Their low talking could be heard as I rounded the corner, and I felt my stomach tie into a knot as Killian
and Princess Charlotte stood waiting for me. I was late, and it was not welcomed based on Killian’s
look of disappointment.
My nerves about meeting his sister somehow managed to surpass my anxiety about meeting the king
himself. While I was terrified of him for his well-known history of murder and aggression, the stories of
her made her all the more fearsome. When her brother took the throne, she took to mercenary work.
The stories of her slaying dragons, sirens, and banshees were known across the world. She was a
“Here she is now,” Killian said, but the way his eyes narrowed told me that I would be hearing about my
late arrival later. “Natalie, this is my sister, Charlotte.”
The young woman turned to face me, and my jaw dropped at the stunning princess. Her hair was a
light. brown that fell into perfectly styled ringlets. The bright green of her eyes made what portraits I had
seen. of her mother seem dull.
“Please, call me Charlie.” She said as she extended her arm toward me. I moved forward, expecting a
dainty shake suitable for a member of the royal family. Instead, I was met with a slightly calloused palm
and a firm shake as if we were conducting a business transaction. “I’m really happy Killian found you!
He needs someone to knock some sense into him every now and then.”
Oh, I wanted to knock some sense into him alright. But I would start with the long overdue fight we
needed to have.
“It’s lovely to meet you, Your Highness,” I said, curtseying to the princess with respect. When I looked
up, she was staring at me with her eyebrows together in confusion, and her eyes locked on my neck.
She hummed in response before looking to her brother with a raised eyebrow, but he shook his head
and gestured toward the table.
“Ladies,” He said as he pulled out his sister’s seat before moving toward mine. I grabbed the back of
my chair and dragged it away from the table before taking a seat, making sure to tuck it back in before
he could get a single finger on it. He had never pulled my chair out for me before. Why put on a show
for his sister?
The look of amusement Charlie sent me made me blush, but I held my head high as the servants came
forward and placed the first course in front of us. It was not lost on me that the guards had been
stationed outside the room for our privacy, and Charlie waited until the servants left before speaking.
“So Natalie, I hear you have been impressing the pack with your training. From what I’ve gathered you
are a quick study.” Charlie said as she took a large and improper bite of her roll. “I would love to train
with you. while I’m here.”
I reached for my glass of water and took a sip as I swallowed my bite before responding, placing my
hands back in my lap. “Thank you, your highness. I have heard the stories of your adventures and
would also love to know more about them.”
Killian continued to stare at me as if I were a side attraction at a circus, but I refused to look his way. He
wanted me to act as if I were his mate, but he did not want me to actually fill the position.
“I have plenty to share. From what I understand, my team and I will have new stories before we leave
here. Rumor has it that there has been an attack, and we have come to join the guard.” Her declaration
of wanting to fight against the vampires made me feel relieved, but Killian’s head snapped over with
Charlle raised her palm in his direction and cut him off before he could protest. “No need to argue with
me, brother. We are more than capable of fighting off a few measly bloodsuckers”
Killian opened his *to speak but stopped short as his eyes turned black. I knew someone was
contacting him through their pack link, and I rolled my eyes as I returned back to my food. That was
one good thing about not shifting. I wouldn’t need to worry about people interrupting me constantly.
“I see some things never change,” Charlie muttered, and I could see her annoyance as Killian placed
his fork back down. “I haven’t seen you in months, and you can’t even spend a dinner with me to
reunite without working.”
‘Charlie, you know that I missed you, but this is my job. You of all people should understand. Now, if
you’ll excuse me. I will be right back. Something urgent has come up, but it should only take a minute.”
He said as he rose to his feet. I did the same out of respect for his title, but Charlie leaned back against
her chair as she glared up at him. Killian moved toward the door, stopping behind me for a quick
moment, but I didn’t bother to turn around as he whispered, “Be good.”
His quiet warning was easily heard by his sister, and I watched as her interest peaked even further. As
soon as the door *behind Killian, I took my seat, aware of the scrutinizing gaze of the princess.
“He said he found you weeks ago. Yet, you bare no mark.” She observed, falling silent as the servants
entered the room again with the next course. She gestured with her finger for them to place Killian’s
food down before swiping one of the fingerling potatoes from his plate as the staff made their way
toward the door.
“That is correct, your highness,” I said as I began to cut into my steak. If Killian wanted me to be good,
then I would do my best to abide by his rules.
“Please, just call me Charlie. We’re family now.” She insisted as she took a sip of her wine.
“That doesn’t seem appropriate given my position,” I said, placing another bite of my dinner in my *and
chewing slowly. No matter how many meals I had in the castle, the quality of the food managed to
astonish me each time.
“You are my brother’s mate, the next queen. Your position is soon to be above mine.” She said as she
dipped her roll in the juice from her steak. “You have no idea how good this is after living off of jerky
and berries for the past month.”
“I think there has been a miscommunication,” I said as I set my fork down and looked up at the
princess, who was thoroughly enjoying her food.
“Elaborate.” She demanded, but amusement and interest sparkled in her eyes. “Tell me what it is that
I’m missing here.”
I took a deep breath through my nose, pressing my lips together as I debated revealing the truth. But
who was I to withhold information from the Princess? She demanded that I explain, and Killian wanted
me to ‘ be good’. Refusing a member of the royal family didn’t seem to be following his orders.
“I am not to be the queen, nor am I your brother’s mate. I was chosen by your brother and brought
here. against my will. He has made it clear that he wants nothing to do with me, and if his witch’s vision
is correct, I will be dead soon, and he will go on to live another day to choose another to breed with. I
would love to get to know you and hear the stories of your adventures, but it will be as your underling,
not as your brother’s mate. So, I believe I am correct when I refer to you by your title, Princess
Charlotte.” I stated as I looked down at my plate of food, suddenly no longer feeling hungry.
I had thought about it a hundred times, but hearing it out loud when my thoughts weren’t being
controlled by my heat-induced deliria made the reality of it sink in. For the past few days, I had been
going back and forth between denial, false acceptance, and anger. But now that I had said the words, it
felt so final. I felt my heart breaking in my chest, and I slouched back in my seat.
Killian pushed the door open at the moment, slowing in his stride as he approached the table to see my
defeat and his sister’s anger. “What happened here?”
I didn’t bother to stand for him this time. My energy was gone. “I would like to retire for the night. It was
lovely meeting you, Your Highness.”
“Likewise,” Charlie said as she stood with me, nodding her head in respect. I was taken aback by her
gesture but felt my heart warm that maybe she wasn’t like her brother. “We will catch up tomorrow and
get to know each other.”
I nodded in agreement, knowing it was more of a demand than an invitation. Killian didn’t bother trying
to stop me as I left the room.
Tobias was waiting outside, and I bit back my smile as I heard Charlie start to yell before the door was
fully closed. It seemed I may have an ally here after all.
“What the *is wrong with you, Killian?!”
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