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       Queen of the Knight (Surrender Games Book 2), p.1

           Lydia Michaels
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Queen of the Knight (Surrender Games Book 2)


  QUEEN OF THE KNIGHT

  Book Two

  Lydia Michaels Books, LLC

  10 Canal Street, Suite 200, Bristol, Pennsylvania 19007

  www.LydiaMichaelsBooks.com

  USA | CANADA | SPAIN | EUROPE | NEW ZEALAND | AUSTRALIA

  Queen of the Knight

  Surrender Games 2

  Contemporary Romance

  Copyright © 2017 Lydia Michaels

  Lydia Michaels Books, LLC

  First E-book Publication: © Lydia Michaels 2017

  Editor: Elise Hepner | Copy Editor: Allyson Young

  Cover Design by Lydia Michaels Books, LLC

  ISBN-13: 978-0-9995236-9-8

  ISBN-10: 0-9995236-9-4

  AISN: B0753T1S2C

  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED: This literary work may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including electronic or photographic reproduction, in whole or in part, without express written permission. Such action is illegal and in violation of the U.S. Copyright Law. Distribution of this e-book, in whole or in part, online, offline, in print or in any way or any other method currently known or yet to be invented, is forbidden. If you do not want this book anymore, you must delete it from your computer. WARNING: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

  All characters, names, places, and events in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events are strictly coincidental.

  www.LydiaMichaelsBooks.com

  Also by Lydia Michaels

  SACRIFICE OF THE PAWN

  The Surrender Trilogy

  FALLING IN

  BREAKING OUT

  COMING HOME

  Bestselling Romance Author, Lydia Michaels,

  has written more than 35 novels.

  Discover her books at www.LydiaMichaelsBooks.com

  DISCLAIMER

  Surrender Games should be read in publication order and the author recommends reading The Surrender Trilogy first.

  BOOK ORDER

  Sacrifice of the Pawn (1)

  Queen of the Knight (2)

  DEDICATION

  Also for Amy—

  A lioness who’s not afraid to roar.

  PART IV

  Isadora

  Prologue

  People dressed in gowns and tuxedos filtered into the cozy book bar across from the opera house, reminding her of where they were and how long they’d been missing. She reached in her purse to check the time on her phone, shocked to see it was almost midnight.

  There were a few missed calls and texts from Toni asking where she was. Some worried ones too.

  She couldn’t tell her family what happened. Couldn’t explain how seeing Sawyer Bishop with another woman absolutely devastated her. They’d never understand why seeing their father’s protégé kissing a woman would destroy her. And it actually hadn’t.

  Strangely, the man sitting across from her had literally crossed her path at precisely the right time.

  Guilt slithered through her. She should at least let her sister know she was safe. She didn’t want to leave this little sanctuary, but she had to get back.

  “Thank you for helping me tonight.”

  “Please don’t thank me. I feel terrible I knocked you over.”

  She shrugged, glad they bumped into each other. “Accidents happen.”

  His hand brushed hers and her stomach tightened. As she stared at his fingertip grazing her knuckles, a whoosh of butterflies exploded in her stomach and her gaze jumped to his face.

  Other than Sawyer, no one had ever caused her to feel butterflies like that. He gave a shy smile. “I had a great time getting to know you.”

  Feeling winded though she’d been sitting for some time, she whispered, “Me too. It was sweet of you to bring me here and…” She gestured to the damp napkin. “The ice.” If her lip was still swollen from the fall, she couldn’t tell. Her face was rather numb as he held her gaze.

  “My pleasure.” His hand slowly pulled away and the strange feeling faded.

  She fidgeted, unsure how to say goodnight and thank you without seeming awkward. “People are probably wondering where I am.”

  “Him?”

  Her smile fell. “No, he doesn’t even know I’m here. My family, though … I just left without telling them.” She gestured to her phone. “My sister texted me about a hundred times.”

  “Ah. If you want to stay and talk a while longer I could take you home. You could let her know you’re safe.”

  Her lips parted, a curious feeling twisting inside of her. Was he asking her out or just being considerate?

  “I should probably go home with her. I insisted she come with me tonight.”

  “Does she live with you?”

  “No, but she’s spending the night.”

  “Then you should probably let her know where you are.” He gestured to her phone.

  Her hands trembled, her mind protesting that she wanted to stay. She texted Toni letting her know she was at the bar across the street.

  Her phone buzzed back and she slipped it inside her clutch. “She’ll be here in a few minutes.”

  “Can I see you again?”

  Fear and nervous excitement took hold. She wanted to see him again, but she was so afraid she was leading herself toward another letdown. He wasn’t like the other men she knew, yet she couldn’t put her finger on what made him so different.

  Her phone vibrated again. “Excuse me.”

  She pulled it out and read the text from her sister saying they were crossing the street now. Feeling suddenly rushed after such relaxed conversation, she collected her gloves and stood, brushing the creases out of her evening gown.

