Giving in to one simply divine temptation changed the course of her life forever. Chellie’s world spiraled out of control, and she had no one to blame, but the one man who lied and betrayed her. Her one night of unrivaled passion became the worst and most cherished moment of her life.
Prince Siran SuMartra stood fourth in line for the throne. Nothing was expected of him, and that’s exactly what he delivered. The image he put forth to the public was becoming tiresome to maintain. When he woke disorientated in yet another strange bed, with a woman he couldn’t remember, he knew it was time to change and take his place beside his brothers.
Years later, two very different people come together and discover they’re bound through a common bond. Prince Siran sets out to make amends. Chellie knows putting her trust in him again would only lead to another sweet temptation.
“Chellie, what’s wrong?”
Chellie heard her friend Lisa, but the face in the news segment on the television above the bar held Chellie spellbound.
Laughter, chairs sliding on the floor, and glass clicking all faded to background noise as she stared at the face she thought she would never again see. The face she had searched for, for over a year. Her breath caught as she fell once again into those eyes. She would forever remember the storm in those midnight blue eyes just before they claimed her lips and the feel of his black hair in her fisted hands as she pulled the silky locks closer to her body. She shook her head to erase those images, squeezed her eye shut, and slowly opened them, not sure if she wanted it to be him or not.
“Chell, you okay?” Lisa asked.
“That’s…” -She raised a finger and pointed to the television. “That’s…” She couldn’t even form words to explain her shock.
“Hey, he looks just like…,” Lisa said, as she walked closer to the television.
“Shhh.” Chellie needed to hear what the news reporters were saying.
She took a step closer as they flashed his name below his picture. Her eyes narrowed as she read Prince Siran SuMartra. Blood drained from her face as she carefully re-read the caption. She snapped her eyes shut as a wave of dizziness sent her grabbing the table beside her. She must be dreaming. Slowly she opened her eyes once again and cringed when the same word came before his name: Prince.
Another picture flashed on the screen. This one was of a man that looked so much like Siran they could have been twins. That had to be his brother. The segment announced the marriage of Prince Tajeria SuMartra next week. Chellie didn’t catch the name of the bride. She focused solely on the man standing behind the happy couple looking pleased about his brother’s impending nuptials. His wickedly handsome smile made her weak in the knees.
The shock of seeing Siran again sent her head spinning. Chellie dropped the tray she was carrying onto the nearest table and fell into the booth. The segment was over, but still her eyes were glued to the screen. Her brain worked feverishly to understand. How? Tears clouded her eyes as the gravity of his deception finally sank in. She blinked them away, refusing to shed even one more tear. He had lied about everything, but somehow it didn’t surprise her.
“That was him?” Lisa asked quietly and joined her in the booth.
“Yeah, that’s him.” Chellie finally broke eye contact with the screen and dragged her gaze towards Lisa. “He lied Lisa. His name wasn’t Siran Smith, and he surely isn’t from Cader City.”
“That’s why you couldn’t find him.”
“I certainly wasn’t looking for Prince Siran SuMartra.” Chellie remembered how good he was at getting what he wanted. He had her forgetting everything just to be in his arms. And even after what he did, she’d still held out hope that he would realize what they had shared that night. She had wanted it to be just as special to him as it had been to her.
A prince? What had the news reporter said? He was the last available SuMartra prince? Then they’d flashed pictures of beautiful women he was reported to have had intimate affairs with just this month. She had counted five women! All blondes…figured. She dropped her head to the table in disgust. She and Sammy were better off without him. She shook her head, trying to clear the image of him from her mind, an image that she saw every day in the face of her son.
“Chell, you know what that means, don’t you?”
“That Siran SuMartra is a liar as well as a prince?” she mumbled, as she pretended to bang her head on the wooden table.
“No, that means Sammy’s a prince too. Chell, you have to tell Siran he has a son. He has a right to know. Honey, he needs to help you. You could go back to school and finish your degree.”
Chellie jerked her head up. “No!” She refused to even go there. “You think Sammy would be better off knowing he has a father like that?” She stabbed her finger towards the television. “You heard what they said about him, and you know what he did to me.”
“But, honey, he could make things better for you. He needs to pay for what he did.”
