Page 13 of Defiant Princess

She wasn’t kidding. I strolled toward him, tossing my knife end over end in a catch and release. From the corner of my eye, movement tried to shift my attention, but I had a message to deliver, loudly so that those in the back were sure to hear it too. “Consider yourself lucky. If you come within an inch of touching her, she’ll gut you like the pig you are then dance in your blood.” I flicked my hair over a shoulder. “Know who you’re messing with.”

Zion hefted the guy over his big shoulders then proceeded to take out the trash. I followed as a sea of drunken college students parted for him. I glanced back at Lil and Emiliana, whose faces mirrored my amusement at the situation. Emiliana’s dark eyes widened, and I whipped around to see what she was looking at. A tall, broad man with blond hair and arctic eyes met mine, and a chill skated over my skin—Ivan.

I frantically searched the crowd until I spotted Marissa arguing in a back corner with Tony. It was bad. We needed to get out of here. And even worse, Ivan was close to Marissa, and I had a horrible feeling that he was the guy she’d been next to earlier.

I scanned the area for easy exits. Zion must have been on his way back because dancers were shifting out of the way, but it also created space for Ivan. The music cranked up another notch. I grabbed Dane’s shirt and pulled him down so his face aligned with mine. “We gotta go. Appreciate the dance.” I winked, not willing to give anything away. It wasn’t the time or place.

“Anytime, Princess.”

I rolled my eyes then clasped onto Emiliana’s hand, motioning toward Marissa. Lil shouted as I took a step away, and I paused. She swayed with her phone in hand.

“Marissa texted that she left.”

“What the fuck?” Not good. I searched for her again, and alarm spread as I realized I’d lost sight of Marissa, Tony, and Ivan.

“I’m texting Stefano!” Emiliana shouted over the noise.

“Do you see him anywhere?” My fingers dug into Lil’s arm, my panic too close to the surface.

“Who?” Lil tried to yank her arm away.

I had a tight grip, and I pulled her closer. “Ivan. He was here.”

She shook her head and then scanned the crowd with me. “I don’t think so. But Tony was here. I’m sure Marissa left with him.”

My gaze locked with Emiliana’s wary one, and I knew with every fiber of my being that it would not end well.



The rich aroma of coffee trickled into my room and eased me into consciousness. I stretched my arms overhead before flinging the covers back and sliding out of bed. I didn’t have class and couldn’t help the grin from pulling my mouth wide. The rumble of my stomach dictated my actions as I went into the hall and pounded on Sofia’s closed door. When I knocked on Marissa’s, no sound came from within her room, so I moved on to Emiliana’s, which was open. When I peered inside, I found it empty.

On my way to the landing, I slapped my palm against Sofia’s door again. “Get up, Sof. Let’s go out to brunch.”

My hair was a rat’s nest, and I still wore my tank top and pajama pants. I would change later. What I needed to make sure of was that no one was eating yet. We had to take advantage of every moment before going home for winter break.

I found Emiliana on the landing with a mug of coffee in hand and her long dark hair falling in a damp curtain around her shoulders. She’d managed to get a shower in and put on clothes.

“Eva showed up last night after you passed out in your room. She crashed on the couch.”

“Why didn’t she take one of the extra rooms?” I massaged my temples, wishing it would ease the ache in my head.

“She was wrecked and didn’t want to go home with her date. So she had him drop her off here.”

I snorted. That was unusual, but whatever. She could come eat with us. A muffled snore carried up the stairs, and I peered over the banister to see Eva sprawled across the leather couch, her hair a tangled mess around her head. “Let’s all go to brunch. Then we’ll figure out what else we want to do today. Gun range or shopping, maybe?”

A slow grin pulled at Emiliana’s lips. “You know what my answer will be.”

I laughed. Gun range was a no-brainer. “I’m good with that.”

“Is everyone else sleeping?” She glanced at the time on her phone. “And my brother texted. He’s on his way.”

“Which probably means Stefano or Sofia’s brothers will come. Maybe even Tony.” I frowned. “That’s gonna suck. We’ll have to deal with him a lot more to hang out with Marissa. At least she texted us again last night that she was fine and heading back to her room.”


Emiliana didn’t seem any happier than I was about Marissa’s looming marriage. “We don’t have much choice with Tony if we want to see Marissa.”

Tags: Amy McKinley Romance
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