Betrothed To The King - Book cover

Betrothed To The King

Leilani Pierce

Chapter 2


My heart stopped as I saw a manicured hand reach for Coleman’s. The smile fell off my face, and I’m sure I didn’t hide my look of disgust and betrayal.

Andrew held my hand, and now I realized why he’d stayed by my side.

He’d known about Coleman and me kissing, he’d known about my crush on Coleman, and he’d known that I would be crushed when I saw this.

My eyes didn’t leave Coleman’s back as he helped a stunning girl out of the car. One look at the identical mandala tattoos on their necks, and I knew that the worst had already happened.

“Hello everyone,” he said. He looked with adoration at the gorgeous girl whose hand he was holding. “I’d like you all to meet my betrothed, Jenna Gilliam.”

Tears threatened to fall, but I refused to let them. I wouldn’t let Coleman see how much this affected me. I needed to be strong.

I turned to Andrew, who had a guilty look on his face. I tried to smile at him, and I shook my head sadly. It wasn’t his fault, and it wasn’t Coleman’s either—you can’t pick your betrothed.

I wished that you could.

Seeing the person you pined for take someone else around and introduce her was like a stab in the gut. I felt like I’d wasted the last four years, sitting and waiting for him like a complete and utter idiot.

Coleman was making his way down the line with Jenna. The pure happiness on his face was another blow.

I wished he’d had that smile when he looked at me, but that smile was reserved for his betrothed.

I let go of Andrew’s hand and wiped my sweaty palms on my jeans. Coleman was introducing Jenna to Ari and Siya. I was up next. I couldn’t let him see how upset I was.

I would try my best to be happy for him, like everyone else. Hopefully, I would get through it without crying.

I took a deep breath as Coleman and Jenna moved to me. The memories of four years ago flashed before my eyes—his gorgeous smile, that amazing kiss, his promises.

I closed my eyes and snapped out of my daydream. When I opened them, Coleman was smiling at me, but not like he used to. Just a friendly smile, like he’d given everyone else.

“It’s very nice to meet you, Jenna. Good luck taming this one,” I joked.

Jenna laughed. “I like you! You’re funny. Hopefully we can hang out more. I need more female friends.”

My insides twisted at her words. She seemed so nice. That made it more difficult to hate her.

“Of course. I would love to hang out with you.” I smiled. Damn me for being too polite. Why couldn’t I have just kept my mouth shut?

Jenna smiled back, and the couple moved down the line. Andrew had moved, and I was left standing there with only my thoughts.

I jumped at a light touch on my shoulder—it was Siya, with sadness in her eyes. I sighed and shook my head.

I didn’t want to talk, and I didn’t want sympathy. I just wanted to sit in my room and cry, but I couldn’t leave yet.

Instead of focusing on Coleman and Jenna, I looked for Andrew, who was currently talking to the council members. Once he finished, he turned to look at me, probably sensing my gaze.

He came over to me and murmured, “Go home, Iza. I give you permission. Don’t stand here while you’re breaking. You need to go home.”

I looked at him with tears in my eyes and rasped in a broken whisper, “Why didn’t you tell me?”

Andrew looked upset. He wiped a stray tear from my cheek. “Oh, Goofy. I didn’t know how to. I didn’t want to tell you over the phone or through a letter. I wanted to tell you in person, but I didn’t get a chance. I’m so sorry.”

I sniffled and sighed. “It wasn’t your fault. I have to move on, but I’m going to need some time.”

Andrew nodded. I knew he understood. He kissed my forehead, and I started heading back to my house.

I heard Andrew tell the group that I’d gone home because I was tired. As soon as I got to my house, I rushed upstairs and changed into comfy clothes.

I used to wear Coleman’s T-shirt every night to bed, but that night, I got it out of my dresser and chucked it straight in the garbage. I wouldn’t wear it anymore. I’d lost all rights to Coleman when he’d found his betrothed.

His betrothed.

I hadn’t realized it was possible for my heart to break even more at the thought of those words.

I collapsed on my bed and let the tears fall. I let them soak my pillow.

