Chaos erupted behind Valentin. “You dare—” a dark-haired man started, but Valentin slashed a hand through the air, and the man bit off the rest of the sentence.
“Your safety will be our priority,” Valentin said. “Allow me to introduce my bodyguard and advisors.”
“Of course,” I agreed with a smile as fake as the welcome I had received from said advisors.
Valentin swept an arm toward Luka. “You’ve already met Luka Fox, my bodyguard. If your guard needs anything while you are here, Luka will take care of it.”
I nodded at Luka. I wasn’t an expert in imperial etiquette, but I’m pretty sure Valentin had snubbed his advisors by introducing his bodyguard first—a snub I was happy to continue. “This is Imogen Weber, my bodyguard,” I said. “Imogen, meet Emperor Kos and Luka Fox.”
“A pleasure,” Imogen said with a short bow. After a brief glance at Valentin, her eyes returned to Luka before scanning the area. She always kept Luka in sight, and she had the loose, ready body posture that meant she saw him as a threat. Luka’s expression remained impossible to read, but he watched Imogen with steady focus.…