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White locks, p.1

White Locks, page 1

 

White Locks
 



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White Locks


  The Colorblind Trilogy Book Two

  Copyright © 2016 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.

  Editors:

  Wennie Conedy

  Kim Palacios

  Proofreader:

  Jaana Häkli

  Cover Design by Jada D’Lee Designs

  Formatted by Lindsey Gray

  Cover

  Title

  Copyright

  Summary

  Dedication

  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

  About the Author

  Acknowledgments

  When love knocked on Marie's door, she had a hard time denying her heart what it wanted. Especially after she'd found her black keys.

  Now Marie finally realizes that home is not where she was born, or where she'd lived all of her life. Home is where her Love is.

  It's time for her to follow her heart.

  With longing heavy in her mind and soul, Marie goes back to the kingdom, ignoring all of the bad thoughts and refusing to let them control her actions. She will go after what everything in her desires: Mazen.

  Because when it comes to love, the past is only old memories, and the present is when we make new ones.

  To Sonia Delen, for being my rock and guardian angel. I don’t deserve you, but I’ll love you forever.

  Love.

  A four-letter word. Small. Simple. But strong, powerful, and – controlling.

  Love gives you the strongest feelings, some happy, some joyful, some dreamy, some magical, and some sad. A terribly gut-wrenching, heart-crashing, and soul-burning kind of sad.

  Love makes you smile. It makes you laugh. It makes you cry, and they are not always happy tears.

  Love makes you act—with kindness, with compassion, with tenderness, and with care. But it also makes you act with rudeness, with disrespect, and out of fear.

  Love makes you lie, but it makes you try. It makes you run in the wrong direction, because it comes to you without instructions.

  Love is real, but it makes you terrified that it may become fake.

  Love is wonderful, but sometimes it worries you that it may be all for appearance’s sake.

  Love is air.

  Love is life.

  Love is breathing deeply and smiling brightly.

  Love is kissing wildly and hugging tightly.

  Love is eating pancakes when it’s night.

  Love is kissing upside down that feels just right.

  Love is leaving home to go home.

  Love is going home to be with Love.

  Love is wondering if being with Love is right.

  Love is knowing that you’re losing yourself.

  Love is not wanting to be found.

  Love is loving Love.

  Love is having it tough.

  Love is craving to be Love’s only love.

  Love is giving up your own life so that Love will stay … safe.

  My name is Marie Grace Archer, and this is my story with Love.

  Like a little bird, like a sparrow that just learned how to fly–that was how I felt.

  No, maybe I was like a sparrow that had been trapped in a golden cage for far too long. That cage seemed like the perfect place to live, until the sparrow realized that there was a world outside it had never known. Or maybe it was just because the tiny thing didn’t want to know it.

  I wasn’t physically imprisoned, but my mind was. It was caged with judgmental thoughts and doubts. But I thank God I’d found the keys to open the locks that had kept the doors closed tightly shut.

  Right now, I felt like flying.

  “Anita!” I called as I hurried down the stairs at my house. “Anita!”

  When she didn’t answer, I searched with my eyes all around me, seeing that the door to the laundry room slightly agape, I hurried to it and called her name for the third time.

  “Anita!”

  “Yes, Ms. Archer?” she finally replied as she came out of the room.

  “Pack my bags, I’m going home.”

  Telling Mazen that I wanted to stay with him, that I wanted our marriage, or whatever you call it, to work, wasn’t something I could just blurt over the phone. Heck, I didn’t even have his phone number.

  This was something that had to be said face to face. I needed to look him in his eyes when I told him that I loved him. Oh, boy, how I loved him.

  In the short car ride to Terri’s house, I couldn’t stop imagining Mazen’s face as I confessed my feelings. I imagined him smiling until I could see his pearly whites. I imagined him taking me in his arms until our ribcages felt tangled, and kissing me until my lips swelled.

  But I had doubts, and they couldn’t be ignored.

  I had doubts, and I had fears--so many fears.

  I feared that he might tell me that it was too late, that he was over me. I feared I was no longer important to him, that I had been just a small blip on his radar and that he’d already forgotten about me. Two weeks wasn’t that long, but it wasn’t short either. At least it wasn’t short for me.

  I swallowed thickly, not knowing whether I should give in to those fears and call off everything I had planned. But, something inside me told me to keep going. I listened to it.

  I was scared, remembering the reasons why I was back in my country again. Even after everything that had happened with Mazen and the fact that I realized I was in love with him, I was still scared. I thought about how he’d told me that I wasn’t safe, and how he couldn’t stay by my side 24/7 and all. But wasn’t life about taking chances and facing difficulties? Well, that was the story of my life, anyway.

