Page 20 of Pretty Little Thief

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“Help him. Surely your magic can heal the king, your only son.” Rami’s pleas fall on deaf ears. She doesn’t move an inch, just turns to Rami with a sad look in her eyes and shakes her head.

My eyes widen.My brother knows she’s a sorceress?

How am I the only one left in the dark?

How long has he known, and why has he never said anything to me?

Then it hits me like a blow to the chest.Because he’s her puppet, Robyn.

I move forward, placing my hand on my brother’s shoulder for comfort. “Don’t worry, brother. Father is strong, still young in age and in his heart, his body can still heal on its own.” Rami shrugs my hand away from him as I hear a chuckle from behind me. My head whips around to look at my grandmother, but she is quick to disguise her laughter with a cough.

“We must go, Rami.” Her cold, hollow voice fills the air. “With your father injured, the kingdom needs you now more than ever,” she breathes.

Rami nods, stepping away from my father.

The doors close behind them, leaving us both to grieve the boy we once loved.

The king’s shoulders sag with disappointment; I, too, was hoping this one time my brother would choose us instead of doing as she commands. Her hold on him is so tight. I don’t know how he breathes without asking for permission.

Sadness fills my body. Not just for my father, but for Rami, too. He’s a lost cause.

I’ve tried for years to break him of her spell, but he doesn’t see what the rest of us see. In his eyes, she’s his doting grandmother, building him up to be the future leader of IronHaven, and she can do no wrong. He’s a mindless troll, doing her bidding.

I love my brother, but sometimes, I wonder if he wasn’t switched at birth. There’s no way we came from the same womb.

A tear sweeps down my cheek. I look back toward my father. “I wish he would wake up and break free from her.”

“I’ve said many prayers for that to happen, but I only have myself to blame for letting my mother sink her claws into him. I thought it was out of love, but when I realized what was truly going on, it was far too late. Aside from banishing my own mother from her home, there wasn’t much else I could do. I fear it’s too late for Ramiro, but that’s why I have put protections in place for you. You must continue to train, and when the day comes, you will lead the people of IronHaven with an open heart and a warrior’s spirit,” my father says with pride.

“I promise to honor you and our house, for as long as I have air in my lungs and my heart beats in my chest.”




It’s been over a week since he arrived home, and with each day that passes, my father grows weaker. His health has taken a turn for the worse, and I can’t help but fear the end is near.

“Get out of your head and focus, little bird!” Tristan mocks, trying to rile me up, but even that isn’t working anymore. I’m losing all motivation. I want to be by my father’s side, but he insists that I spend my days in Blackwood Forest, getting my ass handed to me by these three grumpy assholes.

“I need to go check on my father. Tomorrow will be a better day,” I say with an absorbent amount of confidence, which quickly deflates when they all turn and start heckling me.

“Aww, is the princess tired?” Grey laughs.

“No, that can’t be it. She’s just in a hurry to go put on another one of her fancy dresses and head off to court,” Dominic responds.

“Enough!” I shout, stomping away toward Windemere. I don’t need this from them. Before I reach the clearing, Dominic grabs me by the arm and pushes me against the nearest tree. His face is flush against mine, and I can feel the brush of his lips on my face as he moves them.

He’s close. Too close.

“You will stop being a brat and do your duty! Your king has commanded you to train, and that’s what you will do.” His tongue is venomous, but his words ring true. The closeness of him brings my body to life with a lust-filled buzz flowing through it.

I shove him away, putting some much-needed distance between us. “You will not speak to me with such disdain. I am your princess, and I said we are done for the day.” Stepping forward, now crowding his space the same way he did mine. I notice Tristan and Grey idly standing by, watching the interaction, chuckling and whispering.

My head turns in their direction. “The two of you would allow him to disrespect me in this manner without doing anything to defend me?”

They both laugh and nod in agreement.