His true queen, p.19
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       His True Queen, p.19

           Jodi Ellen Malpas
 

  This is better. No more wasting precious time with my melancholy. My lips part to release the stored air in my lungs, and Josh uses it as his opportunity to slip his tongue inside my mouth. My hands don’t have a chance to find his shoulders, the sound of buzzing coming from the bedroom disturbing us. I grumble around his lips, quickly throwing my arms around him, my way of telling him he’s not going anywhere.

  “God damn it, my cell.” Josh pries himself away and reverses his steps, giving me sorry eyes when he sees the expression on my face. Unhappy. “I have to get that. It’ll be my publicist, and she’ll freak out if I don’t answer. Don’t move.”

  The mention of Tammy sets my nerves off again. “Wait, does she know where you are?”

  “What do you think?”

  I know Josh’s publicist wasn’t pleased about our involvement. That was as plain as daylight each time I encountered her. “So, I’m your secret, too?” This makes me feel so much better. We are each other’s secrets.

  “No, I just haven’t had the chance to tell her we’re back together.”

  “Oh.” There goes my theory and sense of mild comfort. I cannot even imagine what Tammy will say to Josh. That’s not true at all. Of course I can imagine. It will be heavily based around a warning, maybe even a threat to quit as his publicist. Because there is no denying I’m the worst possible problem she could deal with. The ripple effect of our involvement seems to keep spreading.

  A mild wave of dread crosses his face. “I should have called her before the Internet exploded. Get in the shower,” Josh tells me, turning at the door. “I’ll be two secs.” He leaves, and I begrudgingly do as I’m told, soaking my hair under the hot spray and washing my face.

  It’s bliss, the hot water welcome on my body, but it’s also very lonely. I kill the time removing my makeup, and once I’m done and can’t possibly clean anymore without washing myself away, I wipe the condensation from the screen to find the door. “Josh?” I call, but I get no answer. I shut off the shower and wrap myself in a towel, venturing into the bedroom to find him. He’s sitting on the end of the bed, his phone in his hand, staring at the screen. The stiffness of his body sets alarm bells ringing, and although I cannot see his face, I can sense his sharp jawline is cut further with anger. Not to mention the fact that the familiar burning amber in his eyes is pretty much reflecting off the screen of his phone as he studies it.

  “Is everything okay?” I ask, keeping myself at the doorway, afraid to get too close for fear of being burned by the rage flaming his skin. What is wrong with him?

  His head slowly lifts, and my fears are confirmed. He looks positively homicidal, and now I’m more fearful of what has provoked him. I cannot bring myself to ask him again, my body fidgeting nervously where I stand. “No, Adeline, everything is not okay.” He stands, and with just those few words, it’s clear the source of his anger involves me. His nostrils flaring, as if he’s forcing calm breathing through his nose, he brings his naked body across the room toward me, and I start pulling my towel in protectively. “This,” he breathes, holding his phone up, “is not fuckin’ okay.”

  My wide eyes fall to the open webpage on his screen. And the picture dominating it is me. And . . .”Haydon?” I say, my mind quickly placing the picture of us. We’re in the palace grounds, and he’s handing me something. “Oh my goodness,” I breathe, taking the phone from Josh’s hand. The ring he bought me. It’s in the little box he’s passing to me. I swipe my finger up the screen to scroll, looking for whatever words may be with the pictures. I find no words, just another picture. This one of him putting the ring on my finger. I close my eyes and count to ten, at the same time wondering why Josh is so angry. Is it simply because my gift from Haydon has been leaked to the press adding more fuel to the speculation of our supposed relationship? “You know he gave me that ring,” I say, looking up at Josh’s bristling form. “I cannot help that the information was leaked.” Although I plan on finding out by who.

  Josh doesn’t relax, but tenses further. When he speaks, it is through a jaw ready to snap. “I don’t give a fuck about his piece-of-shit ring. He’s not even putting it on the right finger. Read the article.”

  I dare not, so I simply stare at Josh. He needs to calm down.

  “Oh, don’t you want to read it?” he asks, snatching the phone from my grasp, making me recoil a little. Not that he notices past the fury dominating him. He is absolutely blinded by it, and I am getting increasingly frustrated. And annoyed. Why on earth is he so worried about something like this being released when he knows the history behind it? I ran away to Scotland for him when my father tried again to make me marry Haydon.

