Epilogue To Lucy Qaderi

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Chapter OnePrint this Page "I'm leaving you." Lucy Qaderi forced the words out before she could convince herself not to say them. Even if she had not yet dared to turn around and say them to his face. She'd sensed the moment he'd stepped into this opulent bedroom suite they had once shared, high up in the mountains over the tiny Eurasian country of Alakkul. His country. She would know him anywhere, this brooding, ruthless man. Rafi Qaderi. The leader of his ancient family, responsible for maintaining the Qaderis' many international interests and vast wealth while his celebrated cousin prepared to take over the throne of Alakkul from the ailing King Azat. Rafi was a financial wizard, a shrewd businessman. Noble and proud. Her husband.…show more content…
She sensed more than saw him drop into the chair closest to her, and then he stretched out his long legs and she could scarcely avoid them. Even so, she kept her eyes trained on her own lap. "Growing up, there wasn't any money for gifts, so on Christmas morning Mum would tell us stories instead. About how we would be princesses when we were older, how we'd never be cold again and how we would eat whatever we liked in golden palaces, bathed in sun and laughter." She smiled. "That was my favorite part. Even when there were gifts, I preferred the stories. I used to lie by the fire and imagine they all came true." She didn't know why she'd told him that. Surely she should have learned better by now. He was not at all what she wanted him to be, and she could not understand why she insisted on testing that theory. It never ended well. "I suppose that your story did come true," he said after a moment, and there was an odd note in his voice. She looked up and found herself snared in his dark gaze. She caught her breath. He waved a hand at the room surrounding them, the paintings on the walls, the lavish furnishings. But then his cruel mouth crooked into that smirk she recognized too well, and whatever warmth she'd started to feel disappeared. "How enterprising of…show more content…
She forgot about pride, about shame. She searched his face, her hands open in supplication. "How long do you plan to punish me? I hardly became pregnant on my own, did I?" He rose to his feet then, his eyes stark, his mouth a tight line. She thought he paled. "You dare to throw that lie at me?" he asked, his voice the barest thread of sound. "Now? After you have been exposed?" "Exposed?" She shook her head, reeling, her heart pounding. She felt sick. "Is that what you call it?" "The word I prefer is trapped," Rafi growled, advancing on her. He towered over her, his eyes black. Condemning. "Your claims of pregnancy, which I, a man of honor, could only address in one way. Followed by your claims of a conveniently timed miscarriage, barely a month after the wedding. And this after I had proclaimed your innocence, your innate goodness, to the whole of my country. How much of a fool do you take me for, Lucy?" She stared at him in horror. "Is that who you think I am?" she asked, stunned. Horrifed. "That is exactly who you are," he retorted. Which made him far less of a fool than she was, she realized, her stomach lurching. This, finally, explained the way he'd treated her for these long months. He despised her. Believed her to be the worst kind of
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