Friday, 26 November 2021

OUT NOW: The Illegitimate Prince by Empi Baryeh | Royal House of Saene Book 7 | #RHOSaene #TheIllegitimatePrince #EmpiBaryeh


Financier, Kalahari Asanti, specialises in corporate takeovers, but his next conquest is personal. The Kingdom of Bagumi owes him a great debt, one he intends to collect from King Ibrahim Saene, the father he’s never met and the man he holds responsible for his mother’s death.

 Princess Edina Dampare is soon to be engaged and trying to accept the undeniable truth—no man will ever reach her on the same level as the stranger who imprinted on her soul when she wantonly yielded her innocence to him the one forbidden night she allowed herself to put desire before duty.

Kal’s quest for revenge brings him face-to-face with the woman who’s been haunting his dreams for the past eight months. The man who grew up with nothing is determined to reclaim everything the Royal House of Saene took from him…including her.







New Year’s Eve. 

8 months earlier …

You should have been a prince.”

Kalahari ‘Kal’ Asanti stilled at the words—words so similar to those his mother had uttered on several occasions; words he’d learnt at an early age to dismiss as the romanticism of a woman who, despite the hand life had dealt her, had still believed in fairy tales. Unfortunately for his Mamaa, she didn’t get the happily-ever-after she’d never stopped believing in. Even on her death bed when the irrefutable truth had laid bare the lie she’d stubbornly clung to all these years, she’d played her final card and revealed a secret she should have taken to her grave.

The truth had unleashed venom into Kal’s heart and set him on a path of vengeance. Instead of the tearful reunion she’d hoped for, his mother had ensured the downfall of the man she claimed to love.

She had one thing right, though. He was indeed going to meet the Saene family of the kingdom of Bagumi—the first step in his plan to destroy the man he should have called father. King Ibrahim Aziz Saene.

Soft footsteps behind reminded him he wasn’t alone. The Zanzibar Convention Centre brimmed with thousands of guests attending the annual Children’s Foundation Gala, one of the biggest charity events in Africa. Tickets were pegged at a thousand US dollars each, with the proceeds going to several charities across the continent. Like most such events, however, many attendees used it for networking, some to brag about their altruistic deeds, and others for the opportunity to rub shoulders with the rich and mighty.

Normally, he avoided such pomp and pageantry. The way he saw it, there had to be something fundamentally wrong with making a big show of one’s good deeds. He preferred to make anonymous donations to many of the causes he supported. He’d broken protocol this time for one reason only: To observe the enemy.

As luck would have it, King Ibrahim was the guest of honour this year, a privilege which came with the price tag of a hefty ‘donation’—a gimmick undoubtedly meant to garner some international media attention. An hour into the event, neither the king nor a representative had made an appearance. His absence hadn’t slowed down the festivities, though.

Finding the glitz and glamour strenuous, Kal had stolen out of the massive ballroom and taken refuge on one of several balconies. As it turned out, his escape from the flashlights and idle conversation hadn’t gone unnoticed.

He gritted his teeth, bringing his mind back to the present and the person who’d interrupted his solitude. The last thing he needed was the company of a stargazing woman who’d spent a thousand dollars in hopes of catching the eye of a prince. Someone ought to save her from herself and rip the plaster off that fantasy. He was as good a candidate as any. After all, he might be the son of a king, but he wasn’t Prince Charming. The sooner he made that clear and got rid of her, the better.

“What makes you think I’m not royalty?” He turned, lips pursed to dish out some tough love, yet the words didn’t form.

He found himself entranced by the way the lights from the ballroom played against every rounded curve, awakening something primitive in him. She looked to be about five-foot-six, discounting the extra height afforded by her shoes. Her face remained shrouded in the dimness of the balcony.

Intrigued, he knew he’d pay any price to find out what she looked like. She stepped forward, and suddenly, her face was bathed in a beam of light slicing through the darkness from … he didn’t care to check where.

She held him captive with the most exquisite eyes he’d ever seen. An intense brown, like smoked honey, with a sparkle of gold in the left one where the light reflected off it. Their radiance would have laid his soul bare if he hadn’t been standing in the shadows. With her entire face concealed behind an elaborate tattoo of ethnic make-up designed to give the appearance of a veil, she was mystery personified. She made easy prey of him as desire flared in his being with a fierceness that challenged reason.

Her effect didn’t end at the physical, though. It ran deeper, reached him on an instinctive and spiritual level. Like a soul mate.

He shook away the errant thought, hoping she hadn’t sensed his momentary confusion.

“For one,” she started, “you’re hiding out here instead of basking in the limelight.”

He quirked a brow. Hiding?

Her lush lips curved up, revealing an even row of pearly whites invoking a vision of her nibbling on his earlobe. Somehow, he knew her teeth on his skin would be—

He snapped out of the reverie, forcing his mind to focus. Clearly, his unintended celibacy—the result of focusing too intently on revenge—needed to be rectified. How long had it been? Six months? More?

She mocked him with a chuckle. “I saw you inside. You were the picture of boredom.”

Now he realised it wasn’t her first remark that had snagged his attention, but rather her voice. It had an ethereal quality that seeped through him and did the impossible. He’d always felt restless, had often grappled with a compulsion to move, to do, to be on alert. When she’d spoken, the ever-present static in his mind had quietened. Her voice had stilled the storm within him. The sudden calm slammed into him with such force, he nearly doubled over at the impact.

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