Royally screwed, p.26
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       Royally Screwed, p.26
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         Part #1 of Royally series by Emma Chase
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  And this time, I don't mind the cameras. Not even a little.

  Eventually, we pull through the palace gates and I help Olivia down. Twenty footmen--in full military dress--flank us. Their swords sing through the air when they're unsheathed and raised, forming a silver bridge that glints in the sunlight for us to walk beneath. Then it's upstairs, to the gold ballroom--where hopefully we'll be able to eat and drink something before we both die.

  After that, we'll step out onto the main balcony of the palace, where the Queen will officially present us to the country with our new titles.

  From then on it's pretty much a public make-out session, if all goes well.

  My grandmother was spot-on about the magic of a royal wedding--which is why she didn't give us even a little resistance when Olivia and I told her we were getting married three months ago. All she asked was that she be allowed to take care of the arrangements. Considering we weren't sure if we'd even be able to pull off a city hall wedding in such a short time, we gave the Old Girl free rein. And she came through spectacularly.

  Winston discovered it was Lucy who had leaked the story to the Daily Star--her way of punishing me for the way she felt I'd failed her when we were young.

  But since then, the press has had their hands full with positive reports on the royal family--I mean, who doesn't enjoy a good "abdication of the throne for love" story? And the people are overjoyed. They adore Olivia--not quite as much as I do, because that would be impossible, but close.

  Olivia, her father, and I have turned Amelia's into a nonprofit in the States. A string of "pay what you can" restaurants, where anyone can come in, sit at a table, and enjoy good food. They can choose to work off their bill or leave what money they're able to--or none at all. We've opened a second restaurant in the Bronx, with two more on the way next year.

  With the public firmly devoted to their royals and the media for once on our side, Parliament in Wessco fell into line and passed the legislation my grandmother and I had been working for. Employment and wages began recovering and have been climbing steadily ever since.

  It's a happily ever after for everyone.

  Well...almost everyone.

  I spot my brother in the corner, scowling and sullen. It's the only look he wears these days. Not in the self-destructive way like when he first came home; more in a bratty way that doesn't overly concern me.

  "Okay," Olivia announces, handing me her glass of Champagne, "before we head out to the balcony I'm going to attempt to use the bathroom."

  We both look down at the miles of fabric that make up her dress.

  "Do you want some help?" I ask.

  "No--the bridesmaids will take care of that. Women have a natural instinct for how to get these things done. Although, besides Franny, this is the first time I've met any of those ladies. And now I'm going to pee in front of them." She reaches up and pecks my lips. "Being married to you is weird."

  "It'll never be boring." I send her off with a swift pat to her arse.

  On her way, Olivia passes her father, who is chatting with Simon. Eric Hammond isn't a tuxedo man--I can tell by the way he rolls his neck a bit and tugs at his collar. But the stiff formal wear does nothing to dim the pride and love shining in his eyes as he watches his daughter. Marty, on the other hand, wears his silver-grey tux like he was born in it. Olivia walks by, giving him a smile and a thumbs-up. He winks at her--then goes back to flirting with Christopher, my grandmother's secretary, who's shamelessly reciprocating. I don't think I'll be the starring act in Marty's fantasies for much longer.

  While Olivia takes care of business, I approach my brother, leaning against the wall beside him, arms crossed.

  "Congratulations," he says, sulking. "Bastard."

  "Thank you."

  "Olive looks gorgeous. Prick."

  "She does. I'll tell her you said so."

  "I'm really happy for you. Wanker."

  I laugh. "It's going to be all right, Henry."

  He drinks from his flask, flinching as he swallows. "Easy for you to say. Prat."

  I squeeze his shoulder. "Are you ever going to forgive me?"

  He shrugs. "Probably. Eventually. Of course I will. When I'm sober."

  "Any idea when that may be?"

  "Henry, there you are!" our grandmother clucks from across the room. "We must speak about the memo I sent you..."

  Henry lifts his flask and shakes his head. "Not today."

  Ellie Hammond intercepts my grandmother before she reaches us, blocking her path. She tries to execute a full curtsy, but the hem of her dress gets caught in the heel of her shoe and she ends up almost falling on her face. The Queen attempts to step back, but Ellie grabs onto her--wrapping her arms around Her Majesty's waist and holding on like a baby sloth clinging to its mother.

  Christopher jumps into action, trying to extract her. "Miss Hammond, please! We do not tackle the Queen--it's not proper protocol."

  He manages to save her from the outrage. And Ellie steps back, fixing her hair, then bending her knees in a quicker, shorter curtsy and offering her apology.

  With an accent.

