Rule of a Kingdom (Kingdom Duet #0) - Rina Kent
Those who bow down after defeat don’t know how to grab power by the throat.
They don’t know how to make their enemies fall and never get up again.
Power isn’t about winning. It’s about never losing. It’s about one win after the other to the point that suffering a loss
becomes a foreign concept.
Power is snatching the first move in a chessboard so the opponent always follows your lead, not the other way
I lean back against the chair in my home office, my fingers cradling a glass of cognac. My friend, Ethan, stares at
me through the laptop. His shoulders are tense under his English cut suit and his chestnut brows draw over cobalt
“Well played, Jonathan,” he grits out before taking a sip of his own drink.
I allow my lips to twitch in a smirk. “Crushing you is always a pleasure, Ethan.”
“Just because you won this bid doesn’t mean you crushed me. I’ll win the next.”
“Keep telling yourself that.”
Ethan and I have known each other since university days. If you ask me how we gravitated towards one another, I
wouldn’t be able to pinpoint the exact moment. All I know is that we share the same tendencies, the same
competitive streak, and we’re even attracted to the same types of women.
That’s why we ended up married to our respective wives. Or in my case, it’s one of the reasons.
My relationship with Ethan started as a camaraderie of sorts, a friendship, since we understood each other the
best. However, it’s now some kind of a rivalry. Neither of us likes to lose and we don’t pull punches to make sure of
“Come to Birmingham.” He tilts his drink in my direction. “I’m setting up a poker table.”
“You don’t want to win?”
“I only gamble when I can have a sure win.”
“When did you become such a bore, Jon?”
“Since I started beating you at your own games.”
“Where’s your lap dog Agnus?” I pretend to search behind him. “Is today his appointment with the vet?”
Ethan sighs heavily and slides his glass of whiskey on the table with distaste. “For the thousandth time, I told you
not to call him a dog or I’ll stop playing nice.”
That’s exactly why I do it. Ethan doesn’t like anyone badmouthing his childhood friend, Agnus, since we were in
university. He barely shows any agitation unless it has to do with his family or Agnus.
A sound of the door opening comes from his side before Agnus appears into view, carrying a little girl with braided
blonde hair. “Daddy!”
Ethan stands up and takes her from Agnus’ arms, a huge grin on his face. “How’s my princess today?”
Elsa, Ethan’s daughter, grins and waves a red chocolate packet. “Agnus bought me Maltesers!”
“He did?” Ethan stares at his second hand before focusing on his five-year-old girl. “You shouldn’t eat so much
chocolate or it will rot your teeth.”
“It’s supposed to be our secret, Elsa,” Agnus whispers to her.
“Sorry,” she grins. “We won’t tell Daddy next time.”
“You’ll hide things from me, Princess?” Ethan tickles her tummy and she breaks out in giggles.
We’re supposed to talk about a project we’ve been envisioning with the Japanese, but if his daughter is in the
picture, he’s out.
He turns so sappy when it comes to his wife, children, and Agnus.
I’m about to end the conference call when Agnus steps in front of the camera. His bland features greet me with no
expression at all. Even his pale eyes are almost washed. I stare back with a smirk, knowing how much he gets
offended on Ethan’s behalf whenever I ruin his plans.
Without saying a word, he ends the call, making the screen go black.
I continue staring at the laptop as I take another sip of my drink.
The way Ethan deals with his family is...strange. I suppose it’s because I can’t seem to wrap my mind around it. I
don’t allow my family to get in the way of my business. Each has its own time and occasion.
Maybe that’s why he keeps losing to me.
There’s a small knock on the door that could only be a child’s. I stare at my watch — nine, which is way past Aiden
’s bedtime. It couldn’t be Alicia because for once, she said she’ll take her meds. Whenever she does, she passes
out for the entire night.
My nephew, Levi, is on a trip with my brother James to some exotic place in Asia. He wanted to take Aiden, too, but
I disallowed him. I don’t trust James with my son. I