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I leaned my head on his chest again.

“We belong together, Casey. I know we haven’t known each other long, but that doesn’t matter. And come on, we’re like two peas in a pod.”

I lifted my head slightly. “Because we’re both lost and confused in this Pteron world?”

He ran a hand through my hair. “Exactly. Luckily, we have each other now.”

The tears started again.

“Please find a way to forgive yourself. That’s the one thing I can’t do for you, and you have to know I’d do anything for you.”

“What’s going to happen to us? Can we really be together long term?”

“Why can’t we? The only thing we have to focus on now is finding Vera and getting rid of the Murphy threat. After that, we don’t owe anything to anyone.”

“I don’t want this moment to end.”

“It doesn’t have to yet.” Toby lay back, pulling me with him.

“I’m glad.” We just lay there naked, watching the stars and listening to the waterfall. I rested my head on his chest, and his arms wrapped around me. I now had a new happy place, and it wasn’t the waterfall. It was being in Toby’s arms.

Chapter Twenty-Seven


“Are you sure you’re ready for this?” I nudged Levi as we sat at the hotel bar the night before his wedding.

“I’ve been ready for months.” He sipped his Jack and Coke.

Owen laughed. “Jared’s probably just happy that you’re officially off the market.”

“I’ve been off the market for a long time.”

I shook my head. “I don’t know what happened to you, man.”

Levi turned on his stool to look at me. “I met my match. That’s what happened.”

I groaned. “You’re so far gone.”

“You’ll meet someone eventually.” There was an unusually serious note to his voice. Maybe he was feeling bad for me about the mess with Casey.

I didn’t need his sympathy. I had other things to worry about. “I should probably check in with all the sentries.”

“See, that’s why I’m not worried about security. You worry enough for all of us.”

“It’s my job.” Contrary to some of my recent behavior, I did take my job seriously. I wasn’t going to let anything happen to the royal family or The Society.

“And that’s why I gave it to you.” Levi nodded before turning back to his drink. “Can’t it just be tomorrow already?”

“You need help.” I punched his arm. “I’ll see you later.” I headed outside. I didn’t want to make my calls in front of Levi. It would just make him nervous.

Ten minutes later, I’d checked in with everyone. Everything checked out, but that did nothing to get rid of the pit in my stomach. Something bad was coming. I just didn’t know when it would strike.

Chapter Twenty-Eight


I’ve never been the sentimental sort. Weddings don’t usually make me cry. I wasn’t the type of girl to daydream about white dresses and roses and all that, but there was something about Allie and Levi’s wedding that simultaneously filled me with joy and broke my heart. Watching a love that strong is potent. It reminded me that no matter how good things felt with Toby, we’d probably never have that kind of happy ending.

We helped Allie get dressed first, and it wasn’t just her mother who cried when she turned around to show us how she looked.

“Wow. She looks beautiful.” Hailey watched Allie with an awe struck expression. Their friendship was a deep one. On top of my jealousy over Allie’s relationship with Levi, I felt the same way about her relationship with Hailey. The only person I’d ever had a truly close relationship with was my sister, and she’d been missing for years. To make matters worse, she may have left me intentionally. I sighed. I needed to stop the train of negative thoughts. This was Allie’s day. As soon as it was over we could go after Vera.

I belatedly responded to Hailey. “She is absolutely stunning.” With her wavy hair cascading down her back, Allie looked like she’d just walked off a runway. A ruby red sash tied around her waist stood out against the rich ivory satin of her dress. Stunning was an understatement.

“Are you okay?” Evidently, Hailey had noticed my pause. People worrying about me was starting to become a pattern.

“Yeah. Sorry.”

“Is it because she’s marrying your brother? Does it seem weird?”

“No. I mean, I didn’t even know he was my brother until a few weeks ago.”

“That’s what I mean. You just met him and now he’s marrying your boyfriend’s ex. It has to be a lot to take in.”

I couldn’t help but smile when she referred to Toby as my boyfriend. I liked to think of him that way. “Just a typical month in the life of a nineteen-year-old, right?”

Hailey laughed. “Because we all know how typical you are.”

I laughed too. “Yeah. About as typical as you are.”

“If it makes you feel any better, I’m emotional too.” Her face didn’t show any sign of tears, but there was still emotion behind her eyes.

“She’s lucky to have you.” I spoke the truth. Hailey was fiercely protective and dedicated to Allie, and that was something Allie would need in her position.

“I know.”

I laughed again. “You ready for this?”

“Maid of honor? Sure. It’s nothing compared to the Lady in Waiting duties.”

“I bet.”

“By the way, you get one now too.”

“What?” I asked with confusion.

“You’re a princess. You get a Lady in Waiting.”

“No, thanks. I’d take a friend though.”

“Well, you’ve got several of those now.”

“That you do.” Tiffany looped her arm through mine. She had her blonde hair pulled into an updo with ringlets falling around her face. I’d opted to go simple and only pulled some hair back and put in a pink flower.

I smiled. “Thanks. Should we get dressed?”

Hailey nodded. “Yes. Let’s give Allie some time alone with her mom.”

I nodded. “Good idea.”

I pulled my red sleeveless dress on. It fit perfectly. All the bridesmaids wore a slightly different style dress, but they were all the same color. The ruby red dresses matched the ruby sash Allie wore.

“Is everyone ready for pictures?” Helen, Levi’s mother, called from the doorway. My heart nearly stopped. Seeing Helen was tough to handle. My existence had to hurt her.