Claimed Princess (Princess Series Book 3)(5)

By: Alexa Riley

“Easy, killer. Restrain the claws. I’ve always seen Heavenly as a sister and nothing more than a sister. Though I can’t say the same for you now, can I?”

I don’t respond to the question. I stand up and straighten my suit jacket, looking anywhere but in his eyes. “Don’t you have somewhere you need to be?”

“As a matter of fact, I’m on my way to see our mother. I’m sure she’ll love this turn of events.”

Romy is smug as he pushes from the wall and makes his way down the hallway. Little does he know she’ll have news of her own. There’s a wedding to prepare for.

Now I just need to talk to Karim and ask him for Heavenly’s hand. And then tonight I need to make things right with her.

Maybe Romy is right. Maybe getting her alone and in a position where she can’t push me away would be best. I could wait until nightfall and go to her room. She’s been sneaking into mine for years, and maybe it’s time she received some of that in return.

Maybe if I show her exactly what I’ve been after all these years, she’ll realize that I’m not just an option. I’m her only option.

Chapter Three


“Karim!” I scream as I fly out of the back of the car and run towards him. He turns just in time to catch me, dropping the bags he has in his hands. He gives a little grunt, and I hear his wife Giselle giggle from behind him.

I hug him tight, unable to stop myself. He hugs me back, and I glance over his shoulder at Giselle, who has giant smile on her face. She looks like she is glowing with happiness. Her hands rest on her very round belly, and the sight of her makes me happy, but envious at the same time. I drop my head onto his shoulder and cover my eyes, not wanting to cry. I try to fight the tears, try to forget what just happened and remind myself that I’m happy for Karim and Giselle’s happiness.

“Someone is excited to see us,” my brother teases, but I only hug him tighter. He’s still for a second. “What’s wrong?” He must feel the tension in my body.

Of course I always hug my brother when I see him, but today I’m holding on a little longer. I need the comfort. Once I’m calm and not about to burst into tears, I pull back, and he places me on my feet.

“Who has upset you?” He looks around as if he’ll find someone close by. Giselle comes to stand next to him, slipping her hand into his. She places her other hand on his arm as if to comfort him. After a second I see a little bit of the tension leave his body. He’s so different now that he has Giselle. She’s been a blessing to our family. She’s started to heal us from the loss of our parents.

Karim and I haven’t been as close since my parents died, but Giselle has changed that. She’s reminding him what family is and that not everything is about work. I’d gotten so used to not seeing him much anymore that it felt normal. It wasn’t until she started pushing us all back together that I realized how much I’d missed us.

I ignore his question, not sure if I want to talk to my brother about Carlos. I don’t know how he’s going to feel about everything - me trying to pick my own husband, or Carlos declaring I’m his.

“What are you doing here?” I ask him, to try to move the conversation somewhere else.

He narrows his eyes for a moment. He’s not fooled and knows what I’m doing.

“Your birthday, silly,” Giselle chimes in. I glance up at her for a moment, thanking her silently before fixing my attention on my brother again.

“Are you here because of my birthday or because it’s the birthday that means I’m able to marry?”

I say it with more force than I intended and take a step back from him. I can’t help that my words come out a little heated. It’s not like he showed up at my last birthday. Sure he sent a gift and even called me, but he didn’t show up. Now he looks like he brought bags and might be staying a few days.

He lets out a deep breath. “I deserve that.” He runs his free hand through his hair, and I watch guilt play over his face, and I feel a little guilty myself. Things weren’t easy for him either. “I am here for your birthday, Heavenly. That’s all. I won’t pick a husband for you or even entertain ideas. That’s all up to you. I don’t want you to live with that hanging over your head. I’ve been there, and I would never do that to you.”