  He stood as well, a pulse of energy beating between them. Though he was just a stranger she’d chatted with in a bar, he looked like Prince Charming in his tux. Her lip twitched as she had the sudden thought that this was how glass shoes sometimes got lost. She wanted some promise that she might see him again.

  Her heart sped up as she spotted her siblings working their way through the late night rush at the bar. Lucian’s dark hair and broad shoulders were easy to identify in the crowd. He was flanked by Toni and Evelyn’s smaller frames.

  She wasn’t ready to say goodnight, but she was running out of time. “I had a really nice time tonight.”

  He smiled, his anxiousness seeming to mirror hers. “Me too…” He laughed and shook his head. “I don’t know your name.”

  She laughed as well. How strange to talk for hours with someone, but never share their names. “It’s Isadora.”

  Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a plain white business card with a phone number. “It was a pleasure to meet you, Isadora. I’m—”

  Evelyn’s voice cut through the air. “Parker?”

  Isadora turned as her sister-in-law stared up at her companion and Lucian scowled.

  Toni took inventory of everyone’s expression, seeing their brother’s clear dislike for the person Isadora had spent the evening with, and a slow silent ooooh shaped her sister’s mouth.

  They knew each other? How?

  Evelyn laughed, her expression the absolute opposite of her husband’s. “Holy. Shit.”

  Chapter One

  “My sword was all I needed there.

  It would suffice to right my wrongs;

  To cut the knot of all those thongs

  With which she'd bound me to despair,

  That woman
with her midnight hair…”

  Madison Julius Cawein

  The Black Knight

  “Scout?”

  The man Isadora had spent the last few hours with wore a matching expression of astonishment as he stared wide eyed at her family. Apparently, he knew her sister-in-law well enough to call her by her nickname.

  They knew each other? How?

  Isadora hardly had a chance to catch his name once her family arrived. They’d been across the street at the opera house—until her night took a terrible turn and literally knocked her down. If not for her new friend she would have been humiliated, but he escorted her out of the event before anyone could see the disgrace she was making of herself.

  Up until this very instant she believed he was a true gentleman. Now, however, her brother’s scowl had her instantly questioning her judgment—again.

  “What the hell are you doing here, Hughes?” Lucian barked, cutting off all small talk and placing a protective arm around his wife.

  At the same time, he managed to insert his body between Isadora and the other man—Parker, was it? She frowned at her brother then turned her confusion on Parker. “You know each other?”

  Deep regret flashed in his exotic eyes. “You’re a Patras?” He spoke her name as if it were a filthy word and she stiffened. “I thought you looked familiar. I should have known.”

  Though she didn’t like the influence her last name typically carried, it had never earned that sort of revulsion. She looked to Evelyn and her brother then back to Parker. “I’m sorry, could someone please explain how you all know each other?”

  “She’s my sister,” Lucian all but growled. “And she’s no one you should be talking to.” His glare dropped to the splash of wine that stained her gown and he turned his scowl back on Parker.

  Parker hardened his stare, meeting Lucian’s glare. “If I’d known she was your sister—”

  His words abruptly cut off as he glanced at her, disappointment narrowing his eyes. God only knew the kind of face she was making.

  “Go ahead,” Isadora urged, keeping her voice calm and low, despite her rapidly beating heart. So much hostility filled the small bar. She was truly curious as to how he intended to finish that sentence. “If you’d known I was Lucian’s sister, you would have…?”

  His mouth flattened and his gaze measured her from head to hem, eyes apologetic. “I’m sorry, Isadora. I had a great night, but…”

  It was silly. He was just some guy she’d met at a party who happened to be nice to her. Her mouth curved into a shaky smile because that seemed more graceful than tears.

  She put too much emphasis on the short time they spent together, misinterpreting his kind manners for something more. He was still being polite to her, but their earlier chemistry had twisted into a sort of gridlock. This was just an overall terrible evening.

  “It’s okay,” she whispered, not able to handle one more ounce of rejection. “We should be going.”

  He frowned and glanced at the table then back to her and her family. “No,” he said, brow tight with tension. “It’s not okay.”

  “Quit while you’re ahead, Hughes,” Lucian growled.

  Parker glared at her brother. “Fuck you, Lucian.”

  She gasped as Lucian lunged forward, halted only by Evelyn’s small hand. It was amazing how easily she could reel him in when everyone else feared him. Well, almost everyone.

  She turned to Parker to find a challenging glint in his eyes. His gaze softened as his focus shifted to her—ignoring her brother’s seething rage.

  “I had a great night, Isadora. It didn’t start out as I expected and that part could have gone better, but I’m glad I bumped into you. Can I take you to get something to eat, somewhere we can talk so I can explain all of this?”

  “Night’s over,” Lucian snarled. “Isadora, go with Evelyn and Toni back to the limo.”

  Appalled, she spun and scoffed at her little brother. “Just who do you think you’re ordering around, Lucian?”

  “You don’t know him!”

  “I’ve spent the entire evening with him,” she snapped.

  “Get in the limo,” he growled through gritted teeth.

