We walk into the building and pass the security guard. They simply give us a slight nod, knowing exactly who we are. I had my men pre-check everything and announce our arrival.
“This place is gorgeous,” Elena whispers, her green eyes dazzling with bliss. “Look at the huge Christmas tree and all the decorations, Julian.” She ends the sentence with a soft squeal, and I can’t help but smile. Often, I try not to show any emotion toward her, especially out in public. I don’t want others to know how important she is to me, but I think it’s obvious by now.
My eyes move through the crowd, over the tables on the left side of the room, and then the bar area, which is also brimming with people. My fear spikes, threatening to overtake me when I spot two of my enemies sitting together at the bar. My entire body clamps up, my muscles tighten, and I want so badly to toss Elena over my shoulder and walk out of here.
Matters aren’t helped when it seems like everyone is staring at us.
Elena’s dress is eye-catching, and her deep neckline is drawing male attention.
It’s making me insane with jealousy and worry.
“Hey, you okay?” Elena asks, stopping dead in her tracks beside me when she realizes I’m no longer walking.
Like a lunatic, my eyes dart around the room, seeking out my next target.
This is what fear feels like, being in a room with your enemies and knowing that anything could happen. I open my mouth to speak, but it feels like my tongue is fifty pounds.
What if my biggest fears are brought to life tonight?
What if someone takes her? What if having all this attention ends up being the reason something bad happens.
“Julian, everything is going to be okay.” Elena once again tries to reassure me, but she doesn’t understand. Her knowledge of this world is merely the tip of the iceberg, and I want to keep it that way, keep her hidden in the shadows for the rest of her life.
“I don’t know about that. If I see one more person staring at you or even look your way, I’m going to murder someone,” I grit out through my teeth.
I want to roll my eyes at Julian. He is being unreasonable and paranoid, like always. I wore this dress for him, only him. I couldn’t care less if a hundred other eyes are on me, I only care about him.
My outfit is not even that revealing. Looking around the room, I see more than half of the women here showing more skin than me.
My mind briefly flashes to the time Julian took me to that godforsaken auction. I had been almost naked then. I shudder thinking about that time. We weren’t always as happy as we are now, and the first few weeks I spent with him, I’d much rather forget altogether.
I used to be scared of my husband, terrified, actually. Now, I’m only terrified of losing him.
“You’re in a bad mood,” I say softly, leaning in.
“I’d feel better after killing a few people in here,” he growls, glaring at every person that dares to look our way.
I almost roll my eyes at him again. “That’s not very Christmas-like of you.”
“You didn’t expect me to be jolly, did you?” Julian grunts in response. It would never cross my mind to use the word jolly to describe Julian. Brooding, dangerous, and unreasonable are much more likely.
“No, maybe not that far, but I did think you might have a little bit of fun. You do know that word, right?”
Julian snorts. “My kind of fun and your kind of fun look very different. What’s important is that you enjoy yourself.”
“Oh, Julian,” a female voice suddenly interrupts. I look up to see a beautiful blond woman wearing a bright-red dress approaching us. She is tall, much taller than me. Her long slender legs peeking out from a slit up her thigh with each step she takes.
Her lips are painted the same canary red as her dress, and her bright-blue eyes are framed by thick midnight-black fake lash extensions.
“Chelsey,” Julian greets the women sternly. She takes the hand Julian is holding out, but then leans in and kisses him on his cheek, shocking us both. Julian actually pushes her away slightly, looking equally pissed and annoyed.
Unfortunately, this Chelsey person does not take the hint. Instead of taking a hike, she keeps going on and on about how she hasn’t seen Julian in forever and that they should have dinner to catch up soon.
“Chelsey, have you met my wife, Elena?” Julian interrupts her rambling.
“Oh, I don’t think I have. Is this her?” she asks, pronouncing it like she is surprised by his choice. I have the urge to grab a handful of her blond curls and rip it from her scalp. “She is so short.” She giggles.