Waltz of the Lioness - Revised

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Frantic - Brock's POV

Cora!” Brock called up the stairs, rushing toward the rooms the two of them shared. His voice boomed through the building causing several guests and staff to look in his direction. “Cora!”

A feeling of dread coursed over his frame, but he couldn’t imagine Cora leaving their room. She really had nothing to wear to speak of, and her sensibilities were far too shy and reserved to leave with that dreadfully ripped robe as her only shield against prying eyes.

Obtaining a new wardrobe was something he had coordinated for his beautiful mate before his meeting this morning, sending out a lady’s maid to schedule a fitting for later in the week so Cora could choose clothes to her own liking and procuring suitable clothing for the time being. His motives were mostly selfish since attending dinner that evening in the great hall with her on his arm was something he looked forward to with his entire being. To be able to announce her as his mate and queen sent a thrill over him he could not quite fathom.

Bursting through the door of their room, nearly knocking it from its hinges, his eyes scanned its entirety. Finding the robe that she wore discarded in a heap on the floor by the bed made his gut tighten. There was no sign of Cora, no clothes had been delivered as of yet, and no doubt in his mind that she would not leave nude. Her innocence would never allow it. So, then, where was she, and who helped her?

His hands balled into tight fists next to his sides as his jaw started to tick. The muscles spasmed so fiercely that he could feel a dull ache spreading over his temples and causing his ears to ring. The sickly perfumed scent of roses and vinegar ascended to his nose, inflicting him with a severe case of nausea and panic. Even though it was possible that her scent was lingering from her visit earlier with Cora, he knew that it did not bode well.

“Cora!” He roared louder, his voice thundering and ricocheting off the sturdy stone that constructed the modernized castle of his family. Anyone within a one-hundred yard radius would have heard him call her name and given pause at the urgency in his voice.

He flew from the room, taking several stairs at a time before he finally jumped over the banister and hit the floor of the front foyer. Those few servants or visitors that were unlucky enough to run across his path as he searched frantically for Cora were either grabbed and questioned on her whereabouts or were inadvertently ran into as he hastily searched the premises.

None that he spoke with had any clue where his mate was, even if she would have been hard to miss. Her dainty features, long pale blonde tresses, magnificent blue eyes, and tell-tale innocence would have caught the attention of most people. Which would imply that his mate knew what she was doing and covered herself effectively from view. That discovery pierced his heart.

Maybe he should not have been surprised, considering she had already tried to leave his company in search of her parents during their first night together. However, the rational part of his brain insisted that they had made a connection and had some sort of understanding between them. Had he deluded himself? Now, she had made good her escape.

There was no doubt that she had help, but he couldn’t help but wonder if she was a willing participant. As she now carried his cub, she would be a target to any who thought to make demands of him, whether politically or monetarily. He was not oblivious to the vast size of his pride or their wealth. It was a conversation he had yet to have with her. Just like all the numerous others he still needed to have with her with regards to their new life.

On his way out the door, he found the herald of the court. Grabbing him by the scruff of his collar, the man nearly spilled the contents of calling cards from his tray. Shock widened his eyes as he reached for the hands that held him aloft.

“Find the girl’s family. Call them,” Brock barked. He hadn’t meant to startle the man or treat him poorly, he was simply out of options and needed those in his employ to take action.

“Sire?” Though his face was pale from the abrupt reaction of his king, he was aware enough to allow his brain to process the order. “Your mate, sire?”

“Her name is Cora. Find her family. Bring me their number...now!” He let the man drop a little roughly to the ground before continuing his path of misery through the front doors.

Outside, he found his chauffeur tending to one of his personal cars. A smile lit his face as he saw his employer. Dropping the cloth on the hood of the car, he bowed before Brock as he neared. “Sire.”

Brock was in no mood for formality. He quickly motioned for the man to stand as he rushed out a string of words. “Where is she? Have you seen her?” It did not even dawn on him that he had not told the chauffeur who he was looking for.

“Your fiance?” The man’s face pinched as his gaze considered the dark desperation on Brock’s face. He did not wait for any confirmation. “Aye, sire. She took off with a passenger about an hour ago, I think. Took the car you gave her as an engagement gift,” the man proclaimed proudly. “It seems she was pleased with it,” he asked gently. The smile on his face made it clear that he was not part of the idle gossip around the kingdom about the events from a few nights before.

Brock’s face darkened further, his teeth grinding. “Could you see her face?”

The smile fell from the man’s face, an alertness falling over his features nearly as fast. “Your fiance? Sure I could. Enough to recognize her.” He frowned, concern coating him when he realized that his words had not placated his employer. “Is everything okay, sire?”

Brock pinched the bridge of his nose, trying to calm the torment racking his body and his beast. “No. Did you see the other woman’s face?”

The man drew his eyes together as he gave it some thought. “No. Though the poor thing struggled to keep that mass of curls under that hoodie of hers.” Brock’s whole body tensed and the man before him winced. Brock could not contain the fury growing over his face. “There is something wrong, isn’t there? How can I help, your highness,” the man asked as he bowed his head in deference to his king. It mollified Brock only the slightest amount, the pain of his mate missing nearly consuming him.

“I need to find out where Lara took my mate!” His whole body shook as he ground the words through his already clenched teeth.

The chauffeur backed up a couple of steps before straightening once more. After letting his eyes linger on his employer’s face for more than a minute, his lips twitched. “I think I might have a solution.” For the first time since he started looking for her, Brock felt a little relief. His lion perked up, listening. “Maybe we can use the GPS chip in her car?”

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