Dance with the Devil - Book cover

Dance with the Devil

Shala Mungroo

Chapter 2


“You look amazing,” Dana said as we both looked in the full-length mirror in the middle of my bedroom.

She had graciously offered to do my hair and make-up after overhearing me talk about the dinner event with Chad.

My hair was now pulled tight to the right and pinned so that locks, which Dana had curled into huge waves, hung loosely over my shoulder, exposing my neck on the left.

The emerald green dress I wore was strapless with a sweetheart neckline and fitted to the hips, where it flared a bit until it touched the floor.

It was covered in crystals so that every time the light hit it just right, it would shimmer.

Dana gave me a brown smokey eye; the eyeshadow emphasized both the color and shape of my eyes. My lips, also, stood out in a deep red.

“I think you outdid yourself,” I said as I turned to give her a grateful smile.

I fastened my crystal chandelier earrings, a Christmas gift from Chad a while back, just as my phone rang.

“That must be Chad,” I said as Dana handed me a silver clutch to complete my look. “Hello?” I answered on the second ring.

“Your carriage awaits, my lady.”

I smiled at Chad’s excited voice. “Be down in two.”

I clicked the phone off and hugged Dana. “You’re a miracle worker,” I told her honestly, yet again impressed by her many talents.

She scoffed. “Not a lot of work when you look like you do,” she replied before giving me a nudge toward the door. “Go on, I’ll do a quick check on the café and lock up.”

I gave her a grateful smile and headed out the door. I took my time going down the stairs as my silver heels were just over five inches high and I had no intention of breaking my neck.

I heard a low whistle as I exited the building. Chad was leaning on the side of a sleek black stretched limo.

He was dressed in a traditional black tux. His sandy blond hair was slicked back perfectly, not a strand out of place. He looked like he belonged in Hollywood, not outside my door.

“Do I know how to pick a dress or what?” he said, a broad smile on his handsome face.

He pushed himself off the car and walked toward me, grabbing my elbow just in time as I stumbled on the sidewalk.

“Stupid shoes,” I muttered, putting my arm in his.

He laughed as we walked. “You look fantastic, Ari.” He kissed my cheek and ushered me into the limo, like the perfect gentleman he was, before following me inside and shutting the door.

Going out to an event with Chad was like going to prom.

He always told me that it was me doing him a favor and insisted on buying me a gorgeous dress, picking me up in a limo, and sometimes, buying a corsage.

There were many times I’d refused the dress and still found myself staring at dresses delivered to my house. He knew I’d eventually succumb.

“No corsage?” I asked with a smirk as the car pulled off.

He took my hand and kissed the back of it. “After you threw the last one in my face?” He gave me back my hand.

“I know you don’t want anything to mess up that pretty face,” I teased, adjusting the folds of my dress so it wouldn’t wrinkle during the ride.

He stuck his tongue out at me, and I giggled.

“What did you tell Royce?” I asked him when we sobered up.

His face immediately fell, and I felt bad for ruining the moment.

“He’s jealous of you.”

“Chad!” I was aghast. “You should have just asked him to come with you!” The last thing I wanted was to cause a rift between Chad and Royce.

I liked Royce. He was good with Chad and, I thought, made him happy. Chad, however, was still worried about being “out,” especially in public.

He sighed. “I just need some time. Royce is pushing me too hard. He’s just upset that I take you instead. He will get over it.”

I leaned back in my seat and watched the street lights go by. “You ever think maybe you should talk to someone about it?” I asked quietly.

“You mean like a shrink?”

I glanced at him and saw his frown. I nodded. “It couldn’t hurt.”

“I need to think about it.”

I took his hand again, determined to lighten the mood. “Anyway, tell me all about this event,” I asked with a smile. “Tell me we will at least get to dance at this one.”

The last event he’d taken me to was a gallery opening, and while the champagne was great, I’d been bored stiff.

“Dance, you say?” His eyes lit up as he looked pointedly at my feet. “In those shoes? Honey, I’m going to follow you around all night to make sure you don’t fall flat on your face just walking.”

I punched him in the shoulder and laughed as he hugged me against his side. I was determined that we would have fun tonight and leave our troubles behind.


“I hate him.”

Lucian glanced at his sister and followed her blue eyes, which matched his perfectly, to the other side of the room, where Aidan and a slender blonde were deep in conversation.

The blonde, dressed in an almost sheer black sheath sans bra, had her body practically pressed to his side while she whispered something in his ear, which made him laugh.

Catarina gripped Luc’s arm tighter.

“Just ignore him,” Lucian told her. The last thing he needed was an angry woman at his side all night, and if Aidan didn’t take it down a notch, that’s exactly what would happen.

“I would if he wasn’t making such a ruckus over there,” she hissed as the sound of Aidan’s laughter could be heard again over the short distance.

Lucian sighed and glanced around the room.

“There are plenty of other men here tonight, Cat. Do you want me to introduce you to some of them?”

