For Princess Veracity, it was love at first sight. Unfortunately, Dark has never given her any indication that he returns her affection. Even more unfortunately, she's betrothed to marry a man she's quickly growing to hate. She doesn't want to disappoint her parents, but there's a reason she's known to be the rebellious daughter. If she gets her way, her wedding day will feature an entirely different groom.
They call him a monster, an abomination. When he smiles, people run. Dark has wanted Veracity since the moment he laid eyes on her, but there are too many reasons why they can't be together. She deserves better. Because the rumors are true. He is a monster. And he's only growing stronger.
“You called, Veracity.”
She whirled around in time to see Dark materialize from shadows in a far corner of her bedroom. She grabbed her chest. “You couldn’t appear in front of me?”
He arched one dark eyebrow. “You called me. Why are you surprised?” Her gaze flickered over him, and she bit back a lustful sigh. Dressed in all black, he was as tall as Gaedrian. He wasn’t as broad, but he’d filled out since she’d first seen him three years ago. His shoulders were wider. His arms and legs rippled with muscles as he moved closer and then leaned casually against a bedpost.
She was as mesmerized by his beauty as she was the first time they met. When his second brow rose to meet the other, she realized she was staring and she hadn’t answered his question. “I’ve never … um … summoned you. I didn’t know if you’d come.”
He always responded to Whimsy’s calls, but then, she was his queen.
“Why wouldn’t I?”
“You’re under no obligation to come when I call.” She took a step toward him on legs that trembled. She’d never been alone with him. She’d never been alone with any man other than her father.
“I will come when you call,” he replied simply.
She nodded. “Thank you. Um, why weren’t you there when we landed?”
His silver eyes bored into her. “People tend to be terrified of me.” He tilted his head. “But you’re not.”
“My sister isn’t afraid of you.”
“But now you’re friends.”
He nodded. “Still, it’s not exactly wise to invite me into your bedroom. Alone.”
“You wouldn’t hurt me.”
His gaze dropped to her chest where the bodice of her dress clung to her generous curves. She felt his gaze like a physical touch as it flowed down her waist, over her hips, and back up again. He’d never given her the impression he was interested in her in any way. His treatment of her had always been polite but distant. He probably hardly thought of her existence at all.
Her feelings for him were far more complicated. From the beginning, she’d been struck by his beauty. She admitted to having a girlish crush without knowing a single detail about him. But as the time passed and she did get to know him better, the crush didn’t fade. Instead, she feared it had bloomed into something more. She admired his kindness, his loyalty, and his strength of character.
Veracity had been careful to hide her continued feelings for Dark. She’d been silly at seventeen, mooning over him. Many boring lectures from her mother later, she’d learned never to mention his name or to show any interest in him around her parents.
“Veracity, your colony values chastity. I do not.”
She lifted her chin. She knew he wasn’t a virgin. She didn’t like it, but she had no claim to him. “Are you trying to scare me off?”
“Do I need to scare you off?”
She bit her lip and took another step, this one placing her within touching distance. She would never think to approach him without some encouragement. Until a moment ago, there had been none. He’d always been friendly but … distant. “You know that I … admire you, don’t you?” He had to know. Whimsy said that he could read minds.
He nodded. He caught her hand in his when she reached out to him. His thumb caressed her palm, sending a flood of warmth to her belly and below.