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Chapter 32 – The Queen – Raine's POV

Cage returned right on time. I jumped into his arms and wrapped my legs around his waist as I asked breathlessly, "Where are we going?"

He laughed and nuzzled into my neck. "We are going to see Kieran and Talia." He released me to my feet and took my hand as we walked out the door.

After all of yesterday's events – had it only just been one day – it felt a little strange to me as we walked through the familiar rooms. But no one seemed to take any special notice or pay attention more than normal. Besides Cage, Kieran and Talia, it appeared no one knew about my attempted escape.

It didn't take long to reach Talia's suite. I was nervous, worried about how angry she would be with me. As soon as we entered the door, she rushed to me and hugged me tightly. Relief flooded through my body. A small sob broke from my lips as I cried against her shoulder, "I am so sorry! I never meant for you to get hurt!"

"Hush now. It was just a little flesh wound. I am perfectly fine," she assured me softly, and then stood back and said with a sly smile, "I hear you will be mated soon."

I wiped the few tears from my cheeks and flushed with excitement as I breathed, "Yes!"

Kieran stepped around Talia to face me. He nodded toward Cage and teased, "You are either incredibly brave or irreparably insane to put up with him."

I laughed.

He looked at Cage and asked, "May I?"

"Of course," Cage answered easily.

I was startled when Kieran gathered me into his arms, but welcomed his brotherly affection. He whispered, "Always be good to him, little sister."

"Always," I breathed in absolute agreement against his shoulder.

He released me, and Cage's arms wrapped around me tightly again. I clung to his chest, my happiness mirroring his. We settled down onto a couch. Kieran and Talia sat across from us in chairs.

"I will return her to you this evening," Cage told Talia.

Talia assured him strongly, "We will take very good care of her for you. Vlad will get nowhere near her."

Anxiety rolled through me again.

Kieran asked Cage, "Do you have any further news on the spy who alerted the hunters about her departure yesterday?"

Cage's voice was hard as he replied, "Not yet. Besides the three of us, it does not appear that anyone was even aware of her absence. Yet someone had to know. I have my contacts working on it."

My face must have paled considerably because Talia admonished them, "Hush, those details can be discussed at a later date. They are not important now. What is important is getting you ready for the mating ceremony. Tomorrow, we will find you a gorgeous dress, fitting for the Princess you will be."

"A dress?" I breathed.

Her eyes lit up. "Oh yes, we are going to have so much fun together!"

We were interrupted when Cage's cell phone pinged. He extracted it and frowned as he looked at the screen. He stood and extended his hand toward me. "We must go. It appears the Queen has requested your presence."

Both Kieran and Talia looked worried. I trembled. "What does she want?"

Cage shook his head.

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