Cursed By Destiny Page 43

Misha raised an eyebrow, chuckling slightly to demonstrate I was merely joking. Ileana seemed thrilled, excited even. She clutched Misha’s arm and jumped in place like an overly enthusiastic Girl Scout. “Yes, beloved. Celia will definitely do!”

My smile dropped. “Excuse me?”

Misha snaked his arm around me. “Ileana is pleased by you. She approves of our . . . connection.”

“Uh-huh.” Misha and I were so going to have a talk later. His half-truths pricked at my skin like needles and alerted my beast. Something was rotten in Fang Land.

Another vampire approached us. His hesitancy demonstrated his lower position in the vampire hierarchy. “Forgive the interruption, Sir Aleksandr. Baron Vladimir would like a word with Countess Vodianova.”

Ileana trailed her perfect left hand up my arm while her right slipped over Misha’s. Her smile was delicate and saintly. Her hands told a different story. They told me I’d relish in the pain she was capable of delivering. I disagreed and let her know by jerking away from her. My rejection of her advances delighted her. She beamed at me. “Forgive me, but I must attend to the baron.”

“I’m sure you must.”

She lowered her lids seductively, as if I’d offered to record their romp. “Will you spare some time for me inside?”


Misha ignored me. “Of course we shall.”

She and Misha exchanged a very short but very steamy kiss. When her lips tried to meet mine, I shoved my hand in her face. “I don’t think so.”

She threw her head back and laughed. “Oh, Misha. What a tigress indeed!”

With a small wave, she made her departure. Misha didn’t miss a beat and led me through the crowd. “What was your impression of Ileana?”

I shrugged. “About the same as all the other vampires I’ve ever met.”

He chuckled. “All of them?”

“Most of them anyway. You’re lucky—you can make me laugh and know how to tell a good story.”

“Ah, so it’s my persona you find so appealing.” He stole a glance at my br**sts. Even with the damn silicone, he could probably tell they were saluting him.

“You’re pissing me off, Misha.”

He laughed quietly. His glee ceased the moment he spotted another powerful vampire. This one I knew from my past, and he was one I had no desire of encountering again. My hackles rose.

Misha sensed my anger. “You know Angelo Cusamano?”

“We’ve met,” I answered stiffly.

“He holds my position on the East Coast.”

“Does he?” Why am I not surprised?

“There is a matter I need to discuss with him.” Misha glanced at my protruding claws. “But perhaps I should do so alone?”

“For his sake, that would be best. I think I’ll try and find my sisters.”

Misha kissed my head. “As you wish. I will join you shortly.”

I was probably the shortest female there, and although Misha was no longer escorting me, the guests parted from my path. They stared at me as I passed. Some smiled politely while others watched me carefully. No one seemed overly friendly or aggressive, but I didn’t like being noticed and would have preferred them to ignore me.

I was halfway through the foyer when an outlandish, remarkable scent caught my attention. A tall, muscular were leaned lazily against the mantel of an immense granite fireplace while two females clung to his every word. The jacket of his charcoal tux hung open and he hadn’t bothered with a tie. The white blond hair skimming his shoulders and his deeply tanned skin suggested surf bum, not member of mystical royalty. His stunning blue eyes shot in my direction as I neared. He ignored the females to fire an alluring smile and one hell of a dimple my way. I averted my eyes. No, thanks, pretty boy. I already have enough trouble.

I hurried along, pausing when I noticed Genevieve’s “maybe” had turned into a “yes.” Tim had one hand against the wall while his other played with her hair. A smile curved her lips. Her lack of fear around Tim impressed me. Then again, the magical whoop-ass staff she clutched against her could probably blow him to smithereens.

“Witch” appeared to be the preferred flavor for the evening. All the Catholic schoolgirls had found one to make out with. Edith cuddled hers near one of the eighteen-foot windows. She held a glass of champagne in one hand while a tall dark-skinned enchantress ran her lips along Edith’s throat. Edith elongated her neck to give her date better access. She also elongated her fangs, lust stimulating her thirst. Agnes walked by with her own new friend and elbowed Edith hard in the ribs. Edith hissed, but retracted her fangs all the same.

Misha appeared by my side without warning, slinking an arm around my waist. His discussion with Angelo hadn’t taken long, making me believe the chat must have been more a passing insult or some supersecret vamp exchange. He whispered closely in my ear, “I see Uri’s favorites dressed up for the occasion.”

Male underwear models always served as Uri’s escorts. Seriously, they were gorgeous and wore only underwear. Tonight they’d upgraded to black silk boxers and bow ties. I covered my mouth to suppress a laugh. My giggle was cut short by a throaty growl. Aric scowled at us from a few feet away. I didn’t get a good look at him. The two scantily clad weres clinging to him like giant pieces of duct tape blocked my view. I couldn’t get over the way they were dressed. My dress might have been sexy, but it carried an elegant beauty. Their ensembles resembled something street prostitutes would consider too risqué. They pulled him into the ballroom and away from me. I’d caught enough of his expression to know he was angry. Well, that made two of us.

Misha’s grip tightened. I hadn’t even noticed my claws shoot out or my body lurch forward. “Do not start the evening by scuffling with weres on their premises,” he whispered tightly.

“I wasn’t going to scuffle.” I was going to throw down and feed those sluts their small intestines. Acid boiled in my stomach like building lava as I watched them disappear with my wolf.

“Celia!” Shayna called.

“Ignore the wolf and enjoy your family.” Misha nudged me over to where my sisters and friends were coming at me full speed before disappearing to speak with yet another master. Shayna greeted me first. Her long black hair was pulled into a beautiful chignon and a plum satin dress clung to her thin frame like a second skin. A strapless red number hugged Taran’s curves. Gemini hugged her waist just as tightly. He snarled at a passing vamp who licked his lips when he stole a glance at my sister. Calm spirit or not, Gem would make a ski cap out the vamp’s stomach if he trekked too close to his mate.

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