“Rose Holland, approach the King.”
A sharp voice cuts through the silent dungeon. It’s not really a dungeon, but it looks so gloomy that I really have no choice but to call it one.
I look up at the King. He’s a relatively scary looking man, with a deep scowl rooted firmly into his frown lines.
His salt and pepper hair is slicked back, and a suit coat is draped over his shoulders elegantly as he sits on his throne. A jagged scar runs down his face from his cheekbone to his unshaven jaw. The mere sight of his instills fear in his enemies and admiration in his followers.
I look into his stony blue eyes, taking three short steps forward. Pausing at the bottom of a flight of stairs, I kneel.
I bow my head as the stern voice speaks up again.
“Do you, Rose Holland, pledge allegiance to the King and all he stands for?”
“Yes,” I announce, speaking up for the first time today.
“And do you swear to lay your life down for the King?”
“Yes,” I repeat.
“Stand,” a new voice booms. This time, from the King himself.
“If you betray me, you know what will happen?”
I nod in response. I knew all too well.
“Then welcome to the Kingdom.”
A smile breaks out over my features and I rush up the stairs. The King stands and opens up his arms, encouraging me as I leap into them and hug him tightly.
“I’m so glad you’re letting me in, I’ve been waiting forever,” I beam, looking up at him. His eyes crinkle as he releases a booming laugh.
I step back, turning to face the roomful of the King’s most trusted men.
“I know you’ve all been waiting for the day I joined, and it’s finally here. Who wants to take me out and celebrate?” I ask, raising my voice so that I’m heard clearly.
The room chuckles and I hear several positive responses.
They’re not ready for me. The world isn’t ready for me. I’m gonna be the monster under beds and the demon in the closets. Everyone will look at my face and fear me.
I wake up the next day slowly.
The sunlight streaming through my curtains reaches my canopy bed just as my eyes drift open.
It’s like I’m floating on clouds. This is the happiest I’ve ever been.
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been raised by the King, a “ruthless and cold” leader.
I’d never even heard that man raise his voice.
He’s gentle, kind. He’s patient, very family-oriented.
Ever since my mother died from some rival mafia affair when I was eleven, he’d been even more devoted to keeping me safe.
He trained me in using a gun, made me take self-defense lessons, and taught me several ways to highjack and lockpick and other criminal acts.
Through it all, he’d never been too busy to pay attention to me. In fact, I think the only thing he’s ever not given me was a public education. He sent me to private school, helped me with my homework when I needed it.
Of course, I excelled in all my classes. I played soccer and did swimming and pretty much mastered archery.
I’m so well rounded, you might as well call me a circle.
Mind the narcissism, I’m just amazing.
I sit up, running a hand through my hair. Like my father, I have black hair and blue eyes. Unlike him, however, my skin is pale. My mother had been beautiful, and I’m so glad to have inherited her high cheekbones and upturned nose.
It makes me look dainty and fragile, but that’s good for undercover work.
No one ever suspects a fragile little thing like me to be a mafia daughter.
After I go through my morning routine, I throw on a form fitting white long sleeved crop top and blue overalls.
I put my hair up into a ponytail, watching the curls fall perfectly.
Ugh. I love my curls. They’re a bit of work but they’re so beautiful.
I walk around my floor for a while. Past the bathroom, past my meditation room, and downstairs.
My house is very chic. Large, with towering ceilings and tall columns. Most of everything is painted white, and accented a pretty light green color. I’ve only got a few chandeliers, but the Olympic size pool in the back makes up for the lack of elegance inside the house.
I search for my brothers, managing to find the eldest, Lorenzo.
See, my family is mostly Italian. Italian and Brazilian, actually. But according to my dad, my mother had me before him and her married- before they had even met.
It was love at first sight. He’d swept her off her feet, and she raised me with him as my father. I had a phase where I wanted to know my real father, but after I’d met him, I’d decided that the King was far better.
Lorenzo gives me a smile and pulls me in for a bear hug, lifting me up and spinning me around.
“Hey, Rosie. Hot do you feel now that you’re finally in the cool kid’s club?”
I laugh, smiling up at him. “Amazing.”
Lorenzo is very handsome. He’s just like my father, except a little taller and a little thinner.
I’m very lucky I have the family I do. There’s never been a single day that my brothers didn’t accept me wholeheartedly into the family.
My brothers are very protective of me. So much so that the only relationships I’ve been in were pretend ones, in my head.
“What’s on the schedule for today?” I ask, settling on a chair.
“Well, Dad’s in a meeting right now, but he said he had a job for you,” Lorenzo replies.
My grin stretches. Oh, hell yeah! My first job.
I spend another hour or so waiting until dad gets home, reading Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter. I finally hear him get home and wait patiently for him to call me up to the office.
I’m so excited I let a little squeal slip as one of the servants come up to me.
“The King would like to see you in his office.”
Hi, my silly ducks! I’ve decided that while I’m working on REBEL REBEL, I’d try and release some of the creative energy I’ve been storing.
I’m having a bit of writer’s block with Rebel, so I figured I’d screw around a little and write what’s in my head.
Updates for this book aren’t set, but I do have an idea as to where it’s going, so stay tuned!
Until next time, my ducklings!