The question was unexpected, but Noah was too well trained to show his surprise. He only checked his watch and answered, “A quarter past midnight, sir.”

Ah. Fifteen minutes, he thought. It had only taken him fifteen minutes to destroy the man who had hurt Fawn, but even so, he remained invulnerable to either guilt or remorse.

He really was the Prince of Darkness, after all.

“Do you believe I was too hard on Bennett?” the prince asked in a voice completely devoid of emotion.

“The boy had to be taught a lesson,” Noah answered grimly. “Being drunk doesn’t change a man. It only loosens the tongue, and what Bennett said was exactly what he was thinking—-”

The prince’s smile didn’t reach his eyes. “You do know you’re making me want to get Bennett back here again and beat the shit out of him, don’t you?”

“Do you want me to get him back, sir?” Noah asked dutifully.

“Thank you for the offer,” the prince said politely, “but let’s not risk that. I might end up killing him next time.”

A veiled look touched the prince’s eyes, and seeing it, Noah knew that the master could only be thinking of one person. And when the prince spoke again, he knew he was right.

“Fawn will probably be frightened,” the prince murmured without inflection, “once she finds out about what I did.”

“No, sir.” And Noah meant it. If anyone here was frightened—-

The prince’s lips twisted. “But if she is, it’s probably better that way. My life is not for her. The kind of person I am…is not for someone like her.”

It was Reid Chalkias himself, Noah thought, who seemed unable to accept that he had found someone to care for more than anything else – and the fact that the same person happened to care for the Prince of Darkness more than anything else as well.

“You were merely bluffing, sir,” Noah said finally. “There’s nothing wrong with that, you only wanted to make sure the message got across.”

The prince only nodded, even though Noah was wrong. He had not been bluffing the entire time. There had only been one bullet inside his gun, and he had no idea when the gun would fire off with ammunition.


“If you don’t leave soon,” Igor said gently the next day, “you might be late for your meeting with the student council, signorina.”

Reluctantly turning away from the driveway, Fawn glanced back at Igor with a forced smile, saying, “I’m not even surprised you know my schedule as well as I do.”

“Security’s been instructed to shoot to kill if Mr. Bennett makes one wrong move.”

Since the words were spoken with a straight face, she said weakly, “You’re joking…right?”

But it was as if Igor hadn’t heard a thing and instead the older man opened the car door for her, saying with a respectful bow, “Have a good day in school, signorina. Please do not hesitate to call if you need any kind of assistance.”

As Igor gently but firmly ushered Fawn inside her car, she could no longer help herself and blurted out, “Have you heard from the prince?”

“No, signorina.”

“I see.” But the truth was, she didn’t, and his absence hurt. “He told me he’d be here.” And it wasn’t like the prince at all to break his word.

Seeing the fear lurking in Fawn’s gaze, Igor deliberately attempted to lighten the mood, saying, “The day has arrived then.”

Fawn blinked. “What day?”

“The day,” he intoned seriously, “that the signorina has become quite clingy.”

Fawn’s jaw dropped.

Igor stepped back and closed the door in her face.

Holy sweet Jesus—-

As Igor kindly waved goodbye from the front steps of the mansion, Fawn raced down the driveway, trying but failing to outrun her embarrassment.

She was being clingy!

Fawn shuddered.

It was a good thing the prince wasn’t here, after all, or Igor wouldn’t have been the only one to witness her fall from grace. The prince would have seen it for himself, too, and she’d never have heard the end of it if that happened.

When she made it to school, Fawn was surprised to find a good number of the prince’s bodyguards waiting for her outside the university, working incognito in civilian clothing and looking not much different from the other students in the area.

Martin, the guard closest to her, was seated on one of the steps, a book in his hands, and doing his best to look like he was unaware of how a small group of eighteen-year-old girls was eyeing him like they wanted to have him for lunch.

Walking to Martin, she asked under her breath, “Are you here for the prince?”

Martin stared at her blankly. “Do I know you?”

The girls behind him tittered, and Fawn glowered at the guard. She was so telling his wife about this, Fawn vowed to herself even as she turned away, realizing that Martin – or any of the other security guys for that matter – would never talk to her while on duty.

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