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Chapter dedicated to Bluewaterstorm

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Chapter dedicated to Bluewaterstorm. Thanks so much for reading and pressing that delicate little vote button! You are awesome!

Chapter 43 – Introductions – Raine's POV 

We were led quickly by the palace guards through multiple corridors and flights of stairs. I remotely took notice of the splendor, but missed all of the details in my nervousness. It took about fifteen minutes to actually make it to our intended destination.

When we reached the ornate double doors, I stopped and dug in my heels, pulling against Gen. Raed's hold on me. I was afraid of his wrath, but couldn't seem to stop myself. My heart was beating too quickly, and all of the air seemed to have evaporated from my lungs. I was surprised when he stood patiently, waiting for me to pull myself together. And then shocked when he murmured, "You can do this. You faced Armand and Vladimir under much worse circumstances. Now you are a princess and will be treated as such."

I stared at him with wide eyes and nodded, as my breathing and heart rate returned to almost normal.

"Good girl," he whispered, and opened one of the doors. As we passed through the entrance, he disentangled my arm from his and gave me a short nudge in the right direction.

Once again, it was not a traditional conference room, but it wasn't quite to the Vegas style of Armand's either. The walls and ceiling were painted deep blue with contrasting white molding. There were two large ornately carved hardwood coffee tables in the center. However the surrounding dark teal couches were more modern in their shape with unusual white swirl armrests.

It wasn't difficult to pick out King Quinn and Prince Alaric. They sat separated from the rest. The King was handsome with older features, slight lines on his face and grey hair. His expression revealed surprise and then shifted into fierce inspection as he watched me with piercing brown eyes.

Only one thing about me could have surprised him so severely – my scent. I wondered why they had not been made aware of my differences before now, but didn't have time to dwell on it as I continued forward.

Even seated, it was not difficult to identify Prince Alaric's strong and muscular build. He wore an expensive black suit, tailored to fit him flawlessly. Truthfully, he was gorgeous. He had blonde hair that stood up a little chaotically on his head, warm brown eyes and a 5 o'clock shadow along his prominent jaw. His expression held a hint of cordiality; however he too looked surprised and confused. Shit.

I walked until I was right in front of them. Since neither was standing, I didn't extend my hand. Instead I curtsied, and lowered my eyes, holding the position as I waited for their cue.

Every second felt like an hour.

Finally one of them said, "Welcome."

I couldn't be sure which, since I was looking at the floor. And then a man was standing right in front of me. He murmured quietly, "Please."

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