Claimed Princess (Princess Series Book 3)(2)

By: Alexa Riley


The room remains quiet as both of us know I’m not going to clean up the mess. I glance over at him, and his eyes are still on me. We stare at each other for a long moment.

“I’m sorry, Heavenly. You know I’m very protective of you.” I nod, understanding. He has always been that way with me, even when it comes to men or boys poking around me. “I don’t like the idea of men being able to see up your dress.” He leans back in his chair, rubbing a hand over his face. “Things have to change,” he mumbles, and I feel my stomach turn.

“I’m not going to be allowed here after you choose your wife,” I say, and I hear the defeat and sadness in my own voice. This wife thing has been hanging over my head for two years now. It’s bittersweet. Part of me loves the fact that he hasn’t picked one yet, and another part wants him to do it so I have to face the music.

“Why would you say such a thing?” He sits back up in his chair.

“I mean, I know I can come over, just not like now. You already won’t let me in your room.” My gaze drops back down to the magazine.

Carlos gets up, coming around his desk and picking up the magazine I threw. He looks at the page that’s open to the picture of Star. He rolls his eyes and tosses it into the fire that’s cracking quietly in the fireplace.

“You’re days away from coming of age,” he reminds me.

I know. I turn twenty-one soon. I’ve been dreading it, wondering who might be calling for my hand in marriage. I secretly hoped that my brother had forgotten all about me and I wouldn’t have to worry about that day. But I think that chance is slim to none.

“I know,” I mumble. “Maybe you should worry about your own little problem. You know, picking a wife? How many women have showed up here and you still haven’t picked one.”

His jaw clenches at my words. He hates when they come. That makes two of us. I want to say it out loud, but I keep it to myself. I always try to keep the anger out of my voice. I can’t let my jealousy show. That wouldn’t be good. Then I really wouldn’t be allowed over anymore.

“Heavenly. You will never not be allowed here. You’re a part of this family, and you know it.”

I want to tell him he’s wrong. If he were mine I sure as heck wouldn’t let him hang out with some girl in his office all day.

Then it hits me. I jump up and rush over to him. “Maybe I could marry your brother!”

I almost run into him I’m so excited at the idea. But he catches me and puts his hands on my shoulders. I’d never have to leave! I could still see Carlos and his mom every day! Carlos’s brother Romy is nice, but if the rumors in the magazines are true, he’s a little bit of a player. But I wouldn’t care. I’m sure his mom will be pushing him to get married soon, too. Maybe we could just be married in name. He could still do whatever he wanted, and I could stay here. Romy and I get along well. We often team up and give Carlos a hard time when he gets into one of his grumpy moods.

Carlos tightens his grip on my shoulders.

“You want to be with my brother?”

The look on his face changes to anger. I’ve seen this face on him many times over the years, but never has it been aimed at me. I don’t understand why he’s so mad. I know he’s protective of me in a brotherly way, but this seems excessive.

“He wouldn’t treat you as you deserve to be treated,” he half-growls. He brings his hand to my cheek and strokes it softly. The touch doesn’t match the anger in his words.

“Romy is sweet to me,” I say, trying to make him understand.

“He wouldn’t be loyal,” he throws back.

Loyalty is everything to him. I know Carlos would be faithful to his wife. He’s a man of great honor. That’s probably why I’ve never seen any magazine pictures of him out on a date. It’s also why he’d never think of being with me. I’m too young. Not only that but although I’m a princess, I’m a little brash and blurt things out in moments I shouldn’t. My parents kept me away from the social scene, then after they died I was out here living with my grandmother. She barely leaves the house. My only social interactions occur with him, when I come over here and hang out. I even completed my schooling at the castle with private teachers. It was easier to do it here. I practically live here, for the most part. If I wasn’t with Carlos, I was with his mother, helping her plan some charity event or dinner, ones I never went to. Carlos always said I was too young. I often wondered if he brought dates to those events. But at night, when he’d get home, I’d sneak over, faking I had a bad dream. When I crawled into his bed there were never any other women. Nor did his bed smell like one had been with him.

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