Scandal, betrayal, romance—it’s the Royal family behind closed doors.
Geneva Lee returns with a breathless race against time in the stunning third novel in the Royal World series—a tale of seduction, secrets, and the world’s most watched family—and I have a little sneak peek for you.
I didn’t speak as I stumbled from the room and made my way to our private quarters. Clara was in every room I passed through and still gone. Her little touches were all over the parlor: red roses on the side table—a sentimental gesture, a book she was reading on the sofa, photos of us with Elizabeth. The bedroom was worse but I found myself there like a lost dog searching for home. Her perfume lingered in the air, her robe lay across the bed. I’d chastised her once for not allowing the housekeeping staff in here as often as she should, but Clara had wanted privacy, especially in the evenings. As I picked up the silk robe, I found myself thankful she was so stubbornly independent.
She wasn’t here. I knew she wouldn’t be. But here, in the most private room in the palace, I felt her presence most strongly while feeling her absence even more. The two sensations warred within me, pulling me in two different directions. I pressed her robe to my face, breathing in her scent—roses and vanilla and home.
I’d expected it to soothe me—to make me feel closer to her as I tried to process her betrayal. Instead, it brought me to my knees. I crumbled, unable to bear the weight of it, as I buried my face into her scent. Tears broke free as I spilled open clutching the silk as though I might find her there somehow.
But she was gone.
She was lost.
I’d failed. I’d promised to protect her, and I had failed. I’d obsessed and I’d planned and she had still been taken. And in her place there was nothing. Her absence stretched before like a black hole, sucking me into it slowly. It took my control first. It took my faith next. Then it took my hope and left nothing but a shell concealing the splintered remains of my heart.
That was all I was now without her.
My fingers fumbled on the silk, seeking her out and knowing they’d never touch her again. Soon, her scent would fade from it. Soon she would fade from my life, but never my memories. Soon that was what Clara would become: a collection of moments remembered.