His sister turned her head toward him and smiled a predatory smile that raised the hair on the back of his neck. “Think I can’t reel in a man on my own, Luc?” The dimple in her chin deepened.

Oh, he knew men would fall hook, line, and sinker for her with a flash of her smile.

At twenty-eight, she was young and gorgeous, but also the CEO of a billion-dollar company, which she ran flawlessly.

Such attributes, of course, meant she had developed a strong back over the years…and a sharp tongue.

Lucian held up his hands. “I was merely offering brotherly support.”

Catarina surveyed the room again, nodding at a couple that passed them, keeping her eyes firmly away from Aidan and his escort.

She knew she looked great. The gold Versace dress she wore fit her five-foot-ten frame like a second skin.

She had been hoping that it would get Aidan’s attention if only she could get him away from the blonde bimbo over there.

“If I needed your help, I’d ask for it,” she muttered.

Lucian smiled. He knew how much his sister hated asking him for anything, preferring to do things on her own.

A flash of green caught his eye in the doorway and he felt himself go still.

She was exquisite.

There was no other word he could think of at that moment to describe the woman who captured his attention.

She had a petite oval face and her big eyes were framed by thick dark lashes. The green dress she wore fit her perfectly, and he wondered what she looked like out of it.

She smiled, then, as she entered the room, and Lucian stared in awe. He stopped breathing. She was gorgeous.

He frowned. She was arm-in-arm with Chad Whitcombe.

Lucian knew Chad as he had worked with him previously.

He watched the woman again and he swore she glided into the room.

“She’s pretty.”

The sound of his sister’s voice shook him out of his reverie. He pretended not to hear her.

“I know you were staring at her, Luc.” Catarina rolled her eyes at him. “Want me to introduce you two?”

He turned his head sharply. “Do you know her?”

She smirked. “Chad usually brings her as his date to events. You would know if you came to these things more often.”

“They’re dating?” Lucian asked in surprise. Based on his knowledge of Chad Whitcombe, he didn’t think his taste ran to women at all.

Catarina shrugged. “I think they’re just friends.”

He glanced at the mysterious woman again, just as she looked his way. Their eyes locked and a shiver of awareness ran through him that settled somewhere deep in his gut.


I could feel eyes on me. Watching me. Predator to prey.

I turned my head to the left, and there he was.

He was tall, dark, and handsome. He was no cliché though. He looked downright sinful.

I could see the blue of his eyes clearly as if he were standing right in front of me. He had a ruthless line to his firm lips, although they curved when he saw me staring back. I hastily looked away.

“Now, if Lucian De Angelis ever looked at me like that, I’d take him anywhere he wanted to go, public or not,” Chad whispered to me as we walked to our table.

“Lucian?” I queried, tasting his name on my lips. I liked it.

Chad pulled out a chair, and I took it before he sat to my right. He leaned conspiratorially closer.

“He represented the hospital I worked in before in a case. He’s a partner at Callaghan and De Angelis. That’s Aidan Callaghan over there. He is also Lucian’s best friend.”

Chad nodded his head in the direction of a blond-haired guy who was tucked away in the corner of the room with an equally blonde woman.

“How do you know so much?” I glanced back at Lucian. He was no longer looking at me but at the dark-haired beauty next to him. I couldn’t help but feel a stab of disappointment.

I had seen her a couple of times at various events I’d attended with Chad, always with a different guy. Maybe this Lucian was another of her conquests.

“People talk, Aria. The number one topic of rich people is other rich people, besides money of course.”

I pondered that for a moment, glancing around the room. “So, what else do you know?” I asked when Chad said nothing more.

“Ah, interested, are we?”

I rolled my eyes at him. “I’m just curious.”

“Sure you are. Isn’t it about time you got laid?”

I smacked him on his arm. He rubbed at it good naturedly.

“Would you keep your voice down?” I said in a hushed voice. I was starting to regret telling him everything.

“I think Lucian might be just the right guy to get you out of your dry spell.”

“It’s not a dry spell if you choose it,” I countered, starting to get huffy. I did not want to talk about my sex life…or lack thereof.

Hard blue eyes stared at me again, and I was contemplating changing my mind. God, he was sexy. It was unfair for one man to exude all that sex appeal and be that good looking.

“I’ve heard he is very experienced.”

I blushed and looked away as Chad’s words sunk in. “Great. He sleeps around a lot,” I said dryly, suddenly disenchanted.

“On the contrary, I heard he is very selective in his choice of partners.”

Another couple took a seat at our table, and I returned their smiles and lowered my voice. “You mean girlfriends?”

Chad shook his head. “Partners. From what I hear, he doesn’t date, not exclusively at least. No girlfriends.”

“Then who?”

Knowing where my question was leading, Chad continued. “That’s Catarina, his sister. Gorgeous family, huh?”

I’m not sure why that bit of information made me feel marginally better.

I nodded.

Dinner was announced, then, and everyone started taking their seats.

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