While trying to find peace from the tumultuous events that started with Prince Anton’s sadistic past, the previous year has brought many changes to the intertwining lives of the prince, his brother, Damian, and his beloved sister-in-law, Mellissandra. Attempting to heal and move forward, Anton must hide secrets that, if discovered, could be the demise of the royal family and the country of Colania.
Unfortunately, one nosy stateside reporter has caught the scent of a scandalous story hidden in the backward country. Fueled by her own tormented past, Alondra believes in bringing justice to the innocent, and she is determined to expose the corrupt monarch for all that he has done.
When Alondra sets foot on the small island, she causes a chain reaction that leads to revelations in the royal bloodline, forever changing the future of Colania.
Anton watched as Mellissandra played on the floor with two chubby babies. Anyone observing would never know that she was not both of the babies’ natural mother. She hugged them, tickled them, and loved them equally. But, only one of the babies Mellissandra was currently playing patty-cake with, was from her womb. The other belonged to Anton and his half-sister, Gilly, who now resided in the psychiatric unit of the Colania National Prison. That truth was not widely known. The official records stated that Mellissandra had given birth to fraternal twins, one boy and one girl, and their father was Damian Bellaro.
Likewise, Anton appeared to be a doting father and loving husband. But the truth was, Mellissandra was married to his brother even though Anton most definitely loved her.
When Mellissandra picked up the fussing baby and opened her shirt, Anton groaned inwardly. She had no reservations about baring her breasts and nursing in front of him or anyone else. She would claim it was the most natural thing in the world, and it was what breasts had been made for. She wasn’t going to starve one of her babies because someone else had a problem with it.
Anton’s issue wasn’t disapproval though. It wasn’t even sexual. Honestly, there was nothing sexy about a woman with a hungry child on her breast. Anton’s problem was that every time he saw her nursing one or both of the babies, his love for her would grow.
At first, Anton had been afraid that he would only be able to see what his mother had done to him.
“Come here, my son,” the beautiful woman said.
Anton dragged his feet. He had just seen a man leave this room, and he knew what that meant. His mother had let the man lie on top of her, and she now smelled funny. Even worse than the smell was what his mother would want him to do after she had a man on her. She wanted him to drink milk from her.
Anton didn’t like the milk. It was warm and tasted weird. Gilly had told him that no one but babies did that with their mothers. Anton wasn’t a baby though. He was five. But if he didn’t do it, his mother would cry and say he didn’t love her anymore.
“Anton,” she said, “come here, my darling. It’s time for a feeding.”
Frightened because he didn’t want to upset his mother and maybe get a switching, Anton went and climbed onto his mother’s naked body. When he latched on to her breast, hot tears slipped over his eyes.
When he’d first seen Mellissandra with a baby at her breast, he’d only been able to see a wonderful and loving mother. She embodied everything maternal. She was exactly what a mother should be.
Anton sighed. He could gaze at the red-haired goddess in front of him for a lifetime and worship at her feet for eternity. But she was his brother’s wife, and Anton knew that the love the couple shared ran deep. He probably loved Damian as much as he loved Mellissandra. It was just in a different way. Anton would do everything he could to prevent his feelings from creating any tension between the three of them.
Rising to his feet, Anton swiftly left the room without a word. He was doing what he always did when his feelings for her became overwhelming. He ran.
Damian arrived home from his club in time to see Anton leave. Since the babies had been born, he would work days for the most part. He didn’t like being away from his family at night when Mellissandra was usually most tired, and the babies were cranky. If Damian asked him, Anton would check on them and even sleep on their sofa, but Damian couldn’t bear to put more of a burden on his brother’s heart.
It was obvious to Damian that Anton was in love with Mellissandra. Every time he saw them together he was amazed at the person Anton became. Since Gilly’s arrest nearly a year ago, Anton had closed himself off from everyone—except for Mellissandra. Damian knew that the feelings weren’t all one sided. Mellissandra had a place in her heart reserved for Anton. This didn’t threaten Damian though because he knew the biggest part of her heart belonged to him.
Damian entered the apartment and called out to his wife. She didn’t respond, but he followed the sounds of the soft coos and giggles coming from the living room. When he saw them, he just stopped and watched in awe for a few minutes.
Mellissandra was in a pair of old ripped jeans and one of his button-down shirts. She had a baby on one breast while she tickled the other baby playing on the floor between her outstretched legs. Her flame red hair was pulled back into a braid because the babies loved to tug on her brightly colored locks. She took his breath away.
“Anton just left,” she said without glancing at him.
“I saw him, but he went the other direction.” Damian came into the room to sit beside her on the floor.
“We need to do something, Damian,” she said, finally looking at him. “It breaks my heart to see him suffering.”
“I’ve been thinking about it a lot, my love,” Damian said, staring deeply into her eyes. “But I don’t know if you’ll like the solution I’ve come up with.”
“As long as you’re not thinking of moving us out of the castle, I’ll do it.” The stubborn look he loved so much came over her face. “I won’t desert him, Damian.”
“Neither will I, love,” Damian said. “We’ll talk after the babies are in bed. For now, let me bask in the glow of my family.”
He reached over and took the satisfied baby from Mellissandra’s arms. “Oh, Arabella, you’re getting fat,” he teased the baby as he put her over his shoulder to burp her. “How has Dominic been today?” he asked his wife.
