Page 53 of Ruined Kingdom

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“It was in the back of a drawer. And before you ask, yes, I looked through everything. You can’t seriously have expected me not to.”

He’s only half-listening to me because his attention is on the photograph. And I’m intrigued.

“Who are they?” I ask.

“That’s my grandfather. My uncle, Sonny, you met.” His tone is cold when he mentions Sonny. There’s a long pause. “The one who is my age is Angelo.”

He sets the frame back down but is clearly a little shaken.

“He’s your cousin?”

He turns to me, hands in his pockets.

“From the resemblance, I’m thinking the man I met at the restaurant, the one who clearly doesn’t like you, is his father?”



“Sonny, my uncle, was his father. Let’s go downstairs for dinner.”

“What happened to him?”

He opens the door, and I see Oaf outside. A look passes between us, but I’m quick to avert my gaze so Amadeo doesn’t catch me. But when I turn back to Amadeo, I’m not sure he misses anything at all.

“Why are you so curious, Dandelion?” he asks after a glance at Oaf.

“Bored mostly,” I lie. “I literally spent my day making paper airplanes.”

“Angelo was killed a few years ago. His killer left the scar you saw last night. That man is dead now. Enough to sate your curiosity?”

“He died, and you survived the same attack.”

“Correct.” He walks ahead of me for a beat.

“Was the room I’m staying in his?”

“Yes, Dandelion. Enough with the questions.”

“You miss him.”

That makes him stop. “We were close. He was a good friend. A good man. He would have succeeded my grandfather if he’d lived.”

“Oh. Is that normal? For your grandfather to overlook his son to put his grandson in his seat? Isn’t there an order to these things?”

“His father, my uncle, is a lowlife.”

“Lower than you?” It comes out before I can stop it.

It takes him a minute, but he grins, then takes a step toward me that has me backing up to the banister. “Oh, sweetheart. Be careful. It’s a long way down, and marble isn’t very forgiving.” I glance down. Does blood seep into marble, or is it easy to wash away? I don’t want to find out.

We straighten, standing too close. I look at my hands, where they are pressed to his chest. His are clenching my hips.

He cocks his head to the side, and my heartbeat picks up.

“I’m hungry,” I say, trying to scoot away.

He doesn’t let me. Without a word, he reaches into my pocket and takes out the ring. I should have hidden it in a drawer. I’m not even sure why I took it. What I’d thought I’d do with it. I know I’m not going to somehow escape this prison. I know the impossibility of it. So what was I thinking?

Amadeo studies the ring, then turns his gaze to me, those thick lashes framing cold steel eyes. Any humanity I saw moments ago has vanished.

“What’s this, Dandelion? Are you a thief, too?”

Tags: Natasha Knight Romance