Claimed Princess (Princess Series Book 3)(4)

By: Alexa Riley

“Heavenly - ”

“No,” she says. “I might not be as famous or as beautiful as Princess Star, but damn it, I deserve to be someone’s first choice. Not their pity.”

With those words, she turns on her heels and sprints out of the room. I don’t have time to blink before she’s gone, and I’m still in a shocked state at what just happened. I shake my head and run after her, determined to make this right.

She truly has no idea how I feel about her, probably because I haven’t told her. But I thought at some point she would realize why I hadn’t chosen a queen. That she’d understand that she was the only woman I ever wanted, long before I even knew what that meant. I’d always thought of her as mine, but over the years what that really meant started to make itself clear. Every time she snuck into bed with me, it grew ever more painful for me not to make love to her. How I ached to sink into her soft, wet heat and bind us in the most primal way possible. How I dreamed of making babies with her and growing old together.

Deep down I knew that one day I would finally tell her that she’d always been the love of my life, but I wanted to wait for the right moment, try to make her fall in love with me in that way. Now that moment has come and gone and I blew it. I wanted my proposal to be special. I wanted to talk to her brother Karim and get his permission. I wanted to do this the right way and make it the most perfect day of her life. But instead the plans have changed and I’m forced to make it right.

When I get to the end of the hallway I can’t tell which way she went. I hope that I make the right choice and go left towards the orchard. If she’s trying to get away from me, that’s where she’ll be. But as soon as I make it a few more feet, Romy steps out of the kitchen and into my path.

“Whoa. Easy there, Carlos.” He holds his hands up, and I barely stop in time to keep from running into him. “I need to talk to you.”

“It has to wait,” I say, barging past him.

“It will only take a second. Carlos - ”

“No,” I say, cutting him off and pushing past. I can talk to him later. Right now, I need to find Heavenly.

“She left!” he shouts at me, and I stop in my tracks.

“What?” I ask, turning and stomping back to him.

“I just got home a second ago after being out all night. I saw Heavenly running out of the palace, and she jumped in the car. Then she asked my driver to take her somewhere. She seemed to be in a hurry. Does this have anything to do with you?”

“Fuck!” I turn and punch the wall, leaving a fist-sized hole in it. “Where did she go?” I shake my hand out, thankful that nothing feels broken. Nothing but my pride.

“I think she went to see her brother. I caught his name before the door closed. What did you do?”

“Why does it have to be something I did?” I say defensively, but all the steam leaves my body. Romy is right and he knows it.

“Because Heavenly is the sweetest, most precious thing in the world to this family, and if she’s upset, it’s because you did something to her.”

“It’s just a misunderstanding. One that I intend to clear up as soon as I can.” I lean back against the wall, hating how I’ve messed things up.

“May I give you a piece of advice?” Romy says, leaning on the wall beside me.

“You’re going to anyway, even if I say no.”

“Correct. But I’d like to give you the illusion that you had a choice,” he says, and his voice is smug.

“Go ahead,” I say, ready for the verbal beating I deserve.

“Let her go and talk to Karim. She’ll come back to her grandmothers tonight to check in on her. Then make your move.”

“What are you saying?” I ask, looking at Romy with suspicion.

“I’m saying that it may be a lot easier to tell her exactly what you want if you take her by surprise.”

“Are you suggesting that I sneak into her room?” The skepticism in my voice is clear, but the idea is taking hold.

“I’ll leave it open to your interpretation. But I think the best way to get Heavenly’s attention would be a surprise encounter.”

“Do you know this from experience?” I say, pushing away from the wall and standing directly in front of him. Suddenly I’m angry at everyone, and if my brother dares to touch her, I’ll take him to the ground.