Lexi Blake Beast.jpg

Beast

A Faery Story, Book 2

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Print: Amazon

About the book

Re-released in a second edition. Re-edited but no substantial changes.

A playboy who needs to grow up

Fresh from his latest tabloid scandal, vampire playboy Dante Dellacourt has been given an ultimatum. Either he takes a consort and settles down, or his family will disown him. Unwilling to lose everything he has, he reluctantly agrees to find a wife. Marriage is just another kind of contract, after all. No one said anything about love being a part of the bargain.

An outcast who has only known hardship

Exiled by her pack, Kaja is a werewolf without a home. Her life was never easy in the frozen tundra she grew up in, but it was familiar. Waking up in a foreign landscape, surrounded by bright lights, loud noises, and far too many people has left her overwhelmed. Frightened and with no one to trust, she savagely fights to get free of this strange new world. 

A passion strong enough to change them both

Called to defend the gnomes of the marketplace, Dante is almost blinded by the radiant light coming off the fierce werewolf. Kaja glows like no consort he has ever seen. Gorgeous and wild, she calls to him in ways he had not dreamed possible. For Kaja, she finds in Dante a man unlike any she has ever known. They could not be more different, but she finds him irresistible.

In order to claim his werewolf bride, Dante must first discover how to overcome their differences. Will he tame his ferocious beauty, or will she unleash his inner beast?


Excerpt

Chapter One

The Vampire Plane 

Dante Dellacourt watched his family and friends as they stared at the floor-to-ceiling projection from the comfortable seats of Dellacorp’s media room. The room that was normally used for conferences had been done up for a party, but he was worried no one would want to celebrate at the end of the show. His whole family, a large group of their friends, and several key members of the corporation were rapt with attention, watching everything that happened on this final episode of the most popular DL in the States. 

Dante tried not to laugh at the image of himself pondering the decision he was about to make. The producers made sure he thought about the intensely important life decision he was making via reality television in various states of undress. During filming, he’d spent an awful lot of time with his shirt off, but he had to admit, he looked good in a tux, too. He stood at the edge of a lovely, romantic pond, surrounded by greenery and flowers, waiting for the helicopters that would bring the two final women to him. 

Dante took a long drink of Scotch as he watched the drama play out. He hoped the alcohol would relax him fairly quickly. He hadn’t had much of an appetite. He desired neither a meal pill nor an actual warm-blooded dinner. His gut was not in a good place. On an empty stomach, the Scotch should work fast. He had the feeling that he was going to need it once his parents saw the way the final stock ceremony ended.

On the high-definition screen, the luxury helicopter landed, and a gorgeous vampire stepped out showing off her long legs and perfect figure. She wore a designer gown and looked like a woman on a mission. Veronica. Even her name made him shiver.

“I knew it.” Susan practically shouted at the screen. Dante had to grin slightly. His big sister was a high-octane, type-A version of himself, right down to her red-and-gold hair and green eyes. 

His sister hadn’t liked Veronica at all. It had been a mistake to put two alpha females in the same room together. They’d practically had a knock-down, drag-out when he’d brought Veronica home to meet the family. The producers had been thrilled. It made for excellent television.

“They always dump the first one,” Susan said with a vicious fist pump. “Take that, bitch! I knew my brother would pick the consort.”

Susan’s husband, Colin, gave his wife an affectionate pat. He nodded Dante’s way. “Thank you. She would be impossible to live with if you brought that one home again.”

Dante noticed his mother was crying slightly. It made him nauseous at the thought of disappointing her. Her manicured hands came out to pat his shoulders. “I knew you would make the right choice. The consort is lovely. I can’t wait to begin planning the wedding. I know you’re contractually obligated to stay apart from Sheila until after the final airing, but I wish she could have been here. I can’t wait to welcome her into our family.”

