Happy release day! I’m so excited to share my story from the Once Upon a Harem series. Each day through Friday (5/25) I’ll post a page from Their Royal Ash.
Read the previous pages
Chapter two, page four
One year later
An uneasiness settled in my gut as I walked the narrow cobblestone streets of Trelan. The feeling of being watched buzzed along my nerves, twisting my stomach in knots.
The small village was the third I’d come to in the last year. It was about a two days’ travel from Kregon Kingdom in the opposite direction Kieran said to go and had been my home for the last four months.
The people here were nice. Plus, I was lucky to come across an elderly man by the name of Frank who needed help. I cooked and cleaned. We had a small garden and chickens. Life here was peaceful.
My peace turned to sadness when Frank passed on about a month ago. He left the house and everything with it to me. How was I to just leave it?
A little voice in my mind nagged that I’d stayed too long and it was time to move on.
After all, the guys would come looking for me. Or already were. I wasn’t sure I wanted to be found. Not yet. Their plan included taking me back to the palace one day. I wasn’t going back. Not while the king was there.
Dread sliced at my insides and I couldn’t pinpoint the source of the building panic. Darkness touched my awareness in a familiar way.
Taking a deep breath, holding it for several moments, and then releasing it, I tried to calm myself. I was being ridiculous. There was no way the king would search for me this far outside the kingdom. Or would he?
Then I saw him.
My heart dropped to my feet while sadness and desire battled each other for dominance. The impulse to run to him, wrap my body around his, to feel his arms around me again, was too strong.
If I exposed myself, I’d have to go back. I wasn’t going back.
Besides, I didn’t know if he was alone or other Royal Guards were around.
Darting into a breezeway leading toward the path through the woods to my small cottage, I ran. There was no outrunning a vampire. I just had to get enough of a head start to lose him.
I prayed to the heavens Kieran didn’t see me or catch my scent.
When I reached my home, I grabbed the saddle bags from the hook just inside the back door, then rushed to my bedroom and shoved a change of clothes, money, and my journal inside. Not giving a second look, I darted out the back to the barn where my horse was.
Before I reached the wooden building, I heard Penny kicking her stall door. She neighed with each kick. A warning?
Just then, Kieran filled the entrance of the barn. I stopped dead in my tracks, shaking all over. “Please, let me go.”
His dark brows dipped and he prowled closer. Tears filled my eyes. He was beautiful for a man. I was sure that was the vampire charm. A way to lure his prey in.