Loving the Princess(3)

By: A.C. Arthur


* * *

If someone had told Gary Montgomery a year ago, or hell, even an hour ago, that he’d be in a delicious lip-lock with the princess of Grand Serenity Island, he would have called them a bold-faced liar.

Now, half an hour after the kiss, when his body was still simmering with need and his hand was still firmly on her hip, he told himself he’d done what he’d had to do. There had been no other choice. It was for the job. Yes, definitely for the sake of the job and nothing more.

“Darling Samantha, I am so excited for you,” a woman Gary had earlier identified as Jacqueline Mahair, spoke enthusiastically.

Prime Minister Obari Mahair ruled a much smaller island south of the Bahamas. He was a seventy-five-year-old man with a protruding stomach and wiry gray hair. His wife was much more glamorous with her large, expressive eyes; plump, glossy-red-coated lips; and waist-length blond curls. The professional boob and butt job, however, was not so cleverly masked in a black dress that hugged her like a second skin. But her assets weren’t nearly as loud a statement as Jacqueline’s high-pitched, twenty-three-year-old voice with its distinct Southern twang.

“I, for one, would never have guessed you were hiding such a delectable hunk of hot chocolate from us all,” Jacqueline continued. “You have great taste in clothes and you’re a sly one.”

Jacqueline laughed as she stepped closer to Gary, her gaze fixated on him. It made him uncomfortable, but he knew it didn’t show. He was a trained sniper who could sit still for hours on end waiting on a target. Patience and deceit were two of his main traits.

“Thank you, Jacqueline,” Samantha said, her voice steady and controlled, as always. “I am so happy that you and Prime Minister Mahair could join us this evening. It is important for the counsel to remain united in sharing our culture with the world.”

She was back. It had only taken her a few seconds to adjust. Gary admired that about her. Princess Samantha DeSaunters was not easily ruffled. In the months he’d been on Grand Serenity, Gary had watched Princess Samantha carefully. The fact that she was, hands down, the sexiest woman he’d ever seen had nothing to do with that. It was his job and Gary always did his job.

“Well, you know, I finally talked Obari into letting me open my own restaurant on the island. It’s totally Southern. I even stole my daddy’s cook to come down here and show those stuffy guys with all their international degrees how to properly prepare a good Southern meal. You look like a man who was brought up on good, old-fashioned soul food, weren’t you? What’s your name and where are you from? I already know you’re American. They just don’t make ’em like this anywhere else in the world.”

Jacqueline then looked Gary up and down, moving one step closer to him as she ran her long, hot-pink-polished nails down his arm.

“I’m Gary and I’m from Cambridge, Maryland,” he replied.

“I’m sure visitors to your island will enjoy the offering of an American-inspired restaurant,” Samantha interjected. “If you’ll excuse us, Gary and I should speak with my father and his fiancée before they retire for the evening.”

Her smile had been brighter than Jacqueline’s, much more targeted and laced with the polite and undeniable punch she’d intended.

Seconds later Samantha was guiding them easily away from the prime minister’s daring wife. They moved across the room, still encountering smiles and well-meaning nods from guests. There were dignitaries in attendance and members of the Caribbean Counsel, which was an organization of the ruling parties of a majority of the Caribbean islands. It was formed five years ago by the youngest member of the counsel, Samantha DeSaunters.

Gary had a feeling she wanted them to find a spot alone to talk—or to regroup may have been more like it. His announcement had thrown her off, even if for just a moment. However, she would never show it. Samantha was the epitome of refinement and never failed to control any situation she found herself in. He’d discovered that about her in the last few weeks. It was an enviable trait and one he thought she’d been thrust into cultivating.

Through his many conversations with Kris, Gary had learned that Samantha had been only five years old when their mother died. From that moment on she was, for all intents and purposes, the princess of Grand Serenity Island. It was a duty she’d honed and embraced for the next twenty years. Yet, in just four months, she would relinquish the bulk of her responsibilities to Malayka Sampson, the woman who was engaged to marry the reigning prince of Grand Serenity, Rafferty DeSaunters.

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