Forced Wife, Royal Love-ChildBy: Trish Morey
But once outside he made it clear that he expected her to keep moving. Towards the jeep.
Sienna stopped, the men either side of her coming to a halt also. ‘What’s going on?’
‘It is but a short trip to the Castello,’ he said, neatly sidestepping her question and throwing her thoughts into turmoil.
Her eyes swung up to the palace that sat atop the massive rock that made up this part of the island. It stared down at her with its thousand window eyes, and for the first time she didn’t notice the beauty of the ancient stone architecture with its arched windows and flag-topped turrets, but the thick walls and the fortifications all around that had protected it from invaders for centuries. This time the fairy-tale palace had disappeared, and it was the fortress that she noticed, the fortress she knew instinctively would be just as hard to escape from as to break into.
The fortress that contained the man she least wanted to see in the world.
Oh, no. No way was she going there.
She swallowed back on the sick feeling in a stomach that was once again threatening to unload its pitiful contents at any time, while the hot sun wrung even more perspiration from her nervous body. Her overalls stuck to her in all the wrong places, and sweat beads slid lazily along the loose curling tendrils at her fringe and neck.
‘Look, I don’t really have time for this. I have to get the chopper back to base. They’re expecting me.’ She cast a desperate look back over her shoulder towards the helicopter, frowning when she noticed that the remaining two officers had taken up guard duty in front of the chopper, strategically placing themselves between her and the door and effectively cutting off that means of escape. Even if she could have outrun these two beside her.
‘Please,’ the officer urged, gesturing towards the jeep.
Finding what little shred of courage she still had left, she kicked up her chin. ‘And if I insist on being allowed to leave? If I refuse to accompany you to the palace?’
He smiled again, but this time it was a little lighter on the charm, a little heavier on the menace. ‘In that unfortunate case,’ he said, adding a little bow, ‘you would leave me with no choice. I would be forced to arrest you.’
SIENNA had had enough. For almost three hours she’d been stuck inside this drawing room, prowling the walls holding her prisoner like a caged lion at the zoo.
It didn’t matter that the drawing room was the size of a small country and that the accoutrements, the Renaissance tapestries gracing the walls, the crystal chandeliers and fine furniture, made it much more pleasant than any zoo enclosure she’d ever seen. Nor did the constant visitors make a shred of difference, bustling in and out and offering her refreshments and any number of pastries or other tasty delights that she desired.
She wasn’t about to be taken in by window dressing. The now familiar maroon-clad guards she’d spied perched at their posts outside the door every time they’d opened had made it more than clear that she was not some welcome guest, but a prisoner in a cage, albeit a very gilded one.
And while at first she’d been nervous, anxious about having to confront Rafe again and certain that he must be the one behind her detention, after waiting this long with no information she was beyond nervousness and frustration. She was furious.
Not one person she’d met here—was able to tell her exactly why she was being kept against her will or when she would be allowed to leave.
The bearer of the pastries had waved her questions aside with a sweep of a hand and had seemed insulted she hadn’t been more interested in tasting the proffered wares. The tea bearer had pretended he was ignorant of both English and French and had looked benignly down his crooked nose at her when she’d attempted her rudimentary Italian.
She had a helicopter that had been due back at base hours ago and nobody had allowed her anywhere near a phone to let them know she’d been detained. A missing helicopter. A missing pilot with it. And while the fragrant sweet tea had settled her stomach, it would take something a lot stronger, if not a minor miracle, to settle her nerves. Her earlier nausea was nothing to how she felt now. She would lose her job over this for sure.
Then she heard it, the familiar whine of helicopter engines leading up to that whump whump of the rotors. And not just any helicopter. In fact, if she didn’t know better…
She ran, her heart sinking with every step, to the large arched windows overlooking the helipad in time to see the helicopter rise up and turn to point out to sea.
‘No!’ she cried, slapping her open palm on the window fruitlessly, knowing there was no chance that whoever was flying the craft could see her, but continuing to slam her hand against the glass anyway as the helicopter accelerated away, already shrinking into the distance.
And mere anger turned incendiary.
There were two doors into the room—one she figured led to the kitchens from where the coffee and cakes had issued. She ran instead to the other, the large double doors she’d entered through and that she knew led to the entrance lobby, the same doors that had remained firmly closed against her until now. She pulled with all her weight against their handles, banging on the wood with her closed fists when she found them locked. ‘That’s my helicopter. Let me out!’ When the doors stayed closed, she rattled the handles some more, her fury rising further as they refused to budge. She cursed out loud. Why the hell wouldn’t they let her out?