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A Royal Legacy (Latvala Royals #6)

By´╝ÜDanielle Bourdon

A Royal Legacy (Latvala Royals #6)
Author: Danielle Bourdon





Chapter One

Only the dead have seen the

end of war. --Plato

"Chey, we have a problem. Sander's gone."

"Did you look in the grotto?" Chey, unalarmed at the news her husband couldn't be found, didn't look up from her paperwork.

"Yes. We've looked everywhere."

"The children's rooms?"

"Everywhere. He's not on the island, or en route to the mainland, and he's not at the family seat. Security has sent out an alert." The maid fidgeted with her cell phone as if expecting a call any second.

Setting the pen atop the papers, Chey leaned back in her seat. Logs crackled in the large stone fireplace, chasing an unseasonable chill from the room. Her office, a converted chamber in the master suite, provided a place of peace and quiet to do all the work required of a queen. To keep the distractions to a minimum, only a desk, her chair, three bookcases and a chaise lounge decorated the space. No televisions or laptops ever breached the archway entrance.

"Did anyone check the beach?" Chey knew Sander sometimes jogged the shoreline of the island as a way to unwind from the stress and responsibility of being the king of Latvala.

"Yes. Even the other homes close to the castle. His friends. The stables. Someone also went to his father's old hunting cabin in the woods on the mainland. He's gone." The dark haired maid, standing in as Chey's personal assistant while her regular assistant Hanna was out on maternity leave, looked unsure what to do next.

Reaching across the desk for her cell phone, Chey dialed Sander's line. It rang three times and finally went to voicemail. "Sander, call me when you get this. There's a fuss up here because no one can find you." After ending the call, Chey tucked the phone into her pocket and asked, "Have Mattias and Gunnar been notified?" Chey expected so, considering Mattias was first in line to the throne, Gunnar second.

"Oh yes. More than an hour ago."

"And this is the first I've heard of it? Why don't you tell me how security knew Sander was missing. For that matter-where is his personal detail?" Chey folded her hands across her lap. After years of marriage to the king, and all they had endured together, Chey knew better than to panic.

Yet.

"He had a meeting-an informal meeting-scheduled for four-thirty this morning. When he didn't show, security began a casual search. It expanded from there. His detail says they never saw him leave the castle. A more through search is underway-the basements, outbuildings, towers."

Places Sander didn't usually go.

Chey glanced at the clock. 6:35 a.m. She recalled Sander getting up before the crack of dawn, kissing her goodbye, and murmuring something about seeing her later. Beyond that, the details were fuzzy. Sander might conduct crazy morning hours, but she liked to sleep in until five o'clock, at least.

"Thank you, Sarah. Would you ask the sitters to mind the kids?" She rose from her seat.

Sarah inclined her head. "Yes, your hig-Chey."

Chey smiled to put the standin assistant at ease. She knew it wasn't easy for the staff to call her and Sander by their first names. Chey couldn't abide all the formality, at least in their home environment, and had put the word out to the employees to go by given names unless they were in the public eye or in the presence of visiting dignitaries.

After Sarah departed, Chey abandoned her office and headed through the master suite. Along the way, she glanced out the tall windows that lined one entire wall. Rising behind a bank of clouds, sunlight streaked toward the sky, creating a fan pattern that turned the very edge of the clouds pink. The photographer in her wanted to snatch up her camera and sit on the balcony for the next hour, capturing picture after picture of the glorious view. She had thousands of similar photos from waiting on the balcony for the sun to rise. The only place better to snap shots was one of the castle towers.

Tightening the belt on her salmon colored, crushed velvet robe (she loved working in her pajamas on early mornings like this), Chey entered Sander's side of the walk in closet and made a beeline for the cubicles holding all his boots and shoes. Surely, she thought to herself, he hadn't done what she was starting to suspect he had done.

If so, she would skin him alive. Slowly.

The bottom row of cubes held Sander's rugged boots, the pairs he wore for riding, working around the castle, and hiking around the cliffs of the island. He had different ones for different tasks, and it was only because she'd known him as long as she had that she recognized exactly which pair was missing. The pair that shouldn't be missing at all.

"Sander Darrion Ahtissari, I'm going to throttle you to the moon," Chey said. Fishing out her phone, she exited Sander's closet and entered her own.

"Hello?" a masculine voice said before the first ring was done.

"Mattias, it's Chey. Are you on the mainland?" Chey pulled a pair of jeans from a hanger. If anyone could help her do what she needed to do, it was Sander's brother, Mattias.

"Yes. I'm looking for Sander. Did he turn up?"

"Not yet. But I think I know where he is. Can you have Leander meet me downstairs and arrange a helicopter to fly me to the mainland?" Chey could have arranged the flight herself, but didn't want to waste time arguing with security and advisors about Sander's whereabouts. Mattias could get everything done with no questions asked.

"Where is he?"

"Somewhere."

"That's helpful," Mattias said, a note of amusement replacing his earlier concern.

"He's in an enormous amount of trouble, that's all I'll say." Chey knew better than to spill secrets and sensitive information over these phone lines.

"Trouble of the wife kind? Or trouble of the bodily injury kind?"

"Of the wife kind. I hope not the other." She tugged on a pair

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