Heir to the Crown - l.h.

Willow Dalton, a castle maid has always admired Prince Luke. She looks up to his bravery and sacrifice. She has never gotten along with any of her co-workers, they are always trashing the kingdom. So when she comes face to face with the prince, who knows what will unfold?

Prince Luke Hemmings of Faye is anything but happy. With his parents forcing him to choose a princess to marry to secure an alliance and more uprisings in towns, he feels like the world around him is collapsing.

Cam these two polar opposites find a way to save the kingdom- and themselves?


2. Chapter One

As I began folding the ever growing pile of shirts, I couldn't help but overhear Mary, a fellow maid's, conversation from behind.

"Such a snob," she complained to Eliza, another maid. "He has such a big head, I'm surprised his crown can fit."

Eliza snorted. "Prince Luke is about as worthy for the crown as I am." She paused for a moment. "Actually, he's less worthy than I am." This earned a loud chorus of laughter from almost everyone.

Everyone except me, that is. Unlike the rest of the help, I respected the royal family. After all they'd done to try and help the people, I was surprised that anyone could hate them.King Max and Queen Rachel were more than just the royal family, to me, they were the pillars of good. I looked up to them in every way.

Not to mention that Prince Luke was just wonderful, he always would greet me in the hallways, which was quite uncommon, since I was only the help. In no way was I special.

I guess in a way, I viewed them as my family. When I was only 7, my parents died in a house fire and the castle hired me and gave me a place to live. And for that, I would be eternally grateful.

"Willow," I heard Eliza call from behind me.

"Yes, Eliza?" I sighed. All of the others found my respect for the Hemmings ridiculous and made fun of me every chance they got.

"Don't you think that the Prince is downright horrible?" she asked me, sarcasm leaking into her words. As soon as they left her mouth, chuckles left a few mouths.

"Eliza, you know my views," I leveled. To me, the whole debate was stupid. Their complaining would change nothing. If they wanted a change in how things were run, they should appeal to the courts. They never took the smart way, though, of course.

"No, dear," she laughed as she came closer to me. "Please," she faked enthusiasm. "Enlighten us."

I rolled my eyes, but didn't dare say anything. "Willow?" she asked again. "Tell us how you feel," she hissed and swiftly knocked over a tower of freshly folded laundry. No one dared to speak up on my behalf.

"The royal family is not as terrible as you make them out to be," I replied nonchalantly. "Especially compared to you," I added, my pride getting the best of me.

"Oh dear," Eliza faked surprise as she pushed over another tower of laundry. "Looks like you have a lot of work to do." She looked back at the crowd that had gathered to watch the event, who were all laughing. "I'll let you get back to it."

A few tears slipped down my face as I began the process again. They are not worth it, I tried to tell myself as more tears cascaded from my eyes. Still, it hurt that I had barely any friends in the whole castle. The only thing that kept me going was how wonderfully the family treated the help, and the commoners. I knew I was serving great people.

After a few hours of folding, I headed down a flight of steps to my room. For a servant of the castle, it was very well done compared to other kingdom's conditions. I pulled out the silver key and unlocked the light brown mahogany door. I lived along with the other maids in the basement, so there were no windows, which was a disappointment. I loved the outside.

The room was painted light blue and had a queen sized bed sitting in the corner. In another corner was a small white desk and a bookshelf filled to the brim with books. I loved to read and spent almost every earned penny at the bookstore.

I had just barely begun Charles Dicken's A Tale of Two Cities, when a knock sounded from the door. "Willow?" I heard some ask from outside.

Theodore, I thought happily. I opened the door and Theodore, a large, muscular man stood facing me. He had brown hair and large, brown eyes.

"Well," I started, grinning like a fool. After a day like this, any talk with a friend was welcome. "What's this surprise for?"

he only half-heartedly returned the smile. "This is just official business, Willow," he told me. "They need you for guests."

"Guests?" I asked, excitedly. I loved working with guests, it was like a window into the royal life and I savored every second of it. "Who will I be serving?"

"Princess Annelise," he said briskly. "She's here to be courted by Prince Luke. He's been looking for a bride, you know."

I nodded and tried to contain my excitement. Not only would I be serving a friend of the royal family, but a princess? The highest I had ever gotten was to a Duke and a Duchess and that was quite interesting. But a princess? And not just any princess, either. Prince Luke was going to court her! I could never imagine even being alone with him, just the thought of it made me unusually nervous.

"When?" I inquired, hoping it was soon. I couldn't possibly wait a very long time.

"Tomorrow morning," he said. "I'll come down at 8 a.m. sharp, so be ready," he warned.

I nodded and smiled. He returned the smile. "Have a good night, Willow."

"You too, Theo," I told him as he started walking back down the hallway.

I couldn't fall asleep fast enough.

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