Chellie shook her head even before Lisa finished. “No, no. You know what Lisa? It’s better this way. We’ve made it this far. Sammy and I don’t want or need him in our lives. Maybe this is what I needed to move on and get Siran out of my head. He lied and he used me. He is nothing to me.” She wondered how many times she would have to repeat it before she believed it.
Lisa didn’t look convinced. “What are you going to do?”
“I’m not sure yet,” she answered distractedly, as all the implications raced through her brain. “Do you mind if we do lunch next week? There’s something I have to do.”
“Sure, honey. I’ll call you.”
Chellie watched Lisa leave. They had both worked at the club when they were in college. Lisa graduated and got her dream job. Chellie was still at the same club working on weekends, plus two other jobs, and barely squeaking by paycheck to paycheck. She bit her bottom lip and took one last scathing look at the television. And it was all his fault!
She picked her tray up and walked behind the bar. “Seth, can I take my break now?”
Chellie made her way to Seth’s office and pulled up Google. She typed “Siran SuMartra” in and sat back in stunned disbelief as articles and pictures began to load. She clicked on a close-up picture. Siran stood at the railing of a huge yacht, wearing dark green swim shorts, his bare chest beaded with moisture. His dark blue eyes stared straight at her. She shivered from their intensity, leaned back in the chair, and tried to slow her breathing. Those were eyes she saw over and over again in her dreams. Her gaze moved down to his strong, full lips. She could feel them kissing a path down her neck, over her breasts, and ending with her screaming out his name. He must have laughed at her as he played his little joke, giving her his name as Siran Smith.
Throughout her entire break she made herself read every article she found on him. She felt sick to her stomach as she closed the program and went back to work. Her son’s father was nothing but a spoiled prince with too much money and not enough morals. They were better off without him. He definitely wasn’t a role model she wanted her son to have in his life.
She had two hours left of her shift and couldn’t think about it anymore or she would go crazy. After she put Sammy to bed, she would think about the night that changed her life and how stupid she had been to ever believe anything that came out of that man’s mouth. No matter what he called himself, Siran Smith or Siran SuMartra meant nothing to her.
Later, Chellie carried her sleeping son into their apartment, kissed the top of his head, and laid him in his bed. The poor tyke had given up waiting on her when she ended up working late. She once again said a silent prayer for Mrs. Silverman. Mrs. Silverman lived next door and kept Sammy while Chellie worked. She didn’t like leaving him so much, but she didn’t have a choice. Through the week she worked a boring office job. On the weekends she worked whatever hours she could get at the club, and three nights a week she cleaned several area businesses. It wasn’t the life she’d planned on years ago, but then Siran SuMartra happened.
“Momma?” Sammy woke as she laid him down on his Ninja Turtle sheets.
“Hey, little man.” Chellie tucked him in and planted a kiss on his forehead.
“You’re late,” he said, as he closed his droopy eyes once more. Chellie smiled and ran her fingers through his dark curls.
“I’m sorry, honey. Tomorrow we can go to the park and spend all day together.”
“’kay. Love you.” Sammy rolled over, asleep once again.
She smiled, knowing tomorrow he wouldn’t even remember her promise of going to the park. Chellie sat on the side of his bed long after he drifted back to sleep and watched her amazing son sleep. It was her favorite pastime. She brushed his hair back from his face. She’d been so scared when she brought him home from the hospital, afraid she wouldn’t know how to care for such a tiny baby. She had been terrified of hurting him because of her inexperience. She’d been afraid he would stop breathing, so she slept on the floor beside his crib for months to make sure he didn’t need her during the night.
As they both grew older, she became more confident in her parenting skills, but she still loved to watch him sleep. He was such a beautiful child. And smart. And looked exactly like Siran SuMartra–same black hair and the same midnight blue eyes. She sighed and got up wearily to her feet. Her son was going to be just as handsome as his father when he grew up. But never would she allow Sammy to be anything like him.
Chellie picked up several toys from the floor and dropped them into the basket by the door and left his bedroom door slightly ajar. She sat down on her bed, removed her shoes and rubbed her aching feet. Later, after her shower, when she was lying all alone in her bed, she finally let her mind wander back. Back to the first time she saw those midnight blue eyes.
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