Lucian tugged her close. You haven’t seen anything yet.
Lucian finally, thank God, stopped staring at her and looked toward his brother. Did you think I’d let you hire someone without me checking them out?His brother’s lips thinned as he murmured, Foolish of me.
Julia sucked in a sharp breath as the reality of what was going on slammed into her with the force of a freight train. Lucian had searched her out to check her out, and not in the fun, flirty way. He’d known who she was, that she’d been hired to care for someone, if that was why she was actually here, and he chased her down in a bar, and he . . .Julia would never spread her horny wings and let herself fly again.Was last night some kind of test? To vet her ethically and morally, because if that was the case, she’d failed stunningly. But what the hell did that say about Lucian, for him to do something like this? None of that really mattered. Julia felt overexposed and set up, like she’d walked into some kind of twisted trap.
Excuse me, she gritted out, because that was all she trusted herself to say. Spine going rigid, she stood and snatched up her purse. Without waiting for either of them to say a word, she walked out of the room without one look back.Lucian rose swiftly, already halfway across the room by the time Dev stood and demanded, Is this going to be another mess I’m going to have to clean up?
That was the wrong thing to say.
Twisting around, Lucian faced off with his brother. Exactly what messes have you had to clean up, Dev? Because if I think back, it wasn’t you cleaning up the biggest messes, now was it?Stop acting like a child, Ren demanded. Stand up straight. Fight. His words reminded Ōkami of Mariko and her countless admonishments. She wanted him to be more. They all wanted Ōkami to be more.
Ōkami let his head loll again, his eyes drifting closed.Why did they not realize their words fell on deaf ears? What would it take for them to understand he was not worth such faith? Ōkami wished he could return to his cell. Wished he could continue receiving the blows he’d deserved for a decade. He flinched as he recalled a particularly vicious kick to the head that had sent stars across his vision.
Even his father’s sword had gleamed with promise when Ōkami had drawn near. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, that ridiculous blade believed in him, if the lore were to be held as true. It was supposed to recognize the pure heart of a warrior. There was nothing pure about Ōkami, even if the blood of Takeda Shingen flowed through his veins. Ōkami did not want the responsibility. What had his father’s pure heart earned him in the end?A chance to die in front of his only son.