  I wasn’t going to stop now, not when every beat of my heart called his name; not when every breath I took pushed me to hurry up and be with him already, and certainly not when the sparkling happy tears in my eyes whispered to me that I was right, that I was choosing the right path.

  But the thought of being close to his mother again, of living under the same roof as her, was truly disturbing. Maybe I had been able to get through the incident without being completely destroyed after what she’d wanted to put me through. But I couldn’t deny that what she’d done left ugly scars on my soul.

  For the past two weeks I had been too busy wallowing in my broken heart and in the pain of being away from Mazen to even think about what his mother had done. Now that I knew I was going back to where she was again, I couldn’t help my heartbeat from racing at the mere possibility of being close to her and seeing her again.

  But, I wasn’t going to back away; I knew I would find a way to keep myself far from her. I knew that in the future I would find a way to prot
ect myself.

  If Mazen couldn’t, his love would. His love would protect me.

  “Marie! It’s Sunday. If this is business related, I’m hanging up,” Terri barked as she answered her phone.

  I couldn’t help the smile on my lips. “It is business related, and you can’t hang up.”

  Terri let out a frustrated sound and then replied, “True. What can I help you with, boss?”

  My smile grew, as she was in full business mode now. Good girl, I thought.

  “I’ll be at your place in five minutes. We’re going to my office, so get ready.”

  “On it.”

  As I stood outside Terri’s house waiting, I could easily hear screaming coming from inside. A woman was definitely upset with her about starting dinner before she had to go, and I assumed it was her mother-in-law.

  “What’s going on?” I asked with concern when I saw Terri’s upset face, as Brad opened the car door for her.

  “Nothing, just my monster-in-law being herself,” she replied as she snapped her seatbelt in place.

  “Let me guess, something terrible happened to her house again and she had to move in for a few days?” I asked, not hiding the sarcasm from my tone.

  “Of course,” Terri replied. “She found a spider in her bathroom and now she believes her house is under attack.” She rolled her eyes.

  I shook my head. “I have no idea why you put up with her!”

  “Simple. I’m in love with her son, and he comes with a baggage.” She shrugged her shoulders. I had to stare at her for a moment, replaying her words back in my head over and over again.

  “Yeah, I know the feeling.”

  “I don’t understand, boss,” Terri frowned as she stood next to me in my office at Archer Enterprises. “Why are you showing me this? We already went through it three weeks ago, before you had to go to the Kingdom of Alfaidya.”

  I gazed at her with a knowing look, waiting for her to get it. And she did.

  “Oh! You’re going back!”

  “I am. And now with Joseph no longer a part of the company, I need you to take care of the management, just as you did when both of us were away,” I told her. “I have no idea when I’m going to come back.”

  Maybe in two days. The doubtful thought managed to find its way into my mind, causing me to imagine Mazen sending me back – again.

  I willed the thought away and focused on the matter at hand, reassuring a very uncomfortable Terri.

  Terri was the best of the best. Like all of my employees, she did her job exceptionally well. But that was what worried her. I was adding to her job, giving her the huge responsibility of watching and guiding the welfare of my company while I was away. She hated the pressure. She liked being my Chief Operating Officer, running the business and making sure everything worked with no problems. Making decisions was a big deal for her.

  “You can always reach me whenever you want. We will call each other, chat or Skype whenever you need. I know it’s a big deal, but I also know that you can do it, and everything will be just fine,” I assured her. After all, any financial decisions or finalization of any contracts or agreements would still be run by me. I would be the decision maker and signatory, so I wasn’t worried about anything being messed up while I was gone.

  “Of course,” she replied, not very happy.

  I got up and took her hands in mine. Aside from being my Chief Operating Officer, Terri was also my best friend. And as my best friend, I needed her to understand why I was doing this.

  “Terri, I’m sorry this has happened suddenly. I should’ve given you more notice. But I have to be in the kingdom as soon as possible.”

  “Why, Marie?” she asked, tilting her head

  “I miss Mazen,” I replied with the most honest answer. “Terribly.”

  As we were flying to Alfaidya, my mind couldn’t stop working. Wouldn’t stop working. I’d taken care of everything related to the company and its branches, so everything would be fine while I was away, until I came back.

  That wasn’t what kept me restless, though.

  What I was worried about was Mazen’s reaction. There were so many what if’s – thinking about how he might have spent the past two weeks, and with whom.

  I feared that that cousin of his might’ve wrapped herself around him like a snake when I left. I wouldn’t put it past her to take advantage that I was gone, while he was broken and hurt. She might have offered him a shoulder to cry on and the warmth of her bosom. That thought made my stomach twist in pain, the fear finding a willing companion forcing jealousy into my heart.

