Hey reading family! This week’s sample picks up where last week’s sample left off! If you have not read it, find it HERE.
Trumpets blasted in a synchronized symphony as Cadena and Cadence stood side by side before the high concrete doors of the courtyard.
Turning her head to face her sister, Cadena crossed her eyes and stuck out her tongue—mocking what she felt was a ridiculous routine to announce their entrance.
Cadence laughed, but the twins’ faces grew serious as they put on a pretense for their guests when the doors opened. They exited the palace, their steps aligned like a dance they’d practiced daily.
All eyes were on them, and delighted expressions covered most of the faces that perused them while others were amazed by their beauty.
With all the attention sucked their way, it was easy to focus on the many people who ogled them. And yet, Cadena’s eyes left the sea of people to sweep across the concrete balcony. In the dark area beyond, she knew Gemini lurked. She could feel his intense attention as a choreography of chills doused her body.
Seconds passed; then he stepped forward into a glow of light, presenting himself to her briefly before moving back into the darkness.
Cadena’s lips spread into a smile, but it was her body’s stimulation to his presence that made her inwardly chastise the behavior of her flesh.
“We are glad that you could join us, Your Highness.”
Eyes fluttering, Cadena brought her attention to the prince of Myriad, Mandla Sizwe. His slanted, squinting eyes made Cadena feel as if she were under his scrutiny—but that happened to be how his eyes settled on his face with the thin bridge of his nose and wide nostrils. Her attention was drawn to the mini afro on his head simply because it shined along with his forehead as if he’d sprayed a ton of oils before leaving for Kéra Asnela.
“Many apologies for taking so long, Prince Mandla…” She glanced at the others, “…Princess Izara, King Tau.”
“Whatever the reason for the delay, we are sure that it was important,” King Tau responded.
“I pride myself on honesty and truth. I couldn’t figure out if my dress was too revealing or not. So, I asked my sister…” Cadena glanced at Cadence, “…to help me figure it out.”
They laughed lightly, and Princess Izara—dressed in a ballroom gown displaying Myriad’s signature gold and green—responded. “I wish I had a sister to help me with such tasks.” Her high-pitched laugh was shrill as she rested one of her gloved hands on her chest. “If it were up to my brother, he would keep me cloaked in a full body bag, I’m sure.”
King Tau smiled while Prince Mandla smirked. But instead of retorting to his sisters’ comment, he spoke to Cadena.
“We will always wait for you, Princess Cadena. A queen like yourself must be flawless at all times, yes?”
A soft, polite smile curved across her lips. “Except in the dead of night when I’m snoring,” she half-joked.
Alarm crossed Prince Mandla’s face while Cadence burst into laughter.
Cadena maintained her poise despite wanting to join Cadence in laughter. Her eyes slid to her father, King Isaac Winthrope; she caught the amusement in his eyes even as she felt the sternness of his posture. Internally collecting herself, Cadena addressed Prince Mandla again. “That was a joke.”
He finally laughed. “Oh, I see.” His curt chuckles made Cadena want to roll her eyes, but she maintained her poise as she continued, “Though I am pleased that you would wait for me, it is unnecessary. I loathed keeping the guests from their enjoyment of the festivities. And also, I am not a queen as of yet.”
Prince Mandla smiled and nodded. “That is correct; however, perhaps that can be changed.”
They watched each other for a few seconds when another voice behind her rose.
She turned to face Prince Jubulani, the crown prince of Befania. “Good evening, Prince Jubulani.” Her eyes skipped past him, and she nodded in greeting. “Prince Thulani, Princess Imani, King Thando.”
They all greeted her at once, but Prince Jubulani held out his hand. Cadena slipped her fingers into his palm, and he bent slightly to kiss the back of her hand.
“It is nice to finally see you tonight.”
“You as well.”
“Is everything okay?”
“Everything is fine. I apologize for keeping everyone waiting. It’s my fault for not realizing so many would wish to see me because the wedding ceremony for my aunt and uncle is the reason for our gathering.”
“We will always want to see you, Princess.”
Why? That was what Cadena wanted to say. Frankly, she was puzzled about such a need.
Everyone wants to see Cadena; she internally taunted herself. Cadena had been in the courtyard for a total of fifteen minutes, and she was beyond ready to leave.
She spoke to the Presidents of Zambia and Zimbabwe. As the head of the Board of Advisors, part of her duties was to make sure relations between global leaders were strong and alliances were intact. For that reason alone, she made small talk with the leaders at the party, even though she wanted to sit in a quiet corner with her thoughts.
“Excuse me.” They all turned to look at Raphael Valentine, the world-renowned, multimillionaire photographer who had patiently waited for them all to come together. “If you are ready, I’d like to take your group pictures now.”
“Yes, of course.” King Winthrope spoke up. “Everyone gather close, please.”
The royal families and presidents stood together as Raphael’s camera illuminated the area with a mirage of flashes. It seemed to go on for minutes when he pulled his camera down.
“I think I got the shot.”
They all laughed.
“Mr. Valentine, is it?” Prince Mandla stepped forward.
