Home > Twisted Kingdom (Royal Elite #3)(4)

Twisted Kingdom (Royal Elite #3)(4)
Author: Rina Kent

It smells like cloves and cinnamon. It smells like Dad.

“You’re shaking.” He taps the wall between us and the driver. “Turn on the heat, Joseph.”

“Yes, Sir.”

I’m not shaking because of the cold, but I don’t say that.

My mind crowds with so many questions and theories, but I struggle to form words. My head keeps flashing back to the vision of blood while Dad lay in it. This is how it feels like to be shackled by the past. It’s always there, wrapping wires around your neck, threatening to chop it off.

“How much do you remember?” Dad asks.

“Not everything.” My voice is barely above a whisper.

“Told you,” Knox says.

Dad shoots him a glare before he focuses back on me. “Do you remember the night of the fire?”

I shake my head once.

A mixture of disappointment and relief covers his features. “I see.”

“I dreamt about blood, though. You… You were shot and covered in blood, Dad. How… How did you… H-how…”

“Hey.” He slides to the edge of his seat and takes my hand in his bigger, warmer one. “Breathe, princess.”

“You died!” I scream at the top of my lungs. “I thought you were dead for the past ten years. Why did you show up now? Why not before? Why, Daddy? Why?”

“Do you think I would’ve left my princess alone if I had a choice?”

I stare at him through wet lashes. “W-What happened?”

“I was shot, and I’ve been in a coma since. I only regained consciousness a year ago. If it were up to me, I would’ve found you the moment I woke, but I didn’t want you to see me in that state.”

“True that.” Knox counts on his fingers. “He had to go through physical therapy and mental therapy and a whole bunch of other therapies that drove me bonkers.”

I watch Dad closely. Even though he appears fine now, that doesn’t mean he has been fine all along.

Dad was in a coma for nine years.

I read once that coma patients suffer immensely through rehabilitation and struggle to get back to normal.

Is there a rock I can hide under?

I was a little brat about the fact that he disappeared when I didn’t know the entire story.

“I kept an eye on you,” Dad says. “I just didn’t show myself.”

I gasp. “The black Mercedes.”

He nods. “And Knox.”

The latter waves two fingers my way. “Always at your service, my lady.”

Pieces start falling into place. Since Knox showed up in my life, he has always been near even when I didn’t need him to.

“You owe me, remember?” Knox winks.

I nod.

He taps the bruise at the side of his mouth. “And your green-haired friend owes me for this.”


“That Xander bloke did this.” He leans in to whisper. “Your Aiden watched, by the way, then he drove off into the sunset as if he saw nothing.”

My lips part.

Truth is, I’m not surprised Aiden was involved. I suspected he had something to do with it. However, I am surprised Xander indulged in violence. He has never shown violent behaviour.

Except for that time at the cafeteria.

“He’s not her Aiden,” Dad deadpans. “He’s Aiden King, son of Jonathan King, who ruined our lives.”

I swallow, and it’s not only because of the reminder of a feud between our families.

Dad is right.

He’s not my Aiden.

Here’s the thing, Steel, you have no future with Aiden because he’s already engaged to Silver.

Jonathan’s dispassionate words scratch at my defective heart, ripping it open.

Silver was right all along — he never belonged to me.

He reduced me to playing the most loathsome, despicable role: the other woman.

Chaotic feelings claw at my chest, but I choose to tune them out.

I refuse to be dragged into that hell. Not now.

I focus on my dad. “Are you okay now?”

“I am.”

“Will there be side effects of the coma?”

“According to my physician, I’m stable.”

“But he needs to do regular checkups,” Knox chimes in. “Sort of like you.”

Tears well in my eyes at the reminder. Just like me, Dad was shot that day.

We were both victims.

Or were we really victims?

Everything is blurry and without any solution in sight.

There’s one thing I’m sure about - Dad is here. He’s not dead. He kept his promise to not leave me as Eli did.

He came back for me.


“Yes, princess?”

“C-can I hug you?”

The corners of his eyes soften, and without hesitation, he opens his arms.

I dive straight in and bury my face in his chest. Dad’s arms wrap around me in a warm, soothing hug. The tears I fought since I saw him today stream down my cheeks. “You’re… Y-you’re back.”

“I promised you I would never leave you. I’m sorry I’m late, princess.”

I shake my head frantically. “You’re back.”

For what seems like forever, I continue to cry against his chest. My fingers dig into his shirt as if I’m back to being that little girl.

Daddy’s little girl.

“I’ll never leave you again. I promise.”

I hiccough into his chest, my breaths coming in and out in a frenzy.

“We’re here!” Knox shouts and then murmurs. “Thank God.”

“Are you ready to go inside our house?” Dad strokes the hair away from my face.

I pull my head from Dad’s chest and nod, but even then, a riot starts at the bottom of my stomach.

Am I ready to go into the house where I lost my childhood?

Only one way to find out.










Such a strange word.

Here I am again. In Birmingham. At home.

Knox has already hopped out of the car as if his arse was on fire.

The distance from the front gate to the mansion is long. A stylish garden extends as far as the sight goes, and it’s filled with trees cut into different geometrical shapes.

A tremor shoots through my limbs as Dad and I stand in front of the mansion’s grand gate.

Two lion statues decorate the entrance, just like in my fragmented memories.

I don’t think I ever realised just how big our mansion was when I was younger. I remember the wires, the private lake, and the long runs Dad and I took within the perimeters of our property.

Our house is larger than the King’s mansion. Perhaps it’s because they’re in London while we’re far away from the city, in Birmingham.

The cloudy sky casts a gloomy shroud over the two towers standing tall on the eastern side.

A shudder runs through me at the sight, clawing at my ribcage like a prisoner needing release. There’s something about those towers, but what?

“Welcome home, princess.”

I rip my gaze from the architectural masterpiece to stare at my father. He watches me with pride and accomplishment like he wanted to bring me back here all along.

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