Royal Chase(6)

By: Sariah Wilson

It was Dante.

He held me tight as I cried, causing my fear to dissipate while she was loaded in. Another man (Nico, I learned later) climbed in behind Kat, and Dante yelled something to him in Italian. He waved for us to join them. I sat right next to Kat, holding her hand, praying for her to be all right. She was awake, which was good. But I couldn’t seem to stop crying. I told her she was going to be okay, which I desperately hoped was true. I could feel Dante behind me, and even though I didn’t know his name then, I was so glad that he was there. He was so calm and sure while I fell apart. Kat threw up and passed out, and Dante held me again while I cried and the paramedics took care of her.

It had been all my fault that she was in that situation. She’d only skied once before, and she’d somehow gotten onto one of the harder runs and had almost died. I shouldn’t have made her come with me. If she had died, I never would have forgiven myself.

I was confused when we arrived at the hospital and all of the staff were bowing and scraping to the two men as Kat was rushed into an examination room. I heard someone call them “Your Highness,” which shocked me. I was told to sit in the waiting room by a nurse in broken English, while Dante and Nico spoke to some of the doctors. I pulled out my phone and did a search for “royal family” and “Monterra.”

And found pictures of Nico and Dante. Princes.

Charming, playboy princes from the look of things. Dante seemed to have a different girl for every occasion. I knew his type. I constantly dated and got cheated on by his type. I was well aware of how our story would end. Regardless of how considerate and nice he’d been, I wasn’t about to play his game. I planned to keep my distance. Maybe even find a different guy to lust after while I was there.

Once Kat had recovered and had started responding awkwardly to Nico’s sweet advances, I decided I needed to let off a little steam.

When I said as much to Dante, he told me he sometimes ran a pseudo-nightclub out of the castle’s dungeon. Which was weird, and I told him as much. He laughed, up until I asked him to invite some other friends along. Some male friends. His face fell, and he looked so sad it was all I could do to stick to my guns. I wasn’t going to let him sway me.

Which turned out to be famous last words.

Chapter 2

How much does a polar bear weigh? Usually enough to break the ice.

At the hospital Dante had introduced me to some of his friends, including his twin brother, Rafe, and several other young nobles. One in particular stood out—a man named Salvatore, who was some kind of duke. He was handsome, but nothing compared to the men of the royal family. It was a bit like a star standing next to a group of suns.

But he was cute and had flirted with me, so I decided to focus my energy on him. Our flirtation fizzled out, but I was determined to regain his attention. If I didn’t have someone else, I knew I wouldn’t be able to resist Dante.

And Dante turned out to be pretty irresistible.

We were in his nightclub, dancing to a playlist that Dante had arranged himself. Someone had sprayed neon glow paint all over the stone walls, and there were comfortable benches set up with tables. The club even had a bar in one corner where everyone just helped themselves. I stayed away from the alcohol, because Dante had a predatory look in his eyes and I needed to keep my wits about me.

I sat down on a bench, pretending to ignore Salvatore the way he was ignoring me. He was talking to two women who appeared to be models, and they chain-smoked in a corner while looking bored by everything.

He was shunning me because of what I’d told him. Kat planned on staying a virgin until she got married, and for some reason I’d made the Lord a promise while she was in the hospital that if He would make her better, I’d do the same thing. I would give up my one-night stands and cheating boyfriends and become celibate. In that moment I would have promised anything if it had meant she would recover. In hindsight it might have been a bit rash, but it was a promise I planned on keeping. Or, at least, trying to keep. We were leaving Monterra in a little less than two weeks, and I didn’t want to sleep with a man I’d never see again. I was tired of random hookups. Tired of how gross and used they made me feel.

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