His true queen, p.37
His True Queen, p.37Jodi Ellen Malpas
The sounds of Josh’s struggles sound out behind me, and I look over my shoulder as I’m dragged back to the theatre, seeing Damon working hard to placate him. “No scenes, Josh,” Damon says. “Calm it down.”
“I’ll fuckin’ kill him.”
“You and me both,” Damon mumbles, his death glare on Haydon’s back.
As Davenport trails us and we get farther away, Haydon loosens his grip of my hand and I flex it, grimacing at the crack of my bones. He leads me to our seats. “Sit,” he orders, more or less pushing me down. I scan our surroundings, hyper alert and worried about anyone who could be watching us. “You will not see him again,” he says quietly as he lowers to his chair, but there is no mistaking the threatening edge in his tone. “I am your husband, and you will obey me. Your status doesn’t affect your obligations to me as my wife.”
I stare at his profile in absolute astonishment. I hold my tongue, but not in alarm. Or fear. Or in submission. Now, he has only my contempt. The man is a leech. And if it’s the last thing I do, I will make him yield. He will damn well capitulate his fantasized throne.
I don’t tell him I am not his wife. I don’t point out he is ahead of himself. And I don’t tell him I will never obey him.
I simply consider how wrong I was to ever fear hurting Haydon’s feelings. The man has his father’s blood running through his veins. And now he can go to hell with him and stay there.
AS SOON AS THE OPERA finishes, I’m the first to the car with Damon, Haydon following not far behind. Once I’m comfortable inside, my bodyguard turns back from the driver’s seat to find me. “Okay, ma’am?”
“I will be.”
He nods, checking out the window. “I think the power has gone to his head.”
I laugh under my breath. “Quite.”
Davenport opens my car door and bends to get to my seated level. “Am I to assume a meeting is to be arranged for the morning?”
“No,” I say, looking past him to see Haydon coming down the steps with Kim. “There will be no meeting with my council on this.”
I return my attention to Davenport. “Telling them what I am going to do will only give them another opportunity to stop me. No.” I’m not making that mistake again. “Please draft an announcement about my canceled engagement and have it ready for the morning.”
“And your relationship with Mr. Jameson?”
I breathe in deeply. “Tell the world.”
“Very well.” Davenport closes the door and walks around the back, opening the other for Haydon.
He falls into the seat without so much as a thank you, turning his angry eyes onto me. “I hope you got a thrill out of humiliating me.”
“You humiliated yourself,” I spit back. “Drive, Damon.” I turn away from him, disappointed I once thought more of the man who seems to have fooled us all.
The journey is drenched in an unbearable atmosphere, Damon constantly checking me in the rearview mirror. When Haydon’s hand falls onto my knee, I stare at it silently, knowing he’ll want to get me into bed tonight. Claim me.
Too bad I am already claimed. I peel his hand away and shove it back at him. “Don’t touch me.” I make myself as small as possible, pushed against the door.
When we pull up outside Claringdon, I don’t wait for the footman to open the door. I do it myself. “Please take Mr. Sampson to his residence,” I tell Damon.
“I’m staying here,” Haydon declares, getting out the other side.
I shoot Damon a panicked look. I knew it. “Thumbs down,” I murmur, though my head of security is already on his way out of the driver’s seat, not needing to be told. He meets Haydon at the front of the car, chest to chest. “I don’t think so,” Damon says menacingly. “Turn around and get back in the car.”
“Get out of my way.” Haydon’s chest puffs out, his shoulders pulled back, though his attempts to look bigger, more imposing, fail miserably. Damon is inches above him, his stance threatening.
He looks homicidal. “Get. In. The. Car.”
“Who do you think you’re talking to?”
“Adeline,” Haydon yells, throwing me an expectant look. “Call off your dog.”
“Get in the car, Haydon,” I tell him calmly. “Don’t make a scene.” I’m aware of the staff behind us, as well as the car up front that carried Davenport, Kim, Olive, and Jenny, who are all silently looking on.
Haydon laughs at me, trying to push his way past an unmoving Damon. “Get the hell out of my way. I am staying here with my fiancée.”
That word from his mouth makes me want to throw up. “I am not your fiancée,” I spit. “I am not your anything.” I pick up the bottom of my dress and take the stairs to the door, stopping halfway when I hear a thud. I turn and find Haydon wrestling with Damon, throwing punches like a madman. “Haydon!”
Damon ducks once and swings his fist, catching Haydon on the jaw with a deafening crack, sending him flying back onto the bonnet of the car. “I warned you,” Damon hisses, shaking his hand. “All you had to do was get in the fucking car.”
Haydon holds his face, flexing his jaw as he scrambles off the bonnet. “You’re fired,” he yells, and Damon laughs, so hard I’m certain he’ll fall over.
“Shut up, you prick.” Grabbing Haydon by the scruff of his suit jacket, he manhandles him around the car and throws him into the back. “Ever lay a finger on her again, even a touch, it won’t just be a jab to the jaw next time.” He slams the door and roughly pulls himself back together as he stamps his way back to the driver’s side. “Posh, entitled twat,” he grunts, throwing himself in the car.