“Wonderful as usual,” she replied. “I swear, two more opposite children have never been born.” She leaned over to kiss Damian’s lips before picking up Dominic. “And I wouldn’t change a thing about either one of them.”
“So, what prompted the visit this afternoon?” Dr. Servo asked Anton.
Anton had ceased his sessions with the large group of therapists, but he had continued to see Dr. Servo. There was something about the woman that put him at ease. He felt like he could trust her.
“I just needed to center myself,” Anton said. “I was visiting with Mellissandra and the babies, and the emotions were too much.”
“What emotions were you feeling?” Dr. Servo asked, picking up her notebook.
“The same as usual.” Anton sighed. “Love, I suppose. Overwhelming envy. Adoration.”
“No lust or anger?”
“No.” Anton clasped and unclasped his hands nervously. “I have had no desire to hurt a woman since…” He paused. “I certainly have no desire to hurt Mel.”
“I know I’ve said this before, but I think you need to hear it again.” Dr. Servo put down her paper and leaned into her desk. “I believe you love Mellissandra very much. I believe you love Damian very much as well. These feelings you have are normal.”
“How could it be normal for me to love my brother’s wife?” Anton demanded. He rose to his feet and began pacing.
“She’s family, and she’s accepted you as her family, even after she found out about your addiction to violence.”
“I’m in love with her,” Anton whispered. “If it weren’t for Damian, I would do everything in my power to make her mine.”
“Would you?” Dr. Servo smiled and sat back in her chair. “Sire, in all the time we’ve been meeting, you have not given any indications of having romantic feelings for Mellissandra. You’ve talked about how beautiful she is and how caring she is. Lately, you’ve stated that she’s a wonderful mother, but not once have you said that you would like to make love with her. You haven’t described a need to take her in your arms or even an impulse to kiss her.”
“I haven’t touched a woman since finding out that I damaged Gilly so badly that her mind snapped,” Anton argued.
“That’s fear,” the doctor told him. “A time will come when you will find a woman who is worth getting over that fear. You are not the same man you were a year ago as evidenced by your strong emotions now.”
“Fear,” Anton snorted. “The only thing I fear is betraying my brother.”
“What do you think would be a betrayal in his eyes?”
“A pass at his wife,” Anton said sarcastically.
“Yet you feel no lust when you look at her,” Dr. Servo countered. “You’ve described your feelings as more of—” She shuffled through her notebook for a moment. “Reverence,” she said, having found what she was looking for. “More than once, you have stated, ‘Mellissandra is like a goddess. Some days, I can sit and stare at her for hours and just be happy because I’m in her presence.’”
“Damian has said similar things,” Anton said.
“Yes, but Damian sleeps with her every night.” The doctor smiled. “So, tell me what else you could do that would betray your brother.”
Anton sighed heavily and plopped back into his seat. “If I hurt another woman, I suppose that would be a betrayal. Damian has worked hard to help me be normal. He’s put his trust in me. I don’t know if I could handle turning him against me again.”
“You look worn out,” Dr. Servo observed.
“I feel worn out,” Anton confirmed. “It’s so hard to be around her sometimes, yet I can’t keep myself away.”
“I think we’ve talked about this enough for now,” Dr. Servo said. “Mellissandra is good for you. She brings out a tenderness in you that you weren’t previously aware of. However, in the last year, you’ve gone from no feelings to an emotional overload. It’s okay to let yourself rest.”
“Tenderness?” Anton laughed mirthlessly. “Many women would argue that I don’t have a single tender bone in my body.”
“Tell me about the electric upgrade.” Dr. Servo ignored Anton’s self-deprecating comment. “Are you still having trouble getting the fiber-optic cable needed?”
Anton accepted the change of subject. “It’s not so much the supplies. It’s more a lack of skilled individuals to install it.”
Alondra sat in front of her computer, reading the short article about the woman who’d been imprisoned for nearly a year. When her boss had given her the assignment, she’d moaned and groaned about another country being ruled by a monarchy. She hadn’t wanted to travel there and be subject to their laws, laws that usually only favored men and rarely protected foreign visitors.
But the more she researched, it seemed the less she’d found. The woman in question, Dr. Gillian Portsmith, had reportedly murdered two people, attacked the crowned prince, and held a woman hostage in the hospital. For someone who had supposedly committed such heinous crimes, very little information was available. The latest article Alondra had found, only the third, stated that the good doctor had a nervous breakdown, and she was screaming about murdering the queen at the request of the prince.
Dr. Portsmith was being housed in the national prison, the only prison in the country, in a village a few miles from the castle. The only real city-type place in the entire country was the area directly surrounding the castle, so not much information on the village was available.
Alondra smelled something fishy with the whole situation. As much as she hated traveling to foreign countries, she knew if she didn’t follow up on this one, she would regret it. She booked herself a plane ticket and then a boat ticket to the small island country. She would be leaving tomorrow.
About The Author:
Diana Ames was born and raised in Central Pennsylvania. She lives with her husband, two children, and a variety of crazy pets. Balancing work, wife and mom duties, and writing has been the best and most rewarding challenge of her life.
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3926548.Diana_Ames
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Diana-Ames/e/B00IGTLH2C/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/dianasden
Royally Tamed, Book Two in the Royals of Colania Series
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00NB8GAOS
Start at the beginning with Royally Trained. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IGMR3OK
or on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00IGMR3OK