I’d like to apologize. I’d promised a second edition last week and I never gave you one. So here it is.
The first sign he had that people were keeping things from him came when Duke of Greel sent him a formal apology regarding Zerrin’s chef. As he reviewed the document he realized the duke never said what exactly he apologized for.
He buzzed his advisor.
A few minutes later Crell, his advisor, marched into the room. “What can I do for you, your majesty?”
“Why is the Duke of Greel sending me an apology about my chef?” The note had been vague and sounded like the man was covering his ass.
Crell’s mouth tightened a sure sign he didn’t want to share the news with Zerrin.
“What did he do?” He put some command into his voice.
Crell jumped. “He kidnapped your chef.”
“Bella?” Zerrin jumped to his feet. “Is she injured?” Fury raged through him as he shoved his advisor aside and headed for the kitchen. “Why wasn’t I informed?”
“She’s fine, your majesty.” Crell rushed down the hall after him.
Zerrin shoved open the kitchen door. Bella stood at the stove calmly stirring something in a big pot. She glanced up and froze.
“Is there a problem, your majesty?”
“The duke kidnapped you?”
Bella shrugged. “He thought he could use me as a bargaining chip. I informed him differently.”
After seeing her whole and uninjured, a knot unfurled in his chest. “What did you do?”
“I think I broke his nose.”
Zerrin threw back his head and laughed until tears dripped down his cheeks. “I would’ve paid to see that.”
“You can probably see it for free if you go and see him.” She added some spices to the pan and stirred again.
“You’re sure your unharmed.”
Bella looked at him like he was crazy. “Yes, I’m fine.”
“I’ll send a guard with you next time you have a day off.”
Bella opened her mouth and for a moment Zerrin thought she would object, instead she shrugged. “Okay.”
Anger slid away like a deflated balloon. “Fine. Good. All right then. I’ll, um. Let you get back to work.” Turning on his heel he left the kitchen before he gave into his odd urge to hug his cook.