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Chapter dedicated to Cheekymonkay_16. Thanks for reading and voting on this story as well, my friend! You are super cool and I still love your user ID. he he

Chapter 46 – Alone Time – Raine's POV

The voices sounded a little bit like they were underwater, muted and not exactly decipherable. As I became more aware, I realized they were speaking clearly; it was just muddled by the lingering fuzziness in my brain.

I lay silently, unmoving, trying to get my bearings and recall what had happened the day before. And then it all came back to me. Traveling, King Quinn, his counsel, Alaric, Loki... All of it flooded through my head, in a flash of color and events. My internal musing was alarmingly interrupted when I realized what they were saying. It was obvious they did not know I was awake.

The tinkling sound of Talia's laughter mixed with Alaric's baritone chuckle, as he teased her playfully, "...That's not a good enough explanation. I'm going to need a better reason why you have stayed away from me for so long."

"I have other responsibilities besides just you," she replied smartly.

"But really, what could be more important than you representing Armand as an ambassador here?" he pointed out.

"You will no longer need an ambassador, once your union with Armand's daughter, Princess Raine is accomplished," she replied. I could hear the sorrow in her voice. I wondered if he could as well.

He insisted, "But you do such a good job. You know exactly what I like. I am certain your talents are still very much needed."

Anxiety rumbled through my chest.

He felt something for her!

She was crazy to think otherwise.

Unless, of course, he talked to every woman like that! The thought made me nauseous. I had witnessed Queen Ileana's pain when Armand blatantly kept a mistress, my mother Brialle. But that was only one other woman. Was my fate going to be a hundred times worse?! Was he going to continue having relationships with any and every woman he wanted?!

A moan escaped my lips. I wasn't sure if it was from the pain in my body or the torment in my heart. I was okay with him not loving me. How could I not be? Clearly, I didn't love him either. My heart belonged to only one man, who I could never have. But I had no idea how to face the humiliation of being publicly cheated on by anyone and everyone.

They must have heard me, because Talia was by my side in an instant. The concern I found it her eyes almost looked real as she asked, "How are you feeling?"

That question didn't have any good answers, so I just nodded my head, hoping to avoid the conversation. I struggled to sit up. My head still felt a little woozy, but I was determined to get out of his bed.

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