On the screen, Veronica was rolling her eyes and vowing corporate vengeance. Her long red nails reminded Dante of talons. She’d actually scared the crap out of him. He’d been afraid to dump her before the final ceremony. More than one corporate war had been started because of this particular series.

His father walked up behind him and gave him a hearty pat on the back. He could feel the satisfaction coming off his father in waves. “I didn’t think this was a good idea. Your mother had to convince me this wouldn’t ruin our corporate image. Playing around in hot tubs is no way to find a wife, I say. You should have done what your cousins did. You should have bought a consort at the marketplace. Still, I liked Sheila. You did good, son.”

There was a loud snort from the back of the room. Dante looked up and saw his aforementioned twin cousins sitting in the small crowd with their market-bought wife between them. Six months of marriage had only brought the three of them closer together. Cian, the more sarcastic of the two, was watching the screen raptly. It didn’t stop him from making his opinion plain. 

“I think you’re all crazy,” Cian said, his musical Fae accent filled with humor. “Do any of you know Dante? Seriously? I bet you all a thousand gold that he dumps them both.” 

“Shut up, you bastard,” Beckett Finn said, slapping at his brother playfully. “You don’t have a thousand gold.”

“He won’t need it. Let him make the bet,” Meg Finn pronounced, her eyes narrowing on Dante. “He dumps them both.”

On the screen, a second helicopter was setting down on the top floor of one of the most luxurious high-rises in Manhattan. Dante had been happy the producers of the DL had chosen to film the end in New York rather than his own hometown of Dallas. Romantic music was playing. Sheila, a consort from the Faery plane with an amazing backstory to go along with her sweet good looks, got out of the helicopter. Her face beamed as she looked up at him. 

“I’ll take that bet, Cian,” Dante’s father replied, his Texas accent thick with pride. “There’s no way my son lets a consort that beautiful get away. She saved twenty children from the civil war. She’s a healer and a philanthropist. She’s everything a vampire could want in a consort. Sheila reminds me of my wife. She’s quiet and elegant. She’s a true lady.”

“Now, you see editing can really change a person’s perception. They leave out all the bitchy parts,” Dante said, feeling a bit hot under the collar. 

He thought Sheila had been reading far too much of her own press material. She was stuck-up. When the cameras weren’t rolling, she’d barely talked to him except to ask about his cousins. She was interested in the true kings of the Seelie Fae. Not so much in him. 

It didn’t matter. He knew what was coming. At the time, it seemed like a funny adventure. He hadn’t expected everyone to get caught up in it. He certainly hadn’t expected his parents to get invested in a made-for-DL relationship.

His sister was standing now. Her mouth thinned as she studied him. “You asshole! Ci’s right. You dumped both women. How could you?”

Dante pointed to the screen where the quiet, demure consort was slapping him silly, completely forgetting that oath she had taken to do no harm. She pushed him back until he fell ass-first into the romantic koi pond that would have made an awesome place to propose had he actually fallen in love with someone. “Does that look quiet and elegant? They don’t show you the fact that she tried to throw one of the cameras in that pond with me. She tried to electrocute me. And they totally made her look like she wouldn’t put out in the fantasy suite, but she did.”

Susan gasped. “You slept with her?”

He shrugged. It should have been obvious. He’d spent six weeks shooting a reality DL. What the hell else had there been to do? “I slept with all of them, sis. Haven’t you read the tabloids? My point is she’s nothing like mother. Mother would never try to electrocute a man.”

Alana Dellacourt stood. Her gray eyes were stormy as she stared his way. “Maybe you don’t know me as well as you think. You wouldn’t like what’s going through my head right now. I have to make sure my clothes are ready for tomorrow’s luncheon. I will have many questions to answer. The Malones are coming over. Their JT recently married a consort, a lovely woman from the Earth plane named Dana. I thought I would be able to announce your engagement, too.” 

The Malones ran a rival corporation. His mother and Ava Malone were friendly but deeply competitive. It would bother his mom to have to listen to Ava rave over her son’s new consort. She brought herself up to her full regal height and sauntered out of the room with dignity.

