Home > Ravishing Reign (Royal Reflections #3)

Ravishing Reign (Royal Reflections #3)
Author: Aleatha Romig





End of book 2, RESILIENT REIGN






As Francis got out of the car, I contemplated jumping into the driver’s seat.

The duke leaned into the open door with a grin. “This is where I keep the good stuff, the cigars and bourbon your sister doesn’t know I have.”


Cigars and bourbon.

I opened the door to my side and stepped out onto the frozen ground. The pond again caught my eye. However, despite the water being completely frozen and snow covered, a small square was cut away. “Ice fishing?” I asked.

At the same time, the door to the cabin opened.

I stopped as I stared at my own image.

“Noah?” I questioned.

“Oh,” Francis said, “remember how I was confused? You see, I was never told about Noah…about Noah not being Roman. Isabella still doesn’t know.”

Noah’s dark stare was focused on me.

“Imagine my shock,” Francis went on, “when I received a visitor, my brother-in-law. But my sister’s brother was in Molave. I knew that. Fuck, I thought I was seeing double.”

“You’re alive,” I said, stunned at the sight before me.

“You know my name. That means you found what I left behind.”

I nodded. “I was afraid you were dead.”

“I was supposed to be. Lord Avery got me to safety, not in time to save himself. The king was presented with two charred bodies.”

I took a staggered step backward. “King Theodore called for your death?”

“Tell me you’re smart enough to figure that out,” Noah replied. “You’ve also fucked up my hard work. You see, Theo was supposed to be the one dead, not me. I would have been king.”

“You’re free now.” I looked from Noah to Francis. “He’s free. Help him get away.”

Francis smiled. “We have a new plan.” He nodded to Noah.

My heart stuttered as Noah pulled a pistol from his back waistband. “Whoa,” I said, lifting my hands. “I took a damn job. If you want it back…” As the words came out, I knew I couldn’t let this man back near Lucille.

He stepped closer, the gun raised. “Did they promise you riches? Did they tell you to bed the princess? I suppose you’re supposed to get the whining cunt pregnant.”

Standing tall, I clenched my jaw. “You’re wrong about the princess.”

His nostrils flared. “There can’t be two of us.”

I turned to my brother-in-law. “Do something.”

“Whatever your name is,” Francis said, speaking to me. “Let me share a bit of family history.”

My gaze went to Noah and his gun. “Not a good time.”

“This pond, it’s where Theo and Anne’s first son drowned. I thought it was an appropriate place for them to find their second son’s body. Not that you’re really their son.”

“You can’t be serious.”

He nodded. “I could hand you a gun, too. Then the two of you shoot it out. With both of you gone, Isabella will rule.”

“No, she won’t,” I said, hoping what I was about to say was true. “Lucille is pregnant. If that baby is a boy, he will rule.”

“Fuck,” Francis growled.

I turned to Noah. “Go. Leave. I won’t tell anyone you’re alive.”

The gun wavered in his grasp. “I can’t do this.”

“Don’t do this,” I screamed.

The ground shook as the gun’s blast echoed through the cold air and red spatter rained over the snow.






I woke from my nap with a start as I looked around the unfamiliar bedchamber.

“Roman,” I called out.

The door opened inward as Lady Buckingham appeared. “He’s still gone with the duke.”

My stomach twisted as I wrapped my arm around my midsection. Lady Buckingham came closer. “Are you still not feeling well?” She laid her hand on my forehead. “You’re not warm.”

I tried to think back to the procedure. It had only been two weeks, but I could have gotten pregnant before that. Looking up at her concerned expression, I whispered, “Did we bring a pregnancy test?”

Her eyes opened wide. “Yes, but the king would want the royal physician—”

“Get me the test.”

This wasn’t the first time my mistress and I had stood over a small indicator stick. It was the first time the lines began to form as we waited the recommended three minutes. I reached for her hand, afraid my mind was playing tricks.

The result didn’t take three minutes.

It hardly took any time at all for both lines to become visible.

I staggered backward to the wall. “It’s positive.” I looked up at Lady Buckingham. “It’s positive.”

She nodded as her smile grew. “You should rest.”

“I need to tell Roman.”







With child.

I stared down at the small stick as a cascade of emotions I’d never before allowed myself to feel surged through me. I’d never thought it was possible to experience such an overwhelming array of feelings for someone I hadn’t yet met.





One and all were bombarding me at once.

Was it normal to worry about someone who you’d yet to meet?

I experienced all the concerns of mothers-to-be throughout history.

Was my baby healthy?

Would my baby be happy?

Would my baby be a girl or a boy?

Was this a world in which to bring a child?

Blinking away new tears, my gaze again met Lady Buckingham’s. “This is real? Tell me it’s real.”

“It’s real, Your Highness. I would expect that the crown would like you to be seen by Mr. Davies as soon as possible.”


That meant traveling to the capital. My thoughts scattered with Roman’s and my current itinerary. Tonight, I’d be with Isabella as Roman attempted to visit Inessa. Simply the thought of her name made my stomach twist.

Instinctively, I fell back to my knees, waiting for what remained within my stomach to make its way back up. Though my brow dampened with perspiration and my pulse increased, the queasiness subsided.

Looking up at my mistress, I forced a smile. “Tomorrow, Roman and I are talking to the people here in Forthwith.” We weren’t far from the border between Molave and Borinkia. “And then we’ll head back to Monovia. Thursday, Roman has scheduled Cardinal Decoti to visit and perform a blessing on our marriage. The king and queen are planning to attend.” I made my way to my feet. “I don’t want to postpone any of those activities. Friday, the prince is headed to the Fifteen Eurasia Summit.”

Lady Buckingham reached for my elbow as she wrapped her arm around my lower back. “Let me help you to the bed. Resting is best.”

Dutifully, I followed. However, as we neared our destination, I had a change of heart. “My nap from earlier helped, and I’m too excited to sleep.” Scoffing, I laid my hand over my midsection. “I suppose that will change.” My stare met hers. “I want to tell Roman.”

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