  But, no – I wasn’t going to let those thoughts stop me from following my instincts. If my heart was going to get broken by Mazen – I needed to hear it from him directly to be able to believe it. Because if I really wanted to fly, I had to toughen up and drop all of the weight that held me down. I needed to spread my wings of love and shake off the fear and bad feelings. Only then would I be able to fly.

  An hour before we were due to land in King Qasem’s airport, I got up and reached for the bag Anita packed for me, taking out the clothes I was going to wear for my first day back. I wanted to look as good as possible today, the day I was going to tell Mazen how my safety and comfort were only translated in the warmth of his presence and how much I needed him in my life. I needed his smile; needed his laugh. I needed his sense of humor; needed his wise words. I needed all of him, otherwise my life wouldn’t be the same.

  I put on the form-fitting baby blue dress that matched the color of my eyes. It reached below the knee with a small slit in the back. The ends of the sleeves touched my elbows, and the V-neck was modest, nothing too revealing.

  I let my hair down in soft curls that danced over my shoulders and back, and then I grabbed the box that contained a decent amount of the jewelry that Mazen had gifted me on the day we got married. I made sure to put all of it on.

  Finally, I took the tiara-like hair jewelry that the Queen Mother had given me and carefully put it over my hair, the diamond bangs easily falling into place, it completed the look of elegance that I was aiming for. Then I loosely tied a cream-colored scarf over the hair jewelry, careful to let it hide as little of the tiara as possible.

  Perfect, I thought, with a smile on my light peach-glossed lips. In just a matter of minutes, I would be with Mazen again, standing on the same ground he was standing on, and breathing the same air he was breathing. I still couldn’t believe it.

  “Ms. Archer, please take a seat and put your seatbelt on. We’re minutes away from landing,” the flight attendant announced. My smile grew bigger.

  When we landed, we were informed to wait until someone came for our passports and papers. It was something I’d expected. Through the window I saw three officers – or maybe they were guards – approach the jet and I rose from my seat then waited for them.

  I took a deep breath and told myself that they weren’t going to hurt me. The image of their thick beards and guns in their belt pockets would’ve sent the old Marie into a panic attack.

  But not this one.

  Two of the officers approached the pilot, his co-pilot and the two female flight attendants, and the third officer came directly to me. I could see that his eyes noticed the tiara on my head, and a look of confusion formed in his eyes before he nodded politely in greeting.

  The officer reached for my passport, and I handed it to him with a smile, waiting for him to read the name and hoping that the local news in the kingdom had mentioned my name when they announced the Crown Prince’s marriage. Better yet, I hoped they had a picture of me, but I doubted that. That wasn’t how things worked here. And even if they hadn’t, I was sure that everything was going to be fine the minute I told him who I was married to.

  As far as they know, anyway.

  “Ms. Marie Archer?”

  “That’s right, officer. I’m Marie Archer, Prince Mazen’s wife. The future queen,” I said with my head held high. He quickly lowered his gaze, but not before his eyes sli
ghtly widened in shock.

  “Forgive me, your highness,” he said with a bit of a tremor in his voice. “Welcome back. I hope you are completely healed now, by the grace of God.”

  “Thank you. I really appreciate that. Would you please arrange for a car to take me to the palace?” I asked in a soft voice.

  “Yes. Yes, of course, your highness, just give me a few minutes to inform the royal family and the royal guards of your arrival. Something must have gone wrong. We weren’t informed or prepared for your arrival. If you will forgive and excuse me, your highness.” He bowed his head, but before he could leave, I called to him.

  “Officer …?”

  “Ahmed. My name is Ahmed, your highness,” he said.

  “Officer Ahmed, I would like to keep my arrival a secret, please. You can skip informing anyone for now,” I said. Call me crazy, but I wanted to surprise Mazen.

  “But I must have someone escort you to the palace, your highness.” he protested. “Or else Prince Mazen will have my head cut off if your transport isn’t secure.”

  I almost laughed; he sounded very serious. After what had happened with Jasem, Mazen issued clear orders for the guards to always protect me, no matter what. The alternative would result in someone losing their head, and I mean that literally. Of course, such action would necessitate in spreading a word of warning, and clearly, Officer Ahmed was well informed and warned, and it was the first thing he thought of.

  “Um, … yeah. That.” I shook my head, not able to keep the smile from showing; I may have even blushed a little. “How about you only inform Prince Fahd and tell him of my wish for my return to be kept secret for now? He will know what to do.”

  I trusted Prince Fahd, and I knew he would respect my wishes. He would send the car without telling Mazen. He was noble and loyal – of that I was sure.

 
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