She smiled back at him uncertainly, protesting more out of habit this time. “He’s not my prince.”
A voice that was not Lysander’s answered quietly, “Is that so?”
Domenico Moretti stood at the entrance of the cave, dressed in just a plain round-collared shirt and jeans, and yet – he had never seemed so beautiful and powerful in Misty’s eyes. Not a flicker of expression betrayed his true feelings, his handsome face unreadable, but even so Misty sensed the pain that her careless words her caused.
Lysander moved away from her and she scrambled to her feet, knowing all the while she was making it worse by acting like she had something to be guilty about. “Domenico, I---”
“I’m sorry to intrude on your…date.” His voice became flat as he said the last word.
Before she could answer, Lysander was chuckling, ruffling her hair as he said, “It wasn’t a romantic date, Your Highness.” His voice was perfectly bland, but somehow that only made him sound glib instead of honest.
But Domenico wasn’t looking at him. He only had eyes for Misty. That was supposed to make her feel good, but it didn’t. It felt wrong. “A missive from Aurelius arrived. A few pack leaders would like to meet with you today. Do you think it would be possible for you to leave?”
A part of her knew that she shouldn’t be leaving with Domenico, shouldn’t allow herself to be alone with him because it would change things between them forever. But another part of her remembered the flatness of his voice as he spoke to her, the dull look in his green eyes as he saw her with another man’s head on her lap---
She blurted out, “Yes.” She watched Domenico exhale after that, and she realized that he had been tensely waiting for her answer, as if expecting Misty to reject him. That did not feel right either.
Domenico was an Alpha, the heir to the Moretti pack, a legendary prince among his kind – it just didn’t feel right that someone like her would be causing someone like him so much pain.
But…this was what she had wanted, didn’t she?
“Misty?” Domenico was offering his hand.
She glanced at Lysander behind her shoulders. “Next time again?” she asked hesitantly.
The smile he gave her didn’t reach his eyes. It puzzled her, but right now Misty didn’t have time to think about it longer. “Go on, have fun.”
Turning back to Domenico, she took his hand and he immediately clasped it tightly between his fingers, pulling her to his side. And then he was kissing her without any warning, his lips demanding and conquering as it covered hers, his tongue slipping in as if to immediately reclaim what he considered his.
And she let him.
Because somehow she felt this was the only way to make up for the hurt she had just caused.
Domenico pulled away. Before she could say anything else, he said in a low fierce whisper, “I’m never going to give you up to anyone, Misty. I love you too f**king much not to fight for you with everything I have.”
The “Midways” was a highway of sorts that only appeared visible to non-human races. In ancient times, it had been used for non-humans to reach different realms, most of which had now been abandoned. Virtually every non-human race had learnt to adapt to living with humans, and only the Faeries had chosen to once again live apart from humanity.
It was an endless-looking bridge, and because Misty was entirely human, she wasn’t able to see the portals that the bridge led to. All she could see was a great yawning distance ahead of her.
Domenico had been tensely silent since leaving the realm of Faeries, and it worried her. “I can’t imagine the Midways being so crowded,” she babbled. “But based on what I’ve read, that was exactly how it was in the old days…right?”
Domenico didn’t answer.
She continued determinedly, “And they said that…that evil ones wouldn’t be able to cross it. Is that true?”
Finally, Domenico answered, “Supposedly, that is how the Midways work, allowing it to be the first line of defense for the realms.”
“Supposedly?” She didn’t like the sound of that.
“A lot of things have changed,” he answered absently before lapsing back into silence.
Domenico wasn’t exactly brooding, and he certainly didn’t come across as furious but something was truly wrong. She felt it in her bones, and she couldn’t stand it. “I’m sorry,” she blurted out. “I’m sorry if you were mad because I went out with Lysander. But Domenico, there’s nothing…” She couldn’t make herself say the words, afraid to make a fool of herself if her suspicions proved false.
Domenico knew exactly what was going through her mind. For a moment, he struggled with his pride, which demanded that he take the chance to hurt her now as she had unwittingly hurt him with how intimate she was with the other man.
But in the end, his love for Misty won---like how it would always win because she was the most important thing in his life now. “I was jealous,” he admittedly flatly.
“But there’s no need to be!” she cried out even as her heart raced at Domenico’s unexpected admission. A year ago, Domenico would never have been able to say something like that. She added in a mumble, “He’s g*y.”
“And you’re sure about that?”
“Of course! I even asked Daryl about it!”
His head turned towards her sharply. “And he confirmed that Lysander Allard is not interested in women?”
Domenico did not know what to make of it. Her words relieved him, but at the same time he had a feeling something was incredibly wrong, and his intuition was almost always right.
“Nothing happened, is happening, and could happen between us because he’s g*y,” she couldn’t help stressing.
“And he asked you to marry him.”
“A marriage of convenience---”
“A marriage to another man!” Domenico hadn’t meant to shout, but he was so f**king pissed and goddamn hurt to hear Misty talk about marrying another man – even if that man liked other men – so easily. “You didn’t even turn him down!”
She felt defensive all of a sudden, and she didn’t like it. “Don’t act like I’m the bad guy here,” she snapped. “You were the one who was contemplating marriage with a Lyccan princess while we were still married!”
“It was different then! I was an idiot. Are you saying you’re an idiot now?”