Cursed By Destiny Page 32

Misha stood. “If something has caused you pain, I cannot merely dismiss it because you ask it of me.”

I hadn’t realized how much discussing my parents had upset me until my throat developed an ache I couldn’t swallow. I needed to leave. “I’m really tired. I’m going to bed.”

Misha placed his hands against my shoulders and slowly pulled me to him. His expression wasn’t one of lust, but of something entirely different. He opened his mouth to say something, only to close it tight. I thought he was about to ask me to join him in bed. Instead he released me and linked our hands. He continued to watch me as he escorted me back to the guesthouse. The moment we arrived on my doorstep, he kissed my forehead and returned to the main house.

• • •

Even though we’d both lived in Tahoe a few years, the next day Misha and I did the tourist thing. It would have been a relaxing day if not for the vampire snipers looming at the top of every building we entered, or the hit squad shadowing us. We had just stepped onto the dock on our way to Fannette Island when a young woman frantically waved her arms just a few yards away. “Celia! Celia! Over here.” I recognized her as one of my former labor patients. I rushed to greet her and her little family, but not before I elbowed the vamp reaching for his holster. Thankfully, the family didn’t seem to notice.

The father tried futilely to wipe some food off his screaming toddler’s face, while Mommy held the outrageously bundled baby. “Oh, it’s so good to see you,” she said. She hugged me with her free arm while her eyes fixed on Misha.

“Hi, Celia.” The dad shook my hand.

I smiled. “Hello, Amy, Les. It’s so nice to see you again.”

Amy pushed out her cle**age just a little bit. Misha had that effect on females. “And who’s this?”

“This is my friend Misha.”

Amy raised her eyebrows. “Just a friend?”

Misha offered a thong-dropping smile. “We live together.”

My cheeks burned at Amy’s giggle. “Can I hold the baby?” I asked.

Amy placed the chubby-cheeked infant in my arms and explained how we knew each other. “Celia is just the best nurse! She delivered both my children.”

“Celia has many, many talents,” Misha added with a wink. He extended his arms to the toddler. “May I?”

“Of course,” Les said. “But watch out—Cindy bites.”

“So do I,” Misha answered. I would have killed him if there hadn’t been so many witnesses. The parents just laughed. Oh, wasn’t Misha quite the funny man!

Misha picked up Cindy and instantly captivated the toddler. She stopped screaming and touched her small fingers to Misha’s face. The baby didn’t need charming. He smiled and cooed as I rocked him. I thought back to a time when Aric and I were still together. It had been a similar situation; we’d run into another couple whose child I’d delivered. Aric had watched me as I held the baby. When she reached out to him, he’d taken her like an old pro. It had been such a beautiful moment between us. Now it just made me sad.

Little Cindy hollered when Misha returned her to her parents. We said good-bye and stepped onto one of Misha’s smaller yachts. I was still thinking of that moment with Aric as we took our seats at the elegantly set table.

“Would you like a child?” Misha asked.

Misha had asked me a great deal of personal questions in the past. This one bothered me more than the others. I didn’t want to answer, but I did, figuring it could do no harm. “Yes . . . Someday I’d really like one.”

“I could do that for you.”

I froze in the middle of placing my napkin on my lap. It was a subtle response but one that had our security detail springing into action. The bodyguards surrounded us. On the deck above, a sniper appeared and scanned the area for a possible threat. Misha waved them off. They disappeared with their heads lowered, likely disappointed they didn’t get to lacerate some immortal assailant’s liver.

My attention returned to Misha. “I thought only the most powerful vampires in the world could conceive a child.”

“What do you expect after returning my soul and helping me to acquire the power of several ancient masters?”

“You’re right. I guess I just hadn’t realized the extent of your supernatural muscle.” I moved my utensils around, despite their perfect placement. I’d always wanted children. I considered them cute, wonderful little miracles who needed to be loved and protected. Once I met Aric, my maternal desires became so strong I could taste them. But as much as I still wanted a family, I could no longer foresee one in my future. The dreamworld I’d envisioned in which Aric and I would be married and have a brood of babies was no longer plausible. And yet I continued to desire it.

“What are you thinking, my darling?” Misha asked.

I ran my fingers through my hair and leaned my chin against my palm. My other arm rested against the soft linen of the tablecloth. “Misha, what kind of child could come from a preternatural and someone like me?”

Misha smiled. “I don’t know. Nothing like you or your sisters has ever existed.”

“So a baby born of a union like that could be scary and have, like . . . eighteen legs or something?”

Misha choked on his wine. I’d never seen him laugh so hard. He wiped his eyes. “Kitten, we could not conceive a monster because neither of us resembles one. The only guarantee is that the child would be extremely powerful, seeing as we both are.”

A deep blush found its way to my cheeks. I hadn’t meant for Misha to think I was soliciting him to be my baby daddy. I should have said something, but didn’t want to embarrass or hurt him, especially in the presence of his hit squad. Instead I munched on the goat cheese salad placed in front of me. Misha took a bite, too. I watched how he neatly chewed on the greens. “Why do you still eat food if you don’t have to?”

Chef swore as he banged pots and pans from the galley. The guy was just loads of fun.

“I still enjoy the taste, and I suppose . . . Well, never mind.”

“What?”

Misha leaned back in his seat. “It’s nothing of importance.”

“Tell me.”

The waves splashed harshly against the boat as I waited.

“No,” he finally answered.

I flicked a crouton and nailed him in the nose with it. By the look on his face, you would’ve thought I tossed him a severed toe.

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