The room was buzzing all around him as many of the corporate attendees followed his mother out. Some stopped to shake his father’s hand, their sympathy utterly apparent. Damn, he was truly fucked. He was going to have to charm the hell out of his parents.

Susan followed their mother, giving Dante a look that made him take a step back. 

“Man-whore,” she accused as she stalked past him. 

Colin hurried to catch up, but not before throwing his brother-in-law a slightly sympathetic look.

“We’re breaking up?” Cian asked, sounding disappointed. “But I wanted to watch the episode where all the women yell at each other. It’s my favorite part. I still can’t believe they found twenty females who would actually fight each other to date Dante.”

His lovely wife took his hand. She seemed to understand that the evening had taken a distinctly bad turn. “Come on, baby. We’ll watch it in our room.” 

Beckett stood with them. Dante didn’t miss the way he slid his hand playfully across his wife’s curves. Beckett Finn was a happy man. Beckett Finn was a man who wasn’t about to get his ass chewed out.

Dante sighed as the Finns left, and he was alone with his father. The room, which had been alive and full moments before, was now as quiet as a tomb. Someone had been smart enough to turn off the sound, but the video was still running. It played pictures of himself and the women he’d turned down one after another. 

His stomach sank as he looked at his dad. He loved the man, he truly did. But he didn’t understand him most of the time. Donald Dellacourt had taken Dellacorp from a small-time cattle farm to one of the largest conglomerates on the plane. A few years back, he’d handed over the daily operations to Susan. Dante didn’t blame him. Susan was a better CEO. He wished his father could see that he had something to provide, too.

Like tabloid scandals and a constant stream of mistresses.

“This is the end, son.” His father didn’t yell. It was a bad sign. Donald Dellacourt was a larger-than-life man. He yelled. He screamed. It almost never meant anything. When he was quiet, that was when Dante knew he was in trouble.

“The end of what?” He heard the irritation in his voice. It was a typical reaction. He’d never been one to take punishment well. “I’m thirty years old, Dad. You can’t send me to my room.”

“I can kick you out of your room.” 

He swallowed once, and then twice. He was joking. He wasn’t actually going to kick him out of his home. This was beyond bad. “You can’t be serious.”

His father poured a couple of fingers of Scotch and took a long swallow. “I am deadly serious. By your age, I had already founded a company, married your mother, and we had Susan. I’ve given you all the time you need to mature, and you keep acting like an idiot. Tomorrow morning, you’re going to be utterly reviled in the press.”

He was worried about that? He’d weathered many a scandal. “They’ll find a new story the day after. It’s not a problem, Dad. I’ll go down to the surface and pose with poor children. I’ll donate some meal pills to the homeless shelters. It’ll blow over.”

His father brought his fist down on the bar, making the crystal shake. “It will not blow over! It won’t blow over for me or your mother or your sister. All of your life you’ve had everything given to you. You went to the best schools. You’ve always had the best money could buy. You never have to go to the surface for anything but a photo op. I lived on the surface, son. It’s harsh, but it makes a man out of you. If I don’t do something about it, you’ll stay a boy the rest of your life. I don’t want that for you.”

He didn’t like where this conversation was going. He had plans, big plans, that did not involve getting cut off from his inheritance. 

Six months before, something amazing had fallen into his lap, and he was close to a major breakthrough. “Dad, give me three more months. The sunscreen Meg brought back is going to sell like gangbusters. The bio-med guys almost have it reverse engineered. There are some compounds in it that don’t naturally occur on this plane, but we’ll make it work.”

His father sighed. He suddenly looked wearier than Dante could ever remember seeing him. “I have no doubt that the chemists can make it work. Don’t try to sell this as some big job. Meggie gave you the sunscreen, and you passed it off to the bio-med team. It doesn’t make you a businessman. You spend far more time partying than you do in the office.”

