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Rise

Populations Crumble, Book 2

K. A. Gandy

Copyright © 2021 K. A. Gandy

All rights reserved

The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express written permission of the publisher.

ISBN-13: 9798715784247

Cover design by: K. A. Gandy

Edited By: Lia Huntington

Printed in the United States of America

For Dustin, who has grown with me, changed with me, and loved me through all of our ups and downs. When we succeed, we do it together.

Always my love.

Contents

Title Page

Copyright

Dedication

Buyer’s Remorse

New Arrivals

Cold Shower

Couple’s Massage

Fertile Week

The Principal’s Office

Unrest

Run for Cover

Intensive

The Hunt

Friends in Low Places

Monarch

Butterflies

Aftermath

Royally Screwed

Eye Candy

The Girl Out of the Country

Hit The Fan

Taking Flight

Before You Go . . .

Books By This Author

About The Author

Buyer’s Remorse

“What do you mean, your name isn’t Patrick O’Roarke? I just married you, and now you want to tell me your name isn’t your name?” I say, my voice tight with incredulity, hurt, and fury.

“It’s not as bad as it sounds, I promise!” He raises both hands in a calming gesture, but I’m having none of it.

“I have had it up to here with this nonsense of keeping me in the dark! What is your name, if it’s not Patrick O’Roarke? Are we even legally married? Who the heck are you?” I demand, fury winning the emotional battle for the moment.

“I’m Patrick, yes. But my last name isn’t O’Roarke. It’s Royce. Patrick Royce. The marriage license has my correct legal name.” He gestures cautiously toward the desk, as if I might bite him.

“Care to tell me why you felt the need to hide your real name from me? From everyone, for that matter? It’s O’Roarke in the Bachelor Book, so I don’t know how you pulled that off.” I stand up and start pacing the length of the director’s office in agitation. I can’t even look at him. Oh, crap on a cracker—I married this man not two hours ago and I already caught him in a lie.

What else has been a lie? What if he lied about his feelings for me, too? Hurt surges to the forefront, but I try not to show it. Keep it together, Sadie. You have to find out what’s going on.

“It wasn’t just you, it was everyone. Even Glitch doesn’t know my real name. The director didn’t either until today, when I had to have my legal name put on the marriage license, or else the marriage wouldn’t have been valid. And I didn’t want that; I want to be married to you!” His voice goes up slightly at the end, and it’s clear he’s trying very hard to convince me. It’s not working, you lying S-O-B.

“Is that supposed to make it all better? To know that you lied to everyone, and not only me? You still haven’t answered me. Why are you lying to us all?” I snap, not giving him an inch—despite my heart fracturing in my chest.

“Does the name Royce really not ring any bells? You don’t recognize it at all? You’re a smart girl, Sadie. I wouldn’t lie to you if I had an option. This all moved so fast, I didn’t know how to spring it on you when you went from five matches to ‘I do’ in a matter of days! I couldn’t risk telling you until it was certain, and then it went from certain to here so quickly I didn’t know when was the right time to break the news.” Now he’s standing too, and he rakes his hand through his hair in frustration.

“Tell. Me. Why.” I stop pacing, and face him head on. Chin up, arms folded. “Tell me the truth, right freaking now, or I’m going to walk out of here and tell everyone what a two-faced liar you are!” My voice has gone cold, and I don’t care. There’s nothing I hate worse than a liar. How are we supposed to build a real marriage if I can’t trust him? The thought makes me want to curl up in a ball and cry, but that’s not an option right now.

He lets out a frustrated groan. “My father is the prime minister!” he half shouts.

I’m dumbstruck by the revelation. That is not what I was expecting him to say. Not that I know what I expected, but still. “Prime minister? As in, prime minister of the entire NAA? Prime minister that’s been in office for so  long, they want to name him as monarch of the North American Alliance? That’s your father?”

“Yes, that prime minister. He was voted in when I was ten, and he’s been unanimously re-elected every year since. The name Royce is recognized across the entire NAA, and I had no chance of ever being known on my own merit as long as I was using it. So, I asked his security team to make me an identity packet with a different name. O’Roarke is my mom’s family name. I just wanted to be judged for myself, not who my father is. Please, Sadie. Please tell me you can understand that, and forgive me for not telling you sooner?”

My mind is reeling. He told me he spent so much time with his friend growing up because his parents traveled for his dad’s job. He told me that his father was always working, and his parents were rarely there for holidays to visit due to his demanding job. Somehow he managed to never mention what that job was exactly, even though he had ample opportunities.

My anxious pacing resumes, as my mind grapples with the implications of the fact that I've just married this man who has a very political

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