He knew that. And he had a feeling that he also knew what she was about to say. His chest felt tight. Had it only been a few days when Misty had first come into his life? He had been so arrogant then, thinking that he could have her in his bed. Instead, she had ended up taking his heart.
Misty cocked her head to the side in confusion. “You’re acting weird.”
Was he? Maybe. Love did feel weird to him.
He said abruptly, “Be my slave for today.”
Her eyebrows shot up.
“Do whatever I ask of you – and I promise it will always be something that won’t harm you or anyone in any way – and if you agree, then I will listen to you tonight.”
She bit her lip. It was such an odd request, and she just couldn’t see what Lysander would get from it. “You promise?”
“I swear it on my parents’ graves.”
She said quickly, “Then it’s a deal.”
Domenico reread the missive uneasily. The atmosphere in the realm was fraught with fear, and in a way it explained why the Faeries wanted his army out of their world. Until their Alliance was firmly in place, they did have a right to distrust him and all the other outsiders.
But still he remained troubled.
“I hesitate to pressure you, Highness, but the High Circle is adamant that they leave immediately.”
Domenico said finally, “It will be done.”
Ivory curtsied, maintaining her bow a few seconds longer than usual but it did not even tempt a single gaze from the prince. Hiding her offended pride and rage behind another demure smile, she murmured, “Thank you for understanding, Highness.” She paused. “I also just wanted to tell you…I’m sorry.”
He raised a brow. “For what?”
“I had forgotten to consider your feelings when I suggested a betrothal between Lady Misty and Sir Lysander.”
Domenico unconsciously crushed the missive in his hands. He cracked his knuckles several times, using it to will his rage away. “It was…her choice, and I respect it.” But it better f**king be a part of a grander plan, Domenico thought, or all hell would break lose.
If it did turn out that Misty was indeed taking her revenge on him…
It did not matter.
He would still love her, and he would still want her to belong to him forever.
The rest of the day passed more quickly than he anticipated. Domenico had thought the time would pass slowly, with Misty not at his side, but instead he had been busy, having received additional reports from spies sent to him by Caros. The boys had spotted more vampire activity near the Midways, possibly heralding another surprise attack.
Did the vampires seek to ambush his army? Were they waiting for Domenico or Misty? It put him on edge, not knowing where they would strike. The vampires he had killed last year were organized but not in this scale. Hunting down Matteo’s murderers had been more a matter of time but required little strategy. And yet this ---
“Do we head back home, Your Highness?” The lieutenant heading the Moretti army asked.
“No,” he said finally. “Stay hidden in the Midways. I want you to be ready to go battle at the first cry.”
The Main Hall rang with the noise of laughter and conversation when he came back, with the most esteemed Faeries gathered together for dinner. When he walked inside, the first thing he did was to look for Misty.
And what he saw made him stumble to a stop.
Misty was seated on Lysander’s lap, a smile on her pretty face, and her arm around his neck as she opened her mouth to let him feed her.
Gay or not, that man did not have the f**king right to have his woman – his princess – on his lap.
Lysander fed her another bite. Misty giggled.
It was as if she sensed his heart crying out to her, and her head turned sharply towards him, their eyes meeting.
For once, Misty’s gray eyes were completely unreadable. And then she was looking away, smiling at Lysander again, her voice hitting his senses like a silken whip as she said huskily, “Feed me another.”
Domenico turned away, almost losing his balance in his haste to get out. He didn’t understand what was happening, but right now all he cared about was getting as far away as possible from the sight of Misty seated on another man’s lap. She had asked him to trust her but to what extent? And for what reason? Was there even a f**king reason aside from revenge?
Outside the Main Hall, he struggled to breathe, feeling like the air around him was poisoned.
It took Domenico a while to realize that someone was calling his name.
He refocused his gaze, his chest still tight with pain. “Jayme?”
Jayme Cavalier’s gaze narrowed as he studied the other man. “You almost appear happy to see me.” And that was a hell of a shock. The last time they had met, Domenico had wished him to perdition for daring to flirt with his wife. Or rather his ex-wife now.
“I came to visit Misty,” Jayme said by way of explanation.
Domenico jerked his head towards the Main Hall. “She is in there. You’ll find her easily enough.”
“Because she’s the most beautiful woman inside?”
Because she was sitting on another man’s f**king lap.
But Domenico couldn’t bear the say the words out loud. He nodded jerkily. “I’ll see you around.”
“Jayme!” Misty jumped off Lysander’s lap and ran to her friend. She knew it would seem as if she was extremely excited to see the Cavalier’s heir apparent, but it was mostly because she just couldn’t bear to spend another second longer sitting that close to a man – when that man wasn’t Domenico.
He chuckled as she reached him, bending down to kiss her cheek. “What is it with this realm? First, it was Domenico looking practically happy to see me. And then you---did you miss me that much?”
Misty forgot what she had to say at the mention of Domenico. Oh God, she hadn’t let herself think of how it would be for him to see her on Lysander’s lap. She tried to rationalize it to herself at the start. The ends justifying the means and all that, but somehow it didn’t feel right. She was beginning to appreciate how difficult it had been for Domenico to constantly balance his decisions and making sure that he would choose the lesser evil.
She forced a smile. “It’s not the realm,” she teased. “It’s just you.”
Jayme smiled back, but he had also noted the stiff set of her shoulders and knew something was wrong. “Care for a walk or would lover boy back there be jealous?”