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Black Keys (The Colorblind Trilogy Book 1), page 1

 

Black Keys (The Colorblind Trilogy Book 1)
 



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Black Keys (The Colorblind Trilogy Book 1)


  The Colorblind Trilogy Book One

  Copyright © 2015 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.

  All Bible verses are quoted from King James Version (KJV) Public Domain.

  The Holy Bible, King James Version. Cambridge Edition: 1769; King James Bible Online 2015

  http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/

  Editors

  Theresa Pisani Moniez

  Susan Willeat

  Lisa Marie Slayers

  Proofreader

  Jaana Häkli

  Cover Designer:

  Arijana Karcic, Cover It! Designs

  Title

  Copyright

  Summary

  Preface

  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

  About the Author

  Acknowledgments

  A Muslim Arab Prince with a heavy weight of responsibilities on his shoulders and a young Catholic American woman with a dark, haunted past living inside her heart. Unexpectedly thrust together in a deal of betrayal brokered by her brother, the last thing she imagines when she goes to his wedding in a kingdom far away from her home, is to find out that it’s her own wedding, as well.

  A bright, independent CEO struggling to live this new life, where the traditions and rules are too numerous to keep up with, and an attractive, intelligent prince wanting nothing more than for his bride to find the black keys.

  Fate steps in to teach the troubled new princess a few lessons about love, life, understanding and acceptance, while destiny forces the Crown Prince into allowing his beautiful wife to break a rule or two.

  Because when it comes to love, rules blur and traditions fade.

  To Jaana Häkli, maybe it was me who gave birth to this baby, but you did all of the pushing. I love you.

  Oh, God! I’d never let that pig touch me!

  I shot up into standing position like the couch was on fire and looked around, finally really taking the room in. The sheets on the bed were white with red rosebuds all over them, shaped like a giant heart.

  God! Oh, God!

  I felt a bit lightheaded as I imagined myself on that bed doing what they expected me to do.

  I ran to stand next to the bed where I saw colored lights coming from a window on the wall beside it. I looked closely, searching for a way to escape from that window but found none, since it was blocked by iron bars from the outside.

  With hurried steps, I made my way to the door in the corner of the room, which turned out to be a bathroom, just like I had expected–a freakishly huge one, at that. I looked all over the bathroom for any sort of an exit but all of my efforts to find one came out fruitless.

  My hands came to my collar and I yanked the button that held my robe together over my body and let it fall to the floor; it was choking me. I gripped the same hair that my brother had just let go of not ten minutes earlier and groaned in frustration, my tears out of my control.

  That was it. There was no way out for me. No way at all.

  My eyes caught my reflection in the mirror and I didn’t like what I saw. It was a sad girl with black tears running down her cheeks and a broken heart caused by her brother’s unfaithfulness.

  In my frustrated state, I didn’t realize I had picked up a bottle of lotion from the counter and smashed the mirror with it until I saw the shattered pieces flying down to the floor.

  Once I saw those broken pieces, a thought crept into my mind: I have to hurt the prince. There was no other way. I’d give up my own life before I gave up my body to him.

  The whole building was almost empty as I was working late again. I think it was only me and the security guys there–it was past nine PM after all.

  The manager in the London branch had been complaining about having to work so far from where his family lives–here in New York–and it seemed like it was affecting so many things in how he was dealing because all of the strategies and marketing he was doing were not as good as I would’ve liked them to be.

  I only kept him because I knew he was the best of the best, and my father had trusted him all of his life to manage the main branch when he was away. I also hoped that things would get better soon, maybe one more year would help him get back on his always-has-been-perfect track.

  “Look who’s here!”

  The voice I’d longed to hear for what seemed like forever called out, forcing me to stop my rapid tapping on the keyboard of my laptop and to look up and away from the screen to where it was coming from.

  “Joseph!”

  I jumped up from my seat and ran into his arms, hugging him tightly and squealing in delight as he picked me up off the floor, spinning me around. My legs flew up into the air as I lifted them, overcome with excitement to finally see him face-to-face and not through a stupid webcam.

  “Little Princess!” He put me down and kissed my hair, hugging me once more before pulling back a few inches to look at me; “I’ve missed you so much,” he smiled.

  “Loser!” I said, punching him playfully in the chest, “If that was true you wouldn’t have stayed away this long without seeing your little sister,” I scowled at him, lips in a tight line, hands on my hips and all.

  “Ah, I know, I know. And I’m so sorry about it, Sweetie. But you know it was out of my hands,” he sighed.

  I did know it was out of his hands. It had been like that since my parents passed away last year when our private jet crashed with them on board, almost crashing Joseph’s and my world along with it.

