How could I have let this happen?
Heath sank into the chair beside me. “You look like a gargoyle.”
My eyes shifted to his face, full of annoyance.
“You’re hunched forward like you’re about to jump on someone’s head. Your eyes are all beady. Your jaw is clenched so tight—”
“I didn’t ask you to elaborate.”
“Whatever,” Heath said. “I’m guessing the conversation didn’t go well.”
“No.” I watched Denise move through the tables and serve the men their drinks. Her tits had two piercings through the nipples. The jewels sparkled in the dim light from the lamps that hung from the ceiling.
“It probably didn’t go well because you were an ass.”
“What’s the big deal? You have a beautiful woman who wants you home with her. God, I feel so bad for you.” He rolled his eyes.
“She told me that I’m two different people. Sometimes, I’m the Skull King. And sometimes, I’m Balto, the gentle lover. I realized that I couldn’t be both, that I never should have been both. So I left.”
“What does that mean?”
“It doesn’t mean anything. But when Lucian calls, I’m handing her over.”
Heath gave me a disappointed look but didn’t make an argument.
“Don’t try to change my mind.”
“I didn’t say anything.” He brought his glass to his lips and took a long drink. “Do whatever you want.” He watched Denise move around to the different tables, her nipple piercings catching his eyes. “Why don’t you call Lucian and make the offer, then? Speed up the process.”
“That gives him all the power. He needs to come to me.”
“Coming to him first does give you power. It makes it seem like Cassini doesn’t mean anything to you. If that’s the case, you really do have the upper hand. You took his wife, slept with her, and now that you’re finished with her, you’re ready to hand her back. You’ve made your mark.”
That wasn’t how I viewed her.
“No matter what you do, you have the upper hand. You know he wants her back if he sent those men to take her. You’ll be in the position to make all the demands. You’ll be able to get that diamond back along with his cooperation, easily. It’s amazing that you met Cassini by mistake, just randomly in a bar. Because she solved all your problems.”
When I spotted her in the bar, she stole my entire focus. With an elegant posture, beautiful eyes, and a tongue that could lick those olives so well, she was the kind of woman that gave me a hard-on the second I laid eyes on her. My only ambition at the time was getting a drink in my hand, but once I saw her, all I could think about was getting laid.
Then I fucked her—and wanted her again.
Our relationship wasn’t just hot because she was sneaking around behind her husband’s back. It was hot because she was such a good lover. She wanted me more than I wanted her. She made me feel like a god when I already knew I was a king. My dick stayed in my pants, and I became monogamous with a woman for the first time in my life—even though she was still sleeping with her husband.
But I wanted her so much that I didn’t care.
Now we stood on the precipice of the end. I would hand her over—and she would have a violent death. “Yes…she solved all my problems.”
It was five in the morning when I walked in the door.
Cassini wasn’t on the couch like I expected her to be. She stayed in the bedroom, probably her own bedroom because we left things so poorly.
I stepped inside and flicked on the lights, realizing how alone I was.
I shouldn’t have expected her to wait up for me, not after the way I’d treated her. Balto was dead, and the Skull King was there to stay. I never should have been so affectionate with her in the first place, not when it meant nothing. I gave her false hope about our relationship, made her expect things from me no one should ever expect. Getting rid of her was the best solution to my problem.
She’d been in my bed long enough anyway.
My phone vibrated in my pocket with a phone call. I pulled it out and checked the screen, surprised to see Lucian’s name.
This conversation was inevitable if he wanted Cassini back. I knew it was only a matter of time before he caved. He finally had the balls to contact me and concede the race.
I purposely let it ring a few times before I answered. I stood in front of the floor-to-ceiling window behind the dining table and looked out at the lights of the city. I knew exactly where his estate was located, so I stared in that direction as I took the call. “Couldn’t sleep?” I loved toying with this man because it was so easy. Lucian possessed book smarts, being able to build weapons through math and science. But he lacked street smarts, something I excelled in.