Humiliation flashed through his system. Everyone discounted him. Even his own family. “How about all the marketing research I’ve done? I can sell this. I can make this our biggest seller within a year. I’ve done the financials. Sunscreen tech can be the most profitable arm of Dellacorp within five years. Bio-med has been our weak point. I can make us a leader in the market.”

His father looked far past his sixty-five years as he shook his head. His anger seemed spent, replaced with something he could only term as disappointment. “No. You’re off the sunscreen project. You’ll bring too much bad publicity. It’s best if you take a break. I’ll make you a deal. Get married, and I’ll let you back in. A wedding would mollify the stockholders. They’ll think you’re finally settling down. Look what happened to Malone Corp when JT married his consort. Might I add, she was pregnant at the time and it wasn’t his kid. Poor thing got hauled off the Earth plane in a delicate condition and JT stepped up to the plate and made his family proud. Got some great PR, too. You know the more I think about it, the more I like this plan.”

“I don’t want to get married,” Dante said. Even when he’d accepted the DL gig, he’d known he wasn’t ready to be anyone’s husband. He was barely thirty. He was still a kid. Maybe JT was ready to be someone’s dad, but the thought horrified Dante. 

His father shrugged and scrubbed a hand across his face. “Then I would start looking for a job, son. You have a business degree. I made sure of it.”

His father walked out, leaving Dante stunned in his wake. On the screen behind him, the women were beginning to shout at each other.

Dante slumped into the first chair he found, utterly shocked at the events of the evening. 

It had been a stupid idea. He should never have gone on that dumb show. He’d reacted to his cousins’ happiness. He knew his father would never believe it, but he was jealous of what Beck and Ci had found with their bondmate. Meg was a hell of a woman. She was tough and funny, and he genuinely liked her as a person. He hadn’t found anyone as interesting as Megan Finn. He doubted he ever would. How was he supposed to get married when he was half in love with his cousins’ wife?

He’d been looking for a connection. He could lie to everyone, but he knew the truth deep down. He hadn’t found it. He probably never would. And his father sure as hell couldn’t force it on him.

Something wicked and angry took up residence in his gut.

If he couldn’t have love, he decided, he could have the next best thing. Dante pulled out his tablet and dialed up his latest mistress. He was sure his father would disapprove, but he needed to let off some steam.

* * * *

Two hours later, he let his head rest against the back of the chair as Amanda King teased the head of his dick with her talented tongue.

“He seriously expects you to get married?” She emphasized the “you” part. The question vibrated against the sensitive skin of his cock. 

Dante took a long swallow of Scotch. He knew he probably looked every bit the decadent, care-for-nothing no-good his father had portrayed him as. He was sitting in his mistress’s suite, which he paid for, drinking and letting her pleasure him. The worst part was the fact that while his cock was engaged, his fangs hadn’t popped out yet. He was distracted. Or getting old. 

Maybe he really should think about taking a consort. JT Malone seemed happy with his consort. “I got a lecture about how marriage can settle a man down. He threw the Malones in my face. Again.”

The Malones ran a rival corporation and their twin sons were roughly the same age as Dante. They’d been in some of the same schools together, but he’d never gotten close to them. 

“You know I heard that he married a chick from the Earth plane, but the twist was it was the same girl he grew up with on this plane,” Amanda murmured against his cock. “It was one of those mirror things. Except the girl he grew up with died when they were teens and then this one shows up and he lost his mind. I wonder if I’m out there somewhere.”

He didn’t even want to think about it. He was probably living it up on the Earth plane, and no one would tell him what to do. It was probably paradise. 

