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Golden Chains (The Colorblind Trilogy Book 3), page 1

 

Golden Chains (The Colorblind Trilogy Book 3)
 



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Golden Chains (The Colorblind Trilogy Book 3)


  by

  Rose B. Mashal

  Copyright © 2017 by Rose B. Mashal

  All rights reserved.

  This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

  Editor:

  Wennie Conedy

  Proofreader:

  Susan Willeat

  Cover Design by Jada D’Lee Designs

  Formatted by Lindsey Gray

  Title

  Copyright

  Dedication

  Summary

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Chapter Fourteen

  Chapter Fifteen

  Chapter Sixteen

  Chapter Seventeen

  Chapter Eighteen

  Chapter Nineteen

  Chapter Twenty

  Chapter Twenty-one

  Chapter Twenty-two

  Chapter Twenty-three

  Chapter Twenty-four

  Chapter Twenty-five

  Chapter Twenty-six

  Chapter Twenty-seven

  Chapter Twenty-eight

  Chapter Twenty-nine

  Chapter Thirty

  Chapter Thirty-one

  Chapter Thirty-two

  Chapter Thirty-three

  Chapter Thirty-four

  Chapter Thirty-five

  Epilogue

  Teaser

  About the Author

  Additional Works

  Acknowledgments

  To Kholoud Gamal, the tantan to my tanton.

  “Royalty is a dirty game.” That’s what he’d once told her, but she couldn’t imagine how dirty it could really get.

  Blessed now more than ever, Marie’s love for Mazen continues to grow, and with it, her worries and doubts, as well.

  Just as they think that all of the past drama could be left behind, an enemy starts plotting revenge and ways to break them apart, forcing Marie into facing her worst fears.

  With everything around her threatening her happiness, along with the well-being of the ones she loves most, is there a limit to what Marie will do to protect them from certain danger? There might be none.

  Because when it comes to love, pain can be bearable and chains become breakable.

  The smell of death saturated the air, assaulting my nose and filling my lungs with its unwelcome stench. With it came the horrible feeling of sickness and the fear of the unknown.

  The scenario of dead people surrounding me, and others struggling as they fought for their lives wasn't new to me, I'd seen it before. The only difference this time was that I wasn't a scared little girl anymore. No, I was a horrified, fully grown woman.

  For the past few days, I trusted that everything would be okay in the end. It was the only thing that kept me going. I refused to let go. I refused to allow anxiety to start stabbing at my heart or hold my brain in its disgusting claws.

  But right now, I didn't know how to be strong anymore. I didn't know how to keep it together while feeling this agonizing pain in my body, or this unbearable ache in my chest. Being here was much more than I could tolerate.

  Screaming my heart out seemed like a pretty good idea. Something in me believed that it would give me some sort of relief. But I couldn't do that because I didn't know if it would mean my rescue, or if it would only bring unwanted attention to me. The kind of attention that I didn't want.

  So, I held in my screams, but I couldn't keep my tears from flowing. They simply escaped, just like the blood that was now seeping out of my body. I had no control over either of them.

  I wasn't mad at myself for crying, no. I was proud of the strength I'd shown since I was brought here. Mazen would be proud of me as well.

  Mazen… My heart sank at the memory of the last time I'd seen him. My mind replayed the image of him, his head held high, and he stood tall, his features were colder than ice, and the look in his eyes was harder than stone.

  I remembered the tears I'd shed as I watched him spitting orders and shouting commands. I remembered the struggle I felt to keep breathing as I heard him making threats and promising the unthinkable.

  I also remembered calling to him, and him never answering me.

  I remembered exactly when my heart broke. And I recalled promising myself that I’d never show weakness ever again.

  But realizing what was happening now – I knew this was probably the end. There was no point in not showing weakness, no point in being strong; nor there was a point in keeping it together.

  I screamed.

  At the top of my lungs.

  My scream declared all of what I was feeling during the past days – the hurt, the pain, the fear, the worry, the shame, and the broken heart.

  All it earned me was a split second of relief. I knew very well that it could be heard beyond those doors. I knew it could be the cry of the prey, which made it easier for attackers to locate it.

  It couldn't be undone, and I didn't have it in me to regret it. I was ready to meet my fate.

  Life goes on. It really does. You go through things that you’d never thought would happen. You cry, you break … and life around you still goes on.

  God knows that I’d gone through a lot. My grandfather and my parents died on me. My brother betrayed me. And my grandmother, the one I considered my other mother, couldn’t even remember I existed.

  I’d survived all of that; I did cry, and I did break. But with time, and with one more horrifying thing happening right after another, I’d learned to restore my heart and my faith, to pull myself together and keep going. Because, simply, life goes on.

  When I lost my parents, it had taken me far too long to recover. I remember walking on the street, meeting people and talking on the phone with others. I remember seeing them smiling, hearing their voices, carefree and cheerful. I even remember that one of them made a joke and laughed while right in front of me.

