Her body tingled at the sight of him, her throat convulsing at the way he kept his eyes on her while he kept a sedate pace next to Magenta. The aura of command around Domenico was even more tangible now, one that made Misty tremble. And his clothes! She had never seen him dressed this way, geared for battle, his soldier uniform bearing the colors of the Lyccan Council. It gave her pause. Shouldn’t he be wearing black and silver, which were the colors of the Moretti pack?
The way his tight-fitted uniform showed off the sleek, hard cuts of his muscles only served to emphasize how different he was from all the men in this realm – or anyone else in the world, any man from any race.
Domenico Moretti was lethal.
He was a prince who had never depended on his guards to kill, choosing instead to taint his own bare hands with the blood of his enemies.
Misty heard the quickened breaths of women around her, and she knew they were just as affected as she was at the sight of him, the proof of how lethal he was in other ways. He was so sinfully handsome, a part of her still could not believe that she had once been...not his mate but a woman who had stayed at his side.
When he was finally near enough to hold a conversation with, Misty knew she couldn’t delay any longer and reluctantly raised her eyes.
His beautiful dark face was devoid of expression, but oh his eyes! They glittered with emotion, letting her know without a word of how he wanted to devour her. There was something else, too, but it was a feeling Misty did not want to acknowledge.
Domenico sucked his breath in when their gazes met.
It was all he could do not to haul his princess to him, to let her know how much he f**king loved her, worshipped the very ground she walked on.
“Breathe, my pretty,” Lysander whispered to her.
She gasped, not realizing she had been holding her breath all this time. She saw Domenico stiffen, his gaze immediately swinging towards Lysander.
Domenico’s fists clenched. Who the f**k was the young man next to her, daring to stand too close to his woman? And had he heard the man right? Had this whelp actually called Misty his pretty?
“It’s good you two are here,” Magenta said calmly, her tone setting a clear precedent of how she wanted everyone to act. “Your Highness, Misty and Lysander here will be co-representing our race in the Alliance.”
Magenta gestured to Domenico next. “Misty, Lysander, the Lyccans have been kind enough to send Prince Domenico of the Moretti pack to help in training our soldiers.”
Lysander. His gaze narrowed at the younger man, taking in his odd choice of clothing, which was drowning in lace. Was the man g*y? He goddamn hoped so or the man would be feeling Domenico’s fist next.
“But…” Misty was in a daze at Magenta’s words, her heart beating mad at the thought of Domenico staying here at the realm…where she was, too. “That’s not…that can’t be possible! He’s the heir apparent of the Moretti Pack. There’s a conflict of interest---”
“There is none now.” Domenico’s soft voice cut through her words.
Just the sound of his voice was enough to have her entire body shaking, repelled and attracted to the sound at the same time, turning Misty into a mass of heartbroken confusion. This morning should have ended everything between them yet here he was again, threatening the new life she had so worked so hard to build.
“What are you saying?” Misty had to force the words out.
“As of yesterday, the mantle of future leadership of the pack has been passed on to the heir next in line, my younger brother Alessandro Moretti.”
Domenico was indifferent to the massive wave of shock that hit the crowd with his announcement. He of course immediately noticed that the younger man called Lysander did not appear surprised at all. It could mean several things, and his agile mind processed every possible meaning behind it. When he looked back at Lysander, Domenico was looking at the other man with a narrowed gaze.
Misty might hate the fact that he was manipulative as hell, and though he would do his best to change that where she was concerned, Domenico knew he would not stop doing so if it meant keeping the people he loved safe. Especially if the danger had to do with the one who held his heart in her hands.
Domenico’s words, delivered so matter-of-factly, knocked her for three, and Misty stumbled back, unable to believe Domenico would relinquish leadership for any reason. He was not a man greedy for power, but for most of his life he had lived to exercise his birthright. It was the most important thing to him---even their marriage had not been his top priority, she remembered painfully.
Domenico was still gazing at her with an inscrutable expression on his gorgeous face. It was scary, the way she just couldn’t read him anymore. But then – had she ever really known him like a wife should? Like a mate should?
“Why would you do that?” She had to ask the question.
Silence abruptly fell, the crowd just as keen to hear Domenico’s answer. Even the Faeries, with all the years they spent outside the “real” world, were fully aware that being heir apparent to a powerful pack like the Morettis was equal to holding the reins to one of the wealthiest and strongest kingdoms in earth.
And the man who had given it all up answered simply, “Because I’ve come to get back what’s mine.”
Domenico stretched his hand, palm up, waiting, demanding for Misty to take him---to let him claim her in front of everyone.
Oh God. Misty found herself moving, her hand slowly lifting up---
In a blink of an eye, Lysander had put Misty behind him, breaking the spell between the two.
Misty’s hand fell to her side, her eyes widening at the horrified realization at what she had almost done. Lysander tipped her chin up, a steady reassuring gleam in his eyes. It calmed her for some reason, and as she continued gazing at Lysander, she was slowly able to breathe again.
Domenico went cold inside even as he allowed his arm to fall back. His first instinct was to strike Lysander down, but looking at Misty, seeing her shaking as she struggled to control her emotions, forced him to keep still. And yet…it was torture to see Misty looking at another man with those wide gray eyes.
Look at me, he wanted to shout. He wanted to demand and beg her at the same time. Didn’t she know how she was f**king killing him with the way her gaze clung to another man?
“Okay, my pretty?” Only long years of practice allowed Lysander to keep his voice smooth and light. Something powerful and deep had shifted inside him at the look of need in Misty’s eyes. It was all he could do not to drop his long-standing disguise and haul her to his arms and tell her that he was going to take care of her.