When Darkness Ends(Guardians of Eternity,book 12)(53) by Alexandra Ivy
“It’s extremely rare.” Magnus paced toward the fireplace, the scent of aged whiskey teasing at Tonya’s nose. “Only a fool would choose such an extreme path.”
Tonya watched as he poured himself a glass of the nectar that had been left on the mantel to warm.
He sounded so . . . cold. As if he didn’t care that the female he’d chosen as his wife had decided to remain with Cyn.
“What do you mean by ‘extreme’?” she prodded.
“She will be shunned by our people.” He finished the nectar and set aside the glass. “It is the worst fate a Chatri can suffer.”
Tonya shuddered. She’d pissed off her father and brothers when she’d chosen to work for a vampire in a demon club, but they hadn’t actually shunned her.
She just wasn’t invited to feast days.
A sweet bonus as far as she was concerned.
“What did she do to break the contract?”
“She refused to return to our homeland.”
Tonya waited for the rest of the story. And waited. At last she gave a shake of her head.
Magnus arched a brow, the firelight shimmering over his stunning hair. Even dressed in casual slacks and a green silk shirt, he managed to look unearthly. Ethereal.
“I gave her a direct command.”
Tonya’s petty jealousy toward the impossibly lovely princess was buried beneath a surge of outrage. She moved forward, not halting until she had to tilt back her head to glare at the prince who stood there with such supreme indifference.
“You . . . pig.”
Magnus blinked. “I beg your pardon?”
“You’re allowing the woman you once intended to make your wife to be shunned because she didn’t obey your command?”
“It’s her duty.”
“While your duty is doing whatever the hell you want, including kissing me?” she accused.
A sudden flush touched his cheeks, an emotion she couldn’t read flaring through the cognac eyes.
“You didn’t object at the time.”
Tonya grimaced at the direct hit.
Of course she hadn’t objected. Hell, she’d been an eager participant, even though she’d known he belonged to another.
Once again, she’d allowed her stupid hormones to overcome her common sense.
Christ. What was it with her and being attracted to the wrong guys?
Not only wrong, but completely inaccessible?
No doubt a psychiatrist would tell her that it was simply a case of wanting what she couldn’t have.
She thought it was a pain in the ass.
“Because I was temporarily insane, you moron,” she snapped, lifting her fist to bang it against his chest.
Scowling, he grasped her wrist, careful to keep from bruising her pale skin. “Why are you so angry?”
Tonya had a dozen reasons.
Most of them had to do with her unwanted attraction to an arrogant jackass who could treat his fiancée as if she were some disposable piece of property.
“Why did she refuse to return with you?” she demanded.
His lips curled in disdain. “She claimed that an Oracle had demanded her services, but it was obvious that she has developed feelings for the vampire.”
“Oracle?” Tonya was momentarily distracted. “What Oracle?”
“Ask your precious Anasso.”
She frowned at the odd words. “He isn’t mine.”
Magnus tightened his hand on her wrist, tugging her close enough that the heat of his body seared through her tiny, spandex dress.
“You answer to him.”
“Wrong,” she countered. “I answer to Viper, who pays the bills. Not all of us happen to be a princess.”
He leaned down until they were nose to nose. “You are too outspoken.”
“Tough shit.” She didn’t back down an inch. If he thought he could intimidate her, then he was in for a very big disappointment. She dealt with drunken trolls on a regular basis. “Why are you here?”
“Where should I be?”
She desperately tried to pretend that the stroke of his thumb against her inner wrist wasn’t sending arrows of pleasure darting through her body.
She didn’t want to be so vulnerable to his touch.
“You came to search for Fallon, didn’t you?”
His gaze moved slowly over her face, at last stopping to study the full curve of her lips. “I did.”
“Now you’ve found her.” She pointed out the obvious, not sure why she was pressing him. “Why don’t you return to your homeland?”
His fingers skimmed up her bare arm, even as his expression tightened with annoyance. “You sound as if you’re trying to get rid of me.”
An unexpected pain sliced through her heart at his words.
No. Oh God, no.
She wasn’t idiotic enough to want him to stay, was she?
“Once you’re gone I can return to my real job,” she forced herself to say. “The club needs me.”
His hand moved beneath her hair, cupping her nape with an oddly possessive grip. “And that’s the only reason?”
She ignored the question. “Are you staying because you hope Fallon will change her mind?” she instead demanded.
He frowned, as if confused by the implication he might be harboring a secret desire to reunite with his fiancée.
“Change her mind?”
“That she’ll return home with you.” Her lips twisted as she pretended she didn’t care what his answer would be. “Agree to become your obedient little wife?”
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