Then Amanda ran her tongue from the base of his balls to the crown of his cock, and he wasn’t thinking much anymore. She was extremely good at giving head. What right did his father have to tell him he was useless simply because he liked to party and kept a mistress? He worked hard. Sometimes. Didn’t he deserve to play? Besides, he considered himself a mentor to his mistress. Amanda was a young woman trying to put herself through school without the aid of family or corporate funds. It was a given in their society that she would find a wealthy patron to help her. If she’d been born in a royal line, he would never have touched her, but Amanda was a lovely peasant girl. She knew the score. He could never marry a peasant. It would be a royal or a consort for him.

Even if she’d been a royal, he wouldn’t have considered her. Amanda was all right, but he didn’t love her. And she sure as hell didn’t love him. He suspected she didn’t like royals at all.

His father had been born a royal, but one without money. His father had pulled his entire family off the surface with willpower and intelligence. He was never going to live up to his father.

“Have I lost you?” Amanda stared up at him, her brown eyes questioning. Her hands were on his thighs. He hadn’t even noticed that she’d stopped. What was wrong with him?

He shook his head and stroked her hair. She was a sweet girl, and she’d been good to him in her own way. He didn’t want her to feel insecure. “I’m sorry, sweetheart. My mind is on the problem. Don’t stop. I need this tonight.”

She winked up at him and lowered her head, talking as she pressed kisses along his cock. “You know all the eligible American royals. I doubt any of them will be willing to date you after your Bachelordebacle. Way to break the consort’s heart, by the way,” Amanda pointed out as she cupped his balls. 

He stared down at her, reclining in a comfortable chair, watching as the blonde beauty worked. She looked thoughtful. He knew she was contemplating his trouble when she should have been paying attention to his need, but he was practical. She was in this for the cash. If he got married, she had to look for a new “mentor.” 

“Are you going to go international? There might be some royal on an island somewhere who didn’t see the show.”

“I’m not going at all,” Dante replied, thrusting his hips up. He relaxed back as her head bobbed up and down. She settled into her task. “I’m not going to let him force me into something I’m not ready for. Just because he wanted to get married and start a family at such a young age doesn’t mean I have to. Oh, yeah. That’s it, sweetheart.”

This was what he needed. He tangled his hands in her hair as his fangs popped out. It had taken them long enough. 

He felt her tongue whirl over and around his dick, and he started to thrust into her mouth with purpose. Her mouth was small and warm, but he wanted more. He wanted to give her an orgasm, to remind himself that he could still do something right. 

“Come on,” he ordered, pulling her up and into his lap. “Ride me.”

She straddled him obediently. Her brown eyes were warm as she lined his cock up and sank onto him. 

Dante forgot about the fight with his father. He forgot about the potential for disaster lurking in the background. He forgot about everything but the need to come. He let his hands trace the lithe lines of her body, guiding her up and down.

He worked his hand in between their bodies. He rubbed his mistress’s clitoris forcefully and was pleased when she came with a mewling cry. He let himself go and groaned as the orgasm took him. He bucked up and held her hips. Amanda fell forward into his arms. 

He rubbed her back gently, but his brain was working overtime again. He should be content. He should be basking in the afterglow, but all he could think about was how he was going to face his family in the morning knowing he now had an expiration date. How was he going to find a job in a company his father didn’t own? He seriously doubted Susan would give him a decent reference as anything but a man-whore. 

“You need to find someone completely unsuitable.” Amanda’s words were sighed against his neck.

“What?”

She sat up and put her hands on his shoulders. “Look, consorts are hard to come by ever since King Torin closed off Tír na nÓg.”

“You mean Torin the Pretender.” The words were harsh to Dante’s ears. Torin had killed his aunt, uncle, and cousin, Bronwyn. Torin was the reason Beck and Cian were in exile. He would not hear him honored with a title. “The kings of the Seelie Fae are King Beckett and King Cian.”

Amanda’s mouth formed a perfectly shocked O. It didn’t surprise him. He rarely sounded serious. His cousins’ throne was one of the only things he was damn serious about. One day he would convince them to take it back. He wouldn’t be satisfied until Beck, Cian, and Meg wore their rightful crowns and led the Seelie plane.

