blank face. “Someone will be down shortly to accompany you.”
The woman excused herself right after.
Misty’s gaze followed her and she tried not to mind when the woman whispered something to her fellow receptionist, who then looked at her with wide eyes before whispering to the other woman next to her.
It was a cycle, and soon everyone – from employees to guests – was staring at Misty.
What had she done?
She whirled around to find a tall woman with long black hair and a stick-thin figure sheathed in a red dress looking at her in contempt.
Misty smiled uncertainly. “Hello, I’m---”
The other woman didn’t let her finish. “You’ve been sent by Domenico?”
This time, Misty really looked at her, noting the hard glint in the woman’s dark eyes and the supercilious curl of her lip. This woman was on first name basis with Domenico? She was very – for lack of a better word - aggressive. It was the first thing people would likely notice about her.
Her face was too hard and angular to be called pretty. A handsome woman, more like. An unbelievably sexy handsome woman, Misty amended to herself, taking note of the hourglass figure.
“Are you deaf?” the woman snapped.
Misty flushed. “I’m sorry. I, uhh, yes, I was sent by---”
The woman cut her off again. “Come with me then.”
They took the elevator to the penthouse floor, the woman sniffing at her throughout the brief journey. When they stepped past the glass doors leading to the expansive office inside, Misty tried not to mind how people here were still staring at her and, by the looks of it, sniffing at her, too.
Misty tucked her hair behind her ears, using it as a way of avoiding their gazes.
“Feeling self-conscious?” the woman asked snidely.
Instead of answering, she said, “I don’t think I caught your name---”
The other woman appeared livid at her question.
Misty cringed. “I’m sorry. I really didn’t catch it.”
“It’s Rebecca, but as far as you’re concerned you may call me Ms. Findley and that’s it. I don’t associate with women like you.”
Misty blinked. “Women like me?” She would have understood the contempt if she had been dressed in her usual clothes, but Misty knew she looked more than representable today. Mark’s taste in clothes was excellent, with an eye for both quality and fit. Her two-piece charcoal suit cost a fortune, and the bag and shoes Mark had also picked out for her were just as pricey.
Eyes boring through her, Rebecca hissed, “We all know you’re Domenico’s latest mistress.”
Four hours later, Misty locked herself in a restroom cubicle and pressed her fists to her eyes. This was hell.
She was not a secretary here. That woman – Rebecca – had made her the mail girl. It wasn’t that bad really, if only she wasn’t wearing three-inch heels (because she had wanted to make a good impression) and she didn’t have to visit each floor of the building to deliver and receive mail. It wouldn’t have been that bad if half of the people weren’t looking at her like she was the most despicable insect, wouldn’t have been that bad if the other half weren’t looking at her like she was a frog to be dissected.
Too bad her old mantra “I need my job” wouldn’t work in this case.
She so badly needed a mantra, but she couldn’t think of any at the moment.
With still forty-five minutes left for her lunch break, Misty climbed all the way to the rooftop, foregoing the elevator because she was less likely to bump into anyone by taking the stairs. One of the council’s employees had told her that the rooftop area was quite private, having caught sight of her red-rimmed eyes.
When she reached the rooftop, Misty knew right away it was perfect for her. Although it had only old benches scattered around, there were also dozens of trees and flowering plants growing from garden beds, which lent the place a serene atmosphere one usually wouldn’t find in the middle of Miami.
Misty stood at the corner, eyes closed, enjoying the breeze, and savoring the freedom from all those prying and contemptuous eyes.
“May I join you?”
Her eyes flew open and she stiffened when she saw a tall man in a suit looking at her curiously. He seemed close to her age, with hair that turned copper under the sun, fair skin, and laughing gray eyes. He was sensually gorgeous like Domenico, but it wasn’t the same. He couldn’t hold a candle to Domenico’s swoon-worthy looks as far as Misty was concerned.
She smiled politely. “Of course.”
Jayme Cavalier studied the woman everyone was saying was Domenico Moretti’s newest mistress. It could be true, considering how she had Moretti’s scent all over her. But her appearance shocked him. In spite of her impeccable clothes, she was still ordinary.
She didn’t seem Moretti’s taste at all, with her windswept hair, makeup-less face, and of course – who wouldn’t be able to notice those curves? He always saw the older Lyccan dating only stick-thin blondes so it behooved and intrigued him to find out exactly what attracted Moretti to the slip of a girl in front of him.
And of course, there was the fact that Misty Wall was human. She was the first of her kind that Domenico had introduced to Lyccan society. Most Lyccans saw humans as pets, worthy only of meaningless affairs. As far as Jayme knew, Moretti had never indulged in human relations until now. Could she be that good in bed?
“You look troubled,” he commented.
She didn’t speak, smart girl.
“Have the women been giving you a hard time because of the rumors about you and Moretti?”
She was visibly dismayed, which oddly discomfited him. “You heard about it, too?”
“Everyone knows about it by now,” he said awkwardly. “What exactly is your relationship with him if what the rumors are saying isn’t true?”