  The thoughts of ‘How could they?’ and ‘How dare he?’ wouldn’t leave my mind. I used to look at people and wonder, ‘Why aren’t they as sad as I am?’ I expected everyone to be as broken as I was. My parents had died, why weren’t they upset anymore? That guy was my dad’s best friend. This woman was so close to my mother. Such thoughts always seemed to be present in my mind.

  But time taught me the one ultimate law about life, it goes on.

  Unfortunately, nothing had prepared me for what Talia and her brother had done to me and to my family: my husband and siblings-in-law. The hurt was real and the pain was unbearable. And to top it all off, Mazen’s heart was bleeding inside his chest. I could feel it. Because my heart was bleeding right along with his.

  This alone was almost enough for me to believe that my heart had been broken beyond repair. But my faith in how strong Mazen was, made me sure that it would pass. It had to. Because I couldn’t have it any other way. I didn’t know how to have it any other way.

  A week had passed. Then it was two. I kept waiting for my grief to lighten, but it didn’t. I wanted to reach that level where I wouldn’t cry every time I thought about the loss of my unborn child. I wished with my whole heart to reach the point where I didn’t count every single day that passed since I’d known of what I had lost. I prayed that I would only think once a day about my baby and how i
t had been killed before it even got to live, instead of ten times every other second.

  But it was in vain. Everything was in vain.

  It wasn’t until a month had passed since the beheading that I realized I was waiting for Mazen to pick up my broken pieces and put them back together. He didn’t. Mazen was as miserable as I was, if not even more so.

  But his hugs comforted me, and his kisses whispered silently of his undying love. His love and care still shone behind the dark shadows of his broken heart.

  It kept me going.

  His kind words which rang over and over in my ears kept me going:

  “You’re strong because of you. Not because of me. Let the strength grow from inside you, not because of who’s standing next to you. I know you can do it. You’re so much stronger than you think you are. With or without me.”

  I made it my life’s goal to prove him right, and I stayed strong. Well, as much as I could.

  It was just another morning when the beautiful scent of my husband’s cologne woke me as he bent down for a goodbye kiss before he had to leave for the day.

  This time I didn’t let him go after he placed a kiss on my forehead. I pulled him to me by the neck and hugged him, with my eyes still closed as sleepiness hadn’t quite left me yet.

  “Oh, good morning, princess.” Mazen said into my neck. “I didn’t mean to wake you, but you probably should get up.” He kissed my naked shoulder lightly.

  “Mmhmm,” was all I said, still holding him to me. I was absolutely sure I had messed up his ghutra.

  Mazen chuckled softly. “As much as I wish to stay this way forever, I sadly have to go,” he said with another peck of his lips, right under my chin this time, and then he pulled away despite my grumpy protests.

  “Come home early tonight,” I told him.

  “I promise to try my best.”

  “I love you.”

  “I love you, Marie.” It was the last thing I heard before I dozed off again. I’d had a very long day yesterday, and I got back so late that I could barely stand on my feet; it was no wonder I couldn’t open my eyes.

  “Your Majesty? Your Majesty?”

  “Huh?”

  “Forgive me, Your Majesty,” Donia said. “The private secretary, the palace managers, and your stylist are waiting for Your Majesty to wake up. Do I tell them to leave?”

  “Oh, no. I’m awake.” I sat up and shot out of bed, as there was no escaping my responsibilities. “Make me some coffee, please.”

  “But His Majesty sai–”

  “I know what he said,” I interrupted her. “It will be our little secret.”

  “Um ...”

  “Please?” I begged, fully aware that she hated disobeying Mazen’s orders. He had told her not to let me drink coffee before breakfast because of my sensitive stomach, but I really needed it.

  “Of course, Your Majesty,” she smiled before leaving to get my coffee.

  About half an hour, one shower, and a strong cup of coffee later, I was sitting in front of my dresser as my hairstylist worked on my hair and one of my private secretaries recited my meetings for the day.

  “No, please reschedule any meetings after six to another day. I want to be back here early for a change,” I said. I’d been working non-stop for the past month, trying to bury my sadness under tons of duties and work, but getting back last night for the first time ever to a sleeping Mazen told me that things had to change.

  “As you please, Your Majesty,” Rana said, “but there’s just one thing that I need to schedule today, if you don’t mind.”

  “What is it?” I asked as I looked at the mirror to see what the hairstylist was doing to my hair.

  “The Queen Mother has requested a private meeting with you.”

  I turned my head abruptly toward my private secretary’s direction at the sound of her words, forcing my hairstylist to stop her work on my hair. “The Queen Mother?”

  “Yes, Your Majesty,”

  “A meeting with me?” Why would she request a meeting with me, knowing full well that her company wasn’t something that I’d ever enjoyed?

  “Yes, Your Majesty. Would you like for me to put it at the end of today’s schedule, or before the first meeting?” Rana asked.

