~ Prague ~
Vitki knew Ivo had questions, reservations, and he wished he could answer them all. He just couldn't. That wasn't his place. The urge to wrap his fingers around Max's throat was riding him hard. It was too bad the man was already dead.
All of this should have been explained to Ivo before he even left the United States. The council should have sent an envoy at the very least. Ivo was walking into this blind, and from what Vitki had been able to put together, the man had no idea their world even existed.
Vitki pulled Ivo to a stop when Yuval hurried up to them. "Report."
"The way ahead is blocked."
Vitki raised an eyebrow. "Blocked?"
"I spotted at least three shooters in the trees surrounding the gate."
"More shooters?" Ivo turned when Vitki nodded, heading back the way they'd come.
"Where are you going?" Vitki asked.
Ivo paused and turned, a scowl on his handsome face. "I've had it with all this danger crap. If this is what being rich is like, Max can keep his damn money."
Ivo started to walk again. Vitki growled and went after the man. "You came here to bury Max, remember?"
"You said he's already here. My job is done. See you around, Vitki," Ivo said without looking back at him.
"He's really going?" Yuval asked. "But it's dangerous."
"Him, I like," Miro said with a snicker.
Vitki gave a growl as he hurried after Ivo. "You can't go into the forest alone, Ivo. I already told you it is dangerous."
"And so is being around you guys. I'll take my chances with bears and lions, or even a deer at this point."
Vitki reacted out of instinct when he heard the crack of a rifle. He slammed into Ivo, taking the man down. He pressed his chest into Ivo's back as Yuval and Miro returned fire.
So much for sneaking Ivo into the estate.
* * * *
"This is exactly what I'm talking about!" Ivo yelled from beneath Vitki, his terror tangible. "Get the hell off of me so I can get out of here."
"Standing will only make you a target." Vitki's words were spoken so close to Ivo's ear that a shiver raced through him. As dire as the situation was, Ivo couldn’t help but squirm under Vitki's weight. When was the last time he'd had a lover? It was sad that Ivo had to really think about it and even sadder when he couldn’t remember.
Vitki's scent filled Ivo's lungs. It was warm, masculine, and made Ivo's cock hard. He squirmed again. He just wasn't sure if it was to get away or get closer.
"Lie still," Vitki growled into his ear, but Ivo detected the note of need in his voice.
The attraction was mutual and why on earth was Ivo thinking about this right now? There were snipers in the tree who were probably aiming their scopes at him at this very moment. Ivo should be worried about dying, not getting laid.
"Then get off of me." He bucked, but Vitki didn't move an inch. The only thing Ivo managed to do was rub his butt against Vitki's cock.
Which had grown hard.
Ivo struggled to turn over so he could push Vitki off of him. As he spun, their lips brushed. Vitki leaped off Ivo so fast that, for a second, Ivo thought the man had been shot. He stared down at Ivo with a shocked expression.
"Now you're a target," Ivo said.
"That is my job." Vitki jabbed a finger at Ivo. "Stay down."
Ivo watched Vitki walk away, and damn if the sight of Vitki's backside wasn't enjoyable. But now Ivo was confused. He knew he had felt the intense attraction between them. So why did Vitki act like his lips had touched a rattlesnake's?
"Come." Miro moved toward Ivo. "We take secret way."
"There's a secret way?" Ivo got up, ready to scream his fool head off. "Then why didn’t we take that way to begin with?"
Miro grinned. "Is secret."
Ivo would learn to shut his mouth. Ten minutes later he learned why. He still couldn’t believe he had let Vitki talk him into entering the sewer system. Things Ivo would rather not think about grew along the walls. Rats scurried past his feet. And the smell? Ivo had to concentrate not to vomit.
The tunnels twisted and turned in every direction. If Ivo had to use this way to get out of the estate, he would be utterly screwed. There was no way he would remember the way back to the forest. He kept close to Vitki. Not only did the tunnels creep Ivo out, but so did the shadows.
He kept expecting a shooter to jump out at any second and nail him with a bullet to the head.
Vitki led the way. Yuval and Miro were behind Ivo. At one point they had to walk through murky, stinking water. Ivo would have to shower with a scouring pad by the time they made it to the estate.
If they ever made it. At this point, it looked doubtful.
Vitki stopped in front of a thick, metal grate. Ivo didn’t see a way past it. "Is this a dead end?"
"Yuval, take Ivo to the end of this tunnel."
Ivo's brows shot up. "Why does he have to take me back the way we came? Why aren't you coming, too?"
Vitki sighed. "Please, we must hurry. I don’t have time to explain."
"You say that a lot," Ivo complained as he followed Yuval. He spun when he heard metal creaking, but Yuval quickly stepped into Ivo's line of sight.
Was the guy serious? Ivo moved past Yuval and headed back to Vitki. His jaw dropped when the metal grate looked as if it had been melted on one side. "What the...?"
"We must hurry." Vitki stepped through the gate.
Ivo just stood there gaping at the molted metal. Something definitely was going on here, and it wasn't just men shooting at him. Ivo felt as if he had stepped into the Twilight Zone.
* * * *
Vitki was relieved when he finally got Ivo to his room. The fact that Ivo had seen Vitki melt the metal bars to get them there didn't upset him as much as it should have. Ivo would soon find out the truth anyway.
It just wasn’t the way Vitki would have liked to show Ivo their world.
"Are we going to ignore the elephant in the room?" Ivo asked, refusing to step inside the bedroom. "You melted thick metal, Vitki. No man can do that. And don’t tell me you used a damn lighter."
"I am not the one who will explain things to you." And that didn’t sit right with Vitki. Max should have been the one or Vitki should have had permission to give Ivo full disclosure. But instead, Ivo stood in the hallway, still clueless.
"You promised," Ivo gave the needless reminder.
"I did not say I would be the one explaining things to you, merely that things would be explained. Now go inside and rest." Vitki grabbed Ivo's hand and led him into the room.
Ivo glanced around. "Three of my apartments could fit in here." He spun, his gaze flickering all over the place. "I feel like I've stepped into a five-star hotel."
If he only knew. Ivo would want for nothing. That was, unless one of the council members didn’t try to have him assassinated first. Vitki wouldn't put it past one of them to be behind the attempts already made on Ivo's life.
It wasn't Vitki's place to question them, but damn if he didn’t want to march into their chambers and throttle each and every one of them. Knowing how underhanded and cutthroat they could be, Vitki had handpicked Ivo's bodyguards with men he trusted with his life.
The guards of the castle were corrupt, and Vitki wouldn't trust any of them to fetch a glass of water, let alone guard the rightful heir to the throne.
Coming soon...(and by soon, I mean approx. June 8th or so)