Prince albert, p.18
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       Prince Albert, p.18
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         Part #4 of A Step Brother Romance series by Sabrina Paige



  "Come on, man," Price says. "What the hell is your problem lately?"

  "What?" I ask. "Nothing. No problem."

  "Then you won't mind if I take home both of these girls." He nods toward the women on the other side of the room, both of whom are perched on the edge of one of the sleek black modern sofas artfully arranged to create a sitting space. The redhead waves back before crossing one long leg over the other, her foot tapping in rhythm with the bass in the club downstairs.

  Redheads used to be my favorite.

  Used to be.

  What the fuck is wrong with me? One screw – one filthy as hell night with Little Miss Do-Gooder – and I'm completely preoccupied with her.

  There's something messed up with that.

  What I should do is get her out of my system. She's been avoiding me ever since the night of the engagement party, obviously regretting what happened in the throne room.

  "Albie?" Price asks, irritation evident in his tome. "This is exactly my point. You're not even paying attention to me saying I'm going to screw both of these girls."

  "It's fine."

  "Really," he says flatly. "Since when is Prince Albert just not feelin' it?"

  "Go," I say, sliding my phone out of my pocket. "Pick up all the girls you want. With my blessing. Have fun."

  Price rolls his eyes. But he turns around, holding his hands up in the air. "Ladies, I'm all yours."

  I open the screen on my cell phone and start typing a message.

  Stop avoiding me. You know you want me.

  She doesn't respond, which only irritates me. The music in the club downstairs is getting on my nerves, and I'm watching Price on the other side of the room as he sits back against the sofa, with his legs spread and girls on either side of him. He looks like such a jackass.

  That's how I used to be.

  The fact that I'm thinking in the past tense doesn't escape me.

  Belle doesn't respond to my text, until later, when I'm back at the palace.

  Obviously I'm replying. So, I'm not avoiding you.

  And she's obviously pissy.

  I type out my reply.

  Good. When you pack for the summerhouse, make sure to leave your panties behind, because you won't need them.

  I pause for a second before hitting the send button. Maybe I should just let it go. Maybe I should just write off what happened with Belle as an unfortunate byproduct of our proximity to each other and nothing more.

  It was just a convenience fuck.

  Or crazy hormones.

  Or the fact that she was simply hard up for sex.

  Or all of the stress of our parents' engagement.

  There are a million excuses for what happened. All of them are stupid as hell. I wanted Belle when I saw her, and I want her now.

  I hit send. She doesn't respond.



  "How's Princess Prisoner?" Raine asks.

  "Don't get me started." I roll my eyes so hard I think she might be able to hear the movement over the phone.

  I want to tell her about what happened with Albie. I want to confide in her.

  But I can’t bring myself to actually speak the words.

  Prince Albert made me come at our parents’ engagement party. At the dinner table. In front of everyone.

  "Is it all cocktail parties and tea with the future queen?" she asks.

  "Pretty much."

  And fucking on the King's throne.

  I leave out that detail – the most important detail.

  "You know, Phoenix and I are in Prague," she says. "We can come spring you from the clink if you want us to."

  "I might take you up on that offer," I say. "Or I may have to join you."

  "Is it that bad?" Raine asks. "Why not just ditch out now? Come backpack around Europe with us. Take some time off. Enjoy your life, Belle. I can hear the stress in your voice. Nothing that takes place in a palace can be that serious."

  "It's not that bad."

  Not that bad.

  An image of Albie sitting on the throne, tuxedo pants unzipped and cock in his hand, flashes in my head.

  Not that bad.

  The irony of those words is not lost on me. The other night was as far from not that bad as you can get.

  It was insane.

  I know my romantic life has been pretty sheltered – okay, I haven't exactly had mind-blowing sex in the past. I’ve certainly never done anything remotely like what I did with Albie.

  And I'm not even sure I like Albie. He's irritating. He's rich and domineering and entitled, and he's convinced that he's God's gift to women.

  And he probably lied about the girlfriend being an ex, just so he could get in my pants.

  That's reason enough to not like him.

  "Are there any cute guys there, at least?" Raine asks. "A hot, well-built bodyguard, perhaps?"

  The image of Noah, Albie's bodyguard, flashes in my head. He’s attractive, objectively-speaking. The problem is, when I think of him, I get nothing -- no heart racing, no nervousness like I'm on the brink of fainting. No sensation of heat coursing through my body, the way I do at the mere thought of Albie.

  "Ok, I'll take your silence as a no, then," Raine says, laughing. "Apparently the palace doesn't employ hot bodyguards. I don't suppose they employ shirtless pool boys?"

  I choke back a laugh. "No. No shirtless pool boys."

  "But there’s a sexy prince in the palace."

  "Sexy prince?" I ask. My voice seems to go up an octave, or maybe I'm just imagining things. "No. No. No sexy prince."

  "Are you sure you're not into women?" Raine teases. "Because you're sharing a house with one of the sexiest men in the world, and you apparently just don't think he's all that."

  "I hardly think he's one of the sexiest men in the world," I protest.

  I'm lying through my teeth.

  "No, literally," she says. "I'm pretty sure People magazine put him on their list of sexiest men in the world."