  It took only half a minute before I decided. “Inform her that I apologize for declining her request. My time is limited, and my schedule is full.”

  While I worked that day, I couldn’t stop wondering why my mother-in-law had requested a meeting with me – a private one, that is. What could she need? Or better yet, what was it that she wanted me to do for her?

  I couldn’t think of anything good that could come out of meeting with this woman. She hadn’t bothered me since the day of the incident. We hadn’t spoken since the day I came back to the Kingdom. I don’t think of that thing anymore, but there was no way that I would forget the look on her face as she left her niece’s cell the night before the beheading.

  She was heartbroken, and that wasn’t something I’d expected, even from someone as messed up as her.

  All I could think was, ‘If you were that sad for the defeat of my enemy – then you can’t really be my friend’. Not that being friends with her was even an option, but I was very certain that nothing good would come out of me speaking with her, so I didn’t bother.

  That didn’t stop my curiosity about what she could want from me. But my ill feelings for that woman won out over my curiosity and I simply let it go. Nothing she had to say could interest me.

  “Your Majesty, Princess Rosanna is here for your meeting,” Manar informed me.

  “Let her in, please,” I replied, signing the last of the papers that another private secretary had placed in front of me.

  “Good afternoon, Your Majesty,” Rosanna greeted me as soon as she stepped into my office.

  “Hey!” I got up and left my desk to meet her halfway with a tight hug. Even though this was a formal meeting, I couldn’t resist hugging my best friend. I could tell just by the tone of her voice that she needed it; something was bothering her. I had a small idea of what could be upsetting her, and I absolutely hated it.

  Rosanna’s eyes narrowed a little as she offered me a small smile, confirming my earlier impression that she was feeling down.

  “Give us some privacy, please,” I ordered, dismissing everyone that was in the office.

  Once we were left alone, Rosanna pulled down her face cover, and with a smile, I guided her to one of the couches at the far corner of my office.

  “I brought you the updated version of the pro–” Rosanna started, but I had to interrupt her.

  “That can wait. Tell me how the appointment with your gynecologist went.” I had to ask since I was sure that whatever Dr. Hadeer had told her had everything to do with her current mood.

  Rosanna let go of a long exhale of breath and shook her head before she spoke, “Nothing happened there.” Her gaze didn’t leave the floor as she said the three words.

  “What do you mean ‘Nothing happened there’?” I asked with a frown on my face, confused.

  “She had nothing new to tell me.” Rosanna shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t even know why I’m upset. Like, I didn’t expect her to tell me that I’m pregnant or something … but I guess I just needed to hear anything positive, maybe.”

  “But she didn’t tell you anything negative – that’s a good thing, Rosanna,” I assured her, reaching for her hand and giving it a squeeze.

  “I guess.”

  “It’s still too soon. All we can do now is wait,” I paused, “and have lots of sex.” I tried to cheer her up with my lame joke.

  My heart was aching, and my chest was burning with worry and sadness. But I couldn’t let that show in front of Rosanna. She was always there to lift up my spirits. It was a small thing to hold her hand now when she needed it the most.

  Rosanna had it much worse than I did; I couldn’t believe how strong she was. I couldn’t imagine being in her shoes. Heck, I only had a small sip
from the glass of betrayal that killed my unborn baby. She drank the whole bottle. I was heartbroken and miserable; I had no idea how Rosanna was able to function after all of she had gone through. I know I wouldn’t have been able to.

  It was an inspiring and wrenching thing to see all at the same time.

  Rosanna’s lips formed a small smile. “That’s the only reason I haven’t lost my mind over trying so much yet.”

  I smiled back. “We promised each other not to stress about it, remember?”

  “You’re right,” she nodded. “I’m sorry for … being this way. It just gets hard sometimes. It’s like – I’m right back to the person I was during my first two years of marriage, crazily obsessed with getting pregnant.”

  “Hey, it’s all right. I really understand.”

  Oh, how well I understood how she was feeling.

  “I know you do. Even though I wish you didn’t.” She shook her head.

  God only knows how I wished the same for her, but I’d come to accept what happened, because life goes on.

  A little after six, I went back to my wing, and I was greeted by Hana, my other servant. I responded to her greeting with a smile and asked if Donia had arranged everything I’d asked for her to do.

  “Yes, Your Majesty, everything is set just as you requested.” Hana replied.

  “That’s great. Has Donia left already?”

  “She has. Would you like for me to prepare you a snack to eat before His Majesty’s arrival?”

  “No. I’ll wait for him,” I said. “I’ll go change my clothes and then I’ll need your help with a few things.”

  “Of course, Your Majesty. May I help you get dressed?”

  “No, it’s fine. I’ll call you when I’m finished.” I offered her a small smile, dismissing her.

  My plan was to get everything done before Mazen left his office. I wanted to wait for him by the door for a change. It had been him waiting for me almost every night for the past month. I felt awful for keeping him waiting that way, and I wanted tonight to be special.

 
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