When I rolled over on the bed, my eyes landed on my book, The Secret Betrothed, lying on the floor. I quickly slid it under my bed, out of sight. All this heartbreak was just too much for me.

After all this time of wanting a betrothed—dreaming of the sort of relationship my parents had—now I found myself suddenly not wanting a betrothed at all. I didn’t want someone to love me. I was broken. I didn’t want the pain of loving someone.

Your betrothed was meant to be this magical thing, and I used to believe in it wholeheartedly, but now I didn’t. The Royal Mark caused pain and sadness. Who wanted that?

The tears were still flowing when my family came home. I heard my mom stop outside my door, and I hoped she wouldn’t come in.

I held my breath to stop my sobs. If Mom heard me cry, I knew she wouldn’t hesitate to come into my room.

“Tara, let her sleep. We have an early start tomorrow,” I heard my dad say quietly.

The footsteps faded away, and I glanced up at my ceiling. Dad was right—we had an early start tomorrow. I needed to get some sleep.

I closed my eyes and let myself get lost in the world of my dreams.


A loud buzzing made me groan as I rolled over and turned off my phone alarm. Today was the day—the Royal Ball.

I knew I would be tired, and it only added to the dread. Hopefully I could fall asleep in the car.

I forced myself out of bed and got dressed. I cringed when looked in the mirror and saw the bags under my eyes. Clearly, last night hadn’t been the best night’s sleep.

I sighed and put some makeup on to look a little more alive.

When I came downstairs, my parents were drinking their tea, and Ari and Siya were eating breakfast.

Suddenly, four pairs of eyes turned to look at me, and I saw the same thing in all of them—sympathy.

I didn’t want their sympathy. All I really wanted was to lie in bed and cry all day, but I knew that wasn’t going to happen. I needed to prove to Coleman and to myself that I was strong.

My dad handed me a cup of coffee, and I smiled.

Mom and Siya talked about how amazing my first time at the Ball would be. I was grateful for the distraction, and I tried to let myself believe them.

Once we had eaten, it was time to hit the road. I got into the car and immediately rested my head against the cool glass and blasted music in my headphones.

Dad and Mom left me alone, and I let the music take me into my own world. Before long, sleep took over, giving my body a much-needed break.


“Iza, wake up.” My mom gently shook me.

I rubbed the sleep from my eyes and realized we were at a gas station. I stretched my arms and got out of the car. Siya and Ari got out of their car and waved to me.

“Go and get something to eat, and make sure you go to the bathroom. We still have two hours left,” Mom told me, handing me some cash.

I walked into the store to get some food. I must have had a grimace etched on my face because everyone who looked at me quickly looked away.

“Goofy—or should I say Dopey—why the long face?” It was Andrew. He ruffled my hair.

“Urgh, seriously? Why the hair?” I complained, pushing him away and combing it with my fingers.

Andrew chuckled. “Because I haven’t been able to do that for four years, and your reaction is priceless, as always.”

I rolled my eyes. I kept walking through the aisles of the gas station but stopped in my tracks when I heard a sickeningly sweet laugh—it was Jenna. Oh, great. The last thing I needed was to see Jenna and Coleman.

“Come on, Goofy. Let’s grab some food,” Andrew said softly, pulling me in another direction.

I picked up a wrap, a chocolate bar, and a bottle of water. As I was standing in line, I heard that laugh again. They were behind me.

Why did everybody have to be here at once?

Deep breaths, Iza, deep breaths. All you need to do is pay and leave. Don’t give them any attention.

I put my items on the counter and rolled my eyes when I heard Jenna laugh again. What the hell was so damn funny? Actually, never mind—I didn’t want to know.

After I paid, I rushed out of the gas station, desperate for fresh air. I wanted to wait for Andrew, but I didn’t want to risk running into the two lovebirds.

Luckily, Dad was already buckled in. He smiled as I climbed into the back seat. I looked out the window and accidentally laid eyes on them in the parking lot.

Even one glance was enough—Coleman and Jenna looked like that lovey-dovey couple everyone hates, the ones who are always showing public displays of affection and annoying everyone.

