I level my gaze.
“No, see, he knows that I have you. And right about now, he’s waiting for me to give him something to use—something to help him find you. If what I’ve heard is true—about how he’s taken you out in public, and that you are, in fact, a Nicotera—he will be ready to come for you as soon as he gets whatever information he needs.” She scans me with her eyes. “You look just like one, too. A Nicotera. The women always look so . . . fierce.”
She stands up and blows a breath, as if she’s bored. “We have a few hours of alone time. How about we change your clothes and have some dinner? I’ve had a long day, and I’m famished.”
I remain seated. “Dinner? Why, so you can poison me?”
“I have no reason to poison you. Honey, I really don’t even want you here. But I have to have you here to get to him. Don’t be so full of yourself.” She waves a hand, looking at the gold watch on her wrist. “Come. I don’t like my men manhandling women, but if it comes down to that, I make them. So it’s either you walk with me like a good girl, or I have them drag you around like a ragdoll.” Her arms fold and I see her guards square their shoulders through the corner of my eye. “Your choice.”
With a small grimace, I push up to a stand. Her eyes light up, like she’s truly delighted that I will be tagging along with her. Like this is some kind of girls’ night out.
“Smart choice.” She points a finger at me. “And I have the perfect outfit for you!” she says in a singsong voice, twirling around and gesturing for me to follow.
I look at the guards, how they glare at me, but follow her lead. I notice there is a pistol with a cheetah print handle tucked in the back of her belt. She’s no fool. She wants me to see it.
I don’t know what game she’s playing, but I don’t like it. Is this what she did to Thiago? Played friends and let him go? Or is she just doing this so that when Draco comes, he’ll question why she was so lenient with me—why she hasn’t killed me yet? Make him even more paranoid. I realize that’s probably what she does best. She knows him all too well, and I need to know how.
“You have great hair, you know that? So much volume.” Yessica brushes it into loose waves. I remain perfectly still in front of the vanity, the gold lights shining on us. She’s standing behind me, her guards at the door.
We’re in a bedroom, and of course, there is cheetah print everywhere, though it’s accented with red. I’m finding it unbelievably difficult not to grab the gun she placed right in front of me.
She taunts. It’s her thing. She did it on purpose. She’s trying to put me to the test. I was taught better than that.
She’s had me change into a champagne blouse and a pair of jeans that fit pretty well. We are about the same size, though I’d say I’m a little fuller in the hips and she’s more top heavy.
“You’ll be with me all night, sweet girl. Playing this quiet game won’t be any fun for you.” She steps from behind me, sitting on an empty space at the edge of the vanity. “Don’t you have any questions for me? Like how I know so much about your master?”
“He’s not my master,” I mutter.
“No?” She smiles. “Then what do you consider him?”
I hold her gaze. “My equal.”
“Oh, your equal?” She seems fascinated by that, and a little tickled. She pushes to a stand, picking up a makeup sponge and dabbing it on my cheek. I wince, not from the move she makes, but from the sting. There are several cuts on my face from the thorns. My palms and even my arms are scraped and scratched up as well.
“The explosions really did a number on you,” she sighs. “Sucks it got so out of hand.”
“Why do you want him so badly?” I finally ask when she draws back.
She grabs my elbow, forcing me to a stand.
“He has things I want. Important things. Let’s go.” She picks up her handgun and spins around, tucking it into her waistband again and sauntering out of the bedroom.
I follow her down the hallway, the guards trailing us, and when she takes a left, we’re entering a dining room. This isn’t the dining room we passed when I first got here. This one is much smaller. A four-top table already set up, a bright, diamond-like chandelier hanging above it. I’m so glad there isn’t any cheetah print in here. Only leather and oak.