The woman bit her lip. “I don’t think I’m at liberty to say.”
Interesting, he thought. Was she truly loyal or was she just being practical?
Out loud, he said simply, “Then we won’t speak about it. How’s your day so far?”
He grinned. “That bad, huh?”
And that was when he saw it. Lyccans were extremely sensitive creatures and when the woman laughed, it was then he sensed the beauty in her, something delicate and strong at the same time.
“I just….I don’t understand. Why are everyone here so interested in---” When she paused, Jayme knew it was because she almost referred to Domenico by his first name.
“Why do they care about what Mr. Moretti so much? I know he’s rich and powerful and all that, but so are a lot of people here.”
Jayme shook his head in amusement. She didn’t know that Moretti was expected to be one of the leaders of the Lyccan Council one day? That many believed he would be the one royal born destined to lead all other pack leaders under his command?
“He’s just very well-respected,” he said finally and changed the subject. “Did Moretti send you to work in the mail department?”
“No. I was supposed to be a substitute secretary.”
“Then why are you…?”
“I didn’t think it was worth the trouble, demanding a change of job. Besides, Domenico told me I should understand how…things worked here and I could do that more if I’m not chained to a desk.”
Jayme was impressed more and more. She really was smart.
He said slowly, “But…you know, you should make an effort to really get to know people. Observation can only go so far.” He couldn’t believe he was saying all these things. He was typically self-centered and proud of it. So why was he concerned about this girl all of a sudden?
The woman’s shoulders slumped. “I know. But I’m not that good at getting to know people---”
He stood up. “It’s up to you, of course. But you seemed to want to do what Moretti instructed you so…” Jayme trailed off.
She stood up, too. “You’re right,” she sighed out. A dimpled smile suddenly appeared on her face, one that entranced him because it was so refreshingly unspoiled. No artificial ingredients. 100% natural.
Misty beamed at him. “Thanks for helping.” She offered her hand, saying shyly, “I’m Misty, by the way.”
Jayme took it, and with just one touch he knew. It was like that for Lyccan. Just a sniff of a woman’s scent, a touch of her skin – just one of that was more than enough to know whether sexual chemistry would be present or not. And between him and Misty, it would be explosive.
“Thank you again,” she said, still smiling. “I’ll leave first. I have work to do, like you said.” She waved cheerfully before walking away.
For a long time, Jayme simply stood there, staring without seeing.
It was decided then.
He was going to steal her from Moretti.
Across the street, on the rooftop area of another building, Domenico Moretti observed the entire scene between Misty and the heir to the Cavalier clan. Jayme rarely visited the Lyccan Hall, preferring not to have a hand in Lyccan politics, but Domenico had known there was a chance the younger man would come today to visit his father and he had gambled on that chance.
He wanted Jayme on his side when he presented his proposal to the council for voting, but Domenico also knew that Jayme would never have voted for him as a rule. Or at least he wouldn’t unless Misty entered the picture – and which she had.
Domenico knew just how irresistible Misty could be and as he had predicted, she had enslaved Jayme Cavalier and without even knowing it.
“You are not worried the younger boy will steal her from you?” Matteo asked. Although non-Lyccans simply saw the other man as Domenico’s personal chauffeur and bodyguard, Matteo was more than that. He was Domenico’s second-in-command, his oldest best friend, and the son of his father’s retainer. Matteo might not have royal blood, but the years he had devoted to serving Domenico gave him a unique right and privilege to speak honestly with him.
Shrugging, he ignored the niggle of doubt treacherously crawling along his spine and said with feigned blandness, “Everything is according to plan. There is nothing for me to worry about.”
“He is smitten with her, perhaps too much than you bargained,” Matteo continued.
Domenico’s fists clenched.
So perhaps he was just the slightest bit apprehensive. And jealous.
But the fact remained: he needed Cavalier’s vote.
“I have nothing to worry about,” he finally said and changed the subject. “Let’s leave.”
Matteo gave him one telling look before bowing. “As you wish, Your Highness.”
Twenty minutes later, on his way to one of the scores of meetings he had to attend each day, Domenico called Misty on her mobile phone. It was not because he was worried, he told himself swiftly. It was only because he wanted to, well, make sure she was --- the same.
That Jayme Cavalier had not messed things up.
Because if he had, Domenico would---
He relaxed slightly at the sound of eagerness in Misty’s voice. Smiling, he answered softly, “Si.”
“H-hi,” Misty stammered over the phone.
There had been a note of hesitation in her voice. What could he make of that? He said on impulse, “I’ll pick you up later.”
His narrowed. “Why not?”
Her voice lowering, she said, “People here don’t know---”
“That you’re mine?” he ended silkily, wondering if she was hesitating because she was thinking of Jayme Cavalier.
“Yes.” The relief in her voice was obvious, and it incensed him. “And honestly, I don’t want the same thing in our office to happen here. So I thought, keep a low profile…can I meet you at the house instead?”
Domenico decided to give Misty a chance. If she failed this early then she was not meant to be his bride. But dammit, she better not fail.
“Yes,” he said. “We’ll meet at home. My home.”
But if she failed---
If she failed then Domenico make love to her the entire night until she was permanently branded by his scent and she’d never forget who she belonged to ever again.