Stealing His Princess (Kings of Conquest #2) - Adelaide Forrest

1

Aric

The beauty of a prosperous Kingdom glimmered back at me, shimmering with the thousand twinkling lights of Oshal’s capital city, which housed their royal palace. As I watched out the window, I slowly worked the buttons of my dress shirt, covering the broad chest that set me a bit apart.

Paired with the stereotypes Lantis often faced as one of the poorer monarchies, judgement often weighed heavy on my reign. As I was not as lean as most of the other royal men, my size often worked against me. To project a milder presence, a broad smile on my face quickly became a necessity, and something I wore to combat the pitying perception people had of me. The young King, burdened with the wreckage of a Kingdom his father had left him when he died.

All for the reward of a woman he should never have married.

Fuck only knew what the man saw in my mother. I was related to her, came from her, and even I knew she was a bitter shrew and a gold digger who had no business living a life of luxury. Not when she caused the suffering of my people by grabbing my father by the balls and turning him away from his duty to his Kingdom. Because of her, Lantis had fallen from a comfortable nation to the laughingstock of the world. Because of her, I'd never be able to marry for love.

I'd never have a choice in the woman I married, because I'd seen what happened when one defied tradition and acted on impulse. She'd condemned me to a life of duty.

But I would always do what was best for Lantis. No matter what the cost.

Even if that cost meant marrying a Princess I didn’t know, from a slightly more prosperous Kingdom. Even if it meant watching my sister be married off to a man old enough to be her father, unable to do a thing to stop it. Because both our marriages could benefit the greater good of our people, we would suck it up and endure those responsibilities our parents had saddled us with.

So being in Oshal for the week was useless for me. It was designed for Kings who had their pick of Princesses, as though surveying their choices at a meat market. I wouldn't have such a luxury and would be stuck on the fringes of the events, waiting for reluctant women to approach me in their desperation to make a match.

My sister's beauty would make her the prize of the week, but such things didn't benefit Kings. Only the size of our wallet was relevant.

I ran a hand over the luxurious blackwood of the console table near the window, picking up the scotch waiting for me in a tumbler. The sound of my mother and Alina conversing in my sister's room drifted through the door that connected our suite.

The woman would be the death of me. If there was any positive to be found in Alina's situation, it was that she would leave Lantis and our mother's casual cruelty behind.

I envied her that greatly.

The fiery liquid was a smooth, soothing burn that slid down my throat as I took a sip. It pooled in my empty stomach and felt like a temporary solution to fill the void that expanded far beyond lack of food. I'd never known a life with anything more than duty to sustain me. Sometimes I wondered what was the point of it all, but the faces of my people as I tried to do what was best for them, above all else, served as my reassurance that I was on the right path.

Heaving a sigh, I set down the tumbler and grabbed the jacket of my tux off the back of the chair where I'd draped it. The mirror on the other side of the room reflected exactly what I knew I would see. Pressed to perfection, my tuxedo was the perfect embodiment of everything royalty was expected to be. Of every standard that held me to a world where personality didn't exist.

I vaguely recognized a few of the royals flitting about the gardens, unconcerned with pretense or comporting themselves properly in the way that my mother expected of Alina. I envied them the freedom to do as they pleased.

Buttoning up my tux, I moved to the door to the common area at the center of our suite. Alina already stood near the window, far too close for mother's comfort, if she saw her. I could only

readonlinefreenovel.com Copyright 2016 - 2022