  “No, I don’t want to read it,” I grate. “It’ll be a pile of rubbish, and likely send my temper into orbit.”

  “I don’t blame you. It’s pretty fuckin’ nauseating, even if it’s a pile of trash. Here”—he laughs sardonically at the screen—“a dinner planned between Haydon Sampson’s family and the Queen’s family and closest aides.”

  “What?” I blurt, confused.

  “Oh, yes. Apparently, the arrangements are in place to seal the deal between you two.” Ever the alpha male, he probably hates feeling his life is out of his control. I’m conditioned, I expect it, but Josh is going to pop. “The Queen herself accepted Haydon Sampson’s dinner invitation to thrash out the details of their union with both families.” He scrolls again, shaking. “An anonymous source confirmed the Queen’s satisfaction that things are moving forward nicely with the man she’s been tipped to marry for years.”

  I’m so shocked I cannot even find any words, leaving Josh to rage on, his mobile phone sure to crumble in his fierce grip at any moment.

  “A coronation and a wedding. But which will come first?” Josh mimics the question with so much sarcasm.

  My head begins to ache. How did this happen? Who wrote these lies?

  Josh’s phone hits the floor with force, bouncing on the carpet at our bare feet. “I fuckin’ hate this. I should go out there, find the bastard that spilled these lies, and ram my fist down his fuckin’ throat.”

  Jesus, he looks perfectly capable. “I have never accepted a dinner invit . . .” I fade off when something horrible comes to me, my eyes widening, my feet taking me a step back. “Oh God, no,” I say, more to myself than to Josh.

  “Yes, I know. Irritating as fuck, huh?”

  I stare at him in silence, but my mind is screaming.

  He pulls up. “Wait, there’s no truth in this . . . is there?”

  I bite my lip, nervous.

  His mouth falls open. “Adeline, tell me they are lies.”

  “I agreed to have dinner with the Sampsons. Plural.” I swallow, hating the sight of Josh’s face distorting in disgust. “Sabina recently lost her husband, and David his father, and then one of his closest friends. It was just to appease—”

  “What the fuck?” His lip curls with the mention of Haydon’s father. I can’t blame him. The man is a cling-on; his desperation to have some kind of status and importance is sickening. This is part of his doing. Sir Don, David, and the rest of the rotten, obsolete bastards who want what is best for the Monarchy and not what is best for their Queen. I bet Sir Don went straight to his hotel room and called David. I bet they plotted and schemed, anticipating the pictures of Josh and me. This is their retaliation. Their way of getting back the control and deflecting the attention from where they don’t want it. It’s their way of trying to force my arm, to make me do something I refuse to do. “Why the fuck would you do that?” he bellows, incensed.

  He’s not the only one. I’m suddenly so very angry, my temper brewing dangerously. Had Josh not paraded me around that dance floor for the world to see, this would not be happening. This is just as much his fault, and he has the nerve to stand here and be mad with me? I can see the tight muscles in his face loosen somewhat as he regards me, his thoughts clearly curious. He’s wondering what I’m thinking, wondering why I also look like I might murder someone. Well
, I’ll happily enlighten him.

  “Why the hell are you so bloody mad?” I ask through gritted teeth.

  “Why?” Josh looks incredulous. “The press is telling the fuckin’ world that an announcement about the engagement of my fuckin’ girlfriend is imminent.” He throws his arms up in the air heavily. “And it isn’t to me.”

  “Deal with it,” I spit, shouldering my way past him, with not the first idea of where I plan on going. It’s not like I have the luxury of freedom to escape his unreasonable arse. “Since you instigated it.”

  “Me?” he asks from behind me, sounding truly startled by my accusation. “How the fuck is this my fault?”

  I swing around, holding my towel in place with hands that are vibrating angrily. “Because had you not been so bold and trapped me on the dance floor, Sir Don wouldn’t have seen us together, there would be no bloody pictures for the press to speculate over, and the damn bastards who believe they still rule my life wouldn’t have retaliated by feeding the press other pictures anonymously. That’s how.”