“Of course,” she said politely, scrambling off his lap. She quickly recovered. She pulled her robe around her and poured Dante another drink. Her smile was gracious as she passed it to him. “I apologize, baby. As I was saying, once the Pretender closed off the homelands, consorts became rare. I hear there are many who come from planes we would never have considered before.”

Dante zipped up his pants. He would take a shower before he headed home. The last thing he needed was his parents to catch him reeking of sex and Scotch. And it was probably time to begin to ease his way out of the relationship with Amanda. He would pay for her last year of school. Maybe it was time to be alone for a while. “Yes, the Planeswalker clans are making a fortune off Torin’s miserliness. I don’t see how this helps me.” 

It limited his options. Now that he really thought about it, he supposed he’d always planned on finding a consort eventually. Almost all vampires of royal lines married a consort. There were several reasons for the practice, the chief being all the physical benefits a vampire received from taking regular blood from a consort. It elongated the life of the royal vampire. A typical vampire’s life span was roughly a hundred years. It doubled when a royal dined regularly on a consort. 

A consort was a special type of male or female, usually of Fae lineage, though he’d recently discovered humans could be consorts, as well. Something about their blood strengthened the vampire. In return, the consort remained young and vital from sexual relations with the vampire. Torin was attempting to sway the Vampire plane to his side by cutting off their access to suitable consorts.

It was starting to work. There was a large part of the plane that called for turning over the royal twins to Torin. If Torin was satisfied, he would open Tír na nÓg and trade would flow once more.

It wasn’t going to happen. They would take his cousins over Dante’s dead body.

“A Fae consort is trained.” Amanda’s musing brought him out of his dark thoughts. “Even Colin, who wasn’t aware of his status until he came to our plane, was taught manners and proper etiquette. He was educated. Your father might have come from meager beginnings, but he has high standards. If you brought home a completely unsuitable wife, he would be horrified.”

His mind raced with the possibilities. Amanda was right. His father would die before allowing an uneducated rube into his precious family. Perhaps he could use the current state of trade to his advantage. “He might even let me get her a house somewhere far away.”

Amanda rolled her eyes. “He might let you cast her aside. You can then go back to your former playboy lifestyle, having done your best to satisfy your father.”

It could be the perfect solution, though he doubted he would ever cast a woman aside. It was a terrible thing to do in his culture and brought great shame to the woman being cast aside, but if he could convince the consort to work with him, then that was another story. It wouldn’t be a marriage as much as a partnership. He would marry the woman, and then she would prove to be completely unsuitable. Perhaps he could find a human like Megan. He knew he wouldn’t find anyone as beautiful and sexy as Meggie, but humans seemed a reasonable race. He could certainly work with one. Together, they would ensure that she was an embarrassment to everyone. His father would understand that they should live apart, and Dante would be free to live his life as he always had.

“You’re a genius,” he said with a smile. He got up and kissed her briefly.

“That’s what the IQ tests tell me,” Amanda quipped.

He winked at her as he made for the door. He had a lot to do. He could shower later.

* * * *

The minute the door slammed, Amanda made the call. She didn’t bother to change into more professional clothes. It wasn’t like the man on the other end of the line hadn’t seen her naked. It also wouldn’t hurt to remind him of what he was missing while she was on this particular job.

“What is it?” Chalen Palgrave asked, his voice rough. There was an edge of impatience to his tone that never left no matter what the situation was. 

He had picked up immediately and that told her he’d been waiting for the call. He’d been waiting for any kind of information she could dig up on the Dellacourts’ son. She was slightly satisfied that his eyes went immediately to her breasts. There was a bank of windows behind him that let her know he was still in his office. He rarely left it these days. Since his brother had disappeared six months before, Chalen spent all his time at work. He had to if he wanted to keep Palgrave Industries from going under.

