She fell into my lap sideways, her arms draping around my neck as mine looped around the perfect curves of her waist, holding tight. With her lips whispering across my jaw, she said, “If you behave, I might let you ride Van.”
I stilled, blinking. No one, not even his trainer, rode the beast.
Van, seemingly disinterested, snuffed at the grass in search of more flowers.
I took that as a good sign. “You mean it?” I asked, feeling my brows rise.
Her laughter was rain dancing over ice, quiet but beautiful all the same. “No playing, Lord. Remember?”
Swallowing, I nodded. “Now?”
She laughed again, pressing her lips to the corner of mine. “I’m no fool.”
“And I’m always on my best behavior,” I stated, meaning it. The struggle of being in the king’s presence was unbelievable.
She pulled back to give me a bland look. “Death glares over dinner? Muttered insults veiled behind a cough? And let’s not forget how you had me in the hall above his rooms…”
All perfectly reasonable things to do, I thought. Not too bad either, considering.
Clearly, she thought otherwise. “Okay.” Scowling, I pursed my lips. “That doesn’t mean I agree, but fine.”
Brushing strands of hair that had escaped their tie from my cheek, her eyes searched mine, sobering. “Mintale says we are to discuss Beldine.”
I failed to keep from stiffening beneath her, quickly saying, “What of it?”
Her eyes scrutinized momentarily. “Of the consequences that might befall us all.”
Our home—an extricated limb of Beldine—Rosinthe, was a continent of peace once more.
The king of Beldine had never sought to reclaim their land. Of course, that was before Tyrelle had locked their continent away from the rest of the world for years, while many were none the wiser.
We had paid gravely for Tyrelle’s sins, especially his daughter, but the creatures of Beldine did not care for trivial matters of who, when, and why.
They hadn’t yet, but that did not mean they wouldn’t come asking for who was responsible.
Or perhaps, they wouldn’t bother asking.
My arms tightened around her. “If it happens, we’ll face it, and we’ll do what we can to make it right.” Hollow words, even to my own ears, but there was little else I could say.
Eyeing me a moment, Audra nodded, then took in the view of Allureldin, the waters to the west that skirted The Edges. “Together,” she murmured, barely audible above the whistling wind.
Grasping her cheek, I brought her mouth to mine, and promised, “Together, my eternal queen.”
… for now