Heath looked into his glass and shook the ice cubes around. “Sounds like you’ve made up your mind.”
“Then I’m happy for you.” He extended his hand to shake mine. “You couldn’t have found a better woman.”
I grasped his palm and shook his hand. “Yes…I couldn’t have found a better queen.”
It was almost eight in the evening when I arrived on his doorstep and knocked. He had an iron gate that sectioned off his property from the road, but breaking the chains with the bolt cutter wasn’t difficult.
I listened to the sounds of his footsteps as he approached.
Case looked through the peephole before he opened the door, a pistol hanging by his side. “Have you ever heard of a phone? I would have opened the gate for you.”
I shrugged. “This saves time.”
He rolled his eyes. “I hate you sometimes.”
“Most people hate me all the time.”
He stepped away from the door so I could come inside. He set his pistol on the entryway table and headed to his dining table.
I followed behind him and watched him pour two glasses of scotch.
“Say what you came here to say, and leave.” He slumped in the chair, barely looking at me as if he despised me. “I’m guessing this is personal because you know I don’t keep my cash here.”
“Yes, personal.” I fell into the chair across from him, the exact seat where I’d had dinner a few months ago.
Case drank from his glass and stared at me. “Get on with it.”
He despised me for hurting his sister, and since I couldn’t blame him for that, his insults meant nothing to me. He used to respect me for everything I did for her, but those feelings had been blown away by the wind. “I went to Cassini’s new apartment. Tried to work it out with her.”
“I can guess how that turned out since you’re here…”
“Good. You really hurt her, and I’m glad she’s not the kind of woman that forgives and forgets easily.”
“That makes two of us.” I liked her pride as well as her anger. She stood up for herself, and that was the sexiest thing in the world. “I deserve her coldness. I deserve her anger. But that will pass eventually.”
“Maybe.” He drank from his glass. “Maybe not.”
“She loves me. That’s all that matters.”
“But you don’t have the balls to say the same.”
Because I showed it every damn day. “I left the Skull Kings.”
Just when he’d lifted his glass from the table, he lowered it again. The gentle thump was loud in the quiet room.
“Heath has taken over.”
“And why did you do that?”
“Because I’m getting Cassini back. It might take some time, but she’s my woman. She loves me, and I love her. I suggest you tell your friend Chicken Boy to stop wasting his time. He’s just a rebound.”
Case stared me down with an excellent poker face. “Why are you telling me this? If you think I’ll talk to Cassini on your behalf, you’re wrong.”
“No. I can get her back on my own.”
“Then why are you here?”
“I know how Italian families are. Very traditional. You’re the oldest man in the family, so you’re the patriarch. Cassini doesn’t treat you like you’re just her brother, but as a father figure as well. So I’m here to ask you something.”
His olive skin slowly started to turn pale, like soured milk. His fingers released his glass, and he straightened in his chair as he sighed.
I reached into the pocket of my jeans and pulled out the ring. I held it up for a second before I set it in the middle of the table. A large diamond cut into a skull, it was one of the skull diamonds. It wasn’t the one Lucian had taken from me. I knew she wouldn’t want anything to do with that one.
Case stared at it, watching the diamond reflect the gentle lights from the ceiling. He lifted his gaze and looked at me.
I’d had the diamond set in a band that would fit her slender finger. She would return my necklace, and I would wear that ring once more, just on my left hand instead. “I know you don’t like me, but I want your blessing anyway.”
“You know I’ll take care of her. I already sacrificed my life for hers because you were so important to her. If it weren’t for me, she would still be Lucian’s prisoner this very moment. If it weren’t for me, Evan wouldn’t have paid the price for his treason. If it weren’t for me, Lucian would have gotten her back and killed her by now. I’ve done everything for that woman—everything. Yes, I fucked up over these last three months, but I’m back now. I’m not leaving this time.”
He stared at the ring for a while before he sighed. “You expect her to wear that big thing?”