  “Bullshit,” he spits, almost laughing, as if my claim is absurd. It isn’t. That’s what we’re dealing with now. These are the bloody lengths. “You still agreed to have dinner with the prick,” Josh rants.

  “No, I didn’t. I said yes to Sabina, to David and—”

  “You’re mine, Adeline. If I want to fuckin’ dance with you, then I fuckin’ will.”

  Oh my goodness, how many times has he dropped the F-word in the past few hours? My ears could bleed. “So you admit it?”

  “Admit what?” he sneers.

  “Tonight was all just about your stupid, manly ego. You should have just pissed up my fucking leg, you possessive arsehole.” I will not apologize for my bad language. I’m too bloody mad.

  “You think that was possessive?” He prowls forward, and I walk back, clinging to my towel. “No, darlin’, that wasn’t possessive.” He grabs me and thrusts me lightly but firmly into the wall. “Let me show you possessive.” His mouth collides with mine, so hard, my head hits the wall behind me. “This is possessive,” he growls, taking me violently, his tongue whipping through my mouth. There is a stubborn, reasonable part of me that tells me to fight him off and slap his face for his behavior. There is a side of me that loses all reason and willfulness where Josh Jameson is concerned. And then there is another side of me, the unruly side, that loves the fuel he adds to my flames.

  Dominated by my anger, the source of which I have momentarily forgotten, I release my towel and fist his hair viciously, returning his brutal kiss stroke for stroke, force for force.

  “Oh, she’s angry, too, huh?” he pants biting my bottom lip so hard I’m sure he must have drawn blood. Pushing his forehead to mine, he glares at me, and I glare right back. He might be pissed off, but so am I.

  Very boldly, I push into him with equal determination, if not with equal force. My forehead is becoming numb, the term locking horns never being more appropriate than now.

  “Yes, I’m fucking angry,” I pant, my breathing already diminished. Whether that is by desire or fury, I couldn’t tell you.

  “You turn me on so much when you cuss.” His smile is wicked. “Ready for some angry sex?”

  “Yes.”

  My thigh is grabbed and yanked up to his waist. “Good, because I need to expel some of this rage before I do something I regret.”

  “Like what?”

  “Ruin everything.” He lifts me from my feet and smashes our mouths back together, our kiss ferocious as he walks us to the bed. We fall onto the mattress in a messy tatter, and Josh finds his place between my thighs too quickly for me to prepare for his invasion. He slams into me as hard as carnally possible and yells, his face tight, his anger still potent. I choke on my held scream, not prepared to give him the satisfaction of hearing it. He’s looking at me like he hates me. Good, at this moment in time, I hate him, too. I hate him for being careless. I hate him for being reckless. I hate him for being so unreasonably sexy when he’s mad. And I hate him for being the center of my universe.

  I match the fire in his eyes with equal heat, taking my fingernails to his back and dragging them down his flesh. He stiffens, arching his back a little on a suppressed hiss. But he doesn’t try to stop me. On the contrary, I’m sure I see goading in his stare, and not one to disappoint, I pry my claws from the base of his back and scratch him from his shoulders to his arse once more. And in retaliation, he withdraws quickly and pounds back into me on a grunt. “Again,” he demands, willing on the pain I’m inflicting. “Pain is the only thing that’s going to penetrate the anger, Adeline. So do it again.”

  My nails sink back into his shoulders and drag slowly down his flesh. His head tossed back on a throaty growl, he crashes into me again, jolting me up the bed on a cry. “Again.” Braced on one arm, he reaches for my wet hair and fists it, provoking me. “Fuckin’ do it.”

  I yell and do as I’m ordered, scratching at his back, each stroke of my nails instigating a pound of his hips. Sweat coats both of our bodies, our fiery passion taking the sex into harmful territory. I’m sore, every strike hitting me unfathomably deep, my scalp tender from him pulling my hair. I’m hurting everywhere, but the pain is more bearable than the anger. The pain is less damaging than the rage. I space out, my glazed eyes centered on Josh above me as he slams home over and over, his jaw no longer tight with anger, but tight with pleasure and pain. I know he’s preparing for his climax when he releases my hair and supports his torso with two arms again. I relieve his back of my vicious nails, sure it must be a roadmap of red, swollen lashes, and slap my palms into his chest. His biceps are bulging where they are braced either side of me, the sounds of our bodies slapping echoing around the room. My veins burn, my stomach muscles ache, pressure building between my thighs. I seize it and hold myself on the edge, waiting for the sign I need that he’s about to shatter. The sign is Josh holding his breath until his face goes red, and when his hips start to shake on every strike, I let go, forcing my eyes to remain open. My vision distorts, Josh bucks on a yell, and I’m suddenly freefalling in darkness, the pressure releasing and swirling through me like an antidote for everything poisoning me. Anger, frustration, pain. It’s all gone in this moment, and there is only Josh. Only us. Only right now.

