The Marriage That Made Her Queen (Behind the Palace Doors #1) Read Online Kali Anthony

Categories Genre: Romance Tags Authors: Series: Behind the Palace Doors Series by Kali Anthony
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Total pages in book: 63
Estimated words: 58192 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 291(@200wpm)___ 233(@250wpm)___ 194(@300wpm)
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Desire revived…at the royal altar! Get swept into the drama of this marriage-of-convenience romance by Kali Anthony.

“I’m asking you to be my husband.”
Her kingdom depends on it!

After tragedy strikes, queen-to-be Lise is all alone. To claim her crown, she must wed. And the man she must turn to is the self-made billionaire who made Lise believe in love before he shattered her heart—Rafe De Villiers.
For Rafe, Lise’s on-paper proposal should feel like a victory. He’ll finally silence those who only see his humble roots. Yet suddenly, winning back Lise’s trust seems more important. And he’ll have to secure it if passion is going to be part of their future…

FULL BOOK START HERE:

CHAPTER ONE

‘YOUR MAJESTY, I’M PROFOUNDLY sorry for your loss.’

The words scraped as if fingernails scoring down a blackboard documenting Lise’s short and, up until recently, inconsequential life. She splayed her hands on the ancient mahogany desktop, strewn with newspapers all screaming headlines like, Ready to Rule? Challenging the reality that even if she wasn’t, there was no choice. As she sat behind her father’s desk in a study that had been the seat of her family’s power for six centuries, those headlines taunted her.

Imposter, they whispered.

Lise took a long, slow breath. Trying to ease the twist of fear choking her since that awful moment thirteen days earlier when the King’s private secretary, Albert, delivered the world-ending news.

‘Your Majesty, there has been a terrible accident.’

Now, she repeated the silent mantra she’d chanted daily. A reminder of who she was in those terrified times since. I am Annalise Marie Betencourt. Her Most Serene and Ethereal Majesty, Defender of the Realm.

Soon to be crowned Queen.

The youngest Lauritanian monarch in three hundred years.

Fraud.

She moved her gaze to the man sitting in the chair opposite her. One who didn’t appear as profoundly sorry as his words implied. His dark eyes glinted, almost as if he were hungry. A shiver chased down her spine and she pulled her jacket tighter against the midnight caress of desire, the remnants of which still haunted her. Once, this man had made her feel the centre of his everything. How she’d lapped up his interest like a kitten at a forbidden pail of cream. Basked in his attention, his flirtation.

It had all fed the gluttonous delusion that she had choices in life. Whispered words intoxicating as a drug, which had led her to believe that she truly meant something to him. Rafe De Villiers. Businessman. Billionaire. Devastatingly handsome with a shade of stubble grazing his angular jawline. Looking dissolute. Disreputable.

Unsuitable.

Yet how she’d hungered for those moments with him, basking in the delusion that this brilliant, charismatic man wanted her. Igniting a need burning away common sense, which in other circumstances should have warned her that those seemingly clandestine meetings they’d engaged in whenever he visited the palace couldn’t have happened by mere chance. They must have been orchestrated by her father.

‘Thank you, Mr De Villiers.’

They’d been on a first-name basis once. She’d thought she love—No. It had all been an illusion, and there was nothing to thank him for. Seeing him now, lounging opposite her dressed in a three-piece suit of elegantly rumpled grey linen as if he had not a care in the world, she was once more assaulted by the gut-wrenching truth. The one that had been forced home in that last, most catastrophic argument with her family... She meant nothing to him but a means of accessing power in a blighted deceit concocted by her father and Rafe. One where she’d been halfway fooled into believing they might marry for love.

The humiliation of it all seared like acid in her gut. One more wound to add to the growing list of them inflicted upon her over the past few weeks. It was a wonder she hadn’t bled out. Death by a thousand cruel cuts.

Yet she was still standing. Barely.

Rafe pulled up the sleeve of his suit and glanced at his watch, then settled his wolf-brown eyes on her again. She raised an eyebrow. Tried for imperious, although she wasn’t sure it worked.

‘Am I keeping you from something?’

The corner of his mouth quirked, tugging at the pout of his lower lip. Months ago, she’d been fascinated by that mouth. How she’d craved his lips on hers. Twenty-two and never been kissed. Now she’d missed the chance. Lise blinked away her moment of fancy. Those immature, naïve dreams. She could never forget he remained a schemer. Devastatingly handsome, tempting as Lucifer, but a schemer, nonetheless.

‘I have all day for you, ma’am.’ His voice was dark and sweet as treacle. So tempting once, to lose herself in every syllable he uttered. ‘I was only wondering when—’

A rap at the door interrupted him. It cracked open.

‘Ah,’ he said, raking a hand through the overlong curls of his black hair. An unruly strand fell artfully across his forehead. Everything he did appeared artful. A study in masculine magnificence. ‘Morning coffee has arrived as expected.’


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