  It wasn’t easy for us to go on. Our parents were unlike any other parents in the world: they were the best mom and dad anyone could ask for, even better. There was nothing–absolutely nothing–we asked for and couldn’t have. Well, there was nothing that we didn’t already have anyway; we had everything and a bit more. And in just one minute they were – gone.

  It took us a long time to accept it and move on with our lives. Joseph and I had to take care of everything they’d left behind: a heavy weight formed in the shape of one of the biggest exporting and transporting companies in the United States of America.

  I was barely twenty-one and Joseph was only twenty-four when we took over managing our company and all of the branches, having to get everything back on track since it had almost fallen apart when we neglected it for the two months we spent unable to get to the stage of mentioning their names without crying our souls out.

  It wasn’t easy. It wa
s a really hard job to take care of all of that with my English major and Joseph’s in history, which we weren’t even able to finish since managing the company took all of our time.

  “I know,” it was my turn to sigh. “Come and sit down, I want details about everything.” I dragged him by the hand to sit on the black leather sofa that was across from my desk.

  He let out a long breath when he was comfortable, unbuttoning his suit jacket and putting his arm over the back of the sofa, moving slightly to face me as I sat with my legs underneath me, already barefoot and jacket-less since the moment all of the other employees had gone home. “What do you want to know?” he asked.

  “Hello! Everything, dude!” I told him. “And please, I don’t want to hear anything about work.”

  “It was good, Marie. Really good, actually. A little hot during the day, but the people were very nice, and very kind,” he said with a nod and a smile.

  It was only when he spoke those words that I noticed the slight tan covering his features. It was really a strange sight, since I was so used to seeing him with the very pale skin that we’d both inherited from our mother along with the bright blue eyes and blond locks.

  I couldn’t help but think Joseph was lying to me about the people part. He knew I wasn’t very comfortable with him going to the Middle East. I’d heard all of my life that Arabs weren’t very easy to deal with, let alone Arabian Muslims. I couldn’t remember one time that Islam was mentioned in front of me and the word ‘terrorism’ didn’t flash in my mind.

  Joseph must’ve felt my discomfort so he changed the subject immediately. ‘‘The food alone was great. My God! I can’t even begin to tell you.” When he saw the smile of excitement that decorated my face, he went on and on about the safe subject that starred so many kinds of food and drink along with the beauty of the country itself.

  I’d missed it so much, to have him sitting with me and talking for hours like we were doing now. My heart was dancing in joy because I was finally feeling his presence after a long seven months of absence.

  “And, I, uh...I met someone,” he said almost shyly.

  That was another subject I wasn’t very fond of: Joseph’s lifestyle. My brother wasn’t a player, per se, but he’d known a lot of women over the years. Our parents had tried their best to tell us how wrong it was and to wait for The One–that it would pay off in the end when we met our God and would be rewarded for our good deeds. Joseph didn’t listen, not so much anyway.

  However, the look in his eyes told me that it was different this time, that it might really be that thing our parents told us we’d find at some point when the time was right: The One.

  “I’m pretty sure you met lots of ones,” I teased, which made him chuckle and shake his head.

  “Okay then, I met a girl.”

  “Yeah?”

  “Yeah.”

  “Okay, she must be really special for you to mention her,” I pointed out.

  “She is,” he smiled. “Marie, I–I fell in love.”

  My eyes almost bulged out of my skull. “Get out!” I said loudly, and he chuckled.

  “It’s for real.”

  “Oh, my God!” I gushed. “Joseph, this is wonderful. So wonderful.”

  “And, uh…”

  “What?”

  “I–I’m getting married.”

  “Shut up!” I screamed in disbelief and delight at the same time.

  “I am.”

  “Oh, my God! Oh, my God!” I squealed, throwing myself in his arms, hugging him and kissing his cheeks like crazy. The happiness I felt for him was beyond words, I couldn’t even begin to explain.

  “That is the best news–EVER!” I told him; my mouth almost hurt from too much smiling.

  “I knew you’d be happy for me.”

  “Of course I am!” I replied. “Wow! I can’t believe you met the girl of your dreams on that trip. Is she one of the staff?”

  “Uh, no. She’s, uh...she’s a princess.”

  “Oooh! So you fell in love and suddenly I’m not your princess anymore but your fiancée is, huh?” I pouted playfully.

  “No, you’ll always be my little princess, Sweetie. But, uh, she’s a real princess, you know, royal one, the daughter of the king.”

  I frowned. For a moment I thought Joseph had somehow gone to the United Kingdom at some point in the past few months, but immediately remembered that they had a queen and not a king. Then suddenly realization hit me.

  “What?”

  It couldn’t be.

  “Marie, she’s a very sweet girl, so nice and tender. You’ll fall in love with her in seconds.”

