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The Skull Ruler (Skull 3) Penelope Sky 2022/8/5 16:54:59

It was just masculine testosterone that got out of hand. He still considered me to be his woman even though he hadn’t wanted me for the last three months.

But nothing was different. I wanted him to be with me because he wanted me, because he missed me, not because he was jealous of another man. Not because he felt obligated because of the baby growing inside me.

I wanted all of him—or nothing at all.

He answered right away, like he’d been waiting by the phone. “Are you alright, Cassini?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. We had a shouting match at the restaurant then I walked away. I’m really sorry he pushed you. I haven’t spoken to him in two months. He found out I had a date and freaked out.”

“Yeah, I noticed,” he said with a chuckle.

“I just don’t want you to think I’m in contact with him because I’m not.”

“No, I understand. I don’t blame him for being upset. I would be jealous too.”

This man was so calm, so chill. Anyone else would be throwing me aside.

“But he didn’t seem to know you were pregnant…”

“Yeah…because I didn’t tell him.”

“Well, no wonder he was pissed,” he said with a chuckle. “Why didn’t you tell him?”

“I didn’t want him to be with me out of obligation. I wanted him to be with me because he wanted to be with me. He told me he never wants kids and marriage, so I don’t want him to be with us if he doesn’t really want to be there.”

“So I told him it belonged to someone else. That should chase him off…”

Alessandro was quiet for a while. “So you still love him, but he won’t commit?”

“Basically…” I didn’t want to lie to Alessandro, not when he’d been so good to me. He deserved my honesty. “I know you don’t want to hear that, but it’s the truth. He and I have been through a lot together. Right when I thought we would be together forever, he dumped me. It’s more complicated than that, but that’s the short version of the story.”

“If that guy stormed your date like that, it’s obvious he loves you too.”

It would only be obvious when he actually said it to me. “But love isn’t enough for him.”

“What’s holding him back?”

It was a long and complicated story, one I probably shouldn’t share. “He just wants different things from life. I’ll leave it at that.”

“Alright,” he said with a chuckle. “So, should we try to have a first date again? Maybe in secret so he doesn’t find out?”

Both of my eyebrows rose. “You want to see me again?” I asked incredulously. “After my psycho ex pushed you like that? After he scared away all the customers at the restaurant?”

“Why wouldn’t I? Maybe one day that’ll be a funny story.”

I couldn’t believe this man. “I’m surprised…”

“You shouldn’t be. So, how about the same time, same place? I’m free on Saturday.”

I’d hoped Balto would ruin my date because he wanted to admit he loved me, that he would ask me to be with him, but he’d done no such thing. All he did was ruin my evening because he was selfish. I didn’t owe him anything. I didn’t even owe him the truth about his baby. “Saturday works.”

“So Balto crashed your date?” Case looked up from the cutting board in the kitchen. He sliced some fennel and prepared the pancetta.

“Alessandro told you about it?”

“He said he was attacked by a wild bear.”

I rolled my eyes. “It was so bad…”

“That guy is a piece of shit.” He sliced the bulb of the fennel then added it to the pan with the shrimp and tomato sauce. “Has a lot of nerve. And he didn’t even try to get you back. That’s just…” He shook his head. “There are no words.”

“It definitely wasn’t his finest moment. He used to protect me, risk his life for mine, and now, he’s a jealous coward.”

Case kept working on the food. “Are you alright?”

“I’m fine. I’m surprised Alessandro wants to see me again.”

“He’s been obsessed with you for years. He’s not going to let a baby and crazy ex get in his way.”

I smiled. “Sounds like he won’t let anything get in his way.”

“Probably not. So, do you think Balto will leave you alone now?”

I stared at the dish he was working on, remembering the way Balto’s eyes had looked when he realized I was pregnant. The vein in his forehead was about to burst from the rage. So much emotion was in his gaze, and he even pushed an innocent man to the ground. Seeing me with someone else made him irrational, so irrational he couldn’t think straight. But that still wasn’t enough for him to realize we should be together. Now that he thought I was having Lucian’s child, he would probably want nothing to do with me. “I don’t think I’ll hear from him ever again.”