The Duke's Runaway Princess

Elizabeth Lennox - Love by Accident Triology #3 - The Duke's Runaway Princess

The Duke's Runaway Princess (Love by Accident Triology #3)
Elizabeth Lennox


Chapter 1

The lightning slashed across the black sky and Zarah grabbed hold of the wet railing, bracing herself for the next ocean wave. It came just as the thunder erupted with vibrations that she could actually feel and she bowed her head, praying that the wave wasn’t too large this time. The freezing cold rain was driving down onto the deck of the ship hard, feeling like needles against her skin and she couldn’t understand why her long sleeved shirt wasn’t protecting her more effectively. How had she gotten into this mess? How was she going to get out of it?

The wave of water crashed but it knocked her against the wooden railing of the ship. She had to ignore the pain tearing through her side, forcing her mind to focus on just surviving the storm. There was a door off to the side and she rushed towards it but it was locked! She tried to grab hold of the wheel of the ship, tried to steer out of this insane storm, but the waves and current were too strong and the downpour from the heavens made it difficult to see more than a couple of feet in front of her. The moment she tried to steer, the current ripped the wheel out of her hands, hurting her fingers. Looking around, she peered through the darkness, desperate to find something to protect her from this storm.

It was her own fault, she thought as she tripped her way towards the bow of the ship, wishing her legs would move faster. She had known that this storm was coming and she hadn’t done anything to avoid it. There were so many things she could have done to steer around this storm but she’d just sailed along, pretending it wasn’t coming.

Suddenly, she tripped and looked down, surprised by the coarse ropes that were wrapped around her ankles and the scrapes along her legs where the rough wood of the deck had torn her wet skin. How had she missed those huge rolls of ropes? Why hadn’t she walked around them?

Another wave was coming. More lightning slashed and the thunder boomed but she ignored those problems. The thing she feared the most was almost upon her and she told herself that the wave was the worst. She could deal with the thunder because it wouldn’t hurt her while the lightening was too far away at this point. The wave! She had to get out of the way! She had to find shelter or the wave would take her out to sea! Run faster! She tried to dash to safety but the rope was still tangled up around her legs, holding her back. Her numb fingers couldn’t unravel the rope from around her ankles and she kept glancing at the wave then to the rope that was now knotted to her legs. Panic filled her chest as she watched the wall of water build higher, the fear that she would be washed off the deck and drowned at sea terrified her. The wave was coming closer, closer….her fingers ripped at the knots but nothing would unravel them and the wave was almost upon her now!

Someone was coming! More lightning but it didn’t illuminate the man’s face. He was terrifying. Large and dark, coming directly towards her. Why wasn’t he affected by the storm? He seemed dry and he stepped over the ropes, not getting tangled up even though they were everywhere.

The wave! She could see the swell in the distance. It was coming faster! She had to find something to hold onto!

But it was too late. The swell rushed over the top of the ship and she hadn’t made it to the railing yet. She had nothing to hang onto and she felt the water wash over her, taking her with it out to sea.

And then it was all gone. Zarah sat up in bed, gasping for breath as her mind shifted away from the nightmare, trying to orient herself to the present and wakefulness. She looked around, confused because the storm…it had been so real! She squinted her eyes trying to figure out where she was and what had just happened. Her breathing was heavy as reality slowly returned. “It was just a dream,” she told herself, trying to calm her racing heartbeat and orient herself to her bedroom. Just a dream.

The doorbell rang.