Practical, Cass was thinking in absolute agony. The fact that he considered the idea of marrying her as a joke was his way of being practical.
Being her usual silly self, Cass had hoped that the first words Prince Julian would speak to her when they met again would be romantic, something that went more along the lines of “I miss you, I can’t live without you, I love you.”
But of course Prince Julian, being who he was in reality, spoke of the opposite.
Cass walked past the prince wordlessly, trying not to feel hurt at how “practical” he was. She knew she should give him more time to adjust to the truth, to accept their shared destiny. And maybe in time, she could do it. But not now.
Unbelievable, Julian thought as he stared after Cass’ back. Did she really mean to have him, Julian, a prince of Ethereal, run after her like a lovesick fool?
Cass disappeared around the corner.
In seconds, Julian caught up with Cass as she descended the staircase. The speed with which she took the steps made him frown and he said sharply, “Slow down.” She was blind, dammit. Had she forgotten the fact?
His worry was almost tangible, his thoughts loud and clear, that it forced Cass to slow down. “My condition isn’t the same as others,” she said gruffly without looking at him.
Every step she took as they descended another flight of stairs made him closer to having a heart attack. Julian grabbed her hand. “Humor me on this,” he said tightly.
His hold was strong, warm, and possessive. He was holding her hand and it made her feel like she was his. With both of them connected physically, she was able to see him clearly again. The worry etched on his face made Cass explain clumsily, “I…don’t see like you do, but I’m not blind like the others.”
Julian shook his head. “I’m afraid I do not understand.”
“I’m not, technically, blind. I just see things differently. That’s why I can move and do stuff with ease.”
“Then what do you see?”
She explained the way her sight worked carefully, making sure to give the prince examples.
Julian looked at her with amazement. “You’re incredible.”
She flushed. “I’m not. I’m just different.”
The way color flooded her cheeks was as much a turn on as it had been yesterday, and Julian’s hold on her soft hand tightened. In the next second, he had her trapped between him and the wall, his hands holding hers locked against her sides.
“What are you doing?” she hissed.
“I want you.”
She bit her lip, the heat in his words making her own body betray her. “You want me…but you don’t want to marry me?”
“You must see it is impossible. And you must not take it as an offense – I will not be marrying for love. I will be marrying for the good of my kingdom. Surely you understand that it is part of my duty?”
“Not all princes marry for duty.”
“I’m not like all princes.” He was looking down at her with fierce eyes, and right now he appeared more like a warrior than a prince. His arrogant words should have made him less attractive, but somehow Cass only found herself wanting and loving him even more because of it. This arrogance of his had been what had saved her – had been what had given her the courage to fight for her right to live.
His eyes darkened upon seeing the soft look on Cass’ face, and his voice was a seductive force as he spoke. “Tell me you want me, Cass.”
She tried her best to resist the lure of Julian’s sexual appeal. “You’re fighting unfairly,” she mumbled. She tried to look away, but when Julian commanded her to look at him, Cass was powerless to resist it.
A gasp escaped her as Julian suddenly pressed his body against hers, closing the distance between them completely. Her breath caught when she felt his manhood rise and harden against her belly.
“I’ve dreamt of you for so long, Cass. Don’t make me wait any longer.”
She bit her lip. “If you want me so much, then why not take a chance on me?” She knew it would seem like she was begging the prince to marry her. Maybe it was, but she didn’t care anymore. They were destined to be with each other. She just had to make him realize that.
“Don’t make me say more things that will hurt you.”
She sucked her breath in. Ironically, those words felt even more painful. Those words made her imagine the many things the prince could say that were hurtfully true.
“The prince in my dreams is much nicer than you,” Cass heard herself saying.
The words stung. It also made him feel jealous, which Julian knew was ridiculous since it meant he was jealous of himself. He said flatly, “Well, you’re a lot less noisy in mine.”