Loving the Princess(4)

By: A.C. Arthur

“Well, the couple of the hour,” Kris said quietly as he fell into step easily on Samantha’s other side.

They were careful to keep their conversation low and their facial expressions jovial. Masks, Gary thought. The royal family was very good at wearing masks. He knew a little about that himself, so he didn’t judge.

“Had to think of something off the cuff,” Gary replied while being mindful of who was around them as they moved to the farthest end of the room.

This official dinner should’ve been held in one of the ballrooms on the northern end of the palace, but that area was under construction after the damage from the explosion. They were still in a very formal dining area with floor-to-ceiling windows; sparkling, gold chandeliers; and enough clinking crystal to cause Gary slight discomfort. He hated social gatherings. Always had.

“However, I think it will serve a bigger purpose,” he finished.

“It was my fault,” Samantha added. “I set it in motion because Morty was being an ass.”

She didn’t sound regretful, just annoyed. Gary wasn’t sure if her frustration was directed more to him and what he’d said as a follow-up to their kiss or toward herself for initiating the kiss in the first place.

“There’s going to be lots of talk about this in the morning. Dad’s understandably distressed. Landry tried to smooth it over, acting as if she knew about this secret affair. I’m not sure he’s buying that, though,” Kris continued, finishing just seconds before the three of them approached Prince Rafe; his fiancée, Malayka; and Landry.

Landry Norris was Kris’s wife, the newest princess of the island. Gary recalled a time when he’d suspected Landry of being involved with the bombing that had taken place at the palace. Landry had been hired as a stylist for Malayka Sampson and the two of them were the only guests that were not in the ballroom at the time of the bombing. Fortunately, Landry had been cleared of all suspicion.

Since then, on the few occasions Gary had visited Kris’s private office, he’d had the chance to talk with Landry. They were both American, which instantly gave them a lot to talk about. The fact that she’d actually worked closely with Malayka was a bonus. Especially since Kris and Roland, the younger prince, both suspected their soon-to-be stepmother was not everything she seemed.

“I expect you two have some explanations for me,” Rafe said immediately upon their approach. “However, since your little announcement has created such interest, I suggest we take this up tomorrow. In my office at ten.”

Rafe then leaned in to kiss Samantha on her cheek. He gave a curt nod to Kris and reluctantly, Gary thought, to him. Afterward the prince took his fiancée’s hand and led them across the room, where they began to extend their good-nights to the guests.

“He’s not at all happy with you at the moment, Gary,” Landry said when the four of them were alone. “I don’t think he was ready to see his only daughter caught up in such a heated embrace, or to hear that she’d been having a secret affair.”

“I wasn’t terribly comfortable seeing or hearing that myself,” Kris said as he moved to stand beside his wife.

Kris would one day take Prince Rafe’s place as the head of the royal family and ruler of Grand Serenity. He had been groomed for this role and possessed the same authoritative stance and temperament as his father. The past few weeks had also allowed Gary to make that comparison. When he’d first met Kris they were both just eighteen years old and freshmen in college.

“I needed to get Morty off my trail. I should have handled it better,” Samantha said.

She’d stepped away from him the moment they’d come close to Prince Rafe. The older monarch had been giving Gary a pretty lethal stare, and he’d had no intentions of keeping his hands on the man’s daughter. No matter how much he missed the feel of her standing near him.

“You never told me Morty was a problem,” Kris stated.

Samantha shook her head. Strands of her long hair—which Gary couldn’t remember whether or not had been loose before—moved softly over her shoulders with the motion. She wore a black, lacy-type dress that was just modest enough to hide her cleavage but still painfully sexy as it left all sorts of sexual thoughts to the imagination. Her heels were high, long legs alluring, and her eyes…that’s where it all came together. Well…and her mouth. That was it for him. Deep brown, expression-filled eyes and a wide and inviting mouth. Two things that, up until tonight, he’d been able to keep at a safe distance.

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