Just the thought of anything associated to Domenico Moretti hurt.
“How are you?”
“I’m fine.” She gave the older man a reassuring smile. He was one of the few Lyccans she trusted. Everyone else…was suspect. She told herself she had to feel that way about them, that she couldn’t be naïve about them anymore. She still remembered every painful second of the last time she had been in Lyccan Hall, when Rafaella had shown her how foolish she had been. How gullible.
The doors crashed behind them. Aurelius turned, but Misty didn’t because she knew who it was. She wished she didn’t but the way her skin prickled told her no matter what, she still wasn’t able to ignore his presence.
“Misty?” His voice – even though it sounded ragged now – was tortuously familiar.
She took a deep breath before turning around. Without looking straight at him, she murmured, “Domenico.”
Domenico stared, heart hammering in his chest, unable to believe that after sixteen long months of estrangement he was finally seeing Misty again.
Yet she was different.
It…unnerved him, but at the same time, it attracted him. Everything about Misty made his heart constrict in complete desire.
Damn it, he had missed her so much in the months she had been gone and yet now, she didn’t look as if she cared one whit about their estrangement. Had he truly lost her for good?
She seemed taller, more beautiful, and more ethereal. Something about how Misty looked right now nagged at him. He studied her more carefully, or at least he tried to do so when every instinct he possessed urged Domenico to haul her into his arms and never let go. Misty wore a white voluminous one-shouldered dress that fell just a little past her knees in an asymmetrical hemline. The Misty he knew would never have worn something so elegant before, but this Misty carried it easily, as if she was born dressed like---
She looked like a goddamn Faerie.
His fists clenched. If the Faeries think Misty was theirs, they were in for a goddamn surprise. Domenico had given her time to heal from the scars he had stupidly inflicted, but he knew in his heart he would take her back. If she didn’t want to, that was too f**king bad. Because he would have her back in his life, and he would do whatever it took to make that come true.
“Misty, may we talk privately?” He spared the older man a glance. “Aurelius?”
When the old man left, he turned back to his wife.
“Look at me, Misty.”
The command in Domenico’s voice struck something inside her, making it impossible for Misty to resist his order. Reluctantly, she lifted her gaze to meet his and almost gasped at what she saw.
Domenico was staring at her as if he wanted to eat her alive, his gaze roaming all over her body as if he was already undressing her, as if he was already thinking of all the ways he could sink his c**k into her.
One part of her was glad – that meant he desired her, didn’t he? But the larger part of her was cynical. In the end, he had never desired her enough, never loved her as much as he thirsted for revenge against his father.
“How are you?” His voice was guttural, as if he was having a hard time holding his emotions back.
Misty frowned. That was not like the Domenico Moretti she knew. The old Domenico had been cold and aloof, perfectly in control, manipulating everything to the very end. Swallowing, she answered only when she could be sure her voice would be steady. “I’m okay. I hope everything’s okay with you, too.”
Her voice was cold and sweet, just like a Faerie, too. It made Domenico bristle. The Faeries were not going to have her. She was his, for better or for worse. She was the princess meant for him…for Lyccans.
Misty remembered one of the reasons why she was here and her heart immediately softened in concern. “How is Estrella?”
“I hope I may see her later.”
He frowned. “Of course you can. She’s your sister-in-law.”
Her head jerked up. “Domenico---”
He could feel himself going cold. “No,” he said flatly.
She shook her head. The old Misty wouldn’t have argued. But she wasn’t that foolish and submissive anymore. “I mean it. I want the cutting of ties to take place now that I’m here.”
“Well, you’re not going to get it,” he snapped.
She acted like she didn’t hear him. “I’ve thought this through. You’re worried about what others would say, right? You can tell them that I begged to come back. I won’t argue. I just want things to be over in any way---”
He had shouted.
Misty was stunned. Domenico never shouted. He wasn’t the type.
Domenico tried to keep his fury under control, but God, hearing Misty personally demand a separation made him want to kill someone. “It’s not over between us,” he gritted out.
Saddened eyes met his. “Of course it is.”
His usual impatience got to him, and Domenico strode toward her. Misty tried to back away, but she was too slow and he was too fast. In a second, he was gripping her hands, forcing her to look at him. “Misty, I want another chance.”
“There’s no need,” she said tonelessly. “I gave you what you wanted---”
“I don’t care about anything but you!” he shouted.
“And you expect me to believe that?”
This time, she had shocked him.
Because she wasn’t the type to shout either and here she was, doing just that.
Taking advantage of his apparent shock, Misty wrenched herself away from Domenico. “I want the cutting of ties,” she told him tightly. “This time, if you’re not going to present it to the Council then I will.”
Misty was still trembling as she entered the private hospital suite where Estrella Moretti had been confined for two nights already. Memories of her earlier confrontation with Domenico was messing her up internally, making her feel things she no longer wanted to feel. Domenico had stalked off after their argument and she couldn’t believe how painful it was to see him go. It just proved one horrible truth. She was still so, so stupidly in love with him it was embarrassing.
But…she had to be strong. She had to.
“Misty!” Her sister-in-law’s face brightened upon seeing her.
Pushing her dark thoughts away, Misty summoned a smile as she rushed to Estrella’s bed and hugged the younger woman. “I’m so glad to see you’re okay.”