Royal Chase(7)

By: Sariah Wilson

And his rejection bruised my pride. I wasn’t used to men not paying me any attention. I sat there, feeling sorry for myself, but not willing to change my mind to make some boy like me. If all he wanted was someone to sleep with, he could get one of those underfed bimbos instead. I’d move on. As if he could read my mind, Dante came and sat next to me. Like he had somehow sensed my vulnerability from across the room.

“Interesting nightclub,” I told him as he completely invaded my personal space. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

“You don’t have one in your dungeon?”

I raised an eyebrow at him. “I don’t have a dungeon.”

“Really? How strange,” he teased as he lifted his cup to his lips. His very kissable lips, by the way. I made myself look away. I could feel him, almost touching me but not quite, a delicious heat emanating from his body.

I should have made him go away. Instead, I asked, “Why did you create all this?”

He shrugged. “If we go out, our security details have to go out with us. If we do it here, then we don’t take anyone away from their families.”

My heart did a funny little flip. That was extraordinarily thoughtful and sweet. I was about to tell him so, when I stopped myself. I was supposed to be keeping my distance and not encouraging him.

So I stayed quiet, listening to the music, watching but not watching Salvatore.

“I don’t know why you’re making this effort. He’s not worth it. And this will never work with him.” He put one of his arms along the back of the bench, right behind me. His very strong, masculine arm. The one that had felt so nice wrapped around me earlier at the ski slope.

“Work with who?” I forced myself to ask.

“Salvatore. You’re pretending to ignore him. He only wants what he can’t have.”

“That’s true of most men.” Had everyone in the room guessed what I was up to? That I was trying to get Salvatore’s attention?

“He’s worse than most. I don’t know why you want to be with someone like him, but since you do, I have an idea.”

Somehow he managed to get even closer to me. “You should kiss me, and that will make him crazy. He’s always been jealous of me and my brothers. He’s the two hundred seventy-sixth person in line for the throne, and I think he’s been trying to figure out how to kill two hundred seventy-five people without getting caught.”

My body thought this was a fantastic idea, as I was already leaning toward him, face tilted up. My brain tried to run interference, but I made it be quiet. I refused to poll my heart on the matter.

He leaned in, smelling my neck, which made me feel a bit woozy.

“What is that scent?” he asked.

“Lemon sugar,” I said, my heart beating too quickly.

“Sweet and tart, like you,” he said before he planted a soft kiss at the amazing spot where my neck met my shoulder, and the earth shifted on its axis.

I decided it had been far too long since I’d last kissed somebody if this was how I was going to react. I also thought for a moment that I should stop him, but the only thing I said was, “My lip gloss is lemon-flavored, too.”

Which was such a blatant invitation, and from the fire in his eyes and the seductive smile on his face, he knew it.

“I do appreciate the commitment to your name.” He set down his drink and used his free hand to run his fingers up and down my arm, which gave me chills and hot flashes at the same time.

“Well, not everyone gets to be named after a fruit. You have to have fun with it.”

He pressed another kiss to my throat, and I closed my eyes as a tingling warmth spread slowly through my body. Nothing had ever felt this good, ever. I wanted an excuse for behaving like a love-starved teenager. Alcohol. Loneliness. Wanting to make what’s-his-face jealous. Something to explain why I was reacting like this to Dante.

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