Rise of a Queen (Kingdom Duet #2) - Rina Kent Page 0,1

he’s after everything Father’s built, from the company to the house and even the summer home in Wales.”

“Sorry fuck. What do you intend to do?”

“Find his weakness and hit him where it hurts so he backs the fuck off.”

My father’s heart condition isn’t doing well. Ever since Mum fell sick, it’s like he’s aged ten years every day.

The doctor told me and James to try to keep him as far away from stressful situations as possible. I couldn’t do anything about today, but the future is different.

I’m taking things into my own hands, and I’ll force everyone who’s brought my family down to pay. In blood if I have to.

“I like that.” Ethan grins. “I’m in.”

“No one invited you.”

He wraps an arm around my shoulder and squeezes. “I invited myself and you can’t kick me out. You’re stuck with me for life, Jon.”

“Is this my punishment?”

“Fuck you, mate.” He stands up and offers me his hand. “Come on.”

I take it, staggering to my feet and dusting the dirt off my trousers and jacket.

After downing one last swig from the small bottle, I let Ethan throw it away.

“Go first,” I tell him. “I’ll be there in a bit.”

He tightens his grip on my shoulder one final time in an obvious show of comfort before he releases me and disappears to the other side of the cemetery. James probably needs Ethan’s consoling more than I do. My brother’s the type who feels too much, sort of like my parents.

I’m like our grandfather. It’s not that I don’t feel, it’s that I find it hard, even impossible, to show those feelings.

Ever since Father’s company started to struggle, I’ve known I don’t have a choice in being who I am. I might’ve not finished university yet, but the courses of action I suggested have worked more than what Father has been doing for years.

He can be soft when it comes to business, and that’s his biggest mistake. If you’re not a wolf, you’ll be eaten by wolves.

James couldn’t care less about affairs. He’s content with being a rugby star and spending his youth drinking and shagging his way through the female population.

I cross the distance from the forgotten grave to where Mother’s burial is happening. I mourn her alone, not in front of people. I mourn the way she was too naïve for this world, the way she thought giving to others was her purpose of being, to the point she forgot about us sometimes.

There was no misconception about who was Mother’s favourite between me and James. She always looked at me with a furrow between her brows whenever I hit her with facts she didn’t appreciate, like how Father couldn’t sponsor her charitable events anymore.

She couldn’t relate to me, and we remained that way. However, she loved me, I guess. Like anyone would love the child whose morals they doubted.

Mother thought I was too cruel, when I was just too realistic for her liking.

Today, I’ll be the rock James and Father need, and then I’ll protect the house Grandpa left us.

I will protect the King legacy.

My feet come to a halt at a low weeping sound. I stand by the tree, half-camouflaged by the trunk, and tilt my head to the side.

A woman in a black dress and a matching veil covering her eyes kneels in front of what seems like a new grave, tears falling down her cheeks.

Her black hair is pulled into a conservative bun that doesn’t go well with the designer clothes and shoes she’s wearing.

Beside her stands a little girl no older than five years old. She’s also wearing a long black dress that swallows her small body. A veil similar to the woman’s, though sheerer, covers her eyes as well. Her ebony hair is tied in pigtails, falling on either side of her face.

As the woman — her mother, I assume — cries, the little girl fiddles with the veil, nose scrunching and lips thinning in a line. Someone doesn’t like that veil.

When she finally manages to shrug it off, she bunches it in her small hands, hides it behind her back, then drops it to the ground.

I smile at the mischievous look in her dark eyes. From this distance, I can’t tell if they’re brown or blue, or a mixture of both.

As soon as she finishes her mission of getting rid of the veil, she leans over the woman and wipes her eyes with the back of her tiny hands.

“Don’t cry, Alicia. She’ll be reight,” the little