His Princess

By: Alexa Riley


I don’t know how long I scroll though the pictures when Tabby interrupts me. “Who’s that?” she asks, and I jump. I didn’t even feel her come up behind me.

“Princess Kaul,” I say, glancing down at the print under the picture. “Looks like they are on a date at some ball. She’s pretty,” I mutter, feeling a pang of jealousy that my husband—future husband, I correct—was out with another woman not even a month ago.

“Meh,” my sister says dismissively. “Who knows if she’s really pretty once you wipe all that shit off her face.”

I giggle.

“Why didn’t he just marry her?”

“Maybe he got all that make-up off and ran for the hills. Maybe she’s annoying. Maybe she chews with her mouth open. Who knows.”

“But he’s going to marry me without even meeting me. What if I do all that stuff? I can do all that stuff.” I turn in my chair. “Layer my face up, stuff my mouth with food so he can see every chomp. And we both know my laugh is the worst.”

“It is pretty bad,” Tabby agrees, grinning.

It’s not that it sounds funny, it’s just kinda loud. Really loud. Maybe a little infectious, too, because a few times I’ve started laughing, then Tabby and I are laughing about my laugh, and this will go on for five minutes. It drives my parents nuts, which is an added bonus.

Tabby’s eyes light up at a thought. “He’s coming for dinner.”

My shoulders drop. I don’t know why she’s excited about that.

“Maybe you can make a fool of yourself. Make him realize that you aren’t the one he wants!” Tabby jumps up, and I can see this plan is already in motion.





2





Roman





“Are you sure about this?”

I look up at the question to see my top royal guard and best friend, Vlad, walking over to me.

“Do you have a better suggestion?” I say through clenched teeth. I’ve been through this with him a thousand times, and I can’t make myself any clearer.

“No. But I know you better than anyone else. And I know that you’re worried.”

“Let’s see how you do once you choose a bride.” I glare at him and then walk over to my desk, grabbing a set of cufflinks.

“Oh, come on, Roman, we both know that’s never happening.” He walks over to one of the seats in my office and sits down. “You’d never release me from my royal duty.”

I roll my eyes at him and give him the finger. “You’re released. Get out.”

“We both know you don’t want that,” he laughs, but then leans forward, becoming serious. “You’re my brother. Maybe not by birth or blood. But we were raised together since we were children. If I take a wife, it will be because you command me to. My duty is to my king.”

“And so your king says be useful,” I tell him, holding out a cufflink for him to help me put it on.

“Don’t you have servants for this?” he jokes, knowing how much I hate having royal staff.

When I was younger it never bothered me. There were always people around to help. But as I got older, I saw it was the job of our family to take care of them just as much as they take care of us. When my father passed away and the kingship fell on my shoulders, it turned into a responsibility. Now I prefer my privacy, even though there is someone around every corner.

“Just do it, and shut up.”

“Yes, my king,” he laughs, and fixes the cufflink. “She’s very pretty.”

“Watch your mouth,” I growl as he fastens the second one, and I step away.

“Just trying to lighten the mood.”

“When has my mood ever been light?” I ask as I slip on my suit jacket and walk over to the mirror.

“Good point.”

For a moment I allow myself to think about my bride—the wave of her long blonde hair, and her plump rosy lips. Her creamy delicate skin with a hint of pink when she blushes. Those soft blue eyes that are the color of baby blankets made for our sons.

“Thinking of my grandchildren?” a soft voice says from behind me, and I turn to see my mother.

How she’s able to read my mind so clearly is both terrifying and amazing.

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