The Royal Elite:Mattias

By: Danielle Bourdon

Chapter One

Mattias Ahtissari stared at the contents of the safe, underwhelmed and a little suspicious. Three, four inch stacks of one-hundred dollar bills sat next to a gold watch and an elaborate brooch, hardly what he'd expected to find in a billionaire’s stash. Diamonds glittered in the platinum design of the pin when his flashlight aimed directly at it and, working on impulse, he fished the item out with gloved fingers. Slipping the brooch into an inner pocket of his tuxedo jacket, Mattias closed the safe door, gave the combination wheel a spin, and shut the flashlight off. A sleight of hand move made the pen-light disappear into a different pocket along with the leather gloves he peeled from his fingers.

Exiting the suite, he closed the door quietly behind him. Glancing along the hallway, finding it empty, he strode away from the room like a man about business. The hour was late enough that he did not expect to come across any straggling revelers. Brisk steps took him past expensive vases, ancient oil paintings, and artifacts worth millions encased in crystal.

At the juncture of an adjoining hallway, Mattias turned right, following the long corridor to a suite halfway down. Opening the door with a key, he closed it once he was inside and engaged the deadbolt. Allowing his eyes to adjust to the darkness, he began peeling away layers of clothes: tuxedo coat, tie, silk shirt, shoes, trousers. A cursory scan of the room assured him there were no lurking bodies in the shadowy corners. The only body he could see was the one stretched out beneath the covers on the king-sized bed. A shapely silhouette, with the rise of a hip and a sharp indent at the waist. Over the pillows, a swath of blonde hair tempted Mattias to run his fingers through the strands. Wearing nothing but skin, the Latvala Prince crawled atop the covers and let nips of his teeth wake the proverbial sleeping beauty.

The first mewl of sound was the only one she had time to make. Mattias hovered near, whispering against her lips. “Wake up and tell me how much you missed me.”

Six o'clock the following evening, Mattias paused along a banister on the second level to examine the gathering below. The ballroom in Casa de la Luz was large enough that he couldn't see the entire length from his vantage point, nor all of the elite guests attending the party. Most of the men wore tuxedos while the women provided a splash of glitter and color in gowns ranging from slinky mermaid styles to those with skirts full enough to take up the space of four people. Sparkling chandeliers dangled from long chains on a high ceiling, throwing an ambient glow over the Spanish styled room. Heavy beams, iron scrollwork, and a tiled floor added flair to the immense ballroom. Authentic paintings of Spanish landscapes alternated between portraits of those who came before, depicting a family line that went back centuries.

The House of Light, surrounded by hundreds of acres of prime vineyards, was a sprawling mansion in the tens of thousands of square feet. Currently, it was the gathering place for Royalty and the elite of the world, with two week long festivities that ranged from the tame to the downright illicit. Some of the rich and famous included offspring of wealthy banking empires, moguls from film and television, along with a smattering of those from the most illustrious families from countries spanning the globe. The elite of the elite.

Bringing up his tumbler, Mattias pulled down a long swallow of cognac. Representing his home country of Latvala, he was here to initiate talks that might, some day in the near future, become lucrative deals that would benefit his people. Casa de la Luz provided the backdrop for business and pleasure, the latter being the focus of many. Newly single himself, Mattias had indulged his whims as he saw fit, amenable to the activities that House Morano offered its illustrious guests. Illicit shows and parties separate from the main gala lured the rich from far and wide, secure in the knowledge that what happened behind Morano's mansion walls would stay there.

“You're looking pensive,” a masculine voice said.

Mattias turned a look over his shoulder, mouth quirking at a corner. Leander, a genius in the art of spying and undercover work, was one of Mattias's most trusted friends.

“That tuxedo went out in the eighties.” Mattias wasn't paying a bit of attention to Leander's perfectly respectable tuxedo. Instead he regarded the crowd, bringing the drink to his lips, waiting for the inevitable reply.

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