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Chapter 63 –Goodbyes– Raine's POV

Once Ivy and Talon left, I headed toward the door. Alaric stopped me, "Wait, we cannot return until I hear from Micage."

I looked at him in surprise.

He explained pointedly, "Your actions riled up Marku to the point of needing release. Since he cannot have you, he demanded two pets be brought to him during the intermission. Cage agreed to stay, so that he could let us know when it was safe to return."

"Oh," I breathed as I understood. From Alaric's words, it was clear that Marku was publicly engaging in sex, rather than taking the pets to a private room. I shuddered in revulsion, thankful that I didn't have to witness his disgusting behavior.

Abruptly, the door open and Cage walked into the room.

My heart beat faster as I stared at him.

He looked at Alaric and said, "The show is over. However, now they are cleaning the table before we resume."

Cleaning the table? Then it made sense. I wrinkled my nose in distaste and let out a sickened, "Ewwww."

Cage chuckled at my expression and assured me, "Don't worry. They didn't get close to where you are seated."

I exhaled in relief.

Cage raised an eyebrow at me and teased, his voice low with approval, "Thesis paper, huh?"

I giggled, "He needed to believe I was totally incompetent in business."

"You have no idea how hard it was for me not to laugh," Cage grinned.

Alaric interrupted wryly, "Well at least you knew the truth. She had me in a full-blown panic."

I smiled sheepishly, "Sorry about that. If I could have told you what I was doing, I would have. If it makes you feel any better, your anger helped convince him. I think my favorite part was when you forbade me to continue," I snickered, unable to stop myself from teasing him.

He laughed and said chagrined, "Fuck, I was seconds away from forcibly removing you from the meeting until your common sense returned. It wasn't until shortly after that asinine 'thesis paper' comment, that I realized he wasn't fighting you on it." Alaric nodded in Cage's direction. "And then I understood what you were doing. I feel honored to have assisted you in swindling Marku out of $500K and his newly acquired pet."

Cage held my gaze and his voice lowered as he purred, "You were fucking brilliant."

I blushed at the pride I could hear in his words.

"Let's go. They should be ready now," Cage murmured.

Alaric and I followed him through the door.

..........

Thankfully there were only two more hours until the meeting was officially over. Alaric stayed by my side as we wrapped up our final goodbyes.

I instructed Echo to continue running the country I now owned, which was still a completely foreign concept to me. At his pleading, I agreed to visit in a few months once everything was settled. And he promised to pay me back the $500K that I had transferred to Marku, within the original six-month deadline.

Hayden found me next. He embraced me and whispered in my ear, "You already own a country. It sounds as though the prophecy has begun..."

I was a little surprised that he wasn't worried I would turn against him. Particularly now that I owned a country of vampires. But as I thought about his words, it did make me wonder if there was some validity to the prophecy after all. I wasn't sure if I liked that idea or whether it scared the shit out of me.

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