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But then, as he turned and walked toward the scrum of palace aids and ministers—if the presence of Angelique Silvestri was any guide—Madelyn watched him...change.

It was only then that she realized he wasn’t dressed the way he had been the night before. Gone were the black clothes, utilitarian and simple, but it was more than that. It wasn’t only the less-fitted clothing he wore now that somehow broadcast its own astronomical expense. The way he’d dressed in Cambridge, now that she thought about it. Like then, she couldn’t have saidwhythe pair of trousers and shirt he wore were any different from any other, only that they were. They very clearly had been made for him specifically. Likely by hand. And every step he took was a quiet whisper of the kind of offhanded male elegance that was only possible with unlimited funds.

Madelyn could have spent some time fuming over that, but she tucked it away because it wasn’tjustthe clothes. She studied him, trailing behind him, as he strode toward his people. It was the way he moved. It was the way he smiled.

It was the fact that he smiled at all.

But it wasn’t until she saw him wave that languid hand of his that she understood what he was doing. He was reverting back to type. Becoming that easy playboy of a prince she’d met long ago.

The Prince his people expected, perhaps.

She watched, strange suspicions gripping her, as he was welcomed home in a series of deep curtsies and informal bows. A rippling wave of them as he walked from the helicopter across the grand forecourt, and not the way he’d moved around the Hermitage last night.

This version of Paris Apollo...sauntered. Madelyn followed at a distance, aware that it was likely no coincidence that she was quickly flanked by a selection of royal guards as she moved, but she didn’t mind that. Maybe she should have, but she was too busy watching Paris Apollo as he put on his show.

By the time they made it inside, she understood that he was striking a note somewhere between that grim, gruff man from the Hermitage and the lazy, pleasure-seeking wastrel he’d been when she’d so foolishly fallen for him in Cambridge. The one she’d seen in all those tabloids afterward.

But she didn’t have the chance to ask him which one was real, because once inside, he was swept away in the crowd of staff and ministers and she was marched off to a set of rooms that, a cheerful woman of indeterminate rank and position told her, were to be hers.

“For the duration,” the woman said.

“I don’t needrooms,” Madelyn replied, fighting to sound nothing more than polite. “I need a plane. I brought you back your king and now I need to go home.”

The woman only laughed, then left her standing in the large foyer of the expansive apartment. And when Madelyn checked her door, she found there were two guards standing on the other side.

“Am I a prisoner?” she asked them.

Maybe less politely than she planned.

“His Majesty requests that you stay in these rooms,” replied one of the guards.

“So that, madam, is what you’ll do,” said the other. Sternly.

Madelyn went back inside, indulged herself and her panic for moment, then tried tothink.

Unlike the Hermitage, the palace was sumptuous in every detail. From the moldings on the ceiling with set-in illustrations to the sumptuous brocaded window dressings, she could not have felt more out of place if she’d found herself on the moon.

She made her way over to the windows—a little shakily—and looked out over the island. It looked green and lush today and far more welcoming than the great mountain she’d climbed yesterday. The sea danced in every direction so that there was no part of the island that didn’t seem to also be a part of all those waves and the beaches they threw themselves against, over and over again.

And she could hear the celebrations from the city streets even before she found her way to a pair of French doors and stepped out onto her balcony.

She felt the sun on her face. She heard the songs in the air. And she couldn’t have said why it was that the people’s joyful response to the return of their king made her feel so...emotional. When she shouldn’t have cared. What was it to her what these people felt about Paris Apollo coming down off his mountaintop? It didn’t change the fact that she was imprisoned here, did it?

Or the fact that she had no idea what he intended to do with her.

Or, worse, with Troy.

The panic beat at her again. She had nothing of her own with her, not even her bag. Or the cell phone inside it. Madelyn wheeled around and pushed her way back inside, moving almost frantically until she found an ornate, old-style rotary phone on one of the side tables in the living room. She picked it up, half expecting to find an operator there who would act like one of the guards and refuse to put her call through—

But she heard a dial tone. And she still remembered how to make international calls from her time in England, so that was what she did, keying in her aunt’s number and waiting impatiently as the rotary slowly cycled out each number. And then rang.

And rang. And rang.

She tried three more times as the hours ticked by, but there was no answer.

And no matter how many times she told herself that all was well—and she was getting the time change wrong, that was all—she was...not okay.

When the doors to her rooms were tossed open, she fully expected to see Angelique Silvestri standing there. And perhaps a brass band, now that she thought about it, because she had gone and done the exact thing that she’d been asked to do. Surely all that was left now was to be congratulated, then escorted to a plane so she could fly back home and hug her kid.