  I reach for his neck and pull him down, my lips finding his with ease. His moans into my mouth are ragged and broken as we kiss each other through our highs. And it goes on and on and on.

  Until we both eventually sigh.

  Falling limply onto me, he twitches, holding himself deeply, his eyes clenching shut from the sensitivity being too much. Our tongues become clumsy and random, his drenched body slipping across mine like it could be ice.

  Kissing his way aimlessly across my cheek to my ear, he doesn’t find the strength to kiss his way back, burying his face there. Our breathing is loud, our hearts sprinting. I can hear my pulse in my ears, can feel Josh’s neck veins throbbing. I’m drained of all energy. And I am drained of all anger.

  Giving into my heavy lids, I close my eyes and curl all my limbs around him. “They’re going to force you to marry him.” Josh only just gets his words out over his labored breathing. “And there is nothing I can do to stop them without hurting you.”

  I stare at the ceiling, hating the helplessness in his usually sure voice. “You don’t need to stop them.” I squeeze him tightly in the hopes that it adds to my reassuring words. “Because I will.”

  They no longer have power over me.

  I am the fucking Queen of England.

  No one will make me bow.

  WITH JUST A SLIGHT SHIFT of my body, every muscle I have, and many I didn’t realize I have, pull painfully. “Oh, ouch,” I mumble sleepily into the pillow, my face screwing up. I still and try to relax, sprawled on my front, and wince as my mind takes me on a little journey, refreshing my sleepy memory of why I’m hurting so much.

  Angry sex, he said.

  He wasn’t wrong.

  Willi
ng my head to lift, I manage to turn it on the pillow until I’m looking the other way. My lips, something else that’s hurting, smile when I find Josh mirroring my pose, splattered on his front, his gorgeous head sunken into the pillow. He’s unconscious, his mouth open a little, his dark hair a mussed-up mess. My hurting body quickly forgotten, I peel my front from the sheets and wriggle across the bed. He doesn’t stir, his lids not even flickering. He’s dead to the world. And adorable.

  On my side, my head now sharing his pillow, I reach forward with a fingertip and tickle the end of his nose, making him wrinkle it in his sleep. I keep my amused chuckle at bay and lightly brush at it again.

  He twitches, one eye opening narrowly. “What are you doing?”

  “Nothing.” I take the sheets and pull them down his back, ready to lie on him, and come face to face with the aftermath of our angry sex. Oh God.

  “How much damage did you do?” he asks sleepily as I stare at his mutilated back.

  Shame washes over me. “I think we should avoid angry sex in the future.”

  “That bad, huh?”

  He looks like he’s been thrashed, the lines spotted with dried blood. “Josh, I’m so sorry.” I hope he hasn’t got any filming in the near future that requires him shirtless. And if he has, the makeup artist will have her work cut out.

  “I asked for it.” He rolls his shoulder blades. “Come give me a hug.” He makes no attempt to move, so I take his hint and climb on his back, spreading myself gingerly all over him. He hums, his arms coming up above his head on the pillow. “Your boobs feel good squished into my back.” He sighs. “You okay?”

  I lay my arms over his, my cheek squashed into his skin. “Very well. You?”

  “Fuckin’ sore.”

  “You asked for it.”

  He ignores me, but lifts his arse a little, jolting me. “When are you flying home?”

  I pout to myself with the reminder that our time is coming to an end. “Today.”

  “That sucks.” His voice is quiet and rough, through sleep and disappointment. “I have to leave for LA tomorrow. I was hoping that by some miracle, we might’ve got to spend the day together.”

 
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