  “An Arab?”

  “If you’d just meet her and get to know h-”

  “An Arab, Joseph? Are you frigging kidding me? You’re marrying an Arab?”

  “Marie, listen to me.” He took both of my hands in his. “Love knows no boundaries; it hits you when it feels right, and being with her just feels right.”

  My bottom lip was trapped between my teeth and my frown deepened as I looked down and away from his face, trying to let his words sink in, but it was just so hard to take.

  I shook my head in a failed attempt to shake my disapproving thoughts away. It was his life after all, not mine, but his safety and happiness meant too much for me not to care about their presence in said life, and I wasn’t sure if a weak Arabian woman could do that for him.

  “She makes you happy?” I whispered the question.

  “Very.”

  I nodded my head and offered him a small smile.

  “Tell me she’s Catholic at least,” I pleaded, looking into his eyes, eyes that failed to hide the truth from me when they were lowered to look away from mine.

  “You’ve got to be kidding me, Joseph!” I said a bit loudly.

  “She–She’s not Christian, Marie.”

  What on earth?

  “Excuse me? What do you mean she’s not Christian?”

  That’s just not right.

  He kept staring at the floor.

  “Oh, my God! She can’t be what I think she is, can she?” I asked in shock. I shouted another ‘Oh, my God’ when he kept his head lowered and avoided eye contact.

  I was mad. Really, really mad.

  “A Muslim, Joseph? Seriously? A terrorist?”

  “She’s not a terrorist. Don’t speak of her that way, you don’t even know her,” he snapped.

  “Wow! Really? Because as far as I know Muslims do nothing but kill others–and each other as well!”

  “How did you even come to believe that, huh?”

  “Are you really asking me that? I’ve heard about it all of my life!” I defended.

  “Are you being serious right now, Marie? Heard about it? Can you even hear yourself? You’ve never met one, not a single one. Yet you’re so okay with judging them, even accusing them of being things they are not.”

  “How wonderful! They’ve brainwashed you!”

  “Stop it!” he yelled, shocking me with the unfamiliar tone in his voice that he’d never spoken to me with. “I’m sick of your shallow thoughts. You’ve always believed that without any clue if it was true or not, and absolutely nothing to put your hands on in those thoughts.”

  “I can go on for years with proof that Muslims and Arabs are nothing but anima-”

  “Watch your mouth, Marie, I won’t be taking any of this, not anymore.’’

  “For her?”

  “Not only for her, for the months I spent there and saw nothing from them but pure kindness and generosity. It’s only fair to speak about them based on the facts I witnessed with my own eyes, not just gossip I’ve heard.”

  I think it was the very first time I knew what it meant to be shocked into silence, because the words wouldn’t form on my tongue no matter how much I wanted to let them out and free. I kept opening my mouth and closing it, not able to utter one word.

  I didn’t know if his words were true or not. I was well-educated and a smart person; I had an open mind. I r
efused to think that I was racist or anything like that, because I really wasn’t, but when it came to Arabs and Islam, I just had to stop thinking of any good thought. I’d always understood they weren’t the nice and kind people Joseph was trying to make me believe they were. It didn’t mean I was shallow. I always thought deeply about everything, and my theories were based on the crimes and cruelty I’d seen the media and people talking about all my life. It was just impossible for it not to be true.

  But the look in my brother’s eyes when he talked about her–he really loved her, but–was love really that blind that he couldn’t even sense rubbish when it hit him in the face? I wasn’t sure.

  I got up from the sofa and paced the room back and forth a few times, moving my hands through my hair in frustration every once in a while. I was still not able to believe that my brother fell for a Muslim–an Arabian one, at that. What would our parents think of it?

  I stopped in front of him and looked down to his sitting form, then asked again, “She makes you happy?” It was the only thing that really mattered, I’d come to realize. My brother’s happiness was more important than anything else. It was his life, so it was his decision. It was the right thing to support him in whatever he wanted as long as he thought it would make him happy. His happiness was truly the only thing that really mattered. Supporting him was my duty, even if I didn’t approve.

  He looked up at me, a pleading look in his eyes as if he was silently begging me for something I didn’t even know. “She does. Like no other,” he whispered.

  I paused for a few moments before I nodded. “When is the wedding?” I had to ask.

  “In four days.”

  “Four days? Really?”

  “I–I came here only to get you.”

  “Wow!” I said for what felt like the hundredth time in less than an hour. “Aren’t you rushing it?”

  “It can’t be delayed.” He looked down again.

  “You’re head over heels about her, Big Bro, aren’t you?” I smiled the best I could, even if I still wanted to go somewhere alone and scream my head off.

 
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