Cursed By Destiny Page 41

Edith did a nice job of giving me a cascade of neatly flowing curls. When it came to my makeup, Liz applied eyeliner, blush, and lip gloss. She very much wanted to add some eye shadow for a smoky effect, but I wouldn’t allow it. That earned me a death glare and a few mutters about what an ingrate I was. And here I’d thought the vamps weren’t any fun.

Edith unveiled the Russian couture dress, shocking me with its elegant beauty—and length. The silk ivory halter dress sparkled with tiny little clear crystals and creamy pearls. The shoes matched the dress perfectly. They were made of the same silk and had the same beading sewn in. The crazy old lady had even provided matching earrings. I put them on, along with a skimpy pair of panties, and stepped into the dress and shoes.

The skirt was so short there was no way I would be able to bend over. Good thing the wack-job seamstress had strategically added pleats. I’d still be able to kick up past my head if I got into any trouble. And while I normally wouldn’t have chosen a dress this sexy, the thought of what Aric would say warmed my cheeks with anticipation.

I adjusted my br**sts in the halter while looking in the full-length mirror. The style enhanced my cle**age, but obviously not enough for Liz’s taste. She handed me what resembled raw chicken cutlets. “You’ll need these.”

“What are they?”

“Adhesive silicone bra cups.”

I wrinkled my nose. “Can’t I just go braless?”

“No! It’s bad enough you refuse to wear the silk stockings.”

“I don’t need them.”

Edith licked her lips. “She does have great legs.” She assisted me in attaching the bra cups—I suspected more to cop a feel than to help. When she finished, I filled out the dress significantly more.

I gaped at myself in the mirror. “Um, don’t you think this is a little much?”

Liz was seconds from taking a bite out of me. “No. It’s not. If anything, you should consider getting them professionally done. Here. Put this on. The master is waiting.” She handed me what looked like a white mink coat.

I held my hand up. “Sorry. I don’t wear fur.”

Liz scowled. “Celia, it’s a fake. It’s been magicked to resemble the real thing.” She held out the coat for me to examine. It felt real to the touch. I sniffed it, satisfied only once I smelled the polyester. “We need to go. I can feel our master growing impatient.”

We hurried to the house. Edith and Liz strutted the length of the stone pathway, wiggling their hips and throwing back their hair in perfect choreographed movements. I stumbled behind them, trying not to fall on my face in the sinfully high shoes. Their steps increased when we entered the house. Misha’s growing irritation must have beckoned them forward.

I sighed and gave up trying to chase them down. They abandoned me in the kitchen in their haste to meet their master. I entered the foyer alone, smiling when I saw Misha.

Stunned silence greeted me. My steps slowed and my smile faded. He and all the vampires stared at me like they’d never seen me before. I turned around, certain someone else had caught their attention.

“You look beautiful, my sweet,” Misha said quietly, bringing my focus back to him. He wore an amazing black tuxedo that hugged his muscular body to perfection. His ivory shirt and vest were made of the same silk as my dress and shoes. And although they lacked the beading, they somehow matched the style of my dress. “May I see the rest?”

Everyone took it as their cue to depart. Misha slowly slipped off my coat. The soft edges of the fur tickled my arms and slid down in a seductive caress. He circled me, very much like the predator he was, and examined me carefully. The sizzle in his eyes made my heartbeat accelerate. I wanted to take a step back from him and knew I should. My tigress believed otherwise. He was a predator, but so were we, she reminded me.

Misha’s lips parted slowly, like those of a lover before the start of a long, deep kiss. And while his fangs didn’t elongate and his tongue failed to beckon me for a taste, I felt his vampiric charm inviting me to him. He watched me, expecting me to react to one extreme or the other. I remained where I stood. He was my friend. I wouldn’t desert him. But I also wouldn’t welcome him to my bed.

When I didn’t react, Misha helped with my coat and pulled out my hair trapped beneath it. His hand ran down the length of my tresses and his skin radiated with the promise of seduction. “You look beautiful,” he said once more.

My voice cracked when I tried to speak. I cleared my throat. “Thank you, Misha. You look nice, too.”

Misha offered me his arm and we made our way to his Hummer limo. All four Catholic schoolgirls, Hank, and Tim waited in a row outside the colossal vehicle. They scrambled back when I reached the door. Hank opened it and ducked behind it, using it as a shield should things go boom. Although Ying-Ying had reinforced and booby-trapped all the vehicles against sabotage, I suppose they weren’t taking any chances.

“Allow me,” Misha said, annoyance at his family clipping his words. He slipped into the limo ahead of me, ignoring the audible gasps from his family. He then reached for my hand, pulling me in before I had time to panic. Nothing exploded, sizzled, or jolted. I didn’t so much as feel a zing. I took my seat beside Misha, thankful the coat hung longer than my skirt and that it kept all my important parts covered. The vamps piled in. At Misha’s nod they poured champagne and passed it around. I didn’t take any. I might not have been blown to bits this time, but that didn’t mean I was safe.

The other vampires laughed, gossiped, and drank the entire way to Squaw Valley. Misha and I barely said a word. When I thanked him for the clothes, he only smiled in response. In his silence I wondered what else he had planned for the night and what awaited me in the unwelcome territory known as the Den.

CHAPTER 16

When I’d first heard the term “Den,” a vision of a cold, damp cave came to mind. So did a giant bear nursing her cubs. What can I say? All the Animal Planet specials had led me astray. I hadn’t pictured the behemoth and sacred compound that awaited us where Aric served as the chancellor of students and oversaw the young weres training to be Guardians of the Earth.

The helicopter filled with snipers that had hovered above abandoned us at the base of Granite Chief Peak. We didn’t need them to follow us to the top, where the Den lay surrounded by snow-draped pines and firs and a Goliath stone wall. The local clan of witches had placed magical defensive wards following the first demon children attack and extended them after the disastrous Tribe invasion. Now the wards covered almost the entire mountain and snaked their way through several hidden paths along Squaw Valley.

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