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Chapter dedicated to AsseiramHonorio. Thanks for reading and voting, my friend!

Chapter 49 – Brazilian Wax – Raine's POV

Adrenaline pounded hard through my veins as I hurried back to the main ballroom. I slipped through one of the side doors, my eyes scanning the crowd for Alaric. Suddenly, someone took hold of my elbow. I startled in surprise, and spun my body to face them.

"It's just me," Talia whispered quickly. She eyed me with concern.

I forced my rapid breathing to slow down. If I couldn't stay calm, Alaric would know something was wrong. I was actually thrilled to come across Talia before Alaric, because I knew she would tell me if any of Cage's scent remained on my body.

Her eyebrows were furrowed in concern, but she didn't look alarmed. I relaxed even further. Suddenly, Felaern joined us. He looked at Talia intently and purred, "Princess, pray tell, who is your lovely friend?"

I giggled. Felaern was quite popular among the women, and never lacked female attention. I was surprised that he did not already know Talia, given her extraordinary beauty. I made the introductions, "Felaern, this is Natalia. Natalia, please meet Felaern."

He stared up at her through his long eyelashes, as he kissed the back of her hand. His lips lingered for an extra moment against her flesh.  Talia blushed under the intensity of his stare and mumbled, "Please, call me Talia."

"Indeed, I shall," he agreed pleasantly, but his eyes were piercing as he continued to study her closely. I wondered what he was looking for. Of course, with Felaern, it could be anything. He continued, "Would you be so kind as to grant me the honor of a dance?"

She blushed again and replied, "Of course."

In the next moment, he pulled her into the dancing crowd and I was left standing alone. Once again, my eyes drifted, searching for Alaric. I found him making his way toward me, obviously having seen me as well. When he reached me, he murmured apologetically, "I'm sorry. I wanted to look for you sooner, but they kept me detained for much longer than was necessary."

I smiled in understanding, at his familiar look of frustration. In his own country, he had often shared his opinion that more than half of the High Council's interactions were frivolous and pointless, only meant so they could hear the sound of their own voices. I suspected Felix and Roman had made a similar impression on him.

I replied teasingly, "It's fine. I know how they like to talk."

He grimaced at the reminder, and then changed the subject when he asked casually, "Was that Talia with Felaern?" I could tell that his light tone was forced, and his eyes darkened when I confirmed.

"Yes. Why don't you like him?" I asked curiously.

A muscle in his jaw twitched and he replied, "I know you don't think so, but he is dangerous. His power is vast, and his cruelty is creative and unlimited."

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