A chance meeting between a prince and a peasant results in consequences that will not only change their lives, but also the kingdom.

Cover by Zillah Designs.


39. Chapter Thirty Nine: Samera

      I was about to leave the Church of the Divine Goddess when Mariella arrived. I had just informed the Head Priest that I would no longer be able to work for him; I was now the only healer in the lower town so I was in high demand and would no longer have time to help at the Church.

      “Samera,” Mariella said, drawing me into a hug. “I’m glad that I found you.”

      “Is something wrong?” I asked, taking in her flushed appearance.

      Withdrawing something from her cloak, she pressed a folded piece of parchment into my hand. “Khyber wanted me to give you this.” Mariella turned to leave but hesitated. “He really loves you, Samera, and I know you love him. Do what is best for you, not what you think is right. You will regret it if you don’t.” She sounded like she was speaking from experience.

      Mariella left and I sat down on a wooden pew. Opening the letter, my mouth grew dry in anticipation.


      Samera, I have to see you before the wedding. Meet me at The Jailor’s Wife tomorrow evening at curfew. I love you. Khyber.


      The thought of seeing Khyber again made my pulse race. I wanted to meet with him, I really did, but could I do that to Omer? He had chosen me over his own mother. For an instant I was back beside the roaring flames, the heat stifling me. The scent of burning flesh filled my nostrils and I gaged. After a while the memory slowly faded and I was back in the Church.

      I blinked away tears and got to my feet. Shoving the parchment in a pocket, I returned to the lower town, where I was immediately stopped by a woman who begged me to help her sick child.


      Brushing the hair off my face with a wet hand, I paused for a moment to catch my breath. I had gotten up early before anyone could come over asking for my help in order to do some housework; I’d hardly had any time to do it recently. Picking up the wet shirt I continued to scrub.

      “You’re up early,” Omer said, looping an arm around me. Pressing his lips to my cheek, he added, “Just think, tomorrow we’ll be married.”

      Plastering on a fake smile, I turned to face him. “Then you’ll be stuck with me.”

      Omer chuckled and kissed me. “I can’t wait.”

      Helping Omer to his feet, I asked, “Are you hungry? I can make you breakfast.”

      “No, I have to go. Frank is looking for an assistant.”

      Frank was a blacksmith whose forge was near the wall that divided the city in two. Omer had been looking for a job ever since he had returned, but he hadn’t been able to get any work because of his leg. I hoped that Frank would give Omer the job because if he didn’t then Omer would be forced to work for Kale. I couldn’t help but shudder at the thought; Kale was the reason my father was dead.

      “Good luck,” I said, squeezing his hand.


      The sun was setting when I finally managed to escape from an ill family’s household. I was hurrying back to Omer’s house when something in the corner of my eyes caught my attention. It was a sign for a pub. The Jailor’s Wife. Suddenly frozen to the spot, I was barely able to breathe. Khyber. He would be at The Jailor’s Wife at that very moment. As if to confirm my thoughts the sound of the gate closing echoed around the area. It was curfew and Khyber was waiting for me.

      The next thing I knew I was rushing towards the shabby, three story pub, with my heart in my throat. The interior was dark and dank but there were already lots of people there. I hovered in the doorway, searching the room for Khyber. Someone grabbed my hand and I found myself being led upstairs. I was drawn into a small room which held only a bed and fireplace.

      “You’re here,” said Khyber, closing the wooden door behind us. His grey eyes were bright and his blond hair was messy.

      I shouldn’t have come. Omer had saved my life and this was how I was repaying him.

      “I had to see you.” Khyber closed the distance between us in the blink of an eye. Reaching out a hand, he cupped my face. “Don’t marry him, Samera.”

      Tears filled my eyes. “Khyber, please don’t make this harder than it already is.”

      “We could run away together,” he said quietly. I couldn’t help but note the desperation in Khyber’s voice.

      Pushing his hand away, I focused on the slanted floor. “It wouldn’t work.”

      “Yes, it would,” replied Khyber, gently taking my hands in his. “We would be together and that’s all that matters.”

      Meeting his gaze, I said, “You would give up your right to the throne?” For the King would never allow us to marry.

      “For you, yes.” Drawing me into his arms, Khyber nuzzled my neck. “I would give up everything for you.”

      Clutching him closer, I replied, “I can’t let you do that.”

      “Why not?” asked Khyber, pulling back so that he was looking into my eyes. “Would our love not be enough?”

      I couldn’t stop a tear from sliding down my cheek. “Of course it would but our love is wrong.”

      “Wrong?” repeated Khyber in a shocked tone. He kissed me tenderly, making my knees grow weak. “Did that feel wrong to you?” It felt anything but wrong but I couldn’t speak. “Falling in love with you is the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” he whispered, running a thumb along my bottom lip.

      My reply was to kiss him.

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