  My laugh sounds more like a snort. "I'm sure that only made his ego even bigger than it already was. And since when do you read People magazine?"

  "We’re backpacking – sometimes there are long train rides and I need to catch up on what’s going on in the world,” Raine says. "Besides, we’re not talking about my enjoyment of perusing gossip magazines. We’re talking about the fact that you're obviously very familiar with the prince."

  "Because I know he has a big ego?" I ask.

  I know what else the prince has that's big, too. Huge, in fact.

  Huge and pierced.

  The throbbing between my legs reminds me that my body definitely remembers what happened with him, even if I keep trying to file the memory away in some dark recess in the corners of my brain.

  "There's something in your voice when you talk about him."

  I clear my throat. "There's nothing in my voice," I say. "It's a non-issue. The prince is a non-entity."

  "Non-entity," she says. "Yeah, right. You totally think he's hot."

  "I do not."

  "You think he's hot and you want to kiss him and hug him and let him put his penis in you," Raine says in a sing-song voice, laughing.

  "Are you twelve?"

  "My sense of humor is more like thirteen," she says. "I'm quite mature."

  "There's nothing going on between me and Albie," I say.


  That even sounds like a lie to me.

  "Albie, huh?" she says. "You have a nickname for him?"

  "Other than asshole, no," I say. "Albie is not a nickname. Everyone calls him that. No one calls him Albert. Except his parents."

  "Uh-huh, sure. So it's not your little pet name for him?"

  "Oh my God, Raine. No. He's going to be my stepbrother." I force an extra level of disgust into my voice, even though I shouldn't have to force it. I should feel disgust at the very thought, right?

  Raine laughs. "
Whatever," she says. "All of the royal families marry each other, anyway, don’t they? Cousins or siblings and all that stuff."

  "Maybe a hundred years ago. And marriage?" I squeak. "No one is talking marriage. Are you high?"

  "Definitely," she says, laughing. "But it also sounds like I'm hitting a nerve."

  "Nerve?" I ask, my voice unnaturally bright. "Nope. No nerve. Definitely not a nerve."

  "Sure," Raine says. "Well, if I were in your shoes, I would do him."

  "There's no doing happening here, Raine."

  "Well, if there's no doing happening, then ditch the stuffy palace and come see Prague with us," Raine says. "What's keeping you there?"

  That's a good question.

  "I promised my mother I'd stay for the summer," I say. "Until the wedding. It's a show of support. Besides, I'm going to get involved with some charities. It's not all galas and tea parties."

  "Fine. I'll let you off the hook. But only for the charities."

  "That's very generous of you."

  "I am generous. It's one of my favorite qualities about myself."

  I laugh. "That and your modesty, obviously."

  "That too," she says. "Oh. Phoenix is out of the shower. I have to run. But the offer stands, by the way. Budapest, Paris, Venice, Marrakech. Wherever you want to join us."

  "You know, if you come through Protrovia, I could get you into the estate, I'm sure."

  Raine makes a strangled sound. "Palaces freak me out," she says. "Too uptight, man. Too many rules."

  Rules like not fucking your stepbrother on his father's throne.

  Those kinds of rules.

  "It's not so bad," I hear myself say.

  "You're acclimating already," she says, laughing. "Princess Isabella."

  "Screw you."

  "Say the word, doll," she says. "You know I swing both ways."

  "Shut up, Raine."

  "Later, Belle," she says. "Oh, and one more thing. If you just so happen to get a look at the prince's dick, I want to know if it's as big as it looks in those photos online, or if the camera really does add ten pounds."

  It's bigger and more impressive in person.

  "Never going to happen, Raine."

  "Can't fault a girl for asking," she says. "I mean, even if he is part of the establishment, he's a hot part of the establishment."



  "You're doing everything in your power to ignore me," I observe.

  I should be amused by that.

  I mean, what kind of girl ignores a European Prince? Something's obviously wrong with her.

  Instead, I'm irritated by it. It's starting to get under my skin.

  She's starting to get under my skin, actually. And not in the way I thought she would, the way that girls in the past have gotten under my skin. The women I sleep with usually begin to annoy me the moment after the sex is over. Everything about them becomes instantaneously grating – a tone of voice, exhale of breath, the way they look at me.

  But Belle is getting under my skin in a different way. The fact that she's blowing me off – or maybe the fact that she's not blowing me at all – is irritating.

  I want her.

  That fact alone should be terrifying.

  "I'm not ignoring anything," she says, her tone clipped. "We literally just got to the summer house two days ago. I've been busy. You've been busy."

  "Yes, we've all been busy," I say. "And you're full of shit, Belle."

  "I am not," she says. "Maybe I'm just enjoying my book here in the library. And silence. I was enjoying my silence, anyway. Now, if you don't mind?"

  "I do mind, actually," I say. "Because right now, all I want to do is put my mouth between your legs. And you're keeping me from doing that. And I don't like when people keep me from what I want."

  She looks up at me, her expression chilly. "I think your girlfriend might be a better person to help you out with that, don't you?"

  "What girlfriend?"

  "The one my mother thinks you were hooking up with in the pool house," she says.

  "She thinks you're my girlfriend?"

  Belle sighs. "No," she says. "She thinks you and Erika were
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