That was all Cassandra could think of as she allowed herself to get swallowed up by the fellow urchins who had crowded around to see the King. Standing still, she felt her heart pound with frightening intensity. The buzz of the people around her seemed distant; all she could think of were those eyes...those clear, violet eyes...
From behind, someone jarred into Cassandra. Trying to regather control of herself, Cassandra stumbled back and glanced to see who had run into her.
Lightning of a different kind struck Cassandra, and she looked away, unable to hide the red blush that was spreading across her face. Heat filled her skin at the memories of Hadrian and his enticing evilness...no, her most frequent customer had not been forgotten.
"How's my little turnip?" Hadrian murmured in Cassandra's ear, using the nickname he'd bestowed upon her because of her accursed blushing.
Hating herself for not hating Hadrian, Cassandra ran a hand over her face, appalled at how heated her skin had already become. "Where have you been?" she asked, lifting her eyes to meet Hadrian's.
Hadrian's cold blue eyes pierced Cassandra's soul. He grabbed Cassandra's wrist and pressed his lips roughly against it. "I've missed you," he whispered sensually, dodging Cassandra's question.
"I've missed you, too." You abuse me, you only love me for my body, and yet I've missed you like an orphan misses her mother.
"Have you seen other men?"
Cassandra tried to withdraw her hand, but Hadrian only held it more tightly. "Hadrian, you know I have to," she whimpered, and at those words, Hadrian's grip on her wrist became so tight that Cassandra gasped.
"Did I hurt you?" Hadrian asked, releasing Cassandra's hand. "I'm so sorry, lover. I'm just sad for you. One day, I swear, I'll take you away from this."
Cassandra closed her eyes and let Hadrian trace her lips, her jaw, her collarbone. "I'm waiting for you to take me away," she replied. "I'm ready to escape this."
Hadrian's fingertip left Cassandra's skin, and when Cassandra opened her eyes, she saw that she'd been left alone.