“Princess Cadena and I would like pictures of our own. Would you mind?”
“We would?” Cadena blurted.
Raphael glanced between Prince Mandla and Cadena, a thick brow rising up his handsome face.
Cadena’s outburst didn’t deter Prince Mandla.
“Yes.” He turned to eye Cadena. “We would.”
Cadena’s forced smile could be detected by anyone in her direct vicinity, but Prince Mandla remained none the wiser.
“Advisor?” Raphael inquired, knowing from their previous encounter in the United States that Cadena didn’t like to be addressed as princess.
Prince Mandla was confused by Raphael’s approach, and as such, his brows dipped, his forehead creasing into a frown.
“She’s Princess Cadena, not Advisor, and you should resp—”
“I have requested that Mr. Valentine call me Advisor, Prince Mandla. I hold many titles in our kingdom. And since you are unaware, it is now you that I must educate.”
Raphael smirked as Cadena continued.
“I am Advisor to the throne, Prophetess, Your Highness, and Crown Princess. You see, I don’t get up every day to put on a dress, go to tea parties, and dance the night away at a magical ball, nor do I stand next to a prince or king to smile and be pretty.”
Her lips spread into a tight smile. “I hold duties in this kingdom that keep our affairs in order, including sitting at the head of many important tables.” She paused and glanced over her shoulder, grabbing her sister’s arm, who had been eavesdropping on their conversation. “If you would like a picture with me, allow my sister to stand in. I need to excuse myself for a moment.”
Cadena replaced herself with Cadence, stepping forward to reach out and lightly touch Raphael’s shoulder.
“Thank you so much for traveling over international waters to assist us tonight, Raphael. My family is a huge fan of your work, and we are grateful for your presence.”
“You’re very welcome, Advisor.”
Cadena nodded and moved past them, headed through the crowd. They parted to make way for her, and once she had walked to the exit, she stepped into another hallway. A few guests lingered but, upon seeing her went wide-eyed and dropped to one knee.
“Your Highness,” they spoke in unison.
A quick smile was replaced by thinned lips as she moved past them, down the hall, then turning to the right and entering a corridor that wasn’t as well-lit as the last. Cadena stopped in front of the bathroom.
A deep voice broke through the dim space. “Are you in need of a key, Your Highness?”
Heat cruised down Cadena’s flesh, and she turned slowly to face the baritone voice that often penetrated her dreams.
Gemini stood two feet away from her, next to a column, his shadow so tall it reached her feet and covered her own.
Cadena’s eyes moved over him. There was nothing new about his attire. It was the same royal ensemble he wore on most occasions. Still, Gemini’s muscular body gave the garb an appeal that didn’t belong to any other guards. The button-down uniform vest was creased and fit over his toned physique, as were the pants that rode the solid bricks of his thighs.
“Come closer, Gemini.”
He approached her without hesitancy, cloaking her in the natural fragrance of his flesh. He gazed at her with amber-glazed eyes that sent heat spiraling down her core.
Cadena swallowed and tried to remain poised, though she was stirred where she stood. “Do you have a key to this bathroom?”
“How did you know I would need it?”
“I have a key to every locked bathroom in the area around the courtyard.”
“In case you needed it during this celebration.”
They stared at one another with sparks of charged energy bouncing between them.
Cadena dropped her eyes from his, needing desperately to remove their connection. She laughed softly, then shook her head. “It’s amazing how you’re more prepared than I am. Yet, I’m the one who needs the respite.”
“I am here to serve you, Your Highness. You’ll never be without as long as I live.”
Cadena’s eyes rose back to his, and she caught his gaze settle on her lips. Her body was a thermos containing heat she needed to cool down. Her mouth opened, and his jaw locked.
“Um…” She blinked. Get it together, Cadena. “Thank you for the key. May I have it, please?”
Gemini reached for his vest, popping a button where he slipped a hand inside and removed a single brass key. He placed it in her hand, and she turned her back to him, shaken by his presence so much that the key bumped against the lock.
She struggled to unlock the door, and after watching her for a few seconds, Gemini reached out, his hand covering hers.
“Let me help you, Your Royal Highness.”
Her pussy pulsated from his touch, and her eyes widened, then closed in embarrassment.
“Just…Your Highness will do, Gemini.”
They stood there in the dim hallway, her back to his front, his hand covering hers, her breath hitched when she had spoken before.
“Are you all right?”
She turned around to face him and immediately realized that was a mistake. Gemini was so close that she could smell the moisturizer he’d used on his skin.
“I don’t know.”
“Would you like to talk about it, Your Highness?”
Her chest rose and fell, her breasts almost grazing against his chest.
“Maybe some other time.”
He nodded, leaned in, and Cadena gasped when his mouth neared hers.
Rising back to his full height, Gemini lifted a hand and pushed open the door behind her, holding it there for her to enter.
“Your Highness,” he said, letting Cadena know that she was free to escape into the bathroom.
Flustered and feeling foolish, she nodded. “Thank you,” and entered, rushing to find reprieve.