Cursed By Destiny Page 65

Tears streamed down my face as I smiled. “I want to marry you, too, Aric.”

We kissed. A lot. The moment we stopped, he reached for the phone to call the house and asked to speak with Misha. “Hey there, Meesh. Your wife and I have worked up quite an appetite. How about you fix us some grub?”

CHAPTER 24

Aric was moon-called to meet with the Elders shortly after Misha hung up on him. It was actually a good thing since I didn’t want the whole situation to turn into another one of their pissing contests. We emerged from the bedroom holding hands to find several garment bags draped over the sage couch and shoe boxes stacked on the floor. Aric frowned.

I knelt to examine the shoes. They were all made of elegant satin varying in shades from stark white to deep ivory. Pearls embellished some while rhinestones sparkled the tips of others. All came in my size, but they weren’t mine. I shook my head. “I have no idea what this is about, wolf.”

He shrugged. “Crazy leeches.”

I stood and squeezed his hand. “Don’t be mean. Annoying as they may be, those crazy leeches helped save my life.”

He gathered me in his arms, growling something indiscernible. I stopped him by brushing my lips against his. I leaned against him the entire way to his Escalade. “I wish you didn’t have to leave.”

“I know, baby. But you have my word—one day we’ll never know a night without each other.”

I kissed him one last time and watched him drive through the gates. I hoped he was right, but the demands of his Elders made me worried he’d have to go lone to keep his promise. I wrapped my arms around myself and returned to the guesthouse, hoping to track down Emme. I found her sitting in the garden next to one of the carp ponds. Fresh snow covered the area around her. My beast, sweater, and jeans kept me warm, but the thin suede jacket Emme wore didn’t seem like enough to protect her petite frame. “Emme, what are you doing sitting out here by yourself?”

She smiled. “I wanted to give you and Aric privacy. I realize your moments together are brief.”

“Thank you, but I don’t like that you’ve been out here alone.”

“I haven’t been by myself long. I walked back to the house with Misha and the others. Ha-Hank kept me company.”

I blinked at her a few times. “Hank was with you?”

“Yes. I left him so he could eat. He’s ravished considering he’s had to grow back his limbs.” Her cheeks turned pink. “Celia, why are you looking at me that way?”

I drummed my fingers against my arms, feeling my muscles tighten. “I’m just a little surprised Hank would make an effort to be nice.”

“I—I used to think he was elitist, but he was very kind to me just now.”

Hank, kind? No. Horny, yes. Annoying, ditto. But nice? Something was up. Hank and his buds had never been welcoming of me or my sisters. After saving Misha, I thought I’d finally earned his respect, and probably his trust. Emme’s interaction with him had been limited at best. “Did he try anything with you—make a move, cop a feel, try to bite?”

“No, no, of course not. He was a total gentleman.”

“Hank” and “gentleman” went together about as well as “venomous snake” and “cuddly.” Emme’s demeanor also freaked me out. She was typically timid around others, but not so much around her family. “Emme, why are you blushing?”

She shrugged. And her blush deepened. “It’s just been a while since I’ve had a guy look at me. Liam usually scares anyone senseless who tries.”

“Hank was checking you out?” I shuddered. Help me, Obi-Wan, Lassie’s fallen down a well.

“I don’t know . . . maybe.”

With her soft blond waves and her Natalie Portman face, Emme had the whole pretty-girl-next-door thing going for her. Hank was a vampire, and in this world vampire equaled hotness. I wasn’t blind. I knew Hank was attractive. But Hank was an ass**le who frequently engaged in ass**leish behavior. And can anyone find someone like that sexy?

My sister was smaller than me by a few inches and several pounds. She wasn’t physically strong—she couldn’t even open a damn jar of spaghetti sauce. And while her gift made her a formidable opponent, her naïveté could get her into trouble with someone like Hank. Part of my protectiveness related to her breakup with Liam. I loved Liam. He would’ve died protecting her. Hank . . . not so much. That moron would use her as a human shield without thinking twice. I groaned and rubbed my eyes. Could she really be interested in Hank? Like Liam, Hank had that bad boy image going for him. Liam was all image, though. Hank actually was a bad boy. I’d seen some of the girls he’d been with. The guy was downright naughty.

“Emme, I know you might be feeling lonely right now . . .”

Her eyes filled with tears. “Celia, don’t—just . . . don’t.”

“I’m sorry, sweetie.” I hugged her. “I didn’t mean to upset you.”

My muscles twitched when I scented a vampire approach. “Maria is coming,” I whispered. Emme probably needed a good cry, but she wouldn’t want to do it in front of the good Catholics. She quickly wiped her face and turned away.

A beautiful champagne gown draped Maria’s statuesque figure, and her hair was piled in an elaborate twist. I wondered where the hell she was going.

She traced her free hand down her body as if admiring herself and swirled the wine she held in her opposite hand. The slit in her dress ran the length of her left thigh; one false move and it would tear past her hip. “Sorry to interrupt girl time and all. But de master would like you to join him for dinner in de solarium as soon as you are ready.”

I thought I misheard. “Why in the solarium? I thought he only used that space for special occasions?”

Maria huffed and pointed into the sky toward the full moon. “It is a special occasion. It is your goddamn wedding reception!” She stormed down the slate walkway muttering in Portuguese before I could formulate a response. Emme stumbled back into the stone bench. Her shocked expression no doubt mirrored mine.

“Did she just say my wedding reception?”

Emme nodded, unable to speak. I grabbed her hand and led her back to the guesthouse. After I found my suitcase, I filled it like I was helping Mrs. Mancuso pack for a one-way trip to hell.

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