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Theirs Ever After (The Thalanian Dynasty #3)
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Sometimes happily ever after isn’t all it’s cracked up to be…
Theo, Galen, and Meg’s journey continues in THEIRS EVER AFTER as they navigate the new realities of their relationship.
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“Not that way, Consort.”
Meg Sanders veered to the right instead of the left in response to the whispered words. She’d officially been Consort to the King of Thalania for six months, and she still couldn’t quite figure out the palace. It should be straightforward enough, but they never seemed to take the same path twice. Supposedly it had something to do with security and safety, but she couldn’t shake the feeling that the staff here just flat out didn’t like her.
“Consort.” Another whisper behind her.
She bit back a sigh and raised her gaze to find none other than Noemi Huxley bearing down on her. Oh, Noemi was too perfect to bear down on anyone. She practically floated across the cool stone floors, her classic dress kicking out gently around her heels.
Meg had no illusions about her appearance. She was attractive and knew how to maximize that as needed, but Noemi made her feel about two feet tall and stunted without even trying. She had model-sharp cheekbones, a generous mouth, and honey blond hair that never seemed out of place. “Consort,” she said with a smile and leaned in to press an air kiss to each of Meg’s cheeks.
Another Thalanian custom that Meg would never get used to. It didn’t matter that Thalania was far from the only European country that employed air kisses. She had a choice whether to accept them in other countries. As Consort, she was chained by a set of rules she still didn’t have down pat. No use thinking about that now. You made your choice.
Yeah, she had.
She chose Theo.
Noemi stepped back, oblivious to the turmoil of Meg’s thoughts and gave another warm smile. “I was hoping you had some time in your schedule in the next few days for tea. I feel like I haven’t seen you in ages.”
They had tea only last week, but Meg didn’t have the heart to say it. It wasn’t Noemi’s fault that her every breath highlighted how perfectly she fit into life in the palace—and how the same couldn’t be said for Meg. To her credit, Noemi never went out of her way to point that out. She was kind enough and seemed to genuinely want to spend time getting to know Meg. Which was more than Meg could say for most of the other noble Families.
Stop it. Focus. You can’t afford to be distracted, even with Noemi.
Meg forced a smile of her own. “I’d like that a lot.” She glanced over her shoulder at Alys, her own personal babysitter. The woman’s official title was secretary, but they both knew the truth. “Alys, how does my schedule look tomorrow?” She didn’t think there was anything, but she’d been wrong before.
Alys checked her ever-present tablet. “You’re clear from two to three.”
That’s it? It took everything she had not to wilt at the words. Meg turned back to Noemi. “How does that sound?”
“Wonderful. I look forward to it.” Noemi swooped down—at nearly six feet tall, she towered over Meg’s five feet, seven inches—and pressed two more air kisses to her cheeks. “Have a good evening, Consort.”
Meg resumed her course, careful to keep her chin up and her stride steady. God forbid she give into the urge to sprint through the halls to the relative safety of the private suite she shared with Galen and Theo. She followed Alys’s quiet directions until they turned down a hallway Meg actually recognized. Bright, happy paintings clustered the walls, the sight of them making her smile despite herself. They had been acquired by Theo’s mother years ago, right after she’d married his father and become Queen of Thalania. Theo had them moved to this hall the week after his coronation, a reminder of the woman who’d been so important to him.
Some days, Meg spent nearly an hour staring into the paintings, trying to reach back through time to the woman who’d picked them. They were such a random collection, their origins spanning multiple decades and many styles. The only real connection was the buoyancy in her chest when she allowed herself to spend time in this space. Did Theo’s mother pick them because she was happy and wanted pieces to reflect that? Or were they her only bright spot in the stress that came from being with the most powerful man in Thalania?
The latter, Meg could relate to all too well.
She bit back a sigh and kept her spine straight as she opened the door to the private suites. She paused and looked back at Alys. The woman had been a lifesaver for the last six months. Everything about her was just as understated as Noemi was glamorous. She tended to wear black with small pops of color—slacks and a blouse today—and the only jewelry Meg had ever seen on her person was a thin locket she wore around her neck. She never mentioned it and Meg didn’t feel like it was her place to ask simply to satisfy her curiosity.