Rogue Royalty (Savage Trilogy #3)

Rogue Royalty (Savage Trilogy #3)

Meghan March



About This Book

Unthinkable. Unbelievable. Inconceivable.

I don’t recognize what my life has become. I can’t tell where the lies end and the truth begins anymore.

He came into my world and urged me out of my safe little corner.

All my dreams are coming true except the one thing I want most—my own happy ending.

But I’ll fight for it.

For now.

For always.

* * *


Rogue Royalty is the final book in the Savage Trilogy.



1



Temperance



I sit on the chair, birds chirping in the trees above me, and I feel nothing.

Nothing.

I’m supposed to feel something. There are five stages to grief. I read about them in the paperwork the funeral home gave me.

Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

Where the hell is feeling nothing on that list?

Why can’t I be angry? Rage would be so much easier than this . . . emptiness.

I’m broken.

Steam has long since stopped rising from the tea in the china cup Harriet pressed into my hands, but I haven’t yet taken my first sip.

My landlady returns from the house, a tie-dyed silk caftan billowing out around her in the breeze, and an envelope in her hand.

“Temperance, darling. There was a man here for you.”

Every muscle in my body tenses. “What man?” I whisper.

“I already forget his name. Something that ended in Stein and sounded exceptionally snobby.”

Cell by cell, I force myself to relax. Breathe, Temperance. In. Out. In. Out.

It’s been my mantra during the hellacious month since my brother’s funeral, and there’s been more than one day when iron fists clutched my lungs and tried to suffocate me.

I wanted them to suffocate me. Sometimes I still do.

I never knew breathing could hurt so much. But when you’ve been flayed open and gutted, even existing hurts.

“I think he got tired of buzzing your apartment. He said he’s been trying to reach you for days.”

I ignore the buzzing when I’m upstairs. I think people have come, based on the food showing up in my fridge when I remember to think about eating, but everything is such a blur that I couldn’t tell you who it was or how long ago they came. It’s better that way. I don’t want to see anyone. I didn’t even want to come outside to have tea with Harriet, but she threatened to evict me if I didn’t see the sunlight at least once this month.

Harriet sets a manila envelope on the table. “He didn’t want to leave this with me, but I told him he could deliver it through me or shove it up his sphincter, because you wouldn’t be answering your bell even if the four horsemen of the apocalypse rang. He relented after I promised you wouldn’t sue for allowing me to forge your signature.”

I force a rusty noise from my throat that’s supposed to be a laugh, because that seems like the normal human reaction to Harriet’s statement. Normal. Something else I’ll never be again.

I look down at the envelope where my name is typed in bold capital letters above my address. Because I’m not yet ready to meet Harriet’s undoubtedly concerned gaze, I glance at the upper left corner.

The sender is three last names I don’t recognize, but they all sound fancy.

“I’ve never heard of these people.”

“He said he works for a lawyer’s office.” Her finger jabs into my field of vision as she points at the envelope. “For this lawyer’s office.”

Lawyers.

Great.

I turn away from the envelope and resume staring at the Chinese lantern hanging from a tree branch, and let the muted street noise wash over me.

I decide I like the sound out here. Silence is the enemy. Silence means I can hear my own thoughts, and I can’t face those yet.

I can’t face any of it yet.

“Aren’t you going to open it?” Harriet’s tone vibrates with impatience.

“No.”

“Dammit, girl. You can’t ignore the entire world forever.”

I nod like I’m agreeing with her, but in reality, I plan to ignore the world for as long as humanly possible. Forever, if I can.

It’s kept spinning, even though my universe has crashed to a halt. It will keep spinning while I drown myself in grief.

“If you won’t, then I will.” She snatches the envelope off the wrought-iron table and rips it open. “Not like it’s my first federal offense of the week,” she says as she pulls papers out of it.

Harriet mumbles to herself for a few minutes, and I purposely block out what she’s saying. I don’t care what it says. I don’t care about anything. It’s easier that way.

Then she says something I can’t ignore.

“. . . the building and all of its contents are now solely owned by Temperance Ransom.”

I tear my gaze off the lantern and stare at the paper in Harriet’s hand. “What?”

She holds it out to me, and I gape at it. At first, the words on the page blur together, and I swipe at my eyes to clear my vision. My fingers come away wet.

I’m not crying.

I’ve perfected the art of lying to myself. I suppose that seems fitting, considering I’ve been drowning in lies for months, even though I didn’t know it.

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