Jennifer quivered from his words and the depth of his blue gaze. Could he still love her? Did those other women mean nothing to him and had only been a distraction because she was gone? Getting engaged to the incredible Macey couldn’t have meant nothing.
She didn’t know. But Tristan would help her. Together, they could figure out how to beat William and rescue her mum and dad. With a lot of miracles, they could keep everyone else safe from William’s machinations. She had to push her desire and love for him to the back of her mind and focus on her parents.
“I’ll be waiting in your suite,” she promised.
Tristan smiled. His genuine, unique, perfectly T smile. His cheeks crinkled and his smile made his lips even more appealing. How she had missed that smile.
Sweeping her glasses and hat off the ground, he handed them to her. Then he gave her one more longing look before he turned and strode down the hall. Jennifer watched him go, admiring everything from his powerful body to his kindness and patience with her. She wilted against the wall. That man was too enticing for her own good.
How long would she have to wait for him?
It didn’t matter. Tristan was her only hope to beat William and Naomi. Tristan was also the only person besides her parents who would do anything in the world for her.
If only she knew what power William wielded over her father. Yes, he’d kidnapped her mum, so obviously her dad would do anything to save her, but even when her dad sent her away eight months ago, he’d been terrified and in William’s powerful clutches. Her smart dad wouldn’t stupidly go meet with William and get kidnapped himself. Right?
For her mum, he would.
She prayed as she hurried to the nearest set of stairs. Just knowing Tristan was on her side made her shoulders not feel so burdened and her step lighter. Her parents were still in mortal danger, but Tristan would help them. Of course he would. It was one reason she fell in love with him. He was brave, impressive, connected, and determined.
Jennifer made it to the fifth floor and hurried down the hall to his suite. Thankfully she didn’t see any guards; they were all probably out at the wedding. What about the cameras? Would guards descend on her, capture her, and haul her away before Tristan could come for her? Her pulse sped up, and she upped her pace. She’d lock herself in Tristan’s suite and only open the door for him. Did the guards have keys that overrode the locks?
Finally, she reached his door and twisted the knob, slipping inside. Resting her back against the door, she took some slow breaths. Mint and cedar. So familiar, so safe. She was here, and Tristan was only minutes behind her.
Turning the lock, she stumbled the few steps to a couch and sank onto it. Tears pricked at her eyelids. Normally she wasn’t so emotional, but who could blame her with her parents both kidnapped by a masochist and wanting to reunite with the love of her life?
Trusting Tristan was instinctive, but she was terrified of doing or saying the wrong thing and somehow having it get back to William. They’d have to watch their backs, and somehow she’d have to convince him to not tell his dad or Ray.
The tightrope she needed to walk and the danger of a knife at her parents’ throats made it hard to relax, but Tristan’s scent and being in his space wrapped around her. No matter what, he’d never let anything bad happen to her. She felt safe for the first time in a long time.
Tristan wondered if he would ever fully enjoy one of his brother’s weddings. Maybe Malik and Sophie’s nuptials would be a day with no extra drama. Steffan and Hattie had married in some jungle in South America with only her cousin, Sadie, and her husband Wolf attending, the ceremony performed by a church missionary. Ray and Macey’s wedding had been a nightmare because of William’s scheming, Ellery mistakenly trusting Naomi, and Henry acting as William’s puppet. Curt and Aliya’s wedding had been nice, quiet, in the mountains with some of the family there. He had relaxed and enjoyed that day.
Everyone but Mum was here now, and Tristan was so worried about Jennifer and aching to get to her that he couldn’t relax or enjoy this special time. He didn’t blame Jennifer. All the blame lay at William and Naomi Rindlesbachers’ feet. As usual.
He and Jennifer hadn’t had enough time to talk it all out, but she’d said her dad was gone and ‘they’ had her mum. It had to be William and Naomi. Jennifer needed to tell him all, and then they had to make a plan to rescue Henry and Leslie.
Could he spend some time comforting and kissing her during that planning session?
Tristan wiped a hand across his eyes. He had to focus. As much as he yearned for Jennifer in his arms, her parents’ safe return and the end of the Rindlesbachers’ plots had to come first. That meant the planning would have to be done with Ray, Jensen, his dad, and maybe even Lieutenant General Cordon and Chad. No kissing would happen with all of them around.
The dinner continued with speeches and toasts, lots of laughter, and too much delicious food. Sophie was an incredible chef, and she and her staff had outdone themselves.
After dinner and dessert, an informal reception line formed to hug and talk with the bride and groom and the other royals. Dancing would begin soon. Their crew would clear some tables and set up refreshments. Never enough food, apparently.
Could he escape yet?
He noticed Ray giving him the stare down. What did his brother know, and what was he thinking? He’d cleared Jennifer at the gate earlier. His twin was exceptionally protective of his wife Macey and their dad and siblings. He was also especially observant at knowing what Tristan needed or what dangers might be approaching.
Why always the danger with their family? Before Mum was murdered, they’d had an idyllic life. Had the Rindlesbachers simply been plotting and biding their time to create the perfect storm and dethrone the August family?
How much longer until he could sneak out of here and get to Jennifer? The thought of her in his suite had his skin prickling. Not that either of them would do anything out of line, but she belonged with him and in his life. If only he could talk her into eloping after they rescued her parents. Sadly, the crown prince would have to have a bigger wedding day than even this one. Dang. Even more sadly, Jennifer seemed far from loving him as she used to. Except outside the bathroom when he’d leaned in and she’d given every indication she would willingly return his kiss. Dang the interruption.
Lieutenant General Phillipe Cordon stopped in front of him and bowed respectfully. “Prince Tristan.”
Tristan used to shake the man’s hand or clasp his arm, but it made Phillipe obviously uncomfortable. He was a career military man and all but worshipped the royal family. Sometimes he went overboard and came across as simpering, but Tristan respected the man and was grateful for his dedication to the royal family—especially now, as they were questioning who might be secretly working with the Rindlesbachers.
The only royals Philippe seemed relaxed around were Curt and Aliya. The three of them had gotten ‘thick as thieves’ as Aliya would say the past couple months, patrolling the mountains above Curt and Aliya’s cabin that bordered Austria. They also researched and searched for the elusive ‘cure’ to the ‘curse’ that had plagued the women who married into the August family throughout the seventeen- and eighteen-hundreds. Supposedly the queen’s wedding ring, which a revered priest had blessed hundreds of years ago, had stopped the curse and protected the women.