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Suddenly Royal(10)

By:Nichole Chase

“Did she know?” I looked at Rose and hoped she didn’t notice the tears in my eyes. Mom had been gone for five years, but it still hurt when I heard her voice in my head like that. And now, to find out this, I wasn’t sure what to do. What to think.

“I’m not sure. It’s likely she knew a little, but I don’t believe she knew everything.” Rose frowned. “I’m sorry we didn’t find you sooner. I would have liked to have met your mother. I understand she was a brilliant biologist.”

“She was.” My eyes slid around the room as I tried to regain my composure. How could she not tell me? Did she know the truth? Part of the truth? And what about my dad? My feet started to itch and I wanted to get up and go demand an answer.

“I’m leaving in a couple of days to head home. I’d like it very much if you would return with me.” Rose leaned forward. “The Rousseau family was a very important one and my sister is extremely excited to meet you.”

“In a few days? I can’t. I have school. Projects. I can’t just leave.” I shook my head. A queen wanted to meet me? This was insane. “What would I do?”

“Aunt, surely we can give her more time to consider everything.” Alex looked at Rose, his bright blue eyes serious. “That’s a lot to put on her all at once.”

“True.” Rose picked up her fork and knife and cut her chicken. “But the world has a way of throwing us curve balls. We have to decide whether to swing or strike out. This is your moment, Samantha. You’re up to bat.”

I snorted. I couldn’t help it. The duchess had just made a baseball analogy about my life. I picked up the glass of wine, deciding I needed a sip to help calm my jangling nerves. “How long would I be away?”

“That would depend on you. There is a ceremony to be performed. Legalities to be followed through with. Of course, once you take control of the estate and become the family head, it would be pertinent for you to stay in the country as much as possible. You would be your family’s voice on the council to the queen.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me.” I looked at her, my mouth hanging open. “Holy shit. You’re serious.” Rose’s mouth twitched and I realized I had just cursed in the presence of royalty. “Sorry. A seat on the council to the queen? You guys know nothing about me!”

“That’s not true. You’ve made the dean’s list at your school every year. You were the top student to be chosen for your graduate program. You are dutiful to your family and take good care of your stepfather. You are a remarkable young woman our country would be proud to have.”#p#分页标题#e#

I knew my mouth was still agape. I didn’t care. Rose had just outlined my life, but instead of making it sound boring, she had made it sound like I was a saint.

“I can’t just leave school. My degree is very important to me.” I’d worked so hard to get to where I was. The scholarships alone had taken countless hours of work to receive.

“Raptors are incredibly important in our country. Each of the noble houses has one as their symbol. Your family is the merlin. A small but fierce bird. There are several well-known schools and programs that would be pleased to have you. And you would have the added benefits of our medical system for your father.” Rose looked up from her food. “There are many treatments available overseas your government has not allowed here.”

That gave me pause. More than anything she could have said tonight, that was the one thing that would make me seriously consider this craziness. From the look in her eyes, she knew it, too. I was being maneuvered. I didn’t like it, but at the same time, she made a good case. And I knew about merlins. They were amazing birds.

“I need to think about this.” I picked up my fork and pushed the potatoes on my plate.

“Of course.” Rose smiled and I caught a hint of victory in it. “Like I said, I will be here for a few more days. And if you decide to come, we can push it back a little so you can accomplish any tasks you’d need to do first. I’m sure you will want to speak with your father, as well.”

“Thank you, but I’m not sure I’ll be going.” I took another sip of wine. And then another. Oh good God. What would Dad say?

“I hope he will be able to come for the ceremony.” Rose sipped from her wine. “If you decide to take up the mantle, of course.”

If I decided, of course. I had a feeling it wouldn’t be that easy.

“If you come out, you’ll have to go hunting with me.” Alex nodded toward me.