Fremont leaned down, removing the pink bowtie from his pocket. He placed it around Fitzgerald’s neck and tied it neatly. “Thank you, Fitz. Will you watch over Leandre for me while I’m not with him?”
“Yes, Monty, sir.”
Fremont smiled and straightened. “Catriel wants Kestrel and I to join the guests dancing.”
Estella turned to Leandre. “Do you know how to tango, Leandre?”
“Fremont had attempted a lesson, but we were rained out.” Leandre placed his attention on his champagne flute.
“Can I teach him, Monty?” Estella gasped excitedly.
“Of course you can.”
“I could teach him,” Victor offered, slipping into their half circle. He looked Leandre over. “Actually, I’d rather not. Forget I asked.”
Fremont inhaled a deep breath. “What do you want?”
“I wanted to say congratulations, Fremont. I’m thrilled to see whether or not an engagement will save you this time as well.”
Fremont scoffed. “Oh, honestly, Victor. What makes you believe there’s any chance of a conviction?”
“What fun would it be if I told you?”
“You were never one for games.”
Victor glanced at Fitzgerald and took a step closer to Fremont. “I’ll make a wager with you, dear brother. If you come out of the hearing unscathed, I’ll simply congratulate you and move on, but if you’re scathed, you’ll lose your faerie.”
Fremont narrowed his eyes. “Lose Fitzgerald how?”
“Deportation, of course. That’s the only thing within my power as a consul.”
“If I’m to be scathed during the trial, I’ll be living in Snowden, so I don’t see how deporting Fitz will force us apart.”
Victor smiled. It wasn’t friendly. “I think what you’ll be up against is a little worse than a simple rejection of citizenship.”
“This sounds like a threat, Victor,” Leandre said, earning a cold stare from Victor.
“More like a warning.” Victor adjusted his waistcoat. “Enjoy the dance, Fremont.” Fitzgerald stepped to the side to avoid Victor as he retreated into the socializing guests.
“I can’t decide who I dislike more: my own little brother or Kestrel’s.” Estella tightened her fingers into fists. “He has no reason to hate you this much.”
“Of course he does.” Fremont tugged off his gloves and handed them to Fitzgerald for safekeeping. “He’s Victor. What more reason does he need?” Estella chuckled in agreement. “I’m sorry, love,” Fremont said to Leandre. “I’ve never wanted to shove you against the wall and kiss you until you beg more than I do in this very moment, but I have to go.”
The straightforward and seemingly boorish honesty Leandre loved so much about Fremont had been dormant for much of their trip. He happily acknowledged the Fremont he knew was still somewhere under the surface.
“If you keep telling me such secrets, I might drag you away early.”
Fremont smiled slyly and took a step away. “Don’t wear him out, Estella,” he requested.
Devil Fremont’s unwillingness to divulge even the smallest details of his past makes building a relationship with his lover, Leandre, a struggle. Doubt and frustration tear at the couple and put their bond to the test when Fremont’s secrets find him after his ten years in exile and force him home to Spezia to face serious charges.
Whatever mysteries Fremont has buried, Leandre does not believe murder is one of them—though his waiting fiancé is a surprise. As Fremont trusts his lover with his past, a second murder throws him deeper into the law’s hands.
Desperate to save Fremont, Leandre searches for the truth. But the conspiracy he uncovers goes deeper than he ever imagined. With Fremont’s time running out, Leandre must act quickly to reveal the true culprit before he loses his bond mate for good.