  "Begging your pardon, Mum."

  Oh Christ.

  "We haven't been formally introduced. I'm Ellie, Olivia's sister."

  My grandmother looks down her nose at Ellie. "Yes, child, I'm aware of who you are."

  My new sister-in-law bubbles with excitement over the recognition.

  "And I just...well...I wanted to thank you for the gown." She smooths her hands down the champagne-colored silk. "Olivia said you paid for it and it must've cost a ton!"


  Ellie cups her breasts in her palms, squeezing. "And it makes my boobs look great!"

  The Queen turns. "Christopher, get me a drink."

  Ellie's hands twitter as she searches for more words.

  "And I'm just...I mean I'm so..."

  Then she's tackling my grandmother again. Flinging her arms around her neck in a miniature version of a bear hug. A cub hug.

  "I just can't believe we're related!"

  Over Ellie's shoulder my grandmother's face goes from shock to dry, begrudging acceptance.

  "Neither can I."

  The trumpets blare on the balcony over the sound of the crowd's cheers as each member of our wedding party, and then the Queen, are called out. Olivia and I are the only ones left. Bridget flutters around us, doing last-minute checks.

  "No lipstick on the teeth, veil is straight, remember fingers together when you wave, yes, yes..." She brushes my hair off my forehead and tries to squirt an offending rain of hairspray.

  I jerk my head back with a glare and she shuffles away.

  Olivia giggles. And just a second later, I'm chuckling too.

  "Ready, love?"

  "As I'll ever be."

  Her gloved hand slips into mine as our names are announced.

  "Prince Nicholas and Princess Olivia, the Duke and Duchess of Fairstone!"

  We step out onto the balcony as twenty thousand white rose petals fall from the sky. And the people applaud and shout, hold up their cameras and take pictures. The blissful energy blows through the air, dusting everything in a sheen of joy and sparkle. We wave and smile for a bit, and then with my hand on her waist, I dip my head and kiss Olivia softly.

  With her hands on my shoulders, she leans back. "I don't think I'll ever get used to it."

  "All the pomp and circumstance, you mean?"

  She shakes her head, her eyes adoring. "No."

  "Being a princess and a duchess?"


  "Then what?"

  She reaches up, leaning closer.

  "That I get to be your wife."

  Emotion hits me hard, making my heart feel too large for my chest. I stroke her cheek, because she's so lovely--and because she's mine.

  Then I whisper, "Well, you'd better. We're royalty. That means...we're forever."

  The End

  Don't miss the next books in the

ally series!

  Royally Matched

  Some men are born responsible, some men have responsibility thrust upon them. Henry John Edgar Thomas Pembrook, Prince of Wessco, just got the motherlode of all responsibility dumped in his regal lap.

  He's not handling it well.

  Hoping to force her grandson to rise to the occasion, Queen Lenora goes on a much-needed safari holiday--and when the Queen's away, the Prince will play. After a chance meeting with an American television producer, Henry finally makes a decision all on his own:

  Welcome to Matched: Royal Edition.

  A reality TV dating game show featuring twenty of the world's most beautiful blue-bloods gathered in the same castle. Only one will win the diamond tiara, only one will capture the handsome prince's heart.

  While Henry revels in the sexy, raunchy antics of the contestants as they fight, literally, for his affection, it's the quiet, bespectacled girl in the corner--with the voice of an angel and a body that would tempt a saint--who catches his eye.

  The more Henry gets to know Sarah Mirabelle Zinnia Von Titebottum, the more enamored he becomes of her simple beauty, her strength, her kind spirit . . . and her naughty sense of humor.

  But Rome wasn't built in a day--and irresponsible royals aren't reformed overnight.

  As he endeavors to right his wrongs, old words take on whole new meanings for the dashing Prince. Words like, Duty, Honor and most of all--Love.


  Royally Endowed

  A boy from the wrong side of the tracks...

  But these days he covers his tattoos with a respectable suit. He's charismatic, good looking, smart and trustworthy--any girl would be proud to bring him home to her family.

  But there's only one girl he wants.

  She's an angel on earth, his living, breathing fantasy. For years he's known her, sometimes laughed with her, once shared a pint with her...he would lay down his life for her.

  But she doesn't see him--not really.

  A girl endowed with royal relations . . .

  She dreams of princes and palaces, but in her quest for happily ever after, harsh truths are learned: castles are drafty, ball gowns are a nuisance, and nobility doesn't equal noble intentions.

  In the end, she sees her true heart's love may just be the handsome, loyal boy who's been beside her all along.




  Emma Chase, Royally Screwed

  (Series: Royally # 1)




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