Cursed By Destiny Page 8

Instead of loosening his grasp, he squeezed my hand tighter. The haunting pain hardening his expression seeped into his hoarse tone. “I meant what I told you at Koda and Shayna’s wedding, sweetness. You’re the one I want to spend my life with.”

My other hand covered the back of his. “Do you have any idea how much it hurts me to hear your words, knowing you’ll soon spend your life with another?” He wouldn’t answer. I slowly slipped away from him and moved closer to the fireplace, crossing my arms over my chest. His silence and the bitter aroma of his sadness made me think he easily sensed my pain. Still, I continued, releasing the dam on everything I’d wanted to tell him. “I get that a union of two purebloods guarantees a were child. I get that your kind has been decimated and needs to reproduce in order to stop the Tribe and any other superevil that threatens our world. I get all that, Aric—I do. But it doesn’t comfort me when I’m alone at night without you.” I turned to him then. “Nor will it comfort me the remainder of my days. You shouldn’t be here, wolf.”

Aric rose from the couch, his jaw clenched. “I’m forced into a corner, Celia. My animal instincts roar to me to come out fighting, but my commitment to my pack keeps me in place.” He lowered his head. “I don’t sleep anymore. And I haven’t known happiness since the day I left your arms. I don’t expect your forgiveness nor do I deserve it for what I’ve done to you and to us. Just know that I hurt along with you, that I suffer without you, and that I’ll love you forever.”

Aric’s thick boots marched across my small living room and into the kitchen. He grabbed his jacket without bothering to put it on, then walked out of the house, disappearing into the darkness.

CHAPTER 4

The next morning greeted me with bright sunlight streaming through my large kitchen window and naughty Catholic schoolgirls pounding on my door.

“Are you going to let us in or what?” Liz wailed, following more obnoxious knocking.

It was their way of saying, “Good morning, Celia. My, don’t you look beautiful today. May we come in and shower you with our cheery dispositions and love so that you may forget your hideous and sleepless night?” I placed my mixing bowl on the counter and padded to the door. I let them in only because if I ignored them, they had an annoying habit of watching me through the windows like a bunch of Peeping Toms.

I returned to the kitchen and removed a tray of sticky buns from the oven. They were sweet and stuffed with cream cheese—and they were Aric’s favorite. We used to eat them together in bed.

Maria sat on the kitchen counter, watching me with her dark eyes narrowed. Supposedly, she was quite a skilled businesswoman. When she wasn’t entertaining Misha with her leather whip and her collection of masks, she attended company meetings and advised him on his financial affairs. I wasn’t familiar with her savvy side—only her sadistic bitchy one. She wrinkled her nose at me before speaking in her thick Brazilian accent. “What are dose?”

“Sticky buns.”

Maria scoffed, tossing back her waist-length cinnamon hair. She had the same golden skin tone I did and similar-colored eyes. That’s where our resemblance ended. I barely hit five feet three. She was at least five-nine without the kinky go-go boots she wore. “I can’t believe you eat dat garbage. Consider de vampire route. Believe me, you’ll be more satisfied.”

“Just because they don’t contain AB-negative filling doesn’t mean they’re not delicious.”

Edith Anne strutted around the counter and glared down at me. “They look disgusting.”

I really wasn’t in a mood for her attitude. I smiled and rammed one in her mouth. The others laughed as she choked it down. I could tell she liked it, but Edith wasn’t the type to admit it. She was the type, however, to put me down every chance she got.

I picked up a bun to munch on. “You’re just ticked because Misha made you give up your presents.” I’d dragged myself out of bed to find a key tied with a bow and a flat velvet case lying on my kitchen table. The case held a stunning diamond and platinum necklace Misha had given Edith for Christmas, and the key just so happened to start Agnes’s brand-new Shelby Mustang. I had to give it to Misha—he knew how to hit the naughty Catholics below the gold-digging belts. I couldn’t have come up with a more creative punishment and, whether the ingrates knew it or not, it had spared their undead asses.

Edith wiped the dripping filling on her chin with the back of her hand and hissed, “I don’t care what anyone says. You’ll make a shitty vampire.”

I crossed my arms. “What’s with all the vampire talk?”

Agnes Concepción draped her long pigtails over her br**sts and adjusted her tiny librarian-looking glasses. It was something I’d noticed she did when her patience was wearing thin. She had supernatural eyesight; she didn’t need the stupid glasses. Hank told me she’d started wearing them to enhance her naughty schoolgirl persona. And yet as ridiculous as I thought her entire getup was, I had to admit she was pretty brilliant. Agnes was the expert on, well, everything, be it rare species of monkeys or even rarer species of demons. “Come on, Celia,” she griped. “With everything that’s happened between you and the master, it’s the obvious next step.”

“Ah, no, it’s not.” I finished my bun and wiped my hands with a kitchen towel. “I hate to break it to you, girlfriends, but there’s nothing between Misha and me.”

Liz stopped filing her nails, at first I thought to ram her file in my eye. The fact that I didn’t bang Misha like a pair of cymbals bugged the bejeezus out of her. Unlike Maria and Agnes, Liz didn’t do business or academia. Liz just did Liz. She’d become their little leader after she’d won the fight for dominance. She sneered, mostly to show off her new set of choppers. “You may not be bedding the master, but you’re a fool to think there’s nothing between you.”

“I’m serious.”

Edith circled me with an evil gleam in her stare. Like the rest of them, she was very tall, thin, and beautiful. The good Catholics were often mistaken for runway models and used their charms to get anything they desired. For some reason, they didn’t feel the need to be charming around me. Edith bent forward. Her gaze raked down my neck to my br**sts. She licked her lips and her pupils dilated. It was similar to the way I reacted at the sight of a cheeseburger. “I see the marks we left on you have disappeared.” She lengthened her incisors as she smiled. “Would you like more, so the master can tend to them as well?”

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