Coleman had his arm around Jenna’s shoulder and was kissing down her neck without shame. If I could see, then so could everyone else. Jenna seemed to be enjoying it, though.

I made a face and made eye contact with Andrew, who was coming out of the gas station and fake gagging behind them. That made me laugh. Andrew smiled at me and, seeing me laugh, pretended to cut his throat.

At least I knew I wasn’t the only one who hated seeing this.

Once Mom was back in the car, Dad told us we had just under two hours left. We would get to our hotel around 1 p.m.

I spent the first hour eating my food and reading a book I had packed. No more romance novels for me—this was a thriller-mystery book. Definitely more up my alley.

The second hour, I fell asleep yet again. It was probably a good thing—I needed sleep before the Ball.

Mom woke me up when we arrived at the hotel. Andrew came over to our car and grinned when he saw me rubbing the sleep from my eyes.

“Sleeping Beauty finally awakens,” he said, offering me his hand.

I took it gratefully. “Whatever. I needed sleep, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to survive tonight.”

“I also need sleep, but no, I had to do the damn drive here,” he complained as we walked through the hotel doors.

“Well, get some sleep when we check in,” I suggested.

“So, Goofy—be my date to the Royal Ball tonight. I can’t imagine going with anyone else,” Andrew said dramatically. “You’re the oxygen I breathe, the—”

I hit him playfully. “Okay, Mr. Dramatic. Tone it down. I guess I’ll go with you.”

“Good. If you had said no, I would have just forced you anyway.” Andrew winked at me and went to his parents, who were checking in.

I giggled at how silly he was. I knew he was acting goofier than usual to distract me, but it was working.

As I walked over to my parents, my ears unintentionally picked up Coleman and Jenna’s conversation.

“I can’t wait till we get our room. I just want to tear these clothes off you,” Coleman said.

“You can’t say that! Everyone can hear you,” Jenna exclaimed.

“Let them hear. I don’t care. I just want to show you off tonight at the Ball.”

I shook my head and tried to focus on something—anything—else. Even though I had intruded on their private conversation, it still stung.

Coleman clearly didn’t remember what had happened four years ago, or he didn’t care. He’s happy, and he’s moved on, I thought.

I had to accept that I wasn’t in Jenna’s position, even though I’d dreamed of it for so long. I knew that the sooner I embraced this, the better it would be for me.

My dad handed me my room key. Thank The Gods I had my own room, because right then, I was trying so hard not to let the tears fall.

Dad, Mom, Siya, and Ari were all on a different floor from me, so I headed off. Mom warned me to start getting ready at 4 p.m. because the cars would arrive at 7 p.m. to pick us up.

Luck was finally on my side—Coleman and Jenna weren’t on my floor either. Siya messaged me just as I got into my room and said they were on hers. I found out Andrew was on my floor, though.

I quickly unpacked and plugged my phone in to charge. Images of Coleman and Jenna were burned on my retinas.

I walked out onto my room’s balcony, fully prepared to bawl my eyes out until I had to start getting ready.

I sat in a hanging chair and looked out at the view of the Capital Domain. Tears had already started to blur my vision.

The hotel was very close to the Royal Palace, the home of the king and the headquarters of the New Royals. From this vantage point, I could see just how expansive and luxurious the palace really was. The feeling of wonder made the lump in my throat shrink a little.

I would be heading there tonight for the Ball, and for the first time, I felt a twinge of excitement about the evening.

I wiped the tears from my eyes and looked closer. I could just barely make out the faint shape of a man running as hard as he could in the field behind the palace.

I listened in with all my might, and after a moment, I swore I could even hear the man crying.

As I listened to the noise, I started to feel a pained stirring inside of me.

I didn’t know what was happening.

All I knew was that I felt drawn to that man, like I wanted to get close enough to touch him.

Like I wanted to be the one to heal his pain.

Could that be Narcissus Andrei Stone? The king?

There was no way to be sure. But I was desperate to find out.

Next chapter
Rated 4.4 of 5 on the App Store
82.5K Ratings
Galatea logo

Unlimited books, immersive experiences.

Galatea FacebookGalatea InstagramGalatea TikTok