The roar of the engine jerks me out of my inertness, the tires skidding away. “Ma’am?” Olive asks quietly, resting a hand on my arm.
I look at her, and though my vision is a little hazy from my welling eyes, I see sympathy. I turn to find a dozen other members of my staff standing in stunned silence, waiting for me to move. “I think I’d like a drink,” I say to no one in particular. “A stiff one.”
Olive nods to one of the footmen, who darts into the palace like a whippet. “I’ll have one, too,” Davenport calls to his back, brushing over his tired face with a rough hand.
“Make that three,” Kim shouts, coming to collect me. “I’m in shock.”
“Aren’t we all?” I ask, continuing up the steps with her help. “Would anyone else like a drink?” I gaze across the faces of my staff, who are all looking out the corners of their eyes to each other, obviously wondering if it is a trick question. “Stiff drinks all round,” I answer for them, letting Olive take my purse as we breach the entrance.
“I think I might have one, too.” Mother appears, her face grave, and I know it is because she has just witnessed everything unfold. She comes straight to me and takes me in a hug that both surprises me and comforts me. “I didn’t know what to do with the American that Damon’s men brought back, so I put him in the Claret Lounge.”
I have not the faintest idea why I laugh lightly. There is really nothing funny about any of this. “I’m not letting him go this time.”
She pulls back and gives my face a soft stroke. “You should not have the first time. I realize that now.”
My lip wobbles. Stupid lip. But this evening has been an ambush of eye-openers that could curl my body into a ball of anxiety. “I need to see him.”
“He’s here,” Josh calls from the doorway. My eyes shoot to him, my breath gone at the sight of him here. In my palace. Among my people. My American boy. The window to the Claret Lounge looks out onto the front courtyard. Did he see? A small nod confirms he knows what I am thinking. “I decided brawling in front of the Queen Mother wasn’t the way forward,” he says, and I wonder just how hard it was for him to fight with his instinct to run out and give Haydon a thump.
I laugh through a sob, taking the bottom of my dress and going to Josh. In front of everyone standing in the foyer.
He throws his arms around me, a
My bottom lip quivers once again, it all becoming too much. “How much?” I want to hear it, hear if it’s as desperately as I love him. Hear if it hurts as much. “Tell me how much.”
Stroking down my cheek, he smiles, oblivious to the spectators behind us. “More than I will ever be able to show you during our lifetime. But you bet your queenly ass I’ll try, Your Majesty.”
I look at him, using this precious time to absorb him, feeling his face, his lips, looking into his eyes. “My king,” I whisper, and he kisses me, taking us away from this life and transporting us to the clouds.
A small cough.
Our tongues dance and glide, roll and explore.
I breathe out on a sigh, feeling his hair, silky and soft through my fingers.
A loud cough.
Josh pulls away, and for the first time since I have known him, he looks awkward. And there is definitely a tinge of color in his cheeks. “Are you blushing?”
He clears his throat and drops his mouth to my ear. “I think I just violated the Queen of England in front of her loyal subjects.”
I grin and look over my shoulder, finding an audience, most holding their smiles in check. Because to be pleased about this would be to defy royal law. “That drink,” I say, and a tray is under my nose within a second, the footman clearly not wanting to interrupt us. “Thank you.” I take one for Josh, too. “Davenport, is everything in hand?”
“Very good.” I take a sip of my drink. “Please do let me know when you are finished. If I’m needed, I will be in my private quarters.” I take Josh’s hand and pull him along beside me. “Good evening.”
A flurry of murmured words follows us up the stairs, and Josh constantly looks back over his shoulder as we go. “They’re all staring at us.”
I look, too, seeing Davenport move in, ready to reinforce their oath of silence. Not that it matters. By tomorrow, the world will know. And this time they really will. “They will go about their business once we’re gone,” I assure him, my steps hurrying.
“Slow down, woman.” Josh trips up the last step and sends his drink flying, the glass hitting the carpet, the contents spilling everywhere. “Oh shit.”
“Leave it,” I order, pulling him up and on.
“You’re certainly throwing your weight around today.”
“I’m about to throw my weight on you,” I say, laughing when he speeds up, overtaking me so it is now him dragging me along.
“Josh!” I yelp, my legs getting tangled in my dress. “I’m going to fa . . . oh!” I’m tossed over his shoulder like a sack, my drink joining his on the carpet. He runs full pelt across the gallery landing. Then he stops abruptly. “Shit. Which way is it?”
“That way,” I laugh, pointing, though of course, he can’t see in which direction I’m pointing because he can’t see my arms.
“Which way?” He turns on the spot a few times, making me dizzy.
“That way.” I can barely talk through my giggles.
“Adeline, I’m about to come in my pants. Which way?”
“I take it you mean through the pictures of old people hanging every two yards?” He’s off without confirmation, running with me over his shoulder before every king and queen that has ever lived. What would they think? What would they say?
