Music: Boomerang by She is We

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Chapter 107 – Three Days – Raine's POV

"Take me to him, but once we arrive, Talon and I will go in alone," I instructed York. Tobias would also wait outside to keep an eye on York and his men. Even though Marku's Elite Guard was bound to me, I didn't have a history with them like I did Tobias. Their loyalty was yet to be tested and proven.

A look of concern tightened York's features. "Do you think that wise, my lady?  He will be angry that he was not forewarned of your presence.  We could protect you much better from inside the room."

I gritted my teeth. "He wants me all in one piece. He won't attack. But if he does, I can hold my own for the short time it would take you to breach the door."

The line in York's forehead remained and his jaw twitched, but he left his continued reservations unspoken. "Very well."

..........

We drifted through the hallways. The silence of our approach was profound, not a footstep could be heard or even a breath stolen as York led us in the direction of the council room. Marku's estate had sleek lines and elegant architecture. But even in the midst of all of the clean lines, there was no mistaking the opulence found in the marble floors, plush furniture and crystal lighting.  The contemporary aesthetic was surprising, although I wasn't sure why, or what I had expected. I didn't know anything about the man, and had no desire to sit down and chat with him about his taste in home furnishings.

York glanced over his shoulder, catching my gaze, and then purposefully pointed his attention toward two massive double doors at the end of the hallway. I nodded. There was no stopping now, no time to make another plan. Marku was only steps away!

But I was ready.

I could still feel the remnant hum of power radiating through my limbs, although it had calmed some, and I suspected my eyes no longer glowed. I wasn't foolish enough to believe I could beat Marku in a one-on-one fight, he had more than a thousand years of experience on me, but I was not a helpless human anymore.  And I had a considerable force of man power at my disposal, Marku's own Elite Guard.

Adrenaline pumped through my body at an all-time high as the distance from the door whittled down. Fifteen feet. Ten feet.  I hadn't seen Marku since our interlude at the hotel. The memory of what that bastard put me through  caused fire to blaze through my veins, and my step to quicken. Four feet. Two feet.  Well, he was going to see that I wasn't the same helpless girl anymore.

And then the remaining distance was gone all together. I squared my shoulders and lifted my chin as I pushed the doors opened and brazenly walked through with Talon by my side. The room was large, twice the size of Armand's. In one half of the space, there were groups of seating, comfortable looking couches and chairs, as well as a grand mahogany table occupying most of the side wall. It had to seat at least twenty.

The other half of the room consisted of a large open floor plan, and steps leading up to a platform with two ridiculously big chairs. The chairs were missing the traditional garish styling of thrones, there was no gold or brightly colored velvet seating. Instead these were contemporary,  exotic dark wood carved by skilled craftsmen and the softest of leather cushioning, stitched and  pleated. But there was no mistaking their importance and position of authority.

The instant we breached the entrance, my eyes zeroed in on Marku. For the briefest of seconds, he remained reclined in one of the over-sized chairs, his arm slung over the armrest, typing on an IPad.  He held a leash in his other hand...attached to the collar of a woman kneeling next to him on the floor...Queen Ileana! At least I wouldn't have to force him to tell me where he was keeping her.  Thankfully, she was clothed, but it was clear she was in pain. I wasn't sure if her distress was all due to her link and distance from Armand or if Marku had added his own special brand of torture. Somehow, I feared the latter.

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