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A Fall of Secrets(A Shade of Vampire,Book 15)(7) by Bella Forrest

“Kiev and I want to take advantage of this downtime and get married.”

I felt relieved when her face lit up a little. She smiled and gripped my hand, pulling me inside. “Come in, come in. This island could do with a wedding after all this heaviness.”

She led Kiev and me into the living room and we all took seats. I could tell after about fifteen minutes that Kiev regretted being included in the meeting. He got up and began walking around the room, examining objects on the mantelpiece, as Corrine and I discussed details for the next hour.

He looked relieved when we had finished. Corrine smirked as she looked at Kiev.

“So, Kiev. You’re really ready to tie the knot?”

He rolled his eyes. “Have you two finished?”

I nodded.

“Then let’s go,” Kiev said, heading toward the door.

Corrine cleared her throat. “Go where exactly, vampire? Mona and I might be finished with each other, but we haven’t even started with you.”

“What?” He looked at us.

“You obviously weren’t paying attention to our conversation. We’ve got our work cut out if we want you to be even a half-presentable groom for Mona.”

Kiev looked himself over. “What work?” He narrowed his eyes on the witch.

“The fact that you can’t even see what work needs to be done on you shows just how much we have to do,” Corrine replied, furrowing her brows and folding her arms over her chest. “I don’t even trust Ibrahim to tidy you up. I’m going to have to deal with you myself.”

I chuckled silently at Kiev’s scowl. He wasn’t in that scruffy a state. But as I caught the teasing spark in Corrine’s eyes, something told me that she was going to enjoy “tidying up” Kiev more than the actual wedding.

Chapter 5: Mona

Corrine was true to her word in taking over Kiev’s preparation. In the meantime, she paired me with another witch, Leyni. I spent the rest of the day with Leyni preparing my outfit and doing a hair and makeup rehearsal. In the evening, she guided me through a number of beauty treatments.

It was late by the time we’d finished. Kiev still hadn’t returned. Corrine had wanted to keep us separate until the wedding. I wasn’t sure how much time exactly the witch had ended up spending on him—I suspected not all that long, since she had a lot of work to do in arranging the actual event. Although I missed lying in Kiev’s arms that night, I found amusement in imagining where Corrine was putting him up for the night. I was sure that she still hadn’t forgiven him for the night he’d stolen Ben Novak from her arms. And although Kiev was sorry, Corrine still liked to dig her heels in when she could, albeit in a good-natured way.

I woke up the next morning to find Leyni already running a bath for me.

“Come on, Sleeping Beauty,” she called. “We’ve got a lot to do before the wedding starts at noon.”

I slid out of bed and entered the bathroom. I didn’t spend long in the bath—Leyni was already knocking on the door after less than twenty minutes had passed. I got out and dried myself before dressing and starting makeup and hair. I wasn’t sure why I was suddenly so nervous.

Leyni must have noticed. She placed an arm on my shoulder and gave me a warm smile.

“It’s normal to feel tense on the morning of your wedding. But don’t worry. Everything will go smoothly.”

The next few hours passed quickly until finally, I was staring at myself in the mirror, fully dressed and made up. The dress we’d designed together was stunning. Long-sleeved, it had a heart-shaped neckline and complemented my curves perfectly. She had curled my hair into gentle waves and braided it with small pink flowers.

“Well,” Leyni said, eyeing me with pride. “Let’s go.”

I nodded, drawing a breath.

She held my hand and we vanished from the spot. When my vision came into focus again, we were standing a dozen feet back from a crowd that had formed on the beach near the Port. There were rows upon rows of chairs with an aisle in between, at the end of which was a raised platform decorated with white roses and silk drapes. Kiev already stood on the platform, Matteo by his side as best man.

Leyni stepped in front of me and lowered the veil over my face. She gave me a smirk. “Vampires have good eyesight. We don’t want your groom sneaking a peek at you yet.”

“Mona,” a chorus of voices called behind me.

I turned to see Rose hurrying toward me with half a dozen other young women. They all wore light pink dresses and held bunches of flowers in their hands. My bridesmaids. Rose handed me a bouquet of dark blue lilies. My voice caught in my throat at the sight of them. They reminded me so much of the lilies that grew around my lake house back on our old island. Memories of the time I’d spent there with Kiev soon after we’d first met washed over me.

Rose squeezed my hand. “You look incredible. How are you feeling?”

I caught a tear at the corner of my eye before it could slip down my cheek. I beamed down at Rose. “I’ve never been better.”

Once Rose and another bridesmaid had picked up the hem of my dress, Leyni looped her arm through mine and we began walking down the aisle between the chairs. I looked around at everyone who’d come to attend. There were too many faces to count—vampires, werewolves and humans. I kept my eyes anywhere but straight ahead until I reached five rows away from the platform. Finally, I allowed myself to look up.

Ibrahim was now standing in the center of the platform, and to his right was Kiev. Matteo stood a few feet behind him. I couldn’t help but grin. I’d never seen Kiev looking so smart. He was almost unrecognizable. He wore a crisp black tuxedo and his hair was neatly combed back away from his face. His stubble had been trimmed right down, so only shadow was visible around his jawline. His skin also looked brighter somehow, as though he might have had a facial, and I could barely notice his prosthetic arm. His eyes were glued on me, as I was sure they had been ever since I started walking down the aisle.