“There are things I need to tell you.” Eli twirled a lock of Savannah’s ebony hair around one finger as he laid in bed, the approaching dusk casting shadows across the hotel room. The open balcony offered fresh air and the sounds of the city outside.
Savannah sat up and rolled over onto her belly meeting his gaze in the waning light. The hand he’d been using to play with her hair tucked behind his head and he searched her eyes, wondering if she would still feel safe coming home after what he had to tell her.
“Your brother and I are involved in an underground secret society plotting to murder my father.”
“What?” She pulled away with disgust. “Why would you want to murder your father? Why would you want to murder anyone?”
“We don’t want to murder anyone,” Eli explained. “We just have to play our part, letting them think we’re on board with the plan.”
“Whose plan?” Her suspicion hadn’t diminished.
“We think the primary instigator is my brother, Jared, but there are more moving parts and we need to investigate.”
“Your brother wants to murder your father? Why?”
“He wants his crown,” Eli said, matter of fact.
“Isn’t Prince Marcos the Crown?” Savannah’s question hung in the air and Eli hesitated.
“Depends on who you talk to.”
“I’m talking to you. Who do you think is Crown?” Her husky voice led him to believe he could be honest with her. If Eli could be honest with anyone in the world, his wife needed to be that person.
“Mark,” Eli’s whisper was apprehensive.
“You do?” Eli turned to Savannah with relief and excitement.
“Without hesitation,” she said.
“Me too!” Eli let out a relieved breath. “I was afraid to tell you.”
“I don’t know. I haven’t told your brother.”
“Wow, your most trusted advisor? I never thought I’d see the day when you’d hide anything from Kadin.”
“He’s too entrenched in the underground society. It’s not that I don’t trust him; I just don’t want to risk him slipping and telling someone else.”
“Do you guys attend some sort of secret meetings or something?”
“I don’t,” Eli said. “I’m not sure who he talks to, who the organizers are, who’s in charge.”
“Does he share details with you?”
“A few. But it’s best if I know as little as possible,” Eli said. “We plan to feed bits of information back to the group based on my meetings with my father and the king. The longer we can stave off their designs, the more likely we can stop the crime.”
“What about you being implicated as part of the group plotting the murder?”
“I’ve thought of that. That’s one of the reasons I want as little involvement as possible. I want to trust your brother, I really do. But the more involved he becomes, the more I fear he’ll be swayed by their cunning words.”
“I’ll help keep an eye on Kadin,” Savannah promised. “Now, can we order room service? We burned a million calories this afternoon and I’m starving. I’m eating for two now, remember?” Savannah rolled over and rested her hand on her abdomen, which had yet to expand. All her natural curves and mounds and valleys were still in the same places they were five and a half weeks ago when he’d seen them for the first time.
Eli rested his hand on top of hers, sealing a connection between his wife and their baby. Never had he felt this much peace and contentment. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, filling his lungs with the heavenly fragrance surrounding him. A combination of essential oils, incense burning on the bedside table, pheromones and a hint of perspiration leftover from an afternoon of lovemaking mixed with wafting aromas of meals cooking at the nearby restaurants and the light breeze of spring. He leaned forward to kiss Savannah’s lips one more time then pulled away and smiled down at his wife. “Yes, let’s order room service.”