Royal ScandalBy: Marquita Valentine
There’s no such thing as happily ever after—at least not for a prince exiled to a foreign country.
I know what you’re thinking.
You’re a prince, you bloody arsehole—a happily ever after is guaranteed. Birds dig princes with British accents and castles, and fancy cars.
Ah, but do those very fit ladies enjoy dirty nappies and colic and spit up…and exploding bottles of formula? Because that’s my life right now.
“Towel please,” I command, trying to remain perfectly calm as my brother Theo stands there, sniggering like a fool, while formula drips off my face and onto a priceless antique rug.
He snickers. “First let me take a picture to commemorate the money shot.”
“Off with your fecking penis, if you don’t help me this instant.”
Theo puts away his mobile. “Right then.” Grabbing a towel, he smashes it against my face. I catch it before it drops, then wipe off my face as quickly as possible, but there’s nothing to be done about the sticky residue left behind.
I need a shower and a vacation, but at this moment, neither is possible.
“Told you he’s not hungry,” Theo says, then grimaces as Pierce starts up again. “It’s the sound of a future tyrant after being told no more kingdoms.”
“What do you suggest?”
He shrugs and takes the bottle from me, setting it down on the changing table. “No idea.”
“Why are you here again?”
“Because you needed me.” Perhaps I was too quick to judge him.
“And I was bored,” he adds a beat later.
I narrow my eyes at him. Nope, I was right on target. “Far be it from me to keep you from your nightly stud services.”
Pierce lets out another ear-piercing scream, fat tears running down his face. His little tuft of hair is nearly as red as his cheeks. His legs are sticking straight out and his hands are little fists.
He won’t eat. He won’t sleep, and nearly nothing consoles him.
“Come now, big boy,” I croon as I toss the towel and pick him up from the crib. “It’s not so bad.” I lick at my lips and grimace at the taste. “Damn. It’s bloody awful.”
Pierce continues to cry, but as I begin to pace the room, he quiets down to a pitiful whimper.
“He misses his mother,” my brother says quietly. “And we need a nanny. We don’t know the first thing about raising children.”
I give him a sharp look over Pierce’s head. “He’s got me. You. Charlotte and Imogen. Sinclairs can do anything they set their bloody minds to.”
Google and YouTube help as well.
Theo inclines his head toward the small toddler bed on the other side of the room, where Aiden, bless him, has slept through every bit of his baby brother’s fussing. “He called me Daddy today. I…” Theo swallows. “I didn’t know what to say.”
I hadn’t thought of that. “I’ll take care of it.” I say this with much more authority and confidence than I feel, but if I learned anything from our dearly departed parents, it is to never let anyone see you as weak.
Not even your family…only family is all I’ve got now.
Aiden lets out a whimper and I inwardly cringe, imagining what a nightmare it will be to deal with a fifteen-month-old toddler and a four-month-old baby.
“How?” Theo walks to our brother’s bed and touches his cheek softly while murmuring nonsense words until Aiden settles down. “He doesn’t understand that they won’t ever come back.”
“I realize that, which is why they—I…If they call me Dad, then we won’t correct them, and when the time is right, I’ll tell them the truth.”
Theo’s blue eyes burn into mine. Admiration flashes in them, but it’s quickly replaced by mischief and a cheeky grin. “Plan to use the single-dad angle to meet women?”
“When would you suggest I put that to use?” I counter. Pierce snuggles into me, his weight light but substantial. “I have yet to venture beyond the grounds.”
Theo shoves a hand through his light-colored hair, making it stand up in odd places. “Perhaps on weekends at the local park? What a fetching picture you’d make pushing the pram while Aiden toddles alongside.”