He could see how the men’s eyes followed her every move, all of them entranced by the gentle sway of her hips.
Cass had a hard time maintaining a steady pace. She badly wanted to run inside her tent. But if she did, people would know that she was aware of their hateful gazes. Most of the guests lounging by the pool were regulars. It meant they knew she was blind, and it made them think they could get away with revealing their dislike without her finding out.
Even their thoughts ran towards the same direction. What was Prince Julian doing with someone like her?
Cass tried not to let it get to her. The guests – well, the women mostly – were just being “practical”…like Julian. The thought had her fingers curling into fists against her side. Who knew being the recipient of such practicality would be so hurtful?
Julian’s lips formed a straight line as the men around them went on ogling her shamelessly. Julian knew it was because they thought her blind, but it still made him furious as hell. Jealous, too. He wanted to lash out, to forbid everyone to even have one damn glimpse of her, but Julian fought hard to control the urge.
As far as the whole world knew, Cass meant nothing to him…and he meant nothing to her. They had no rights to each other, and to act like there was would be…impractical. Irrrational.
When Cass entered a tent made of red velvet, Julian unhesitatingly followed her. Inside, he found her taking out a crystal ball and placing it on a black desk before taking a seat behind it.
Above Cass’ head was a black and white banner.
Let Mademoiselle Cassandra See Your Future.
His lip curled with distaste. “What is this?”
The coldness in Julian’s voice made Cass look at his direction in bewilderment. “Surely, you know?”
To reside in St. Roch was to be an employer of Sir, the island’s reclusive owner, and Cass herself had chosen to take on the role as fortune teller and provide occasional entertainment for tourists.
Playing the fortune teller had helped Cass become stronger and braver, able to take everyone’s jeering words without being hurt. For every ten rude customers she had to handle, there’d be one who genuinely needed her help – one who she would be able to comfort, and that one good instance made all the bad stuff worth suffering.
“Why are you doing this?” Julian demanded. “Is it because of money?”
Before she could answer, the curtains of the tent were parted by two blondes wearing sunglasses and bikinis. Cass could tell they were new to the island. They didn’t feel familiar to her. A moment later, Cass sensed their shock and excitement and knew that the two had just realized who it was inside the tent.
“Prince Julian?” Blonde #1 gasped. Her companion was still speechless, only able to elbow Blonde #1 repeatedly.
Julian forced himself to turn towards the other women, courtesy demanding that he at least acknowledge their words with a nod.
It was The Royal Iceberg treatment, Cass thought ruefully. It was Julian’s polite way of letting people know of his displeasure, but the two blondes seem too bowled over by his presence to notice. All the two could think about was—-
I WANT TO FUCK HIM OMG I WANT TO FUCK HIM SO BAD OMG OMG HE’S SO HOT I HAVE GOT TO FUCK HIM
Cass took several deep breaths. She shouldn’t be jealous, she told herself. He was Prince Julian Rivera of Ethereal. It was not his fault that they found him hot.
Blonde #1 was curtsying by the time Cass’ attention returned to them, bowing so low that it was a miracle her breasts hadn’t spilled out of her bikini top. Another pang of jealousy struck Cass, but she did her best to ignore it.
“…and this is my friend Pauline,” Blonde #1, who had volunteered her name as Sandra, was saying.
“Are you here on vacation or business, Your Highness?” Blonde #2 – Pauline – had finally found her tongue, but nervousness made her voice shrill.
Julian tried not to sound impatient as he answered, “Vacation.”
Sandra gushed, “Then can we hope to see you in tonight’s luau?” She glanced at Cass. “Mademoiselle Cassandra, you’d be reading fortunes tonight, too, won’t you?” She wasn’t really interested in the answer, but since the prince was here, Sandra thought it prudent to ask the fortune teller. Royalty had the right to a few eccentricities, and if the prince believed in fortune-telling shit, then it was the kind of shit Sandra was determined to like.
Cass nodded, not trusting herself to speak without revealing her jealousy and insecurities. Blonde #1 and #2 were beautiful women who came from privileged families like Prince Julian. Unlike her, they were practical choices for him to consider.
Initially intending to say he wasn’t going to attend tonight’s luau, Julian abruptly changed his mind when he learned of Cass’ participation. The men were sure to be drunk tonight, and no way in hell would he allow Cass to be alone with any one of them.