Excerpt #1 *NEW
“I have a plan.”
We’re in the library of the suite. Nicholas is behind the desk, his hair falling still damp over his forehead from a recent shower, while James and Tommy stand near the windows.
“Take off your clothes,” I say, dropping a stuffed backpack at my feet.
He stands, giving me a curious, dimple-flashing smile that makes my stomach tingle.
“I like this plan.”
He pulls his shirt over his head—and at the sight of that gorgeous chest and ripped abs, I have to close my mouth to stop the flow of drool.
“Should I send the lads to their room?” he asks.
I toss him a Beastie Boys T-shirt and ripped jeans from the backpack. “They can stay—I’ll get to them in a second.”
Nicholas puts on the outfit, his disguise for the day. I hold up a thick gold chain with a dangling cross, and he dips his head so I can loop it over his neck. Then I squirt gel into my hand and reach up on tiptoes to rub it through his hair—mussing it at the top and slicking the sides.
“Do you know how to drive a motorcycle?”
“Excellent.” I pull a helmet with a full, tinted face shield out of the backpack and hold it up. “Marty’s bike is downstairs. He said to tell you: break it, you bought…a Ducati.”
Logan steps into the room from where he was stationed just outside the door, lifting his hand, like a traffic cop. “Hold on, now—”
Nicholas takes the helmet. “It’ll be fine, Logan.”
“And,” I say cautiously, turning to the three big, strong, probably-have-a-license-to-kill boys. “I want Nicholas and me to go on this outing alone. You guys stay here.”
“Jesus, Mary and Joseph.” Tommy says.
James makes the sign of the cross.
Logan takes another route. “No fuckin’ way. Not possible.”
But the look on Nicholas’s face says it’s definitely possible.
“No,” Logan insists again, his voice straining with a faint hint of desperation.
“I have an itinerary.” I take the sealed envelope out of the backpack and hand it to Logan. “I wrote everything down for you, just in case—exactly where we’ll be, every minute.” When he starts to tear it open I put my hand on his. “You can’t open it until after we’re gone—it’ll ruin the surprise. But I promise it will be all right. I swear on my life.”
My eyes drift from Logan to Nicholas. “Trust me.”
And I want him to—so much. I want to do this for him, give him something he hasn’t had. Something he’ll remember always: freedom.
Nicholas looks at the helmet, then at Logan. “What’s the worst that could happen?”
“Ah…you could get assassinated and the three of us will hang for treason.”
“Don’t be silly,” Nicholas scoffs. “We haven’t hung anyone in years.” He smacks Logan’s back. “It’d be the firing squad.”
The next week is blissfully uneventful. I address Palace business during the day, and spend my nights with Olivia—which are so much more than blissful.
While I work, she relaxes like I want her to. She walks the grounds and has found a friend in Franny. They’ve had lunch together a few times, which doesn’t exactly thrill me, but at the very least, I know she’s safe with Simon’s wife.
Franny, and her forked tongue, will protect Olivia from the Lucy-types looking to wound her with their half-truths.
On the rare occasions my brother is sober, he becomes increasingly agitated—like he’s unable to sit still, to stand his own company, or any sound that resembles silence. Finally, he decides to throw a welcome home party for himself.
I’m in my bathroom preparing for his royal yacht party, just showered with a towel around my hips, scraping the last of the shaving cream off my jaw, when Olivia appears in the doorway.
I thought she was lovely from the first moment I saw her. But here, now—her bare, soft skin wrapped in a pink silk robe, her face glowing with well-rested happiness…she’s magnificent.
“So…do you guys have like a gift shop or a convenience store around here?”
I laugh. “A gift shop?”
She holds up a light blue disposable razor. “I’m out of razors. This one’s so dull I could run it over my tongue without drawing blood.”
“Let’s not test that theory. I like your tongue too much.” I wipe my chin with a towel. “I can have the staff bring one to your room.”
The devil on my shoulder—and the angel too—smack me upside the head. And they whisper a much better idea.
“Or…I could help you out.”
Her brows draw together. “Help me out? I can’t use your razor.”
“No, definitely not—you’d cut yourself to ribbons.” I finger the sharp, heavy straight blade. “What I mean is…I could shave for you.”
Her eyes darken, the way they do when she’s right on the edge—right before she comes. And she moves closer to me.
“Do you…want to do that?”
My gaze drags down, down, over every sumptuous inch of her body.
About The Author
Emma Chase is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the hot and hilarious Tangled series and The Legal Briefs series. Emma lives in New Jersey with her husband, two children and two naughty (but really cute) dogs. She has a long-standing love/hate relationship with caffeine.