  It could have been the wine, but something gave her the courage to hold his threatening stare without blinking.

  “I’ll leave when I’m good and ready.” Her eyes narrowed, silently daring him to give her one more order. She was sick and tired of men deciding what was best for her, putting absolutely no consideration into what she wanted. Her attention shifted to her sister. “Toni, you have your key, right?”

  “Uh … yeah.”

  “Good.”

  If she had to, she’d spend the night at the hotel or take a cab home, but there was no way she was getting into that limo, ordered about like some dog. She turned and reached for Parker’s hand, which closed around hers, offering a quick squeeze.

  “Isadora,” Lucian barked and that was all she could take.

  Her head snapped around and she hissed, “Enough, Lucian! I don’t intrude in your personal affairs, so don’t trespass in mine.”

  His temper visibly boiled as his jaw ticked and clenched, his eyes narrowing with unrefined dislike for her companion—which made her nervous. She had a terrible track record with men and her brother typically had spot on instincts.

  Before she could decide if she was making a mistake, Lucian turned and stormed out of the bar.

  Toni gaped and chuckled, apparently amused by the family feud. “I better go make sure he doesn’t kill someone.”

  Evelyn rolled her eyes and leaned closer. “Good to see you, Park. Sorry about that. You know how temperamental he gets. You call me tomorrow, Isa.” She turned and went after her husband.

  Isadora watched them disappear out of the small bar. Once they were out of sight, she tugged her hand from Parker’s grip. Her palms were clammy, her fingers shaking.

  She had no idea what just happened or if she’d done the right thing. She usually trusted her brother’s opinions and listened to his advice. But she was done taking orders from half-informed men.

  Something brushed her bare arm—Parker’s knuckle. “Are you all right?”

  She looked him in the eye. “Who are you?”

  “Parker Hughes.”

  “How do you know my brother?”

  “Scout was my best friend growing up.”

  She frowned. Evelyn didn’t grow up like ordinary children. She’d had a terrible life, the sort no child should ever have to endure. “Did you meet her when she lived at St. Christopher’s?”

  “No. I met her when she lived at the tracks.”

  None of this made any sense. “What are the tracks?”

  “A dark place where homeless people go.” He barely flinched as he said the words, which made her believe he was telling the truth. Holding her stare, he confessed, “I lived there, too.”

  She dropped into a vacant seat, blinking as her mind worked to make sense of all this. “You … lived there? You were homeless?”

  “Not always. When I was fourteen my dad was arrested. Then he killed himself. The courts took everything we owned, leaving my mother and I destitute.”

  Oh, my God. “You’re that Hughes? Crispin Hughes’s son?” The Hughes name once had as much clout as Patras’s, if not more.

  His eyes. She knew why they were so familiar.

  “I saw you on television the day they arrested your father. You were just a teenager, a little younger than Lucian. I kept thinking how terrible it was that you and your mother were being exploited for your father’s crimes.”

  “It was a long time ago,” he said, blanking his expression.

  She studied him, unable to assimilate this man with that boy—and the one she now pictured living in poverty. “Why doesn’t my brother like you?”

  “Maybe I don’t like him.”

  Not appreciating his humor, she reminded, “He’s my brother.”

  Parker drew in a slow breath and took the seat besi
de her. “You’re right. I’m sorry. He doesn’t like me because the woman I told you about, the one I thought I loved… It was Scout.”

  “Evelyn?”

  He nodded. “We grew up together in a place where there weren’t many kids. We sort of looked out for each other. In a way, I did love her and probably always will, but it isn’t the same as the way she loves your brother. I know that now.”

  “Are you sure?” If this was some ploy to hurt her family…

  “Positive. I’ll always care about Scout, but I realize now it’s more of a platonic affection.”

  “How come I’ve never met you if you’re friends?”

  “I’ve only been around your family one time and it was probably one of the hardest days of Scout’s life. I wasn’t there to interfere. She needed the support of friends. Lucian understood that, and I was there for her, but I left shortly after.”

  It was all coming back to her. “When her mother passed.”

  They’d all been so concerned for Evelyn, she’d hardly paid attention to the other guests. She did recall Slade being present, which surprised her, being that Lucian and Sawyer’s son rarely socialized anymore. Her brother had put all of his personal feelings aside in order to show his wife the love and support she needed to get through that tragedy.

  “It was a sad day,” Parker murmured. “I couldn’t bear Scout facing it alone—even if she had your brother.”

  “Then this isn’t the first time we’ve met.”

  “Apparently not.”

  She tried to recall that day and vaguely remembered going to Sawyer’s afterward, the funeral bringing back a lot of bad memories of her own mother’s passing.

  She looked at Parker—really looked at him—noting how attractive he was, how assertive his features were. She liked the strong line of his jaw and the shade of his hair. Though she couldn’t discern the exact color of his eyes, they were so expressive she found them mesmerizing. And his smile was absolutely charming. He was lean yet broad and… How had she not recognized him before?

 
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