The Ducasse Palace, Porto, Melio
PRINCESS JOELLE DUCASSE studied the sealed letter she'd left on hergrandfather's desk. Identical copies of the letter were being couriered to hersisters, Nicolette in Baraka, and Chantal in Greece.The heavy cream envelope with the gold Palace seal suddenly looked ominous onGrandpapa's desk.
He'd be so hurt,
she thought, feeling tears well up.
He wouldn't understand.
But then, she didn't even understand why she felt so desperate to get away, toescape Melio and the glare of publicity and the camera lenses. She'd never found itcomfortable living in the public eye but since Grandmama's death it'd gotten worse.So much worse.The media wouldn't—couldn't—let her grieve privately. They were theredocumenting every outing, every appearance, capturing Joelle's weekly visit to hergrandmother's grave on film, capturing the sheen of tears in her eyes as she leftthe royal cemetery, capturing her shell-shocked expression as she climbed into thewaiting car.There was no privacy, no respect, and no time to hide her hurt. Or her confusion.Grandmama's death had triggered all sorts of pain, pain that must have beenburied deep inside of her since her parents' death eighteen years ago. And thosetabloid photos, those sensationalized articles. Queen Astrid's Death Rocks TheYoungest Princess, only made the confusion worse.Truthfully, she didn't know what to feel. She didn't even feel. Sometime in the