“Faster.” I slap his arse like I could be egging on a horse, my stomach aching from tensing where it’s bent over his shoulder.
We’re through the doors at lightning speed, and I’m tossed on the couch clumsily, Josh landing on top of me. I get him in my sights, brushing my hair from my face, feeling him resting perfectly between my legs. “I couldn’t wait to get you into bed,” he declares, banging our mouths together. “You’ve lost your tiara again.”
“Don’t care.” I attack his mouth savagely. Everything I need is here right now, and I start to wrestle his jacket from his shoulders, not releasing his mouth to see what I’m doing. He helps, albeit clumsily. Our clothes are ripped off piece by piece and tossed blindly away, my feet taking care of his trousers and boxers, my foot hooking into the waistbands and pushing them down his legs. He gets to his knees, reaching back to push his shoes off and get his trousers and boxers past his feet. Then he rips off my knickers.
“Bra,” he says urgently, reaching under my back as I arch. One flick has the clasp undone, and one yank has if off and on the floor with the rest of our clothes. “Let’s call that foreplay,” he declares, taking his arousal and guiding it to between my thighs. “Does my queen object?”
“Good.” He sinks in smoothly on a ragged exhale, right to the root. “Oh . . . yeah.”
I sigh, and he settles, hands braced above my head on the arm of the couch. “I’m just gonna stay here for a few moments, so you know.” He kisses my cheek, the swell of him inside me sparking spasms in my muscles, making me clench. “Stop it,” Josh warns.
“I can’t help it.”
“Adeline, I’ll come.”
“I’m not doing anything.”
“Yes, your pussy is squeezing my dick. Stop it.” He looks at me, his jaw tight as he fights to find control.
I flex my hips, encouraged by the surges of pleasure pulsing throughout me. “I have no control with you.”
“God damn you, woman.” His groin rolls, meeting my flex, taking his depth to its fullest. He starts pumping, abandoning trying to find that control. But though we are both so desperate, we are both very measured. Every stroke is incapacitating, my hands scratching at his back as I lazily toss my head from side to side. Straightaway, it’s there, a climax brewing, my groin heavy with the pressure of the pleasure. In and out, slowly and exact, his skin wet, my muscles hard. “We’re so fuckin’ good together.” He can hardly talk, his cheeks puffing out on every drive, pushing me up the couch. It’s clear neither of us will last long, but for the first time, I don’t let that stop me from claiming my climax. I’m not worried about making it last. Not worried about when the next time will be.
I buck beneath him, closing my eyes and throwing my head back. The heat of his mouth finds my breast, my hands finding his arse and following the motions of his swaying hips.
“Yeah?” he asks, driving on, sending me wild. “That good, darlin’?” He picks up his pace, nibbling on my nipple, and I drop my head, finding his eyes watching me coming undone. His face is pure, exquisite indulgence. “You comin’ for me?”
I nod, scraping my way up his back to his hair, clinging on, knowing I’m about to be bent with the intensity of my release. Josh moves up and punches his fists into the couch, bracing himself and slamming home.
He goes first, his chest concaving, his last drive a long, circling grind, as he moans a broken, strangled moan. And the look on his face sends me over. My arms fly up to the couch behind me, my back arching, as my orgasm tears through me, taking everything out of me until I break and sink into the cushions, my breathing gone.
“God save the fuckin’ Queen,” he mumbles, falling down on top of me. “I’m fucked.”
Unable to respond, I close my eyes and let my mind shut down with my body, blindly grabbing the throw from the back of the couch and pulling it over us. And we doze off. Together. Always together.
“WHY AM I SO NERVOUS?” I ask, pacing in front of the fireplace, up and down, up and down.
“Oh, I don’t know,” Kim muses, very casual-like. “Because you’re about to change history?”
“Possibly.” Or it could be because I am worried about Sir Don and David Sampson throwing a spanner in my works. Again. I’m certain Haydon will have
“He’s cute when he’s asleep,” Kim says from the chair opposite. “Even covered in a floral blanket.”
I grin as I walk to the tray Olive delivered, taking the coffee she poured. “He’s cute all the time.” I sip, smiling as Kim rolls her eyes at me.
“You sound so in love, I want to vomit.”
I settle on the chair next to her. “I want Sir Don and Sampson summoned, but only once the statement about Josh and I has been released. I don’t trust those two as far as I can throw them. I want them gone.”
“Wow. You mean business. I’ve missed this Adeline.”
I smile. I’ve missed her, too. “I want to get the inevitable done with.” My phone rings from across the room, but I don’t rush to answer. “Leave it,” I say when Kim makes to stand. “It will be Haydon again.”
She lowers, looking awkward. “What on earth got into him last night?”
I sigh. “I have no idea.” Was he showing his true colors for the first time in thirty years? If so, he has done a marvelous job of hiding them for so long. Or was that simply the behavior of a desperate man?
His True Queen by Jodi Ellen Malpas / Romance & Love / History & Fiction have rating 4.6 out of 5 / Based on41 votes