“He’s been ordered to get married or face disinheritance.” Amanda sat forward, waiting for his approval.

It was not forthcoming. “And this is news? What could you expect after the disgraceful way he behaved this evening? His father should have disowned him right then and there. It proves Donald Dellacourt’s poor morality that he did not. The Dellacourts have no honor. What should we expect? They’re one generation off the surface. Dirtwalkers, every one of them.”

It took everything she had not to roll her eyes. She’d rapidly discovered that royals thought along different lines than commoners. They only saw the big picture and rarely thought about how important small cracks could be. A peasant understood all about small cracks. Amanda’s whole life had been a delicate balance.

“If he’s invested in finding a wife, I think his newfound work ethic is going to get shelved. He’s been much more serious about work in the past six months. He thinks he has something going in bio-med,” she explained. “He can’t work too hard if he’s looking for a wife. He’ll let his guard down. Better yet, if his father does kick him out, he’ll be vulnerable.”

“Why wouldn’t he marry the first consort he sees? I would,” Chalen pointed out.

“You don’t know Dante the way I do. He’s furious at the thought of being put in a corner. He’s going to choose someone guaranteed to enrage his father.” She held up a small recording device. “And I’ve got the proof. How is Donald Dellacourt going to react when he hears his son plotting to embarrass the family he worked so hard to elevate? The press will eat it up. He’ll get kicked to the surface, and the Dellacourts will have more to worry about than the political situation on Tír na nÓg. Dante Dellacourt will be vulnerable, and the Finn twins will lose their biggest backers. You can push the government to declare for Torin. It won’t be long before all three are dead.”

“I want the girl dead, too,” Chalen said between clenched fangs.

She was a bit startled by that pronouncement. The girl in question was a consort. Meg Finn was valuable. If her husbands were dead, she would be fair game to any royal vampire without a consort. Consorts were precious. A royal even considering harming a consort was a shocking thought. She carefully schooled her features. “I’m sure that can be arranged. Are you still in contact with the king?”

Chalen nodded. “I speak with King Torin daily. I am attempting to convince him to make his plea directly to our government. The twins are accusing him of all manner of crimes. He needs to show that he is the one who turned over the tyranny of their father’s reign.”

“Do you actually believe that?”

“Of course not. He killed his own brother and would have murdered his nephews if he hadn’t proven incompetent. This is about perception, not truth. If I can move the members of the senate to Torin’s side, I can isolate the bastards responsible for my brother’s death.”

She didn’t bother to point out that Kinsey Palgrave’s body had never been recovered. He’d simply vanished after telling his brother he was going after a consort on the Refugee plane. Chalen Palgrave had figured out the consort his brother had been interested in was Megan Finn. As Meg Finn’s husbands were alive and well and his brother was missing, Chalen had drawn certain conclusions. He was going to have his revenge on the Finns and the Dellacourts. He was willing to do whatever it took to get it, even placing his own “beloved” mistress into his enemy’s bed. He would not be swayed by anything as simple as logic.

“I need a copy of that tape,” Chalen ordered. His face softened for a moment. “You’ve done well, Amanda.”

She kept her eyes demurely down. “Thank you, sir. I only hope to serve you.” 

She would never, ever let him know that Dante Dellacourt was ten times the lover he was. She would never let him know that she actually kind of liked the bastard. This was war, and her personal feelings would only get her in trouble.

“Keep me updated,” he said before cutting the connection.

Amanda sighed and stood. One day she would have a nice, normal job with Palgrave Industries. She would get married to someone of her own caste and live in the happy normalcy of the mid-levels. She would never go to the surface again, but she’d learned that living in the upper heights with the royals was too dangerous for her.

She stared down at the tape that would likely cost Dante Dellacourt his lofty position. It wasn’t fair, but she downloaded it and shipped it to Chalen Palgrave’s address. She hoped it was all over soon so she could get on with her life.

Copyright 2019 Lexi Blake