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.


31. Chapter Thirty One: Samera

      Mariella had been in the stables when Khyber and I had past them so Khyber had left me there while he went to see the King. His grey eyes had been full of worry and I had smiled at him reassuringly, wanting to kiss him again. My heart beat faster as I recalled the feel of Khyber’s lips on mine. I loved him. I knew that now. Why else would it feel like part of me was missing when he was gone? Why else did I crave his touch? I blushed slightly and turned to Mariella who was stroking a chestnut mare absentmindedly.

      “What’s wrong?” I asked moving to her side.

      Her expression was conflicted and Mariella looked like she was going to cry.

      “Oh Samera,” She whispered, brushing tendrils of ruby red hair from her face. “I don’t know whether to be happy or...” Sighing deeply she took my hands in hers. “I... I think I’m pregnant.”

      I burst into a grin and hugged her. “Oh that’s wonderful news! Congratulations, Mariella! Does anyone else know?”

      “No, you’re the only person.” Tears flowed from Mariella’s green eyes. “I... I don’t know what Abelard will say. What if he hates me even more?”

      Cupping her soft cheek with my hand I said. “I’m sure the prince doesn’t hate you.”

      “But he does.” Mariella sobbed. “He never looks at me, not even when we... he can’t stand me.”

      I shook my head. “How could anyone hate you? You’re beautiful and so kind.”

      Mariella and I had become so close during my time at the Palace that she was like a sister to me. I hated seeing her so upset.

      “Do you know how far along you are?”

      She placed a hand on her flat stomach. “I’m not sure.” Mariella’s expression became calmer and she stopped crying. “This... this is good isn’t it?”

      “Yes,” I murmured smiling. “You’re going to be a mother.”   


      I woke up when someone slid into my bed. Still half asleep I blinked my tired eyes as an arm wrapped itself around my waist. Soft lips brushed my hair and I smiled. It was Khyber. I stayed where I was and Khyber rested his cheek on my head. Khyber was clutching me close and I could feel his heart beating through the material of his shirt and my nightdress. His heart rate was fast. Too fast. Something wet dropped onto my back and Khyber made a strange noise. It took me a moment to realise that he was crying.

      “Khyber,” I whispered turning around. “What’s wrong?”

      It was pitch black in the room. There wasn’t even any light from the moon streaming through the curtains. Reaching out tentatively I found Khyber’s tearstained cheek and stroked his hair.


      He shook his head sobbing.

      “Is it the King? Is he ill?”

      Khyber shook his head again and didn’t say a word. I held him in my arms and murmured soothing words. After a while Khyber fell asleep and I soon joined him.

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